Thursday, November 20, 2014

New Book: Letters from Heaven / Cartas del cielo

Celeste is heartbroken when her grandmother dies. But everything changes when a letter mysteriously comes in the mail—from Grandma! As letters continue to arrive from the beyond, each with a recipe of a favorite food her grandmother used to prepare, Celeste consoles herself by learning how to cook the dishes.

Meanwhile, without Grandma’s Social Security check Mami needs to get a second job to make ends meet. Celeste has to quit dance lessons, and a bully at school gloats that she will replace Celeste as the star in the upcoming recital. To top things off, her friends think that she has gone crazy . . . dead people can’t send letters!

Soon Celeste realizes that all the recipes combined make an entire meal: café con leche, guava and cheese croissants, congrí, plantain chips, ropa vieja and flan. Can she really make a Cuban feast to celebrate her cherished grandmother’s life?

Published in bilingual "flip" format by Arte Público Press, this middle-grade novel celebrates the cultural traditions of the Spanish Caribbean while tackling challenging subjects, such as trouble with friends and the death of a grandparent. The book includes six traditional Cuban recipes with easy-to-follow instructions.

 “A tender depiction of a child’s acceptance of the death of a beloved grandmother and the cultural importance of traditional foods.”
—Kirkus Reviews

 “This delightful novel is a Like Water for Chocolate for young readers. Celeste rises out of her grief by replacing her sadness with el sabor of life, by living as her grandmother did, with love and flavor."
— Judith Ortiz Cofer, author of Call Me María

 “Add one girl who misses her abuelita to a handful of coveted Cuban recipes, stir in a pinch of magic and you get a heartening tale of love, loss and the healing power of family and friendship.” 
—Laura Lacámara, author of Dalia’s Wondrous Hair / El cabello maravilloso de Dalia

 “A poignant and uplifting story about the special bond only a grandmother and a granddaughter can share. Delicious and magical!” 
—Reyna Grande, author of The Distance Between Us

Letters from Heaven / Cartas del cielo
by Lydia Gil
ISBN-13: 978-1-55885-798-8 
For children ages 8-12 
Available now from Piñata Books, Arte Público Press

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

November 2014 Picture Book Month Passes the Halfway Mark

“When we reached the top, there were over a hundred children gathered on the hillside, some of whom had walked miles to hear a story.” – Sophie Blackall from her Picture Book Month Essay

“If a picture book and an iPad got into a fight, a picture book would totally kick an iPad's butt.” – Aaron Reynolds from his Picture Book Month Essay

Picture Book Month has just passed the halfway mark. Around the world, schools, libraries, booksellers, and book lovers are coming together to celebrate the print picture book during the month of November. Now in its fourth year, the initiative is a viral phenomenon.

The website,, features essays from thought leaders in the children’s literature community. Each day in November, a new essay is posted. This year’s Picture Book Month Champions are: Chris Barton, Aaron Becker, Kelly Bingham , Sophie Blackall, Arree Chung, Anna Dewdney, Johnette Downing, Ame Dyckman, Jill Esbaum, Carolyn Flores, Lupe Ruiz-Flores, Robin Preiss Glasser, Deborah Heiligman, Marla Frazee, Stefan Jolet, Kathleen Krull, Rene Colato Lainez, Loreen Leedy, Betsy Lewin, Ted Lewin, Brian Lies, Kelly J. Light, Debbie Ridpath Ohi, Alexis O'Neill, Sandra Markle, Ann Whitford Paul, Aaron Reynolds, Judy Schachner, Linda Joy Singleton, and David Schwartz.

New features this year include “Curriculum Connections” by Education Consultant, Marcie Colleen. Every day, a new activity and curriculum connection is posted based on the Author/Illustrator’s book. In addition, the multi-page Picture Book Month Educator’s Guide, correlating picture books across the curriculum, is available as a free download for educators and teacher librarians.

We are pleased to also announce that Reading Rainbow has recently joined as a Picture Book Month partner. Support for the initiative continues with partners such as the American Booksellers Association, the American Association of School Librarians, the Children’s Book Council, Reading is Fundamental, and SCBWI as well as industry trade journals such as Hornbook, School Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly. New 2014 partners also include The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art and Friends of Tennessee Libraries.

A downloadable promotional kit is available as well as certificates, posters, and bookmarks created by Joyce Wan. Katie Davis’ Brain Burps About Books Podcast, the #1 kidlit podcast on iTunes, is dedicating the entire month of November to Picture Book Month with new episodes airing every Friday. The PBM calendar created by Elizabeth Dulemba lists all the Picture Book Month Champions as well as the daily theme. The daily themes are used to plan story times, book displays, and blog posts.

Founder Dianne de Las Casas says, “People are joining the celebration from countries such as Ireland, Jamaica, and Singapore, as well as across the entire United States. We love that school libraries are reporting virtually empty picture book shelves. It’s not too late to join the celebration!” Follow Picture Book Month on Twitter, @PictureBkMonth, and Facebook, and use the hashtag #PictureBookMonth. Visit

“A picture book is a simile that shivers. A metaphor that melts. A not-a-poem, yet Every. Word. Counts. Picture books excite the eye, the ear, the heart.” – Alexis O’Neill from her Picture Book Month Essay

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

¡Faltamos 43!

Michael Sedano

When I was in the Army I decided I would kill anyone who faced me in war, but I found myself on a Korean mountaintop and didn't face the truth. My friend Mario Trillo, who was getting shot-up in Vietnam the same time I was in Korea, wrote the other day that each successive kill lightened the load on his conscience. Killing another person, the thought of it even, weighs on a person.

