Carlos Cumpian, originally from
Texas, has been part of the Chicago-area literary scene
for three decades. His poetry books include Coyote
Sun (1990), Latino Rainbow (1994), and
Armadillo Charm (1996). Each of his books have had
multiple printings. Cumpian has taught high school
English on Chicago's westside for 12 years. Cumpian has
also taught creative writing at Columbia College and the
University of Illinois at Chicago. Cumpian has a Masters
in education from National Louis University. His work
has been highly anthologized and appears in over 16
books; his latest work can be found in A Concise
Companion to Twentieth-Century American Poetry
edited by Stephen Fredman (Blackwell Publishing). He
recently wrote his first play, Behind the Buckskin
Curtain: Buffalo Bill's Border World, which
premiered in New York in 2006. Cumpian is also the
coordinator for March Abrazo Press, the oldest American
Indian, Chicano and Latino poetry press in midwestern
USA. His new book of poetry is scheduled for
release this summer.
E T R Y
Con César A. Martínez on la Carretera del Rey
Humble householder, mestizo Toltec
welcomes us to his armadillo-corrugated
casa and opens his guarded black binder.
He reveals a parade of rostros
chicanos y otros posed en
final public fotos.
We ponder the many ceased orbits,
how our planet's heat oxidized
once black and white print--to brown.
His work as deliberate as the sun,
forms prisms from the heartcrystal.
From each face, resurrection springs,
inside the artist's mindstudio
mortuary, without mourners' tears,
or egocentric memories.
Decades gone grins, sunglasses,
squints and sampaku stares live again,
afloat on the tapestry of luxuriant
magentas, greens and umbers.
César's magic a peyote kaleidoscope
snapped open, towers of firecrackers
sizzle in a torrent of canvas strokes.
The silver chords of España’s
flamenco accompany him as he
strikes and strums the magnetic brush,
flashing side to side, open closed,
como el toreador's dance to free
the bull of blindness with shafts of light.
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Volume 1, Number
Winter / Spring 2010