Category Archives: Read

from Huizache #6

Don’t Hold Back

Melissa Lozano

My mother is 21,
conjuring María Félix, smolder
kohl eye.

She is the sound of freeways at rush hour
crashing hips. Hourglassed—an ache.

She wears a beehive of unanswered questions:
Curios, feathers, silences, heart songs, grafted tongue.
Tangerine mouth, pouting
lips. She is engaged to Rubén González.
She is cleaning houses.
She is walking home
late with the moon.

Continue reading

from Huizache #6

Este Puño/Dispatches from Barbed Wire

Abigail Carl-Klassen

They still built the wall. Even though we marched downtown,
jackets and ties peering down from high rises as we shouted,
¡Muro, no. Pueblo sí! After we shut down Paisano, horns
pressed, sage smoke rising, matachines barefoot and rattling.
After we sipped sangre de Cristo through chain links year
after year on Día de los Muertos. After our mayors declared,
¡Ya basta! San Diego to Brownsville. After amas pushed
strollers from Douglas to San Elizario. After comadres
from Mujer Obrera, striking hungry, cuffed themselves to
the Whitehouse gates and chanted, ¡Obama, escucha, estamos
en la lucha! After Red Fronteriza. Hands across the Border.
Continue reading

from Huizache #6

The Want

Octavio Solis

First Christmas back from college and El Paso is a stark and lonely place. My dad’s asleep in his easy chair. Mom’s got the caldo de pollo simmering on the stove for me. But something else simmers in my private heart. This want deeper than carnal grinds me down. This unquiet urge slowly reams me out.

I’m locked in my room, poring through my high school yearbook, studying the florid signatures of all my pretty classmates beseeching me to call whenever I’m in town. Hearts for punctuation. Smiley faces dotting the i’s. 2 Sweet 2 B 4 Got 10… What can they possibly mean except U R 4 Got 10 already?

Dad knocks on the door and asks if I’m okay. I tell him I’m going to see a friend. But it’s late, he says. Not late for me. It’s 10:30, he says. That’s early, I tell him. When they’re in bed, I take the keys and go.

The roads are quiet. The sky is overcast. Bing Crosby on the radio wants to make me cry. I follow the city lodestar, there on the Franklin Mountains, the giant five-pointed pentagram of bright electric bulbs that light up every Christmas. I pull into a bar to drink but it’s strange sitting by myself with all these older blinder boozers who can hardly finish a sentence, so I leave. I almost hit another bar but the lone drunk with his pecker out is pissing the word “NO” on the wall outside. I don’t want a drink. I don’t need a drink. I need a girl, some girl to lie to, hold, feel against me, someone to give me a little nighttime CPR, for god’s sake. Just one time. One night. That’s all.

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from Huizache #5

The Eight Incarnations of Pascal’s Fifth

Fernando A. Flores

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

from Huizache #5

Abuelita’s Garden with Parakeet That Says Hijaputa

Javier Zamora

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?


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.

from Huizache #5

The Presidents at Table

Alia Volz

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

from Huizache #5

Suzi Writes a Poem

Jessica Helen Lopez

for Resolana Heartfire, in solidarity with Katrina Guarascio,
notorious corrupter of children

Suzi write a poem
Write a poem Suzi

You will need a pencil
lined paper and the ability
to abide by the rules

Suzi listen
Follow Suzi follow
my instruction Suzi squeeze
your poem like a baby bird
between the palm
That’s a simile Suzi
Write a simile Suzi

Sarah follow suit Sarah
Sarah follow Suzi

Sarah write a poem
Write a poem Sarah

No Suzi you may not write
about the dream you dreamed
last night Suzi
No Sarah no poems
about Bengal tigers and
motorcycle gangs
no whips chains or politics Suzi
Suzi what did I say Suzi
Be a positive role model for Tommy

