Spell-like Poems

By Taylor Hurley

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Plate for a freed conscious:

3 raisins, strung together on a spear

2 walnuts halved at the center

5 rye crackers

1 cup of glass soup

Anoint the nuts with coconut oil and roll in rosemary. Eat dish largest to smallest, working through your guilty matters in the same manner as you go.

Altar for protection:

Place a cactus in Eastern  corner of your room. Make sure it is growing vertically, pointing it’s wagging tail towards the heavens. Build your alter around the plant. Alter may include:

1 white candle

1 black candle

2 oz. of hyssop

16-30 padlocks

A color portrait of Archangel Michael

2-3 birth control pills mounted on the backs of needles, stuck in a worry doll

1-2 blue condom wrappers (the actual latex should be placed under your pillow)

“I will see nothing that is not of the light”

Altar to Aphrodite:

2 pomegranates halved. Use the juice to draw the figure of fertility on a piece of parchment paper, prop up on altar upon the bold heads of however many oranges it takes.

To sage:

A bundle for your pallet. Tied with red silk to suggest ritual.

Duality of Spirituality

By Nemesis Garcia

church altar far.jpg
Photo by Cruz Garcia


I used to mutter
Words of comfort.
Nightly and without a stutter
To keep at bay,
All my fright
The older I became
The less I would pray.
And just as abruptly as I began,
I stopped.I learned my lessons from the nuns.
But you see in this hierarchy,
In this patriarchy
Priests are the only ones
Deemed worthy of the sun.I hate the misogyny
And the interpretations
Used to justify

Mother Mary had several kids.
But dogma severely forbids
These types of “accusations”
They say she died a virgin
And the only thing this makes certain
Is to further the dichotomy
That women can only be

And their attributes

I cannot neatly divide
What I am feeling inside
All I know for certain
Is I am Catholic
Until I cease.

Mother Mary full of grace
Or Mary Magdalene
Full of sin
And disgraceI go to church
To fill my needs
in spirituality
And in my search
I’ve found, my split personalityFor you see I cannot accurately describe
Exactly to what belief I subscribe
I no longer believe
In the holiness of the scripture
Making people gaze in wonder
As to why I don’t just leave

But you see I am the incarnation
Of my generations hesitation
On the one hand I have my mind
And on the other I have my roots
The blood of my people

Recuerdo en mi infancia
Corriendo por los pasillos
Cuando todo parecía
De lo más sencilloCuando me siento en mi banca
Siento que mi espíritu embarca
A otro mundo
Donde puedo pensar
O simplemente meditar
Haciéndome sentir
en lo más profundo
Una paz y confianza
Con la cual puedo analizar
O reflexionar
Y salgo llena de esperanzaRecuerdo la Semana Santa
Las alfombras de arroz
Y sentirme muy cansada
En la caminada
Por un megáfono

Y por supuesto después
Se comerán unos tamalotes

Hipócrita me llamaran
Por no creer y andar
Haciendo todos los ritos
Más benditos

Pero soy Católica, y que
Ahí crecí
Y ahí me moriré

Escuchar una voz
Alabando y llorando
Porque Jesucristo fallecióPienso que algún día
Seguiremos la filosofía
“Amaras a tu prójimo
Como a ti mismo”
Habrá un activismo
Llevándonos al comunismo
Pero tal vez por este gritero
Nos mataran a RomeroPor la Iglesia Católica me casare
Y cuando tenga mis hijos
Los bautizare
Tendrán rosarios y crucifijos
Atenderán al catecismo
Aprenderán de Dios mismo
Y cuando me muera
Después de la bullera
Habrá una liturgia
Dada por un sacerdote

Untitled Poem

By Erika Delgado
Nunca voy admitir el miedo
Dejando me en el piso
Todos las palabras que estoy
Hablando son nada
Todo que quiero decir
Me ase sentir ansiosa
Un día voy a vomitar todo
Tú me veras
Vas a ver qué yo no mentí
Cuando dije que yo
Era un niña sin pies
I’ll never admit the fear
Holding me to the floor
All these words that I am
Saying mean nothing
All I wish to say
Makes me nauseous
One day I’ll barf it up
You’ll look at me
Realizing I was right
When I said I was
a child with no feet

Love Letter

By Aitana Sandoval

If I wrote a letter to you
it be a love letter
(of course)
I’d put in the rough callouses
of your hands
I’d write in the taste of limes
acid green in the summer
I’d add the smell of abuela’s soap
from the clothes we hung in the garden
There would be fresh tortillas too
wrapped in a paper towel
still too hot to eat
I’d write in shame from long ago
spreading red across my face
that day at school
when you picked me up
There would be the soft sound
of my mom crying
when the house is dark
I’d write in the flickering dance
and heat of the little red candle
left at our altar
for my brother
I’d write in the sound of my name
when you say it
like a song
like a prayer
like a poem
I’d write you
a love letter
all I have
is these words
and you know
only spanish