So what is it that allows people to kill forty-three fellow people in an act of pitiless deliberateness? Who gives the orders? And when mass grave after mass grave after mass grave turned out to be not the 43, hope for the missing teaching students dimmed:

43 estudiantes de la Escuela Normal Rural Raúl Isidro Burgos, de Ayotzinapa, Tixtla, en el Estado de Guerrero, México, están desaparecidos desde el 26 de septiembre de 2014. Vivos se llevaron. Vivos los queremos.

The students murdered in Iguala were locals. The narcos were locals. The cops were locals. They saw each other on the street. They'd looked into each other's eyes before. Some grew up together.

The imperial couple were cosmopolitan, de la primera clase. The students, the professor, the campesino--the 43--were los de abajo. They would have been teachers, the victims. They could have been teachers, the gunmen. Two roads diverged not long before Iguala.

Shoulda. Woulda. Coulda. I grieve. You grieve. We grieve. Today, 13 poets grieve the 43. !Faltamos 43!

On-line Floricanto: 13 for the 43
The Moderators of the Facebook group Poets Responding to SB 1070 Poetry of Resistance, nominate the following:
Iris De Anda, Marcela Ibarra Mateos, Betty Sánchez, Sonia Gutiérrez, Xánath Caraza, Sharon Elliott, Viva Flores, Daniel Vidal Soto, Patrick Fontes, Jan G. Otterstrom, Andrea Mauk, Nephtalí De León, Carolina Torres

"Ayotzinapa: Rojo Amanecer" Por Iris De Anda
"Mamá, si desaparezco, ¿a dónde voy? / Mother, If I Disappear, Where Do I Go?" By Marcela Ibarra Mateos (Trans. Sonia Gutírrez)
"Todos Somos Ayotzinapa" Por Betty Sánchez
"Los huesos hablan / Bones Speak" By Sonia Gutiérrez
"Espuma Sangrante" Por Xánath Caraza
"Semillas de Ayotzinapa" By Sharon Elliott
"Lucecitas, para Ayotzinapa" Por Viva Flores
"A Poster Asks to Find the Missing 43" By Daniel Vidal Soto
"La Llorona Weeps Once More" By Patrick Fontes
"Hijos perdidos" Por Jan G. Otterstrom
"Mexico, My Mirror" By Andrea Mauk
"43 Howls of the Soul" By Nephtalí De León
"Nudo" Por Carolina Torres

Ayotzinapa: Rojo Amanecer
Por Iris De Anda

tápame los ojos
que ya no puedo ver
el duelo de mi país
otro rojo amancer
el gobierno es maestro de oscuridad
los estudiantes ejercen la luz
es por eso que los de arriba
dan órdenes para apagar
el fuego del pueblo
pues les ilumina
su corrupción
pero les falla su matanza
porque por cada vela que apagan
se enciendien 43 más y más y más
cuarenta y tres semillas de luz digna rabia
se estremece el mundo entero
la humanidad está de luto
y los 43 viven en su llanto
no dejes que te llenen de miedo
la justicia es tu arma
y el sol tu aliento
porque otro rojo amanecer
no podemos aguantar
sigue luchando
mi gente presente
la luz es de quien la enciende
tu voz es un altar
recordamos a los caídos
los levantamos en nuestro gritar
Ya Basta Ayotzinapa
tu sembraste un campo de ideas
ahora la cosecha despierta
ombligo de México
nace tu revancha
el gobierno no se queda impune
porque el pueblo se levanta
levantate hermano
levántate ya
tus compañeros te apoyan
desde el desierto y la montaña
cruzamos fronteras
unimos las manos
tu duelo es el mío
y tu noche la mía
marchamos con luz de dia
exigimos justicia
- Abel García Hernández
- Abelardo Vázquez Peniten
- Adán Abrajan de la Cruz
- Alexander Mora Venancio
- Antonio Santana Maestro
- Benjamín Ascencio Bautista
- Bernardo Flores Alcaraz
- Carlos Iván Ramírez Villarreal
- Carlos Lorenzo Hernández Muñoz
- César Manuel González Hernández
- Christian Alfonso Rodríguez Telumbre
- Christian Tomás Colón Garnica
- Cutberto Ortiz Ramos
- Dorian González Parral
- Emiliano Alen Gaspar de la Cruz.
- Everardo Rodríguez Bello
- Felipe Arnulfo Rosas
- Giovanni Galindes Guerrero
- Israel Caballero Sánchez
- Israel Jacinto Lugardo
- Jesús Jovany Rodríguez Tlatempa
- Jonas Trujillo González
- Jorge Álvarez Nava
- Jorge Aníbal Cruz Mendoza
- Jorge Antonio Tizapa Legideño
- Jorge Luis González Parral
- José Ángel Campos Cantor
- José Ángel Navarrete González
-José Eduardo Bartolo Tlatempa
-José Luis Luna Torres
-Jhosivani Guerrero de la Cruz
-Julio César López Patolzin
-Leonel Castro Abarca
-Luis Ángel Abarca Carrillo
-Luis Ángel Francisco Arzola
-Magdaleno Rubén Lauro Villegas
-Marcial Pablo Baranda
-Marco Antonio Gómez Molina
-Martín Getsemany Sánchez García
-Mauricio Ortega Valerio
-Miguel Ángel Hernández Martínez
-Miguel Ángel Mendoza Zacarías
-Saúl Bruno García

