Huizache #6 has arrived! Our newest issue is great reading, and with the beautiful cover art by legendary Chicano artist John Valdez, you’ll look great reading it! Huizache #6 offers prose from El Paso’s Christine Granados, Denver’s Sheryl Luna, Oakland’s Aida Salazar; from award-winning playwright Octavio Solis, filmmaker/author Jesús Salvador Treviño, and New Orleans’s Bryan Washington. Poets in h6 include California’s Lisa Alvarez, Texas’s Abigail Carl-Klassen, Mexico’s Christina Rivera Garza, New York’s Paco Marquez, Michigan’s Rachel Nelson and New Mexico’s Joaquin Zihuatanejo. And if that’s not enough, we’ve put linocuts by LA printmaker Daniel González throughout the issue. Check out the full contents, or better yet…just buy it right now.
President Obama just awarded National Medals of Arts and Humanities for the last time, and he’s picked out a number of Chicano legends that we at Huizache have celebrated for years: playwright Luis Valdez, writers (and Huizache contributors!) Sandra Cisneros and Rudolfo Anaya (pictured above), and conjunto accordionist Santiago Jiménez, Jr. Continue reading →
Juan Gabriel has died at the age of 66. The New York Times has an obit that’ll remind you of his six Grammy nominations and a hundred million album sales, the Guardian gives a little bit more about his life, and People has some wonderful photos of the man over the years. For those as curious about his death as his life, you can read about his cremation in Anaheim and about his last trip through El Paso on the way to his final resting place in Ciudad Juárez. But best is to celebrate his music even while mourning. Gustavo Arellano gives us a list of his twenty greatest performances and compositions, leading up to that most eternal of love songs “Amor Eterno.” I can’t help putting in my vote for his Creedence cover (Arellano’s got it at number 20), as much for the sunglasses he wears in the video as anything else. ¡Viva Juan Gabriel!
I love watching baseball and I love listening to baseball announcers, but I hate hearing every Latin American baseball player have his name constantly mangled, as though there’s no way for them to find out how Spanish pronunciation works–as though there’s no one in the crew, no one in the office, no one in the entire friggin’ media empire that covers Major League Baseball, and no one ON THE FIELD, even, that speaks Spanish?!? But I’ll put my rant aside for a moment to say that it made me very happy to read a story in the NY Times about baseball players fighting for written accents on their jerseys. The mispronunciations of a few baseball announcers are of course just one example of a too-common American disdain for “un-American” pronunciation (think shaVEZ and pe-REZ and aVEEla), so I’d like to think of these players as being the frontline of a very important fight, with its own slogans. Save the vowels! Save the accents! I wish these guys the best of luck and hope they’re just a first step in a good direction.
Of the eleven sailors that drowned saving the civilian vessel Louisa Marcondes from sinking into the roaring soup of the Pacific, five were destined to keep returning, crossing paths in different lives.
In a linear timeline, the first incarnation fated them to be remembered as the Green Children of Curlywee, later interpreted as a Scottish folk tale about three boys and two girls with a green skin tone who appeared delirious and grief-stricken, all of them shivering, muddy, and holding hands, making throaty sounds like grinding glass to communicate. Upon being separated and forcibly educated, they each swelled with depression. Two suicided in morbid ways using tools or utensils, and the other three (it was always said like this) simply lay down and died.
In the next life they were all born girls to peasant teenagers out of wedlock. Continue reading →
Abuelita’s mother died when she was one.
No one talks about Tatarabuela
or about how Abuelita draws her eyebrows on at dawn.
I saw them once
when I pretended to snore.
Abuelita’s name should be Rocío
because she wakes at 5 to water plants.
My aunts say her name means truth
in some language no one speaks.
Abuelo says Abuelita burned the beans
otra vez. Chepito the Fourth dreams of tortillas
when Abuelo swings on the hammock. Abuelita,
¿pero why you don’t have eyebrows?
Sometimes Abuelita dries her bras on rose bushes.
Doña Ávalos thinks she grows the best roses,
so when they walk to the market
their baskets bounce on opposite sides.
Abuelo cuts our parakeets’ wings and teaches them to speak.
I forgot to feed Chepito the Third for a week.
I said the cat ate Chepito the Second
and when he became dough below my feet
I buried the first Chepito.
Abuelo dips our moons in vodka. Truth is,
before I drowned Chepito the Fourth, I asked him
if he remembered the eggshell
he broke. Abuelita, ¿will you forget
the veins on the back of Abuelo’s hands?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Javier Zamora was born in La Herradura, El Salvador. At the age of nine he migrated to the United States. Zamora received a Bread Loaf scholarship and a fellowships from CantoMundo, Colgate University, and the National Endowment for the Arts. His poems appear or are forthcoming in Narrative, Ploughshares, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, and elsewhere.
Tim Seibles, a contributor to the debut issue of Huizache, has just been named Poet Laureate of Virginia by Governor Terry McAullife (whose name you might recognize as one of the Clintons’ biggest political partners, but that is another story). We are proud to have shown off his work and prouder still to see his career doing so well!
In my twenty-seven years in this country, I’ve met every sitting President, with the sorry exception of Mr. Obama. They didn’t always meet me, but I met them.
“Can I take the plate now, Mr. Bush?”
“More water, Mr. Clinton?”
Depending on the shift, I was a food runner or busboy, sometimes both. I tried to address each man by name, to feel those powerful syllables crackle in my mouth. Clin-ton. Ray-gun. I tried to act natural, though always with perfect respect. Continue reading →
Feliz 4th, Huizache readers! If you’re looking for music to play while you get your carne asada and firecrackers ready, The Nation has one for you. It’s a list of ten songs that “make clear both what’s great about the US and what still needs critical attention.” At the top of its list is a song that from the “what’s great” category, featuring one of Huizache‘s favorite bands, Los Lobos:
1. Los Lobos with Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir,This Land is Your Land
This rambling version of the iconic Woody Guthrie song was performed July 22, 1989 backstage at the Alpine Valley Music Theater in East Troy, Wisconsin between sets on that summer’s Los Lobos/Grateful Dead tour.
I can’t believe I’ve lived this long without hearing such an incredibly great version of this tune. Props to The Nation for putting it out there! There are some other good ones in there, including one by the El Paso-born (!) songwriter Phil Ochs.
The New Republic has a story out about a collaboration between photographer Richard Misrach and composer Guillermo Galindo: “Their images, music, and sculptures give voice to the millions of border-crossers for whom the journey signifies the difference between money and poverty, safety and death.” As they traveled the length of the border between Mexico and the United States, Misrach took photos and Galindo collected artifacts that he used to create music and even musical instruments. I worry about this travel-the-border-while-having-very-deep-thoughts journey becoming a cliché (which is not to say I haven’t walked along the fence in El Paso thinking deeply and taking photographs!), but the beauty of Misrach’s photos (and their clear superiority over mine!) won me over at least this one time. The one above is from Brownsville, but it reminds me of an admittedly less-green part of San Elizario, where the fence runs right up against people’s yards. It’s also a good reminder of one of the scary aspects of the fence, which is the fact that it hides the Rio Grande from towns like Brownsville or El Paso which only exist of it. So maybe they’re nothing to be too cheery about, but enjoy the great photos anyway!