Posts Tagged ‘Poems’

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.


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.


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”?


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

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






©Angelo J. Sandoval

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

Old man Cloud
Fades from Father Sky
Old man Cloud



Less the one hour before midnight on December 11, 2013 I am seating on my couch watching La Mananitas a La Virgen de Guadalupe on Univison. I have been watching Las Mananitas for at least the last 12 years. I remember the first time I found out about the 2 hour long program, I was excited. I made sure to get my VCR ready to record the live event to add to my collection of videos. To my surprise, my grandma told me that Las Mananitas comes on every year on the eve of Guadalupe’s feast day. I was extremely excited to be able to witness the beautiful songs that were being shared by many individuals at the Basilica. I made a promise to myself to one day go visit Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe at her Basilica.

As far back as I can remember I have had a great devotion for La Virgen Morena. It wasn’t till some time in my later years in high school that I was given an article that talked about the images within the image of Guadalupe. I became extremely interested in the secrets that where hidden in plain sight. The advent of home based internet had become a reality in Cordova. I spent hours searching for more information about the image of Guadalupe and found the account of her appreciation in Spanish, English and Nauha. I was in heaven. I was learning about an image that has been around 471 years. Today it’s been 482 years since the appreciations took place. I spent a lot of time researching her image and learning about her Catholic meaning only to find that there is a meaning that is older then what I had ever imagined.

Though all this background is great to discuss with you, I want to get to the real reason for this blog post. This post is to give honor to La Guadalupana for all she has done for me with her intercessional prayers during some difficult times in my life.

My connection and deeping devotions to la Guadalupana began in the summer of 2005, I found out earlier that year that I was going to become a father for the first time. I was not prepared to be a father. I had no home, no stability; I was still in college and living a fairly free life style. Well, as we all know life happens and bam I am going to be a father. Not many people know this, but I had a difficult time accepting the reality of parenthood. In July of 2005 I made a trip from Juarez, Mx to the Federal District in Mexico City, Mx. I was part of a group of about 20 total, including the instructors. Every city or village we stopped between Juarez and Mexico City I visited every church I could offering prayers. Searching for answers to my soon to be role in this world, a father. We arrived in Mexico and we visited the Basilica de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, I visited as many churches and chapels within the grounds. At the end our time there I had found peace of heart and mind that I would be a great father to my soon to be born child. I visit and took a few pictures as a reminder of my trip and the esperanza I had found being in the home of Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe. I returned home full of esperanza and I haven’t turned back since. I am now the father of two beautiful daughters, Esperanza and Isabella. Both sleep under a blanket with the image of La Guadalupana. My faith in her intercession is as deep as my roots in my home town of Cordova.
Since my visit to the Basilica, my increased interest in photography and my new interest in poetry I have photographed many murals, statues and other images of Guadalupe. My first poem about Guadalupe I wrote while I was in El Paso during a week of field work with my master’s program. I was a student at New Mexico Highlands University. This poem reflects how Our Morenita is always with us. How she is always just around the corn and available to use for prayer and guidance.

A few years ago El Santuario de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe had a statue erected in front of the Santuario. I remembered that when the statue was being brought over from Mexico it was held up by customs. It was held for a few days or weeks. I don’t remember the exact time. I wrote poem to reflect that La Guadalupana was with her children, always. She became a victim of the border injustices that many of our people are facing daily. This poem reflects on how La Guadalupana accompanies her children though their tribulations.

In 2012 I took Amanda to celebrate her birthday in Alburquerque. We met up with our friend Ruzita while we were there. Ruzita took us to see a carving of La Guadalupana made by her father many years ago. This is a beautiful image and profession of faith. It was an honor to have been able to see this great image. The devotion and faith that went in to create this image was increditable. I was humbled by the great faith and work that went into creating this image.

This was a sad year for my family. My Tio Onivas passed away. He was one of the most faithful children of La Guadalupana. He would sing her song almost daily. He would sing at the top of his lungs and he could care less what anyone thought. His faith and devotion was deep in his heart and soul. One of his last wishes was that an image of La Guadalupana be painted on his casket, he asked local tattoo artist, Johnny Baca to paint the image for him. Johnny honored my Tio’s request, but instead of painting her image he used a wood burning. I know my Tio was happy with the work Johnny created for his casket.

