Saturday, June 16, 2018

Sergio Hernandez, Chicano Artist and Social Political Gadfly by Antonio SolisGomez

We stared at the bold heavy block letters of the application, a distinguishing feature among the dozens of other student applications we had received for summer employment at the International Institute. The handwriting was like Chicano calligraphy, assertive yet relaxed and we decided that anyone with that kind of talent deserved employment and we hired him. Maxine Junge, the Director of Operation Adventure had put together a program that offered kids from the Pico Aliso Housing project in Boyle Heights, classes in photography, newspaper writing, drama, dance, science and art and Sergio, our Chicano calligrapher, a sweet innocent young man with a talent for art was a great fit to work with kids from that environment.

Sergio's  Painting A New Beginning ( a commentary on immigration)

Art was already and integral part of his life. In kindergarten he had been asked to draw a tree and a rabbit and his teacher had praised him, setting him on his course. He drew cartoon like characters, cars and material he copied from Mad Magazine. In High school he drew cartoons for the school
newspaper and he was one of two students asked to participate in a summer art program at the Otis Art Institute.

We hired him the summer of 1968 and Sergio, who was 19, had attended East Los Angeles College with the thought of following in the footsteps of his dad and uncles and becoming a baseball player but he came to realize that such a career was not for him and began to focus on art.

 I was already working with Con Safos Magazine and invited Sergio to help us illustrate some of the stories and essays that we were publishing and I gave him our first issue so that he could look it over and reach a decision. He was a young stud with other things on his mind and forgot about my invitation until I reminded him a few weeks later and out of embarrassment, he said yes. The members of Con Safos, were Chicanos, college graduates, community activists, boozers, tokers, more interested in the process of creation than in pleasing factions that had sprung up with rigid agendas such as the Brown Berets or the leftists in Carnalismo. 
Arturo Flores and Sergio's portrait of Reuben Salazar

Sergio, although 10 or 15 years younger, was a perfect fit. His mind was agile and creative and and he could read a piece and quickly decide how he could illustrate it. And he was also as independent as any of us.

When he began thinking of creating the Arnie and Porfi Cartoon during one of our nightly drinking, smoking, music making sessions, everyone pitched in with story lines and Sergio, now fully baptized and anointed, took it all in, nodding in appreciation, laughing at the wit being offered and promising to deliver. Which he did days later and it was brilliant but none of the elements that he was offered that night were in the finished cartoon. He had gone home and reworked it to his satisfaction, that was how he worked, then and now.

Frank Sifuentes, one of our members, was instrumental in getting Sergio enrolled at Cal State Northridge, where he began to hone his artistic skills and where he met his future wife Diane. It was love at first sight but it was also rocky initially, trying to decide his future career. But he chose the life of a family man setting aside some of his aspirations in art and upon receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree began working as a Probation officer with Los Angeles County.

Portion of the UCLA mural painted by Sergio
Married in 1977,  he and Diane gave birth to three daughters and he painted only occasionally. When they bought a house in Acton in 1985, he had a garage that he used as a studio and began painting for himself. In that same year he took a job as an investigator for the Public Defenders Office and worked with that office until 1995 when he had a stroke that partially paralyzed his left side. He couldn’t work for a year and it was then that he began painting more regularly.

He did return to work and worked until 2009 when he retired and it was then that he could devote himself more fully to his art. The old adage “everything is grist for the mill” applies to the material Sergio has chosen to depict, originating in his diverse life experiences. He grew up in the Florencia Barrio, had relatives in Mexico, worked with youth in the criminal justice system and later with adults, experienced discrimination and injustice that Chicanos have faced, had relatives and friends that have died fighting wars for this country, marched in protest against Vietnam and for farmworker rights, and remained rooted to his Latino culture. It’s all there in his paintings, cartoons and in his personality. I don’t know of any artist more fully committed to the depiction of the full gamut of the Chicano experience, capturing la vida cotidiana (daily life) such as work as well as leisure time activities.

The great Cuban Singer Celia Cruz

 He has received many honors for his work and has been invited to participate in art shows and exhibits too numerous to mention. And through all the adulations he has received he has remained the same person, insanely passionate about trying to correct wrongs that are being perpetuated, calling out stupidity, cowardliness and racism wherever it’s encountered.

