This week we look at poets with work out from Mouthfeel Press, a relatively new, bilingual, small press run out of El Paso,TX. Its primary mission is to publish poets from the TX-NM-AZ-CA region.
But beyond that the “borderlands”, which founder Maria Miranda Maloney describes (in an interview with Katie Hoerth) as
“not necessarily a geography or a specific place…that would narrow its definition too much. A more liberal definition would be a point or space of rupture from pre-determined and predictable roles and circumstances, a point of deconstruction, and a space that Emma Pérez references in her book, The Decolonial Imaginary, as going ‘into the margins, to argue or expose that which no one will risk.’ MFP’s mission [then] recognizes this space and embraces this rupture through poetry.”
Our first poem is from Eliza A. Garza, who besides her poetry is also known in family education circles for her Tercets blog.
Father is leaving for work. Mother is home
because of the new baby. I watch him
on the couch while she irons shirt after shirt.
Hanger in her mouth like a giant fish hook,
she buttons them up, one by one. Father kisses her
on the cheek after looking at the baby
and Mother says, mucho cuidado.
This was my daily lesson on affection,
back when my parents still loved each other.
Today, a man I barely know said this to me,
mucho cuidado, and affection pricked my heart,
his good-bye probing sharp and hot.
From the car, I wave…
FULL TEXT AT DIAGRAM
Purchase Entre la claridad here
Also available by Eliza is Familia.
Next up is the prolific Amalio Madueno with an excerpt from a collection put out by Wild Embers Press. Spider Road is his latest from Mouthfeel.
from Part One of Lost in the Chamiso
His mother was a green bouquet of kelp. She bore him over a period of three days down by the shipyard. The harbor was a flotsammed, jagged place for an alien kid to play. He ignored the many just like him trying to find a way to shallows, sandbars, and shoals. On the silver strand, he noticed how the shorebirds skimmed for succulent tips and spears as they cruised the crashing waves, the spreading spume and foam.
God is a kilo of steaming tortillas that does nothing
but make a sphere of aroma .
I’ve studied the ancestry of corn, sought out the madre
de maiz, chewed the juice of teosinte.
It is on no page in any tome,
finds no place on any page
Given this reality the princessas, the jovenitas,
the viejitas churning out,
Patting out, cranking tortillas forever look
very important, very serious.
No Ave Marias prayed to heaven solve the mystery,
Save me from tilling rows,
Hauling water, squashing the worms, spraying
the fungus, driving the dusty
Afternoons of August wildly to the horizon.
Winters I’ve often thought of sacrificing to the goddess,
But could not hold the thought of her pure being long enough.
Forever young, fertile girl with silky hair.
Se’s there. The corn & I follow her commands . . .
I will go as far as I can believing these things.
I unfold the wrapping and think:
I’ve eaten more tortillas than anyone I know
Hot cold rolled flat fried steamed flamed burnt
Plain or with butter balony salami tuna
peanut butter salsa guacamole
Walking out of the tortillaria in Tijuana
Put your nose to the wrapping paper
Forget the corn shortage, the field…
Purchase Lost in the Chamiso.
Purchase Spider Road.