Tony Aldarondo is a Poet and Actor and proud poppa of two kids. He is in numerous anthologies and has performed theater and poetry in venues from L.A. to the Bay. He has a full length poetry collection coming out in 2021.
JoAnn Anglin’s newest publication is the chapbook, HEAT. She is a long-time member of UUSS, and leads the 4th Sunday spiritual readings, poetry. She has worked as a poet in the schools, spent seven years coaching for Poetry Out Loud, and for seven years has been teaching weekly poetry-writing classes at New Folsom State Prison (CSP-Sac). A very active member of Los Escritores del Nuevo Sol/Writers of the New Sun, she also belongs to the Sacramento Poetry Center. Her poems have been published in Poetry Now, The Los Angeles Review, The Pagan Muse, and 100 Poems about Sacramento, as well as in other anthologies. JoAnn has been a featured poet at Luna’s café, Sacramento Poetry Center, The Book Collector, Barnes & Noble Books, and La Raza Galeria Posada, local libraries, and at venues in Modesto, Davis, Woodland, Berkeley, and San Francisco.
For Getting Away
Use the fire escape, Z-stepping down
the brick outer wall, essential
as a skeleton, a clean way to leave
via window to window. And
with landings for moments to gulp
air, recalibrate grips. Reconsider
temptation of plunge into air.
If only we could take ourselves
this way: descend via logic,
measured, away from what burns,
not linger to snatch another heated
yearning, lifted in shimmering warmth.
Paul Aponte is a Chicano Poet from Sacramento. He is a member of the writers groups Escritores del Nuevo Sol (Writers Of The New Sun) and also Círculo. He has been published in the Tecolote Press Anthology Poetry In Flight, Sacramento Poetry Center's quarterly Poetry Now, Un Canto De Amor A Gabriel Garcia Márquez (a publication from the country of Chile containing poems from around the world with 31 countries represented), in the Anthology Soñadores - We Came To Dream, in La Bloga - a Los Angeles online publication, and in the Los Angeles Review Volume 20 - Fall 2016. He was also the editor's choice in the online journal Convergence.
En la noche quieta
oigo sus voces.
y desgarran barreras.
Sonidos de papeleo
y lapiceros de ideas
construyen floricanto en mi mente.
Su tenor me tiene enamorado.
Un círculo de voces
que penetran mi ser.
Reflejo de mis recuerdos.
Cultura para mi alma
In the silent night
I hear their voices.
They tell secrets,
and break down barriers.
Sounds of shuffling paper
and pencil driven ideas
construct "flower & song" in my mind.
I am enamored of its existence.
A circle of voices
that penetrates my being.
Reflection of my memories.
Culture for my soul
Paul Aponte, October 19th, 2018©
Victoria Bañales is a Watsonville-based Chicanx writer, mother, and activist. She teaches English at Cabrillo College and is the founder and editor of Xinachtli Journal—Journal X—a literary/arts magazine focused on social justice issues. A Macondo Fellow, her writing has appeared in Translocalities/Translocalidades: Feminist Politics of Translation in the Latin/a Américas, Beyond the Frame: Women of Color and Visual Representations, North Dakota Quarterly, The Acentos Review, Cloud Women’s Quarterly Journal, and more. She is a member of the Hive Poetry Collective, which produces weekly poetry radio shows and podcasts, and the Writers of Color Collective-Santa Cruz County. Victoria holds a Ph.D. in Literature and Feminist Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is the recipient of a Porter Gulch Review Best Poetry Award and Cabrillo EOPS Instructor of the Year Award.
is when mamis praise babies’ light skin
name their daughters Blanca or Clara
praise the lord for their colored eyes
as if brown had no color
Colorism is when papis frown
say your boyfriend’s too prieto, looks Indian
and siblings debate, what type of Indian?