The last few months I have been busy at work and not put time aside to write poetry, but I do take the time to photograph any image I find of La Guadalupana. I have created an extensive collection of images of Guadalupe. I know she is with me daily because she makes her presence known when I least expect it. For example, I took Amanda to see Ozomatli in concert for her birthday. As we are traveling south on 2nd street on our way to have dinner at El Paisa with our friend Andrea I spot a two murals with La Guadalupana. The next day I make a trip to photograph the image. It was a beautiful mural. During that same trip we went to Santa Fe and visited the Santuario of Guadalupe at night. I took some great photos and a poem soon came to me. This was the first time I had see this statue at night and it was a powerful view. Again, I knew that Guadalupe would be by my side no matter what I was going though.

In this blog I have provided links to my poems and images of Guadalupe. I hope she inspires your to create beautiful poetry, that she guild you in times of need and give you hope in good and bad times. My devotion is deep and I wanted to share a small piece of my faith with you on the eve of her feast as the night moves toward her feast day. I hope you have enjoyed the poems and images. Please share your stories on the comment section of this blog!

Here are a few more images for your devotion and prayers.





“Lowriting: Shots Rides and Stories   
                from the Chicano Soul”

Growing up in Cordova, New Mexico owning a lowrider was common among many of the homeboys. I remember my Tio Allen washing his 1972 Monte Carlo, my Tio Randy washing is 1969 VW Bug and awhile later his late 1970s Chrysler Cordoba. My Tio Spunke with his multitude of cards, Cadillac’s, Cutlass Supremes, just to name a few of his lowriders.

Beginning on Good Friday until late September, every Friday night through Sunday afternoon the main street in Espanola was full of lowriders. Riverside Drive was at times full of lowriders. Cruising bumper to bumper. Pulling over at different areas to talk with the homies or to pick up chicks. That was the lowrider world I knew growing up. I didn’t know back then that lowrider was much bigger then Espanola. The world for me ended in Santa Fe when it came to lowriders. This was our tradition, something dads pasted down to their sons, for the fatherless sons, tios and grandpas would teach the tradition.

In my late teens I went to my first car show in Espanola and the world of lowriders out side of Espanola was open. I saw cars from places such as California, Texas, Colorado, Arizona and Utah. I was amazed with the cars I was seeing from many different parts of the Southwest. It was truly amazing that I saw vatos from different areas sharing one common art from, Cars. It was cool seeing one car model transformed in many different ways. I was blown away.
I went to school in a private Methodist Church school in Espanola. I remember reading poetry and stories by authors such as Emily Dickenson and  Robert Frost. I don’t remember the short story author because I wouldn’t read the stories, I was lazy like that. I didn’t know that Chicanos had poets or writers. I only knew of Rudolfo Anaya and his book, “Bless Me, Ultima”. In my literary world vies Chicanos didn’t write or create much poetry or other types of writing.

It wasn’t until college when I came into contact with Chicano Literature. I was introduced to authors such as Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales, Sandra Cisneros and Alurista to name a few. I was a great time in my life. The one tradition that I didn’t read about was the lowrider culture. In fact, I don’t believe there is much out there about the lowrider culture, until now.

California based photographer, Art Meza and Florida based independent publisher Santino J. Rivera have come together to create a one of a kind book. A book that has never been put together. The book is collection of Art’s photographs of the many lowriders he has photographed and a collection of poems and other writings collected by Santino Rivera, editor and publisher. These two homeboys have come together to bring a one of kind book exhibiting the lowrider culture via photography and literature.

I interviewed Art Meza (AM) and Santino J. Rivera (SJR) regarding there contribution to this book. Here is what they had to say about “Lowriting: Shots, Rides and Stories from the Chicano Soul’. Release date is pending and will be announced by Santino in due time.

Interview with Art Mesa (AM)

AJS: Please introduce yourself.

AM: My name is Art Meza Jr. but a lot of people know me as “Chicano Soul”, a name I began using a few years ago and one I hope serves as a representation of who I am and what I try to capture with every shot from my camera. I am happily married and a father of two. I am a proud son of Los Angeles.

AJS. How did you become interested in photography?

AM: I can’t say things like “I’ve been in love with photography all my life.” Or “All my life I’ve wanted to be a photographer.” No. My interest in photography is relatively new but none the less growing stronger by the day. It was sparked by the support and encouragement I received from family and really good friends. I started off photographing the cars I’d see at many of the classic car/ lowrider shows my family and I would attend. I didn’t think much of my shots when I began sharing them on Twitter/Instagram but was surprised at all the love they received.

AJS: Have lowriders been a part of your photography since you started shooting?

