Thursday, April 24, 2008

April is Poetry Month!!!!!! (and some other news)

cover of Raw Silk Suture
copyright Maria Arango 2008

Dear Reader: First of all, much love and congratulations to Daniel Olivas for the gorgeous work of Latinos in Lotus Land, and to Manuel Ramos, whose poetry continues to garner well-deserved attention and acclaim. (Ay, I am one lucky writer -- Michael, Manuel, Dan, Rudy, Rene and Ann make me bring (I hope) my best self every week....)

And if you only have limited reading time DO NOT HESITATE to buy the following books of poetry:

The Republic of Poetry -- Martín Espada

187 Reason Why Mexicans Can't Cross The Border -- Juan Felipe Herrera

Teeth -- Aracelis Girmay

Raven Eye and Naked Wanting -- Margo Tamez

I Praise My Destroyer -- Diane Ackerman

The Wind Shifts -- edited by Francisco Aragón

and Full Woman, Fleshly Apple, Hot Moon --- because if you're not reading Pablo Neruda, there is something seriously wrong with you

Personal Notes:

I'd be kicking myself for a very long time if I didn't share with you some wonderful news. I have recently signed a contract with Floricanto Press for the release of a volume of poetry, Raw Silk Suture, edited by Carlos Mock, author of Papi Chulo. This project has been blessed by Carlos' unflagging support, the wonderful layout by Bill Rattan and by the phenomenal illustrations by woodcut artist, Maria Arango. Advance copies should be ready mid-summer, with a full release scheduled in September.

Here are two advance quotes about the project I am very gratified to have received.

Alvarado's call for "a quiet remaking of cells" is northing short of revolutionary. Read this book, look at yourself and the world around you and know: anything is possible.
Demetria Martinez, author, Confessions of a Berlitz-Tape Chicana.

The poetry of Lisa Alvarado thunders across the page. Fiery and smoky, these are poems for midnight whiskey and pre-dawn espresso. These are poems for what ails us.
Manuel Ramos, Moony's Road to Hell, Author La Bloga, Founder and Columnist


En este sueño

estoy completa.
No tengo que guardar
las historias de otra gente.
No tengo que buscar y escudriñar
a través de los restos de sus palabras.
En este sueño
paso mis dedos
através de la cabellera de Frida.
Con esa cabellera,
tejo flores obscuras
del color de la sangre.
Y me dice
que el jaguar viene a traerme
su poder.
La medicina que calma este dolor
es como comida para
calmar esta hambre.
En este sueño
hago magia
con el lodo del Rio Grande.
Arropado en corridas y música ranchera,
que son el hechizo y el encanto
que anula la edad
del olvido y el adoctrinamiento.
En este sueño
tengo un amante
cuya cara es de piedra,
como el antiguo marcador del templo.
Su boca es carnosa,
sus ojos están entrecerrados y
Ven conmigo mi India,
mi pequeña perdida.
Recuerda quien eres.
Recuerda quien eres.



iridescent electric pink

line the boulevard
next to where
someone’s pissing
right in the middle of the day
yesterday’s pozole
slick and greenish
stains the street
around the corner
from the Monument to the Revolution
where a golden angel
looks down on prostitutes
with imitation Chanel bags
and taxis are
green and yellow beetles
carrying sour businessmen
who ask the teenage pimps
how much
the cross-eyed
boy in the Lucha Libre mask
stares at me
and runs past barefoot beggar children
in clown makeup
but the clowns never smile
and they’re on every corner
they block the path
of women going to work
wearing not quite
put together
cheap copies
of clothes they saw
in Vogue or Cosmo
but nothing really matches
they always wear
white heels
or a belt with a giant buckle
and the requisite miniskirt that makes
their ass stand out
so that the pesero driver
with one gold tooth
always holds their change for just that extra second
I don’t get the shits
but baby-faced doctors run IV’s in both arms
for migraines and food poisoning
the fat man who served me
chiles rellenos
laughed at my buzz cut
and winked
when he slid me the plate
outside the ER
stand private guards
with tight lips and clenched pistols
working their job
they scowl at the howling sushi delivery boys
on motorbikes
who rush to the bar for a quick one
in between deliveries
inside the Museo Bellas Artes
I see the outstretched arms of Rivera’s peasants
and refuse the outstretched arms
of the Indian sitting at the bus stop
I clutch my postcards
with Frida’s self-portraits
the one with the red dress
the one with the hammer and sickle body brace
down the street from my favorite helado stand
the one with flavors like
guayaba mango cajeta
a man grabs my crotch
to see if I have any balls
I almost knock over
a tianguis stand of charro Barbies
the seller’s daughter
a girl with an olive oval face
blinks her long lashes in disbelief
What is this American doing here?


Thursday, April 24: 7 PM, Studio Theatre, College of the Arts, California State University, Long Beach, CA. Contact: Víctor Rodríguez, 562-985-8560;

Friday, April 25: 8 PM, Fé Bland Auditorium, Santa Barbara City College, Santa Barbara, CA. Contact: David Starkey, 805-965-0581, X2345;


Thursday, May 1: Lecture, 7 PM, The Redemption of Pablo Neruda,
Centennial Hall,
Milwaukee Public Library, Milwaukee, WI.
Contact: Sandra Rusch Walton, 414-286-

Friday, May 2: Reading, 7 PM, Woodland Pattern Book Center, Milwaukee, WI.
Contact: Chuck Stebelton, 414-263-5001;;

Saturday, May 3: Reading, 7 PM, Escape Java Joint, Madison, WI.
Contact: Allen Ruff, 608-257-6050; 608-255-0240;

Lisa Alvarado


msedano said...

a wondrous collection of images of one of my favorite cities. what a powerful opening contrast of bouganvillea and publlc pissers, that, and small details like "yesterday's posole/ slick and greenish" makes the city come alive in my own memory. sounds as if the book will be out by xmas?


Lisa Alvarado said...

Michael -- D.F. is vibrant, sexy, holy, verdant, dingy, thriving, boisterous, lively, inspiring, overwhelming, home of giants and invisible workers, desperately poor, and Euro-chic.

I lived there for a year in 1997 in a duplex apartment, with the main living space on the first floor and the bedroom in the basement on Calle Sullivan not far from El Monumento de la Madre, and the most amazing corner coffee shop. It was at the very tip of andiron building, octagonal, with glass walls facing three intersection, and the most heavenly hand roasted coffee....