Rinconcito is a special little corner in Somos en escrito for short writings: a single poem, a short story, a memoir, flash fiction, and the like.
Two Poems by Daniel Romo
Maybe it’s better the fickle wind rearranges the view. Who hasn’t thought How fake to look at such an artificially manicured landscape. The leaves ride the current as if mimicking the hands of a colorful conductor and the symphony is an ode to a fallen tree. Raking the lawn in A minor is synonymous with mourning the dead. We convince ourselves we have nothing left to give and call it plausible. We do the best with what we can and label it passable. To notice ones’ surroundings is to live as testament to Heaven. A Hells Angel pulls into the parking lot and his Harley is blasting a pop song about stealing sunshine. A ray is a set of straight lines passing through a single point. There is no way to deny the spotlight when we are caught blushing, and red-handed.
Down Here on the Ground
after Wes Montgomery
Cue the static that rubs like nerves against the desired grain. Note how the vinyl crackles like feeding notes to the fire, though each authentic sacrifice can be told solely from the gravity of its own ashes. Every sound is wrapped in a plea and prayer, regardless of the plight. The 11th commandment in essence states That which isn’t audible must be regarded as pliable to the touch. If rhythm were to replicate itself, it would be to the tune of improvisational hopscotch on loop. So many anxious toes, so little time for tapping. There is not enough jazz to capture the rhapsody of summer, to frame the fragrance of wilting lilies, to fade out like a grieving sunset in search of the next mourning.
Daniel Romo was born in Grants Pass, Oregon. His latest book of poems is forthcoming in 2021 from Tebot Bach. He holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Queens University of Charlotte, and he lives and teaches in Long Beach, CA. More at danielromo.wordpress.com.
Tres Millas a mi Libertad
Follow along as Rebecca Granado performs "Tres Millas a mi Libertad"
I could taste freedom from my bedroom window. Where the silhouette of that town was visible. Nothing but dry, barren land came between me, and that town. It was a three mile walk of anticipation, and well worth it back in the day. Blazing that trail, the sun beating down on my shoulders, the hot tar road under my feet. Vultures circling in the sky, helicopters calculating their radius. These were the sights when I walked that stretch of road.
The migra would pass me on that road at top speed in their hummers as they were led to the scene by an anonymous tip. Up ahead I could see a roadblock in the making, marked by orange cones and bright reflectors to warn all traffic that suspicion lay ahead. My route would detour on the halfway point, before the port, before customs, before the suspicion marked by the men in green. The halfway point was the Go For It Café. a.k.a. Old man Bobbos.
What better place to taunt the men in green. They would watch us with their binoculars partying at the café. In the distance on a hill next to a mansion is where they would retreat. How did we know they were watching? We had binoculars, too. Suspicion was all around. We would shout gritos to the migra while we danced, sang, and drank our 40’s to Chalino. What were they gonna do? Nothing. We are American citizens in our every right. These men in green had arrested our antepasados at one point. Maybe it was a long time ago, but we carried that desesperación.
La neta éramos sinvergüenzas en esos tiempos. I mean we would walk 3 miles carrying a box of empty Negra Modelo bottles for refills. We were thirsty. Not only for la crema de la cerveza pero también por la libertad, que nos esperaba en el otro lado. Sabíamos que algo nos esperaba. Cruzamos día tras día, buscando esa libertad. Queríamos escapar! Get away from the rigidity of the red, white, and blue. Al cruzar, presencia militar, cuernos de chivo, chalanes acompañando los jefes. I'm home, I would think to myself. Tranquilidad, protección, ánimo. Where else but home would we cruise in bulletproof trucks, being chased by army tanks, shot at con unos r-15’s.
Yo quería ser la novia de un Mafioso. Yo quería ser adornada con joyas y viajar a lugares exóticos. Llegar a mi destino, pero en un jet privado. Disfrutamos de la comida más rica, usábamos ropa de la tela más fina, escapábamos a las playas más bonitas del mundo. Las mexicanas no nos querían a las chicanas. Ellas veían que cruzábamos dia tras dia. They longed for our life on the other side and we wanted their freedom, on their side. We had it both ways, and they couldn’t, and they hated us for it.
La vida aparece como fantasma y la muerte desaparece al cerrar los ojos. Learning to run, duck and dodge, jumping out of moving vehicles, this was the life, this was the freedom we sought. Cada vez que cruzábamos y regresamos vivos, nos daba mas valor seguir cruzando. Cruzaba la garita a todas horas, en todas condiciones, faltandoles respeto a los aduanales. Me valia madre. When you escape bullets, death, rape, and secuestros no one can touch you, it changes a person. Yo no pensaba lo que a mi me daba valor, le quitaba honor a otra persona.
My intuition guided me all along that road to freedom. It whispered in my ear as I chugged, as I exhaled the smoke from my toke, as my paranoia grew. Constantly having to watch over my shoulder, trusting no one, especially not myself. Now a hundred miles and twelve feet of steel fence obscure my view of that silhouette. I can no longer thirst for that road. The bottles remain empty. Binoculars with no one in sight.
Rebecca Granado, born and raised in Columbus, New Mexico, dropped out of high school and traveled the country by bus, living in tents along the way. “An undeclared social researcher,” as she called herself, she resumed schoolwork and earned a Master of Science in Family and Child Science and Addiction Studies from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. This story in Somos en escrito is her first publication. Rebecca is working on a first novel.