A Peruvian Autumn – Part 3

Broken

 by Filonilo Catalina

We 
who are broken
are always trying to fix ourselves
either with a glass of wine in our hand
or with a syringe in our arms.
Always
we always try to mend ourselves
in church with our hair neatly combed
or with a partner by the hand.
We
who are broken
walk until our shoes are worn out
we stand in long lines in the pews
and with sad smiles we wait well seated.
We 
who are broken
say good morning without thinking
and without remedy 
we leave this world 
with our suits on and our hair in a ponytail.

Until the last song

by Lourdes Aparicion

In memory of Evelyn Rondinelli, my Blue Orbital

I have searched for you under the rocks
who have been sleeping since you resigned from Ayacucho
your shadow was a blue bird
I was walking the glory
shaggy heads
and the adobe houses
where we lived when you were meat
you used to hide
under that river that led us
and dance to the last song
in dis-crazy parties,
You expected that every night
tear themselves apart before your eyes
with your smile
a blue rainbow
a serene and blue sky
a calm blue river
a blue rain
and this heart that
I know
gather
shrink
rips apart
blunts
from
that
your
voice
flew

Hymn to Seeing

by Valeria Chauvel

I’ve seen nature, infinite, boundless
The life I see around is countless
There is hope with us, I may prove
I’ve seen them breathe and move.

I’ve seen the night white colours
In between its dark hues
I’ve seen the light undercover
Behind the clouds, it diffuse.

I’ve stopped to walk and talk
To learn, to see and hear
In the space, timeless clock
The beauty and sounds in here.

The New Life

by Willy Gómez

We were leaving in your car and we had an open moon chasing us. 
On your body grew other shores of high meadows, 
and in my hands your photos, my glasses, your citrus cologne and my cigarettes.

We were driving at 120 km/h listening to the radio Tragedies of Priam, 
astonished because of the alum stains on the track 
that darkened the road towards a horizon of frightened lights.  

A protagonist of the escape was going with us to the Lima carnival. 
I was saving for the arrival of its bridges and its gardens, 
the waltzes of the old neighborhood, the adobo recipe and the modern dance.

Until the narcissus came to us wanting to fight, 
after the desire to go further 
while the cars slowed down one after the other
and slid over the real landscape of wires and poles of the Costa Verde. 

That starless night we were caught in a double collision between machines. 

But we could still hear the sea breaking the waves.

About the Authors 

Lourdes Aparicion (Apurímac, 1993). Lourdes Apari Moscoso, also Lourdes Aparicion. Migrant, activist, psychologist and community cultural manager. She lives in Paracas (Pisco, Ica), where she is the co-founder of the Emergentes del Mar Cultural Group. She is the author of the “Warmi” plaquette. Likewise, she has been invited to participate in different literary events, national and international, and some of her texts make up various literary exhibitions in Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Mexico. In 2020, she obtained the first honorable mention in the XI El Poeta Joven del Perú Contest with a first version of her book entitled Apacheta.

Filonilo Catalina: He is a cultural manager. He won the COPÉ prize for poetry in 2005 with his book El Monstruo de los Cerros and, in 2015, he obtained the first place for poetry in the “El País de Ofelia” award in Spain with the book Arquitectura de Pájaros. He has published seven books of poetry. In his youth he was a member of the Box team from Arequipa. Nowadays he is currently dedicated to make musical compositions. He directs the label “Rupestre” with which he disseminates the poetry of his country.

Valeria Chauvel Moscoso (1998, Lima, Perú). Studies philosophy at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, and is as passionate about poetry and visual arts as she is about her career. She has participated in a collective publication with the FCE in the poetry book “Versos desde el encierro” and in the recital of La Huaca es Poesía, “De las voces del Perú y Latinoamérica para el mundo” (From the voices of Peru and Latin America to the world). She is currently part of the organization La Huaca es Poesía. Also, she is about to finish her first collection of poems, where the search for meaning, existential emptiness and the absurd are the themes that prompted the creation of this first book of verses.

