The Beyond

Issue

Chachalaca Review Vol. 2
Chachalaca Review Vol 2: Beyond
Copyright© 2017

All rights reserved

Editorial Team:
Christopher Carmona (Managing Editor)
Kelly Saenz(Editor)
Regina Lien (Editor)
Jesus Amaya (Spanish Editor)

Cover Art by Alexis Garza

This journal is published under the Center for Mexican American
Studies, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. It is a student run
journal overseen by faculty from the program. The Chachalaca Review
is a multicultural journal that both celebrates and shares culture.

The Chachalaca Review is published twice a year. The views expressed
by the authors and editors do not necessarily represent those of the
institution.

Contents

Beyond Borders

Los Pajaros Gringos Maria Elena Leal Salazar 1
Los Afanes de Mis Abuelos Cuando... Maria Elena Leal Salazar 2
Have you ever seen...the Border Wall? Melba Salazar-Lucio 3
What is an immigrant? Melba Salazar-Lucio 4
De Aqui. De Alla. (Ave De Paso) Oscar Mireles 5
On the Border, By the Sea Jose Angel Lozano 6
A Mile Antonio Galvan Jr. 7

Beyond Life

Los Llamantes Alexis Garza 9
From the Canal Diana Elizondo 10
Sugar Skulls Diana Elizondo 11
Caskets Diana Elizondo 12
El amor nunca se muere Esmeralda Diaz 13
Sintética humanística Jesús Amaya 14
La Mano Jose Angel Lozano 21

Beyond Locations

A Preview to My Life Laisha Perrett 23
To Sing a Song Robert Hinojosa 24
Brownsville Vanessa Danielle Cisneros 26
Ο καιρός (Kairos) Margarita Serafimova 27
I Am From… Huyen Man Kieu 28
Pararitos y Jackalopes Catfish McDaris 30
Flagstaff Snow Catfish McDaris 31
Magdalena Catfish McDaris 32

Beyond Silence

The Importance of Poets and Poetry Gideon Cecil 34
Poetry is my Sugar Gideon Cecil 37
El Quixote Karina Teran Quiroga 38
Los Ojos de Rayuela Karina Teran Quiroga 39
The Way Cops Do Chuck Taylor 40
The Forbidden Zone William Mainoux 41
Hayz-Sammons Toxic William Mainoux 42
War_yah (PoC: Person of Color) William Mainoux 43
In America There Is No Fear Perla Melendez 44

Beyond Relationships

September 9, 1998 NASA’s Archives Laisha Perrett 47
Let Sleeping Dogs Lie Nathan Wade Calley 48
Fuck Kevin Barbosa 54
Clock Kevin Barbosa 55
Tell Him Chuck Taylor 56
Recuerdo de un Gran Padre Melba Salazar-Lucio 60
Mi Padre, El Sandiero Melba Salazar-Lucio 62

Beyond the Surface

Barco de papel Daniella Levy 65
Paper Boat Daniella Levy 66
The Bouquet of Time Thais Deras 67
The beautiful sunflowers with the... Esmeralda Diaz 68
Hold Tight Chuck Taylor 69
Zoology Kevin Barbosa 70
The Mind is a Terrible Thing Kevin Barbosa 71
Everyday Battles Tony Garza 72
Stripes #2186 Robert Hinojosa 73
Martes a media mañana Gabriel González Núñez 79
In Between Armando Villarreal 85
Field of Pink Alexis Garza 86
Los Ratones Bigotones Maria Elena Leal Salazar 87
La Lucha Incansable Maria Elena Leal Salazar 88

Beyond The Art

Author Bios 91
Beyond Borders
Seeking to erase the lines that divide us.
Los Pajaros Gringos
Maria Elena Leal Salazar

Los pajaros de este barrio
No quieren comer tortilla,
Se las tire en la manana
Y alli estan a medio dia.
Nomas pasan y las ven
No les llegan ni a la orilla

Los pajaros son bolillos,
Tortillas no quieren comer,
Quieren pan con mantequilla
Pero eso no puede ser!

Yo les pongo las tortillas
Empezando amanecer,
Si ellos no se las comen, el pico van a torcer.
Ellos tienen que seder,
A comerse las tortillas
Que pongo al amanecer.

1
Los Afanes de Mis Abuelos Cuando Emigraron a USA
Maria Elena Leal Salazar

Haciendo memoria de lo pasado, en contraste del tiempo presente, en com-
paración y la similitud de lo que la gente vivió y sufrió. Los estragos y las
privaciones que sufrieron mis abuelos durante el tiempo que mi abuelo le
dijo a mi abuelo,
“Si el gobierno mexicano, piensa que se va a llevar a mis hijos a la guerra,
esta muy equivocado.”Esa misma noche mi abuela preparo un tiro de mulas,
su guayín y me supongo que una que otra arma, preparó bastimento, carne
seca y pan de levadura, que acostumbraban hacer para que les durara días.
Se armó de valor y le dijo a mi abuelo,
“Te vas, o te quedas?” Y mi abuelo un hombre tan noble y docil le dijo:
“No Francisca si tu te vas, yo me voy.” Y mi abuela también tenia un hermano
que se llamaba Sostenes, que le dijo,
“Yo también me voy contigo, vamos a salvar a mis sobrinos dé los pelones a
como de lugar.” Dejaron rancho de los que eran propietarios en General Bra-
vo, Nuevo León y empezaron su Aventura para los Estados Unidos…
Bastante retirado, a dios y una dicha, hasta que oscureciera. Al oscurecer
paraba y habrían su campito, poniendo su lumber, sacaban su bastimento
cenaban, tendían su campo para dormer. Pienso yo que mi abuela fue una
señora muy valiente, porque ni algunos hombres se atreven a lo que se atre-
vio mi abuela, la senora Francisca Quintanilla. Y me pongo a pensar, que aun
en esos tiempos mi abuela tuvo mucha condición, y luego me pongo a pensar,
“Que no es capaz una madre de hacer por los hijos?”
Al llegar a la Quileña, no sé cuantó tiempo hicieron en carreta, mi abuela a
orilla de la Quileña que todavía era puro monte, compró 6 solares, toda la
familia se puso a desmontar y a quemar lo que cortaban. Mi abuela platicaba,
que ella hizo los colchones de puro zacate, y empezaron con una carpa y otra
carpa era la cocina.
Esa es mi gente que vino de Mexico, con un tiro de mulas y muchas ganas de
trabajar, sin hablar ni una palabra de inglés, y tirándose a Dios y una dicha,
y con un abuelo, el Señor Isidro Leal, que jamás le escuché decir una mala
palabra, el reverse de la moneda de mi abuela Francisca.
Qué contraste tiene la vida, en verdad me da mucho orgullo pertenecer a la
familia de mi abuela, la señora Francisca Quintanilla de Leal.

2
Have you ever seen beyond the Border Wall?
Melba Salazar-Lucio

Have you ever seen beyond the Border Wall?
Have you ever seen a dilapidated shack built on the road from Cuidad Victo-
ria to San Luis Potosi?
A homemade shack made of 4 foot tall green cactus, black trash bags, torn
tarps and discarded card board boxes makes a home for a family of eleven.
A 10X6 ft. living space for an indigenous family tied with a makeshift clothes-
line made from sticks and recycled cow fence wires.
Have you ever seen la gente pobrecita? (the poor folks)
Long cucumber shaped nopales and dust filled tumbleweed fences act as
walls for property lines.
Old tires surround the piso de tierra (mud floors) huts line the carretera
(road). Corrugated pieces of lamina cover the low roofed grass and mud tops.
Have you ever stopped on the Mexican roadside to buy goods from la gente
de las (the people of the) orange, yellow and lime green neon colored carre-
tas?(carts)
Fresh naranjas con chile Tajin (oranges with hot peppers)or freshly
squeezed orange juice with little or no ice por favor (please)….
“Por favor senito comprenos las sandias, dulces, y los cocos frescos bien
ricos” (Please madam, buy our watermelons, candies and fresh delicious
coconuts)
chants a dark-bronzed woman in her floral cotton dress---her face, a snap-
shot of hope in the scorching July heat near the Tropic of Cancer.
Have you ever wondered why entire illegal families risk their lives to swim
across the murderous raging Rio Grande River?
You haven’t looked at those barefooted ninos with broken, brownish, black
eyes who smilingly beg on the dusty roads selling chicles y cacahuates. (gum
and peanuts)
You haven’t touched their tiny warm manitas (little hands) and viewed dirt
covered caritas lindas (lovely faces),
And now we want to build a Border Wall to fix it all!
We must “protect our borders from dangerous, monstrous illegal immi-
grants.”
We must look beyond our comfortable lawn chairs, carne (meat) cookouts,
neatly, manicured back yards and leave our lazy boy chairs watching our big
screen TVs….
We must look beyond the border…I dare you to cross the bridge into Mexico
driving your monstrous SUVs and just in case you don’t want to muddy your
cars with Mexican mud, then take a walk across to see the pobresa de los
ninos. (poverty in children)

3

What is an immigrant?
Melba Salazar-Lucio

An immigrant is………………………………………………………………………………………..
A human heart that beats like mine.
A body who bleeds garnet drops of blood like mine.
A person who wants to be given a chance like I do.
Someone who looks for a better quality of life like I do. One who sweats and
thirsts for a drink like I do.
One who is anxious for family to join him like I do. One who is NOT an an
ALIEN from a strange planet!
One who hurts and cries when he loses a loved one like I do. One who longs
to own a home with a doorbell, fenced yard and two-car garage like I do. One
who believes that his children too can obtain an education and have dreams
come true like my children who have realized their dreams!
One who dreams of travels to enjoy finer places in life like I do. One who
would enjoy napping on feathered beds and white linens enclosed in air-con-
ditioned rooms like I do.
One who longs for a warm embrace from a friend or relative like I do. One
who searches to find himself tangled between two languages, unfriendly
cities, crowded streets and lonely urined alleys.
A citizen of the world, not of a particular ALIEN country but he is a citizen of
the world! He is a citizen of the world!
A person like me, not as different as we might think. We are all immigrants
from a place.
Who are we (who vigilantly patrol our borders day and night and boast of
our own legal citizenship as we puff our chests with pride)?
We think the world revolves around USA borders. But what about our citi-
zenships of the world?
Let’s remove our heavy blinders and crystalize what we truly see….but this
time with the lens of viewing with our bright red bleeding hearts!

4
De Aqui. De Alla. (Ave De Paso)
Oscar Mireles

I am not
you. I know better.
The melting pot
that so hurriedly
was rushed outside the kitchen
to become its own cuisine
does not sustain me.
In fact, never feeds me.
My preference serves
Crème Brulee in Tokyo,
Sake in Copenhagen,
Black angus in Mumbai.
Sopa Azteca – in Manhattan – during holiday.
I am nots
you. I mock expectation.
The hue of my skin
beds the red haired
Valkyrie
Extracts “Je t’aime” from
Parisian modests and prudes
Elsewhere, feared; no one’s hand to frame my symmetry.

I will never
be you.
Broken language from
a motley identity
suffocates itself.
I prefer to breathe;
In many languages.

5
On the Border, By the Sea
Jose Angel Lozano

6
A Mile
Antonio Galvan Jr.

A mile was all I missed in training
Had I sprint less
Maybe I would of
A mile away was the border
A mile away was my other family,
Never thought it that way
Yet it was all I could imagine
A mile away there was cartels
A mile away was crime and corruption
Was I born in the jackpot?
Or was I chosen to be free?
A mile stood my race
A mile was nothing when it came to cars
Should have been another life
But I am here now
Where I can sprint miles, yet bullets are unheard off
A mile was the thing I miss in training that day
I had more resources my fellows Mexican ever had
What was keeping me from running an extra mile
I hated the distance seem to make all the difference
Yet today I sprint an extra two
One for training and one for freedom

7
Beyond Life
Looking beyond facts and the physical.
Los Llamantes
Alexis Garza

9
From the Canal
Diana Elizondo

A corpse is found. The veins visible on gray skin coated in grass stains and
mud. The arms are bent backwards and elbows broken from impact. Blonde
hair is now dyed in greenish brown and nails cracked to the tips. The corpse
is missing a pink slipper and a shirt, exposing a full belly. The eyes, wide
and faded, look up from the bottom of the canal. “Is it an accident or a new
addition tossed into the collection?” asked the officers staring back down at
her wide faded eyes.

10
Sugar Skulls
Diana Elizondo

Sugar skulls are placed by tombstones,
along with bouquets and photos.
They can also be found by the river
And sometimes floating in it.
Sugar skulls are seen being tossed
over walls, in the canals or even hung on
thin branches of mesquite trees.
These sweet offerings are found
in several places so the departed
can know they are not yet forgotten.

11
Caskets
Diana Elizondo

Dozens of caskets are tossed over the wall
And none of them has a body inside.
Countless dead dreams locked in each one
As their owners are forced to leave home.