Iris De Anda is a writer, activist, and practitioner of the healing arts. A womyn of color of Mexican and Salvadorean descent. A native of Los Angeles she believes in the power of spoken word, poetry, storytelling, and dreams. She has been published in Mujeres de Maiz Zine, Loudmouth Zine: Cal State LA, OCCUPY SF poems from the movement, Seeds of Resistance, In the Words of Women, Twenty: In Memoriam, Revolutionary Poets Brigade Los Angeles Anthology, and online at La Bloga. She is an active contributor to Poets Responding to SB 1070. She performs at community venues and events throughout the Los Angeles area & Southern California. She hosted The Writers Underground Open Mic 2012 at Mazatlan Theatre and 100,000 Poets for Change 2012, 2013, and 2014 at the Eastside Cafe. She currently hosts The Writers Underground Open Mic every Third Thursday of the month at Eastside Cafe. Author of CODESWITCH: Fires From Mi Corazon.

Mamá, si desaparezco, ¿a dónde voy?
Por Marcela Ibarra Mateos

Solo sé que si desaparecieras te buscaría
entre la tierra y debajo de ella.

Tocaría en cada puerta de cada casa.

Preguntaría a todas y a cada una de las personas
que encontrara en mi camino.

Exigiría, todos y cada uno de los días,
a cada instancia obligada a buscarte
que lo hiciera hasta encontrarte.

Y querría, hijo, que no tuvieras miedo,
porque te estoy buscando.
Y si no me escucharan, hijo;
la voz se me haría fuerte
y gritaría tu nombre por las calles.
Rompería vidrios y tiraría puertas para buscarte.

Incendiaría edificios para que todos supieran
cuánto te quiero y cuánto quiero que regreses.

Pintaría muros con tu nombre
y no querría que nadie te olvidara.

Buscaría a otros y a otras que también
buscan a sus hijos para que juntos
te encontráramos a ti y a ellos.

Y querría, hijo, que no tuvieras miedo,
porque muchos te buscamos.

Si no desaparecieras, hijo,
como así deseo y quiero.

Gritaría los nombres de todos aquellos
que sí han desaparecido.

Escribiría sus nombres en los muros.

Abrazaría en la distancia y en la cercanía
a todos aquellos padres y madres; hermanas
y hermanos que buscan a sus desaparecidos.

Caminaría del brazo de ellos por las calles.

Y no permitiría que sus nombres fueran olvidados.

Y querría, hijo, que todos ellos no tuvieran miedo,
porque todos los buscamos.

Mother, If I Disappear, Where Do I Go?
By Marcela Ibarra Mateos

I do not know, son.
I only know that if you would disappear
I would search between the earth and beneath her. 

I would knock on every house door. 

I would ask every and each person
who would cross my path.

I would demand each and everyday,
every instant obliged to search for you
until you are found.

And I would want, son, for you not to fear
because I am looking for you.

And if they would not listen to me, son;

my voice would grow strong,
and I would bellow your name through the streets. 

I would break glass and tear down doors to find you. 

I would burn down buildings
so everybody would know
how much I love you
and how much I want you to return.

I would paint murals with your name,
and I would not want anyone to forget you.

I would search for others who are also
looking for their children, so together
we would find you and them. 

And I would want son for you to not be afraid
because we are looking for you. 

If you would not have disappeared, son,
as I wish and want. 

I would bellow the names of all
those who have disappeared. 

I would write their names on walls. 

I would embrace in closeness
and in the distance all those fathers and mothers;
sisters and brothers who are looking for their disappeared.

I would walk arm in arm with them through the streets. 

And I would not allow their names to be forgotten. 

And I would want, son, for all of them
not to be afraid because we all searched.

Translation by Sonia Gutiérrez

La Dra. Marcela Ibarra Mateos es profesora e investigadora de la Universidad Iberoamericana Puebla  en el Departamentos de Ciencias Sociales con experiencia de investigación en migraciones transnacionales; jóvenes rurales, participación comunitaria, y migración.

Sus publicaciones y ponencias han sido presentadas en foros internacionales, nacionales y locales. Publicó el libro Entre Contextos Locales y Ciudades Globales. La configuración de circuitos migratorios Puebla-Nueva York, co-coordinado con Liliana Rivera Sánchez y que reúne textos sobre migración poblana. Recientemente publicó el libro Jóvenes, migración e identidad, como resultado de un proyecto de investigación financiado por INDESOL.

Desde sus inicios ha impulsado el trabajo de investigación articulado a iniciativas de desarrollo local. Particularmente en localidades de Puebla se ha desarrollado trabajo participativo transnacional con organizaciones de migrantes y con familiares en sus localidades de origen.

Todos Somos Ayotzinapa
Por Betty Sánchez

Mi nombre puede ser el tuyo
Yo soy Ayotzinapa
Estudiante normalista
Residente de Guerrero
Padre hijo hermano amigo
Culpable del crimen
De desear superarme
De enseñar en un aula
De defender mis derechos
Y oponerme a la injusticia

Pienso luego desaparezco
En un auto gubernamental
En una burocracia a favor
Del poderoso e influyente
En un sistema municipal
Federal y judicial corrupto
En un gobierno que vende
Impunidad al que puede pagarla
En manos de sicarios
Al servicio del mejor postor

Protesto luego desaparezco
Me encontrarás de rodillas
En el patio de la policía preventiva
En una fosa clandestina
Con el cuerpo calcinado
Brutalmente torturado
Desollado con las cuencas
De los ojos vacías
Símbolo del abismo sombrío
En que vive mi gente