Willy Gómez Migliaro was born in Lima-Peru on August 13, 1968. Winner of the Latin American poetry prize Festival de la Lira 2015. He has directed the poetry magazines Polvo enamorado (1990-1992) and Tokapus (1993-1996). He has also published the books of poetry Etérea (2002), Nada como los campos (2003) and La breve eternidad de Raymundo Nóvak (2005), all under the Hipocampo Editores label; Moridor (Pakarina Ediciones, 2010), Construcción Civil (Paracaídas Editores, 2013), Nuevas Batallas (Arteidea Editores, 2013), Pintura roja (Paracaidas Editores, 2016) Lírico puro (Hipocampo Editores, 2017), Among the research books it has been compiler of the book OPEMPE, relatos orales asháninka y nomatsiguenga (Editorial AndesBook, 2009) y Cholos, 13 poetas peruanos nacidos entre el 70 y el 90  (Catafixia, 2014). His poems have appeared in major Spanish-American and European magazines. He has been published in different national and international poetry anthologies. He is currently a professor of literature, creative writing, and literary consultant.

‘Counterpoints’ by Anita Goveas

Jayanti burrows into the lavender-scented pillows on the carved walnut bed, surrounded by an orchestra. The mice scrabble in the red-tiled roof again, the percussion. A rhythmical chorus of April raindrops dribble down, plucked like a swaggering violin. Her stomach gurgles, an oboe. She should eat, but there’s no need yet, and no-one would notice if she doesn’t.  She should get up to finish her unpacking, but she’s safe here. Nested. 

The door rattles, claves or a hand-drum. There’s enough percussion, so she ignores it. If it’s the whistling postman with another letter from the lawyers, it can wait. The cymbal chime of the letterbox flapping, a fluting voice says ‘I’ll just leave this vinegar cake on your porch, dear.” Not a good start with the neighbours, but Jayanti is waiting for the crescendo, the sign to begin the day. That’s been harder to pinpoint lately.

The fluting doesn’t stop, transforms into a background pipe of choop, choop, choop. The eaves outside her window flutter, the barest suggestion of frantic wings. She rolls across the plump mattress, peers down from the latticed window. The piping is in the middle of a lavender bush, a jarring note. She glances into the guttering of her aunt’s cottage, it doesn’t feel like her cottage yet, spots a clump of apparent pebbles pale against the silvery, damp-streaked slate walls and a glimpse of beak.

Rain runs down her neck, a drop travelling to her armpit, as she edges outside. The chooping becomes a chord, several notes at once. Jayanti runs back inside, emerges ripping the tag off a checkered tea towel. Reaching into the lavender, drenching her wrists with scent that lingers for days, she cradles a bedraggled baby swallow. Inches into the kitchen, finds the box that contained the kettle, layers it with more cloths. Makes a cup of tea and munches soggy, fluffy, fruity cake while she works out what to do with this unexpected guest. No-one has needed her, not for a while.

#

Outside May’s door, small children march to school, tramp, tramp, tramp. She marks the splash of discovered puddles, the airy giggles, the squeal of drenched ankles. She knows every sound of her snug kitchen, in the enforced silence.  Conversation can be found, in the slowness of the post-office or the bustle of the fish-mongers. No-one’s crossed her threshold though, not for a while.

The wide pale oak table squeaks as she scrubs it, stacking up the splattered utensils from making a cake for her new neighbour. On your birthday you should bake a cake, May always has done before, when there were people to gorge themselves. She returns the apple cider vinegar, the currants, the caster sugar to their places, slowly closing the whining cupboard. The ancient Aga grumbles as it settles down from working unexpectedly. She often eats her meals straight from the tin now.

The loudest noise is the silence of the black plastic telephone, layering over the familiar ones.  Her stomach gurgles, she should eat, but no-one would notice if she didn’t.  The hum of the kettle echoes. The flutter of the cuckoo clock chimes in, an artificial chord to cross off another hour. It almost drowns out the whistle of the postman, his fluting “Morning, May”, the slap of paper on her rubber doormat. 

She bends to retrieve it, an ivory envelope covered in daisies, and the swallows in her neighbours’ eaves cheep as if to announce it. It’s wedged between the mat and the skirting-board, she opens the door to rescue it. The new girl is driving off in a tiny car, May waves on an impulse, unsure she’ll be seen. The girl smiles, waves back forcefully. May props the half-flattened, half-streaked birthday card from her daughter on the cluttered pine dresser, pops some granary bread in the toaster, rattles all the jars as she looks for the good marmalade.  