12
El amor nunca se muere
Esmeralda Diaz

13
Sintética humanística
Jesús Amaya

No sabía a qué venía esto, pero con esta sensación - cuya cede
desconocía - estaba seguro de que mi pupila estaba dilatada; prácticamente
consumía la totalidad de mi iris indefenso. La sensación - o quizá era otra
cosa disfrazándose - siempre se hacía presente cuando él, mi creador, me
miraba a mí; su mirada, defectuosamente humana infestaba la artificialidad
que mi par producía; era su inferior, pero por alguna razón siempre supe que
la realidad de las cosas era otra. Siempre teníamos nuestras sesiones sobre
los porqués de las cosas, las cuales nunca supe el porqué, pero me permitía
conocer poco al ser creador y sus porqués, los que me podría razonar y los
que él buscaba. Él pensaba que yo podría darle, quizá, alguna respuesta que
mi cerebro hecho con manos defectuosas podría haber generado en algún
tiempo; razonablemente, vio un fracaso en mí. No sé si dormía cuando no
estaba con mi creador pero hay algunas visiones e imágenes que no sabía si
eran fragmentos de lo subconsciente o sólo me las puso él deliberadamente
para entretenerme. En una de las sesiones le pregunté de esas imágenes
cuyo origen no descifraba; sólo me preguntó cómo me sentía. Creo que con
vida desafortunadamente.
Sentado, en una silla, mis manos estaban puestas en la mesa que me
acompañaba. No tan distante de mí, había un pequeño árbol cuyas ramas
goteaban un líquido tóxico. Ahora ya no, pero en ese momento en el que
estuve sentado podría asegurar la legitimidad del sitio; el viento corría
como lo que mis ojos mirarían después. El líquido, aunque tóxico para mí,
era de lo más orgánico; y la silla y la mesa, hechas de una madera que de
seguro imitaba a la del árbol mojado. Todo esto figuraba una ilusión ficticia
y errónea; yo era el reflejaba. Observando a mi reflejo noté a una pequeña
criatura cruzar por la orilla de la mesa con sus seis brazos microscópicos;
tenía un color vibrante semejante a la de una fruta, la cual algunos alegarían
que los trajo a esto. Después, estaba enfrente de mí, sólo corriendo
perdidamente, como sí estuviese buscando algo, quizá algún propósito,
pero sin saber qué diablos sería. Daba vueltas infinitas, hacia adelante y de
regreso, de izquierda a derecha; había una demencia en ella. Le regalé lo que
en ese entonces asumía era mi vista y vi que después de sus locuras, cargó
un grano de tierra; ha de haber estado tres veces más grande que ella; ratos
más tarde la vi de nuevo llevando también a otras como ella de un lugar a
otro. Me pregunté cómo puede ser que algo tan pequeño y frágil pudiese
cargar cosas cuyo peso es inmensamente superior al de él. ¿Por qué un ser
tan trabajador, con funciones múltiples y coordinadas podría ser matado tan
fácilmente por un individuo que indudablemente carecería de cualidades
excepcionales como ése? A como yo veía las cosas, esa hormiga - en su

14
mundo de insectos - era mil veces más valiosa e importante de lo que es un
humano en el mundo humano. La maté; vi que irónicamente tenía el poder
de hacerlo.
Al milagro de abrir mis ojos todos los días, le acompañaban
continuamente más sesiones en donde el hablante tanto como el receptor se
reflejaban. Estos dos, eventualmente iniciaron una serie de intercambios en
donde lo verdadero - con dado tiempo - perdería; sólo que aún no lo sabía.
- “¿Dónde estamos? ¿Qué es lo que estoy viendo ahora mismo? Se
siente suave cuando deslizo. Qué belleza pero a la vez le veo un horror
terrible por debajo como si estuviese gritando; es tan surreal y confuso, sin
embargo, el toro, parado, viendo a las personas en llanto y muriendo debajo
de la lámpara claramente se ve; lo puedo descifrar. ¿Pero por qué puedo? Y
esa lámpara arriba, ¿sería mi hermano?”
- “Me impresiona mucho que veás el arte de la obra de arte. ¿Vos
sabés quién la pintó?
- “No. Pero por alguna razón puedo ver por qué crearía cierta obra. Se
ve la humanidad en la pintura, se ve la humanidad del pintor. ¿Tú lo puedes
ver?”
- “Vení, sigamos caminando, que tus ojos deben ser expuestos a más
imperfecciones. Mirá esto, ¿vos qué pensás?”
- “Sé que es un humano, pero no sé qué es lo que sostiene en
sus brazos. Parece ser un producto de la humanidad. Hay patrones
decepcionantes en lo que me enseñas. Siento que lo sostenido en sus
brazos, refleja tanto la naturaleza de ser humano. Cambiando de tema, si
me permites, de estas pocas palabras de las que hemos intercambiado, he
notado algo; ¿Por qué cuando te hablo y me refiero a ti, uso el tú y cuando tú
te refieras a mí, usas el vos?”
Tras recibir la pregunta, una pequeña sonrisa apareció en su rostro.
- “Esa pregunta es exactamente el porqué de nosotros dos, y en
cierta forma la diferencia. Ya en estos últimos tiempos el idioma en el cual
nos hablamos, el castellano, ha recibido una decadencia de un lado en la
dicotomía entre el habla en nuestra lengua. Una mitad - la que le pertenece
al voseo - ha sido considerada defectuosa e informal; por algún azar, ella ha
sido elegida para morir con el tiempo. Yo uso el vos porque es más humano
y natural, más pegado a la dura realidad de lo que somos y un recordatorio
constantemente doloroso. Vos usás la forma tú por la simple razón de que
sos una cosa, una artificialidad, una construcción formal y obediente. El
mundo en el cual hemos vivido nos recuerda que esa forma es lo correcto,
lo diestro, lo derecho e ideal para parlar correcta y formalmente. Vos sos la
humanización.”
- “Ya veo. En pocas palabras reflejo lo perfecto. ¿Y tú qué reflejas?”
- “……‘Perfecto’……..la palabra con la cual siempre hemos soñado y por

15
la cual fallamos. Y hablando de lo perfecto, quiero que vayás a esa cosa de
madera y….”
- “Perdona la interrupción, pero esa cosa de madera de la que hablas;
tengo la duda, ¿es como yo?
- “Vos que creés? Dejaré que decidas. Tu conclusión me dirá, y a vos
también, cómo pensás. Bueno, como decía….caminá y cuando
llegués, lo abrís. Tomá lo que encontrés dentro.
Encontrarás lo que imperfectamente significa la palabra, perfecto.”
- “Es un libro.”
- “¿Qué dice?”
- “Rayuela.”
- “Exactamente, sos Rayuela.”
- “No entiendo el punto de esto.”
- “¿No creés que es mejor serlo, a no serlo y comprenderlo? Diré que
asimilás su ejecución.”
Cada página de este componente de hojas parecía un grito de
salvación escuchándose al hojear. Comprendía leer; creo que fui creado
para que entendiese el arte de la creación. Se me hacía extraño saber leer
ya que no tengo memoria de haber aprendido. A como dé lugar, supe que
no era cronológica, veía el anhelo de la obra; sentía que cada vez que se leía,
algo quería salir y tomarme por mi esencia; un desasosiego le acompañaba
a Rayuela. Mi imperfección quería dejarse llevar con el fin de que me
consumiese; por otra parte, mi semejanza hacia la obra me daba a saber que
era perverso. Recibí instrucciones de oler las páginas y la portada la cual
protegía de los demonios del libro como si abrirlo fuese un pecado. Leí unos
cuantos capítulos y cada una de las letras de cada vocablo de cada oración
tenía su propio llanto y su porqué. Aporté atención, así, mis oídos pudiesen
escuchar ciertas historias de letras; ellas eran las prisioneras queriendo
escapar. En ese aula blanco seguía leyendo hasta que llegué a un capítulo que
me dejó la peculiaridad; no tenía nada de sentido ni lógica en la escritura.
Había cosas cuyo idioma no era ni el mismo; cada oración en cadena
contaba una trama distinta; y la evidencia del fanatismo a la cronología rota
bañaba el capítulo. Tras aparentemente pensar, vi que el escritor de esta
imperfección caótica literaria tenía la intensión de construir este quilombo
de letras; sentí que al crearse esta imperfección, lo perfecto se revelaría sí
mismo. El dios de esto ya lo había decidido así; lo hizo porque podía hacerlo.
Qué horrible sería que tu creador te revelase esa verdad. Era un desastre y
un caos perfecto, con una tortura por dentro que desde el capítulo 73 sólo
escalaría.
Momentos después de leer noté un pequeño pasillo cuyo fin, a mi
parecer, era abismal; lo tomé paso a paso con más curiosidad que fobia, a
otro aula me llevó. Miraba a lo que me miraba; sus ojos me seguían por el

16
aula. En seguida, lo vi entrar y las preguntas y “respuestas” continuarían.
Esta vez, un silla color platino y fría se nos ofrecía a ambos, pensé que me
sentiría incómodo si me sentase ya que él era el creador. Sin embargo, me
pregunté, ¿/Por [k] sólo abíaúna sía/? /Énel ótro áula abíandós./ A ese
pensamiento estúpido, le siguió un pedido duchado de cortesía. El elegido
para sentarse fui yo.
- “Decime vos, ¿qué pensás de estos ojos que nos miran? No te
gustan? Veo que los mirás con confusión y ojos interrogativos.”
- “Sólo es que batallo en descifrar el punto de estas cosas sin
importancia. No es mi intención ofenderte, sólo prefiero hablar de algo que
sí tenga que ver conmigo y no con pinturas cuyos ojos sólo ofrecen dolor y
analítica hacia los espectadores.” /Aúnome dice sunombre, meábla comoún
konosido sinenbargo solo séuna kosa dél: ojos verdes, alto, y agrisado.
Tambiénsu konstante boseo haciamí. Siémprekería preguntarme yaveriguár
kérrespondería; pensó, alomexor, keéramos una dialéktika kése sostenía./
- /¿Késla bida?/ “¿Qué es la vida?”
- /Baya, otra désas pregúntas./ “Mirá, no te pueda decir qué es,
por otro lado, te puedo decir qué se siente vivir. Poné atención que no
repetiré, sé que algunas cosas no entenderás por tu ser.” /Kéle diré párake
entiéndalo [k] nunka sentirá./ “Lo que sí te puedo decir es que en este
mundo, desafortunadamente se sufre más de lo que se goza. Pensaría que
con tanta naturaleza y avances tecnológicos, la humanidad prosperaría pero
la realidad es otro; hemos defraudado a lo que nos trajo a este mundo. Se
sufre por ese defraude, y soy creyente de Cristo, su crucifixión y la salvación,
(te explicaré qué es eso después) de la que se nos injustamente empleó; de
lo que he visto y como muestra la historia de la humanidad después de la
salvación, no lo parece. No hemos aprendido lo que significó ser salvados; la
vida, el azar, Dios, por separado o a la misma vez, se encargan en ponernos
obstáculos que miramos como injusticias. Muchos sufren muertes de seres
queridos sin nunca haber hecho el mal, o sufren enfermedades horrorosas,
han sido esclavizados, torturados, etc. y la mayoría de esas gentes eran gente
de dignidad, respeto y de Dios (o su dios). ¿Mirás a lo que me refiero? Es
como nuestro planeta y su proporción acuática: 70 por ciento del mundo es
sufrimiento, es resto felicidad; el transcurso es sufrir toda la vida y sólo en
ocasiones muy escasas se disfruta.”
- /Andefraudádo. Defráudan. Defráudarán./ “¿De tanto fallo y
defraude humano, qué propósito hay en la vida si son muy defectuosos?
¿Qué se hace en la vida humana para combatir la estupidez y disimular la
vergüenza que han dado a quien los trajo al mundo?”
- /¿Komonó pregunta kuálésu propósito? Tendréke analizarlomás/
“Bueno, tras nuestros fallos, tratamos de siempre acomodarnos a los errores;
y porque siempre hay errores, siempre nos tenemos que amoldar a la vida.

17
En cuanto a nuestro propósito, aún no hemos descifrado eso; cada quien
elige qué y/o cómo se decide su propósito, ya sea el azar espontáneo, algún
dios, o ellos mismo. A como dé lugar, siempre se contempla cierto erróneo
en el hombre y en su inevitable caída. Sólo mirá, sé que no lo sabés vos, pero,
miremos a los conflictos de la historia: políticos, sociológicos, militares,
raciales, etc., todo eso, ha ocurrido sólo por ser humanos, porque tras ser
humano automáticamente te condena a la vida. Todo sufrimiento ha sido
evidencia.” /Sisólo supiese keél también ésun resultado del fayo umáno./
/Lakaída…….larekuérrdo. Lasoñé./ Un simio caminaba lentamente en
las vastas llanuras de la tierra que aún no sufría el fracaso de la humanidad.
Llegó a su destino, otros como él le esperaban. Los simios brincaban y se
abrazan - como jugueteando - cuando, tras un viento feroz, unas plantas
nunca antes vistas volaron a donde ellos se situaban. Era un poco extraño ya
que no había plantas, árboles, ni jardines; los simios aún tenía que caminar
varios kilómetros para beber los líquidos aún desconocidos a la intoxicación.
Con sus manos, aún perfectas, un simio tocó y levantó esas plantas verdes y
las olió; la confianza en el mono se podía ver cuando decidió consumir esos
verdes. Los demás sólo veían. Como si el viento lo estuviese llamando por
su nombre aún impronunciable, fue al origen de ese ofrecimiento verde; los
demás le emularon el acto de seguir. Cuando el aullido del viento dejó de
llamarlo, se detuvo y vio el jardín prometido. Aislado de toda llanura cercana
a la de los simios, un jardín con el césped más verde, las verduras más puras
y en donde animales de los más pacíficos que miraría el mundo habitarían
fue revelado a la vista simia. Las pupilas de los simios incrementaron
infinitamente; le emulaba la vasta verdura en su vista. Los simios exploraron
el lugar que naturalmente, metafísicamente y todos los -mentes posibles
era ajeno a ellos; vieron que lo verde emulaba a la de las plantas que el
viento mensajero les llevó a su terreno. Comieron del jardín. A pesar de la
abundancia de lo verde en el jardín, lo que verdaderamente acompañaba
a los simios era la felicidad que este nuevo sitio les traía. Convivían, se
ayudaban a comer y a tomar las verduras para consumirlas; se compartían
la comida y la paz reinaba en sus corazones. El mismo simio valiente estaba
en la parte central del jardín juntando más verdes para sus amigos cuando
vio un objeto; sus ojos puros de simio fueron robados por lo que imploraba
atención. /¿kién lopúso aí?/ Gritando en locura y asombro, los demás simios
corrieron hacia donde estaba el objeto incomprensible; cuando llegaron los
demás, sólo había un silencio mezclado con miedo e interés y ojos ofreciendo
sólo confusión hacia ellos mismo. /Kisá estaban ablando entre simísmos,
sinembargo noablába lengua simio, núnkasupe, noentendía./ El simio -
podríamos decir protagonista - tentó a la muerte y se acercó para tocarlo;
notó que nada sucedía al deslizarlo lentamente con el exterior de su mano,
volteaba a ver sus hermanos viéndole de lejos. El objeto, al fin en la

18
manos puras del simio, no se decidía qué era; quizá requería a una especie
con vida para darle forma o un propósito. La mente del simio, demasiada
primitiva, no le hallaba forma hasta que se le cayó el objeto en el pie; gritó
con agonía y dolor ya que emulaba la dureza de las piedras en las cuales
subían y caminaba; también algo semejante a las ramas de los árboles estaba
atado con un listón, uniéndolos para ser un conjunto. Llantos del mono
sufriendo el dolor del objeto fueron escuchados por los demás simios; miedo
hacia al objeto los tomó. /Rrekuérdo keasimilaba aúnafórma muiantígua
delóke rreflexa unmartío oyendía/. Después del dolor, se levantó y algo
pasó en el simio, lo más terrible que le pasaría a un ser con vida en este
planeta perfecto: razonó por sí mismo. Tras un desastroso razonamiento y
a la vez recordando cuando se le cayó, reveló que causaba dolor y el dolor
- aparentemente - vino de la fuerza. Tras esto, averiguó en cómo tomar el
objeto y usarlo a su favor; el resto miraba en silencio y adoración como
si fuese un dios. Vieron el poder que tenía tras usar ese objeto cuando
ése simio tumbó algunas cuantas ramas de los árboles del vasto jardín.
Sí, los demás simios vieron ese poderío en él, pero a la misma vez, fueron
testigos de una violencia desmesuradamente feroz. Ese alabo con el que
inicialmente lo veían enseguida se convirtió en preocupación; alejados, se
vieron a sí mismos, reflejándose un miedo. Con la tecnología más avanzada
de la historia del planeta, este simio tomó el jardín que tan generosamente
se les había dado y lo reinó, atacando con el objeto a cualquier otro simio
o simia que se acercase. Después de matar a uno que sí se acercó, nunca
hicieron nada lo demás; cómo con tanto miedo a la ferocidad - y bordando
la locura - que ése simio tenía. Esta evolución de razonamiento permitió a la
decadencia que acabaría con toda vida futura. La vida inocente razonó, y el
objeto, lo que sería el destructor del hermano, los acabaría a todos.
Nunca le comenté este sueño a mi creador, nunca dudé que esas
visiones eran solamente mías y no implementadas por él. Puso sus ojos en
mí y me dio un lápiz y una hoja blanca de papel. Me confundí pero tras ver
la blancura de la hoja vi que algo tenía que hacer; un propósito me llamaba
cuando veía la hoja, algo tenía que hacer con ella.
- “Creá. Enseñá lo que podés hacer aunque sea con esto. ¿Sos capaz?
Lo que se te venga a tu cerebro diseñada. Mirá, tomá asiento y tómate unos
minutos.”
Por un buen tiempo vi la hoja mirándome, como esperando a que yo
iniciase algo, que la tomase e hiciese una creación. Mi llamado estaba aquí.
- “Esto lo hará comprender.”
Cuando él terminó su dibujo, fue a que lo mirase su creador
defectuoso. Tras caminar a través de toda la habitación se le notaba al
creador creado una pequeña sonrisa, como sí estuviese riéndose por dentro
y una pequeña porción de la risa se le escapaba a su rostro construido.

