Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Génisis Chihuahuense

Conmemorando el Centenario de la Revolución Mexicana, por la cual la familia de mi padre se arraigó al Ejido San Gregorio. Vivo de luto por la guerra que arrasa la tierra por la que tantas y tantos han dado su vida. Mientras la guerra continúa satisfaciendo la gula Americana, recuerdo con ternura y melancolía, mi Estado Grande.

Génisis Chihuahuense 

aquí Tata Dios usó el adobe
pa’l cuero de su gente
pa’ ojos sembró elotes
pa’ venas varas de mesquite

pa’ piernas roca minera
pa’ manos raíces nopaleras
pa’ brazos soga ganadera
pa’ lomo arpilla cebollera

aquí no hay quien se atore
pa’ alma tenemos caliche
pa’ sangre sotol y agua ardiente
pa’ lengua silvestres quelites

pa’ hueso troncos de nogales
pa’ voz canto de chonte
pa’ suerte pata de liebre
pa’ corazón leña del monte

bendito seas pueblo chihuahuense
gente que suda chacales y asadero
no te dejes de quien no sabe
que pa’l orgullo no hay dinero

aquí Dios creó a la mujer y al hombre
con la fuerza del sol del norte
aquí se escurren los cascabeles
por nuestro cabello azabache

Chihuahua, no más no te rajes
por más que se acerquen los buitres
que aquí Dios usa pa’l coraje
un pueblo unido con ixtle

[Este poema forma parte de una colección titulada Agolondrinado: Poemas Norteños]

Friday, December 10, 2010

Risky reading: Emotions, communities, even languages pair for gay poet

Award-winning writer, Rigoberto González, reviewed my book Santo de la Pata Alzada: Poems from the Queer/Xicano/Positive Pen, for the El Pasto Times in 2006. As part of the 5 year anniversary, I am posting Gonzalez' review:

El Paso Times
Living Sunday, March 5, 2006

Risky reading
Emotions, communities, even languages pair for gay poet

Rigoberto González
Special to the Times
Sunday, March 5, 2006

"Would you forgive me if I spoke of those things not meant to be said," reads the opening lines of Lorenzo Herrera y Lozano's collection "Santo de la Pata Alzada" (Evelyn Street Press, $14 paperback), like a caveat. Expression can come in no other form for a book subtitled "poems from the queer/xicano/positive pen."

Poems in this collection are written in either English or Spanish, and a few entries navigate the two. This strategy mirrors the tones in the poems themselves. Herrera y Lozano moves between extremes, usually love and rage, which are -- like his languages -- not mutually exclusive but partners in passion. "I am the incarnation of filth and purity," he declares.

On a personal journey retold in poetry, the speaker traces the ache of familial rejection, the loss of faith, and the triumphs and failures of same-sex relationships. Religious imagery, however, is what gives these experiences language, as in the poems "Last Prayer: My Farewell to the United Pentecostal Church International," "Altar Boys" and "Three Queens":

tonight is la virgen

yourself and I ...

men that

could have been machos


somos hombres who love men

queens who love

como lo hace ella

And interspersed throughout are the testimonies and "cartas anónimas" that read more like revelations at the confessional -- a combination of exhibitionism and catharsis that juggles yet another binary pair, pleasure and guilt:

for my love is a sin

my sin as ample and

joyful as a kindergarten


Playful, irreverent and homoerotic, Herrera y Lozano's verse is attitude personified, perhaps owning up to the mentorship expressed in the poem "Raised By Drag Queens." In a follow-up poem, drag queen Marlene tells it like it should be:


we are divas

we are fabulous

and we die fabulous

no seas bruta

But underneath this empowerment is the pain of survival and struggle in a homophobic world. "May my cries hover," says the speaker, "so truth can feel the air."

And in the final stanza of the tour de force that closes the collection, "Ode to the Men I Love/ Loved/ Never Did and the Handful the Love/ Loved/ Never Did Me," the poet makes the long-awaited dedication: "to the queer men left to die under the shadow of a flag and their/ our families' backs/ to you/ for you this book."

"Santo de la Pata Alzada," with its brazen title, risk-taking subject matter and colorful vocabulary, is in fact a touching book -- a young poet's story of his exile from home and church, and his arrival to a family and faith in a community no less valuable or valid than the one he lost.

Rigoberto González is an award-winning writer and associate professor of English and Latino studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His Web site is at www.rigobertogonzalez.com, and he may be reached at Rigoberto70@aol.com.http://www.amazon.com/Santo-Pata-Alzada-Xicano-Positive/dp/0972391010/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1291833196&sr=8-1

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A shout out on the Mexican blog: Tengo un crush con Nuevallorrrr

My (relatively) new homeboy, Enrique Torre-Molina, a Twitterist and Blogosphere tycoon, posted a shout out to the 5th year anniversary of my book, Santo de la Pata Alzada. The post also includes my poem, "Hairpray and Fideo: My Brown Growing Pains," which is where the title of my blog comes from.

Tengo un crush con Nuevallorrrr is part of my daily reads.

Chécalo here:

Santo de la pata alzada

Monday, December 6, 2010

Interview for the Spanish-language Journal Pterodáctilo

Joseph M. Pierce recently interviewed me for Pterodáctilo, a journal of the University of Texas-Austin's Department of Spanish and Portuguese. The interview includes selections of my all-Spanish manuscript, Promesas y Amenazas: Poemas de Amor y sus Inconveniencias. All but one of these poems have never been made public. Check it out and catch a sneak peak of my upcoming collection of poetry!

Hyperlink below:

Entrevista a Lorenzo Herrera y Lozano

Friday, December 3, 2010

5 Year Anniversary of Santo de la Pata Alzada

This month marks the 5th year publishing anniversary of my book, Santo de la Pata Alzada: Poems from the Queer/Xicano/Positive Pen. To celebrate, I decided to read it all over again, and recount the memories, stories, trauma and beautiful moments of love, desire and hope that are embedded in its pages. 

I am reminded of the love and support I received during the process of birthing this book. I am reminded of the gentle and assertive mentorship of Sharon Bridgforth, the fierce editorial eye of Jennifer Margulies, and the brilliant publishing touch of Dr. T. Jackie Cuevas. I am reminded of my compañero, who inspired most of the love poems. I am reminded of my writing family in Austin, those fierce queer writers (even the straight ones were queer) of color, as well as our strong allies. I am reminded of home, of Chihuahua, of that little town of 300 people, of the desert, of the full moon, and of the men who helped shape my desire. Lastly, I am reminded of the nightmare of Pentecost, the vicious and loveless years forcing me to conform into a man less queer and less brown.

Five years later, I am elated to recognize I am still here. I am back in California, still writing, finishing manuscripts and editing what will be the most important book I ever lay hands on, Joto: An Anthology of Queer Ch/Xicano Poetry. The Universe has been good to me. I hope to some day learn how to return the love.