#

The whistle of the kettle startles Craig today, although it’s part of his routine. Coffee at 9.15am, one thickly buttered crumpet, take the round pill. Something isn’t right, he’s missed the footsteps of the postman walking past his door. He takes low, slow breaths, hands pressed under his diaphragm, centring himself in time to the rattle of the fridge, hmmm, hmmm, hmmm. Nothing can hurt him here, he’s safe. 

He should eat, his stomach gurgles in agreement, but there’s no need just yet.  Sometimes it’s good to test his limits. He’ll wash up as he goes, an old way of pleasing people although he knows he doesn’t have to do that now. 9.20am, he could take the butter out of the fridge anyway. He stares out of the rain-streaked window at the carefully pruned, butter-coloured Noisette roses instead. 

Something flutters at his front door, there’s a shadow blocking the left-side of the window. Craig knows it’s the postman, but he opens the door a sliver, to be sure. A pony-tailed woman shivers on his door, holding up a box full of tea-towels. She mumbles something, squeaking like a flute, Jayantinewneighbour, help me please? She stumbles over the threshold, 9.21 am, the box chirps at him. He leads the way to the kitchen. The kettle will need boiling again.

She drinks his syrupy coffee, he talks about nestlings and fledglings, and how the mother will come back. The fledgling swallow pipes in, now and again, a note of enthusiasm in the quiet room. 9.38am, Craig carries a ladder over to her cottage, holds it while Jayanti edges the box into a beech tree next to where the swallows have retuned again to nest. She thanks him brightly, offers to make the coffee next time, says she has to buy some more cups and a new tea-towel. He looks at the cottage across the road as he walks back, where his best friend from school’s mother lives. He could go and say hello, 9.45am, check if she needs anything. It’s been a while.

About the Author

Anita Goveas is British-Asian, London-based, and fueled by strong coffee and paneer jalfrezi. She was first published in the 2016 London Short Story Prize anthology, most recently in Little Fiction and Gone Lawn. She’s on the editorial team at Flashback Fiction, an editor at Mythic Picnic’s Twitter zine, and tweets erratically @coffeeandpaneer Her debut flash collection, ‘Families and other natural disasters’, is available from Reflex Press, and links to her stories are at https://coffeeandpaneer.wordpress.com 

Emily Cooke – ‘I’d like the lightness’

of grasshoppers,
of soda water with lemon,
or tumbleweed,
or cooking magazines, the ones
I leaf through to take in
brightly lit pictures
of things I will never make

I’d like the lightness 
of the sort of digital clock
you get free in the Readers Digest,
that         flickers with regret after
barely     weeks in-situ
but carries on ticking 
nonetheless

I’d like the lightness
of you as you watch             and immediately forget 
the news,
it’s gone 
and it’s just time to take the pink pill
and then the green one
according to the note
on the microwave

About the Author

Emily Cooke is a Boltonian poet who has spent most of the last year in bed. Luckily this left plenty of time for writing and she has just started to send her work out into the wider world. Find her on instagram @emily_c_cooke

Last Dance by Elodie Barnes

If he were to paint this story, he’d use the room as a frame: sturdy whitewashed wood, like driftwood, washed up by the tide and bleached by the wind, grooves and grains carrying a million years of salt and water. His canvas would be the light, shining burnt umber in the late afternoon. The window and the view beyond – blue skies, scrubby cliffs, the dancing yellow of the mimosa trees – would not be visible. He still believes that some things are best left to the imagination. 

If he were to paint this story, he would project the outline of a man and an easel onto the light, and gradually fill them in until they became dull and opaque against the shimmering background. The man would wear a paint-splashed shirt, an apron, a beret, the full cliché. In his hand would be a palette of muted colours, colours like the landscape on a cloudy day. The easel in front of him would hold a canvas, and on the canvas the shape of a woman would be recognisable but not yet formed. A half-being, caught forever at the moment of becoming. Terracotta and ochre would colour her dress in a swirl of silk and laughter as she dances, alone, in a driftwood room against burnished light. 

If he were to paint this story, he would add a stack of paintings into the scene: on the floor, propped up against the wall. If the viewer could look through them – carefully, one by one, so as not to upset the stack – they would find them all the same. A woman, alone, dancing in a driftwood room in burnished light, her terracotta dress flaring in the sunshine. 