19
Cuando los ojos del deficiente vieron lo que construyó el sintético en la
hoja, un horror humano, pero muy bien merecido, ocurría. El sintético, cuyo
origen vino de la naturaleza humana, había dibujado el fin de lo que inició
ese simio hace tantos millones de años.
Un canto de ave se escuchaba; tan delicado y sofisticado, como si el
mismo Arcángel diestro lo chiflase suavemente. Inconscientemente, ellos,
los torpes que se formaron la ilusión errónea de ser dioses, crearon al zurdo
que los acabaría, a mí. Pobres; tras evolucionar, descendieron a su fin. Fue un
aforismo.

20
La Mano
Jose Angel Lozano

21
Beyond Locations
Searching for meaning in different places.

A Preview to My Life
Laisha Perrett

I am from hurricane Harvey turned the first place I called home upside down
--Blue jays, Longhorns, and Chargers finally finding a place to call my
hometown and a future Coog
-- Friday night lights red, white, and blue, Veterans High became my home for
four years
--I am from being five years old and panicking porque se me olvido mi
Conejito en la casa de abuelita. (because I forgot my bunny Conejito at my
grandma’s house)
--Je suis francaise pero tambien soy mexicana and raised in America (I’m
French but I’m also Mexican)
--I am from my parents’ trial and error, or at least that’s what being the
oldest feels like
--gasping for air in shock because “OH MY GOD THEYRE REAL!”
--crying while the fireworks boomed and shook the stadium because the
concert was over and it was their way of saying goodbye
--from the concerts that transport you to a state of nostalgia when the world
seems to be crumbling at your feet
--from a family that I love so much even though they drive me nuts
I am from, oh did I mention I have a twin back in Houston? Yup it’s my dad,
because I have two families which means my family is the size of Texas
--from I love looking like a glazed doughnut if not my makeup isn’t popping!
I am from I have a dream where the sky being the limit is a joke because I
want to be an architect
I am from my boyfriend has no soul because he has tomato hair with a splash
of cinnamon on his face and has always been my best friend
--from screaming like a murderer is chasing my best friend and I in her little
snowflake car, Lexi, but in reality we’re singing the lyrics to “I’ve Got to go My
Own Way.”
I am from the Lone Star state
I am from the night before Christmas
I am from a birth certificate that reads Laisha Aylin Perrett and this is just a
preview to my life

23
To Sing a Song
Robert Hinojosa

To be awake in the early hours of the morning is to see clouds in backdrops
of purple darkness.
Clouds lose the gray that defines them,
Clouds the burnt orange hue of dying streetlights,
Where the glass is cracked and the paint is peeling,
Where front doors light up one by one awaiting the morning sun,
It is,
It is,
To hear the motors of air conditioners click on and off,
To hear the creaks and cracks of brick face houses,
plastic siding settling in,
It is,
To be awake in the witching hours of the night,
To hear dogs cry,
To hear wild shouts bleeding one into the other,
To hear them wake, each to each, in manicured backyards, coals turning to
ash beneath greasy grills, ac’s set low,
Ceiling fans whir quick and loud,
Drown them out,
It is to,
on occasion,
sit underneath a starless sky where the only lights that sparkle and shine
reflect through faded glass
Black shadow palm trees frame the slow drifting clouds,
shadows lost in the night,
searching for sunlight.
Fronds reaching out to what they could never hold,
Here and there,
through the orange clouds and purple sky,
on occasion,
on occasion, might appear true stars, overshadowed and forgotten,
denied this view of earth.
Tonight,
There is no moon to guide them,
Tonight,
We sing to cloudy skies and streetlights,
They sit static and although they can see the universe, although they can see
my planet,
Mi tierra,
24
They cannot see me.
I wonder at what they feel,
I wonder,
I wonder
If in the glimpses through rolling clouds they see me looking at them.
If maybe for a moment, I shined brighter than the streetlight.
If maybe, in looking up, these stars belong to just me, or someone else too.
I fix on a point, call it my own,
I wonder as it blinks so far from the moon,
While it sings its song,
flutters through and through,
skips and starts,
Tries to keep its tune,
I wonder If it’s ever seen itself,
Naked as it stands here tonight,
Outshined by the streetlight,
Like it always stood,
I wonder,
And still,
It sings its song,
And I sing to it, when I see it, when I don’t,
I sing my song, in starts and stops, through patches of lamplight clouds,
Through the whir of machines,
through all those lost dreams,
I see it blink, just once, then once more.
Is it a song for me,
or was it a song,
for those long gone.
A song to the universe,
A song for those that will never know its name,
The clouds drift and flow
they disappear in patches that come and go,
I find my star no more
I sang my song in its last light
I wonder,
I wonder if I did it right
Oh
What a wonder,
Oh
What a fright,
To behold that star
On this cold night.
25

Brownsville
Vanessa Danielle Cisneros

Bunuelos for Christmas at my grandma’s house on a warm December
evening
Raspa stands in the summer with my cousins on sizzling summer days
Ojo from the ladies walking el centro down Elizabeth street looking at your
mom’s new purse
Winter never coming because it is hot all year round
Nachos y elotes early in the morning from visiting la pulga just to walk
around
Sombrero Fest in late February with school days cut in half just to make it to
the parade on time
Vulgar words coming from my grandpa after the Cowboys lose on Sunday
games
Iglesia los domingos por que dios ve todo as my mom would say
La Michocana every Thursday to get good deals on the carne for the weekend
cookouts
La Pitada down Southmost when the Cowboys do win on Sunday games and
grandpa is not so vulgar
Everything from the food, culture, traditions and people are what make me
call 78521 my home

26
Ο καιρός (Kairos)
Margarita Serafimova

Here, above the southern waves, where the seagull
reflecting them is whiter than itself,
I will write two words to you:
This is the moment.

27
I Am From…
Huyen Man Kieu

-văn hoá Á Đông (Eastern Asian culture) that many people would like to
explore and discover
-gorgeous Da Nang city – the most livable city in Viet Nam - well-known for
its những cây cầu xinh đẹp (stunning bridges)
-my dad and my mom, whom I love the most in this world
-a cozy family, though we lasted difficult time, at the end of the day, we’re still
happy together
-affection of my parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts, those who always
give me the best things
-a sunny day more than nineteen years ago, that’s why my mom call me
“Sunny”
-những câu chuyện cổ tích (some fairy tales) my mom told me before I fell
asleep when I was just a little girl
-singing some kid songs with my friends every morning before class during
my quãng thời gian ở trường mẫu giáo (kindergarten time)
-bursting into tears when I fell down but had to stood up again on my own
-saturday afternoons, when I finished all my homework and were allowed to
play dolls with other girls.
-“dậy nhanh không thì trễ giờ học! (get up now or you will be late for
school!)”
– my mom shouted at me when I was still happy with my blanket on winter
mornings.
-những con đường (roads) on which my dad took me to school when the sun
even didn’t rise yet
-some of nights i had to stay up late to complete all assignments so that I
could keep up with my intelligent classmates in my trường chuyên Nguyễn
Khuyến (Nguyen Khuyen junior high school for the Gifted)
-Dan and Trinh, bạn thân của tôi (my close friends), waiting for me in the
school yard after studying to have some girl talk and giggle pleasantly
-stormy days, it was raining cats and dogs outside, my mom and I made bánh
xèo tôm thịt giòn rụm (crispy Vietnamese pancakes with shrimp and pork)
that my family would enjoy when watching news on TV
-short trips to Hue and Hoi An with my family, gazing sparkling stars on the
beach in the night, walking in acient town and taking some photos
-tutoring my younger sister and when I got mad at her because she didn’t
understand what I told her, my parents said: “it seems like World War 3 is
going to break out here, huh?”
-my dad often told me: “My little girl, daddy don’t think that you should rush
to have a boyfriend”
28
-my grandma made hot chicken soup and ginger tea for me when I got sick
-listening to Happy New Year of ABBA on preparing Bánh Chưng (Square
Rice Cake) for Lunar New Year
-Tet holiday, I was still given tiền lì xì (lucky money) even though I was
sixteen already
-Roses blooming gorgeously in front of my house when Spring knocks my
door and their smell is gone with the wind
-Cicadas chorus as they want to notify that summer was coming and I had to
say goodbye to my high school time
-bittersweet high school memories with my fellow classmates and beloved
teachers, and I knew that maybe all of us never have chance to meet again
-letting go the sadness and holding on the good things
-learning from yesterday, living for today and hoping for tomorrow.

29
Pararitos y Jackalopes
Catfish McDaris

In the time of forgotten dreams
Spaniard cried in the night, rivers
of pain, chest thundering stampede

Walking dark roads, going
insane, love screaming in
torment, “I can’t thwart dead
Arapahos, there are yen ways to

Skin a jackalope, you are my cure,
my medicine, my vitamin, let me
lick your shadow, look inside my
suitcase from Mexico City, I have

One hundred fifty-two birds inside,
I was taking them to Madrid, now they
are yours,” Spaniard gave her the
suitcase, it lifted her aloft, until she
vanished forever in the ashen clouds.

30
Flagstaff Snow
Catfish McDaris

Vulture shadows glide over desert floor thumbing for Sonoran mysticism
forests of cacti arms reaching skyward

Feet half frozen from a Flagstaff snow storm jagged ice sierra

Cardboard and inner tube I'd lined my shoes with in Albuquerque long gone
tempted by white man's moccasins from a bowling alley picturing a caged
jaguar and walking on

The sun scorching down in shimmering waves of turquoise

Am I a mirage

Or just another desperado swallowed by a hole in the wall of the universe.

31
Magdalena
Catfish McDaris

Scarfing vagabond goulash
from Mexican sombrero
hub caps stolen from a
turquoise low rider short
in the valley of Albuquerque

Spanish dagger roots, flowers,
stems, and blanco corn tortillas
prickly pear tuna, serrano, pob-
lano, Copper Canyon sotol

Slow your cinnamon roll, mama
cooch, no need to gank the skank
letâ’s booty call tango fandango

Roots of the desert dagger are
full of saponins, a toxin that can
be used to stun fish without injury.

32
Beyond Silence
Giving voice to words and ideas.
The Importance of Poets and Poetry
Gideon Cecil

Poetry has always been a part of human life. It is an art that lies in the
soul and spirit of man since the beginning of time. A poet writes always of
his personal life and experience. He writes because he has an indispensable
desire in his heart to express his ideas to objectify his poetic philosophy
about life.
The English poet Shelly said that: ‘‘A poem is the very image of life
expressed in its eternal truth……’’. The profound truth in this line written by
Shelly can be seen in the poetry of all the classical poets of old from Homer
to Shakespeare. The writing of great poetry has been the primary vehicle
of expressing one’s thoughts, observations, historical events, and various
philosophies from a different perspective about life.
A great poem unlike a novel or a short story can be digested and
absorbed in our souls and can become a part of us forever. The poetry of
Homer, Virgil, Dante, Tagore, Shakespeare has become a part of the literary
world until today. The divinity of their poetry has become sermons and
prayers over the ages.
Poets speak a language all their own. Poets think in images-
words naming a sensory thing or action. Great poetry requires a reader
to experience a series of sensory experiences. Having experienced the
image-we need to interpret it-its vital message the poet is conveying to his
readers. Poetry gives pleasure first, then truth hidden in complex imagery
and philosophy. Its language is charged, intensified
and sophisticated.
Imagery in poetry writing is what every poet should strive for to
achieve in his literary craft. Imagery is not just the sensory object the poem
will convey to the readers. It is not only the beautiful and musical patterning
of words; it is truth and meaning within the words of the poet that gives us
great poetry.
The illustrious American poet and critic T.S. Eliot wrote: ‘‘The dead
poets are revealing themselves in the poets that are alive…..’’. His poetic
knowledge in the line I have quoted here is what I have experienced as
a poet. I am inspired and motivated to write when I read the work of a
great poet. Inspiration will only come when I can value the poetry of every
great poet whose work I have read. Poetry I believe is a very deep spiritual
revelation compounded with creative imagination from the unseen world
into the known material world.
Some philosophers and theologians believe that poetry writing is
very deep ‘intuitive writing’ that cannot be taught from mere book learning. I
fully agree with them because one can be taught the literary genres and
34
techniques about writing from an English text book; but one cannot be
taught how to write. Great poetry has to be revealed to the poet by spiritual
revelation for him to become an inspired poet. It is my firm conviction
that poetry as well as music and art are a God given gift given to the artist
unknown to him on many occasions that cannot be taught at Universities.
Some of our greatest Guyanese authors and poets such as: Martin Carter,
Wilson Harris, Edgar Mittelholzer, Philip Moore and Petamber Persaud
never acquired university degrees but their writings excelled those with
PhD's degrees. Why? Because they study and read widely; one cannot
write well unless they are widely read. Great reading and a love for words
brings inspiration to the writer. Samuel Johnson was too poor to acquire a
University degree yet he wrote the greatest dictionary and tons of books and
papers. What many academics failed to understand is very simple: degrees
don’t write; writers do the writing not degrees.
Intuition which we sometimes call ‘inspiration’ will push us to
write lines we ourselves are unable to write by our natural intellectual
apprehension. Until today many literary scholars believe that Shakespeare
never wrote what he had written because he was not educated at a
University. Shakespeare was naturally gifted and inspired by God to write
what he had written. The American poet and critic T.S. Eliot believed that
Shakespeare never did any real thinking to write but wrote upon inspired
thoughts given to him by the imperial muse of poetry.
Poetry is an art, the greatest of the fine arts, and the hardest in
which to reach true perfection. The true poet must be a genuine poet who
has faith and confidence that his work will do something to the world and
the society he lives in. Poetry deals with the emotional intensity in man. It’s
a more sophisticated art in writing that comes from the poet’s heart by a
higher sort of creative imagination. Prose on the other hand deals with the
external intellect, it’s a more lucid and scientific form of expression. It is a
more analytical and comprehensive style in formal writing. It enables man to
see things more clearly; whereas poetry lies in obscure images beneath the
surface of things that can only be comprehended by eyes within our mind’s
eye. Poetry is philosophy locked in symbolism and magnificent imagery.