Mis opresores no dan la cara
El Presidente municipal
Huye con permiso y gastos pagados
El Gobernador niega estar involucrado
El Presidente de la República
Se dirige a su pueblo
Diez días después de lo acontecido
Pronunciando un discurso
Con cara de aflicción
Y balbuceando promesas endebles

El silencio ya no es una opción
No soy un caso aislado
Soy un crimen de estado
Victima del terror blanco
El reflejo de una sociedad
Donde la muerte violenta
Es un asunto cotidiano
Noticia internacional
Evento del momento
Como lo fue Tlatelolco y Acteal

No somos los primeros
Pero queremos ser los últimos
Ahora somos 43 desaparecidos
Antes de nosotros
Decenas cientos miles
Todos somos Ayotzinapa
Su lucha y su dolor son los nuestros
Únete a mi grito de indignación
Y solidaridad


Betty Sánchez
En respuesta a los acontecimientos
ocurridos el 26 de Septiembre del 2014
En Iguala Guerrero

Photo by Andres Alvarez
Betty Sánchez, madre, maestra, poeta, ciudadana indignada por lo acontecido en Iguala Guerrero en Septiembre del 2014.

Los huesos hablan  
Por Sonia Gutiérrez
   “Ayotzinapa: río de las calabacitas”
Los perros se comportaban
como si fuera el último hueso.
Pero los dueños sabían
que había toneladas
de huesos almacenados
en sus casas blancas,
en Los Pinos, y en los palacios
de gobierno. Esos patrimonios
achicaban las casitas de Ayotzinapa.
Pero los huesos no eran mudos;
hablaban. Los huesos se asomaban
por los cimientos, y por eso los dueños
mandaron crear jardines botánicos
para apaciguar su conciencia
y distraer a sus invitados importantísimos.
Quinientos años después,
debajo de la avaricia y del odio continuo
contra nosotros mismos,
los dueños nos dejan
máscaras rojas sin piel y con los ojos picados.
Y desde el río de las calabacitas,
los huesos se apoderaron
del sentimiento de la nación
y lo encendieron.
Pisamos fuerte por nuestros
hijos e hijas con y sin huaraches,
con tenis o zapatos,
con sandalias o botas,
este suelo sagrado
que nuestros antepasados caminaron,
dejando atrás el miedo
haciendo temblar a los domadores
que olfatean el dinero,
el miedo y se arman
hasta los dientes.
Está claro;
los huesos sí hablan:
ustedes, los cuarenta y tres
valientes, sembraron semillas sin miedo—
existe el sueño mexicano
digno de cultivar.

Bones Speak 
By Sonia Gutiérrez
  “Ayotzinapa: river of little squash”
The dogs behaved
as if it were the last bone.
But the owners knew
there were tons
of stored bones
in their white houses,
at Los Pinos, in government
palaces. Those patrimonies
dwarfed the little houses
of Ayotzinapa.
But the bones were not mute;
they talked. Bones peered through
the foundations, and for this reason the owners
created botanical gardens
to appease their conscience
and distract their very important visitors.
Five-hundred years,
underneath continues greed and hate
against ourselves,
the owners leave us
skinned red masks with minced eyes,
And from the river of little squash,
the bones took over
the sentiment of the nation
and lit it.
We step firmly for our
sons and daughters with or without huaraches,
with tennis shoes or shoes,
with sandals or boots,
this sacred ground
our ancestors walked,
leaving behind fear,
making the tamers,
who sniff money,
fear and arm themselves
to the teeth, tremble.
It is clear
bones do speak:
you, the valiant forty-three,
planted fearless seeds—
the Mexican dream exists
worthy of cultivating.

Sonia Gutiérrez is the daughter of two Michoacanos. She teaches English Composition and Critical Thinking and Writing at Palomar College. La Bloga is home to her Poets Responding SB 1070 poems, including “Best Poems 2011” and “Best Poems 2012.” Her vignettes have appeared in AlternaCtive PublicaCtions, Mujeres de Maíz, City Works Literary Journal, and Huizache. Her bilingual poetry collection, Spider Woman/La Mujer Araña (Olmeca Press, 2013), is her debut publication. Kissing Dreams from a Distance, a novel, is under editorial review.  To learn more about Sonia, visit

Espuma Sangrante
Por Xánath Caraza

Para los 43 estudiantes de Ayotzinapa

Este mar que lame el arena
Olas hambrientas
Testigos sonoros
Luna de agua con ojos quietos
Inmóviles palmeras mudas frente a mí
Caminan los rayos del amanecer en las calles
Marchan ante el contenido rugido del mar
Aves migratorias en el horizonte
Con ellas vuelo
Arena salmón lamida por la espuma sangrante
Mientras cuarenta y tres niños perdidos
Gritan en tus líquidas rojas entrañas
Aullidos sordos, aullidos sordos
En este mar estático que ruge
Ruge mar, ruge, ruge sus nombres
Para la eternidad

(11 de octubre de 2014, Acapulco, Guerrero, México)
Bleeding Foam
By Xánath Caraza

For the 43 missing students from Ayotzinapa

The sea licks the sand
Hungry waves
Resounding witnesses
Moon of water with quiet eyes
Mute, immobile palm trees before me
Dawn sunrays walk through the streets
They march before the restrained roar of the sea
Migratory birds on the horizon
I fly with them
Salmon sand licked by bleeding foam
While forty-three lost children
Howl in your liquid red entrails
Silent screams, silent screams
In this static sea that roars
Roar, sea; roar, sea.  Roar their names
For eternity

(October 11, 2014, Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico)

Xánath Caraza’s bilingual poetry and short story collections are Sílabas de viento/Syllables of Wind (2014), Noche de Colibríes: Ekphrastic Poems (2014), Lo que trae la marea/What the Tide Brings (2013), Conjuro (2012), and Corazón Pintado: Ekphrastic Poems (2012).  She writes the column, “US Latino Poets en español”.  Caraza is a writer for La Bloga and for Revista Zona de Ocio, and teaches at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC).  She is an advisory circle member of the Con Tinta literary organization.