Yet he also continues to have a mischievous , at times outlandish, sense of humor for he continues to marvel at the incongruities of people, the outright foibles, his funny bone always on the lookout.

 Much of that is presently focused on the  political life of the country in his cartoons but also in his commentary on social media.

One aspect not usually known is his passion for classic automobiles that he developed early on, leading to automotive classes where he learned all aspects of automotive restoration. He is presently restoring a VW Bug and a 1950 Buick.

And he has painted a cover for a music album and one for a book.

Los Peludos

Yet another hidden interest is history. Early on he painted the 7th Gurka Rifles who fought for and alongside the British when they ruled India.

Contact for Sergio


Friday, June 15, 2018

Bird Forgiveness: the Box Landing and Tour

Melinda Palacio

The birds have officially landed. I've received a box of author copies of my new poetry book, Bird Forgiveness. When my publisher requested a photo of me opening the box, I sent several stills and I also took a video to post on the feisboo (the big FB will most likely ban this post as well). I noticed that the ritual opening of the book box is a social media tradition that allows readers to share in the big moment when the author finally views the finished copy of books that will go out into the world. I'm thrilled to share this moment with La Bloga.

Will the birds land in your area?

For bookings and to bring the Bird Forgiveness Tour to you: contact or 3 Taos Press

Bird Forgiveness, the new poetry book.

Bird Forgiveness Tour  2018


June 17-22, Santa Barbara Writers Conference
June 21 panel, June 20 workshop
June 26, interview new orleans

July 14, Camarillo Library panel   2-3pm 

July 15 Poetry Zone Santa Barbara, Karpeles Manuscript Library 21 W Anapamu, 2pm, with Gina Ferrara

July 17, Santa Barbara     Chaucer's Books 7pm, Loreto Plaza3321 State Street, Santa Barbara CA 93105

July 25, New Orleans, Octavia Books, 6pm,

August 3, Teche Center for the Arts, 210 E. bridge St., Breaux Bridge, Louisiana in the heart of Cajun-Creole Country, 6pm.


September 1                Santa Barbara Paseo Nuevo 2-4pm

September 6          Ventura, Topping Room EP Foster Library, 7:30 pm,  Ventura, 651 E. Main Street       host Phil Taggart

October 6          Poetry Buffet with Valentine Pierce and Dennis Formento, New Orleans Latter Library  2pm

October 28    Maple Leaf Bar, New Orleans 3pm

November 10              Louisiana Book Festival      Baton Rouge TBA

November 14, University of New Orleans CWW with Neil Shepard   New Orleans, 8pm


February 9, Core Winery, 7:30 pm, Orcutt Tasting Room, 105 W Clark Ave., Old Orcutt, CA,

March 27-30 AWP Portland

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Family Reunion

Daniel Cano                                                                  
Centinela Adobe, Ygnacio Machado, circa 1894

Fred Machado and his nephew Ron Mendez spoke zealously about their family’s history when I talked to them both on a cold November night back in 2001. I was completing a sabbatical, interviewing Chicanos and Chicanas of the WWII generation. Besides serving in both the Army and Navy during the war, Fred, I learned, was also related to the Westside Machados--early Californios.

Fred lives in Culver City, in a part of town that was once a corner of the rancho his ancestors, brothers Agustin and Ygnacio Machado, founded in 1819, along with Felipe Talamantes, after receiving grazing rights from the proper authority, at the time, commandante Capitan Guera y Noriega . Fred hails from Agustin's bloodline, Ron from Ygnacio's.

After Fred explained much of his family's past, I asked Ron about his connection. “How did you get so interested in your family history?”

Ron answered, “For me, it all began at a Machado family reunion.” He turned to Fred, then back to me. “Eight years ago I didn't know Fred Machado. I didn't even know I had relatives out here on the Westside. I was from the South Bay, Carson, Wilmington, Torrance…that area, partying with surfers and gueros. I'm dark skinned, and I speak [English] without an accent. I don’t speak Spanish."

