Escritores is a community writing group started by Chimayo Poet, David Martinez. The writing groups meets twice a month at the Northern New Mexico Collage library. For the second October gathering, El Razafotografista was the facilitator of the writing group. Three images were used as prompts for poems. Those images and poems are being shared here.

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El Esqueleto Borracho
© 10-23-14, Angelo J. Sandoval

In the dark shadow
of the bar’s rincon
sat a figure slumped on his chair
the flash of the stage light
hit his face
rancheras and cumbias giving
bailadores rhythm to dance too.

The ghostly figure’s dark eyes
sparkle with the turn of the disco ball
head tilted to the left, slumped on his shoulder.

Just before sun down
he made his way to Vic’s Bar
casting his ghostly shadow on
bar patrons as he made his
way to his favorite corner.
He waves down the mesero to the
darkness of his misery, the corner.

Face hiding in the shadows,
he speaks in a low tone
with a rustic voice,
“Same una botella de tequila.”

Triste corridors make there way
to his ears,
the tears run down from his eyes
as the musica plays.

Memories of lost lovers
and war torn memories
fill his soul,
the tequila feels his sorrows

the disco ball shines light
into his dark eyes
sadness fills his heart
as tequila fills his panzita.

Sitting in the corner,
the clock Strick’s one o’clock
the musica died out
empty bottle of tequila,
the man stumbles out into
the full moon
light shines through his rib cage
the sorrow of the dead man
feels the night sky.

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La Esqueletafotografista
© 10-23-14, Angelo J. Sandoval

She came from the land of immortality
as soul from ancient times
units with modern technology

Kneeling behind her camera
La Esqueleta looks dead ahead
spooked by the wonder of the day
she recognizes flower designs
and colorful patterns
the paleness of white brought to
life by the brightness of colors.

The figure is unknown to her
never seen in the land of the immortals
her camera, to heavy to hold up
her arms frozen to the unknown figure.

She is unable to capture the moment
the figures are not real to hug yet
they approached her in song and dance,
in collaboration………… She asks, “quien son”?

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Please feel free to use these images to create your own poems. If you would like for your poem to be added to this post please email poems/prose/short stories (under 350 words) here. for review and consideration. Authors retain all rights to their work. Photographs are copyrighted by El Razafotografista and Company de Esperanza Fotography. May use with written consent.

©Angelo J. Sandoval
   9.14.2014

Part I

Nestled in a reconcito,
I have seen you in the corner
of my eye as I have
driven by your
humble exterior.

I didn’t pay much attention
to your presence,
but the few times I did catch
a glimpse of you,
I wondered if you were
offering sacred prayer space,
yet didn’t bother to find out.

I heard from news sources
you had been violated.
Your sacred space,
treated with disrespect.
Your heart was taken from you.
Ancient relics that carried
prayers of antepasados
stolen from the sacredness

©9.14.2014

Part II

My heart broke into pieces
as I read the news of your torment
You, the heart of a community
the refuge of the lonely
Violated by one of your
sons or
daughters

The heart that is You,
was taken,
taken to unknown places
Lost to the cycle of addiction
that plagues your community
The same community that cares
for you,
that made every effort to protect you.

My heart is broken.
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Angelo J. Sandoval
©8.30.14

The search for indeginous
identity roots
My journey has been
full of adventure.
I search the spiritual
en mi querido Norté.

I traveled to Alcatraz Island,
celebrating sunrise ceremonies
antepasados making there
presence known
as Father Sun breaks over the horizon,
Grandmother Moon slowly begins
her decent in to the ocean’s horizon.

The beauty of the Morning Star
Came to bless us with love prayer
trails to the ancestors in the other world.

I search for a story which has been
lost to the winds of time.
names of sacred spaces unknown
Spanish corrupted names
leave my mind wondering
wondering where
where did they go?
Why did they go?
No answers.

Adventure seeks me out
Visiting ancient ruins
of a forgotten city.

Lost to the winds of time
reasons why,
why an ancient city was left behind.
I found peace at the ruins site.

For once the unknown
became, ok.
I came to a place labelled, ruins.

Narrated videos of dependents
of ancient people remind us,
These spaces are not ruins,
they are home to ancestor spirits.

I enter sacred space, the Great Kiva.
The energy of ancient peoples are
ever present,
I make two visits in to this sacred space.
I close my eyes and daydream of lost
Alto Huachín Kiva,
lost sacred space
lost stories of creation, love, family, and the beyond.

One more piece of the puzzle found,
yet it doesn’t find its fitted place in my
people’s lost history.

Sacred space, the Great Kiva
your gift of sacred space will
live in my heart till the end of my days.
Entering your sacred space without
the need of a card to prove my lost
indigenous identity,
Your sacred space gave healing
to a lost soul.

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The photo were taken at Aztec Ruins National Park in Aztec, New Mexico.

©Angelo J. Sandoval
9.3.2014

I look toward the New Mexico sky,
the heavens above
sun sets approach the day
evening sets in,
the clouds, fire red
turning bright orange as the sun sets.