Colorism is racism
is when tías see cute Black magic on TV
say, not ugly like the others
is when abuelas warn about the sun
sit in the shade, don’t get too dark
is when classmates tease
pull on your braids
say you look Indian
is when friends post pictures
is when family says
hay que mejorar la raza
is when Mexicans
kill the Indian inside
kill the Black inside
pretend to be white
dream of whiteness
white angels and gods
white clouds, white powders
foundations like snow
our insides bleached
bleeding and bruised
our souls breached
translucent and destroyed
the massacres, ongoing
we killing ourselves
without even knowing
Xánath Caraza is a traveler, educator, poet, short story writer, and translator. She writes for La Bloga, and Revista Literaria Monolito. In 2020 Balamkú received second place for the Juan Felipe Herrera Best Book of Poetry Award. In 2019 for the International Latino Book Awards she received Second Place for Hudson for “Best Book of Poetry in Spanish” and Second Place for Metztli for Best Short Story Collection. In 2018 for the International Latino Book Awards she received First Place for Lágrima roja for “Best Book of Poetry in Spanish by One Author” and First Place for Sin preámbulos / Without Preamble for “Best Book of Bilingual Poetry”. Her book of poetry Syllables of Wind / Sílabas de viento received the 2015 International Book Award for Poetry. She was Writer-in-Residence at Westchester Community College, NY, 2016-2019. Caraza was the recipient of the 2014 Beca Nebrija para Creadores, Universidad de Alcalá de Henares in Spain. She was named number one of the 2013 Top Ten Latino Authors by LatinoStories.com. Her books of verse Where the Light is Violet, Black Ink, Ocelocíhuatl, Conjuro and her book of short fiction What the Tide Brings have won national and international recognition. Her other books of poetry are Perchada estás/Perching, Ejercicio en la oscuridad / An Exercise in the Darkness, Corta la piel / It Pierces the Skin, Balamkú, Fără preambul, Μαύρη μελάνη, Le sillabe del vento, Noche de colibríes, and Corazón pintado. Caraza has been translated into English, Italian, Romanian, and Greek; and partially translated into Nahuatl, Portuguese, Hindi, and Turkish.
Primero fuimos agua
que fluía en las cavernas
más oscuras en silencio.
Agua que no conocía la luz.
Recorrimos largos senderos
dejando huella en cada roca.
Fuimos agua sin quererlo
de densidades diferentes.
Secretas pulsaciones líquidas.
mezclada por un instante.
Agua dulce y salada
en las tinieblas.
Giro acuático en la roca,
Luego alcanzamos la luz.
en vapor ardiente.
En oníricos anhelos
de lo que pudo haber sido.
Fuimos luz de luna
en la garganta.
a la orilla del mar.
Diamante líquido de
las más oscuras cavernas.
ese fue nuestro secreto.
(“Secreto” es parte de la colección bilingüe Perchada estás publicada por Mouthfeel Press en 2021)
Nikia Chaney is the author of us mouth (University of Hell Press, 2018) and two chapbooks, Sis Fuss (2012, Orange Monkey Publishing) and ladies, please (2012, Dancing Girl Press). She has served as Inlandia Literary Laureate (2016-2018). Her poetry has been published in Sugarhouse Review, 491, Iowa Review, Vinyl, and Pearl, Welter, and Saranac. Her memoir, ladybug, is upcoming from Inlandia in 2022. She teaches in Santa Cruz, CA.
consider this child adrift
a leg spools
a solitary foot out
to the lake
circles on the surface
a small purchase
in tender toefuls
that reflect and shift
the green down
to the coldness
of questioned measure
as if that stiff whim dared
to gather its body up
dive thick and proud a seed
sliver a child’s slow
learn to walk a mother
whispered warning like
weeds real as the water
cradling the tiny craft
always spooling around her
because this space does
not send out its pliant lips
to pierce it just radiates
where she is testing
lazy in its hum, possibility
its tiny pieces
each one bobbing
Maya Chinchilla is a Bay Area-based Guatemalan-American poet best known as one of the founders of EpiCentroAmerica and for writing The Cha Cha files: A Chapina Poética. The Cha Cha Files is a collection of poems that brings to light the Diaspora of the Central American in the United States. The book is a queer text that uses erotic language and writing while using autobiographical references to emphasize the struggles of the Central American Woman. In addition, she discusses gender performance while articulating and reclaiming her mestiza and indigenous roots.
Masiel M. Corona Santos (Rancho Cucamonga, California), is a bilingual poet and community leader. She has worked at various community colleges as a Writing Tutor, English and Spanish Instructional Assistant. She holds an M.A in Hispanic Literature, Linguistics and civilization (California State, University of San Bernardino), B.A. Spanish Literature and Culture and minor in Chicano and Latino Studies (University of California Irvine). She is certified to teach English as a Second Language. She has been coordinating a literary workshop for the Santa Ana, Ca. community for two years through El Centro Cultural de México http://elcentroculturaldemexico.org/. She has organized various poetry events, and is also the founder of Revista Raíces, https://www.revistaraices.com/ Her poetry appears in different online and print magazines, as well as diverse anthologies. She also collaborates with Los Angeles Poet Society and Instituto Cultural Iberoamericano (Madrid, Spain). She recently published her first poetry book titled, Cantos revolucionarios.