AM: I’ve always enjoyed classic cars and lowriders in particular. Although Lowriding itself is not a tradition in my family, it is one that is revered by many Chicanos. Hell, ask anyone. Chicanos invented Lowriders and the thing that has always drawn me to them is the pride that goes into building them and then showing them off. That pride radiates off the car just as bright as it’s custom paint job. I take what I’ve learned and try to capture that pride and then share it with everyone who’s willing to look.

AJS: How did you and Santino come together for Lowriting?

AM: Santino and I have connected on many ideas in the few years we’ve known each other.

I mentioned my goal I have with my photography and what I try to express and not only did Santino get it but also offered to work with me to help share my work. Santino had the vision to put together “Ban This”, an anthology containing nearly 40, both well known and unknown Xican@s, which gave us a way share our struggles and amplify our voices. I’ll always be grateful to have been a part of Ban This and am just as excited and honored to have his confidence to play a bigger role with Lowriting.

AJS: What does this book mean to the Chicano community? Do you consider this book another resource to teach about an art subculture among Chicanos?

AM: “Lowriting: Shots, Rides and Stories from the Chicano Soul” will feature over 50 of my photographs. Some I have already shared and some that haven’t been seen yet. I can only hope my attempt to show it off in a positive way does the culture itself justice. Too many people view Lowriders in a negative way. They’re associated with gangs and crime instead of appreciated for the art forms they were/are meant to be.

AJS: With out giving to many details, can you talk a little bit about the art you will be showcasing in this book?

AM: We believe this book will help change that. There are no books out there like this until now.  One that tells of the Chicano Lowrider culture with the respect it deserves. Con Safos

The following imgaes are part of the book. Photos are part of Art’s lowrider photography collection. Images are available for sell at Art’s on line etsy store. Art has an array of products available for sell.




Interview with Santino J. Rivera (SJR)

AJS: Please introduce yourself.

SJR: Santino J. Rivera is an independent publisher, author, editor and freelance writer. Born in Denver, Colorado, Rivera cut his teeth as a freelance journalist, hired geek, street poet and EMT. His books collect material unlike anything else currently on the market today.

In 2012 Rivera published ¡Ban This! The BSP Anthology of Xican@ Literature, as a response to the censorship and book banning of Chicana/o authors in Arizona. The book was featured at the 2013 Tucson Festival of Books. Currently, Rivera is preparing to release Lowriting: Shots, Rides & Stories from the Chicano Soul by Art Meza.

Rivera has performed spoken word and lectured in several dives, unknown coffee shops, universities and on street corners from Boyle Heights to the mean streets of the Dirty South. He is passionate about free speech, Xican@ activism and the printed word. Currently, Rivera resides with his family in Saint Augustine, Florida. You can reach him at @sjrivera on Twitter.

AJS: How long have you been an independent publisher? What got you on the road to this endeavor?

SJR: I’ve been publishing professionally since 2007 – I released my first book Demon in the Mirror that year and haven’t looked back since. However I’ve been into this since college ( mid 90s). I started out helping to create and publish an independent Chicano newspaper in Denver and gradually started getting into publishing chapbooks of my own material and handing them out in parking lots after poetry readings. I was inspired by people like Henry Rollins who created his own publishing company, printed and distributed his work at his shows. He broke all the rules of conventional publishing and that really spoke to me. I’m still breaking the rules and I love it.

AJS: How many titles does your company have on its listing?

SJR: Right now I have eight titles with one out of print and three slated for release

AJS: How did you and Art come together for Lowriting?

SJR: Art started really getting into taking these photos and they just kept getting better and better. He has a real eye for this sort of thing and I picked up on that very early in the game. I follow the philosophy of publishing books that I, personally, would want to read so I figured that a book of his photography would be just that. This was all happening while I was still touring for ¡Ban This! and naturally we started throwing out ideas about what would make a book like that sing. It was a mutual decision to tie together Art’s amazing photos with stories about lowriders and lowrider culture. The more we talked about it the bigger the idea became and her we are, on the cusp of what is shaping up to be a groundbreaking book.

AJS: What does this book mean to the Chicano community? Do you consider this book another resource to teach about an art subculture among Chicanos?

SJR: That’s not for me to say but I do hope that it has a positive impact on the Chicana/o community – we need it. You have to understand that this kind of thing has never been attempted before. I realize that sounds weird but it’s true. This book will be a marriage of stunning lowrider photography and the stories that go along with them. I searched high and low for this kind of book but never found it. Sure, there are a few books of lowrider pictures, for car enthusiasts etc. And you might find a story about lowriders here and there if you really dig deep but never the two together and not like this. This book is unprecedented in that way. Art’s photographs are not like what most people expect when it comes to lowriders – you won’t find the exploded and posed ranflas with half-naked women sprawled all over them, like you usually do. Art’s photos are classy and speak to another era of lowriding and the stories in this book compliment that quite well.