Semillas de Ayotzinapa
By Sharon Elliott

I hoped
I could construct a barrier
between us
like surgical gauze
or a
made of fir needles
from the forest floor
to keep the horror
at bay
pero a veces esperanza no sirve

a dream
came gently
on a warm south wind
to a room with whitewashed walls
worn wooden floors
for dancing
llena de estudiantes
gozando la vida

in one corner
an argument
loud voices
arms gesticulating wildly
hands raised in clenched fists
above heads
sure of themselves
como compañeros
sure that even if
agreement was not reached
the truth would be told

in another corner
a muchacho with hands soft
touches the face
of his beloved
she receives his caricias
con una sonrisa
and a delicate sigh

at a long scrubbed table
a portly guy
with a laugh
big and jovial
like his stomach
fills a plate
tamales and chicharrones
and all the joy it can hold
while his friends bring cerveza
to wet his whistle
so he will tell a joke

on the stage
a boy plays his guitar
notes rain from strings
like pearls and bullets
his throat forms words
nuggets of gold

those waiting
go for the gold
leave their humanity behind

when I wake I know
los jovenes son nuestros
they are our children still
grown though they may be

they might be dead
or unable to come back
from a different kind of death
we may not understand

my lips say “soy  Ayotzinapa”
my body growls “soy Ayotzinapa”
my brain shouts “soy Ayotzinapa”

my heart cries “los jovenes de Ayotzinapa son yo”

“they tried to bury us, they didn’t know we were seeds
trataron de enterrar , que no sabían que éramos semillas”

Copyright © 2014 Sharon Elliott. All Rights Reserved.

Born and raised in Seattle, Sharon Elliott has written since childhood. Four years in the Peace Corps in Nicaragua and Ecuador laid the foundation for her activism. As an initiated Lukumi priest, she has learned about her ancestral Scottish history, reinforcing her belief that borders are created by men, enforcing them is simply wrong.  She has a book: Jaguar Unfinished, Sharon Elliott, Prickly Pear Publishing 2012, ISBN-13:  978-1-889568-03-4, ISBN-10:  1-889568-03-1 (26 pgs); and has featured in poetry readings at Poetry Express and La Palabra Musical in Berkeley, CA.  She was awarded a Best Poem of 2012, The Day of Little Comfort, in La Bloga Online Floricanto Best Poems of 2012, 11/2013,

Lucecitas, para Ayotzinapa
Por Viva Flores

“Ahora que/vamos a hacer/buscando cuarenta y tres
luciérnagas/ con/
frascos de miel/
ahora que/vamos a hacer.”

Dice la alquimia que las esencias se transmutan
solo con intención-
leña a polvo,
polvo a leña
los ciclos acaban como se
empiezan y
no hay materia que se transforma
a nada.

Históricamente, el silencio del fuego nunca ha servido para
ocultar los gritos de las bocas
la gasolina no fue hecha para derramar en las caras,
en una pila de cuerpos.

Hay una madre en su cama llorando como niña en su
exigiendo justicia como alimento
pero no le dan
Una mañana guardando el silencio
esa misma mujer carga a su arma.
Cuidado con la que ha perdido todo-
ya no le pueden quitar

México, cuarenta y tres luciérnagas calcinadas
han encendido las puertas de tu casa,
dieron luz a tu palacio empolvado-
un manojo de gusanos
retorciéndose por plata.

A Cuauhtémoc le quemaron los pies los europeos
pero el Tata nunca se dio. Sus huesitos derritiendo
candentes de valor.

Los guerreros nunca mueren
solo se transmutan, cambian de
Copyright 2014 Viva Flores. All rights reserved.

Viva Flores is a regular contribute at Balck Girl Dangerous. She studied Literature at University of Texas at El Paso.

A Poster Asks to Find the Missing 43
By Daniel Vidal Soto


You’ll never find them
Take the posters
And wrap them in a sailboat
Headed to the moon
Across la frontera through the bridge
To America’s house

Weep even for those who cross in safety
Safe enough to begin a family
For the kids, weep again
Into the realization
The American Dream does not exist
The schools really are also a prison
If we survive even this

Do it because
Alhambra has forgotten
Nahua’s agua through the well
Take the poster into a solid dream
Write poems and death notes
Stepping stones
Drowned beyond tomorrow


A crushed bag
Bottle of
Bibs and bitings
Teeth inked
Gold badge and copper wire
Silent eye
Talisman crosshair
beyond the fire


Crushed van
Bone paint
Some moan
A splint of femur
In the neck
The neck breathing
Aveoli and
An eye
beyond the fence


Mayor’s wife
Cheaper than
Yesterday’s piss
Golden locks
And thinking
She’s white
Uncle Sam’s
Cock sucker
Ass bender
Money fucker
Spirit twister
Cold eyed non-sister
Hope the furnace forgive
What the earth
And all our – not your – children
Can sing again in bigger choir


I see
My friend
Being arrested
And I tell him
It’s no different
Jamaican, Trinidadian
Dominican, Haitian
Puerto Rican
Moreno, Indio, Mestizo
The Trinidadian Parade
Announced We Ready
Habibi has already played
Through the warm Egyptian air


There’s a beat
Coming in my stomach
My fingers touch
Through the cotton
Singing incantations
What was it she said –
Sana, Sana
Taking the knife
And cutting away the cloud
An egg shell appears
Brighter and more promising
Than the eye
It is an oval and white
As is its halo

Daniel Vidal Soto is author of "Demon in Plastic", and has been published in Cloudy City Press, Brooklyn Paramount, thosethatthis, La Bloga Floricanto, and the Nerds of Color. He currently pursues an MFA in poetry at Long Island University - Brooklyn, where he teaches and is working on his second book of poetry.  He roots himself in Acuña, Coahuila, Mexico and the North Side of Fort Worth, Texas.

