New Border Voices
Publication Year: 2014
Among the contributions are:
A “Southern Renaissance” for Texas Letters
—José E. Limón
The Texas-Mexico Border: This Writer’s Sense of Place
The Rain Parade
Published by: Texas A&M University Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
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Preface: Seeking Planetarity in the Spaces Between: A New Border Consciousness
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In 2011 a colleague interested in teaching a sophomore-level college literature seminar on the Texas/Mexico Borderlands invited me to coffee. He came to me, he said, “because you [meaning I] come from the Border and are a writer yourself.” In response, I rattled off the names of canonical border authors: Jovita...
Brandon D. Shuler
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The editors of New Border Voices: An anthology first want to thank Mary Lenn Dixon and Texas A&M University Press for noticing the importance of this volume. Texas A&M University Press’s scholarly publishing reputation and its track record of producing beautiful books for readers made the press our first choice. We...
Introduction: A Renaissance Continued: Texas Literature and the Border
José E. Limón
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The editors of this volume of contemporary Texas writers have kindly reprinted an essay that I published almost twenty-five years ago. It appeared in a collection of critical essays on the subject of Texas literature, a collection formed in large part of papers presented at a 1983 symposium at the University of Texas at Austin...
Part I: The Border's Literary Tradition and Its Sense of Place
A "Southern Renaissance" for Texas Letters
José E. Limón
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The foremost of the few critics of “Texas Literature” has come to believe that there is no such worthy thing. Larry McMurtry started out on his path to judgment with his 1968 essay “Southwestern Literature?,” which really dealt substantially only with Texas literature defined as the books “native in the most obvious...
The Texas-Mexico Border: This Writer's Sense of Place
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I find it appropriate that a paper on borders should begin with a quote from a Borderer, in this case, from a man imprisoned for his participation in the Texas– Santa Fe expedition of 1841. While in his cell in Mexico City, he spurned Santa Anna’s offer of freedom in exchange for renouncing the Republic of Texas. Those...
Part II: De las voces de muchos
The Rain Parade
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The rain parade begins at dusk this year. The crowd gathers, breath condensing, humid against the inner fabric of ponchos and coats. The bright colors mellow with the coming night. Those without umbrellas hug the damp buildings for shelter, but they’re wet anyway. They’ve come out to see the same floats they...
One Pinto Bean
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One pinto bean is all I have left from my stereotype, an image I gave up decades ago when I got tired of my brown shadow. The pinto bean is brown, too, and sits on my bookshelf. I had it glazed, wanting to preserve the last bean from my past so I could meditate upon it, now and then, staring at it when I missed the old...
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I dreamed of ancient houses the other night, but no one wanted to hear about it. I dreamed of old hallways, but no one woke up and no one spoke to me. I was there and dwelled in the dark of a cold adobe, yet no one said it was beautiful. I was there and opened one window. No one stayed in those houses because...
Voyeurism, or the Third-Party Politician
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We cruised for whores on a Saturday afternoon. Ninfa needed one, and as it turns out, that made it so I did. We didn’t skirt the issue; we got to work under the Valley’s incessant sun and thorny mesquites lining her neighborhood. “Let’s go get you a girl,” I said, turning up the volume on my car stereo, adding a soundtrack to our hunt. She was girl number one, and we looked for girl number...
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That summer they finished the fence, from the Gulf of Mexico all the way to California. Sections of it had been there as far back as Jorge could remember: riding with his grandfather to the old man’s four acres of citrus. The little grove began only eighty feet south of the house but was a six-mile drive each way because...
How to be La Llorona for the City of Sullivan that has no Sidewalks
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We must build the wall higher, higher than any ladder, make a monument of the wall, a memorial, to where people might visit from Beijing and say through their translator, “Our wall is much older and much longer, having branches and tributaries.” And, our tour guide might respond, as courteously as possible, “Yes, but our...
Popeye Was an American Citizen and So Am I
René Saldaña Jr.
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I’m crossing into the United States of America from Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mex, into Brownsville, Texas. Doing so legally, doing so as an American citizen. I stand in line in the US Customs area where a Hispanic agent sits on a stool in front of a computer asking the question: “Are you an American citizen?” People...
Brian van Reet
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Staff Sergeant Fitzpatrick tried to hold the memory, his eyes moving from the menu to his fiancée, to a rusty freight passing through the outskirts of Marathon, dotted with trailer parks and cement factories, into the Chihuahuan Desert. Overhead, the late-morning sun heated a corrugated tin roof, supported at...
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When I was ten my mother gave me a serape, smooth as axolotl skin. I wore it at dusk to draw offspring. I’d been told that if I buried it, a refugee would emerge. So I dug a grave between two retamas. I had never imaged a twin. But one morning, covered in mud, was a mirror of me at the front door. My mother wove him...
La Huesera, or, flesh to bone
Ire'ne Lara Silva
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My tongue runs along the stretch of her tendons. I hold her foot delicately in my hand. Feel the spasming bunch of red muscle in my mouth. Her bones tinkling against my teeth. This is the way it must be. With my hands feeling out the hurt, the places where bone was ripped from its place. Hold the flesh with my...
Gabriela Ybarra Lemmons
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“Sometimes I just like to run around encuerada.” Naked, is what I once overheard Tía Rosario say to our neighbor Virginia. They didn’t know that I was listening. I had come over to look for Tío Patricio. “Mañana, come back tomorrow,” he had said. “You can hold the ladder while I climb to pick the ripe ones.” He was referring...