As for being a teaching tool, I definitely believe this book could be used in that vein. Just like ¡Ban This! it is my hope that this book reaches across genres and breaks the boundaries that usually segregate these kinds of books. As Luis J. Rodriguez writes about in Lowriting, lowriding is worldwide now, which in turn means that Chicano culture is also worldwide. Our culture and our stories deserve to be told and taught from just as much as any other and if Lowriting can help in that endeavor than I have done my part to help preserve our culture. I hope people see that.

AJS: Without giving to much detail, can you tell me about the pantheon of authors representing in this book?

SJR: In addition to Art’s stunning photography, the amount of talent in this book is mind blowing. I mean, you’re getting over 50 of Art’s images collected in one book and that alone is worth the price of admission but we have coupled that with an amazing collection of writers. For starters there’s work by both Luis J. Rodriguez and Luis Alberto Urrea. There are also contributions from Lalo Alcaraz, Gustavo Arellano and Alvaro Rodriguez (cowriter of Machete). If that’s not enough there are contributions from actors Danny De La Paz (Boulevard Nights, American Me) and Daniel Villarreal (Stand and Deliver, American Me), prolific author Jim “The Beast” Marquez, publisher Richard Vargas and the current New Mexico Chicana/o Poetry Slam Champ Anna C. Martinez. There are also works by poets Viva Flores, Andrea J. Serrano and documentary filmmaker Gloria Morán.

If you’re still not convinced that this book will be on another level, there’s also work by artists Angel Diaz, Josh Divine and Emilio Medina, journalist Allen Thayer, authors Xicano X, Ricky Luv, Roberto  Dr. Cintli Rodriguez, Gina Ruiz, Benjamin Quiñones Reyes and Jason Hoyt, poets Nancy Aidé González, Enrique Arroyo, Nikkeya West, Tara Evonne Trudell, Noelle Reyes, Raul Sanchez, Manuel Gonzalez, Robert Flores, Lizz Huerta, Angelo Sandoval, Lawrence Gandara, Steven Alvarez and photos featuring model Marya “Hellabreezy” Ramirez.

This book truly is a work of art and I’m extremely proud of it. I think it’s going to blow people away and break boundaries.   

Please check out other titles by Broken Sword Publications.

Let us meet this month’s Speak, Poet feature, Rich Boucher. Rich is a contributor the 2nd Anniversary blog post Reflecting on the 2 year anniversary of Speak, Poet and a contributing Poet to my anthology,  “Palabras O Muerte: Vivan Los Escritores”.




A past member of five national poetry slam teams (Worcester, Mass. (x2), Washington, D.C., Wilmington, Del. and Albuquerque, N.M.), Rich has published four chapbooks of poetry and for seven years hosted an open reading and slam in Newark, Delaware. Since moving to Albuquerque in March of 2008, Rich has been performing and writing steadily in the Duke City, and is a regular contributor/editor at In 2012 Rich was named to the first inaugural Albuquerque Poet Laureate Selection Committee for a two-year term, and his participation helped to select Hakim Bellamy, the City of Albuquerque’s first official Poet Laureate. Rich’s poems have appeared in Artistica, Red Fez, Adobe Walls: An Anthology of New Mexico Poetry, Apeiron Review, Boston Poetry Magazine, Brawler, The Bicycle Review, The Camel Saloon, CARNIVAL, Citizens for Decent Literature, Crack the Spine, Dead Beats, Delaware Poetry Review, Epigraph, Eunoia Review, Extract(s), Fickle Muses, Grey Sparrow Journal, HyperText, The Lake, Leaves of Ink, Lyre Lyre, Neon, The Rag, The Malpais Review, Clutching at Straws, Shot Glass Journal, Missive, Mutant Root, ppigpenn, Poydras Review, quarter after, Sparkbright, The Subterranean Quarterly, The Mas Tequila Review, The Yellow Ham, Visceral Uterus, Borderline, 200NewMexicoPoems,The Legendary and The Nervous Breakdown. In January of 2012, Rich appeared on the album, “Dylan – Philadelphia pays tribute to a Legend”, an album featuring various Philadelphia artists performing covers of Dylan songs to benefit Amnesty International and the End Hunger Network; Rich’s contribution to the album was a spoken-word rendition of Bob Dylan’s “My Back Pages”. Hear some of his poems at In March of 2013, Rich’s poem, “In Memory of My Neighbor, Carol, Who Has Not Died Yet” was named one of Brawler’s Best Poems of 2012”. 