"La Llorona Weeps Once More"
by Patrick Fontes

Last night I heard La Llorona weeping
Echoes along the shores of Texcoco
In anguish along Chapala
The Pánuco
And Rio Grande
Her hands bloodied
Stained with the sangre of her hijos
Slain in her madness in Guerrero

Copyright 2014 Patrick Fontes. All Rights Reserved.

Currently I am a PhD candidate in history at Stanford University. My research involves border issues, Mexican religion, the Virgin Mary, immigration into the Southwest, and the criminalization of Chicano culture.

I grew up in Fresno, in a working class Chicano home.
During the Mexican revolution my great grandfather, Jesus
 Luna, crossed the border from Chihuahua into El Paso, then on to Fresno. In 1920 Jesus built a Mexican style adobe house on the outskirts of the city, it is still our family’s home and the center of our Mexican identity today. Nine decades of memories adorn the plastered walls inside. In one corner, a photo of Bobby Kennedy hangs next to an image of La Virgen de Zapopan; in another, an imposing altar to Guadalupe.

The smells, voices, sounds, hopes and ghosts of familia who have gone before me saturate my poems.

por Jan G. Otterstrom

Tengo siete hijos
no se encuentran entre
los desaparecidos, pero
en una pausa momentánea
comparto el dolor de padres,
madres, su carga preciosa
carne de su carne
pequeñas voces riendo
pateando sus balones
oraciones sinceras cuando
los pusieron a dormir, asegurando
el amor de una familia
ahora en peligro o para mal
Padres indefensos
solamente pueden recurrir a Dios.

© Jan G. Otterstrom F.
Noviembre 12, 2014

Poet, Jan Otterstrom Fonnesbeck, born 1944 in San Francisco, California presently living in Costa Rica, Central America.  Retired: BA Brigham Young University (English) Hart-Larson Poetry prize 1967.  J.D. Gonzaga, University 1972, MBA INCAE Costa Rica 1992, Poetry books "Ibis Of Imaginings A poetic Diary 1965-1994" Costa Rica; "Telar" 2005 Ediciones Union UNEAC Cuba; "Suite De La Habana" 2008 Coleccion Sur UNEAC Cuba; "Gatherings Collected poems 2006-2011" 2011 Xlibris, USA: "Portal Fragments of Journal Entries 2011-2012"  Y Mountain Press BYU; "To Return Home" 2013 Y Mountain Press, BYU; "Eleven Degrees North" 2014 Y Mountain Press BYU 2014; "Often There Post-Script and Orchid" Y Mountain Press 2014. His books are available at Barnes and Noble, Amazon,, UNEAC, La Habana Cuba and Cuban Bookstores.  “Telar” is in a second edition of 5000 copies and sold in South America. Web page:

Mexico, My Mirror
by Andrea Mauk

If I did not believe in divine connection
between everyone and everything
I could write this poem solamente about 43
43 from Ayotzinapa, Guerrero
43 estudiantes innocentes
43 normal teachers to be
pobres destined to teach más pobres, not unlike me,
but I can no longer see one incident
There are 43,000,000,000 stars above that tell me it isn't so,
y ya me cansé.

I must peel the cataracts from my eyes,
unstitch the lips silenced by promised kisses of butterflies,
patch together my heart cut to pieces by control and lies.
I can cry for the parents, wail with los abuelos,
stand in shock con las novias, in despair with los hijos.
I feel the pain of towns full of citizens that clang together hollowed with fear,
the people that watch over their backs each day in narco states,
those that now pray for faster relief from blinged out narco saints,
I can question Our Lady as to how can she let this be,
but I cannot stop there.
Ya me cansé.

Mexico is my mirror that shines on the world.
I slide it up, turn it towards our 50 states,
examine one side of the coin in exchange for the other,
Grand white houses and bellies filled with greed reflect upon each other.
People starved of caring and meaning and faith
Silenced by a system that rules with the gun
But no longer represents,
And all of us normales fragmented like splintered stars
scrapping to fight for this cause or that,
grappling for change that's just beyond reach,
not able to unburden ourselves from history's scars.

Leaden soldiers have no hearts, puppet leader have no brains
and whoever runs the show is buried at the core of the nesting dolls
that we've yet to discover. And the drug trade that exists for whom?

(Long Pause) y ya me cansé.

My eyes no longer jaded, stitches removed from my lips,
the smoke in my mirror has vanished.
I can take it no more.
No more senseless poverty, judgment, death or war
in the name of God or glory or power or oil.
And the meek shall inherit whats left of the earth
for La Revolución 43 has begun.
Ya me cansé en Mexico.
Ya me cansé in the Middle East
Ya me cansé in Africa
Ya me cansé in the deadly American streets.

