Last year, I came across a submission form for the Latino Book Review calling artists to enter. From visual arts to short stories, there was a platform that was willing to give people, like myself, a shot. I dare say I was extremely intimidated as the majority typically associate me with music reviews, but in all honesty poetry has been my first love. As I mulled over the what if’s I finally let fear get the best of me and agreed I wouldn’t enter. I was afraid. I can admit that, but something else told me to enter. Something bigger than my fear. What it was? I still don’t exactly know.
The final day of submission came and I edited a variety of different poems I thought were a little decent for the world. I took my own picture (part of a self portrait series I will share later) and wrote a quick couple lines to fill in the gaps as a bio. I was slightly worried that my Arab last name would not get me considered, since this was a platform for Latino stories and voices. Though, my mixture was part of my Latina story. The “enough” seeped, and through limbo I knew this was my story to share. For poetry, the publication only wanted three submissions and I wanted them to stand alone, but also grow with each other.
To the thought of my own fear, I changed the first entry to the poem Menudo. A two stanza free-verse that touched on many things. One being the Mexican dish that I loved growing up, but mostly the feeling behind my mom making it. When we were homeless, all I wanted to eat was Menudo again. More importantly, I wanted my mom to make it in our kitchen. It wasn’t going to happen. I questioned everything — mostly religion — and swam from this memory to another dramatic point in time. They all lined-up (memories) and I knew this was the meal that I kept wanting to get “full” from. Though, this was still a “young” aspect of my story.
The next published scribble is entitled La Flor and grew (no pun intended) to be a learning lesson. It started as a general nod to Selena’s “Como La Flor,” as I never understood this song growing up, until I became a woman. My homage of lines went to the picture of the flower with my usual imagery and symbolism. The pain of still “bleeding” due to my own choice of not having a child, to the past bruising of lines and thoughts from another. It was a cathartic piece to get out in the world which led to the third collection of words (not published), Woman. The idea being that I now understood it all and in fact am my own woman.
I submitted these with all of my fear and pain, but kept quiet about the whole thing. All my Mexican superstitions came to play and for once, I allowed them. Months went by and finally in February of 2020, I am pleased to announce that 2 out of 3 poems submitted are published for their print and digital edition of the magazine. It’s a surreal feeling. There’s a myriad of talent featured in this magazine that I am a little shocked that I was selected. I know, I am always a critic of my own work but it’s truly a humbling and beautiful feeling.
The feeling continued today to push myself to the next step: self-publish a collection of poems. I sound insane writing that but through the years I’ve collected vivid fragments that kept me alive. I think I’m ready to share them with the world. With that said, below is the link to find the full Latino Book Review Magazine, print and digital. I hope you stay inspired. As always, this is for all the dreamers.
Purchase Latino Book Review Magazine (digital or print).