Some Poems by some Literary Greats:
‘Say not in grief that she is no more
but say in thankfulness that she was
A death is not the extinguishing of a light,
but the putting out of the lamp
because the dawn has come.’

By: Rabindranauth Tagore (India)
35
‘And so
if you see me
looking at your hands
listening when you speak
marching in your ranks
you must know
I do not sleep to dream,
but dream to change the world.’
By: Martin Carter (Guyana’s National Poet)

Sonnet 71:
By William Shakespeare
No longer mourn for me when I am dead
Then you shall hear the surly sullen bell
Give warning to the world that I am fled
From this vile world with vilest worms to dwell;
Nay, if you read this line, remember not
The hand that writ it; for I love you so,
That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot,
If thinking on me then should make you woe.
O, if (I say) you look upon this verse,
When I (perhaps) compounded am with clay,
Do not so much as my poor name rehearse,
But let your love even with my life decay,
Lest the wise world should look into your moan,
And mock you with me after I am gone.

Here I quote the poems of three world renowned poets including
our own late national poet Martin Carter none of whom were university
graduates yet they wrote the greatest poetry in the world.
In the first poem, Tagore wrote in very simple language but depicts
in vivid concise imagery that death is not the end of life, he sees death as the
beginning of a new divine journey into the spiritual world.
Martin Carter explores the relationship between himself the poet trapped in
a political world scenario yet has a dream of exquisite beauty and perfection
to change the world.
William Shakespeare is telling us to stop mourn for him immediately
after his funeral and ring the death bell to everyone that I am dead, and don’t
try to remember me and repeat my name if it causes you pain.
Poets are important in every society because their prophetic words
of wisdom will live on after they are gone.

36
Poetry is my Sugar
Gideon Cecil

Poetry the sugar in my
tea I drink daily
as I go
to sleep at nights
to dream of my
muses hidden
in the invisible
roof of my soul.
My muses comes
like a sudden
shower of rain
writing in the blank
pages of my immortal memory.

I drink a Shakespearian
Sonnet;
A Dante’s Tercet,
A Homeric Ode,
A Virgil’s Epic
And a Milton’s Blank verse;
As ‘Poetry Sugar’ into my tea
that set’s my soul free
invoking my muses to
write in my fragile mind
so free.

Modern inventions
brings terror to
our souls; hatred of nations
bombing of the innocent
hacking into banks
spying us like an invisible
God in our homes.
Poetry is the sugar
In my tea
The balm of my soul
The mirror of your
Eyes that shows you the
Destiny of your life
In the garden of your
Soul.

37
El Quixote
Karina Teran Quiroga

38
Los Ojos de Rayuela
Karina Teran Quiroga

39
The Way Cops Do
Chuck Taylor

He’s a slightly overweight man.
He is calm, smiling, almost laughing,
Lying on his back.

He has put his hands up
Above his head, so high
His arms are stretched fully out.

He says, “Don’t shoot,”
And maintains a smile somehow.
The cops shoot anyway.

The way his body silently
Assumes the stillness
Of death is horrifying.

40
The Forbidden Zone
William Mainoux

Gotta have complacency, surveillance &
mass security, vigilance & purity! No Brown
power in academia! Hell, social justice ain’t a
conservative concern. How trespassers tear fabric
of whole clean America! It’s time to lock & load.

Students gather at university quad for free lunch
sponsored by South Texas Minutemen. All fake
smiles is a tactic of supremacy they handout
sodas & pizza slice. Boy howdy let’s make
‘merica great again — protect our liberty, pass
out flyers — spread regime propaganda —
lure ‘em out! Gonna make ‘merica great again
that pizza sure tasty though — its oven fresh too —
shame to give it to them. Patrols detain & deport.
Violence by policy deny human rights in the
Forbidden Zone!

Yet in crowds unafraid is pride & whispers loudening
chanting louder — Here to stay! Here to stay!

41
Hayz-Sammons Toxic
William Mainoux

We’re fuel to the elite. We’re fuel to the elite.
We’re fuel to the elite. We’re fuel to the elite.
Hey, do you think that water/soil/air is safe?

Mission, Tejas is an example of colonial aggression.
Y’ll know Mission a place of chemical warfare?
Half century of community exploit & grind for greed —
of toxic & pesticide & ignore for profit! First, use us
blame us then leave us to bury our own —
without mercy push the next generation —
cheap labor is expendable easily replaceable!

This is just a chapter of the Indigenous Holocaust
powered by good old hate manifest destiny
This story not in the public consciousness, not
covered by big media, and seldom known even
among RGV residents — hmm wonder why.
Greed is corporate normative & Mission got a —
narrative of human suffering on la Frontera. As people
as global citizens end exploitation & dollar worship.

We’re fuel to the elite. We’re fuel to the elite.
We’re fuel to the elite. We’re fuel to the elite.
Hey, do you think that mind/love/home safe?

42
War_yah (PoC: Person of Color)
William Mainoux

War_yah War_yah stop daydreaming
keep alert & stay ye always steady. There’re
devils ever scheming so always steady. Don’t
be fooled by fame & fortune, chase not some
lustful malice. For hour/minute hands are
ever fleeting. Does it make ye tremble?
NO only War_yah love steady. Can’t you
see/feel oppression grinning, learn how there’s
hatred trending — wake the fuck up!
Think there’s not shit phobias spreading
War_yah War_yah stop daydreaming —
don’t let yourself be caught sleeping —
don’t let human/civil rights fade to nothing!

Hey PoC hustle or get hustled? Hey PoC
do ya conform or dismantle the master’s house?
Keep silent & content in shadows, try to not
step on anyone’s toes or do ya make some noise?
Hey PoC — hella activist!
Hey PoC — radical consciousness!
Hey PoC — ally for change!
Hey PoC — voice for the voiceless!
Hey PoC — global citizen!
Hey PoC — dignity without borders!
War_yah War_yah stay strong stay woke!

43
In America There Is No Fear
Perla Melendez

When people hear about the drug cartels in Mexico they imagine the drug
lords with uncountable money and power. But, people never picture the
normal people that live in the same place where their fights take place. No
one thinks of those who live an ordinary life. I was one of them. I used to live
in Matamoros since I can remember. I was born in the United States, but I
was raised in Mexico. My parents took this decision based on the childhood
they experience on their own. They believed that living in Matamoros could
give me some type of peace. As a child, I used to go to the store at 2 am with
my uncles just to buy candies. I remember taking the road at 5 am when
everyone was asleep. But at some point, everything started to change. I
started to see some changes around me. People started to be afraid of going
out at night because of the fear of a shooting or seeing the “wrong people” in
the street. I started to feel the change when my aunts and uncles no longer
wanted to visit us because of the danger that our city had. Fear started to
take off my most precious moments one by one, and the society in which I
was living let it happen.
Today, I can truly say that I started a journey to the US seek for freedom. I
started my education in the United States because I was looking for freedom.
I no longer wanted to decide if I was going out based on daylight. We were
afraid of narcos as if they were monsters that only came out to the streets
at night. I remember when shootings started to occur during the day time,
we were scared to leave the house.They not longer were monsters from
the darkness of night. They were shooting each other at 1pm in the most
concurred street. I remember being at high school in Mexico and whenever
my classmates started to leave early the chaos and psicosis started to flow
through the hallways. Students would start to ask “is there any shootings?
Or what is going on?” like it was some type of rain. And at that moment, I
realized that society was accepting the fear. Society had started to accept that
it was normal to leave a classroom because there was some type of shooting.
But, for me, it was never the right choice. I remember the first months I
spend at Brownsville, my mom would go to sleep peaceful since she knew
that there was nothing dangerous in the streets of my city.
Fear started to appear in the eyes of my fellow classmates when Donald
Trump started his presidency. I remember the first day after he won. There
was a complete silence in the university. People walked with their heads
down. Students questioned their future. I did not wanted to accept fear
again. I had struggled trying my best to get away from it and now it was here
with me again.I remember seeing one of my friends. She had come to the
United States illegally after her family and herself were threatened by drug
44
cartels. She was not coming to the US for a better job or a better opportunity
she was here because she needed peace. I remember seen her that day
completely sad feeling hopeless for the decision that was taken without her
consent. I remember hugging her. I remember telling her how sorry I felt
because I failed her. I had the right to vote for a better future for me and for
her. But it was not enough to make a change.
But when sadness surrounded the University I saw a light. The next day
right after Trump started his presidency there was a march in the whole
world. Women stood up for their rights and male were right next to them.
People were fighting. I remember seen the different pictures and felt the
greatest pride in humanity. There were signs with words of hope that stated
how “Love not Hate Makes America Great”and “The Future is Female.” I was
proud to be in a country where thousands came together to fight. I had seen
society lose their freedom in Mexico. I have seen how everyone surrendered
to the wishes of drug cartels. Here, in America, everything was different.
I saw fear in the eyes of Mexican Immigrants who felt scared of living in a
country were they are called rapists. But for me. Mexican Immigrants are
fighters who came to this country for a better opportunity. I fekt helpless
when I saw the mass deportations in TV. Because this country was build in
immigration. This country has accepted italians, germans and french but
they were unable to accept Mexicans because they care consider a threat.
But I saw the light when cities identified themselves as ciudades cantuario
that offer peace to those who were looking for a safe heaven. In that moment,
I was proud of being American.
Every time that I had a feeling of fear someone came to fight for the rest.
When Trump passed the law against Muslims, I remember seen in TV how
thousands stood up in front of Airports fighting for those who were coming
from countries in civil wars. They were no different to my friend who came
to this country for freedom. They came with hopes of a new life like any
other immigrant who came to this country. I saw signs that stood up for
others stating “No Human Is Illegal” and that simply my heart was full with
pride. In the United States, people not only stood up for themselves, but for
those who they don't know. I came from a place that lose everything for fear.
I know that we have many things to be scared of. There is people in power
that have no feelings of love for those who are different. But one thing that I
know is that in this country no one would surrender to fear because we all
come from places where people gave up their freedom for fear and we are
not going to accept something like this in the country of freedom.

45
Beyond Relationships
Reaching out to those around us.
September 9, 1998 NASA’s Archives
Laisha Perrett

The night never looked brighter than the day you were born
The crater Copernicus, discovered on the moon the day you were born
With that being said, we're like the moon and sun
Always there for each other
And like the sun to the universe during the Renaissance Era
Wonder must be flowing your mind,
What makes the sun so special during this era when they are quintillion
other stars?
Well the famous astronomer Copernicus placed the sun at the center of
universe
And a romantic like you is at the center of mine