Soy una mujer con voz,
una mujer nombrándose.
Descubro el mundo,
escucho mis palabras
en el interior de mi consciencia,
veo mis actos revelarse en el sonido.
Yo toco la tierra, me busco en ella.
Soy exploración, testimonio, carne y mente.
Hilo emociones, las rescato,
emergen como luciérnagas entre los pinos.
Yo siento mis manos tocar lo que no se puede,
yo toco mi energía en oraciones desenterradas,
intranquila, busco el equilibrio.
Frente a una hoja en blanco,
escribo una historia inconclusa.
Soy un ser inacabado,
una mujer infinita, evolucionando.
Entiendo las voces, el ruido en mis oídos,
yo digo, “la palabra reconstruye”.
Sueño con una nube blanca abriéndose entre la niebla,
Yo me separo y observo mis actos, recuerdo lo olvidado.
Yo soy voz, silencio, deseo, miedo, luz,
incertidumbre y fuerza.
I am a woman with a voice,
a woman naming herself.
I discover the world,
I hear my words
inside my consciousness,
I see my actions revealing themselves in sound.
I touch the soil, I look for myself in it.
I am exploration, testimony, flesh and mind.
I thread emotions, I rescue them,
they emerge like fireflies among the pines.
I feel my hands touch what cannot be,
I touch my energy in unearthed prayers
uneasy, I seek balance.
In front of a blank sheet of paper,
I write an unfinished story.
I am an inconclusive being,
an infinite woman evolving.
I understand the voices, the noise in my ears,
I say, "the word reconstructs”.
I dream of a white cloud opening in the mist,
I separate myself and observe my actions,
I remember the long forgotten.
I am a voice, silence, desire, fear, light,
uncertainty and strength.
Born in México, Lucha Corpi came to Berkeley as a student wife in 1964. She is the author of two collections of poetry: Palabras de mediodía/Noon Words and Variaciones sobre una tempestad/Variations on a Storm (Spanish with English translations by Catherine Rodríguez Nieto); two bilingual children’s books: Where Fireflies Dance/Ahí, donde bailan las luciérnagas and The Triple Banana Split Boy/El niño goloso; six novels, four of which feature Chicana detective Gloria Damasco: Eulogy for a Brown Angel, Cactus Blood, Black Widow’s Wardrobe, and Death at Solstice; Confessions of a Book Burner: Personal Essays and Stories issued in 2014. She has been the recipient of numerous awards, including a National Endowment for the Arts and an Oakland Cultural Arts fellowship, PEN-Oakland Josephine Miles and Multicultural Publishers Exchange Literary Awards; Latino and International Latino Book Awards for her crime fiction. A retired teacher, she resides in Oakland, California.
A Beatriz Pesquera y Roberta Orona
Entre mis ojos y la luna había
365 noches de insomnio
Una pequeña grieta en el estómago
El dolor de saberlo a él ajeno
El haz luminoso de una estrella
Una banda de mapaches desvelados
Saqueando las arcas del basurero
Y mi vecino delirante
que empapado de mezcalina
a medianoche corría por la calle
sin más defensa en contra de la luna llena
que un par de calcetines rotos
y la camisa de fuerza.
Entre mis oídos y la luna
ascendía la rasposa melancolía de Lady Day
Una nota repleta de espanto
Y el maullido del gato en celo
que ofrecía sus responsos de recién nacido
por la fé nuestra que agonizaba
entre los arrozales de la Indochina
en las aulas de San Francisco y Berkeley
y en las barriadas de Atlanta y Chicago
Los Angeles y Dallas.
Entre mis labios y la luna
se colaba el calor húmedo de otro otoño
Una brizna de azul de medianoche
que la memoria iba transformando ya
en polvo de oro
El olor de un petardo de gas
El dolor mudo del hambre
entre pecho y espalda
Y todos aquellos versos
escritos con la saqueada ortografía del silencio
en las últimas trincheras del instinto.
Entre aquella noche de octubre y la luna
ni Marx ni Lenín
ni la lucha armada
ni la revolución interrumpida
que nos dejara polvo y cansancio
exilio y desengaño
No éramos latinos ni chicanos
ni estudiantes en una institución
que apenas si nos toleraba.
