This week I thought I would celebrate the publication of another one of my Selena poems in the latest issue of Crab Orchard Review by sharing the first Selena poem I wrote.
The poem “The Things to Fight Against” (below) can be found in my second full length poetry collection, Small Fires (FutureCycle Press), and was originally published in Switchgrass Review. In this poem, I braid together a bit of my own personal mythology with the late singer’s tragic death, our two narratives meeting across our respective bilingualism and lives in Corpus Christi, Texas. This poem is also an example of me working in syllabics.
My new poem, “Selena: a study of recurrence/worry,” is a pantoum and goes further into the impact of her life and death upon not only my own life but of those I hold dear in my hometown.
Be sure to check out my other poems in COR “St Peter to Joseph” and “Sentence” along with work by other stellar writers in this issue. Special thanks to editors Allison Joseph and Jon Tribble as well as everyone at COR who helped make this new issue possible!
The Things to Fight Against – José Angel Araguz
Onstage, mouth brimming with the Spanish
parents teased her with, maybe she looked
down and saw the cowboy hats, the boots
and belt buckles, the purses, curls,
and children, maybe she saw herself,
thought: Of all the things to fight against,
sound’s not one of them – sound of applause,
sound of gritos, sound of sparked cuetes,
sound of beer cans gasping open,
sound of busses turning in the dark,
groaning in dreams, sound of R’s rolling,
sound of birdwing flutter, sound of wind
over open water, sound of flags
unfurling, sound of flame flaring
up and out of a struck match, sound of
a voice, my own Spanish unsure, chopped,
shaky, sound of a bullet breaking
through the air, sound of a newspaper
splayed on the wind, the news floating,
punched with the grace of long hair – her hair
now a cold blade of bronze, her statue
along the sea wall, to see her is
to see the tide forever turning,
pulled and pulling away, is to
think again of her killer, crying
in her car in a stand-off, gripping
the gun which would later be broken
to pieces and thrown into the same
waters the statue looks over,
is to hear my aunt again call us
a city of crabs in a bucket,
each of us clambering to get out
has another behind them – their face
similar, a face we’ve grown with
and understand – dragging them back down.
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