Excerpts
From Cabañuelas
Her South Texas home resides in her as she resides in it – they are one. She feels the river waters, the Rio Grande, the Rio Bravo coursing through her veins. The sweet scents emanating from her mother’s treasured sweet-smelling garden, the huele de noche, el azahar on the orange and lemon trees, the jasmine and gardenia blossoms, each taking turns to sweeten the air; these are the scents that are ever with her. Nena feels a pull, an inexplicable tie to that land, that piece of earth, her beloved South Texas – and northern Mexico, too. Texas with its troubled history of political corruption, of despots ruling with iron hands, and of Texas Rangers lynching Mexicans. Of drugs and violence, but a land full of promise, too. A Mexico that is almost not Mexico. Norteño and fierce out so far, so different from the center. This land where two countries come together, a confluence of cultures, where two languages mingle into a unique Spanglish, Tex-Mex, where two ways of measuring the world coexist – pounds or kilos, miles or kilómetros, litros or gallons.
From Meditación Fronteriza: Poems of Love, Life, and Labor
“Border Bullets”
Rio Grande flows
from the Rockies to the Gulf
holy waters heal the border scar
pecan, nogal, retama sway,
tower o’er mesquites, huisaches
buried treasure brown
fiery gold crown
sun sets over Mexico
death defines life
a packed train speeds by
transports precious cargo
arrives with the moonlight
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