He went on to say that when he was growing up, his mother hardly ever mentioned anything about his family, or even that he had family on L.A.’s Westside. He did recall, though, how his grandfather, James Machado, whose birth name was Mauricio Santiago, would tell how in the old days he used to visit his cousins in Santa Monica and Culver City. Ron said he once talked to an uncle, Charles Machado, who had very light-skin, and they both wondered where their Hispanic surname had originated. One day, the two men approached Ron’s mother and asked about the family name. About all she could remember was that they had relatives some place over in Culver City.

Seeking answers to the family mystery, Charles decided to organize the first Machado family reunion. It took time and effort pulling it all together, locating and notifying different family members, but in the end, it all came together.

It was there, among the festivities, Ron heard the stories of his family’s past. He was shocked to learn he and the South Bay Machado families were descendants of Jose Ygnacio Machado, Jose Agustin's brother, Fred's ancestor, both sons of Jose Manuel Machado, un soldado de cuero, a "leatherjacket soldier" who accompanied Father Serra's expedition of pobladores into Alta California, from Sonora, through San Gabriel, to Santa Barbara, where Jose Agustin was born in 1794, and back to el pueblo de Los Angeles, where Jose Manuel's family would add to the pueblo's population of 315.

During the reunion, when they first met, Fred began telling Ron, excitedly, all about the West L.A. Machados, answering their questions, connecting family names, and telling him about their place in U.S. history. Fred showed him a copy of Sister Therese Wittenberg's book, her M.A. thesis on Jose Agustin Machado, completed while she was a student at Loyola.

Ron said, anxiously, "Fred started pulling out all of this stuff about our family, articles, books, and academic studies. I was surprised by all of it. I had no idea my family went back that far. It was amazing. I thought…you mean I’m not just another Mexican?”

Ron confessed how he had felt inferior about his ethnicity growing up as a dark-skin child in the mostly white, upper-class South Bay. He said, “At the reunion I learned my ancestors arrived here with Father Serra, who I remembered from my fourth-grade lessons. That was it!” Ron said that he was hooked. He also began taking part in researching his family’s history.

Ygnacio Machado's adobe Canadas de Centinela, 1830s

So, how did Ron's branch of the family get to the South Bay? Nobody knew for sure, but Fred surmised that it may have started 1828, after Jose Ygnacio, Ron's branch of the family, married and decided to build an adobe off the original land, up the hill, in an area known as La Centinela, at the north east end of Westchester, today, near the area of the Manchester and Sepulveda boulevards, where his adobe, albeit heavily reconstructed, still stands today. However, at the time, Ygnacio's adobe sat on a corner of the Redondo family's land.

"Why would he do that," I asked, "build on someone else's land?"

Fred thought it might be because the land down below in La Cienega flooded every year, or maybe the family had grown so large and there was too much bickering and messy business dealings, or maybe Jose Ygnacio just wanted a quieter place to live. He was still close enough to the rancho La Ballona to supervise his portion of the land.

By this time, Agustin controlled most of the rancho and it's vast holdings. Also, in the early 1800s, Agustin and Ygnacio would ride out to San Pedro to meet the ships bringing in supplies to the rancheros. They also knew other rancheros, like the Dominguez, Redondo, and Alvarado families, whose land encompassed much of what we now know as Carson, Wilmington, and Torrance. It would be easy to see how some of Ygnacio's descendants might have wandered down south, started their own businesses, and settled into their own homes. Fred smiled, as if saying, who knows, for sure.

"It seems," Fred said, "I learn something new about my family's history everyday." Sometimes when he least expects it. Fred went on to say, "For example, listen to this.” His voice filled with enthusiasm. “A neighbor, a friend, knew I was doing a lot of California history--because of my family…."

The friend asked if Fred would help him research the history of some land in Agoura, California, about 200 acres. He told Fred he had the opportunity to homestead the property with the understanding that he must reconstruct and maintain a crumbling adobe that sat on the land. But to rebuild the old adobe, the friend figured he needed to learn something about the history of the area and the architecture of the times, his reason for approaching Fred.

Fred knew that Francisco Reyes, an early California settler and one-time mayor of Los Angeles, had received rights to property in what is now the San Fernando Valley prior to the founding of the San Fernando Mission.

