EAST LA POET: POETRY FROM BORDERED LIVES: Verónica Reyes
Forthcoming in fall 2013
About the Author
Verónica Reyes is a Chicana feminist jota from East LA. Her poems give voice to her Mexican-American and queer communities. Her mama's life, Julia Socorro Hernandez Reyes, inspired her in many ways. She earned her BA from Long Beach State University and her MFA from the University of Texas, El Paso. Over the years, she has resided in several cities: El Paso, Toronto, Berlin. Each ciudad has seeped into her. As an educator, she has taught at El Paso Community College, Upward Bound Program, and Humber College; most recently, she was a part-time lecturer at Cal State LA.
As a poet, she was resident at Ragdale Foundation, Vermont Studio Center and a NEA 2009 fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. In her career, she has won awards, such as Emerging Artist from Astraea Lesbian Foundation, finalist for Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize, and AWP Intro Journals Project. She also is a proud member of Macondo Writers' Workshop and MALCS (Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social). Finally, her work has appeared in Calyx, Feminist Studies, ZYZZYVA, North American Review, JOTA zines and The New York Quarterly. Most importantly, after years of hard work and perseverance, she is honored her first book, East LA Poet: Poetry from Bordered Lives, will be published by Arktoi Books.
"Desert Rain: An Anointment"
Thick clouds pulled over the cielo like a charcoal rebozo
Loud claps pounded as if manos slapped masa together,
thundering its message, "I'm coming...I'm coming"
and the withering grass like a viejito perked up to see
Everyone looked up to the gray-white puffs draping the sky
Nopal and hefty maguey stretched upward for fat drops
They waited so long for summer rains to inspire life, again
And the sky opened its boca and awed a desert rain wind
Streams of plump gotas fell on top of the thirsty tierra,
splattering the ground leaving half lunas on the land
Socorro stepped outside of her blue home near the freeway
Let the warm water wet her brown arms under the awning
She inhaled deeply the moist zacate, tierra, driveway
"Mmm Zacatecas. El valle de mi corazón,
Xochitl. Alla en el puebilito donde yo nací.
Olía como...como ocotillo y tunas."
Xochitl clung to her Amá's pale-blue vestido, smiled
and stared at the big sky while standing on the red porch
Vowed a little sueño to herself and kept it tucked inside
She proclaimed proudly in her six-year-old voice
"Mmm, Zacatecas, Mami, Zacatecas."
Socorro laughed and with her moist fingers she anointed
herself then her daughter with midday desert rain in the city
The agua took her back to her childhood in México
Rain that blessed her alma como copal shrouding her skin
She inhaled the desert aroma over concrete, nopales,
and limones beneath splintered street telephone wires
Socorro breathed in once and inhaled México in East L.A.