Friday, August 22, 2014

fragments: pieces of us

My most personal collection of writings. I'm putting them together because my heart tells me too. It starts with poem 2. Poem 1 of fragments is in my poetry collection "insomnia" published earlier this year by El Zarape Press. Here's a few poems so far:

skin of your tears

I've been filtering the dead skin you left behind on your pillow for the past two nights. Your scent is all but gone, a lone hair tangles itself on my fingers, the tear stains never dried. I will lay here with a view of a street that saw you drive off south as my prayers took off into the unforgiving night. I heard your voice cry out, I got up to look...nothing there but a pair of mismatched stiletto heels, one with a torn strap, the other with a scuff mark. I turned off the lights about three minutes passed one in the to me, your scent returned, to reclaim its layer of skin that fell off your shadow, leaving me alone with your tears, that take up your side of the bed.

soul mate

You are one of my love stories.
Without looking, you entered my heart through the brush of your lips on mine, through each detailed fingertip caress, through the aura of scented orgasms, there you were. We didn't meet-we were in each other all along.


Somewhere between the shadows that walk during our sleep paralysis, there’s a song. It has no color, veiled like a procession of widows on their way to visit their handsome dead. It strums and strings along, never giving itself in absolution to sorrow…instead walking, and singing a new song of hope-a bright tune.


remember when she came home, jaundice was the first gold she wore? Remember when she sat up straight and laughed at the avocado that slipped from her gripless hands? Remember when she fell off the bed and Jesus, Mary and Joseph simultaneously had ringing in their ears? Remember when she ate a mango and loved long baths? Now she talks of school bullies and fairness, of lego worlds and doll clothing, less baths and more cuddles, candy and less broccoli, wanting a convertible and waiting for that next tooth to emerge. She’s seen fire, rain and hail…Luisita! “Daddy, can you make sure in the second grade they start calling me by my first name?”-sure thing Bellita, of course I will my love.


You worried of the scars. Asked that I close my eyes forever if I wanted to love you for just as long…scars that pierced through you like a falsetto. White lines that resembled rivers across the sky, contrails. It took lots of effort and many years of anguish to get them to be that perfect. When I arrived, I thought I could help heal them…I thought I was the one to mend and be that salve. The scars are now on me, now it’s your turn to close your eyes forever…give me a shot at this thing called love.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Q & A with South Texas Artist, Javier Espinoza

"No Nos Quieren Corazon"
14" x 17"
Pencil, pencil color, pen and ink


Friday, August 8th I look through my Facebook friends posts and I see an invite to go check out Jardin Del Arte here in Edinburg, TX. The humidity usually keeps me away from outdoor events at times...not tonight! I wanted to come out and say hello to some friends as I scouted artists for my next Pasta, Poetry & Vino event for October.

I ran into artist Celeste De Luna and her husband...talked about summer vacations and esto y aquello. I turn around and I see Javier. Javier reminds me of the type of guy that would have been a camarada from my old neighborhood in Los Angeles... real chill attitude, witty and real...and extremely talented. Hazme un tattoo esé! 

Javier is all south Texas! with a love and passion for the Tex-Mex music and culture of this region and state. Which translates to loving low-riders, oldies, cook-outs on Sunday and Cruisin' Whittier Boulevard if he were from my barrio. 

 "Conjunto: South Texas Musicos" 
 16" x 20"
Acrylic paint on canvas 

I don't want to classify him as a cartoonist, for me, he is a dedicated and surreal poet that draws his prose and metaphors for us all to enjoy visually on canvas. I see him listening to Sublime or Freddy Fender when coming up with these drawings and paintings, but that's just me! 

Let's see what Javier has to say:

Q: Why art?

Growing up in the late 70s/early 80s, we didn’t have the gadgets most kids own today, so we had to be creative and art for me was, and still is, a way to create what floats in my mind. There is no greater sense of accomplishment for me than when I can sit in front of a newly finished piece. Art for me is like prayer; it is a therapeutic lifeline and my mind goes happily blank when I am in the process of working on my art. Creating art flushes all my worries away. As artists, we are in the business to create and design. Some people are good at math, some at cooking, fixing automobiles, etc. I am blessed and grateful to have this talent.

Q: What’s your background?

