Boyle Heights Dia de los Muertos Festivities

On November 2, 2014, the community of Boyle Heights honored those who have passed in spaces like Espacio 1839, Mariachi Plaza and Self Help Graphics.

At the store and autonomous radio station, Espacio 1839, various altars decorated its sidewalk, giving life to the street as the dead were commemorated.   One of the altars was set up by students of Roosevelt High School and their teacher, Jorge Lopez.  The students decided to honor various revolutionaries who have died fighting for justice.

Inside the store there were performances by various artists, such as Son de Centro and El-Haru Kuroi, to name a few.  In addition, there was a space dedicated for an altar that displayed the faces of the 43 students who were disappeared in Guerrero, Mexico.  On the wall right from the altar, a row of posters with Black and Brown faces whose lives were taken by police brutality, were lined up across the room.

At Mariachi Plaza, there were vendors and cumbia that made a large crowd dance.  And just down that same street, Self Help Graphics was hosting their 41st annual Dia de los Muertos celebration at their neighboring Mendez High School.  The area was filled with more vendors, altars, photo booths, food, and a stage for performances by artists such as Las Cafeteras.

Created with flickr slideshow.
Abuelito y Abuelita

El Jardinero

Poet Julia Alvarez writes that she is more of whom she is when she expresses herself on paper. And with that, I can relate. Seemingly, life is practice and motivation for my work of writing, where I effectively express the real me. And I owe my creative influence to the story of my Abuelito, whose work with his hands has inspired my work with my pen. It’s taken me a long time to realize my inspiration. It’s taken me a long time to just see my Abuelito and to understand his work of sacrifice. Recognition for an artist is life, whether it’s an artist of writing, like myself, or an artist of nature, like my Abuelito, El Jardinero. Read more

Tres Poemas


Letrada emoción que no significa nada por que no es acción.
Imposible conquistar ningún fervor con algún verbo.
Esto no es poesía, es solo un simple gesto sin gesto, o tal ves,
Un silencio sentimiento.
No hay revolución para dar a luz un sentimiento.
Hombre, qué me tienes guardado?
Nada, nada. No me dice por lástima.
Simplemente me lastima por dentro.
Por fuera solo un joven sin dirección que no hace el mínimo movimiento por dar acción.
Las palabras me dan protección en contra de mi revolución.
Revolución muda, la estoy perdiendo.
Despertare cuando he levantado la corona de victoria.
Contigo la levantaré. Solo así ganaré esta guerra que ocurre dentro de mí.

Arise my Xicana

Coming to terms with the mujer I have chosen to become has been a journey.  Constantly, I find that my identity builds upon the emotions and images I share in this poem.

Every time I realize that something within my physique has evolved, I think back to the moment I wrote this poema and reflect on how much it still reflects to my persona. I chose to include the image of the soldaderas to go with this poem because when I digest the qualities that make me a Chicana-Feminist, I think of Las Soldaderas Mexicanas.

From one day to another, these mujeres were caught in the tumult of La Revolución Mexicana and they had to find their place within the revolution without the help of anyone. They had to dig within their flesh to construct their identity based on the commotion of la revolución.

I believe it has also taken me time, tears, fears, and joys to find my identity. I had to embark on my own journey to discover my Chicana-Feminist identity. Las Soldaderas were and continue to be part of my inspiración of self-identity. Que vivan las mujeres! Whether you’re a Latina, Chicana, Chicana-Feminist, or a Xicana.


Disfigured 90 degree angle lime-dark in this pillar.

A plum mollifying my India lips–

Releases the tears of the grape pickers.

Stuck between the figure I expose

The mainstream of my superfluous angle begins weeping.


The words are harmonized,

Resucito, Aleluya, Resucito, Aleluya….

The twinge quenches in the shackles of my mainstream, más y más.

My corneas dissolve into the cavern of Soledad.


Thunderous roars


Thunderous roars





“Silencio”, Whisper the voices.

“Do not Rise”,

“Caya your Fear”.


The redolence of Plum is all around me.

Coyolxauhqui is here.

My goddess de La Luna.

The wombyn of maíz vortex my body.

I’m the lost espíritu interpolated in Aztlan and America, the great.

They can’t sustain my engraved pain.


“No Cihualt”

“We Can’t”.

Arise mi Xicana

Find the strength in the chrome and callow wires jutting behind your pate.


There lies la ponderosa: Tu.

There lies la Xicana without barriers: you.

There is la hija de Malinalli: yo y Tú.