The dust of 43,000 crushed bones
and 430,000 dientes pulverizados
and uncountable fragments of hopes and dreams
float above this world of chaos,
marking the unknown graves.
The universe forms clouds of shame,
persistent memories of war.
Doesn't that truly reflect who we are...

Connect the stars. Connect the dots.
The mirror reflects back on us.

November 13, 2014

 Andrea Garcia Mauk grew up in Arizona, where both the immense beauty and harsh realities of living in the desert shaped her artistic soul. She currently calls Los Angeles home, but has also lived in Chicago, New York and Boston. She has worked in the music industry, and on various film and television productions. She writes short fiction, poetry, original screenplays and adaptations, and is currently finishing two novels. Her writing and artwork has been published and viewed in a variety of places such as on The Late, Late Show with Tom Snyder; The Journal of School Psychologists and Victorian Homes Magazine. Both her poetry and artwork have won awards. Several of her writings are included in the 2011 anthology, Our Spirit, Our Reality. She currently teaches elementary theatre for the Los Angeles Unified School District. She is producing an original musical with her 5th grade students this December in Cudahy, CA. She is also in the midst of a cookbook project in which she seeks to make recipes classic healthier. Visit her cookbook website at

43 Aullidos del Alma  
© by  Nephtalí  De León

sad pigeons in Iguala
wept in Juan Álvarez Street
when the government police
shot at Ayotzinapa
Aldo was hit on the head
busloads of students were dead
43 of them corralled
prisoners taken ahead

vuela vuela palomita
limpia tus lágrimas de oro
dí que’l más grande tesoro
las joyas de Ayotzinapa
las mutilaron del mapa

cerca de Cocula un río
lleno de ranas y peces
tiemblan pero no de frío
es el llanto de un hallazgo
bolsas de plástico hundidas
gente desaparecida

fue el 28 de Septiembre
del año 2014
un tiempo sin igualdad
como duele recordar
allá  por Iguala Guerrero
cuando entregan a los presos
43 normalistas
al cartel de los Priístas
que´s que Guerreros Unidos
degenerados bandidos

a  Julio Cesar lo hallaron
desollado de su cara
his eyes and his skin were missing
sin ojos ni piel en cara
y el presidente de lujo
paseando por el mundo entero
ni al propio gobernador
se le ocurrío penar luto
the national signs of mourning
were Mexico´s tears next morning

dígame gobernador
diga señor presidente
dónde los 43
si vivos se los llevaron
¡ vivos los quiero presentes !

43 Howls of the Soul
By © Nephtalí De León

tristes palomas de Iguala
por calle Juan Álvarez lloran
al ver policías del gobierno
con balas para Ayotzinapa
una en la cabeza de Aldo
muertos camiones de alumnos
43 ya redados
prisioneros del estado

take wing little dove take wing
wipe off your teardrops of gold
tell the world  of the treasure
the jewels of Ayotzinapa
massacred without measure

close to Cocula the river
trembles with fish and with frogs
it shivers but not with the cold
there´s 43 howls in the waves
plastic bags full of remains
lost in their watery graves

on the 28th day of September
in the  year 2014
it hurts me so much to remember
the things of inequity days
when in Iguala Guerrero
the 43 Normalistas
by police they were delivered
to Priístas and Cartel
Guerreros Unidos both bandits
degenerates all from hell

when Julio Cesar was found
his face was peeled back unbound
two empty holes in his sockets
where his eyes should have been found
the president in full luxury
travels around the world
not even the governor said
there´s mourning and we´re all sad
el dolor se hizo presente
de México al día siguiente

governor will you tell me
Mr. President will you tell me
where are the 43
you took them from us alive
alive do we want them back !

Nephtalí De León, is a poet, author, playwright, and muralist painter. A migrant worker, he published his first book while a senior in high school, which was the last experience with formal education that he cared to be involved with.  Some of the author´s  publications are:  Chicano Popcorn (poetry),  Chicanos: Our Background and Our Pride, (essays in prose), -- Coca Cola Dream;  Hey, Mr President Man! (both, poetry),  I will Catch the Sun (for children), and others. Translated into Chinese, Russian, Arabic, Catalan and other languages, he has been published in USA, Mexico, France and Spain. His latest activity has been collaborating with the making of movie “Vamos al Norte” in Spanish with English subtitles, awaiting theatrical release. His dream is to have Mexica Chicano Natives de-colonize themselves from misnomers such as “Latinos” and “Hispanics,” which he says hold us as psycho/physical hostages of ourselves in a self-colonizing perpetuity that needs chains broken.

Por Carolina Torres

Hoy te gritaré
con la desesperación
de 43 voces
hasta que incontables puños
encendamos los cerillos
que desaten la esperanza,
arderá el amor
y no necesitaremos más carteles
con fotografías
empapadas en llanto de madres,
nunca más será domingo
así no tendrás permiso de muerte,
ni bala,
ni fuego,
ni fosas,
no, no habrá verde olivo
con pestilencia de Estado
capaz de atravesarte,
hoy correrás a los brazos
de la ternura
y ya no tendremos que clamar
por vivir o morirnos,
desaparecemos los dinosaurios.

Carolina Torres. Tegucigalpa, Honduras (1989). Estudiante de la carrera de Medicina en la Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Honduras. Su poesía ha sido incluida en Honduras: Golpe y Pluma, Antología de poesía resistente escrita por mujeres (2009-2013), Miembra del Movimiento poético Las de Hoy. Miembra activa de la Asociación Nacional de Escritoras de Honduras, ANDEH. Ha participado en Festivales internacionales de Poesía de Centroamérica.