Through out my time in school, weather it was high school or collage literature, especially poetry were my least favorite subjects to take. Slowly I began to find poets and poetry that talked about events, people and history that I could identify with, but the list was short. Not many brown poets. The focus in class were on poets such as Robert Frost, Emily Dickenson and Shakespeare to name a few. I wondered where all the Chicano/Mexicano/Indigeno poets were at.

The summer of 2011 I was spending a week in Alburquerque with my new job. I received an invitation by Andrea J. Serrano to a poetry reading, Speak, Poet: Voz, Palabra y Sonido. Amanda and I attended the inaugural reading featuring Cathy Arellano and Ara Cruz. I didn’t know that this reading was going to become a monthly event. Then I received an invitation in July then August and so on an so forth.

Since the first reading in June of 2011 I was standing behind my camera taking photos of all the poets who have come through Speak, Poet. After a few months I realized that I was capturing the faces of poets of all walks of life, from all backgrounds and ethnicities. It was a great thing that was taking shape. At that point I knew I had to make every effort to attend Speak, Poet every month to capture every poet who featured and who stepped up to the Mic-less open mic. Finally, what I was once searching for was becoming a reality. Poets who I could relate too. I knew that this was the beginning of a great thing.

In April of 2012 I started a blog dubbed after the nickname given to me by Andrea Serrano. The nickname was El Razafotografista. I started my blog initially to promote my photography and poetry, but then realized that part of promoting my photography I could promote the poets from New Mexico. I started to take images I had taken at past readings and posting them on my blog and Andrea would allow me to copy and paste biographies of the featured poets. I realized that by creating those blog posts I was creating in cyberspace a corner where youngsters could read about poets who they could identity with. I was beginning to create a collection of faces that were writing words that many of our youth could identify with. My search for Chican@ poets was over. I had found the treasure I had been looking for and now I am sharing this treasure with all of you.

Standing behind the camera waiting for the right moment to push the shutter button, to capture that expression that gives the viewer a glimpse into the emotion the poet was expressing at that moment, as he/she spoke their truth. I has been a honor to have met and photographed many of Nuevo Mexico’s greatest poets and I know there is hidden, talented poets out there I hope to photograph in feature readings at Speak, Poet.

In this blog post I have invited Andrea Serrano, Cathy Arellano, Amanda Salinas, Fernando Lopez, Rich Boucher and Michelle Otero to give a reflection on their thoughts regarding the last two years of Speak, Poet. Here are their reflections and thoughts. I hope you enjoy these heart felt words and the photography that started my endeavor to document and promote as many Nuevo Mexicano Poetas.


Logo by: Fernando Lopez

When I was asked to do the logo for Speak Poet I was excited. I wanted to give back to something that meant a lot to me. I remember a friend, and fellow artist of mine and a conversation we had on how the most abundant and significant plant is the corn stalk. At that point I pretty much knew what I wanted to say in the logo. Andrea Serrano our host and founder of Speak Poet mentioned she wanted the Albuquerque’s city’s skyline in the logo. So what I tried to do was make that skyline unmistakable, and giving that our voices are our microphones. I wanted to have the mic bursting out of the corn stalk, representing each of us. Standing strong and radiating behind the city. The task was fun, and it is my hope that I captured a bit of what Speak Poet is.

Andrea Serrano and Fernando Lopez unveiling the new Speak, Poet Logo.

Andrea J. Serrano

In June, I canceled Speak, Poet for the first time in two years. My dad had just gotten out of the hospital and we found out that his prognosis wasn’t good. I was exhausted and the thought of hosting an event terrified me. I didn’t think I could handle it and without explanation, I put a simple message on Facebook – and that act alone took a lot of energy. The next month, when I was ordering the cake for the two year celebration, I found myself worrying that no one would show up. What if June’s abrupt cancelation was so offensive that no one would return? What if there was no more Speak, Poet?

I find that I often worry about Speak, Poet. I worry that there won’t be enough food, or that people will be uncomfortable. I worry that the building will be locked and I worry that I will fall down the stairs. I have learned that a small dose of anxiety before an event is normal and when it comes to Speak, Poet, there is no need to worry: the community always shows up
I never have enough words to describe what a blessing the Speak, Poet family has been in my life. What started out as an experiment has become a cornerstone to my creativity. I know that on the second Thursday of the month, I’ll be doing what I love and I’ll be among friends and family who never cease to amaze me with their words, their courage, their laughter and their presence. I love when someone reads for the first time; I love when Rich Boucher taunts the crowd into shouting “SPEAK, POET!” I love seeing our friends from Northern New Mexico join us each month and I love the sight of looking up and seeing so many genuinely loving faces. The fact that all of this is captured by El Razafotografista means we are capturing a story of community.

