Yellow wallpaper peels behind faded pictures in dusty frames, falling to the floor in ashen drifts—ephemeral-- of births and wakes, stabbing to the heart like first kisses or cold sips of Mexican Coke but dulled from memory (and time) like giftless Christmases and old housedresses, drying on the line. What ghosts roam these halls, Haunting bowls of waxed fruit and glass doorknobs, lingering ‘round saints’ alters, dust bunnies, and jelly jar glasses like palls or the bitter of burnt almonds. As a pale pink echo of rose peeks through the air’s must, a voice whispers, “Recuerdas esto, ahora,” leaving me to chuckle and smile.
How silly it is to mourn life as we live it.
Caja de memoria
Fingers, gingerly sifting through ecos de lavanda, praise spirits of modest treasures in silent prayer. Ribbon-tied letters. A lock of hair tied with blue ribbon. Viejos dólares de plata. Tarjetas de oración a los santos (two for St. Jude). Pressed flowers in wax paper. A faded scapular. Old report cards (Never was any good at Math). Broken reading glasses. Una camelia encerada and the smell of her. Amén.
David Estringel is a Xicanx writer/poet with works published in literary publications, such as The Opiate, Azahares, Cephalorpress, Lahar, Poetry Ni, DREICH, Rigorous, Somos En escrito, Hispanecdotes, Ethel, The Milk House, Beir Bua Journal, and The Blue Nib. David received his BA in English at the University of Texas at Brownsville and his MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Currently, he is a working on his PhD in English (World Literature) and a Graduate Instructor of Composition at Texas A&M-Commerce. His first collection of poetry and short fiction Indelible Fingerprints was published in April 2019, followed his second and third poetry collections Blood Honey and Cold Comfort House in 2022. David has written four poetry chapbooks, Punctures (2019), PeripherieS (2020), Eating Pears on the Rooftop (2022), and Golden Calves (coming March 2023). His new book of micro poetry little punctures, a collaboration with UK illustrator, Luca Bowles, will be released in December 2022. Connect with David on Twitter @The_Booky_Man and his website www.davidaestringel.com.
the breadth of my blood spans the rio grande, tunneling every root into earth laid track, veins of cartesian slanted monasteries praying for safe keeping and return. all love’s angles need me dry as a bridge across centuries drifting, drifting along tributaries, my eyes lifting border weight sunk into lines like dams. god dammed me turn and bound sand coffin lullabies shrinking miles bordering my measured body. i crenellate, i bridge too far, moated, i solemnly melt harbors into ice. brandished masks, graphite flares, long-speared songs slit cascading tracks i can no longer see. beneath coffins, i river along drifting castles, monuments laid against footprints and obelisks turned fountains. too many feet leave dirt to consume my blood, longing to be a mother for every lost child stuck in the mouth of my soiled lands, softened under moonlight perils.
my silver edged swards gulp air, grip for supple bodies in side shore flotillas, clambering shoulders for another damp- pressed lodged throat stuck from the same people split down centuries long edges; umbra against moonlight, shaded dark graphite bursts of genetic lacuna. arbitrary lacunae bodies speak silence, a generation of silence, no longer listening to wardens warranting god damned word-spills flooding me, my river, my heart soaked in tragedy, soaked in sores weeping my river, my name, my sense of belonging. my body is split in imaginary sequence, sequins of words cleared out by spectacle harvesters and mage icons. harvest my image, my name, my soil forgotten to cowboys, forget vaqueros, lassoed my last memory buried in the sand, in the clay, in oil stuck in the throat of nations.
image iconoclasts barrel for barrel, priced, stocked, laminated to touch, touch towered drill rigs silting my soil, my violent soil sold and sunk beneath static statues and markers covered with moss, for- gotten and left to wonder. i was born here hundreds of years ago, but can’t remember why. when can i reduce the root to a seed? of all the memories i carry across my body, i recall mesquite bean pods indifferently, discarding yellow-tanned honey as nothing more than a forgotten name. cabeza de pozo is only a myth to my hands, to my lungs, my hands no longer carry generations of silence, my body is already filled. i’ve eaten my share, drank the rio grande, subsumed what is left, whispers still fill my cup—branch from the river, branch from my throat, branch the sky, branched in solitude separate stilled and stolen loose soil saved for savagery. i am witness to its reflection still standing in tides grown from my blood. my blood is a memory i sift through, speaking its name along the camino real. upwards, norteño, ever upwards to heaven’s song: sol, my sol, my soil, my name buried deep within the soil.
