logo image a digital codex of contemporary pan-american writing

Issue 7

The Legend of El Árbol de Letras

The Legend of El Árbol de Letras

by JEREMY PADEN God did not speak the world into being calling plants and animals each by name Condor y en el aire una sombra se junta into feathered wings, open Spondylus y la mugre se forma en concha with spines scarlet, ochre Orchid, tocte, jagua, balatá, flowers, branches, leaves all sprout into jungle God […]


Couch

Couch

by SHAUNA SELIY My new co-worker is telling a story to our boss, Mary Ellen. The co-worker, a girl named Katy, is crying and talking at the same time. She says,  “He went out for a smoothie and when he came back, he said, ‘I just don’t love you anymore.’ And he had a handful […]


Suspiro

Suspiro

by PATRICIA ENGEL It’s three a.m. and I’m waiting to pay for cigarettes behind a horny young couple buying condoms. It’s clear they’ve just come from the club—her sweat-wet hair, melted makeup, a papery blue dress that must have looked dainty eight hours ago, now rumpled like wasted lingerie. The guy’s got a fresh shave […]


Szymborska

Szymborska

by MADELEINE BECKMAN Don’t feel guilty says Szymborska, snakes and alligators and condors don’t feel guilty for attacking, for severing the vocal cords or removing the hearts from their prey. It’s part of their nature, created long before they hatched from their shells. Go, says Szymborska, go and become whom you were meant to become— […]


Adolphus Washington: A Snapshot of West Africa

Adolphus Washington: A Snapshot of West Africa

by ADOLPHUS WASHINGTON In the west, despite increasing immediate access to news and information via the internet and social media we tend to have a static view of Africa that does not delve beneath war, poverty, disease and hunger. Having the opportunity to live and work in West Africa has enabled me to experience Africa […]


the sun burns in colors

the sun burns in colors

by GREGORIO GOMEZ the sun burns in colors and the silence of the running brook slips thru the flight of my soul as the song of a yellow bird serenades the flicker of a burning candle… a dime spins endlessly and its inertia is intoxicating sending the robust oaks dancing as the Aztec king still […]


Street Vendor

Street Vendor

by GREGORIO GOMEZ Sing her a song a ranchera line A slip on glove made of lace Not plastic—marry her to the fence On Hoyne and Cermak Where she stands under A parasol of circus colors Cutting symmetrical wedges Coconut cucumber mango mamey… Fingers red with chile Lips a cracked slice of watermelon Tight from […]


The Liberator

The Liberator

by STEPHEN PAGE After I saved him from his freedom of debt He broke into my office and stole petty cash; After his wife poisoned my meat She boxed Teresa in Paper Maché. I ate cake twice with the blue-plate lady Without having ever brushed her fine-nailed hands; And once while drinking her thick espresso […]


Arbol de Letras

Arbol de Letras

MIGUEL BETANCOURT 2001, Mixta Cáñamo, 256×186 cm Miguel Betancourt (born January 5, 1958) is an Ecuadorian contemporary artist living in Quito, Ecuador. As an artist he studied in Ecuador, the United States, and the United Kingdom. His paintings are a fusion of local cultural motives and colors, and Western artistic influence. You can visit his website at www.miguelbetancourt.com.


For Juan, the Fisherman

For Juan, the Fisherman

by ANA ROUCO-GASPAROTTI Purples and blues cloud the view. He’s still tall with half a beard. He stands side by side a little girl no more than twelve carrying a dark fish. The Perito Moreno dances behind and a few overgrown trees are touching each other. A peace covers his recessed eyes and sun kissed […]


Abuelo Míó

Abuelo Míó

by SARA BURNETT There are moments when you are my head, in evenings sometimes, my whole head. I wonder how far you travel on these nights between us stacked like rows of sugar cane stalks wild, uneven quietly ripening in their sheaths, in fallow fields far from your city, your old Habana, your dream city […]


from Mr. Bondo’s Unshared Life

from Mr. Bondo’s Unshared Life

by JAMES CERVANTES * Someone is rattling a cage, someone is reading a newspaper, someone is fighting a fire. The weather is putting a damper on everyone’s summer plans while peace talks fail: signs of an age, smoke from a fire. So the person reading turns a page, the one rattling bites the bars. * […]


Under the George Washington Bridge

Under the George Washington Bridge

by SCOTT FRIEDLANDER (2012) “Under the George Washington Bridge” is the literal description of this image. Viewing New Jersey from the New York base of the bridge, the magnitude of this great structure is realized.


