Santa Cruz Good Times

Oct 04th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

The Poems of Javier Zamora

Editor’s note:  This week’s Poetry Corner features Javier Zamora, who was born and raised in La Herradura, El Salvador. At the age of 9, he emigrated to the United States to be reunited with his parents. He’s attended various writing conferences, including the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and one at The Frost Place. His chapbook, “Nueve Años Inmigrantes,” won the 2011 Organic Weapon Arts Chapbook Contest.


Mamá Pati tried to sing me to sleep.

The barrio called me their alarm. Neighbors lined up

in the clinic across the street while the nurse checked for fever. 

Nothing wrong. All I was was a chillón, a crybaby.

Mamá Pati called me her ear’s fruit fly.  

I didn’t let the barrio sleep for an entire year,

Barrio Guadalupe’s lost year. Backyard mangos begged God:

callá ha’ste chillón diosmío. Shut this crybaby.

Papá Javi had a baker’s sleep schedule.

In my barrio, bakers once baked bagels before 4 AM,

for gringos. Salvadorans hate bagels! There are no bakers

in my barrio now, and only one in the entire pueblo.

I’m nine now, and I’ve never seen a bagel,

gringos gone with the civil war. I don’t remember

how gringos looked; neither does my pueblo.

Before I was born, the dawn locomotion of troops

was the pueblo’s alarm. Then, mangos begged God:

callá ha’stos soldados diosmío. Shut these soldiers.

No one slept before my birth.

For two years after, still, no one slept.



My pant-zipper almost got stuck

on Arizona rancher’s wire-fence,

like all these Latin-American heads almost did.

La Vegas turns an ace in the river. Immigrants

all in, ace-less. At this, the Divine Hand zips

the heads. Some see snapshots of Purgatory

on that wire-fence. Others stay there. Near-death-

desert-crossing questions faith. Immigrants

misunderstand the cross. Someone shouts la migra!

We run from wire-fence. We’re sprawled on the floor,

avoiding the infra-red cameras. A ghost

behind some Sears window howls our story.

Most of these zippers will never see Sears.

What my zipper sees is the desert ground. A paralytic

desert doesn’t believe in God. Time passes

and our sense’s creases outlast the cold night. The migra

trucks leave. We stand and on the dirt, our zippers

traced crosses for each of us. My eyes close,

all our eyes close when we hear the Rapture—

helicopters overhead. Their lights, a foreign God

who’s forgotten us.

Comments (1)Add Comment
written by W. , May 24, 2013
What a pleasure to hear another salvadoran voice.

Write comment
smaller | bigger


Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share


Making a Scene

As it celebrates its 30th year, Santa Cruz County’s Open Studios is one of the most successful in the country—and a make-or-break event for many local artists


A Ritual & Initiation

The Pope has come and gone, but his loving presence ignited new hope and goodness in many. While he was in NYC, China’s ruler arrived in Washington D.C. East (China) and West (Rome), meeting in the middle, under Libra, balancing sign of Right Relations. The Pope arrived at Fall Equinox. Things initiated at Fall Equinox are birthed at Winter Solstice. The Pope’s presence was a ritual, an initiation rite—like the Dalai Lama’s visits—offering prayers, teachings and blessings. Rituals anchor God’s plan into the world, initiating us to new realities, new rules. The Pope’s presence brings forth the Soul of the United States, its light piercing the veils of materialism. The Pope’s visit changed things. New questions arise, new reasons for living. A new wave of emerging life fills the air. Like a cocoon shifting, wings becoming visible. The winds are different now. Calling us to higher vision, moral values, virtues that reaffirm and offer hope for humanity. A changing of the guard has occurred. Appropriately, this is the week of the Jewish Festival of Sukkoth (’til Oct. 4), when we build temporary homes (little huts in nature), entering into a harvest of prayer and thanksgiving, understanding our fragile and impermanent existences. We are summoned to reflect upon our lives, our humanity, our nature, our spirit and each other. Offering gratitude, becoming a magnet for others. We observe. We see the needs. We love more.


The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program


Film, Times & Events: Week of October 2

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments


Extra Pop

Assembly’s pop-up space goes into regular rotation, Cabrillo wine dinner, and a visit to Mozaic


What’s your biggest pet peeve?

When people say they’re “going down” somewhere, and they’re actually traveling north. Julia Ragen, Santa Cruz, Psychologist


Downhill Cellars

An easy-drinking Chardonnay from Downhill Cellars


If whales have a message for humans, what might it be?

“Do not come in the water and join us.” Howard Hall, Santa Cruz, Retired