my mother burns jalapeños on the comal choking me with centuries long memories
its sharp-sticks saturate the air like a mist body full, expanding corners in my lips and nostrils
the piercing plates lap up my tongue feeding me memorials of earth
verde encerrado en una coma hooked, lined like mexico jealous of my mouth that still speaks
its blister berry song lulls fire torched-heart and fireworked
i remember the dreary fumes steeling my name cutting through my throat
capturing my voice alive carving out the well’s swollen gland speaking, speaking the spanish name
el lamento, razed buds steamed in effigy torched-bust hammer-filled balloons
pyrrhic tastes, burn-swelled sweat the arch of its name sinks like a submarine rises like a whale splashes long rivers we call home
el lamento, for loose soil it levels me in ancient serenity fusing its long root in my veins
mi raza es contigo, cuaresmeño, fat with liquid blister circular spirit in the house that never leaves me troubadour of the flamed-tongued vineyard
dragging me to the root hardened es posible con suave
la muerte es tu clave to the scorched light burn-scarred across the shipless sail heart-driven and anchored in me
mirrored to the centuries long current buried in the light of my mother’s cooking smoke-washed dream of my north star
searing every word for home the earth still recognizes me
its fruits still hold my name
Reynaldo George Hinojosa Jr. is a Tejano-born writer and musician. He acquired his MFA in Creative Writing and Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts from the University of Texas at El Paso, and an Associate’s in Music from San Antonio College. Since arriving in Michigan, Reynaldo helped build, and currently helps run, the bookstore cooperative Book Suey. He is a 2022-2024 Lead Teaching Artist Fellow with Inside Out Literary Arts. He lives with his son, partner, and two cats in Hamtramck.
Three poems: "yo soy", "madre mar", and "pathology" by Sofía Friedman
frijoles as face paint smeared on as an act of war of pride of cultural dysphoria
twenty two years of tightrope walking between centro and norte between mis antepasados and my future
between américa the land of mangos and machismo of caderas and cervezas
and america the land of opportunity and oppression of dreams and disappointments
here at “home” rhythm and groove are met with wide eyes and clueless glances
fist pumps and stiff jumps disguised as dance don’t speak the language that my hips do that las caderas de mis antepasados hablaron
aquí en mi país my feet crunch piles of pine needles and palm fibers
withered broken lifeless
from the violent footsteps that came before of sandinistas of somoza censorship of american occupation of culturally clueless tourists
but out of these piles baskets are born new livelihoods are created
women and weaving a match made in mesoamérica
they weave to reclaim their hands from men and misogyny to communicate with craft across time and space to make their fingers dance once again to el ritmo del pueblo
pine needles and palm fibers promote production provide payment protest poverty
or so they say
baskets brought to market living, breathing symbols of mi identidad mi historia mi cultura
but this cultural umbilical cord will soon be severed dollares in exchange for days of work and lifetimes of tradition
a newborn basket will be brought “home” to be exalted and sensationalized on a gringo’s shelf
oohs and ahhs disguised as cultural competency don’t speak the language that my fingers do que las manos de mis antepasadas hablaron i am of centro and i am of norte
the water calls me babbling beckoning
she invites me in with a gentle wave and a briny hug
you are safe here
my mother calls me crying gasping for air
she’s gone she’s gone she’s gone
i dive to escape to find that heaviness consumes me
what a relief
salt creeps in to each and every crevice i sting with the harsh purity of existence
i choke back tears
can you hear me
winged creatures drown me out with their well-rehearsed repertoires
i fill her with my tears
she roars with a ferocity that only comes from mourning the loss of a creature so pure
earthbound no longer she returns to her final resting place in the open arms of the mother who bore her
who gifted her a connection with the earth so strong that the madre herself weeps alongside me
for the woman with the sunshine eyes
who decided that a path was better than pathlessness
an existence of adventure of liberation freedom to roam, wander, and explore as we please