Éramos gotas dormidas en el cubo del tiempo,
nombres acurrucados en los intersticios
de un sueño
Y entrábamos al poema
como se entra a un cetario
con los ojos líquidos de la memoria
a buscar entre fósiles de días nonatos
la geoetnología del planeta
la ecología cultural de la raza,
a beber un poco de intimidad y muerte
del remanso quieto de la nostalgia.
© Lucha Corpi
A Beatriz Pesquera y Roberta Orona
Between my eyes and the moon there were
365 nights of insomnia
A little crack in my stomach
The pain of knowing he belonged to someone else
The ray of light from a star
A band of wakeful raccoons
raiding the garbageman’s treasure chests
And my delirious neighbor
running at midnight along the street
drenched in mescaline
with no more defense against the full moon
than a pair of torn socks
and a straitjacket.
Between my ears and the moon
the hoarse melancholy of Lady Day
One terror-filled note
And the yowl of a cat in heat
a newborn’s requiem squall
for our faith as it lay agonizing
among the rice paddies in Indochina
in the classrooms in San Francisco and Berkeley
and in the ‘hoods of Atlanta and Chicago
Los Angeles and Dallas.
Between my lips and the moon
the moist warmth of another autumn
A strand of midnight blue
already being transformed by memory
into gold dust
The putrid smell of a gas canister
and the mute pain of hunger
between breast and back
And all those poems
written in the looted orthography of silence
in the last trenches of instinct.
Between that October night and the moon
there was no
Marx, no Lenin
no armed conflict
no interrupted revolution
to leave us with dust and exhaustion
exile and disillusion.
We weren’t latinos or chicanos
or students in an institution
that barely tolerated us.
We were drops of liquid asleep in the cube of time,
names nestled in the crannies
of a dream
And we entered the poem
as one enters the ocean where whales are breeding,
our eyes streaming with memory,
to look among the fossils of unborn days
for the geoethnology of the planet
the cultural ecology of the race,
to sip intimacy and death
from the quiet pool of nostalgia.
© Catherine Rodríguez-Nieto
Shirley Flores Muñoz teaches in the women’s studies and history department at Cabrillo College. She has been an instructor at UCSC and Cabrillo College for 40 years. Dr. Shirley Flores-Muñoz has been a champion of gender equity and has established programs that encourage and support disenfranchised women to pursue college educations and enter the workforce including bringing Cabrillo College classes to Watsonville.
Born and raised in Watsonville, Flores-Muñoz received both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in history and a doctorate in History of Consciousness from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has been honored by numerous organizations including Santa Cruz County Women’s Commission, Latina Leadership Network, the National Women’s Political Caucus, and the California Wellness Foundation. She currently serves on the boards of MAIA and the Pajaro Valley Art Council. She writes poetry, teaches part-time, enjoys her grandchildren, travels, enjoys music, art, and other leisurely activities.
Excerpt from "The Autumn of My Life"
I cannot write about the winter of my life yet
For we have just passed October, the leaves are still falling and the earth is a fire with color;
Orange, magenta, brown and whispers of green
Very much like my own life
Someday I will be able to write about winter first hand
For if I am lucky, I too will arrive
Like my lovely mother, grey and buried somewhere beneath the soil
But for me today…it is all about the turning of colors
My body of movements are all turning color
Almost gone is the green
Dwindling is the bright green of new life
Sprouts breaking through the hard soil of life
I have many memories of this time
The brisk fall wind brazing past my bare legs, blowing hard enough to raise the hem of my dress
I hold my sweater close to my chest
As the shoot sprouts upward, there appear new leaves; clean and new and tender
I too move through life’s passages
The channels of new more responsible social interactions
As a teenager, learning how to follow the rules
Learning how to walk narrow paths
Learning how to not be a great burden to my parents
Helping others, participation of the tribe
Learning my value
To continue reading go to "Two Poems by Shirley Flores Muñoz"
Nancy Aidé González is a Chicana poet, educator, and activist. Her work has appeared in Huizache: The Magazine of Latino Literature, La Tolteca, Mujeres De Maiz Zine, Seeds of Resistance Flor y Canto: Tortilla Warrior, Hinchas de Poesía, Fifth Wednesday Journal and several other literary journals. Her work is featured in the Poetry of Resistance: Voices for Social Justice, Sacramento Voices: Foam at the Mouth Anthology, Lowriting: Shots, Rides, and Stories from the Chicano Soul, and Puro Chicanx Writers of the 21st Century.