La Regla De Mi Lengua

By Manuela Karim

en realidad nunca entendí las funciones de el lenguaje como herramienta para poder entender a el mundo al rededor de nosotros

it wasn’t until I learned English that I realized the beauty of my dialect of Spanish

no fue hasta que pase catorce años fuera de mi país que me di cuenta lo lindo que era hablar con mi abuela sobre los cuentos de María Francia, el señor del carrito vendiendo chicha, los bailes del joropo y todas las bellezas del llano que nunca aprecie

it wasn’t until I was away from my culture that I realized very few people could understand the things you feel when you speak languages

each language holds a world within it

cada palabra carga en ella un significado para todas las cosas que no logras describir de otra manera

my language is the blend of what my people did with what the colonizers brought

un español lindo

un español con sazón

un español con carácter

un español que se renace cada vez que lo hablo con mi voz

Cosas Que Debo Recordar

By Sara Cabrera

I am not Hispanic, I am Latina.
My first words were in Spanish,
but very soon I learned English
I fell in love with the language
my mama spoke.
It brought words to life

Unfortunately, early on in my life
I was embarrassed of being Latina
I rarely used my native tongue, only to my mama I spoke
I switched the channel from novellas to Lizzie McGuire, no more Spanish
Words became sentences, stanzas, stories, all one language
No me olvides, sorry I only speak English

My mama never learned to speak English
she’s made it this far in life
este lenguaje
es mi manera de ser una orgullosa Latina 
My mama only speaks Spanish
me and my brother would cringe when she spoke

I’m glad that my mama spoke.
How many of you speak perfect English
and are fluent in Spanish?
Discrimination endured in this life
Has made me a proud Latina
palabras are my language

Reflect on language
do you know what your abuela spoke
Selena was Latina
Fluent in English
now in death, her life
screams, shouts, and sings in Spanish

Quisiera escribir este poema en Spanish
por que fue me primer language
es una de los mejores regalos de mi life
Perdon por las estupidencias que dije cada ves que tratabas de spoke
No neccesitas el English
Tu eres toda Latina

I will teach my child Spanish, I will tell them what you spoke
I will teach them multiple languages, not just English
because this life has given me so much when I embraced it as a Latina

Between Both

By Yessika Carmen

I didn’t speak a word of English when I stepped foot into my kindergarten classroom at the age of five. But that all changed by the time I was a second grader. See, my Ama thought I’d have a better education if she signed me up to be bused from our agricultural, immigrant-filled hometown to a white suburb a few towns over. That I’d be better off being “Americanized,” and I guess she was right in a way. But because of my school’s policy, once a kid was “Americanized” enough, they’d be removed from the bilingual program and put in English only classrooms. Now I have trouble saying Aguacate without sounding it out. Even though I still think in Spanish, my mouth betrays those thoughts as English words spew out easier and faster than I can translate.

When white people find this all out they exclaim, “You’re so lucky, you don’t have an accent!” As if my native tongue being cut off was a blessing. On the other side, I have mi gente telling me “Spanish isn’t even our native tongue!” That it’s just the language that was forced upon my opressed and raped ancestors. Entonces, dime: What is supposed to be my language when I’m a native of California by birth, a native of Jalisco por mi madre y padre, and a Cuyteco by my indigenous ancestors?

In Mexico, me llaman pocha, gringa…que vengo del Norte. And in el Norte, they group me in with all other “brown” peoples with labels like Hispanic and Latino. But I prefer Chicana, it seems to fit me better – a woman stuck between two languages, two cultures, two personas to fit them both…trying to figure out exactly where she belongs.

Quien Soy Yo

By Anat Dupo

Un dia fui de aqui

y el otro fui de alla.

Pero al final,

ni fui de aqui ni de alla.

Fui la frontera

The living frontera

The walking remembrance

of the forgotten people.

Gente olvidada y massacrada

El rostro de mis ancestro

Soy cultura

Cultura revivida y renovada

My roots tattooed into my skin

Soy rebeldia

La lucha de mi gente

Con sangre y espiritu indigena

que me llena el cuerpo

Soy mala hablada

A mouth full of poison

Pero sin mentira

Lengua partida en dos

Soy sexualidad

Todo lo no debido

The serpent of knowledge

Mi cuerpo,

representacion de lo que soy

Soy mujer

Creacion y creador

The earth beneath our feet

Soy todo y mas

todo lo bueno y lo malo

espiritu y cuerpo

Soy y sere resistencia

Resistencia y fuerza

Orgullo y futuro

Todo y mas

5 Febreros

By Anais Lopez

I have these moments of retrospect at least 3 times a day. Melancholy in its own way. It’s beautiful though…
Only 5 years ago did I have my quinceañera. Ironically, I meet you only 2 days before my birthday. Only one day before Valentines day.
Do you remember our primer febrero?
Sitting down reading a children’s dinosaur book at Borders because all the tickets to Valentine’s Day were sold out.
      Nuestro primer Febrero.
Our second and third febreros… filled with great conversations, good music and adventure. But don’t forget the hurtful words, the unsureness, the relationships we had with others and the drunk messages. The jealously.
 These two febreros are where we learned not only about each other but ourselves. Everything arounds us slowly being destroyed and rebuilt.
    “Somos de la misma tierra. Somos mexican@s. Si nuestros padres pudieron, nosotros podemos.”
Do you remember our fourth febrero?
This is the one febrero that won’t leave my mind. The one that I remember fully. Every curve you felt, every conversation we had. It was our first time for many things.
Your lips felt so full against mine. Our bodies moved to the rhythm of our hearts. Our eyes met at every moment they could.
Drawing each other that night was the highlight of that year.
   Do you remember that febrero as well as I do?
And then, like all good things, it came to an end.
It was followed by last year’s febrero, when I tried to forget you.
  It is being followed now by this febrero…