My background is mostly in illustration and cartoonish type of artwork. I used to work as a writer and comic strip cartoonist for STEM Magazine in McAllen, Texas (no longer in business) and The Community Voice-La Voz, which is based out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. I enjoy making cartoonish, surrealistic and abstract type of art and some of my art features “musicos” of the Tex-Mex kind, robots, random creatures and other types of characters. I love to write and enjoy photography as well. 

"Minus My Mechanism"
11" x 15"
Acrylic paint, pen and ink on watercolor paper

Q: What do you dislike about the art world?

Not much really. In the art world anything goes and creativity is an open field for all. I don’t like the “snotty” nature of some artists. I like to keep it real and arrogance or “wannabe’s” for me are a true turn off. I look at this way, my art isn’t for everyone and that’s ok but arrogance and ignorance are a huge no-no for me. 

Q: What role does an artist play in society?

An artist plays many roles in society. Several elementary school children asked me this same question once and my response to them was that artists design the shoes and clothes they wear, the building they attend school in, the bus or vehicle that takes them to and from, the pencil in their hands, etc. Artists are designers because everything we see around us was originally designed by someone, whether on a graphic design computer program or old-school sketching. 

"Prayer Cuatro"
16" x 20"
Acrylic paint on canvas

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

About art: Break the rules, but respect the classics. Art is about quality, not quantity. About life: Inspire others even if it doesn’t involve art.

Q: Name something you don’t love, and why.

I don’t like (or love) the “selfish intentions” of some people. People say that money is the root of all evil and I agree with that, but selfish intentions are a darker sense of evil that ruin anything and everything because so much that hurts us emotionally as humans stems from the genesis of selfish intentions.

"Llorar y Llorar"
20" x 24"
Acrylic on canvas

"Proceed to Shutdown Sequence"
11" x 15"
Acrylic paint, pen and ink on watercolor paper

Q: Who is your favorite comic book hero?

My favorite comic book hero is The Hulk. No one would ever bullied the Hulk. I got picked on as a kid by a few neighborhood bullies and when they picked on me, I always wanted to use the line, “Don’t make me angry, you won’t like it when I’m angry.” Ha! Imagine that. I would’ve been four foot tall and about 120 lbs. of mean green chubbiness and purple torn pants.  

Q: When you are gone, what do you want your body of work to accomplish?

Good question. I would hope my art could put a smile on someone’s face 50 to 75 years from now and that my five year old son can experience my art work for himself as an adult and that through my art he may remember me and keep me in his heart.

From Javier Espinoza:

Much of my work reflects my illustration background and many of the cartoonish, abstract and surrealistic elements in my works stem from my days as a comic strip artist for the publications South Texas Entertainment Magazine (McAllen, Texas) and The Community Voice-La Voz (Grand Rapids, Michigan). I have continued drawing cartoon characters to this day, using this format for most of my characters in many “musico” paintings and works of other subject matter. Over these past several years, this process and style has had its way with me and has provided much fun for me during the creation process. It is within this colorful and surrealistic style that I am happiest making artwork. Drawing and painting strike me with a sense of accomplishment and has proven a most amenable vehicle for translating my inner vision to outer reality. The concrete and sometimes repetitive nature of my style of work (in my musico series) frees my imagination and provides many opportunities for blissful accidents of painted brush strokes, outlined by thick acrylic paint or sketchy marker ink lines which grace to influence the finished product and bring to life the characters within my paintings. Some of my personal influences include artists such as Mort Drucker, Diego Rivera, Pablo Picasso, Bill Watterson, Cayetano Garza, Jr., Ramon Ramirez and Lucy Romero. I am a former art student at The University of Texas-Pan American where I studied Studio Art.

Visit his website:

Thank you for visiting my blog! Abrazos y Bendiciones!