But he won’t paint this story, not again. He’s found that there are some things that colour and shape and brush technique can’t capture. The sound of the laughter that he refuses to forget. The music that only she could hear, and the distant waves and gull cries that accompanied it. The sweet scent of the mimosa and the sickly fragrance of morphine; it was supposed to be odourless but he could smell it, tangy and pervasive. The soft beat of her heels on the floor. After all, she’d said, what else is there to do before dying other than dance? Dance with me. 

On the wall, both in this driftwood room and in the painting – for there is no difference between them – a clock ticks, time trapped behind the glass face, waiting to be set free. 

About the Author

Elodie Barnes is a writer and editor. Her work has been recently published / is forthcoming in Gone Lawn, Wild Roof Journal, and Past Ten, and she is Books & Creative Writing Editor at Lucy Writers Platform. When not travelling, she lives on the edge of a wood in northern England and complains incessantly about the weather. 

tropical house by Martin Potter

tepid lapping a concrete lip
the koi concealed until they rise
ripple the water’s viscous skin

where you could sit on the smooth ledge
or a piously provided bench
back from the basin’s retaining wall

lily pad leather patches the pool
while heavy foliage arched above
screens off the structure of glass sky

you first learned a banana leaf
caught in the humid comfort heat
the minah birds’ voices drift

across from nextdoor climate zone
it’s an iron-girded universe

About the Author

Martin Potter (https://martinpotterpoet.home.blog) is a British-Colombian poet and academic, based in Manchester, and his poems have appeared in AcumenThe French Literary ReviewEborakonScintillaInk Sweat & TearsThe Poetry Village, andother journals. His pamphlet In the Particular was published by Eyewear in December, 2017. 

‘The Accident’ by Janet Olearski

RAJIV: I thought I’d start this off with something along the lines of “Falling barrel kills workman.” Then, I’ll write something like, “Police are investigating the tragic death of an Indian labourer at a building site in Khalifa City.” I thought the barrel thing was quite interesting. I mean it’s not every day a barrel falls on your head. No, I’m not being funny. Well, I suppose I am. I could perhaps try to write it more sympathetically. In this job you have to bear in mind that people will read what you say about their relatives, so you have to get the story across without overdoing the morbid details. But that’s what makes my job intriguing … finding out the morbid details.

FOREMAN: (Translation) His name was Sunni. He’s been part of this crew for six months now. To tell you the truth I could never find him when I needed him. I couldn’t find him that day either. Until I found the missing barrel. One minute the barrel was on the edge of the roof. Next minute it was on the ground and Sunni was underneath it. I don’t know how the barrel got there. I don’t know why the barrel was on the edge of the roof. I’m only the foreman. It’s nothing to do with me. Maybe first you speak to the owner.

MOHAMMED AL QABAISI: Yes, I own the land, but it is not my fault. You need to know anything, you ask Mr Mahmood the Engineer.

MAHMOOD: Mahmood with you. Yes, I heard about the accident. It wasn’t my fault. I’m only the engineer. I was in my car driving back from Dubai when the accident happened. If you don’t believe me, then you can check the speed cameras. Ask the men on the site, not me.

RAVI: Sorry. Not speak English.

BODU: I have a doubt how barrel was on end of roof like that. I working on other roof, not that roof. Ravi working on that roof, I think. No, I did not see him. I’m just thinking he is on other roof because he not on my roof.

HABEEB: Sunni? What I think of Sunni? I’m thinking he owed me 525 dirhams.

RAVI: Sorry. Not speak English.

KAMIL: I didn’t see nothing. I working put seal on roof. No problem with barrel. Ravi taking care of barrel. Ask him. Barrel was good. What I am think of Sunni? Nothing. Always talking on phone. Not pay attention to nothing. 

MARISOL: I call Sunni maybe twenty times, but he never answer. I got his baby. What I do now?

CHANDAN: (translation of phone interview) I miss my dad. I want him to come home.

BRIGADIER HAMAD: We have arrested the man responsible. Ravi his name. Sorry for him. He gonna pay lotta money for Sunni family, and he get deported. Or, maybe get death sentence.

RAVI: Sorry. Not speak English.

About the Author:

Janet Olearski is originally from London. Her poetry and short fiction have appeared in Wasafiri, Constellate, Far Off Places, Litro, Bare Fiction, and elsewhere. Her work also includes the story collection A Brief History of Several Boyfriends, a novel A Traveller’s Guide to Namisa and, as editor and contributor, The Write Stuff anthology. 

