Monthly Archives: August 2015

from Huizache #4

Secret Missionary for the Virgin Mary Is Off His Meds

Sheryl Luna

He writes of grenades, a universe exploding.

It’s inexhaustible, the sky. Something about badness
turns him on. Passion a candle with two wicks.

He says to me, “Keep burning.”
He is often falling out of love.

Handling language like a theologian, he misses
lilies, later insists fall’s leaves aren’t dying.

His knowledge flickers brown-bagged, like rows
of luminaria candles at night. Seasonal
affective, he deals with feminine questions.

He argues without hearing his own voice.

Within an occasional dream, he hears language
glide along the starched collars of men.

He will not let himself show sadness or joy.
He forgets the late afternoon lake,
golden, and the geese rattling off in droves.

No gangbanger, his past is a series of commitments,
seventy-four-hour holds, Haldol and Serequel.
Now refusing meds,

he’s found the weather quite bothersome.
Wringing his hands to a fallen image of God,
he has a hurried urgency to be uninvolved.

Like a man in solitary confinement
in the federal prison, tossing shit at the guards,

he refuses to smile. Know-it-all criticisms of others
make his days. He cannot let go atheism or disbelief.

Electroshock therapy has him grasping at a forgotten past.
He walks lanky towards a loneliness he won’t refuse.

And the aftermath of madness is calm.
He tries to forget the dread of monotonous expectation.

We, with the same steps, trod towards some understanding,
some philosophy. All of us, keepers of secrets.

Sheryl Luna is the author of Seven and Pity the Drowned Horses, which received the Andres Montoya Poetry Prize in 2004. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, Georgia Review, Puerto del Sol, and elsewhere. She also received the Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Foundation Award in 2008.

from Huizache #4

My Father’s House

Rubén Martínez

I returned to my hometown of Los Angeles after the better part of a decade away, lured by a job, by thoughts of impending fatherhood. My wife Angela, pregnant with twins, and I start to look for a house just as the real estate bubble reached its mad height, tearing a grand canyon through the social fabric and opening up the greatest disparity in wealth since the robber barons. Even with the offer of a massive no-interest loan from my Jesuit benefactors to help with financing, we couldn’t find a place to live. We were always outbid. On 1,000 square-foot houses going for 850K even though they were within sight and scent and earshot of the Golden State Freeway. (The consolation being all the latest upgrades: the drought-resistant-native-plants-only gardens, the stainless-steel appliances, the his-and-hers bathroom sinks.)

We were lucky to have my family’s patrimony, a house in the Silver Lake district of L.A., a bohemian enclave that had for decades brought together a multiethnic and socioeconomically mixed crew that included artists and activists, a strong gay and lesbian contingent, spiritual visionaries and hucksters. But the bubble set about dismantling the scene, which was in full display back in the early 1980s at the annual Sunset Junction Street Fair, where cholos and leather daddies and aging hippies partied together, turning it into a playground for young money with aspirations for a life in relative proximity to taco trucks and 99- cent stores. Continue reading