47
Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
Nathan Wade Calley

My grandfather passed away recently. I hadn’t seen him in years. Nor
had I spoken with him in over a decade. Suffice it to say, we hadn’t been on
the best of terms since I was old enough to have a mind of my own. That was
when I figured out a few upsetting things about the old man.
Pop, as I referred to him, was once my favorite person alive. There wasn’t a
soul on this planet I loved more. But all that changed.
“Dust in the wind.”
My grandfather always used stupid idioms in his speech. I know it’s
cliché, but that was how he talked. If he were waking me up in the morning:
“Early bird catches the worm, Everett.” If something was lost, like my mom’s
car keys: “Leave no stone unturned, kiddo.”
Pop didn’t always do a very good job of explaining his little sayings.
I had to figure out what many of these things meant on my own. Not just
individual words, but how they pieced together. For instance, when I was
little, I’d never seen a bird eating a worm. I knew they ate bugs and chips and
popcorn or just about anything you tossed at them in a grocery store parking
lot. So I figured worms must be on the menu too. And as far as stone flipping
goes, I kicked over my share in my adolescence, and I don’t recommend it
so much. Most of the time, it was just soggy dirt and a heap of pissed off fire
ants ready to retaliate.
But sometimes I couldn’t readily figure his sayings out.
“Cooler heads prevail.”
What the hell did that mean?
The first time I ever visited a butcher shop with my mom, I wandered
about the space, half-blind from the awful flickering florescence lights,
gagging on the sickening stench of rotting flesh. Rushing up to spy into one
of the refrigerated displays, like some voyeuristic window-shopper, I saw
grotesque faces peering out at me behind the glass. Looking closer, I saw
three pig heads. Naturally, I asked myself if that was what Pop had meant.
Being that I was still just a kid, I also couldn’t help but cross associate
that image with the tale of the three little pigs and the big bad wolf. Except
that in my version of the story, the three pigs ended up slaughtered,
beheaded, and put on display at the butcher’s. And the wolf? He was shot
and stuffed and housed in a glass case of his own at one of the local high
schools. A fine mascot he made.
Another saying that left me dumbfounded: “Heads will roll.”
I always imagined this to be some sort of stretching, yoga-type
exercise, like this one videocassette workout my mom tried when she had
gone on a diet after she hit forty. Drop your right ear to the your shoulder.
48
Exhale. Now roll your chin down to your chest. Now keep going till you drop
your left ear down on the other side. Reverse. Repeat.
Why would I ever have thought about a guillotine? I lived in South
Texas, not revolutionary France. The closest I ever he came to hearing
anything that sounded remotely akin to the word guillotine was the name
of my childhood best friend, Guillermo. He used to roll his head whenever I
made stupid jokes. Which was often.
Pop was always rude to Guillermo, who I had to introduce as William
so he’d ease up. You see, Pop was a racist. There was always this predilection
on his part for ethnic slurs of just about every kind. I never met anyone else
who could go from saying something profound to something completely
prejudice in a matter of seconds. Pop once sat me down and said: “Everett,
it’s important to be honest and true in everything you do. But most of all, be
kind to everyone, because you never know when you’ll need a friend in this
world. But stay clear of—.” I still can’t abide that word.
When Pop first found out from my father that he was marrying
a “half-breed Mexican,” he was horrified and ashamed. But when he
actually met my mother, and saw that she was pretty fair-skinned, he could
somewhat forgive her mixed heritage and my father’s betrayal. And when I
was born, he was “beside himself” to find I had green eyes.
Granted, Pop was less forgiving when I started dating. It got to be
such an ugly thing between us that I stopped talking to him altogether after
a while. In high school, when I brought home my first girlfriend, he had the
audacity to accuse her of being a “wet back” to her face. That comment cost
me my relationship, and it killed off the last bit of affection I felt for Pop.
“Bridges were burned.”
But those damn idioms stuck with me still.
Once I started dating seriously, and finally began fooling around, I
would sometimes be reminded of Pop’s frequent promptings growing up:
“Don’t beat around the bush, kid” That inspired more than a few inopportune
laughing fits. Just imagine me and some girl in the back of a car, and there
was Pop to ruin the moment. And anytime a relationship ended badly, I’d
hear Pop in my head saying: “Went down in flames.”
I wish that I could disassociate Pop’s idiomatic wisdom from his
general bigotry, but I simply can’t. I know now that he’s gone, I should
forgive him. That’s a hard thing to do. Guillermo, back before we went our
separate ways, used to say Pop couldn’t help himself.
“Just let it be. Let sleeping dogs lie. He’s just a viejito.”
“He asked you if you were going to mow the lawn the last time you
came over.”
Guillermo laughed. “He’s just fooling. I know he doesn’t really mean it.”
“Doesn’t he?”
49
“Hell no.”
“I think he does. And even if he doesn’t, it’s insulting. And embarrassing.”
“Nambe. He’s funny. My dad says shit about you that’s worse.”
“Yeah? Like what?”
“He calls you a gap-toothed, turd-faced, sister-layer. The Spanish
equivalent.”
“He does not.”
“Well, I wish that he had said that.”
“Well, I wish that you had a sister.”
“No mames guey!”
After high school ended, I moved away from Texas, and I lost touch
with Guillermo. It happens. He’d never gone to college. His family couldn’t
afford it. And so he had never left home. From what I had heard, he ended up
getting into trouble with the law a few years back over something dumb, like
possession.
“Caught red-handed.”
Whatever the case, he spent some time in jail over it, but nothing
serious
I often wonder what might have happened to Guillermo if I would
have stuck around. Would it have turned out the same, or would it have gone
down differently? Pop used to say, “You’re no better than the company you
keep.” If that’s true, then perhaps I would have ended up in jail myself. But
what if the reverse is true? Maybe I could have had a positive influence on
my friend.
I’m inclined to believe that that last idiom is a falsehood. Pop used to
always spend time with this older woman that was a sister-in-law, or some
such position. Pop made me call her Auntie, even though I hated her guts.
I don’t remember her too well, because she died long ago, but I remember
that she smelled like an unholy trinity of mothballs, rose perfume, and
urine. When I questioned my parents about the ghost of that latter stench,
my mother admitted that Auntie suffered incontinence, which she went on
to explain: “It’s kind of just like with a baby. She has accidents.” My point,
however, is that Pop hanging out with Auntie didn’t encourage her to take
up smoking a pipe too, nor did it turn him into a piss pants—unless Pop was
just better at hiding it than Auntie was.
When I flew back down for the funeral and went home, I spotted
Pop’s empty chair out on the front porch. That was the spot he spent most of
his days, smoking that nasty old sweet tobacco, staring off across the yard.
The silence and stillness of that wooden seat inspired yet another of Pop’s
idioms: “He’s off his rocker.”
After the service and burial, and after I’d escaped the family, I went
out for a drive around the old town. It was then that I realized how much
50
things had changed in my absence, so much so that I hardly recognized the
place. I went searching for my old haunts, but either found them replaced
or torn down. Settling instead on a corporate coffee house, I stepped in and
ordered something warming and ended up bumping into an old classmate
working behind the glass counter as a barista.
Truthfully, I couldn’t remember his name, but thankfully he
had a nametag that spared me my sense of guilt. After a few minutes of
perfunctory catching up, I was stricken by the sad news that Guillermo had
passed away recently.
“How did it happen?”
The barista made some mumbling comments and then eventually
revealed through elusive hints that Guillermo had gone missing for a few
days, and that when he was finally found, he was dead.
“Spill the beans. How did he die?”
My old classmate behind the counter couldn’t elaborate further,
because just then a large order came in and he was too busy to talk any
more. But he said it was in the news. If I wanted to know more, I just needed
to look it up. It sounded mysterious, and also distasteful. Digging for chisme.
Maybe it’s just Pop in my head after all this time, but I couldn’t
help but imagine the worst. The only stories I’d heard about this area were
gruesome accounts of gang violence, torture, and murder. Had that befallen
Guillermo?
“You play with fire, you get burned.”
I imagined the macabre possibilities. Guillermo involved with the
wrong type of crowd. Crossing the wrong person. Used as a scapegoat to set
an example for others. In the wrong place at the wrong time.
I tried not to envision this, but my mind ran wild with nonsense. I imagined
Guillermo done in despicable ways, like those God-awful stories I’d heard.
I imagined my friend dismembered, severed limb from limb. Not even a
person anymore. Just discarded chops of meat.
I fought not to imagine any further horrors. But then Pop’s stupid sayings
kept coming back. Maybe it was just a defense mechanism, gallows humor,
but there it was again: “Pull yourself together.”
Good God, I thought, what’s wrong with me?
I felt stupid. Racist even. The media made it seem like there were
gang wars happening out in the middle of the street. Yet another reason to
keep away. My own sort of prejudice.
But Brownsville was as peaceful as ever.
Those damn stories. I can’t lie anymore and say that’s why I stayed
away. The real reason is because I don’t like who I am in this place.
I’m not afraid of Brownsville. I’m afraid of myself.
I don’t feel like me when I’m here. I feel just like a dumb kid. And any
51
moment there will be Pop to lecture me with some more pseudo wisdom,
followed up by a dose of racism. And there will be mom and dad not saying a
damn thing, like it is all okay.
That’s the real reason why Guillermo and I stopped being friends. I
didn’t want to be who I was anymore. Even if it meant giving up my best
friend.
“So I got the hell out of Dodge.”
When I finally looked it up, I learned the truth about how Guillermo
passed. Car wreck. There were pictures of Guillermo’s truck, which had
once belonged to his father, now a mangled wreck. We used to drive around
in that truck smoking cigarettes, pretending to be big shots, looking for
chicks. Now it was just twisted metal and broken glass. The article didn’t
explain the whys and hows. Nobody can explain what the hell he was doing
driving around that time of night, on that side of town. Or how it was that
he managed to veer across the road, plow through a chain-link fence, skate
across a huge empty lot, and then wrap himself around an old ebony tree.
But the toxicology reports said he’d been drinking.
That was the end of my friend.
There was a painted picture on the side of the truck, which I could
still make out, even in the pixilated photo online. It was the logo from his
father’s business. Cartoony. It had nothing to do with the profession. It was
there because Guillermo had drawn that picture when he was a kid, and his
father had loved it. The only time my dad ever put anything I drew on display
was when he made fun of my one attempt at drawing a Thanksgiving turkey,
which he said looked like a hand attached to a scrotum. Guillermo’s logo was
an aviator pig piloting one of those old-timey Wright Brother planes, waving
hello, or goodbye, as he zipped past.
“When pigs fly.”
I don’t know what saddens me worse, the loss of my old friend, or
the fact that these idiotic idioms keep popping into my mind. Why can’t I
separate the two? I’ve tried to get Pop out of my head for years, and he’s
there more than ever before.
“It’s all in your mind.”
And now I’ve got all these mixed feelings.
I’m confused and ashamed and angry. I should have made an effort
to keep in touch with Guillermo. I was a piss-poor friend. Even if it couldn’t
have altered a damn thing, at least I could have been there for him.
But I wasn’t.
I just let Pop’s talk infect my head. I understand why Pop was the way
he was. I know what he was doing. All those quips and cute quotes, it was
just a way to keep himself safe from the reality of every situation. Sure there
was wisdom in some of those sayings, but there wasn’t any real commitment.
52

All those idioms were just a wall.
And I know all about walls. I had to put up one four states wide just
to feel like my own man. But look at me now. I don’t feel any different.
“Wrap your head around that.”
Pop went peacefully when he passed. My parents said he’d asked
about me, the night before. Like if he knew he didn’t have much time left.
I should have tried to talk to Pop when I still had the chance. Maybe we could
have worked things out. Maybe.
They said Pop had said that he missed me.
I miss him too.
It’s the damnedest thing.

53
Fuck
Kevin Barbosa

Is it acceptable to fuck
Anyone and everyone you want,
Be mysteriously exposed in your photographs,
Act carelessly with people and friends
Drunk and drugged and dicked out of your mind,
Forget the hurtful and blissful past for a reputation,
Exist in a way the girl you were
Never thought you could be the girl you are,
Because you’re in your twenties?

You remind me of the characters Greta Gerwig plays in some of her films,
But not Gerwig herself,
Although you do look an awful like
Her Hispanic version if there was one;
I guess that’s you.

I bet when I was placing
The edge of the razorblade against my wrist,
You were getting penetrated
And plowed by a cock between the legs.

Your innocence was smothered by your lust and
Our history got erased by your fears and flaws.

I just wanted you,
But then again,
Everyone already had you,
And it was not my fault;
It was your choice.

54
Clock
Kevin Barbosa

Hearts beat
silently, unnoticeable in chests,
blood and love hidden. Heart is a
cocoon revealing emotion slow.
Time makes a human.
Inevitably, hearts die
without any rest.
Without love,
we are
dead.

55
Tell Him
Chuck Taylor

We're walking the orange groves behind the trailer where my granddaughter
lives. I love to walk the groves. I'd sneak a few into my pockets if they weren't
so small and green.

The family has told me you can catch a big fine for that, but I used to do it a
lot when I was in California visiting my mother in the mental hospital. Now I
walk with Ellie, who is beginning to bloom into a woman. She’s twelve going
on thirteen, I think.

We follow the irrigation canal so we don't get lost. It’s March, it’s in the mid
seventies, and you can’t find a cloud in the sky. Every now and then we see
the giant metal wheels they use to turn the sluices to redirect the water
down secondary canals and fully irrigate these trees with Rio Grande river
water.

Ellie wants to talk about her father, who she hasn't seen in five years. Ellie
has always amazed me that she can be so open about her feelings. Today she
wears her long brown hair – the exact color as mine – in a ponytail.

"Why did my dad leave?" she asks, looking up at me with her lovely
heartbreaking brown eyes.

"Have you asked your mother?" I answer. This is not a subject I wish to
discuss. I don’t want to create any misunderstandings or pain.

"My mom says it was drugs."

"I don’t’ know," I say. “My son James did have his problems with drugs.”

I pick up a small stone and throw it across the irrigation canal. "You think
you can throw one over?"

Ellie looks around and picks up six small stones. She easily throws them over
the canal. Each one she throws harder than the other.

"I never saw my father on drugs."

"You hardly saw him, I bet. He was gone most the time, driving one of those
big rigs thousands of miles away. He went to Chicago, New York City, Los
56
Angeles. He carried the map of this entire nation in his head."

"He didn't do really bad drugs, did he?" Ellie asks again. She takes hold
of my hand. She'll soon be an age, I speculate, when she won't hold her
grandfather's hand.

"Well, Ellie, I believe he has given up drugs. I don’t even think he took the
things truckers take to not fall asleep while driving. Maybe he drinks a few
beers now and then, but you see James didn't want to go back to jail. Twice
being locked up in city and county jails was enough for him."

"Was my dad a bad man?"

"No, Ellie, your dad was the sweetest boy. He carried a lot of feelings and
was sensitive. I think my divorce from his mom messed him up bad, plus my
second wife's kids, who were older than he, were into drugs and he thought
they were cool and copied them. Now he won’t even go see those kids. He
says they’re unhappy losers. You know a lot of good people go to jails, like
Martin Luther King, and Gandhi.

"Why won't he come home? Why won't call me on the phone, or at least
write a letter?"

"These are complicated things, hon. I don't know if my words can explain it.
All I know is his side of the story."

"I want to know his side."

"I don't know. I don't think it will do you any good."

"Why?"

"You'll just switch from blaming him to blaming your mother, and I've always
found your mother a good woman. You got to understand they’re no schools
that teach you to be a good dad. It’s guesswork. You don’t know what you’re
doing most the time.”

"Will you tell me his side if I promise not to get mad at my mother?"

"Maybe you could write him a letter, give it to me, and I can get it to him."

"I could do that, if you tell me why he left."
57
"Well, Ellie, you know your mom isn't much into housework, right?"

"I know. She always waits till the last minute. She says if I need a clean dish
to eat, just wash one."

"Does she still lie around the house reading romance novels all the time?"

"She used to, till James left. Then she had to go to work at the Edinburg
Nursing Home. I think it’s done her good. She’s lost a lot of weight."

"Your mom's a Catholic?"

"I think so, but nobody goes to church."

"And you heard somehow about the DNA test?"

"You mean that my brother is not James's boy and my mom lied and
pretended he was when he was born. I listened at the door to their
whisperings.”

"James got tired of cleaning up when he came back from a long haul. He
got tired of being called "ungodly" because he hadn't been baptized in the
Catholic Church. He got tired of your older brother saying he would not
obey James because he was not his father. All this stuff happened when you
were small. It's not your fault. I know James loves you. Will you now write
me that letter to give to him? Write it by hand, not on the computer, where
your mother will find it. Can you do that? I’ll be here two more days. Give the
letter to me and I’ll get it to James.

“Why can’t he call?”

“He worries your mom will send your uncle after him. Jesse’s a pretty tough
cop, you know. He prevented James from leaving the first time he tried, and
Jesse’s got cop friends all over the state.
"I don't know. It’d be hard. What do I say? You know I hate him, grandpa. I
hate him and miss him at the same time.”

"That’s all right, sweetheart. You have a right to be angry. Try not to hate if
you can because they hate will do you harm and won’t touch him.”

“I don’t care.”

58
�You don't have to write a letter, honey. You spend a lot of time with Jesse
after school in the evenings, right? James says your brother told him Jesse
was his father. He didn’t mean it biologically, but Jesse is the one who cares
for him because James is gone driving so much. Maybe you can write the
letter later, sweetheart. Your father’s a loving man. He's just not in a place
now where he can love you in person."

"I think we should start back, grandpa. See those dark clouds to the north."

"You're right. You’ve got sharp eyes. Hey! Do you see that big bird up a ways
in the canal. Where did it come from?”

“It’s a heron, grandpa. They sometimes fly in from the sea.”

“I never saw a heron the color of a rainbow. Look, he’s got an orange half
tucked under his wing, and he’s trying to eat it.”

And then hand and hand we find ourselves flying over the canal and over
flatlands of mesquite with dirt roads crisscrossing, flying and flying long
distances in short instants, until we land far away in the back of the trailer
with tall pecans around it where her father James lives. And as we land I say,

“There’s your dad coming out the back door now. Run up to him, call him dad
and tell him you love him.”

59
Recuerdo de un Gran Padre
Melba Salazar-Lucio

El Señor Don Lupe Garza fue un gran padre. Yo lo conocí desde que era una
niña. Él siempre fue un señor fuerte, valiente y trabajador. Y cuando sonreia
su cara mandaba rayos de oro que contajiaba a los de mas a sonreir tambíen.
Mr. Lupe Garza was a great father; I had known him since I was in
kindergarten. He was always a powerful, strong, valiant, hard-working man.
When he would smile---he would send golden rays that made all those
around him smile also.

El día que me llamó Gela, su hija para decirme que había muerto comencé a
recorder mi niñez, viviendo a un lado del Señor Don Lupe Garza. Me sentía
como si era mi casa donde él vivía. Como éramos vecinos, recordé muchas
cosas como: los bailes de patio con la música de accordión a todo huelo, no
se podía dormir cuando el Señor Lupe Garza festejaba, cómo puedo olvidar
las paletas de colores y sabores ricos que nos traía en el verano a pesar de
que andabanos descalsas y todas greñudas y embaranadas. Cómo se me
van a olvidar las bodas, bautizos, cumpleaños, dias de la virgen. Recuerdo
las hoyas de guisado, mole, arroz, chile y tortillas. En invierno hacían atole,
dulces, pan, galletas de avena con pasas y chocolate mexicano con canela. Y
tambíen me acuerdo de los santos que tenían Los Garza en un altar con velas
puestas siempre.