The Purple Love Affair by Helen Openshaw

The violet hue of purple dreams
in a tiny wedding bouquet is
held against an equally tiny waist 
with a promise.

And later, violets given for anniversaries
remind them of the breath held,
cloudless day.
Later still Parma violet sweets
in paper bags from the corner shop
make a different gift.

Found in pockets and bedside tables – 
a smiling sorry to comfort and soothe
the path taken together.

About the Author

Helen Openshaw is a Drama and English teacher from Cumbria. She enjoys writing poetry and plays, and inspiring her students to write. Helen has had a short monologue commissioned by Knock and Nash productions. Recently published poetry work has appeared in Secret Chords by Folklore publishing and Green Ink Poetry magazine.

‘Three Women Blues/Lay Lady Lay’ by Parrish

hey, 

it was a crazy long drive to that endless night in seattle, from redding to eugene you were sleeping in my lap, dreaming of jack that night at wamu, me stroking your hair and playing these dreams of you, somehow we made neptune before the show, i found blind willie mctell on brooklyn avenue, he’s playing now where i lie alone but for rose thorns cutting my lips, you said you knew him and mentioned white jack’s tribute called three women blues, smiling at me like creation was a game show and you were its host, you touched the jacket and the music started like your finger was a stylus, i’m overcome by that deathless georgia voice humming words i’ll never understand, slaves in chains revolting against their masters rose up before me, i was seeing myself in your eyes, baby, they were putting heads on pikes like it never happened in this country of george floyd choking under some dumb cop’s knee but happened every time you came to me on your knees wherever we happened to be, you were so wild and fun and full of bile that when i bit into you i had to swallow the throw-up in my mouth just to kiss you again, sometimes i didn’t since you told me you liked your taste on your tongue, i was the one crawling in that seattle record store, your head nowhere near my pike since you had swallowed it on the road, i’m dying for lack of your breath, waiting for you to return it to me, this coveted record in my hands as you coo, that’s me, babe, i’m all three women doncha know, moving your two hands’ three fingers from your cheek to your thrapple, as if you were finger painting yourself, tracing now the flawless curves of your breasts where my head almost never rested, your fingers coming together at your tits’ points, a quick violent twist sketched in your nipples like they had they just suddenly bloomed, and then your magic fingers pushed outward as if you had just plucked them for me, rose petals you carelessly tossed at my eyes, they found my mouth instead, i craved your flowers’ taste, there’s no word in this language for the shade of your skin, it’s more of a sound, a gurgling throat drowning when it’s thirsty, you make it on me wherever you capture me at my desk, on park benches, in the driver’s seat helpless in the slow moving portland traffic and i’m stroking your neck like its beautiful color will permeate my hands and make every object i touch a marvel of the universe, next to us i hear a truck’s lonesome whistle blow, its driver had timed his long air-horn squeal with the sound of my release, you said you were three women always looking for a pair, like you’re the holy trinity in a single mouth i enter three times a day to receive g-d’s blessing, i’m the yellow, you sang, and i’m the brown too, as for the third color, you said it was the black of your neil young shirt, you’d wear it after the show, in our lay lady lay bed, showing me again the colors of your mind that was just my desire unhinged, only i was the lady you were laying, my pike was forever yours, i couldn’t take it back if i wanted to, i didn’t even try that afternoon on brooklyn avenue where neptune still stands despite the plague reaching out to touch what you had drawn on the canvas of skin, your petals grinding my teeth, forget these boring record stores, you said, let’s follow jack, he’s in portland tomorrow, that’s when I noticed him on the wall, supervising the store from that slightly ripped poster and singing about the colors your hair happened to wear that week, red-blonde-brunette, a different one each day, i preferred your natural black but i didn’t care as long as it was mine to chew and i was chewing then, on my knees feeding on you feeding on me, your head again lending me my pike, i wasn’t revolting in this place more public than keller fountain park had been, your fresh nipples keeping my hands steady, the taste of flowers famishes me, the clerk started to holler for the cops through the window, somehow they were never far when you were near, but jack’s voice stifled his scream, not mine, from the wall he put your pink phone in the clerk’s hand, it’s camera eye had been activated by your rectum always winking in the open air, your panties your knee pads, you sure know how to pack for a trip, and it’s jack’s three women coming through the store’s exceptional speakers, you had it put it on when you touched blind willie, the soundtrack for the movie the clerk was filming with your phone, he looks like jack too, sitting on the counter so calm above his california gal going down on me slow, taking us in through your nether eye, and you’re talking out of the side of her mouth, saying we’ll do this again in portland, babe, then reno, all the way to nashville, let’s make ernest tubb’s record store, it’s the best, jack says, you’re coming baby, like it or not, jack screams from the wall, and you pant the same words in my ears, jack and you in stereo, i’m always coming between you two, it’s ok, you’re voice never sounded sweeter singing i’m like three women in one, ask jack, i don’t have to, i’m watching you now, you put your movie on my phone, it’s like you have three mouths, how come jack always gets two for my one, there’s no off switch for these dreams of you, variegated colors of your lay, lady, lay mind in our lay, lady, bed, blues like chains wrapped around my head.  

