During a world pandemic we all feel vulnerable. Our livelihoods may be at risk. Family & friends, out of reach. Older individuals and people with compromised immune systems feel the stress of potential contracting. Nevertheless and maybe because of all this, let’s not forget we remain relevant, appreciated and even admired– for all good deeds and smiles–if only at this time at a distance. Thank you to the contributors whose images and words we hope you enjoy in this second issue of La Tolteca 2.0.
Sylvia Mullally (Berkeley, CA)
Public radio journalist, substitute teacher and translator (Spanish, Portuguese & English)
Writer Melinda Palacio makes her home in Santa Barbara, California and New Orleans, Louisiana.
Valerie Andriola (San Diego, CA)
Children’s Books and Art at the Border
The refugee children that I have worked with are proud of their creations and their ability to share their experiences with the other children in powerful ways that would be limited by words alone. Drawing and painting are beginnings of important conversations. When art work is shared, important validation is received and this encourages further creative expression. Books and art have a much needed positive and therapeutic effect especially on children whose lives have been interrupted by trauma.
“The madonna is mixed media–a high contrast digital photo repeated and enhanced with acrylics I tried to get different skin tone colors because a black madonna exists.”
“My work was included in the online virtual art exhibition curated by Laszlo Ladany of Hungary who put on real art exhibitions before the pandemic hit and then went online with a continuing virtual art exhibition representing 200 international artists on ArtWall. They eventually will be included in a book on the Covid-19 show.”
TWO JULY POEMS
And the people were told to stay home and isolate.
When days turned to months,
The lonely took to the streets,
Remembered words like Revolution, Freedom, and Viva.
They shaped a multilingual future,
Chose love and sacrifice over comfort and security.
You don’t know that I am Black,
Que todos me dicen en el negro, Llorona,
That I am your daughter.
All you see is a smile in a red dress,
Someone who breathes, takes your space.
Respeta mi existencia, o espera resistencia.
You know the hidden story.
You don’t have to pay 23andMe to see
There’s more than hair color that binds us.
While nine minutes can make a baby,
The slow tick-tock can break a man.
My mother’s hands replace me.
Go help your brother.
The right mess tries to pick up a cup,
settles for a pencil, the left hand helps.
She scribbles a list, a secret only she can read.
Her children are finger puppets with no names.
Who needs names when only the left child behaves.
The travieso brother always needs help.
Levanta esa babosada!
Curled brown knots on her lap.
The children play tug-of-war.
You are the only two left.
Soon, you will turn into birds and leave.
She sighs, holds back toughened tears.
Her eyes fail to meet me, her middle child.
AFTER EL PASO
After the massacre the barrio listened. They loved each other more. Held the hearts of the
injured. Made fresh tortillas and stirred the beans.
“Why?” an old mexicano with a face as wrinkled as history asks. “He didn’t even know
A five year old’s first day of school includes an active shooter lockdown drill. After school he tells his mother: “I won’t be going back.”
“Why?” she asks.
“They shoot kids there,” he tells her.
Her hair black as a crow’s wing tied back in a bun she sits on a sagging sofa and watches TV news
She does not slouch as she lights another cigarette . She sits up straight and watches a young white nationalist slaughter Mexicans. They fall, men, women and children with terror in their eyes . So much blood on the tiled floor.
“What is a nationalist” she says aloud “what gives him permission to kill us?”
The ghosts of El Paso still cling to their Walmart bags. Heavy paper bags filled with school supplies.
They hang out at the bridge or along the river. Reach out for those who stumble across . Give a hand to swimmers in the Rio Grande who cannot swim but paddle their way to America. O! America your ghosts outnumber the living.
A prophesy unfolds: The condor and the eagle reunite. Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador migrate north.
Our ancestors return in the blood of those walking another trail of tears. Rivers were once our roads.
The waters remember everything.
tu vida anima
¿Cuántas poesías y canciones
no se han escrito
por tu martirio
a la canción?
En la noche oscura,
cuando la luz del sol
descansa y el pueblo
se alista a dormir,
tu canción sale
y se oye
fuerte y apasionado;
flotando sobre el silencio
con una melodía de amor
y un grito de guerra.
Los dos conviviendo
así como la luna
y el sol.
como la criatura
en la cuna,
sueños de paz;
de ángeles y
ríos de chocolate
aunque yo no soy
Antes de poder cantar,
tenemos que morir;
enterrados en la tierra,
esperando ese día bendito
cuando el milagro no será
salir de la tierra,
sino salir de la tierra
Dear Readers: La Tolteca is back blogging La Tolteca 2.0 approximately twice a month. All submissions must follow guidelines to be considered.
LA TOLTECA 2.0 is making its return here at www.anacastillo.net It is a virtual zine with ongoing posts. You may submit to firstname.lastname@example.orgYoul’ll receive an automated response and nothing further. (If you don’t receive the automated response alert me on FB messenger) For consideration to the following new features only unpublished, never posted on SM, original images and material. If your work is selected it will be posted the following Friday. If not, you won’t hear from us but you may try again with something new.
BOX 4B: Brown & Beautiful Babe-Boomers
You don’t have to be brown or a Boomer and your submissions don’t have to be selfies but you’re welcome to submit. Send us what gave you a smile, lifted your spirits, kept you going that past week. Smart phone pics work, no specific format necessary. Do NOT send images previously posted on social media or elsewhere. Your submission is consent for use at L/T 2.0. Add a couple of lines with your name and about the pic or yourself to be included, if selected. If any of your submission is selected it will be posted the following Friday. If not, you won’t hear from us but you will be welcome to send something new for consideration again.
No rants or editorials, please. Only clean, proof-read submissions in a journalistic style will be read for consideration. Double space, 12 point, Times Roman—750 words. Your most recent activist concern. Include your name and a line describing how you participate in social justice issues. Checklist for your piece: What, when, why who and how.
Poetry, Memoir and Flash Fiction
Original and unpublished work. Spanish and English languages considered.
All submissions must have been proofread double-spaced, 12 point, paginated. Fiction word count limit 2,500. Your name and one line about yourself or your submission. If selected, it will appear the following Friday on Tolteca 2.0, anacastillo.net homepage. No emails will be sent out. If you don’t hear back it wasn’t selected. You are welcome to send something else next time.
La Tolteca 2.0 is a blog. We reserve all rights to post as and what we choose.
If your original works appear here you may use again elsewhere with credit to first appearing at La Tolteca 2.0 (and date.)