aren’t you bored of suffocating in a world so dangerously addicted to order predictability schedules and success
what is success if not joy fulfillment freedom reaped from talking to strangers cooking a new recipe and taking care of yourself
who decided i have to choose my future before i’ve even chosen a major
who said i can’t be a chef a poet a changemaker all at once
let us overthrow the yoke of expectation the shackles of degree planning
there is room in our bodies and our world for us to be whole
and no test or paycheck can take that away
own it live it breathe it
stomp your feet take up space on these long winding imperfect infinite paths
bury me on the path of pathlessness so my remains may nurture the fertile soil and seeds out of which grow the next generation of warriors pioneers rebels
who want nothing to do with this path of yours who cannot be confined by your box but rather explode out of it with such fiery force and passion and purpose your parasitic predictable power-hungry capitalist system won’t know what to do with it all
we are superheroes in our own right we are the revolution
Sofía Friedman is a recent graduate of Tufts University of Nicaraguan and Peruvian descent. She double majored in Civic Studies and Middle Eastern Studies with a minor in Social Justice Anthropology. She grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and currently lives in Washington D.C. She is published in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum library and has self-published a number of poems and creative non-fiction pieces. In her free time, she loves to read, listen to Bad Bunny, spend time in nature, and travel.
My brother saw a lone hammer on the side of a building in Rockridge: “Take it,” he said; I said no, that’s somebody’s tool, like dad’s. “Then write a poem about it,” he said.
My father had every type of hammer:
Black-handled, rednecked claw hammer, Craftsman, ‘made in America’ (He was proud of that);
Black-handled, rednecked Ball-Peen hammer, Craftsman, ‘Made in America!’ (He made sure to tell me this);
Blondehandled claw hammer; then, a two-pounder, worn, worthy of a warrior who straightened things, metal and moral;
Finishing hammers, hammers that mom did not know about until much after he bought them “This is my money, mijo, don’t tell mama.”
He proudly stated, “look how well-made,” as he showed me the mallets and other hammers that fed us,
And which he used to build the addition to our house, build a garage, frame, shape
He was proudest of those that were his friends, his companions, those he altered, shaped, the steel worn, the ballpeen softened, the rounded ends flattened or bevelled;
For the fence he built on the side of our home, righthandside, as you looked at the house, he used his hammers;
For the metal door he emplaced on the lefthandside, a door he made from sheetmetal He welded, shaped, something from Mexico in the U.S., he used his hammers.
He hammered and hammered, his hearing going as he did so, and I oblivious, was frustrated when he asked me to repeat things.
In Mexico, Papa was a pailero, boilermaker; In the U.S. his work was as a welder, bumper-straightener and chrome-plater;
He wielded hammers at work and at home, forearms bigger than most men’s biceps, biceps rounder than most men’s deltoids.
“Mr. America” is what the pastor of our church called him, if not “Mr. Universe.” He sought priests for counsel and his hammers to shape.
He had a sledge, which as a boy I tried to heft but failed to raise above my shoulders.
He taught me later how to do so safely, effectively, deadly-right. What power I felt and what a gift passed on to me by way of his tool — I felt a warrior, finally.
The accuracy of hammering a nail he taught me, ‘no, mijo, not like that; do it over until you get it right,’ — this time, delicacy.
His hammers went to the four winds after he died: My brothers and their wives borrowed them. They ended up in the back of pickups — stolen; in garages, lost (divorces).
There is an emptiness in my heart and soul for those hammers, like the emptiness I filled when I visited Toledo, España where I found our name, Vela, amidst craftsmen,
Men using, wielding tiny hammers, making out of gold and silver earrings, pendants, wonders, tiny jewels they emplaced with tiny hammers brought me back to him
His work, his name, his purpose.
And I having found that forebears in Toledo used hammers to make of Damascus steel
Swords, shields, and armor for warriors felt closer to him, my hammer my pen, my page metal shape, my words the indentations, impact, bent ideas, but memory all the same.
