Kathleen Hellen

Only the weight of ripeness:
watermelons, coolers on their shoulders.
Covered quesadillas, arroz con pollo,
spices loaded in strollers.
Who sees “luis”? 

At the northernmost reaches of the Chesapeake
Bay, no lime-green vests. No ditch to dig. No seam
to mend. No fields itinerant. 

The kiss of the sun rises
on grills smoking. Aromas
of black beans and rice. 

Kathleen Hellen

Roy Guzmán

I read garbage
unlike the poetry

to me by major

the trash

in which you

of Yesterday
before it starts

to reek
& your neighbors

think you’ve killed
your husband

your adopted child
or possibly

even yourself.
Because they’ve seen

how you hustle
the corner like a

Biblical beast
hungering for what

she already has.
I read cereal boxes

nutritional facts

the main headlines
a child swindled

Roy Guzmán

Rodney Gomez

We cannot tattoo
roses on the border

wall. We cannot strip
the river and expect it

to squawk. We cannot build
a pinwheel of butterflies

to overrun the dry
banks, launch a trebuchet

of squirming children
into Relampago hoping

they will find the way back. 
Strip the mud to reveal

axolotl skin. Strip
the skin to reveal the truth

Rodney Gomez

Yovani Flores

Mami carried us in her bronzed arms 

the dead horizon laughed and the mango sun carved jagged lines

from shoulder to shoulder etching our history across her back

she squats pissing over sun bitten stones 

chunks of smoky gravel dangled on her calloused feet like lumps of clotted blood

her palms kissing a dead horizon stretching her trunk

like a giant Saguaro with thick arms and bended elbows

shadowing our soldered bodies

and we plucked prickly pears from thorny arms de Doña Nopal

Yovani Flores

Martín Espada

On the road to Taos, in the town of Alcalde, the bronze statue
of Juan de Oñate, the conquistador, kept vigil from his horse.
Late one night a chainsaw sliced off his right foot, stuttering
through the  ball of his ankle, as Oñate’s spirit scratched
and howled like a dog trapped within the bronze body.

Martín Espada

Tony Diaz

(Photo credit Zeke Perez)

Spoiler alert: The life of Civil Rights lawyer Gus Garcia doesn't have a happy ending, but the true story of our people lies between the echo of the gavel at the Supreme Court hearing where he brilliantly defended our rights and his last breath—alone, penniless, on the streets of San Antonio.

The fact that he is not a household name is no surprise to us.

We register on the American Imagination in three phases.

Tony Diaz

Christopher Carmona

idling at Sarita checkpoint     

Anzaldúa in my backseat

dogs with jobs sniff my tires

men in green eyes and tired uniforms wave cars on through

they know only one question

 toughest to answer…

I am leaving what I thought was America

but was really something else

the question burns me up

U.S. citizen?

there are only two answers

yes, sir…no, sir

but Anzaldúa in my backseat whispers truths in my ear

Christopher Carmona

Carmen Giménez Smith

According to family mythology, I learned to speak English from watching Sesame Street, but it’s more likely I learned the English I use today from all of my watching. I watched while the news explained Watergate, the Supreme Court’s ruling on Roe vs. Wade, and watched  reruns of The Odd Couple, The 10,000 Pyramid, commercials for Barbie and Certs. Johnny Carson, the static at night and its white noise, which my husband tells me is the Big Bang’s echo, is the burning wet core of my consciousness.

Carmen Giménez Smith

Steven Alvarez

MS Codex Mojaodicus: legit copy / Paper ink draft / 

Steven Alvarez