We weave stories, create connections and leave with our hearts a little fuller. Speak, poets, and speak loudly.

Rich Boucher

Together We Will Find the Right Words:
A Reflection on the Second Anniversary
of Speak, Poet: Voz, Palabra y Sonido

I remember that it was a really hot June night, a real slow scorcher. And I remember thinking when I saw the place (El Chante: Casa de Cultura) how many times had I walked right past it and not given it a second look? I remember loving that the reading took place in a HOUSE, a real house with two stories to it and a front porch. It reminded me of the Art House, the little place on Delaware Ave in Newark, Delaware, by the University, where I’d hosted an open mic and slam night for years before I moved to New Mexico. I remember feeling excited to check it out, and very much wanting this night to be a booming success for my friend Andrea Serrano. Andrea and I had grown to be friends and colleagues in the local poetry scene here in Albuquerque, well before the start of this reading, and I was behind her endeavor one hundred percent. I remember my girlfriend Rhiannon and I finding seats and watching the place just fill up. It was obvious from the first night that this place would be packed to the rafters easily and every night. I remember so many strangers’ faces, strangers who through poetry would soon become the friends I’ll be forever grateful for. I remember hearing for the first time a night of poetry where much of it was in Spanish and I remember listening and learning and slowly growing to love the sound of the poetry of New Mexico in the mother tongue of this land.

From that first night, where I debuted my poem “Dark Jade” (my anti-Sushi poem that I was happy to crack Andrea up with) and where I heard the work of Cathy Arellano and Denver’s Ara Cruz, and where I heard and met so many other excellent poets from all over New Mexico, and where I have personally witnessed a poetry reading doing good works for the community (and for individual members of the community), the phenomenon that is Speak, Poet has only grown in strength even as it has had to find a new home. I’m so fortunate to have even been the tiniest cog in this shining wheel. I remember Andrea confiding to me how nervous she was; I remember telling her that I’d been there, that I’d known what it’s like to wonder if anyone will really show up at all. To wonder if this thing has legs, to wonder if it has wings. Well, after tons of excellent features and open readings full of beautiful moments over a span of two years (so far!), there’s no reason to wonder about the future and promise of Speak, Poet anymore; there’s only the next milestone to reach for ahead of us.

Very Gratefully Yours,

Rich Boucher

Cathy Arellano

Speak, Poet: Voz, Palabra, y Sonido…Y qué ?!

Andrea Serrano had a dream, and every month poets, spokenword performers, filmmakers and photographers, singers and dancers, painters and sculptors, gardeners and farmers, activists, students and teachers, queers, Chicanos with Xs and without, African, Native, and Asian Americans, and more—we gather. Every month our voices, words, and sounds bathe dreams and pierce nightmares.

Many times I’ve craved Speak, Poet. My livingroom, your livingroom, our kitchen, our front porch, our stoop, our circle with the mic-less open mic. Live, up close, in person, and in color. I’ve driven my car holding my breath until poetry–in and out all of its forms–washed over me. Each month community reveals themselves, introduces their families, and brings back their dead. I’ve wanted, needed to share my poetry, my concrete homeland, my queer body, me. And, I—visitor, outsider—have been heard, seen.

Speak, Poet where community says, Y qué to the crooked boss! Y qué to the derelict law! Y qué to the unjust jail! Y qué to the jail-like school! Y qué to the language police! Y qué to all the people that would keep us out, alone, separated, unheard, unseen. The community of Speak, Poet; the community that is Speak, Poet: Incredible. Truly.

Speak, Poet touched me so deeply that I wanted my students to have their minds blown, their consciousness cracked, and their souls soothed. This fall marks the first year anniversary at Central New Mexico Community College of CNM Speaks: Poetry and Spoken Word Open Mic. Yes, I copied. Do you blame me? Each time poets conjure their worlds on campus or a student speaks her or his poetic fact or fiction, or someone says, “I needed that” or “I’m going home to write”—or, they pull out paper and pen and write something on the spot and read it (!), I know the rite is right.

I humbly offer sincere gratitude to Andrea for having the vision and the ovaries for birthing Speak, Poet. And thank you to every member of the Speak, Poet community who sustains it with each breath.

Finally, won’t the poems that have bounced off the mic-less open mic make one helluva anthology?

Y qué! Y punto final!

Amanda Salinas
Photo used with permission.