David Vela was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada to Tlaxcaltecan and Pueblan parents, father and mother respectively. He is the ninth of nine children, five of whom were born in Apizaco, Tlaxcala, Mexico, one in Puebla, Mexico and the others in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Hijo de soldador y pailero, a mother who was indomitable and self-educated in three languages, David studied at Yale and the Claremont Graduate School literature in English, Irish and Latin American authors, and has devoted 25 years to teaching literatures of Native Americans, Latin Americans, French (in French), Irish and British authors; he also loves and reads and has taught authors in Italian, including Dante and Petrarch, Boccaccio and Eugenio Montale.
David was lead instructor in Paris in 2006 in a Study-Abroad program, teaching Latin American and American expatriate authors in a French Life and Culture course, and a course on terrorism and the French experience in Algeria during the Algerian war for independence. David has worked with military veterans and with Social Science professionals as writer and Editor. He was President of the Irish Literary & Historical Society of San Francisco, the only non-Irish or non-Irish American do be elected to that position for and continues to be a Board Member of that organization. He was Chair of the Irish-Mexican Association of the Bay Area for several years, recognizing the common historical and cultural connections between these cultures, and emphasized the prominence of heroes in first-responder professions from these cultures.
David has worked with ambassadors and political personages in valuing and in disseminating culture in Ireland, Argentina, Mexico and in the United States, Northern Ireland and in the San Francisco Bay Area.
He currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada after living in the Bay Area for 28 years.
Excerpt from visual poetry book GHROMYT by J. M. Calleja and Carlota Caulfield
"GHROMYT captures 24 hotels that became unique zones of our lives. We played with words and images until finding the expression of our recollections."
From Introduction by Jordi Marrugat Hotels appear in our space-time fabric as conjunctive nodes that collect the countless threads of the travelers' trajectories and open them to the current physical environment, to its supra-historical cultural projection and to inner personal intimacy. They are transit locations to which one abandons the familiar collective to come into contact with another before returning transformed: GHROMYT offers in terstitial zones of detached observation in which memory and novelty exchange flows to turn the traveler into some one else with new experiences, new memories, new images of himself/herself and the world. Linked to space and time, though, they seem like an opening or a pause in which everything momentarily becomes possible above and beyond everything. lts concretion is hardly seen or remembered. lts often homogeneous aesthetic undoubtedly contributes to this. The hotel is not experienced as a zone with its own entity, but as a portal to the wonder of the imagination renewed by contact with a place that, does in deed, impose its concreteness--unfortunately, though, one that is increasingly strained and diffused through rampant globalization.
The beauty and strangeness of GHROMYT's poems lies precisely in offering this multiple experience of the hotel in images. This is indicated by its no less strange and beautiful title: a combination of letters in which the random combinatorial nature of any trip seems to have intervened, the names of the travelers (the r and the o of Carlota, the m of J.M. Calleja), the h of hotel and a visual and playful use of language (the o to the center, as a nucleus, a mirror, a clock, a zero,a multidirectional starting point followed by "myt," evocative of "meet," the hotel as meeting place).
Each GHROMYT poem builds the image of a hotel as a gathering of experiences of different orders: personal memories, the silhouette of a city, its representative works of art, its known inhabitants, elements of the national flag, the rain... The language that Calleja and Caulfield construct, with its combination of concrete and visual poetry, its collages, paintings, and objets trouvés, proves magnificently capable of transcending the simplicity of the superficial, unconscious, linear gaze. The mixture of artistic resources within the book of poems accounts for the essential complexity of the conjured experience. The achieved form is already by itself the content of each poem. lt is not limited to giving an image that tries to re cover what has already been lived, but one that becomes a new experience enriched by the meeting of two poets. It transforms the personal memory from the shared present: it is projected backwards and forwards: photography is immersed in the future. Each page of GHROMYT does not seek the incautious evocation of a stay in a hotel, but is fully transfigured into a hotel where you can live, having new experiences.
