Achiote Seeds, Summer 2007
with poems by Alfred Arteaga, Marina Garcia-Vasquez, Oscar Bermeo, and Dolores Dorantes, and translations by Jen Hofer
cover art by Jason Buchholz

The Hue of Ripened Fruit

I was picked fresh from the vine
There is a bruise that won't heal
Where the cord was first cut
I am still speaking in dialect

There is a bruise that won't heal
My tongue tastes rancid and heavy
I am still speaking in dialect
Saying abuela's name in American

My tongue tastes rancid and heavy
Third world seeds caught in my teeth
Saying abuela's name in American
Asking forgiveness en español

Third world seeds caught in my teeth
Rotting pulp stuck in my throat
Asking forgiveness in Spanish
Disculpame, mi patria

Rotting pulp stuck in my throat
Thirsting for the mother tongue
Disculpame mi patria
Tu hijo quiere sentir su sonrisa

Thirsting for the mother tongue
I bite deep into foreign fruit
Tu hijo quiere sentir su sonrisa
Your amber hands on my tanned face

I bite deep into foreign fruit
Charting its ripening hue
Your amber hands on my tanned face
A new country I've never known

Charting the ripening hue
Where the cord was first cut
A new country I've never known

- Oscar Bermeo

Alfred Arteaga is the author of Cantos (Chusma House Publications, 1991), House With The Blue Bed (Mercury House, 1997), Chicano Poetics: Heterotexts and Hybridities (Cambridge UP, 1997), Love in the Time of Aftershocks (Chusma House and Moving Parts Press, 1998), red (Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe, 2000), Frozen Accident (Tia Chucha, 2006), as well as the editor of An Other Tongue: Nationalism and Ethnicity in the Linguistic Borderlands (Duke UP, 1994). He taught at the University of California, Berkeley until his death in 1998.

In the collection of poems that appears in this volume, Marina Garcia-Vasquez struggles with what it means to be progressive vs. conformist, conservative vs. rebel, individual vs. community, private vs. public, all in the scope of a city. Originally from the Bay Area, Marina now lives in New York City, an invigorating and important place for a writer, constant and veracious. The subject of city plays an integral roll in the identity of this poet – movements of people and how they respond to buildings define the spirit of a place. All the while, the writing celebrates creating a global culture that is mindful, respectful, and intelligent.

Born in Ecuador and raised in the Bronx, Oscar Bermeo is a BRIO (Bronx Recognizes Its Own) award-winning poet, educator, and literary events coordinator who now makes his home in Oakland, Califas, where he is the poetry editor for Tea Party Magazine. When not writing, Oscar devotes his time and energy towards new culinary experiments, working admin at a local charter school and enjoying the bliss of married life with his wife, poeta Barbara Jane Reyes. For more information, please visit oscarbermeo.com.

Dolores Dorantes' books include sexoPUROsexoVELOZ (2004), Lola (cartas courts) (2002), Para Bernardo: un eco (2000) and Poemas para niños (1999). She is founding director of the border arts collective Compañía Frugal, based in Ciudad Juárez, where she has lived for 20 years. Translations of her poems into English have been published in 1913; Action, Yes; Counterpath online; Kenning; Tampa Review; as a Seeing Eye chapbook; and in the anthologies Sin puertas visible: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry by Women (ed. and trans. Jen Hofer, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003), and War and Peace (ed. Judith Goldman and Leslie Scalapino, O Books, 2005). A translation of sexoPUROsexoVELOZ and septiembre, books two and three of Dolores Dorantes, will be co-published by Counterpath and Kenning Editions in fall 2007.

Jen Hofer's forthcoming books include lip wolf, a translation of lobo de labia by Laura Solórzano (Action Books, 2007), sexoPUROsexoVELOZ and septiembre, a translation of books two and three of Dolores Dorantes, by Dolores Dorantes, (Counterpath and Kenning Editions, 2007), The Route, an epistolary and poetic collaboration with Patrick Durgin (Atelos, 2007), and a book-length series of anti-war poem-manifestos, titled one (Palm Press, 2008). She lives in Los Angeles, where she is a member of the Little Fakers collective which creates and produces Sunset Chronicles, a neighborhood-based serial episodic drama populated entirely by hand-made marionettes inhabiting lost, abandoned and ghost spaces in Los Angeles.

Jason Buchholz is the art director of Achiote Press. Visit him online at jasonbuchholz.com.