The clouds, silent
as the day passes
the clouds witness the
beauty that is New Mexico
and the ugliness, just the same

These silent clouds hold in them
the secrets of negativity,
the load voices of a people from an Enchanted Land.

These silent clouds
burn with the Sun’s rays
as Father Sun
makes his way behind the
Jemez Mountains.

These silent clouds
keep secrets hidden
in their soft fluffy woolly body
the secrets of enchanted dreams
and repulsive nightmares

These silent clouds
protect word of
prayers uttered by
enchanted hearts and souls
the clouds silence has
no room for judgment
only a healing presence.

The glow of fire sun as it sets
The clouds take your words with them
as they fade in the night sky

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©Angelo J. Sandoval
   8.31.14

I visited sacred land
tierra sagrada
the ancients of on this
place make their presence known
Cool shade drapes over me as
I stand under large shady trees
Their presence is felt with cool
tranquil calm.

Holy dirt,
Sacred ground

Symbols of faith surrounding
Me like cool breeze and spirit whispers.

Crosses nailed to trees holding
rosary beads with prayers of healing
left behind by prayer warriors on
sacred journey to sacred land.

Prayers left for the ancients
to carry to the heavens.

Chain linked fences full of prayer
Like the air full of ancient spirits
Guarding sacred spaces.
Crosses line the fence
like spirits line the the mountain side
with prayers acceding to the heavens

My heart felt at peace
standing on sacred ground
Spirit guardians touch my heart
as I reflect on sacred symbols
nailed to trees,
holding rosary beads,
lining chain link fences,
My faith is restored,
my faith is solidified, once again.

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©Angelo J. Sandoval
    8.28.2014

I look into the heavens
old man Cloud,
I notice his face
pale white pressed on
blue skies.
Rains have come by his grace.
Expressed expression
of sadness are evident
as old man Cloud has
one eye closed in
painful emotions.
Old man Cloud
Saddened by the horrors
Death dying
children suffering
adult world horrors.
Violence defaces
Mother Earth
Old man Cloud
mourns
mourns

Old man Cloud
Fades from Father Sky
broken
defeated
Old man Cloud
mourns

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Vigil for Victor Villalpando

Posted: June 12, 2014 in Photos, Tribute

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Rest in Peace, Victor.

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Por ser tu divina luz
Dios mio Santo
Ilumina nuesrto Camino
En este dia de escuridad.

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Sagrado Corazon de Jesus
Eres nuestro amparo y guia
Guianos con la llama de
Tu corazon en esta oscuridad

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Siempre en las tiempo MA’s
Oscuros vienes a estar
Con thus hijos. Dando tu
Luz brillante y bella.

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My spiritual journey began when I was about five or six years old. I remember going to the Morada in Cordova with my mom and grandma every Wednesday and Sunday of Lent and participating in all the ceremonies and rituals of Holy Week. I remember wanting to become an Hermano when I was about six years old, but was told I had to wait till I was eleven. Every year that passed I went faithfully to all the scheduled services at the Morada. I as got older an was able to stay alone at home, there were times that I opted to stay home to watch TV. Really the only time was when the movie “Jesus of Nazareth” came out. Usually the week before Holy Week. And of course the Sundays I was visiting with my dad.

The years before joining the Morada I would try to mimic the Hermanos at home by pretending have processions. I would gather my cousins and line them up like the Hermanos did. I had a small cross I had received one year at catechism. I would try to pray (sing) the alabados the best I knew how. I we would process around my grandma’s living room and kitchen. At that age I really didn’t understand what all this meant, but for some reason it was calling me.

Finally, I turned eleven and Lent was coming to a close in 1989. Easter was about 10 days before my eleventh birthday. My time was missed to join the Morada. Yet I didn’t get discouraged, I knew that next was going to be the year I would join the Hermanos as one of them. I was exited to turn eleven. I remember Her. Ricardo Lopez telling us year after year that we didn’t join the Morada by choice, that we were called by God and Christ to be members of this Hermandad. We were chosen to carry on the traditions of our ancestors forward teach the life of Christ. Yet, at eleven I had no clue what I was doing. I was there from some reason that I could not figure out. All I knew was that becoming a member was for life and full commitment was a must. I have committed to the Morada fully.

2014 marked 25 years of service to my beloved Morada. In those 25 years I have grown to be a many of deep faith and extremely knowledgeable about the faith given to us by our grandfathers and grandmothers. A faith that was rooted in simplicity and humility. In those same 25 years I was elected as celador and hermano mayor of my morada. Both at a very young age, I was in my teens to yearly twenty’s as celador and mid twenty’s as hermano mayor. I was also a member to the Mesa Directiva. This was the board that is in place to unit all the Moradas of Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado. In my twelve years of service I was the secretario and the hermano mayor secundo. I have about 1000 years of experience that has guided me for the last 25 years in my spirituality. Keep in mind that when first joined the Morada Her. Jorge Lopez and Ricardo Lopez had each been in the Morada over 70 years and both were in their 90′s.