“So, that’s where I began,” he said, putting his research skills to use.

Fred learned the church offered Reyes 74,000 acres of land farther to the northwest, where Highway 133 is located today, if Reyes would relinquish rights to the land in San Fernando so a mission could either be built or expanded. It wasn't clear which. Reyes agreed.

Years later, in the mid-1800s, searching for water during a long draught, Francisco’s sons, Rafael Reyes and his brothers, herded about 1000 head of cattle and 1000 horses through the Tejon Pass. They circled back around and settled on the Agoura land, where they built the adobe, referred to by Fred’s friend.

Fred interrupted his story with a laugh, his eyes glittering. He asked me, "Guess what I found out? Do you know who Rafael's mother was?” I shook my head. Fred laughed, then said, “A Machado…my great-great aunt. So, I told my neighbor, 'I want my land back!'"

Fred continued, in a more serious tone, "The Reyes and Machado family footprints are everywhere out there. Reyes Creek, Reyes Adobe Road, the Reyes Adobe, all of these names," he said, "were not simply taken out of air but rooted in real people--my people."

I couldn’t help but think, in this time of immigrant bashing, and making Indians and Mexican feel like strangers in their own land, land that once belonged to the Chumash people, Spain, and Mexico, “Our people,” I understood what he meant.

So often, I’ve traveled on the 101 Freeway north, passing Encino, Woodland Hills, and Thousand Oaks. Sometimes I glance over at the historical markers along the freeway, thinking, I should turn off and see what’s out there, but in my haste to merge with the speeding traffic around me, I just keep on going past.

We seldom consider those who walked this land before us, those who sacrificed and died so that the land remained for future generation. Like everyone else, I am sometimes oblivious to the history that surrounds me. I always tell myself as I drive past these landmarks, one day I’ll stop, take a short detour, and visit the past, but, I am ashamed to say, I still haven’t taken the time.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

2018 Américas Award Honorable Mention And Commended Titles

The Américas Award is given in recognition of U.S. works of fiction, poetry, folklore, or selected non-fiction (from picture books to works for young adults) published in the previous year in English or Spanish that authentically and engagingly portray Latin America, the Caribbean or Latinos in the United States. By combining both and linking the Americas, the award reaches beyond geographic borders, as well as multicultural boundaries, focusing instead upon cultural heritages within the hemisphere. The award is sponsored by the Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs (CLASP).

2018 Américas Award Winners

American Street written by Ibi Zoboi. HarperCollins Publishers, 2017. ISBN: 978-0062473042

Danza!: Amalia Hernández and el Ballet Folklórico de México written and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh. Abrams Books, 2017. ISBN: 978-1419725326

For more information about 2018 Américas Award winners visit,

2018 Américas Award Honorable Mention Titles

All the Way to Havana written by Margarita Engle and illustrated by Mike Curato. Godwin Books, Henry Holt and Company, 2017. ISBN: 978-1627796422

Lucky Broken Girl written by Ruth Behar. Nancy Paulsen Books, Penguin Random House LLC, 2017. ISBN: 978-0399546440

2018 Américas Award Commended Titles

Bravo! Poems About Amazing Hispanics written by Margarita Engle and illustrated by Rafael López. Godwin Books, Henry Holt and Company, 2017. ISBN: 978-0805098761

Disappeared written by Francisco X. Stork. Arthur A. Levine, 2017. ISBN: 978-0545944472

The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora written by Pablo Cartaya. Penguin Random House, 2017. ISBN: 978-1101997239

Forest World written by Margarita Engle. Atheneum, 2017. ISBN: 978-1481490573

Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos written by Monica Brown and illustrated by John Parra. NorthSouth Books, 2017. ISBN: 978-0735842694

Lucía the Luchadora written by Cynthia Leonor Garza and illustrated by Alyssa Bermudez. Pow Kids Books, 2017. ISBN: 978-1576878279

Martí’s Song for Freedom/Martí y sus Versos por la Libertad, written by Emma Otheguy and illustrated by Beatriz Vidal. Children’s Book Press, 2017. ISBN: 978-0892393756

Rubén Darío written by Georgina Lázaro and illustrated by Lonnie Ruiz. Lectorum Publications, 2017. ISBN: 978-1632456410

