The Serpent in My Eye

This poem originally appeared in the Spring 2014 edition of Interstice. The Serpent in My Eye I still recall the day it uncoiled its glassy shaft upon the world as I dashed down the alley— a crooked snake that twined at the edge of things, floating away from my focus,…

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Beer Bottles

This poem originally appeared in the Spring 2014 edition of Interstice. Beer Bottles My grandfather Manny Garza Had three loves: Golf, beer, and Green-eyed girls (Hence his marriage To my grandmother And their later divorce). But of these three, The greatest was beer. When I was barely a toddler He’d…

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“Autumn Lovers,” a Tanabata Sequence

Tanabata is a Japanese star festival derived from the similar Chinese celebration of Qixi. Meaning “seventh night,” Tanabata marks the yearly reunion in late summer or early fall of the deities Orihime and Hikoboshi (Weaver Princess and Boy Star), which correspond to the stars Vega and Altair. In the mythology…

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Shattering and Bricolage accepted for publication

I am delighted to announce that my first collection of original poetry, Shattering and Bricolage, has been accepted for publication by Ink Brush Press. The book should be out before the end of the year.  

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Bussokusekika #20

Bussokusekika is a rare form of Japanese poetry that consists of six lines written in a 5-7-5-7-7-7 mora pattern. Arising during the Nara period, the form had essentially died out by the Heian period. For centuries, the only existing examples were the twenty one poems inscribed beside the stone Buddha…

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Honoring Gloria Anzaldúa in Nahuatl

On Thursday April 24, I had the pleasure of attending El Retorno: Celebrando a Nuestra Gloria, a yearly event honoring the work and ideas of Gloria Anzaldúa. During the celebration I began mentally composing a brief elegy in Nahuatl in honor of her important work. Here it is, with a…

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“Drinking Alone under the Moon” by Li Bai

Li Bai, also known as Li Po, was arguably the greatest poet of China’s Tang dynasty, and possibly of all its history. His verse is notable for the strong voice and personality it reflects, uncommon in the 8th century. An accomplished martial artist and academic genius, Li Bai was also…

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“Dream People,” by Monk Sōgi

A zen monk from a humble background, Iio Sōgi became one of the most respected poets of 15th-century Japan, lauded by major figures and followed by a crowd of students. We may realize that people are merely dreams: the house abandoned, its wild garden becomes home to a swarm of…

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“The Emperor’s Visit” by Sotōri

The fifth-century Emperor Ingyō (c. 411-453) took as his lover Princess Sotoshi no iratsume (better known to us as Sotōri), the younger sister of Empress Oshisaka no Ōnakatsuhime. To avoid offending the Empress, Ingyō provided a residence for Princess Sotoshi far away from her older sister, first in Fujiwara near…

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“The Way of Walking Alone” by Miyamoto Musashi

A week before he died, Japanese swordmaster Miyamoto Musashi composed his Dokkōdō or Way of Walking Alone, a series of twenty-one precepts that spell out his philosophy of ascetic, honorable living. I do not oppose the age-old paths. I do not plot ways to find pleasure. I do not bias…

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