The day that Angela, Lupe Garza’s daughter called me to let me know about
his death, I began to recall my special childhood memories living alongside
our next door neighbor, Mr. Lupe Garza. I felt like his home was my home
too. I remembered the dances and parties in his cement patioed backyard
(several acres wide) with accordion music playing as loud as the volume
button would stretch. Nobody in the neighborhood could sleep when Mr.
Lupe Garza celebrated life. I clearly recall the multi-colored ice cream
cones he would buy us in the summer as we ran barefoot with our hair
tangled, uncombed and unkept. Cheerful weddings, countless baptisms,
lively birthday parties, religious Virgen Mary feast days and other saints
meant more parties too; Christmas Eve fiestas and New Year’s Eve festive
days kept us dancing, eating, drinking and singing in this Riverside barrio. I
remember the pots and pans full of home-cooked stews, mole and rice, chile
and tortillas. In the winter, the Garza household baked homemade porridge,
candy, breads, oatmeal cookies and cooked Mexican hot chocolate with
cinnamon. Clearly I remember the wooden altar mini house full of statues
of saints and virgins which were illuminated by many hot burning red and
white candles---always lit, day or night.
60
No recuerdo cuántos troques de trabajo de tirar cemento manejaba Lupe
Garza, pero fueron muchos. Nos rumbaban por mi casa dejando mucha
tierra porque era de caliche la calle mía, la calle Parral de más antes. Siempre
vivía con su sombrero de vaquero del trabajo y siempre su piel bien roja
maltratada por el sol. No había problemas para el Señor Don Lupe Garza…
siempre había solución….él siempre fue positivo con nosotros. Quería mucho
a su familia. Cuando voltiaba su troque en la esquina lo miraba que llegaba
del trabajo bien sudado del día pero siempre con una sorpresa para sus hijos
y para mi tambien, yo era el chicle colado. Todos gritaban: “Derri, Derri, ahí
viene Derri” y yo también gritaba como sus hijas, “Derri, Derri, ahí viene
Derri.”Toda la vida de mi ninez yo me senti parte de esta familia Garza----
Lupe Garza me trataba como una de sus doce hijas.
I don’t remember how many work gravel, cement trucks and pick-ups Mr.
Lupe Garza owned but they were too many to count. The trucks would zoom
passed my home scattering dust and dirt everywhere in our neighborhood…
since at that time Parral Street was still unpaved. Always, always he wore
his cowboy working hat and always his red skin scorched and mistreated
by the relentless sun. No problem was ever too overwhelming for Mr. Lupe
Garza…he found a solution…he always looked on the positive side of life. He
loved his family. When he’d turn the corner by my house, I could see him
driving the huge dump work trucks. Always with a treat in hand for all his
12 children and me too. I was the adopted neighborhood girl always visiting.
He was a man full of love and affection for his children and me too. “Daddy,
Daddy…here comes Daddy,” And I too would scream in unison with his
daughters repeating after them… ”Daddy, Daddy,….here comes Daddy.” My
childhood is filled with joyous days where I felt like I belonged….at the Garza
home and it was because of this man…Mr. Lupe Garza…he always treated me
as if I were his own daughter.
Si lo vamos a hechar mucho menos a Lupe Garza pero sé que…..como le dije
a mi papá, Baltazar ayer…daddy es que Lupe Garza se fue al cielo a ayudar
a los angelitos a hacer mitotes, pachangas y fiestas….se fue a poner luces,
mesas, sillas, comidas y música a todo huelo y arreglar todo para los días
festivos que nos esperan en este mes de diciembre. A él nunca le gustaba
que estuvieramos llorando o tristes---su vida fue una vida de mucha alegría.
Cuando miren u oigan algo festive en estos días de fiesta, recuerden que el
espíritu de Lupe Garza vive y esta presente en estas cosas como: la comida
rica, la musica fuerte, las luces brillantes de muchos focos y colores y en las
estrellas del cielo.

61
Mi Padre, El Sandiero (My dad, the watermelon vendor)
Melba Salazar-Lucio

“Hay sandia, aqui estan sus sandias,”
(Watermelon are here; your watermelons have arrived)
hollered el sandiero;
he was a man with a commanding voice as he zig-zagged his rust and red
GMC pick-up through the West and South sides of the barrios in town.
The back of the pick-up waddled pregnant with freshly picked watermelon
from San Isidro;
“Se las calamos,
si quiere,
para que las prueben,”
(We can give you a sample taste if you wish)
He, the silver haired old man, pleaded with potential abuelita customers.
“Calando,” meant cutting a small triangle into the heart of the watermelon
(so clients could taste the mouthwatering sandia). Piercing the fruit all the
way into the corazon!
“Aceptamos pesos, estampias de gobierno,
Centavitos, y pesetas tambien!”
(We accept Mexican currency, food stamps, pennies and quarters too)
The sandiero could sell watermelons to anyone!
Old, young, rich, poor---if you had spare change, he would cut you a deal. I
never met a man who worked so hard for extra money;
you see this special sandiero was a teacher and coach during the day, a
security guard at night and a fruit vendor on the weekends!
Mi padre, el hombre mas fuerte y trabajador de todo el mundo!
(My dad, the strongest, hard-working man in the entire world!)

62
Enferma Lyrics
Emma Guevara

Blonde hair
Sky blue eyes
I'll never be as white
As you

Fox's smile
Lying tongue
So glad those three words are still caught in my lungs

I was too spicy
You were too mild
Milk won't change me
Burnt tongue like a child

Drown my heart in Vicks and Sprite
Forcefeed me Saladitas
I'm the moon and she's the light
But I get it--you only like gringas

Just wanted to be enough
My background makes that too tough
It's not
Sufficient for you

My family
My world
"Strange and foreign"
You didn't think I was that girl

I was too spicy
You were too mild
Milk won't change me
Burnt tongue like a child

Drown my heart in Vicks and Sprite
Forcefeed me Saladitas
I'm the moon and she's the light
But I get it--you only like gringas
x3
63
Beyond the Surface
Discovering our hidden realities.

Barco de papel
Daniella Levy

Te liberé
Un barco de papel
A la deriva en el mar
Me quedé en la tempestad
Y te vi alejarte
En las olas suaves
Aprendí a caminar sóla
Por esta orilla
Aprendí a dejar de buscar
En el horizonte
Pero volviste a la orilla.
Aterrizaste por mis pies.
Y finalmente sabía yo
Que nunca me dejaste

65
Paper Boat
Daniella Levy

I released you
A paper boat
Floating out to sea
I stood in the storm
And watched you drift away
On gentle waves

I learned to walk alone
Along this shoreline
I learned to stop
Watching the horizon

But you returned to shore.
You landed at my feet.
And I finally knew
That you had never left me

66
The Bouquet of Time
Thais Deras

67
The beautiful sunflowers with the blue shining night
Esmeralda Diaz

68
Hold Tight
Chuck Taylor

69
Zoology
Kevin Barbosa

I stare into the mother’s eyes
From a never-ending distance.
A barrier breaks the tension
But doesn’t guarantee freedom.

Her environment is pretense:
Three deceiving walls, one exit,
A path to another painting
To live more than forced settling.

An exhibit to real monsters,
Where I, an individual, stand
Yet want to jump into landscapes
And end it, the trapped loneliness.

Time ceases; all animals fuse,
Adapting to fake habitat.
It’s not enough forming routine
Until you discover Love’s zone.

Creature comfort is supportive.
The joey looks like a Joey,
Given warmth in mammal blanket.
My label shall change to Joey.

Life’s surroundings are family.
Since true home is away from here,
That’s all that matters; we are one.
We’re the same. We are not alone.

70
The Mind is a Terrible Thing
Kevin Barbosa

This is a creepy short film and psychological thriller about insanity
and loss of control and hope. The film can be seen on the Chachalaca
Review website or on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/
watch?v=Z0OVNOW-z1k.

71
Everyday Battles
Tony Garza

72
Stripes #2186
Robert Hinojosa

I turn the keys. The motor dies. Its last rumbles fade away.
The rapid pulse of a bar next door starts to turn my heart. I wonder
whether were running off the same beat. If maybe I should change
course, but walk through the doors just the same.
I cross the threshold. Just as quickly I want to turn right
around. One guy behind the counter, and the guy at the head of the line
is negotiating a money order. I don’t have to hear the words to know
what’s happening. The wallet in his hand is sprouting. Green leaves
from dry and weathered leather. He’s a real green thumb. I see him
pull out a wad, keep half for himself and wish I tendered that garden.
The line is three deep. I’ve passed through the doors so I’m
trapped. Mark me down as number four.
Green Thumbs garden belies his appearance. The worn down
wallet disappears into pressed slacks where the lines run wild.
Crumpled blazer, and as he turns to walk out, I see hints of a black
tie on the front of a wrinkled shirt. It’s a little too tight, he’s choking
himself in shabby elegance. As I pass the line headed towards the
back, I take a quick glance at number two as he moves to become the
new number one.
He looks like the kind of guy that sucks lemons in between
meals. He’s in gym shorts. The elastics worn down, and in tightening
them he has split his body in two. They are a solid black, never having
been exposed to the sun, but they hold the waters of a thousand
washes in between the fibers. It is a mini constellation on his lower
half. Balls of white fiber clinging to the outside. His shorts let the
whole world know he never learned to wash colors together.
I pass through the museum of modern art and head towards
the back. I had the quickest of glances at number three, but the case
of Natural Light in his hands told me more than enough. Any one that
would wait in line with a case of that doesn’t deserve more than a
thought or two.
I slide through to the back. I’m not even sure that I walk. Having
lived this a thousand times, I am not sure that I even choose to arrive.
Maybe I just manifest here.
Bright silver aluminum, brown bottled glass, green plastic, and
every color of cardboard are opposite me. They hide in their freezers
behind glass sheets, and rubber seals. You can always tell what kind of
73
area you’re in by the condensation on the glass.
In the cheapest back alley gas stations the Natural Light section
is invisible, it lies hidden behind all the condensation. In the areas just
outside the middle of town, Budweiser and all the lower middle class,
spur of the moment beers, are hidden by the fog of indecision. If you
want to buy one, or even consider it, you have to open the door just to
see the price. In the nice sections of town, the craft beer and imports
run bare, close to invisible. In each, it all depends on what part of the
night you arrive.
Heavy duty alcoholics arrive early to clear glass, and end the
night looking through clouds, picking up whatever they can afford.
Right now looking through the haze, I want to show up with
beer for me. Maybe a bit extra, but I don’t want to spend too much. I’m
heading out to party, but I don’t know if I should show up with two
different sixes or a twelve.
I’m not even sure of what I should take. I’m leaning towards
XX, but I checked my bank account before heading out, and it’s telling
me tonight is Budweiser. That’s the standard, a baseline for what’s
acceptable, and what’s not.
My friends keep it simple, frozen oceans of red and white cans
fill the ice chests. Bottles of tequila and shot glasses cover the tables.
Homemade Mescal and Gentleman Jack keep it high, but drown in the
standard, everything else, is the exception.
I’m thinking and thinking, and leaning high, but I remember
the power bill is due next week. I’m tasting one, but buying the other.
I think about heading home, but these are my friends. Green shines
brighter than brown, and I’m feeling emerald green today, but I reach
out and grab that red and white box. I grab the eighteen and head
towards the register. Enough for me, and extra for you.
While I had been in the back pondering the rest of my night,
hedging my bets and checking my bank account for a second time. The
line up front has changed.
I’m the new number two. Before me, is a most interesting
number one. She hadn’t been there before. In fact, she walks through
the door and to the register in that space of time I spent walking out
the back aisle to front line.
She is a certain kind of determined. She gave it away when she
walked in through the doors. Scanned the whole store, sent her eyes
darting wild across the landscape. I’m sure she noticed every bag of
chips, candy and all the knick knacks gas stations try to pass off as
74
collectibles. She’s at home here. I know because she looked at what I
held, and realized I wasn’t worth a thought or two.
I am the elevator music of her life. A forgettable jingle that
piqued the curiosity for only the slightest of moments, but forgotten
just as quickly.
A fast glance around the store, and nothing more.
The cashier possibly having lived this moment before steps
back toward the cigarettes and his eyes are asking which box. All
his instincts have led him to this point, he can now predict what his
customers want.
I look at him, fresh faced, a slight hint of a mustache about
to kick in, and I know what he thinks of me. I know what he thinks
of everyone who walks through the doors. I’m sure his mother has
warned him of us, we are the tail end of the night. The last through the
door, each of us looking for something we will never find.
I take in the situation, she walked straight to the register, and
she has parked by the door. Regardless she beelined to the register.
Hands empty, I expect her to ask for a pack of cigs.
In this moment, I am listless, I imagine a deep gravelly voice
asking for a box of reds.
Imagine my surprise when instead she reaches into her purse.
Black pleather with strips running down the sides along its opening.
It’s a mix of native American and high fashion, a nameless dimestore
knock off. I don’t see her unzip it, but from my position, I see her pull
it from her side. I hear the thick heavy metallic sound of it opening, I
hear the black pleather strips pushed aside to reveal its interior. She
doesn’t rummage around. As quick as it was to open, it closes.
It seems the cashier, has realized his mistake. He glides back to
the register.
She announces it to the world, or at least the world that
surrounds her. An 18 pack of Budweiser and a slightly mustachioed
cashier are her only audience. Her arm gesticulates wildly through the
air, and produces the glossy painted surface of a lottery ticket and all
its promises of quick riches.
Her voice comes through thick and clear, smoothed as though by
muscle memory.
“I just wanna cash out”
I imagine her cleaning up at the penny slots in Vegas.
There is a pause as the fresh faced cashier grabs the lottery
ticket from her hand. It’s not a normal sized ticket, oh no, this one is
75
the size of an envelope. It had to have cost her at least $20, maybe $50.
I wonder how much she won, and think that maybe I should buy a
ticket just in case. He slides it under the orange light and a mechanical
jingle rises up from the device.
Winner, winner, steak for dinner.
My hands are freezing from the box I hold. Soggy and falling
apart. It wants to be here even less than me. I wonder which will fall to
pieces first.
Time stands still. My hands feel like another moment will
cause frost bite. I switch from one to the other and back again. The red
letters slide off against my skin as I shift it around.
The cashier opens his mouth and reveals himself the
monotone.
“It’s a hundred-dollar payout”and before he finishes saying
the word “payout”, she cuts him off. It may be his register, but she is
the kind of person who makes sure each and every step reverberates
off the ground. The kind of person you hear coming before they are
ever seen. I wonder to myself how long each of those steps echo’s its
presence.
We are in her territory. Mid-forties, worn out black pleather
native American stylized purse with its faux leather strips hanging
down, paired with a black cowboy shirt. I can see the pleats ending in
two triangles on her shoulders, and I’m sure if I could see her from the
front, I’d see those crushed pearl buttons. She talks thick and strong,
full of confidence, this is just another night to her. We’re just gamblers
in a den.
“Give me six of the same” she says.
To me, those are just words, I’m zoned out, ready to pay and
leave.
But then I hear him.
“This only covers five.”
“I asked for six.” Comes the immediate response
Suddenly, I am intrigued. I find myself personally invested in
this. I need to know, absolutely need to know, which one of them never
learned how to count.
He pauses for a moment, dumbfounded. The mood in the
store changes. It’s quite obvious he is running lines in his head, how
to rephrase himself in a way she can understand. At least that’s what
I think. Maybe he’s just trying to figure out the numbers. A little
moment of self-doubt in the face of confidence has made his world
76
stop.
It flashes by quickly, yet, lingers in the air, just long enough
to make us all uncomfortable. He opens his mouth to say something,
quickly closes it, and then starts up again.
“The ticket is worth twenty, and you won a hundred, that’s five
tickets.”
“Excuse me, you heard exactly what I said. I didn’t ask for two,
or five, I asked for six.”
It’s at this moment, I want to chime in. She has reached her
floor, and now it’s time to depart. It’s time to step in and remind her
she asked to cash out. That, is an absolute. Give me my money I need
to go. In two sentences, she has broken the bonds of her own words. It
is then as I prepare to speak up, I realize the implications of her words.
She spent twenty, and in terms of money, she is up eighty, but now,
she’s about to buy six tickets. So, she will be giving up another twenty.
Fuck, I wonder, why am I seeing her money like its mine. She’s pissing
away forty dollars on paper. On a chance, that maybe one of these will
be a gold mine. I was checking my bank account earlier to make sure
I could buy some beer, and here she is throwing it away quicker than
me. I find myself running the pros and cons, of literally winning, and
then not keeping even one dollar of it. In fact, spending more for what
could be nothing. I remember the old saying. A bird in hand is worth
two in the bush. I never really understood what it meant until now.
While my mind was trying to comprehend the reality of what is
taking place before me, the show continues.
She doesn’t wait for him to respond, and the sounds of her
ripping a twenty out of her purse are what brings me back.
Vegas slaps the bill on the counter. Monotone picks it up and it
gets quiet while he pulls out six tickets from under the counter. He’s
passive aggressive about it. Never learned how to keep his cool. He
makes sure to rip each ticket, so that the sounds of the perforated
edges coming apart is loud and clear. He holds the stack in his hand
and only scans the top card, pulling it in and out each time. He thinks
he’s clever. Gets his jollies at the little things. I worked with a guy like
him once, the kind of guy that seems normal on the surface. Almost
too normal. They don’t speak up in anger, but they give away that rage
in the little things they do. I see him look up at her and I’ve seen those
eyes before. I worked with those eyes in a fast food restaurant once,
and one day a particularly rude customer asked for extra lettuce on all
his burgers. A simple request, but delivered like a complete asshole.
77
Those eyes, before me did something I would never forget.
There was a cooler that held cut lettuce, its filled with water and ice.
He looked at me and smiled, he didn’t say anything, but assumed I
was on the level. He unzipped his pants, and swizzled his dick in that
lettuce cooler. He was taking his revenge out not just against that man,
but the whole world, it was a savage indifference to everyone but
himself.
When monotone finishes scanning those tickets, he doesn’t
look to her, he looks at me, tries to make eye contact, it’s like he’s
trying to say did you see what I did. But I look at the space just behind
his eyes. I don’t think he noticed I wasn’t returning his gaze.
Vegas slaps him back into reality.
“You only scanned one ticket, what if I win off another, what am
I gonna do then since it’s not registered?”
“They are all registered, they have the same barcode.” He tries
to respond in monotone, but the little highs and lows break the façade.
“N, O, you need to scan each. One by One. Where’s your
manager at?”
“I’m the night manager, the only one on shift right now, you’d
have to return in the morning”
“Jesus, just scan them all so I can leave already.”
He does his thing, scans them all, and Vegas leaves, I never
see her face, only dark brown curls, and the smell of singed hair
still smoking from a curling iron. She jingle jangles to the door, keys
already scratching that first ticket.
I unburden myself on the counter, and reach for my wallet. I
know this prick is about to ask for my ID, gonna try and salvage his
pride with me. I am prepared and hold it out to him. He looks at it in
disgust, and still finds a way to get his jollies. He leaves my ID hanging
pointlessly in the air. I want to ask for some Marlboros but think better
of it. I pay and move towards the door. My wallet feels the same, but
I can feel my depleted bank account. As I cross out the door, it makes
sure to text me a notification in case I wasn’t aware.
Outside, I can see her in her car, an old battered Taurus. The
light of the rearview mirror is on, and under that soft yellow light I see
her hands scratching away. 