Looking back 2yrs at Speak Poet, I think about hearing all the poets and seeing how they stood up there with such confidence. I remember when it was my turn to get up and read my poem, my very first poem writen and performed I was so nervous I’m not sure I read my poem out loud instead I whispered it quickly and promptly got sick outside! Andrea Serrano the creator of Speak Poet encouraged me to write, keep writing, and believed in me enough to have me as a feature for “Voices to listen for” A proud night for me and I still thank Andrea today for the encouragement. Speak Poet has been wonderful and I look forward to driving from Chimayo/Cordova just to see everyone and hear their poetry. Speak Poet has become a place where I feel comfortable enough to share my truth knowing everyone there always has nice things to say a hug or smile to give just when you need it, even if they don’t know it. Andrea Serrano gave me a second chance at featuring a long side JoseLuis Ortiz and all though yet again I was nervous and didn’t quite use my time wisely I didn’t get sick again! It has been an honor to be a part of the Speak Poet family and hope 2yrs leads to many more come!

Fernando Lopez

I moved to New Mexico in 2009 with a stack of bad break up poems and a mound of past regrets. I was an artist and poetry was just something kind of new to me. Never, would I have considered myself to be a poet or a writer. I couldn’t imagine myself being the type, writing for the sake of writing. How I grew up, such things were unheard of and pointless. The first time I heard anyone speak in that way was in fifth grade when my teacher Ms. Kelly showed us a video of Martin Luther King Jr in his famous “I have a dream speech”. It was then that something sparked in me. His speech would resonate with me, not only for what it meant but for the ferocity in his voice when he said it. I never realized such power existed, that simple words could mean and change so much. The first time I read at Speak Poet I remember a feeling just like that, it was infinite. I felt that I was a part of a revolution of artist and freethinkers standing in the company of one another sharing, peeling themselves to the very core with their words. For the first time, I heard my own voice and even though my hands shook and my voice quivered with every word. I got that same feeling I did when I heard that speech. What I love about Speak Poet is its mixture of seasoned poets (like those in this blog) and we, the people not so seasoned, yet equal, in our love of the word. A thanks to our host Andrea Serrano for giving us a gift, a safe place, a place of camaraderie and community, a place we all can call our home, a home for our words. Even my two younger sisters (teenagers) read for the first time there, I was so proud. Not long ago I got stopped by someone whom I never met before, asking me “hey you’re that poet from Speak Poet right”? And I was like, yeah I’m that poet.

Michelle Otero

Speak, Poet is Nana’s kitchen after a big meal when your sisters and tíos and cousins and their kids and the neighbors and your niece and the nice güero boyfriend she brought home from college linger around the table and tell stories. Your tío who lost hearing in one ear during the war tells that one you love about the night he and your dad were walking home along the acequia after the dance and came face to face with La Llorona. Mama remembers the mean priest who used to shout, “You did what?!” from the confessional. He once gave her ten rosaries for penance. Your boy cousins take turns telling the time they were wrestling in Nana’s shower and broke her door, and she chased their naked bodies through the hallway and out into the yard.

Someone gets hungry again, and there are burritos and buñuelos and punch in rainbow colors. And it seems there are more people than when you started, and there’s no room to sit, and it’s hot, but everyone wants to be in the kitchen because that is where we are fed.

You remember those who have passed, those who were wounded. Someone pulls out a guitar. And you don’t know how it happens, but before the night ends, your niece, the shy one with the güero boyfriend, is reading something she wrote, and it’s the story of her and all of us, how we come together, how we are fed.


Here are some post reading collages of Speak, Poet. The collages aren’t in any particular order. This is part of the Speak, Poet family and community. Thank you to all who have and continue to support this great community event every month.








If you’re on Facebook please visit the Speak, Poet: Voz, Palabra y Sonido fan page. Also, drop by El Razafotografista and Campana de Esperanza Fotography Fan pages. For biographies of many of the poets whom have featured at Speak, Poet visit the archive of my blog. Like our pages and support great community events and local businesses!

To all of you who have participated in our family and community of Speak, Poet please share your reflections on the comment section of this post.