-Edward Vidaurre

Edward Vidaurre has been been published in several anthologies and literary journals among them La Bloga, La Tolteca Zine, Bordersenses, Interstice, La Noria Literary Journal, Boundless Anthology of the Valley International Poetry Festival 2011-2013. He’s had two books published -'I Took My Barrio On A Road Trip' (Slough Press 2013) and ‘Insomnia’ (El Zarape Press 2014). He also co-edited TWENTY-Poems in Memoriam and Boundless 2014 the Anthology of the Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival. He is the founder of the reading series-Pasta, Poetry & Vino. Vidaurre lives in Edinburg, TX

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Book Review with Q & A: Codeswitch: Fires from Mi Corazon by Iris De Anda

Review and Q&A: CODESWITCH: Fires from Mi Corazón
Author: Iris De Anda,
Pages: 128 
Publisher: Los Writers Underground Press

I found myself exhausted after the first section (Rage), It was intense and powerful. Iris De Anda sections off her book Codeswitch into what she calls four-chambers: Rage/Coraje, Love/Amor, Revolution/Revolucíon, and Evolution/Evolucíon. There's no doubt in the heart and conviction of this poets purpose. 

I tried ingesting too much, too fast and was happy to see the next section was called Love. In Rage she pushes the reader to the limit with a fight, a grito, a punch in the gut and a realization that there is more to come. 

"Who's throwing the dice
keeping the score
talk of evolution
contemplate redemption
of the human
here comes the Revolution..."

-excerpt from Wake Up

You can hear the war drums and anxiety in the air. In Batalla, She reminds us that Cinco de Mayo is not a commercial holiday, but a constant battle of a people and generations fighting a revolution every day within our communities.  

"This is not my abuela's memory
History distorted as it may be
is not for sale..."

I could empathize with the author in "Nowhere Girl" a heart wrenching litany of despair and angst. De Anda did a beautiful job in following the first section (chamber) with Love. It is  salve to the soul after a riot. 

I took special liking to "Sage for The Silent Ones", Like incense going up to offering to the souls of children in Newtown, the Gaza strip, along our borders and all over the world. Such a timely piece that of course-continues to remind us of those seeking hope. 

It's rage, love, revolution, evolution...most importantly though, It's not just poetry...Iris De Anda finds a way to heal.

Q & A with poet, author, activist and practitoner of the healing arts-
Iris De Anda

1. How did evolve into the poet you are now? I started writing when I was 13 years old. I think I always wanted to make music, so I would write ideas for songs. Then when I was 15 I read some of these lyrics at my first open mic. I was hooked on the idea that people could relate to my words. I kept writing for myself for years. Then while attending UCSC I had a friend who read my work and said I should be doing Spoken Word. I began sharing again on campus. Then I withdrew from school. Who needs to pay so much $ for creative writing degree? I continued to write for myself. Then in 2010, I was invited to read again for the first time in 10 years. This peaked in me the curiosity that even after all this time there were words I needed to share.  It hasn't stopped since.

2. What book are you reading now? I am currently reading:

Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut (1st time I read him cause he showed up in my dreams and introduced himself).

Mastery of Awareness living the agreements by Do~na Bernadette Vigil

A Course in Miracles

I tend to read roughly three books at a time. So many books, so little time.

3. In your collection Codeswitch: Fires from mi Corazon, I found myself exhausted after the first section (Rage), It was intense and powerful. Can you describe the process of putting it all together and what you wanted the reader to feel? When I decided to put the book together a lot of the ideas came organically. The title came to me before drifitng to sleep one night. The idea for the 4 Chapters or Chambers came from the title. I think our intention gives everything meaning and I wanted there to be a symbolism of me laying my Corazon on the line. The 4 Chambers are cycles I've gone thru. It's my own personal medicine wheel. The emotions that drive my writing and the fact that they change in time with me. I wanted the reader to feel the rage that comes so naturally to us all at some point in our life, the love that follows that tunnel, the revolution which means our turn for change, and the evolution that follows. Anger will only fuel you for so long but love is everlasting. Things happen in life that will draw upon that rage yet the desire to change those things must come from love. 

4. Can you describe the community of poets you work with? And who are they? I am lucky to be surrounded by a beautiful and diverse group of poets. Some of the groups I work with are Poets Responding to SB1070: poetry of resistance, the here and now poets, the Revolutionary Poets Brigade, Poesia para la Gente, and Las Lunas Locas amongst many others who influence and inspire me.

5. What's your favorite comfort food? My favorite comfort food is burritos de asada. I was vegetarian for years and years and then suddenly I wasn't. Shh.