78
Martes a media mañana
Gabriel González Núñez

Es martes a media mañana y los acusados se sientan taciturnos duran
te la sucesión de audiencias preliminares, presentaciones de cargos y
pronunciamientos de sentencias que hacen de este martes uno como
cualquier otro en el tribunal de Oren, una ciudad pequeña con un
juzgado modesto.
Preside un juez de poca cabellera —y ésta canosa—, ojos
saltones y mentón bien definido. Su túnica es de un negro brilloso que
le cubre toda la vestimenta excepto el nudo chueco de una corbata
azul y el cuello de una camisa roja. Está en un sitio privilegiado dentro
del juzgado, ya que lo separa de los demás un estrado de madera que
le sirve de tarima para ver desde lo alto a todos los presentes. En
este momento escucha la explicación que le hace un abogado parado
tras un podio ubicado delante del juez; éste con la vista recorre a los
presentes.
Observa que las tres filas de bancas están repletas, todas
personas diferentes, uno que otro convertido ya en viejo conocido
del tribunal. Tal es el caso de un negro cuarentón que tiene cierto
aprecio por la velocidad, cosa que lo lleva en reiteradas ocasiones a
presentarse aquí. Aparece siempre bien vestido, y en las últimas dos
ocasiones, con un libro en mano para pasar el rato. El juez advierte
que esta vez lee lo que parece ser Tuesdays with Morrie, libro
que hace tiempo el juez quiere leer pero que no ha podido por las
exigencias de su oficio.
Cuando el abogado termina de hablar, el juez mira al acusado
y pronuncia la sentencia: condena de seis meses de cárcel suspendida
y multa de 2.500 dólares con intereses más un sobrecargo de 35
dólares. Mientras el acusado y su abogado se retiran con el «muchas
gracias, su señoría» de rigor, el juez abre la carpeta de la siguiente
causa y llama al individuo correspondiente.
Se trata de un hombre excesivamente flaco y muy alto, con la
cabellera rubia recortada al estilo militar. Se acerca al podio vistiendo
un traje de estreno que, según observa la actuaria, no le queda nada
mal. La actuaria es una señora pasada de años y de peso que hace
tiempo se arrepintió de no haber estudiado derecho. Está convencida
de que no le hubiera quedado grande eso de ser fiscal, pero a esta
altura ya la calmaron los años. Ahora se contenta con sentarse
79
de espaldas al juez, frente a un monitor plano conectado a una
computadora. Se pasa las audiencias tecleando ferozmente los datos
de cada causa y llenando casi sin respiro formulario tras formulario
para que los acusados se lleven copia de las órdenes del señor de la
túnica negra.
Se presenta el abogado —quien es, casualmente, el mismo
abogado de oficio que va a manejar trece causas más hoy— y
asimismo se presenta el acusado.
A medio metro de ellos el fiscal ni siquiera levanta la mirada.
Con la mano izquierda cierra la carpeta de la audiencia que acaba
de concluir y la desliza hacia un costado; con la derecha recoge una
carpeta más de la pila de 84 expedientes que trajo esta mañana.
Está sentado en una silla acolchada que acompaña a una mesa de
madera barnizada. Sobre la mesa hay dos micrófonos (que registran
cada sonido emitido para que conste en acta), un libro de tapa
blanda (que en sus más de mil páginas abarca el código penal en su
totalidad), un jarro metálico lleno de agua, varios vasos desechables
y las 84 carpetas, una por cada causa. En silencio comienza a repasar
rápidamente los hechos de fondo presentados en el parte policial.
Por su lado el abogado defensor anuncia que ha llevado a cabo
prósperas negociaciones con la fiscalía y que ambas partes han
acordado una resolución. El juez observa el reloj de la pared; marca
las 10:05 de la mañana. El fiscal está dispuesto a reducir los cargos
originales a cambio de que el acusado se declare culpable, ventajoso
acuerdo que evitará el costo y ajetreo de ir a juicio. El acusado no dice
nada y el fiscal se pone de pie.
El juez vuelve a recorrer a los presentes con la mirada.
Advierte que hay tres personas que él considera hispanos, pero no
se atreve a adivinar si hablan inglés. Lleva la mirada hacia una fila de
sillas bastante cómodas que corresponden al personal del juzgado.
Ve que allí están la agente de la Oficina del Régimen Probatorio y el
intérprete, aquélla tomando apuntes y éste leyendo una revista en
español. Deduce que por lo menos uno de los tres hispanos no habla
inglés, suposición elemental y por demás acertada. Sucede que el de
bigotes todavía no se maneja en inglés; el sin bigote y de abundante
cabello negro se comunica en un inglés con acento pero bastante claro;
y el de la cabeza rapada y nunca tatuada no sabe nada de castellano,
excepto algunas frases sueltas que recuerda de su niñez.
Ya el abogado defensor va por la parte en la que le corresponde
80
explicar que ha repasado concienzudamente con el acusado sus
garantías constitucionales. Levanta un documento impreso que
explica uno por uno los derechos del acusado y que además deja por
sentado que este los entiende y renuncia a ellos a fin de proceder a la
pronta resolución del asunto.
El alguacil recoge la hoja, se la alcanza al juez y vuelve a su
lugar. Es un tipo fornido, que lleva un cinturón grueso en el que porta,
entre otros tesoros, un aerosol irritante y una pistola Smith & Wesson
de nueve milímetros. El cinturón es negro, al igual que las botas todo
terreno, el pantalón de corderoy y la camisa de manga corta. Lleva
abrochado sobre el bolsillo derecho de la camisa un escudo dorado
que le sienta bien a un rostro cuya severidad se ve acentuada por un
cráneo que parece lustrado. Nadie imagina que el alguacil está casado,
con tres hijos, y que en este momento piensa en cómo hubiese salido
Hips Don’t Lie, el último video de Shakira, si lo hubiera dirigido él.
—¿Tenemos hechos de fondo que justifiquen la declaración de
culpabilidad? —pregunta en inglés el juez y observa al fiscal.
El fiscal explica que según el informe policial, el acusado se irritó con
su esposa, la golpeó y trató de sofocarla con una almohada. Sentada a
espaldas del fiscal, en la segunda de las bancas para los concurrentes,
una diminuta mujer se lleva la mano a las sienes y cierra los ojos.
Tiene la piel cobriza, detalle que el juez había observado pero que no
lo llevó a concluir que fuera hispana, aunque efectivamente lo es. Hace
años que ha dejado atrás el Perú: ya habla bien inglés (aunque con
acento) y se viste como toda una señora de Oren. Lleva un pantalón
vaquero no muy ajustado, una blusa celeste recatada y un sencillo
bolso de cuero sintético.
Considerando que hay hechos de fondo para condenar al
acusado, el juez pregunta a las partes si desean proceder con el
pronunciamiento de la sentencia. Tanto el fiscal como el abogado
defensor asienten, por lo cual el juez pregunta si está presente la
víctima. La muchacha de la blusa celeste se pone de pie. Conforme las
instrucciones del juez, se acerca a la mesa de la fiscalía y procede a
explicar de qué forma el delito cometido la ha afectado:
—Sí, señor juez. Primero que nada, permítame decir que si yo estuve
de acuerdo con que redujeran los cargos a perturbación del orden
público es porque ya quiero acabar con esto y seguir con mi vida. Yo
hace un año y medio me he casado con este hombre y ya me estoy
divorciando. A la semana de la boda, él me golpeó por primera vez.
81
Me prometió que iba a cambiar, así que seguí con él, pero siempre me
golpeaba más y más, y siempre me prometía y yo le creía. Una vez, me
golpeó y me fracturó mi brazo y me tuvo que llevar a la emergencia,
pero les ha dicho que ha sido un accidente, que me he caído. En
otra ocasión, me ha botado a la calle de noche desnuda. Fue una
humillación demasiado grande —y se le quiebra la voz—. Ya una vez
que me quiso matar con la almohada fue que hui a casa de mis padres.
Él siempre me hacía promesas pero también me amenazaba de que
iba a llamar a inmigración para que me deportaran a mis padres y a
mí, pero ya me salí y hemos tenido que cambiarnos de casa, cambiar
de trabajo, de teléfono —y se seca las lágrimas—.
Se hace silencio y el caballero de tez negra, que ya no lee, piensa qué
animal, ojalá que vaya preso, seguro lo violan.
El juez agradece a la víctima y agrega, sonriendo por única vez en toda
la mañana:
—Por favor tome asiento. Me gustaría que se quede para escuchar la
sentencia.
En aras de la total imparcialidad, el juez da al acusado la oportunidad
de pronunciar algunas palabras si lo desea. El tipo entra a alegar que
no todo lo que dijo ella es cierto, pero que está dispuesto a proceder
para dejar esto atrás.
—¿No le fracturó usted el brazo? —pregunta el juez reclinándose en
su sillón.
—No—. Y ella abre la boca desconcertada.
—¿La tuvo que llevar al hospital?
—Sí.
—¿Y no tenía ella el brazo fracturado?
—No, era un moretón porque se tropezó—. Y ella se lleva la mano a la
boca para taparse el llanto.
—¿Es cierto que la botó a la calle desnuda?
—No—. Una señora de brazos abultados y cabellera teñida de rubio
que está sentada al lado de la diminuta muchacha la abraza y le
susurra al oído que todo saldrá bien.
—¿La boto a la calle o no?
—Bueno, sí, pero era para que no nos peleáramos más.
—¿A qué hora del día fue eso?
—Eran como las diez.
—¿De la mañana?
—De la noche.
82
—¿Cuándo fue esto?
—En febrero—. Pleno invierno, piensa la agente de la Oficina del
Régimen Probatorio
—¿Estaba desnuda?
—No.
—¿Qué tenía puesto?
—Su ropa interior.
—Mentira —susurra en español la muchacha.
El juez deja escapar una bocanada de aire y sigue:
—¿Estaba calzada?
—No me acuerdo—. El intérprete, que ya dejó la Newsweek en
español piensa ¡Ah, sí, claro!
—¿Trató usted de sofocarla?
—No recuerdo. Estaba un poco tomado.
El juez suspira, frunce el ceño y pregunta al abogado
defensor si quiere agregar algo más. Se trata de un abogado que
lleva quince años ejerciendo, cuatro de ellos ante este mismo juez.
Consecuentemente sabe que en vez de tratar de justificar las acciones
de su cliente es preferible señalar que en las negociaciones con la
fiscalía han decidido recomendar conjuntamente que no se imponga
encarcelamiento ni multas sino un año de libertad probatoria.
—¿Quiere el Estado que se escuche su voz? —dice el juez,
repentinamente consciente de que todos los presentes tienen la vista
sobre él.
El fiscal se pone de pie. Como para agregar suspenso al asunto
se abotona el traje. Es un traje verde, de chaqueta cruzada, que se
mandó a confeccionar con un sastre de primera calidad y baratísima
mano de obra en Afganistán el año pasado cuando estuvo allá con la
Guardia Nacional durante su período de servicio militar en la lucha
contra los talibanes. Finge una tosecita, y acto seguido expone que
efectivamente el acuerdo entre las partes contempla que se coloque en
libertad probatoria al acusado. Recomienda además que se le mande
a hacer un curso de control del temperamento. El juez se apoya sobre
los codos y junta los dedos.
—No me encuentro obligado a seguir esa recomendación. Voy a
imponer las penas máximas que la ley me permite ante este cargo
reducido. Caballero, usted va a ir preso hoy. Va a cumplir una condena
de noventa días de cárcel y pagar una multa de 1.800 dólares con
intereses más 35 dólares de sobrecargo. A mi derecha está la platea
83
del jurado. Siéntese ahí hasta que lleguen de la prisión a buscarlo.
El alguacil observa al condenado tomar asiento y piensa Cuando lo
espose para que se lo lleven le voy a apretar las muñecas para que le
duela.
La muchacha le sonríe a la señora que la consoló y se seca las
lágrimas con el índice. Se pone de pie y sale apresurada de la sala. Por
primera vez, desde aquella paliza a los siete días de casada, se siente
en paz.
El que fuera su esposo la mira seriamente. Sus ojos parecen
fríos, delatando un odio puro y dominante que le oprime el corazón.
Ver a esa mujer partir le provoca un desprecio mezclado con asco.
Una hora después se lo llevan esposado de muñecas y tobillos a la
cárcel del condado. Cumple su condena y queda libre exactamente a
los tres meses. Cuatro días después, a las 5:30 de la madrugada de un
sábado como cualquier otro, la migra tumba la puerta de la casa donde
vive la peruana con sus padres y se lleva a los tres.