I Am Fragments of Borges

For the mirrors and the rivers
For the sunsets and the generations
For Shakespeare and Schopenhauer and the universe
For everything and nothing
God has created nights well-populated with dreams
Maybe God needs them as a warning to carry out His plan of
infinite creation

I think of the mirror
I think of the universe
I have dreamed of Jorge Luis Borges
Jew, gentile or simply a man
In this world, beauty is all of us
It is also like the river with no end

The rabbi would explain:
“There they are, the gardens
There they are, the rivers and the mirrors
Scattered in scattered labyrinths
Seek for pleasure of seeking, not of finding
God moves the player, and this player, the piece”

Perhaps God has condemned me to time in this world
I am and I am not
Perhaps I am the river with no end
Perhaps I am the mirror with no end
Borges and I, I don’t know which of us two wrote this page
And I know the answer all too well

-Ivan Smason

Soy Fragmentos de Borges

Por los espejos y los ríos
Por los panientes y la generaciones
Por Shakespeare y Schopenhauer y el universazo
Por muchos y nadie
Dios ha creado las noches que se arman de sueños
Quiza Dios las necesita para la ejecución de Su infinita obra

Pienso en el espejo
Pienso en el universazo
He soñado a Jorge Luis Borges
Judio o gentil o simplemente un hombre
En este mundo, la belleza es común
También es como el río interminable

El rabi le explicaba—
“Ahí estain los jardines
Ahí estain los rios y los espejos
Disperos en disperas laberintos
Busca por el agrado de buscar, no por el de econtrar
Dios mueve al jugador, y éste jugador, la pieza”

Acaso Dios me ha condenado el tiempo en este mundo
Soy y no soy
Acaso soy el rio interminable
Acaso soy el espejo interminable
Borges y yo, no sé cuál de los dos escribe esta página
Y sé demasiado bien la repuesta

-Ivan Smason

A Mountain of a Dream

Los Angeles is visible
Beyond the rising towers
And the holy Hollywood Sign:

Her ornate beauty shines
In the glittering taco trucks
Adorned with packed choice of tastes;

Her innate warmth resides
In the gleaming smiles of children
Salivating for a moist ice cream
From the wobbly cart of
An immigrant—
Fresh from the countryside of
El Salvador
Pushed by sweaty palms
And sheer American will.

Los Angeles can be seen,
My dear,
As we cling to caffeine
And contemplate la luna y las estrellas
Of future years:

An island of a thought;
A mountain of a dream.

-José Hernandez Díaz

Norwalk, CA
UC Berkeley

Brown Paper Bag

By David Velazquez, 20, Oceanside

Infinitesimally thin, brown, paper bag.
Wrinkled, grease-stained, paper bag.
Everyday you bear the realities of my impoverished family.
Revealing to no one the paroxysmal nature of hunger;
A sandwich with no mayo, no lettuce, no tomato.
Ink-tainted with the calculations of a family’s debt—
Every first of the month, the bag gets lighter but never empty.
Blood-stained from their fight last night—
Their brutish yells, my enduring torment.
If only hugs could be kept in my brown paper bag.
If dreams! If love! If—
Mom do not lament. We will be ok, the child says.
Brown paper bag, infinitesimally thin, wrinkled,
Ink-tainted, blood and grease-stained.
Brown paper bag, speak!
Let ‘em know.
Brown paper bag, it’s just you and me.
Brown paper bag, you are my plea.’s Winter 2010 Poetry Contest

Thanks for your submissions!!

Check out the winners in our upcoming Winter 2010 issue of La Gente; they’ll be posted online once the newsmag hits the stands.

Winter 2010 Poetry Contest

La Gente is proud to announce our Winter 2010 Poetry Contest. The theme is California: Dreams, Experiences, and Fears. La Gente is proud to have its roots at the University of California, Los Angeles. California has always been a leading state in new technology, trends, and political reform. What better way to express our feelings about California than in poetry? For the first time the contest will be held online at

Poetry Rules:

Who can enter?

Everyone is welcome.

When can I enter?

The deadline for the contest is February 13, 2010.

Why should I enter?

If you are selected as one of the 3 runners up or the grand prize winner, your poem will be published in and the grand prize winner will have their poem published in the print issue of UCLA’s La Gente Newsmagazine.

What do I enter?

1. Poems must be revelate to the theme: California- Dreams, Experiences, and Fears. The writer does not have to be a native of California.

2. Poems can be either in English, Spanish, or Portuguese. If the poem is written in Spanish or Portuguese, we will translate it in English, if writer does not provide a translation.

3. Poems have to be accompanied with the following information: Author’s first and last name, Age, Occuption and Address (the address will not be publish either online or print, the information will be use to send you copies of the print issue if you are selected as the prize winner).

4. You are limited to one entry.

5. We do not support plagiarism.

How do I enter?

Submit your poem to [email protected] by February 13, 2009 by 5pm Pacific Time.

Good luck and we wish you the best.