J. M.Calleja was born in Mataro, Spain in 1952. Visual poet, multimedia artist and performer. Formed in the world of the image (photography-cinema), the artist realised various experimental films (8mm) between 1976-81. Coordinator and curator of different creative events.Expo sitions: Poesia Visual del'Estat Espanyol. Lleida1989(trav elling 1 year) and Poesia Visual Catalana. Barcelona 1999 (travelling 2 years). Anthologies:1 7 (Spanish Experimental Poetry) withJ.A.Sarmiento (1980),Poesía Experimental-93 (1993), Vl(r)US (2005), Poéticas Experimentales Catalanas with JordiMarrugat (2018),.•• xyzA-Cdef... (Anthology of Argentine and Catalan Visual Poetry) with Claudio Mangifesta (2019) and Vl(r)US-dos (2020).
lnstallations realised in Greece, México,Uruguay,Germany, France, ltaly and Spain. Performances realised in México, Brazil, Argentine, Uruguay, Italia, Germany, France and Spain Personal books: Llibre de leshores (1981), + Que mai per als ulls (1988), Mixtures (1993), Transfusions (1996), Alfabia (2000), Desfilada (2003), Homenajes (2007), Pets (2009), Mes de Maria (2011), ABCDarum with K.P.Dencker (2013), Huellas. Poemas visuales 1974-2006 (2013),Album 013(2016),Travessia with C.Mangifesta (2017),Dietari 015 (2018), Aquiahoraotravoz with A.Thornton (2021) and ln édits deis setanta (2021). www.jmcalleja.com
Carlota Caulfield was born in Havana, Cuba.A poet, essayist and translator, she has been recognized with many awards, among them the 2016-2019 Mills College W.M. Keck Professor in Creative Writing, the First lnternational Poetry Prize "Dulce María Loynaz," (Spain-Cuba 1999), and the lnternational Poetry Prize, Poets of the World, ("Ultimo Novecento") ltaly,1988. She has been a Visiting Scholar / Poet in Residence at the University of London, University College London, University of Grüningen, New Mexico State University, Pomona College and the University of Barcelona. She is Professor of lberian and Spanish American Studies at Mills College (California).
She is an active participant in Experimental and Visual Poetry events. Caulfield also co-organized art projects and exhibitions in Spain, Mexico, New York, Holland, Oakland and SanFrancisco. She is the producer of the documentary Llígans. The Art of the Catalan Painter Carme Riera, directed by Ona Vega in 2008.Her work Le malheur d'aimer. Home naje a Dora Maar (piece of art) was exhibited in "Gráfica contemporánea y poesía experimental." Sináptica Exhibi tion, Mexico, 2021.
She is currently finishing a poetry book about New Mexican birds and completing her collection "Dreaming birds," drawings from the red dessert house (2020-2021). www.intelinet.org/sg_site/Caulfield
El viento soplaba, estrujando los surcos y dunas de arena, tanto agitando con ánimo, conchas, estrellas y todo el aserrín marino.
Que noche, y éste viento que me canta en lo oscuro, y las olas que me lloran, golpeando como sin abandono la arena con lágrimas frías, saladas.
Cuando miro hacia el cielo, un soplo de aire remolca las nubes, abriéndole paso a una lazca de luna, y al acarecer mi espalda, me arrastra con mágica vela.
Los misterios que esconden los caracoles de mar serán míos, vida de pescador con sudor en la frente será ésta, la mía.
En el mar contemplaré las sirenas chismeando sobre amores perdidos y de paisajes marinos, donde tempestas curiosas hunden secretos profundos.
Mientras miro al horizonte, pronto todo cesa, y la frialdad en mi espalda no me deja descansar Un punto de luz lejano, fijo trás las olas, papadeando vez en cuando como faro en la distancia.
Es hora de dormir, y con falsas esperanzas espero de que al cerrar mís ojos, mis huellas quedarán allí, en arenas de mis sueños, escondidas bajo las olas.
Y cuando el sol me despierte le pido que como un beso en mi frente, mi amante, el mar, me traiga calor y luz, y brizas frescas en la mañana.
An academic physician and scientific writer, Ricardo José González-Rothi has had his fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry featured in the U.S. and in the U.K., in Acentos Review, Hispanic Culture Review, Biostories, Foliate Oak, Lunch Ticket, The Bellingham Review, Molotov Cocktail, Star 82 Review, Wingless Dreamer, Litro and others. Born and raised in Cuba, he came to the United States as a refugee in his teens and now resides in North Florida.