Riding in the ’63 Impala
cruis’n el corazón del barrio
carnalitos y carnalitas running through sprinkler
abuelas y abuelos on the porch talk’n about the old days
cholos playing handball at the high school
women in the beauty shop getting their hair did
taquerías panaderías heladerías
I’m Your Puppet
La La Means I love You
Thin Line Between Love and Hate
Sabor A Mí
through the streets of Califaztlan
Chrome spoke wheels spin
low and slow
variations of pink paint layers glisten
hard top covered in a garden of hand painted gypsy roses
lean back upon velvet pink interior
flip the switch
hit the hydraulics
dip and raise
dip and raise
hop hop hop
off the ground
in the intersection
the journey has just begun
let’s chase the immensity
of the moment
Odilia Galván Rodríguez is a poet, writer, editor, and activist. She is the author of six volumes of poetry. Her latest, The Color of Light, (FlowerSong Books, 2019) is an extensive collection of chronicles and poetry honoring the Mexica (Aztec) and Orisha (Yorùbá) Energies, which she worked on during her time living in Cuba and Mexico. Also, along with the late Francisco X. Alarcón, she edited the award-winning anthology Poetry of Resistance: Voices for Social Justice (University of Arizona Press, 2016). Galván Rodríguez has worked as an editor for various print media such as Matrix Women’s News Magazine, Community Mural’s Magazine, and Tricontinental Magazine in Havana, Cuba. She is currently the editor of Cloud Women’s Quarterly Journal online and facilitates creative writing workshops nationally. As an activist she’s worked for the United Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO and the East Bay Institute for Urban Arts, has served on numerous boards and commissions, and is currently active in women’s organizations whose mission it is to educate around environmental justice issues and disseminate an indigenous worldview regarding the earth and people’s custodial relationship to it.
The Colorado River
she's hardly reached
in two long decades
except in trickles
in dribs and drabs
a pulse flow of water
twenty years of longing
twenty years of reaching
twenty years of dreaming
to bloom all the way out
to be kissed and embraced by the waves
to mix with the salty sea that is her Mother
Red river’s damp arms extend out
out as far as she can go are branches outstretched
her fingers always wanting to lengthen further
to go where she'd always gone before since time before
to do what she'd always done to arrive there
Copyright © 2019 Odilia Galván Rodríguez.
All Rights Reserved.
Lara Gularte lives and writes in the Sierra foothills. Her book of poetry, Kissing the Bee, was published by “The Bitter Oleander Press,” in 2018. Gularte earned an MFA degree from San Jose State University where she not only served as a poetry editor for Reed Magazine, but received the Anne Lillis Award for Creative Writing, along with several Phelan Awards. Published in national and international journals and anthologies, her poetry depicting her Azorean heritage is included in The Gávea-Brown Book of Portuguese-American Poetry, and in Writers of the Portuguese Diaspora in the United States and Canada. In 2017 Gularte traveled to Cuba with a delegation of American poets and presented her poetry at the Festival Internacional de Poesia de la Habana. She’s a proud member of the esteemed, “Escritores Del Nuevo Sol.” Gularte is a creative writing instructor for the California Arts-in-Corrections program at Folsom, and Mule Creek prisons
In this land of fantasmas, city of plazas and zocalo,
I enter the courtyard of Casa Panchita,
hear birdsong of the *Primavera,
my room among Jacaranda and Bougainvillea.
Sitting on a bench in Parque Llano
my hand smells of the street dog
I fed my last piece of bread.
His eyes follow me, his cold nose pokes my hand.
Even the pigeons think I have crumbs.
They flap their wings, they converge, they coo,
then fly off when I wave my arms to celebrate
the emptiness I will fill with this bright day.
In my travels I search for weavers,
follow the clack-clack of the loom,
find men with Indigo thread.
I circle the plaza, walk down Morelos,
find hidden shops of fine artisans,
hear cathedral bells cover pigeon talk,
the voices of saints.
In the Rufino Tamayo museum,
a Zapotec warrior contemplates defeat.
Nearby, a goddess with stone breasts.
Roaming in Zaachila
I meet a lost angel named Jose.
He hovers over the poor, the forgotten dogs,
then wanders the cemetery.
Back at Casa Panchita,
I listen to rain fall in the courtyard,
hear seeds snapping in wet soil.
My body like an unearthed new stone.
*Primavera is what the locals call, “The Rufous-Backed Thrush.”