The Border Is a Good Place to Live
Augstín Cadena, Translated by Pat Dubrava
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I tell everyone who comes through here and asks that the border is a good place to live. There’s work, I tell them. Besides, houses are cheap, cars are cheap, and you never get bored: when there’s prohibition on this side, you go to the other; when there’s prohibition on the other side, people come over here. I told all that...
From Mariguano: A Novel
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I have a family—mom, dad, brothers, a sister—just like everyone else. I’m raised in a decent house that doesn’t tolerate foul language or lies, and I have to take my plate to the sink after I eat. But I also have my Old Man and his clica. When I was thirteen, my Old Man taught me how to drive, take tequila shots, and shoot...
The 29th of April
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I am going to tell you a story about your birthday. It falls on the same day Rosa died. Rosa lived out in la colonia they call El Charco but whose real name is Doctores, right outside Reynosa but not quite in San Fernando—a bordertown not too close to the border. Rosa’s husband left her and her two boys when the oldest...
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How do you move boulders like organs? With language? I am too comfortable underneath a boulder, snow trickling into the river, organs watered clean, into grains of sand and silt over time without my noticing. Yours is a snow-bed. Co-earth. And you fall and fall. Once, I felt Your course and mine was the boulder’s...
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Magic needed. A letter to Lorca. Outerspace aliens to help me translate. A letter I write and sign by Lorca to introduce my poems. Love poems to the beloved. Lorca or Gloria or Spicer needed in the absence of a beloved. Someone who understands María Sabina’s wisdom. A chachalaca as a pet. A glass of water for...
Brian Allen Carr
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The big one peeps his face out the bathroom door. He says my name. It comes out like he’s underwater. He waves me to him, and I go. I pause at the door. “You okay?” He shakes his head and retreats, waving me in. I follow. His pants are down, and he walks wide-stanced. He hands me a roll of toilet paper and bends...
David René Solis
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...I bust out the door and turn back to slam it—her nose is to the magazine, her eyes peering over it—I change my mind and head to the truck, press the remote unlock button, slip into the hot seat, start the motor, and dart out the driveway. A moron cuts in front of me from a side street. I slam on the brakes and wave...
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The old checkpoint is gone. For the last couple months I have seen different crews taking it apart piece by piece. They numbered each part of the old steel structure. You might remember it was just a simple open-sided shed next to that trailer they used as an office and holding cell. Then they took it down, carefully...
The Loss of Juárez
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Recently I returned home to El Paso, and as we drove back to Ysleta on the Border Highway, a sense of sadness overtook me. My kids, Aaron and Isaac, have, for two years, been clamoring to go to Mexico. They have studied Spanish in New York City, where we live, and their classroom walls are covered with posters from...
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I’m in this stupids class. We’re all here again, me with my bad attitude, and the two other dumb Mexicans. Whatever. Jimmy is here like usual, and I’m not gonna bother saying hey because he don’t talk. Turi’s here. That guy talks too much. I’m gonna sit next to the windows opposite Jimmy and far enough in front...
Cobb and Me
Robert Paul Moreira
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Cobb came to stay the day I gave Coach the idea. The same day Memorial kicked our ass and made it ten straight in the loss column. “I’m at wit’s end, Jim,” Coach said to me. “I can’t take it no more. And I’m ready to blow.” Coach Casey was a mayate from Mississippi who hated white people. We got...
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Not so ancient and no mariner. And the bird is no albatross. I rate an eagle. And not around the neck but on my balcony. Each morning. Five feet tall and green. Oh yes, ice-green with bright green eyes. He first appeared on one of my sleepy Sunday mornings. I stepped out still...
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Dear Marilyn: I guess I should be ashamed to admit to my ex-wife that I like to take hot baths with whores, but, after all, I run Cleburne Hot Springs Resorts, and the whores are good company, and they deliver. So anymore, I call up one of the whorehouses from la zona over in Ojinaga, and they drive over, usually in some big old...
Vozilencio: River of Voices
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Women are buried inside my body. And yet the emptiness I feel is from being a man. When I ask my dad why he hurt my mother, he never denies his regret. It’s as if his only sin was not hurting himself more. Like fist through a door, his guilt is hollow....
Baseball over the Moon
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called my father Corque, a name I christened him with when I started talking, imitating the sound I heard when the ranch hands addressed him as “Don Jorge.” He longed so much for a son, the dream of every cattleman in northern Mexico, that he took me along with him when he worked the ranch, teaching me to ride...
A Starving Indian Woman
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Dusk set in on the dirty streets lined with red-brick tenements. A short Indian woman walked by a tenement house painted purple, a tiny child at her side. She remembered when she had walked into that purple house hoping for work. A Mexican woman had driven her out like she was vermin...
Raspas, Tequila y Balazos
Brenda Nettles Riojas
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Tequila bottles filled with jeweled tones, emerald, ruby, sapphire syrup sweets for raspas served streetside. Crossing back to the US side, a drive thru, bordertown style in tune to the staying and going. The accordion accompanies a planted procession of shaded vendors’ carts, each painted in primary yellows, reds, and...
My Better Border
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And by “My Better Border,” I mean the border between Texas and Mexico, the border made by a long, thin river, the Rio Grande, in a place of no name in the desert, about fifty miles east of El Paso. We were zipping along in Courtney’s Volkswagen, headed from El Paso to...
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Page Count: 292
Publication Year: 2014