Ode to the Fears of Children / Oda a los miedos infantiles
by Byron López Ellington
The snakes and arañas that skitter through the night Cucos y creepies and ghostly, ghastly creatures Llorona and shadows and things that just aren’t right Death too young, life too old, vastly nasty features Abandon and lying and truths too grand to know Solo, con miedo, y nada hacer puedes The earth itself can scream and wither, be your foe And trap you in darkness por años o meses Alive in your veins, sentimientos de raíz They crawl and creep and slither and wriggle in strife Te forman, te moldean, you are them, so nice Y el mundo los necesita for its life —For who you are is what they were, that old mess-- —Porque tu ser será lo qu’estarán, después.
Byron López Ellington is a Mexican-American poet, fantasy novelist-in-progress, and silly fellow from Austin, Texas. As of fall 2022, he is a student of creative writing and Spanish at the University of Iowa. You can find his other published works at byronlopezellington.com.
I want to hold my food Feel it with my fingers The texture on my skin Before I taste it I want to feel The oily tortilla of my taco al pastor I want to feel that rough tostada de ceviche That loses toppings As I crunch it
I want a warm tamal in my hand Salsa y queso y crema Dripping off the sides I want to eat that birria right: Con tortillas, en tacos, quesabirria Consomé dripping off my chin I want that chile verde in the gorditas And on the sopes to end up All over my fingers So I can lick it off I want to mop the mole off my plate With a warm tortilla
My daughter wants to eat salad or eggs With her fingers? Enjoy Roll up a pancake and eat it Like a taco? Go for it Hold those little trees of broccoli Pick up those peas and frijoles one by one Like they’re gems Touch that food, shape it, arrange it Some call it “playing with food” I call it “art” and my mom let me do it Orange Mexican rice teokalli Little flat-topped pyramids de arroz Were my recurring sculptures
Table manners are for tables Not for people who know How to experience their food Long before it gets in their mouth
Some would judge my way of eating But so what if my elbows Are on the table At least I’m not putting My codo on the minimum wage
So what if I slurp my caldo de pollo At least I’m not slurping All the profit off someone else’s labor
So what if I lick my fingers, smack my lips At least I’m not licking or kissing Anybody’s anything para quedar bien
So what if I play with my food At least I don’t play With other people’s lives
So what if I burp It’s better than talking hot air Making promises I won’t keep
There are some things I’ll never know Like why I’ve never Eaten enchiladas con las manos – yet Or why there’s a limit to how high I can pile the pozole on my spoon
But what I do know is that When my napkin stays on the table You can bet I’m leaning over my food, breathing it, Holding it, savoring it, The way food was meant to be handled
I leave nothing on my plate Snatch up those bits of carnitas Every last crumb of milanesa Belongs in my mouth And I’ll enjoy the leftovers con salsa Mañana
That’s how to handle comida ¡Con las manos!
Crunch those buñuelos Let the crumbs of criticism fall On a tapete of repurposed judgment Reduced hierarchy Recycled capitalism
Elizabeth Jiménez Montelongo is a visual artist, poet, and facilitator. Elizabeth's work is informed by her Indigenous ancestry, Mesoamerican philosophy, Mexika & Mixtec art, Mexican culture, Chicano history, and her experiences as a woman. Her paintings and sculptures have been exhibited across the United States and her poetry is published widely, including in print and online journals, and in anthologies such as: Nos pasamos de la raya/We Crossed the Line (2017), Azahares (2020), and Harvard’s PALABRITAS (2020). She was 2021 Creative Ambassador of the San José Office of Cultural Affairs. She is a Board Member of Poetry Center San José and Editor of La Raíz Magazine. www.ejmontelongo.com
Los hispanohablantes ya somos viajeros extraterrestres, ya hemos traspasado los límites de fronteras entre países, mundos, idiomas y la atmósfera misma.
Nuestras lenguas ya saben pronunciar los verdaderos nombres latinos de nuestro planeta, la tierra que recibe la luz de sol, con ocho minutos de retraso.
Para conocer el sistema solar y la vía láctea, solo hay que pedir el plano del metro de Madrid o un mapa de las islas Caribeñas donde allí se encontrarán toda la complejidad de una galaxia entera.
