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.
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.”
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.