Sing, Don’t Cry written by Angela Dominguez. Henry Holt and Company, 2017. ISBN: 978- 1627798396

The First Rule of Punk written by Celia C. Pérez. Penguin Random House, 2017. ISBN: 978- 0425290408

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life written by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. Clarion Books, 2017. ISBN: 978-0544586505

The Little Doctor/El Doctorcito written by Juan J. Guerra and illustrated by Victoria Castillo. Piñata Books, 2017. ISBN: 978-1558858466

Little Skeletons Countdown to Midnight/Esqueletitos: Un Libro Para Contar En EL Día De Los Muertos written and illustrated by Susie Jaramillo. Canticos, 2017. 978945635069

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Night-blooming giant. Mid-June On-line Floricanto

Chicano Photography
Shooting In The Dark
Michael Sedano

click image to view in larger size
There’s a desert garden in Tucson where their abundance of night-blooming cacti allows the botanical garden to sponsor a fund-raiser when gente flock to the garden for an all-nighter to ooh and uuy over the spectacle of flowers that open only in darkness and fade in daylight. I've taken to staying up late enough to uuy and ahh over my home-grown night-bloomers in Pasadena Califas.

"Cereus" is a generalized name for any number of gorgeous cacti. "Queen of the Night," is another. They have distinct scientific names. I don't know many of those so I go by the shape or other significant denominator.

My rat-tail cereus has begun to bloom with annual reliability. Last year she was covered with a dozen buds. This year she has only a few, three will probably make it. Of all the epiphyllum in my collection, this rat-tail and a flat-penca variety are the most magnificent blossoms and the most challenging to capture on digital film. They bloom in the early morning, like 2 a.m. But lately, that's been earlier.

My practice is to photograph the blossom in situ. The plants are tough, moving a flowering specimen is not fraught with broken potential. But a large plant is heavy. And the elongated pencas of a mature specimen make moving an unwieldy process. And pencas are fragile, more so than flower buds.

So I take the portrait where I can. If I can’t get a good angle with the tripod I work handheld. Sometimes there’s no escaping lying on my back and framing up to the sky. The 100 mm Canon lens contains wondrous engineering that compensates for a bit of shakiness. At extreme close up, however, even the slightest shake fuzzes up a photograph. Plus, a tripod makes it easy to capture a sequence like the opening flower of 2018:

A remote shutter release is all I wanted for Christmas a few years ago. The remote is essential for reducing camera shake. The range of my device allows me to be inside the house and expose a frame outside on the driveway. The macro lens set at its smallest aperture, f/32, creates a sharp field of vision at the heart of the flower. Sharpness drops off acceptably into the distance, emphasizing edge folds of inner petals. The deep focus requires longer exposure time and that steady tripod.

The Canon camera executes a precise focus in good light. In the dim light I anticipate here on the driveway, the camera will fail. I focus on auto then switch the lens to Manual focus, locking in the focus point. The camera will simply click now, focused on the spot where the rat-tail cereus bud is unwrapping.

My mother had never seen this plant bloom, and there wasn’t a family memory of its flower, so she couldn’t tell me a thing about it. Most of my collection moved here when my mom moved in with us. The collection recently doubled when friends relocated to colder climes.

The first time the rat-tail opened I discovered it at 7 in the morning, after it had collapsed. The next year she did not bloom. The next two years, she’s offered her magnificence. She’s in a new location this year and doesn’t mind the dislocation to more fully open shade.

June 10th, a Sunday afternoon, the bud curled upward and began to spread the tips of her yellow calyx petals. I began intermittent exposures. Every ten or fifteen minutes, I pushed the button. Once I waited twenty minutes and discovered a spectacular beginning.

20 minutes elapsed
The rat-tailed night-blooming epiphyllum isn’t yellow, on the inside. When it first shows her heart, yellow gives way to creamy white. Supple folds ripple open to form the mouth of a deep trumpet. Inside, an array of golden filaments spills forth, foremost a sinuously elegant stigma beckons.

A bat? A moth? Will some night-flying creature heed the enchantingly sweet perfume that fills the air within a few minutes after she exposes her inner heart to the world?