QEPD los 43

Monday, November 17, 2014

If I Go Missing by Octavio Quintanilla y más

Por Xánath Caraza

If I Go Missing (Slough Press, 2014) by Octavio Quintanilla

If I Go Missing (Slough Press, 2014) por Octavio Quintanilla es un poemario de sesenta y cuatro poemas en tres partes.  El poemario está escrito en inglés con algunos versos en español. Tiene una combinación de poesía concreta, verso libre y poesía de estructura más tradicional, un par de sonetos.  Es un poemario del que he disfrutado en las múltiples lecturas que he hecho de éste.


Perder es clave en If I Go Missing de Octavio Quintanilla, perder una mano, perder un cuerpo, perderse a sí mismo.  Llamó mi atención la paradoja entre el título, que implica la posibilidad de ausencia de masa corporal, y la constante mención de partes del cuerpo en casi todos los poemas. 


La conexión entre la posibilidad de pérdida y las partes del cuerpo como constante en el poemario y, en especial, la estructura de los primeros poemas de Quintanilla, me llevó a los surrealistas.


Digo los primeros poemas porque la estructura de estos es precisamente la de un sueño fragmentado y lo que interpreto como metáfora de lo deseado.  Las imágenes que usa y la forma en que crea la secuencia, en los primeros poemas, es hasta cierto punto gratamente incongruente, no se me mal interprete, porque así es como suelen ser los sueños, y lo que traduzco como deseos contenidos.


I’m tired of having the same dream

every night, I said.

the dream in which I lose my left hand

doing a job I wasn’t born to do…

…You can’t see me but I see you,

and the night returns, and so does the river,

and the hand that rides the current

to the ocean

and refuses to drown. (8-9)


I carry my destiny like a corpse

Of someone I’ve known…

…then you know the human heart

Is made of words (16)


Quintanilla a manera de petit homage reacciona a otros escritores y los incorpora en algunos de sus poemas.  Crea un diálogo con autores como Borges, Roberto Bolaño, Mark Strand entre otros, autores que debemos conocer y no dudo de la preferencia de Quintanilla.


After Reading Roberto Bolaño


I’m in one of Borge’s dreams.  He chases me like a dog.  I try

to dream of the word labyrinth.  Borges doesn’t let me.  He tells

me it’s impossible to give it shape.  In his dream I’m not allowed

to dream.  He said. (11)


El poemario no se detiene ahí, después de este toque surrealista, y bellamente caótico en los primeros poemas, pasa, en una segunda parte del poemario, a lo político, a la frontera entre México y los Estados Unidos, a la incertidumbre colectiva, a los miedos colectivos de una nación que tiene la conciencia de que pudiera ser secuestrada o de los que cruzan la frontera, o simplemente poemas de un México romantizado pero con sus muy reales turbulencias sociales cotidianas.


My parents can’t recognize the country of their birth.

On the streets, children know the names of their enemies.

Grandmothers no longer close their eyes at the sound

of gunfire breaking a neighbor’s window. (32)


Take care of them.  If they want water,

                        Dump them in the river.  If they crave

Freedom, let them loose among rattlesnakes.

                        If they want to breathe, let them breathe dust. (35)


Now we are going somewhere.

Let us rejoice, then, and remember the days

when our tongue was the only meat

we could bite into.  (54)


En la última parte del poemario Quintanilla pasa a lo personal y nos cuenta historias tanto de la vida diaria como también de presupuestos, a manera de juego de lógica con sus múltiples posibilidades, sobre lo que pudiera pasar.


We are alone now.

The man with the hat leaves

his ulcer sitting at the table.

The waitress, not sad enough

to speak to me, pours herself

out of the window. (66)


But instead you taste

manzanilla, estafiate,

yerba buena, herbs

your grandmother sweetened with fire

to make you strong. (67)


What if we’re taken in the middle

of our daughter’s ball game, or from our beds,

minutes after making love,

never to be seen again? (82)

Octavio Quintanilla

OCTAVIO QUINTANILLA's work has appeared in Salamander, RHINO, Alaska Quarterly Review, Southwestern American Literature, The Texas Observer, Texas Books in Review, and elsewhere. He is a CantoMundo Fellow and holds a PhD from the University of North Texas. Currently, he teaches Literature and Creative Writing in the MA/MFA program at Our Lady of the Lake University. He's the author of the poetry collection, If I Go Missing, published by Slough Press (2014).



In Other News


Metro Poetry on Buses Project, Seattle, WA

Los Norteños Writers photo by Gene Frogge

"Brava! Bravo! Big Congratulations to Seattle's Latino and Latina poets, the members and family of Los Norteños and Seattle Escribe for their winning presence in the Metro Poetry on the Buses. There is a roaring poetry renaissance going on across the world, and Seattle must be proud of its part in it, displaying the beauty of poetry in Spanish, and bilingually in English. Please visit the Bus Poetry audio files with Nora reciting bilingually and enjoy the photo with Catalina Cantú of Los Norteños and her poem on a bus, qué cool!" ( José Carrillo )

Catalina  M. Cantú and her poem on the bus

Here is my reading schedule for the months of November and December


Women Writers in Bloom Poetry Salon & Open Mic organized by Juliet P. Howard in New York City on November 23



University of Missouri-Kansas City on November 20

Donnelly College in Kansas City, KS on November 25


Great Writers, Right Here! Second Annual Literary Fair in Topeka, KS on December 6


Seattle University, Seattle, WA, on December 11

El Centro de la Raza, Seattle WA, on December 12 & 13