Alex Z. Salinas: “Neruda in Six Haikus”

 

 

Neruda in Six Haikus

I.
Huntress of the depths
Of my eyes, snare these pupils,
Blood tear trails your prize.

II.
Host flesh, locust teeth,
Waxen crypt candle after-
Taste like cinnamon.

III.
O Luna, listen:
Abandon me tonight, I
Crave death in lilac shades.

IV.
Sprinkle verse, twinkle
Glacial stars, Medusa’s stone
Grandmotherly gaze.

V.
I walk on callused
Soles to distant realms,
Love’s wondrous highlands.

VI.
A woman’s heart is
A breath birthed in an era’s
Warm milk, sugar-sweet glands.

 

This poem appears in Alex Z. Salinas’ new book of poetry, DREAMT, or The Lingering Phantoms of Equinox:

 

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WARBLES, Alex Z. Salinas’ first collection of poetry, was the author’s attempt to reconcile his lifelong feeling of being sandwiched between cultures—and languages—in South Texas. In DREAMT, or The Lingering Phantoms of Equinox, Salinas’ second full-length poetry collection propels further his investigation of his identity by entering into the dream realm—populated by literary and musical influences such as Haruki Murakami, Roberto Bolaño, Ayn Rand, Sherman Alexie, John Coltrane and OutKast. By the book’s conclusion, Salinas brings to the surface the disturbing reality of the Trump administration, hopefully challenging his readers to ask themselves: So what action can I take next?

 

 

About the Author: Alex Z. Salinas lives in San Antonio, Texas. He is the author of two full-length poetry collections, WARBLES (2019) and DREAMT, or The Lingering Phantoms of Equinox (2020), both published by Hekate Publishing. His poems, short fiction and op-eds have appeared in various print and electronic publications. He holds an M.A. in English Literature and Language from St. Mary’s University.

 

More by Alex Z. Salinas:

Pen Dream

The Great Thing About Driving With A Crack In Your Windshield

 

Image Credit: Photograph shows Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, seated at a table in front of a microphone in the Library of Congress Recording Laboratory, Studio B, Washington, D.C., during the recording of his poem “Alturas de Macchu Picchu” for the Archive of Hispanic Literature on Tape. (1966) The Library of Congress (public domain)

Dolores Mildred Batten: “A Review of WARBLES, by Alex Z. Salinas”

 

Dolores Mildred Batten:

A Review of WARBLES, by Alex Z. Salinas 

 

The making of poetry is a painstaking process. The writer, soul bared in blood on print or papyrus pages, places their words into the cosmos of the book; the universe of the IMMENSE contained in the small, on the off chance that someone might get “it”: both the medium and the message (McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man). That is the impulse behind writing: the Promethean promise of both creation and destruction (“Mountain smoke”, 12)—in words, at once both solemn and unapologetic, that rip through your heart strings—what makes you smile, makes you angry. Makes you feel. So, if in this review, you are looking for an explication into the worlds of literary criticism and critical theorem that can be applied to Alex Z. Salinas’s words, you will not find it “hear” (read that again: this point is correctly spelled). What you will find, however, is a reviewer who is in awe, a fellow human who is in yearning, and a fellow writer who is taken aback, absorbed in Alex’s warbling work into the crevices that people do not usually dig, because “we all seek warmth / in old footsteps” (“Needles”, 19; 7:18-19); a promise buried under the rocks that people seldomly overturn.

This is the journey that author Alex Z. Salinas’ poetry collection, WARBLES, takes you on, like a Kerouac-esque trail of tears and tears (pronounced tares). It is a disjointed look inside the soul of the tortured and talented poet, and it is one that deserves our attention.

And that’s the real feat. As the poetry editor of the San Antonio Review, Alex’s job is to read, reject, and revise several authors’ words. I, too, as the essay editor of Plath Profiles, the only journal in the world specifically dedicated to the poetry and prose of Sylvia Plath, know this position well. But in that respect, I have always been of the school of thought that it is not for the editor of an academic journal, webzine, or a newspaper, for that matter, to judge another’s writing, but for the writer of the work to write, and re-write, and then write some more, or as Alex would say, “Do it. Do it every day. Every hour. Every half-hour. Every second, in your head” (“21 tips to better writing”, 55; 1: 1-2). Though you may not be taken with every poem from the writ of Alex’s hand, that is simply because, that one there—it was not meant for you. Soaking the salt of our wounds (“Salt”, 9), seeing sports as more authentic than religion (“TV religion”, 21-22), even speaking to specters in “Apparition” (14), you, the reader, are invited to eavesdrop in on his special world; take what you want, and leave the rest. Thus, Alex Z. Salinas makes a name for himself as a seasoned writer and a newcomer to the compilation poetry book scene, by breaking the boundaries of what poetry “looks like” and forcing us to confront the “warbles” which lie and lie within ourselves. Continue reading “Dolores Mildred Batten: “A Review of WARBLES, by Alex Z. Salinas””

Alex Z. Salinas: “Pen Dream”

 

 

Pen dream

I dreamt I was a silver pen strangled by
T.S. Eliot / caressed by Pablo Neruda / left
Alone by Philip Levine / dipped in salsa by
Juan Felipe Herrera / stuck between 
Terrance Hayes’ lips like his last cigarette 
For the night / not once did anyone’s hand 
Grip my body / slide it across fresh paper / 
Gwendolyn Brooks, mama bear and auntie
Of poets, was the only one who came downstairs 
And whispered a promise in my ear / suddenly 
The party ended / I woke with a huge headache /
Realized the throbbing was actually in my heart /
That I longed to be an object of desire and, resist
As I might / be smashed like dirt clung to my feet.

 

About the Author: Alex Z. Salinas lives in San Antonio, Texas. He serves as poetry editor of the San Antonio Review. His debut feature-length book of poems, Warbles, will be released by Hekate Publishing in fall 2019.

 

More By Alex Z. Salinas:

The Great Thing About Driving With A Crack In Your Windshield

 

Image Credit: Diego Rivera “Young Man with a Fountain Pen” (1914) Public Domain

“The Great Thing About Driving With a Crack in Your Windshield” By Alex Z. Salinas

 

The Great Thing About Driving With a Crack in Your Windshield 

Definitely not the beating your wallet will take later,
nooooo

But a year of cracked-windshield driving—
a big ol’ crack straight through the center

Separating North and South Windshield—
let me tell ya,

After 12 months of 8-to-5 beatings,
boss naggings and fickle office alliances,

That crack remains strong and growing,
centimeter by centimeter, like a small child

Some days when you gaze at it
you can’t help but smile 

Like the scar on your forearm,
that crack is your crack and your crack alone—

Your slash of stubbornness 
in a world spun by fat hamsters

When you drive
most days you don’t even notice it

You forget it’s there,
that beautiful crack, 

Glistening like a brilliant diamond
when the sun hits it juuuuust right

 

About the Author: Alex Z. Salinas lives in San Antonio, Texas. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from St. Mary’s University. His poetry has appeared in the San Antonio Express-News, Shot Glass Journal, The Rye Whiskey Review, Duane’s PoeTree, The Dope Fiend Daily, and in the San Antonio Review, where he serves as poetry editor. His short fiction has appeared in publications such as Every Day Fiction, Mystery Tribune, Red Fez, Nanoism, escarp, 101 Words, and 365tomorrows.

 

Photo Credit: “Truck Windshield with Hail Damage in OK” from the FEMA Photo Library