She is a giant. Throughout the night she opens and stretches, pumps her nourishment filling the tissue of veins that give shape and form to her petals. With dawn’s light the forces of gravity and light and mass exceed the capacity of her veins and the flower collapses. Her ovum pollinated, she will bear fruit this year. If not, only beauty.

Floricanto de los Delfines returns next week.

Canto de los Delfines, the literary journal of California State University Channel Islands, published its fourth annual edition to culminate the academic year.

La Bloga is working with curator Oscar Castillo to share some of the journal's ekphrastic poems with Oscar's photographs.

This special On-line Floricanto resumes next week.

Part I
Part 2

Independent Press Publishes Palacio Poetry

Denver's 3: A Taos Press, an independent press with a westward purview, publishes poetry, and more. Publisher Andrea Watson teamed with poet Karen Cordova to organize last year's peripatetic Route 66 floricanto held in Rowland, California and Taos, New Mexico.

3: A Taos Press announces its publication of Bird Forgiveness by Melinda Palacio, La Bloga's Friday bloguera. Click here for 3: A Taos Press' website.

Congratulations, Melinda!

Mid June On-line Floricanto
Betty Sánchez, Arnoldo Garcia, Donny Jackson, Paul Aponte, César de León

Versos a mi madre Por Betty Sánchez
Warless Moon By Arnoldo Garcia
a national anthem By Donny Jackson
Prayer to the corn moon By César de León

Versos a mi madre
Por Betty Sánchez

Mi madre
es de piel morena,
mujer de maíz,
hija del sol y de la tierra.
Tiene oscuras las pupilas
ahí resguarda sus penas.
Su niñez fue arrebatada,
fue una madre adolescente, su suerte quedó marcada.

Graciela baúl sellado.
¿Qué misterios encierra tu corazón?
¿Jardín de rosas o cementerio?
¿Campos de girasoles
o sangrantes manantiales?
Cuando ríes,
adivino en el rumor
de tu risa
una nostalgia lejana
que te envuelve.

Y cuando la tristeza nubla
tu voz o tu mirada,
es como si llamaran
a duelo las campanas.
Una vez que llorabas
te pregunté,
¿qué tienes?
Me respondiste,
¿Nada? Es mentira.

¿y tu pecho trémulo
se estremece y suspira?
¿y venciendo
tu voluntad
estallas en estruendoso llanto?

En alguna ocasión
conforme comprendía,
intenté asomarme
en la ventana de tu vida,
pero discretamente
me aparte temerosa
de que tu corazón
fuera mi espejo;
y entonces
pudiera suceder
que yo entendiera
todo lo que no pude
o no quise conocer.
¿Verdad que tú sabes
todo esto madre mía?

de mi espíritu intuitivo
y te alejabas de mí
con paso silencioso.
Un día,
nunca sabré porque,
te fuiste de mi lado;
si hubiera sabido
que por décadas
no te tendría,
te hubiera despedido
con un beso
en la frente.

Hoy te observo
cuidando tu jardín,
jugando con tu nieto,
y no puedo encontrar
una palabra amable
que decirte;
las dos percibimos
que ha llegado la hora
de cerrar nuestro ciclo.
Adiós madre…

Warless Moon
By Arnoldo Garcia

The war will have to wait.
The war will have to wilt.
Before the moon surrenders.

The moon is the moon again
I understand
Because I am from the belly button of the moon.
Not blood moon
Not human moon
Not anything having to do with the man in the moon.

My friend Ruben would laugh and point at the crescent moon and say:
Look, my grandfather's fat toenail!

The moon is Acteal tonight, bloodied Indian moon.
The moon is a migrant camp where we cultivate utopia
The moon is
my tayacán woman,
a ripened sun,
a leavened fist,
a laugh that drives ghosts out of the living room.
The moon is Ix, the jaguar that carries the stars on her back.

