Sunday, August 19, 2012

Two Chicana Poets: Lisa Alvarado and María Melendez

Wishing all La Bloga readers a fabulous Domingo. Today I am posting poetry by two gifted Latina poets: Lisa Alvarado and María Melendez.


LISA ALVARADO
Lisa is a poet, performer, and installation artist. She is the author of two award-winning chapbooks: Reclamo and The Housekeeper's Diary and the poetry collection, Raw Silk Suture. She is also the co-author of the acclaimed young adult (YA) novel, Sister Chicas.

Anthem

The poem as blessing. The poem as contraband. The poem as Molotov cocktail. The poem as balm.
The poem as napalm. The poem as a slap. The poem as kiss. The poem as curse. The poem as revelation. The poem as revolution.

The poem as Sunday church supper. The poem as the lash and the Underground Railroad. The poem as firebrand. The poem as fiery cross. The poem as poema. The poem as child labor. The poem as striker. The poem as eight hour day.

The poem as panhandling. The poem as shopkeeper sweeping the street. The poem as check-out line cashier. The poem as hotel maid. The poem as computer nerd.

The poem as hunger. The poem as cornbread. The poem as pozole. The poem as char sui. The poem as fry bread. The poem as thirst. The poem as wine. The poem as cool water. The poem as the taste of blood.

The poem as runaway. The poem as assassin. The poem as shooting gallery. The poem as garter belt. The poem as liquor burn. The poem as knife-cut. The poem as splitting the take..

The poem as saint. The poem as sinner. The poem as silence. The poem as a cry in the dark.

The poem as sleeping in on Saturday morning. The poem as be-bop. The poem as sanctuary. The poem as cemetery. The poem as battlefield. The poem as the bed you sleep in.

The poem as a way in. The poem as a way out. The poem as Hallelujah. The poem as Baruch Hashem. The poem as Salaam Aleikum. The poem as Ashe. The poem as red brick dust. The poem as holy water. The poem as cabrona. The poem as patrician. The poem as puta madre.

The poem as sanctuary. The poem as cemetery. The poem as battlefield. The poem as the bed you sleep in.

The poem as beat -down. The poem as left hook. The poem as right upper cut. The poem as knockout.
The poem as getting off the mat. The poem grabbing you by the throat. The poem grabbing you by the
balls. The poem watching you fall. The poem watching you sleep. The poem as your dreams. The poem as just another day.

--Lisa Alvarado




MARÍA MELENDEZ
María's specialty is environmental poetry. Her collections, How Long She'll Last in This World and Flexible Bones have received critical acclaim. She has also been a finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award in Poetry.


María Melendez
Tonacacihuatl: Lady of Our Flesh
Sacramento Valley

Fragrance of the rain in her breath. The dampness
at the back of her knees smells like rain also.
She appears with a shining crow the color of cinnabar,
and a mark at her shoulder blades displays the same crow.

Poison has made her throat lovely. For that poison,
praise is chanted in heat-meters making triple-digit noise.
Part of her has the form of a tule stem, and that form
she can absorb, if she wants it hidden. And it is hidden!

How many spirits she's twin to, and how long she'll last in this world,
are secrets stashed in the rattle
of corn ears, in the coils
of venomous snakes.

Thirteen mirrors spangle her dress. For those sun-round mirrors,
praises are chanted by thirteen thousand red-legged hoppers.
At noon, she steps out of a culvert and collides with the naked light,
and her fever is an affliction known as August.

So she is, Lady of Our Flesh, who is what is.
Is she not here, who is our mother?
Huffing, with matted hair, she stamps a shovel blade
to begin a small grave.




Posted by Amelia M.L. Montes

3 comments:

Linda Rodriguez said...

Thank you for these, Amelia! Two of my favorite poets and people.

Luzma Umpierre said...

Preciosos y Preciosas.

vielka solano said...

Lisa, me llego a los huesos ese poema!!! BRAVO