About the Author:

Parrish is a Pushcart Prize nominated writer and critic living somewhere in California and teaching most usually at UC Davis. Parrish’s recent short fiction has appeared in Raritan, Ploughshares, Equinox, Vestal Review, Sonic Boom, and Blood and Bourbon.

That Movie Moment by Emma Lee

That moment when your hero’s eyes lock with hers, 
the woman who’s his one true love, 
the audience catch up and root for love to win.

That moment you realise you’re in a black dress
so you merge with the shadows as the light shifts
and you’re to let go and allow him to be with her.

That moment when the floor tilts, focus shifts
like a fog wrapped itself between you and the world
and blood starts to drain from your heart.

That moment you want to snatch the spotlight back,
but you bow your head. No one watches you concede,
slide towards the exit and slip out to embrace the dark.

About the Author

Emma Lee’s publications include “The Significance of a Dress” (Arachne, 2020) and “Ghosts in the Desert” (IDP, 2015). She co-edited “Over Land, Over Sea,” (Five Leaves, 2015), is Reviews Editor for The Blue Nib, reviews for magazines and blogs at http://emmalee1.wordpress.com. FB: https://www.facebook.com/EmmaLee1. Twitter @Emma_Lee1.

A Peruvian Autumn – Part 2

Borderline poem 10

by Jorge Ccoyllurpuma

I’m tied to the ground like a sad child’s balloon or the smile of a drunk.
I’m made out of cardboard and milk, of darts; I’m made up of feathers you don’t have but that I invented for you.
I’m a stone at the window of God; I’m also the stone in your dirty window.
I am a plastic kite and a boat in the bathtub.
I’m a bathtub of hot water, with Pisco and eggs for your stomachache.
I am, I’ll say it now, your dirty laundry.
I’m tied to the sky by every fiber of December’s rain, I’m blue incense.
I’m the unmovable afternoon right where you are.

* From Para detener el tiempo (2013)
* Translated by Jesús de la Garza, Martina Hoines and Pieter Odendaal

a violet dawn before the great wilderness

by Victoria Mallorga

burning tires
lavender grows down highways 
as we learn how to kiss in the backseat
forget our hands, 
ignore the smog behind us the
city’s many eyes              ​ workforce
long men and batons ready
for the unapologetic labor 
of correcting wildlife

but us, 
we grow like foxtails
bullets rain dry over a body
unable to hold blood,
over bodies that meet again
in the backseat whispering
little lovegrass, chanting
until light collapses into 
our hands, until wildlife
raises from my fingertips
and we know this is
the end of our running days
               as the melody of a floral lullaby
              ​ bursts from the radio, overpowering
              ​ the motor, the burning oil 
              ​ sirens howling kilometers close,
              ​ hiding the smell of gunpowder
              ​ that claws its way towards our 
              ​ little car.

so you drive us citybound
your nightshade smile, your 
kisses down the back of my hand
your solar-powered heart, 
your warm cruelty 
turned against
the burning asphalt
that trembles in wait
foresees the blood,
the final stand, the glistening 
warmth of our getaway car under vines
as you pour yourself into me 
kiss my hands until 
my fingertips overwhelm
the city               ​ ​ bury us
underneath an impossible new 
wilderness.