Tonight I declare peace, not the white flag of the moon surrender,
the white banner of the four directions:
White is north,
North Star,
the blade that cuts open the borders so that Sojourner can free herself over and over

Moon, courage, cenote of the cosmos,
you fit in the palm of the woman who will one day slay the darkness,
no skin under her bony fingernails,
just the pockmarks of standing in the way of the blows meant for her child.
Tonight will not be like any other night,
something terrible has to end.
Someone terrible must die.
Not her
Not the bloodied moon
Not us,
who are
sisters and brothers,
sons and daughters,
music and water,
bread and revolutions,
placenta and tenderness,

Not tonight, not any night, not tomorrow or ever.

a national anthem
by Donny Jackson

when a child’s fingertips are pulled from its mother’s at the border
our bones are a struck tuning fork which vibrate until they
are white hot and brand anything soft inside
so when we hear the sound again
we’ll know it as the squeak
of the gate
into hell

By Paul Aponte

Being American sometimes tires me
Sometimes I want to be Mexican
Mexico City Mexican
Chinga tu madre Mexican
Riding los lomos de las Rancheras Mexican
Downing Tequila Mexican
Eating frijoles de la olla
con cebolla picada and oregano Mexican.

I want to wake up el Domingo
and go to la placita
y encontrarme con mi jaina
And say hello to Beto y Chole
and talk about tonight's quermés
and make plans for el Día De Los Muertos.

Sometimes I want my bud
to yell from across the street
"¡Ey, pinchi Pol! ¡A donde vas Güey!
and I want to yell back
"¡Vente pendejo, a comer pozole
en casa de mi tía ... Güey!"

Being American sometimes tires me
and sometimes I want to be Mexican
and speak in Diputado Mexican
and pretend I can sing like Pedro Infante
joke around like Tin-Tan
and dance like Cantinflas
and this makes being American hella fun.

Prayer to the corn moon
By César de León

For the milk-toothed
Summoned by a river current
Called mother

For the star children stolen
Beneath a canopy
Of chicharra lullabies

On this land of crucibles
An offering
of monarch butterfly wings

resurrection swirling
Up up up

Into the purple
ink of dawn

A remolino

Betty Sánchez, Arnoldo Garcia, Donny Jackson, Paul Aponte, César de León
Versos a mi madre Por Betty Sánchez
Warless Moon By Arnoldo Garcia
a national anthem By Donny Jackson
Prayer to the corn moon By César de León

Norma Beatriz Sánchez, poeta mexicana. Miembro activo del grupo literario Escritores del Nuevo Sol desde 2003. Finalista del concurso de poesía en español, Colectivo Verso Activo. Sus poemas se han publicado en las antologías Voces y Cuentos del Nuevo Sol, The Border Crossed Us, Poesía en Vuelo, Soñadores; Mujeres de Maíz Zine 10 y 13, y St. Sucia, VI edición, así como en La Palabra, y Poetas Respondiendo a la la Ley SB1070.

Arnoldo García is from deep south Texas and resides in Oakland, California, where he works for the public schools restorative justice initiative. He also has developed a music-poetry project called Azlant, in homage to a future non-Aztlán Aztlán, combining two guitarists, a bassist and percussion's performing blues, jazz and spoken word and vocals based in social justice and communities of color. You can build the movement against war and racism by getting a copy of Poets against War & Racism | Poetas contra la guerra y el racismo here:

Dr. Donny Jackson is a lifelong poet, clinical psychologist, and Emmy-winning producer in documentary television.

Paul Aponte is a Chicano Poet from Sacramento. He is a member of the writers groups "Círculo" and "Escritores Del Nuevo Sol" (Writers Of The New Sun). He has been published in El Tecolote Press Anthology "Poetry in flight", in the Anthology "Soñadores - We Came To Dream", and in the "Los Angeles Review Volume 20 - Fall 2016". He was also the editor's choice in the online journal "Convergence", and was published in Escritores del Nuevo Sol / Writers of the New Sun: Anthology. This new book includes an Escritores historical perspective by JoAnn Anglin, a forward by Lucha Corpi, many great writers/poets, and several poems by and also honoring one of its founders Francisco X. Alarcón.

César L. De León is a poet-organizer for Resistencia: Poets Against Walls and a member of the Chocholichex Writers Collective. His work appears in journals like Pilgrimage, The Acentos Review, La Bloga and the anthologies Imaniman: Poets Writing in the Anzalduan Borderlands and Texas Weather, among others.