84
In Between
Armando Villarreal

85
Field of Pink
Alexis Garza

86
Los Ratones Bigotones
Maria Elena Leal Salazar

En la labor de melones
Muy temprano fui a piscar
Me encontre con una rata
Que habia venido almorzar.

Y traia a sus ratoncitos
Que venian a comer
Me dijo no sea malito y nos valla a correr

En el huerto de sandia
Tambien habia muchos elotes
Pero por toda la orilla
Salieron muchos ejotes.

Y las ratitas se esconden
Entre sandias y elotes.
Ya que comen y se duermen
Se esconden en su nidito
Y se acuestan a dormer
Estan bien escondiditos
Por debajo de la colcha se les ven sus bigotitos.
Y despiertan otro dia, listos para irse a buscar, entre toditos los surcos
A ver que van a tragar.

87
La Lucha Incansable
Maria Elena Leal Salazar

Estos días nublados y lluviosos en pensamiento me llevan
para atraz a mis años de juventud, batallas interminables. Cuando yo
me decía, al mal tiempo buena cara. Le arrimaba los alimentos a mi
abuela. Y temprano me salía agarrar el bus para la escuela o a buscar
trabajo, como el pueblo de Alamo, Texas es un pueblo chico, todo
mundo me conocía yo me paraba a esperar el bus. Pero como todos
nos conocíamos la gente se paraba y me ofrecía rait y ya me ahorraba
yo lo del bus.
Llegando al centro me iba de puerta en puerta a pedir trabajo y
recuerdo que entre más me decían que no había empleo, parecía que
me daban cuerda, agarraba mas corriente. No sé qué era la fuerza que
me motivaba para seguir con más ánimo tal parecía que el decirme
que “no”, me daba más energía para yo seguir en mi propósito de
hallar trabajo.
Recuerdo que algunas veces pasaban los troques cargados
de frutas, repollos, toronjas, zanahorias, etc. y yo les gritaba, y las
personas que iban en el troque nos aventaban de lo que llevaran.
Yo acostumbraba un morral de hilo con orejas, y aún los días que
no conseguía trabajo llevaba fruta o vegetables eso siempre era
una costumbre, donde los pueblos estaban rodeados de frutas
y vegetables. Mis vecinos no se si de costumbre o por saber que
nosotros no recibíamos ninguna ayuda. Solo lo que mis abuelos y
yo mantuviéramos y cuando yo estaba pasando por esas etapas de
mi vida, yo nunca me sentía abandonada. Mis vecinos siempre me
echaron la mano, sin que yo les pidiera. Tal vez mi vecindad me veía
como la huérfana del barrio.
Otra cosa que me recuerdo es que yo nunca lloré, a lo mejor
no tuve tiempo ni de pensar en la seria situación que me encontraba
siempre y yo decía…pues dicen que a nadie le falta Dios, y yo lo veía
día con día en mi vida trabajando, estudiando y cuidando mis abuelos.
En el tiempo de navidad es para la gente que tiene dinero para
comprar regalos, pero yo…. ni dinero, ni gente. Nunca me acuerdo
haber derramado ni una lágrima por esa razón. Pero siempre me dije…
mis hijos no van a tener las navidades que yo tuve, y siempre Baltazar
y yo les hicimos a nuestra familia la mejor navidad, árbol, regalos
y cena. Por lo que yo personalmente, ni modo que hechara menos,
nunca lo tuve.
88
Ahora me asombro de todo lo que pase sin darme cuenta, y
pienso como hechar menos lo que nunca tuviste. Probable alguien que
lea esto ha de pensar, que no es cierto pero todavía hay unas personas
que se han de acordar de Maria Elena (la húngara) siempre vendiendo
cosas.

89
Beyond the Art
Meeting the ones behind the scenes. 
Gideon Cecil is from Guyana. He is a prolific poet, fiction writer and free-
lance journalist. He holds a Bachelor’s and a Master's degree in divinity, also
a degree in freelance journalism. He has won several literary awards at home
and abroad. He has published poetry, short stories, essays and articles in
magazines, journals and newspapers at home and abroad. He has over 300
poems, articles, stories, and essays published from 1993 to 2016.

Catfish McDaris won the Thelonius Monk Award in 2015. He’s been active
in the small press world for 25 years. He’s recently been translated into
Spanish, French, Polish, Swedish, Arabic, Bengali, Mandarin, Yoruba, Tagalog,
and Esperanto.

Daniella Levy is the author of "By Light of Hidden Candles" and "Letters to
Josep: An Introduction to Judaism." Her poetry has been published in English
and Hebrew in the international poetry collection Veils, Halos & Shackles,
the Shaharitekoa Journal of Literature and Art, and on the Silver Birch Press
website. She lives in Israel with her husband and three sons.

Maria Elena Leal Salazar is a mother, grandmother and great grandmother
in her 80s and loves to write. She was an elementary teacher for over 25
years in Brownsville, Texas. She loves creating arts and crafts and gardening,
but her first love has always been writing. She was married to Baltazar Sala-
zar for 59 years. She has 5 children: Melba Lucio, Baltazar Salazar, Elizabeth
Vera, Sandra Jamar and Marta Paniagua.

Dr. Melba Salazar-Lucio is an English instructor at Texas Southmost College
and has been teaching writing for almost 40 years. She is the proud abueli-
ta of 3 charming grandchildren, BellaVida, Charlotte Mae and Phoenix. Her
favorite person in the whole wide world is her husband of 37 years, Juan
David Lucio. Dr. Salazar Lucio is the daughter of Maria Elena Leal and Balta-
zar Salazar. She also has 3 children, Monica Leah/Pedro Cantu, David Daniel/
Kate Dawson and Erika Teresa Lucio.

Oscar "Oz" Mireles was born and raised in the border city of Brownsville,
Texas to a family rich in traditional Mexican culture and heritage. His inclina-
tion towards poetry and literature stems from his mother's efforts in teach-
ing him to read prior to attending grade school. His first poem was written at
the age of eight and, he has not stopped since.

Karla Margarita Garza is a young author who was born in Matamoros, Mex-
ico and now resides in Brownsville, Texas. As a child, she went through many
problems, but luckily had a teacher who helped her get through them.
91
Thanks to him and her new teachers, she is reaching her full potential. She
uses her love of Brownsville for inspiration when she wrote this poem hop-
ing to make everyone proud.

Thais Deras is a full time student at Texas Southmost College. Her dreams
are to one day be a clinical psychologist and help people in need. Thais en-
joys painting as a hobby, but hopes one day she could open a painting busi-
ness as well.

Jesus A. Amaya is a UTRGV Graduate Student working on a Master’s in
Latin American Literature. He enjoys creative writing in Spanish, especially
in short story fiction. His inspirations are Latin American writers of the 20
Century, as wells as films and music.

Huyen M. Kieu (Sunny) was born in Da Nang, Vietnam and is now living in
Brownsville, Texas. Huyen loves writing, traveling, and cooking. Huyen lives
by this quote: "Live boldly, push yourself, don't settle. You must be what you
can be.”

Esmeralda Diaz was born in Brownsville, Texas and has lived there for
18 years. She is a loving, funny, caring girl. She has 3 sibling that drive her
insane but she loves them to death. Her mother and father love her so much
and are so proud of her and everything she accomplishes. Drawing is her
passion. She got her art skills from her dad and learned more about art
during high school.

Nathan Wade Calley is an educator living and working in Brownsville, TX.

Laisha Perrett is an eighteen-year-old born the night before Christmas who
has so much to say but not many people to listen to it. She was born in Hous-
ton, Texas and raised from the age of five and on in several places around
The Valley until finally settling in Brownsville, Texas. She was born with a
love for English and History.

Vanessa Danielle Cisneros is a second-year student at Texas Southmost
College pursuing her Associate’s degree in Social Work. She enjoys visiting
the parks, spending time with her family, and working on the weekends.

Chuck Taylor's photographs have appeared in many literary journals and
are featured on the walls of Baylor Scott and White Hospital in College Sta-
tion, TX. Chuck Taylor recently finished a film script called "Southern." He
has lived in the South most of his life, with stints in the Southwest and Mid
92
west. It doesn't matter what page Chuck Taylor opens in Stephen King's IT,
something scary is going on. Why scare readers when we have scary leaders?
My job is to write hopefully.

Armando Villarreal was raised in Matamoros Mexico. With a mind thirsty
to understand how the world works and amazed at the beauty of it, he began
to observe and contemplate, capturing and creating those incredible mo-
ments with his camera.

W.D. Reyes-Mainoux's poetry, he tries to demonstrate first, a social con-
sciousness. Secondly, he attempts to inform the community and hopefully
arm them with knowledge so they can engage and enrich their individual
communities. He holds two bachelor degrees one in English (UTPA) and one
in History (UTRGV).

Diana Elizondo was born in Laredo Texas and spent most of her life in
McAllen Texas. She earned her Master's degree in English at University of
Texas Pan-American and M.F.A. degree in Creative Writing at University of
Texas Rio Grande Valley. Diana's poems have been published in literary jour-
nals and anthologies. Her first book, Smoked Blood and Lavender has been
published in early 2017.

Gabriel González Núñez was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, and is current-
ly a translation professor at UTRGV. He has authored several short stories,
which have been published in print and online magazines, including La
Marca Hispánica, Ventana Abierta, Círculo, Entre Líneas, Narrativas, Punto en
Línea, Tiempos Oscuros, miNatura, and El Narratorio. He was awarded the
2012 Platero Award by the UN Spanish Book Club for his short story “El viaje
que no se dio.” He placed third in the 2009 Enrique Labrador Ruiz Award and
obtained an honorable mention in the 36th Dr. Alberto Manini Ríos Contest.
Additionally, he was a finalist in the 10th Gonzalo Rojas Pizarro Literary
Contest.

Kevin Adam Flores Barbosa is an English graduate who has been writing
poetry and short fiction since he existed. He's been mentioned in University
of Texas at Brownsville's The Collegian and The Brownsville Herald, and he
has been published in Austin Community College's The Rio Review, Universi-
ty of Texas at Rio Grande Valley's Gallery 2016 & 2017 magazines, and BAM's
SXSM 2016 zine. He is a bittersweet poet who has an Instagram and Tumblr
(blinkforman23).

Margarita Serafimova was shortlisted for the Montreal International
93
Poetry Prize 2017. She has two collections in the Bulgarian: "Animals and
Other Gods" (2016), "Demons and World" (2017). Her work is forthcoming
in Agenda, Trafika Europe, Poetic Diversity, TAYO, Transnational, SurVision,
Bezine, Antinarrative, Home::Keep/ Geocommunetrics, Borfski Press, and
appears in London Grip New Poetry, The Journal, A-Minor, Waxwing, Step-
Away, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Minor Literatures, Writing Disorder, The Birds
We Piled Loosely, Noble/ Gas, Obra/ Artifact, Harbinger Asylum, Punch,
Futures Trading, Ginosko, Dark Matter, Red Wolf, Window/ Patient Sounds,
Basil O’Flaherty, Peacock Journal, Anti-Heroin Chic, Wild Word, Plum Tree
Tavern, Oddball, Three Drops from a Cauldron, Sea Foam, Aaduna, MOON,
In Between Hangovers, MockingHeart, Renegade Rant and Rave, Tales From
The Forest, Misty Mountain, The Voices Project, Pocket Change, Poetry Super
Highway, Cent, Heavy Athletics, Outsider Poetry, Outlaw Poetry. Some of her
work: https://www.facebook.com/MargaritaISerafimova/?ref=aymt_home-
page_panel.

Jose Angel Lozano born in Matamoros, Mexico on Dec 1st 1996 and became
a painter more than a year ago. Falling in love with it and living for it became
part of his life ever since.

Robert Hinojosa moved to the Rio Grande Valley in 2001. Prior to moving
to the Valley he had spent his youth on various US Air Force military bases
where his father served as a military law enforcement officer. Robert was
born in Landstuhl, Germany where he made the first of many friends from
different cultures. Robert had never considered a hometown until he moved
to the Valley, and now calls it home. Robert is currently an English major at
UTRGV.

Antonio Galvan Jr is a student at TSC who spends his free time writing in
various genres as well as working on a novel. He was raised in Matamoros
and Brownsville and loves both towns as well as the people in them. He
seeks a career in chemistry or writing his ideology.

Karina Teran Quiroga is a 22-year-old who was born and raised in Matam-
oros. She moved to Brownsville four years ago and is majoring in accounting.
She has always loved to draw and has taken various art courses.

Emma Guevara is a 19 year old, Mexican-American, aspiring singer-song-
writer that isn’t that good but is just here to have a good time. She’s current-
ly a senior Political Science major and is really mad at Donald Trump. She
hopes you like this song as it is her homage to anyone who has ever been
wronged by a white boy. Deuces.
94