Tommy write a poem Tommy

No Tommy you may not write about your father Tommy
Suzi your poem is on fire Suzi
We don’t like poems that self-immolate Suzi
Suzi your poem is bleeding all over the floor Suzi
Sarah sanitize Suzi for the sake of
Common Core and all that is good in the world
Wash your poem Suzi

Tommy take a tip from Suzi
Tommy be clean Tommy

Tommy take it to the river
beat your poem against the
sun-bleached stones Tommy
Suzi your poem is too hot
too dirty

too dark
too tell it on the mountain Suzi
too syllabic Suzi
too Nora Zeale Hurston for me Suzi
too multilingual Suzi
too narrative
too satirical
too surreal
too real

Sarah I said to write a poem
follow appropriate instructions Sara
Suzi like baking a cake
be a good girl Suzi
Write your poem
Here let me

let me
add a pinch of personification
write metaphor with moderation
forgo too much alliteration Suzi
too much alliteration sounds too Spanglish Suzi
sounds like rap Suzi

like hip-hop
like a bastard tongue
like a patois
like a borderland
like a poem with no passport
You don’t want your poem deported, now do you Tommy?

Write about safe things Suzi
Suzi write of chaste things Suzi
Sarah write about Sarah but not too much Sarah, Sarah

And for Christ’s Sake don’t write about Christ
Don’t crucify your poem, Suzi

Suzi stop staring at clouds
No you may not write about clouds Suzi
No not about burning tongues and raised fists Sarah
No not about flying guitars and anarchy Tommy
No not about razor blades or vaginas Suzi
Yes, I know you have a vagina Suzi
Don’t write it about it Suzi

What are you feminist?
We don’t write about the F word, Suzi


We don’t write about war or APD police brutality or the homeless
We don’t write about sex or sexuality or sexual orientation

No depression, Sarah
No cutting, Tommy
No teenage pregnancy, Suzi

We just
don’t Suzi

We don’t
We don’t
We don’t

Suzi standardize your poem Suzi

Suzi write a poem
dear heart
write a poem

Jessica Helen Lopez is a slam poet from New Mexico. Her first collection of poetry was Always Messing With Them Boys, and her second was Cunt. Bomb. Her most recent collection, The Language of Bleeding: Poems for the International Poetry Festival, Nicaragua, is a limited release. The founder of La Palabra: The Word Is a Woman Collective, Lopez is Albuquerque’s poet laureate.

from Huizache #5

Huizache #5 Now Available!

Huizache #5 (Fall 2015) is now available! It’s a big and beautiful issue, with cover art by Diana Gamboa and full-color images of the work of Claude Fiddler inside, along with tons of great poetry and prose. If you can’t find it at your local bookstore, tell the owners that you’d love to see it on the shelves. In the meantime, you can buy a copy (or two, or three, or a hundred) through us. The table of contents is below, and there’s even a couple pieces available online so you can have a little prueba before it gets to your mailbox.

Huizache #5, Fall 2015

Vanessa Diaz: Once Was

Vanessa Diaz: La tal Yvonne

María López: The Mud Family Climbs the Mountain

María López: Oysters

Javier Zamora: Abuelita Nelli’s Garden with Parakeet That Says Hijaputa To the Drawer Awaiting My Return

Jessica Helen Lopez: Suzi Writes a Poem

Yago Cura: Certain Blondes

Los Angeles County Jail Sonnets #8

Fernando A. Flores: The Eight Incarnations of Pascal’s Fifth

Monique Quintana: Good Girls

Cornelius Eady: Photo (retouched)

Cornelius Eady: The Grey Goose

devorah major: city scat

devorah major: history of the canary island whistlers

Gina Valdés: Loyalty to the Humble

Gina Valdés: In the Land of Zapata

Manuel Muñoz: Presumido

J.A.GomezM: Every Bird Leaves the Nest

José Angel Araguz: To Lupito on His First Communion

José Angel Araguz: Desire

Lisa Alvarez: Previous Trees

Brandon Williams: Bullshitting with Waiters, Alameda Sushi House

Tonya Wiley: Polaroids of Seattle

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.