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.




Con César A. Martínez on la Carretera del Rey

San Antonio, Tejas


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 1

Winter / Spring 2010


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