Reviewed by: Edward Vidaurre

Edward Vidaurre has been been published in several anthologies and literary journals among them La Bloga, La Tolteca Zine, Bordersenses, Interstice, La Noria Literary Journal, Boundless Anthology of the Valley International Poetry Festival 2011-2013. He’s had two books published -'I Took My Barrio On A Road Trip' (Slough Press 2013) and ‘Insomnia’ (El Zarape Press 2014). He also co-edited TWENTY-Poems in Memoriam and Boundless 2014 the Anthology of the Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival. He is the founder of the reading series-Pasta, Poetry & Vino. Vidaurre lives in Edinburg, TX

Friday, August 1, 2014

Book Review with Q & A:You Know What I'm Sayin'? Poetry*Drama By Daniel García Ordaz

Review and Q&A: You Know What I'm Sayin'?
Author: Daniel Garcia Ordaz
Pages: 80

Books are read, you know what i'm sayin'? But before I opened the pages to this classic from El Zarape Press (2011), I had been privileged to watch the author recite them at several events in south Texas. This collection seeps through my ears and plays a Miles Davis horn, puts me in the living room in East Los Angeles squeezed between my mom and dad watching El Chavo del Ocho.

These poems are alive! 

A fantastic play on words and language. It's got soul, history and a few of my favorite che's sung to the tune of  "These Are a Few Of My Favorite Things."

This is a sample of how he can take a classic song and make it a great poem. One of his most popular among other gems. Another of my favorite poems in this collection is, "Why Come Nobody Tol' Me Dat?" 
It's the child we left behind as we matured and learned some stuff...

"Why come nobody tol' me dat
there ain't no "cheeder-leaders"
with little "mimi" skirts and "pon-pons"

The titled poem "You Know What I'm Sayin'?" is an interaction between the reader and himself. In YKWIS? Garcia Ordaz talks to the masses, all ages and all classes. It's a history tour...playing with humor and this:

And where were you when you heard
That famous spoken word:
"In an apparent terrorist attack on our country..."
that day in September?

I saw more into the soul and depth of Garcia Ordaz's poetry when I stopped listening and started reading. There's a flavor here, there's music, there's education, there's blues, there's gritos and a real truth to the lines that will make you smile and cry. It'll peel away at the layers of your soul, I assure you. Don't say I didn't tol' you dat!

Q &A with Author: Daniel Garcia Ordaz

What is your purpose for writing? I write poetry because I have to write. I wake up in the middle of the night with ideas that need jotting down. I write poetry because poets are the comedians and observers of humanity. We're the town criers. We announce what is happening and what is to come when society doesn't recognize what's happening around them. I write because poetry makes babies. Poetry makes the world go' round. Poetry's in our music, in our advertising, in our daily conversations.

Are you planning to publish another book in the near future? I'm taking my last two classes for an MFA in Creative Writing from UT-Pan American, so I'm saving any personal collection for possible publication with my thesis. However, in the meantime, I continue to edit and write for publication in anthologies.

Who's your favorite poet living and gone? My favorite poetry comes from the Bible. The pretty and the ugly parts. My first love of words came from The Book. Favorite poets include Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, Pablo Neruda, and I love the poetic prose by Luis Alberto Urrea, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, but I also feed off the many peers and colleagues in poetry circles in the Rio Grande Valley.

You are living in south Texas, there is an influx of refugees coming from the other side of the border...What's a poet to do? For better or for worse the words of poets have led people to war, whether in a theater of combat operations or on the sports playing fields. So at a time like this where the media comes to our background filled with misinformation. It's up to us to call them out when they start sharing wrong information--the little and big things. It's up to the poets to be the voice of the people, set politics aside, and tell it like it is. A poet can protest, lend a hand, give a voice--or rather an echo because each human being must be respected to have his or her own voice--be a supporter of truth.

-Edward Vidaurre

Born in L.A., CA in 1973, Edward Vidaurre has been been published in several anthologies and literary journals among them La Bloga, Bordersenses, La Noria, Left Hand of the Father, Brooklyn & Boyle - Boundless Anthology of the Valley International Poetry Festival 2011, 2012, & 2013. His book 'I Took My Barrio On A Road Trip'(Slough Press) was released in 2013. Vidaurre's second collection insomnia (El Zarape Press 2014)  is now available. 

Barbershop Reading @ King Kutz in San Benito, Tejas July 28, 2014

Where To Catch Me In This Pandemic

  TLA Latino Caucus Presents: Velada Poética Virtual: Latinx Voices to Know Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, TLA’s Latino Caucus Round T...