Ritual

by Karina Medina

At the height of my forehead
I picked up a coca leaf
i closed my eyes
I looked at mandalas leaves.
In the rite
I took the pain
in my hands
I left it
at the root.
A tear in the soul.
I opened my eyes
like trails
I saw the river running away from me
with a dread of ancestors
those that forced me to speak
in another poem.
I am left alone
without leaves
without mandalas
without roads.

Be Quiet

by Emilio Paz

Silence is a face.
Has a cold look
That penetrates the bones.
Bones that are made of paper:
Weak
Brittle
Easy to burn
Silence is a face of sand.
It melts in the hands of memory.
But it always leaves a mark.
Floral scent trail
That is confused with the stench of cemeteries:
Decomposition accompanied by classical music.
Virgilio watches over Dante’s silence.
Dante consumes Beatriz’s silence.
Beatriz is content with God’s silence.
And God?
Silently on the altar
While the priest preaches.
He preaches that is confused
With what he wanted to say
But that he never tried to say.
Silence that is a drop
That starts a river.
Rio who commits suicide in the sea.
Everything returns to one
Even the words
And silence is an eternal return.

About the Authors

Jorge Alejandro Ccoyllurpuma (b. Cusco, 1987): Poet and literary translator also known as Jorge Alejandro Vargas Prado. He has published poetry, short stories, and a novel. As a Quechua descendant, his creative work explores this ancestral Andean culture and language. 

Photo: Julio del Carpio

Victoria Mallorga Hernandez is a queer Peruvian taurus, poet, and editor. Currently, she is an associate editor at Palette Poetry and an MA candidate in Publishing and Writing at Emerson College. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Revista Lucerna, Plastico, perhappened, Anti-Heroin Chic, Kissing Dynamite, and Thin Air, among others. Across the hemisphere, she moonlights as the chief coordinator of Literature in the Alternative Art Fair (ANTIFIL) and reviews books for La Libretilla, a Hispano-American project. Victoria has published two collections in Spanish, albión (alastor editores, 2019) and absolución (2020). Find her on Instagram or Twitter as @cielosraros.

Emilio Paz (b. Lima, 1990) is a teacher of philosophy and religion, and a graduate of the Universidad Católica Sedes Sapientiae. He is the author of Septiembre en el silencio (Club de lectura poética, 2016), La balada de los desterrados ( Ángeles del Papel Editores, 2019) and Laberinto en versos (La tortuga ecuestre, n°394, 2018). He is the winner of the Marco Antonio Corcuera Foundation competition and the ninth international competition “El Parnaso del Nuevo Mundo” in the short story category. He has been published in various media in Peru, Mexico, Chile, Spain, Venezuela, USA, Argentina, India, Ecuador, Romania, Costa Rica, Sweden, Germany, Italy, Cuba, Uzbekistan, Bulgaria and France. His work has been translated into Romanian, French, Italian, Bulgarian, Uzbek, English and Tamil. He has participated in many international as well as national speaking engagements. He teaches philosophy and conducts poetry workshops. He has also published works on the relationship between poetry, aesthetics and education. He has participated in many international philosophical conferences.

Photo: Mike Paredes

Karina Joelly Medina Paico (Lima PERÚ – 1986) : Teacher, writer and editor. She studied at the Higher University of Applied Sciences (Advertising) and is currently studying Art Education at the National School of Dramatic Art. She has participated in certified dramaturgy, poetry and theater workshops dictated by the Cultural Center Spain. She has been published in the anthologies Dew of Poems (2017), Spring Verses (2017), Crystal Verses (2018) and Poetic Love (2019) of the Peruvian Society of Poets; as well as in the poetry collections The Danger of Being Alive (2018), Beside the Road (2019) and The sea doesn’t stop (2019). Her own published collections of poems are Pavo real (Ediciones Marginales – 2019) and Eterna estación (Pléyades Ediciones – 2021. She has worked as a copyreader and editor from a very young age. She is the editorial director at Pléyades Ediciones, her own company. Nowadays Karina Medina works as a researcher and compiler of Peruvian poetry. In 2021 she presented her Coral Collection project, which consists of four books of poems written by young and consecrated poets, Peruvian and Latin American. The first published Volume 1 is Ultimísima Young Poetry – 21 Peruvian female poets. Volume 2, Ultimísima Young Poetry – 21 Peruvian male poets, will be published this coming September. The other two volumes will be published in 2022.

Photo: Biblioteca Abraham Valdelomar