* tom murphy & moving adelante

tom murphy

The poem above comes from Tom Murphy’s chapbook horizon to horizon. One of the things I’m moved by in the poem is the way the form mimics the conceptual space the speaker is contemplating. Standing before the  mirror on the “First mother’s day without ma,” the speaker positions themselves in a new place, a blank page of sorts. What follows then is the completion of a simile started on one side of the page/mirror, a simile that finds the speaker detailing into “gnawed” and “cracked” imagery, feeling age as sunlight through a “clapboard barn,” as well as feeling it down to the earth. From new awareness to the complicated meaning of awareness, this lands on the page in a visceral way.


I want to say a thank you to everyone for their kind words and good wishes in regards to the news of my second poetry collection, Small Fires, being accepted for publication by FutureCycle Press. The tentative release date is May 2017.

To further celebrate, here is a poem from the upcoming book (originally published in Luna Luna Magazine). I share it specifically because, as with Tom’s poem above, it takes on the theme of mothers and their impact on our lives. My own mother’s story is one of survival and persistence. One of her favorite words in our talks is adelante, a fact that I’m forever charmed by given that the word contains her name within.

Quinceañera – José Angel Araguz

The women of the house shook her from sleep,
and began to serenade, trying to mark
the air of another rite that seemed to come

too soon, the song her father should have sung
instead of barking, running her off, a song
with the momentum of a hand ready to skip

a stone across water, a hand which would
fall away soon as the song was done,
but not before a stone danced,

lifting and lifting off the face of water,
each time as if it’d never drop – past midnight,
the women sang, without ceremony,

without food, without a sense of how
to ready a girl to skip into the current
of her life, could only sing,

their voices cracked and strained, trying
not to wake her son who slept beside her,
a son who would grow up and dream of the night

these voices broke the air and raised a song
for the little girl his mother was,
for the woman she now had to become.


Happy becoming!


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