Man’s Iron Hand

Man’s Iron Hand

by FLAVIA COSMA The hills soften under man’s iron hand. Their green spines groan under the weight, Their curled and wiry hair teems with birds, Mating secretly In the fragrant shade of the acacias. Diaphanous omens and dead dragon-flies, Float on twilight waters. A sad purr recalls the time, The first and the last That […]


Berly Gets a Hold of Fluorescent Yellow

Berly Gets a Hold of Fluorescent Yellow

by BERLY CURA


Palermo Soho

Palermo Soho

by MARINA PRUNA MORÉ Old Palermo, city haze, cigarette soot, a shady tango secret, gone. True cobblestone faked slick, snaking bistro clutters and lemony gymboree, distended boot & bag boutiques, hammering gorilla glass on leather on stilettos at brunch. It tears at me, scent of October during spring dawn, bread loaf heat rising and sneaking […]


Stills

by MARINA PRUNA MORÉ The half-constructed bridge intentions or echoes lapping back in different voices * The draw bridge the design of forgiveness * The collapsed bridge swallowing the fine-tuned cry * The suspended bridge a bony wind at the back of the neck * The paved bridge heaviness felt by no one but the […]


14 Variations of “En Los Jardines de Los Lodi,” a Poem by Octavio Paz, Dedicated to Claude Esteban

14 Variations of “En Los Jardines de Los Lodi,” a Poem by Octavio Paz, Dedicated to Claude Esteban

by BRIAN YOUNG 1. In the blue unanimous the domes of the mausoleums —the black ones, the recondite ones, the pensive ones— rapidly shot birds 2. the domes of the mausoleums quickly shot birds in the inanimate blue —black, compacted, pensive 3. Rapidly emitting birds: the blue untimely above domes of the mausoleums: those which […]


New World Nomenclature

New World Nomenclature

by DANIEL HEDGES Today we see as we understand, elbow patches of medium orchid corduroy, sewn to the elbows of the Universe, and neo-cliché hipters (who meditate on thistle) drag the haunting tense through planes of Cadmium Scarlet. All this New World nomenclature is miniature by scale held against greater epochs, where spirits go, or […]


Manifesting Chrome

Manifesting Chrome

by DANIEL HEDGES While the neo-cliché hipsters are manifesting chrome in a general way, an arrangement of blondes in summer frocks slur the haunting tense, and bend the aesthetic field over visages of the Resplendent Quetzal. Any questions?


Letter to AWP President Steve Heller

Letter to AWP President Steve Heller

by LEANNE HOWE April 9, 2012 To: AWP President Steve Heller, Professor & Chair of the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Antioch, The Board of Directors of The Association of Writers and Writing Programs (c.c. David Fenza, Christian Teresi) From: AWP’s Indigenous-Aboriginal American Writers Caucus members Dear President Heller, We are writing to introduce […]


The United Farm Workers in 1974: Space and People to Dissolve in Words

by CRISTIAN PAIZ In history as a form of writing, of words that invent the page through its marking, there is an impression of bounty, of knowledge spilling forth. People are named, places located, quotes and data rendered. Archives, of course, serve as the physical repository of such bounty, a singular point of origin for […]


This Side of Time

This Side of Time

by Ko Un Reviewed by YAGO S. CURA This Side of the Mind with Ko Un This Side of Time, Ko Un’s newest collection of poetry, is drawn from several collections of terse poems by the South Korean author. So, for example, the first chapter’s “Little Songs,” are taken from Poems Left Behind, whose title […]


Chronic

Chronic

by D.A. Powell Reviewed by RYAN HELGERSON Cleanliness is the first word that comes to mind when I think of D.A. Powell’s collection, Chronic (Graywolf Press, 2009). The image on the book’s front cover resembles a fractal painting, which naturally draws the eye in with its strange beauty. The focal point of the picture appears […]