Los que hemos sobrevivido huracanes y tormentas ya hemos sentido los vientos feroces interestelares, habiendo pisado tierra firme cubierta en nieve y hielo como un asteroide.
La inminente destrucción cultural y ecológica de nuestra zona habitante nos impone a diseñar cohetes en Patagonia y construir bases de lanzamiento en el corazón de la cultura incaica cerca del ecuador.
Nosotros los que hemos sobrevivido lenguas cortadas por la conquista, memorias culturales asimiladas por los maestros en las aulas de inglés, ya sabemos lo que significa ir hacia las estrellas, ad astra per aspera.
Cuando las futuras generaciones cuentan nuestras historias, ya destacará la vitalidad de nuestras culturas e idiomas, la humanidad de esta tierra, sana y salva para nuestros descendientes.
Ad Astra, Our Motto
Us Spanish speakers are already extraterrestrial voyagers, we already have crossed the limits of borders between countries, worlds, languages, and our very atmosphere.
Our tongues already know how to pronounce the true Latin names of our planet, Earth that receive the light of sol, with an eight-minute delay.
To know and understand the Solar System and the Milky Way, simply request a map of the Madrid metro or Caribbean islands where all of the complexity of a whole galaxy can be found.
We who have survived hurricanes and storms have already felt fierce interstellar winds, having planted firm footprints covered in snow and ice like an asteroid.
The imminent cultural and ecological destruction of our inhabitable zone imposes a need to design rockets in Patagonia and design launch pads in the heart of the Incan culture, close to the equator.
We who have survived tongues cut from the conquest, cultural memories assimilated by teaching in English classrooms already know what it means to go beyond the stars, ad astra per aspera.
When future generations tell our stories, the vitality of our cultures and languages will emerge, the humanity of this earth, safe and sound for our descendants.
Angela Acosta is a bilingual Mexican American poet and scholar who grew up in Florida. She won the 2015 Rhina P. Espaillat Award from West Chester University for her Spanish poem “El espejo” and her work has appeared in Panochazine, Pluma, Latinx Lit Mag, and Eye to the Telescope. She has B.A. degrees in English and Spanish from Smith College, and she is currently completing her Ph.D. in Iberian Studies at The Ohio State University.
Listen to Sylvia perform "...the city.s killing me..."
the mother in your memory movie reminds me. my own mother in real life. palpably uncomfortable. polite. Puetoricenio en tu vida. instead pero…skin tone…voice tone…thats them (thats us) same but different I want to hear your friend speak in Spanish. Will you tell him? …the street makes us a threesome…I'm Poly for the art scene. When it was once then for a life time, they remember. I see the halo glow of a martyr to a mind. Your brain shares that similar smile to mine and no one knows what resides inside. Between us. Asimilar. dissimilar. unsimilar. to the outside. Someone tugged you out under this sun and brought that bloodline out with it. Pushed out another one constantly cradling their own demons.
Now stuck with the only them, the only I. I dreamt I had your swagger. Alone in a city park at night imagining the world, I'd be terrified. I can't run. The fear comes up fast. Predicted from in between my legs. My night sky is a retired ceiling fan casting shadows like a flower with only half its petals remaining.
This is how I learned to bring a deadish body down the stairs.
Slipping to the trip, my shins would be scraped shreds. Lead legs. Head over heels my arrogance of the assumed ease brings me to the slip and slide plastic of a gurney ride I'm over the concrete edge. gums dangling meat threads ...curbstomp of consequence Sputtering up snake eyes in teeth. rolling against the roof
I've seen parts of this movie, watched gravity pull her to concrete like a desperate, disheveled…lover? beloved? hard-up darling? Flat down hard fuck. Only they share that collision despite those who watch and think they feel the crash. Bone to brick, rail against cheek. A mouth first tastes copper-lemon from the side. An unfinished european kiss
Sylvia Eugenia combines elements of fiction and memoir into a prose poetry. Her poems have no structure except, the pauses in her breath and metronome of her heartbeat. She graduated from Mills College, Oakland, California, with a BA in English, with an emphasis in Creative Writing. She has presented her work at many small readings in Southern California and the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2013, she performed at Beast Crawl in Oakland and Lit. Crawl in San Francisco. She lives in Santa Cruz, Cali.