After a month’s hiatus, Española Poetry Explosion is back. July’s feature is Damien Flores. Join us July 31, 2013 from 6:00-8:30pm. There will becat least two rounds of the open mic. Let me introduce Damien Flores:




Damien Flores hails from Albuquerque, New Mexico. He received a BA in English and Chicano Studies from the University of New Mexico in 2009 and was recipient of the 2008 Lena Todd Award for creative non-fiction from the UNM English Department. He was named “Poet of the Year” in 2007 & 2008 by the NM Hispano Entertainer’s Association. Flores is best known as a member of the ABQ Poetry Slam Team as well as the two-time National Champion UNM Loboslam teams. He organized the College Unions Poetry Slam in 2008 and is also a four-time ABQSlams City Champion.His published works include: “A Novena of Mud” and “El Cuento de Juana Henrieta,” released by Destructible Heart and Culture Lab Press. His work has appeared in Bomb Magazine, The Daily Lobo, Duke City Fix, and The Underground Guide to Albuquerque. Flores has also been anthologized in Malpais Review, De Veras: Young Voices From the National Hispanic Cultural Center, Earthships: A New Mecca Poetry Anthology, The 2006 National Poetry Slam Anthology, and A Bigger Boat: The Unlikely Success of the Albuquerque Poetry Slam Scene. Damien Flores is currently an educator in Albuquerque and hosts the Spoken Word Hour on 89.9 KUNM-FM.

The following is an image of a rainbow that appeared on April 3, 2013. The sun was out, a few clouds in the air. I walked out to the portal and saw this beautiful sight on the south eastern corner of my property. This happened two days after my Tio Onivas’s funeral.


El Arco Iris Toco el Río

(c) Angelo J. Sandoval

I saw a rainbow
el otro dia
one end of the rainbow
touching down
en el Rio Quemado
el sol brillante
shining beautifully
nuves de lluva y sol
con cielos azules
at dusk the beauty
of the setting sun
illuminando los cerros Cordoveses.

Just days after my Tio was
laid to rest
lluva, acro iris, sol y nuves
a sign that my Tio
was on his jornada a su
(casa eterna,
la casa celestial)
la eterna morada
su casa verdadera.

As God sent his promise
to never flood the world
in form of a rainbow,
mi Tio sent his llena
of a beautiful journey
un jornada llena de alegria.

The waters of el Rio Quemado
the life source of Cordova
our summer playground
the starting point of my Tio’s journey.

El arco iris brillante
dando illuminesa
al camino que al cielo llaga,
the Soul of my Tio on his last
hike from the rio of his childhood
to the morada celestial
to enjoy the gifts from God
that await my Tio,
a man who loved all creation.


Come join the Española Library and the Española Poetry Explosion Team on April 4th, 2013 at 6:00 pm for a night of poetry and spoken word. This is the first of two reads for April. April is also National Poerty Month. This will be the first of two readings we will be having this month.

Featuring on April 4th are Priscilla Candelaria and Israel Francisco Haros Lopez. Please meet our wonderful featured poets.




Priscilla Baca y Candelaria a native of Atrisco, has been reading her poetry for 20 years. Priscilla read across the country for poetic justice. Her work shows her love for where she is from and who she is Nuevo Mejicana.




Israel Francisco Haros Lopez is both a visual artist and performance artist.He was born and raised in East Los Angeles, graduated from Roosevelt High School with a 1.59 G.P.A. He is a graduate of Laney and Vista Community College with an A.A. in English Literature . Survided UC Berkeley with a degree in English and Xikan@ Studies and recieved an M.F.A. from California College of the Arts. His work is an attempt to search for personal truths and personal histories inside of american cosmology. The american cosmology and symbolism that he is drawing from is one that involves both northern and southern america that was here before columbus. The work both written and that which is painted is attempting to mark and remark historical points in the americas and the world.The mark making attempts to speak to the undeniable presence of a native america that will continue to flourish for generations to come.The understanding which he is drawing from is not conceptual but fact and points to the importance of honoring and remembering ancestral ways of living as a means of maintaining healthy relations with all humans,the winged, all those that crawl on this Earth, all Life, the Water, the Sacred Fire, Tonanztin, Tonatiuh,the Sacred Cardinal Points,everything inbetween, above and below and at the center of self and all things in the universe. Currently the visual motifs are drawn from both a pre-columbian america that had far far less physical, mental or spiritual borders . He also draws inspriation from the contemporary styles of inner city youth who use public space by any means necessary as their method of artistic expression. Israel also draws much of his inspiration from his peers and contemporaries who constantly show him innovative ways to approach cultural and political dilemnas. The written words cannot be without the painted image. The painted image cannot be without words. Neither the written work or visual work can be without sound without vibration, as all things on this earth carry vibration. As such his written and oral work is constantly shifting as it is performed or recording. The same poem,story,monologue or abstract diatribe shifts within the space it is performed taking into consideration audience and the theatrics and vibration of the moment. You can hear audio of his poetry , videos and visual work at