In 2007 I was celebrating my graduation from nursing school from Northern New Mexico College. I had invited co-worker Ana Cisneros to my graduation party, which was on a Friday night. Ana spent a little bit time at my fiesticita and enjoyed some food. Then, she excused herself and on her way out she invited me to the Santuario (de Chimayo) the next day. She told me she and some Aztecs would be dancing. The next day I got up and made my was to the Santuario with camera in hand. I starting shooting a few photos and caught up with Ana. I thanked her for the invitation. Ana then told me that they had been there since the night before praying and singing and today they were dancing and offering there prayers. Ana suggested that I come the following year to the night serve. I told Ana to remind me. The stage was set, my spiritual journey was to take on a new path.

Between 2008 and 2011 I participated in both the velacion and the ceremonia with Ana. In that time I met Jacobo Dimas and his wife Mayahuel Garza and Beatrice and her husband Tomas Vigil. All five of these individuals taught me about the ceremonia and the velacion. Jacobo always made sure that i was able to share an alabado during the night ceremony. This a great honor for me. I was able to represent my ancestors in this sacred ceremony. I was told that the ceremony being observed was in honor of El Senor De Chalma, an image of a dark crucified Christ and the image was in a town in Chalma in Mexico. One of the reasons the group had chosen the Santuario as the site to celebrate this ceremony was to also honor El Senor de Esquilupas, another image of a dark Christ.

By 2011 I had been in a relationship with my girlfriend, Amanda for about three and a half years. 2011 was a bitter sweet year during the time of the Velacion de Nuestro Senor de Chalma. In 2011 Amanda’s mom was getting married that Saturday, we were unable to participate in all of the velacion or the danza. Yet, as faithful as we had become to the velacion we still went to greet our friends and spend a couple of hours with them.

As we were getting ready to leave I had permission to address the group to let them know we had to leave. At that point Jorge Garcia Atilano and his wife Virgina Necochea were about to address the group that their time as padrinos of the cendal has come to an end. They were in the process of choosing the next set of padrinos for the cendal. Being the padrino of the cendal is a three year commitment. As we were getting ready to say our good byes, Jorge stated that after discussions with the elders of the group they were going to ask Amanda and I if we wanted to be the padrinos. I discussed with Amanda and we accepted the honor. ((read story here)).

During this time Amanda and I had a lot of negative energies testing our relationship. Two members of my family were being mean to Amanda and it caused us to fight a lot. The negative energy was strong. I believe that God knows when he needs to add some extra help in peoples lives. The timing of us becoming padrinos of the cendal came at a critical time in our relationship. During those three years we here padrinos,especially in the beginning things were rough. The annual velacion and ceremonia was our saving grace. This was the one time every year we prayed together with the help of our friends. There prayers were our strength. I don’t think they know this, but after reading this they will.

Now its 2014 our commitment has been fulfilled. The negative energy is slowly making its way out our lives. The spiritual powers of the Danza and the Morada have combined in me and helped me be a bit stronger in my faith. In 2013 Amanda, Esperanza, Isabella and I were asked to become Danzantes. We participated in the Danza for the first time as Danzantes not just as members of the community. Jacobo and Mayahuel have been big supporters of us becoming part to this ancient and beautiful tradition. This year we passed on the obligacion of the cendal to David Martinez and Pilar Trujillo. It was a decision that only made sense. The connection between El Senor de Esquipulas and El Senor de Chalma needed to maintained for a least three more years. The bond that was create is now being strengthened.

Amanda and I were given our trajes de la Danza. Amanda got her blouse (not sure the actual name) and I received my tilma. Jacobo stated that he and the Jefa Helga Garza had worked on it. They felt that the symbol on my tilma needed to reflect who i was and were i came from. The symbol they gave was the Sacred Mountain with La Cruz de la Conquista in it’s summit and the Sacred Heart in the Center. Jacobo and Helga stated this represented where i was from, my faith and my commitment to La Cruz de la Conquista. I was deeply humbled by this gift and by the honor of becoming part of an ancient tradition.

In conclusion, my spiritual journey has a new path for me to embark on. I will take to ancient traditions and learn from them the story of my ancestors. I will learn the faith and pass it on to my children and hope they pass it on to their children for generations. Being a Penitente and Danzante are two obligacions that are life commitments. I believe the God has brought this two forms of spirituality in to my life to learn about humility and simplicity in this modern world. What i have learned in 25 years as an Hermano and the last 7 years with and now as a Danzante is the respect is a most, humility is something we need to practice daily and faith will get us through the rough stuff.

Here are some photos of this years Ceremonia.

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Photos used with permission by the Danzantes. Always keeping in mind that Danza is a sacred ceremony and a prayer. Please respect the photos by not downloading if you are not a danzante or do not have their permission. Thank you for understanding and respecting this sacred tradition.

National Poetry Month Poem A Day Challenge. The following (or series) of images are prompts for you to create your own poems. Today is #Day 12 Here is (are) today’s image(s). Please share your poem(s) on the comment section or share a link at the same place. Thank you for taking up El Razafotografista’s poetry prompt challenge.

Prompt: You enter the twilight zone and see the the signal on the train track, warped. Tell what happened to the sign.

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