Los Dichos and A Day at the Beach

by Fernando Izaguirre

Los Dichos

My grandmother used
To say:
Lavate los calzones,”
But I keep
Taking shits
On mountain tops
For the snow
To flush it down the valley.

My grandmother used
To say:
Viene el cucuy,”
So I roll under the cold
Sheets thinking I’m invisible
Like the air,
But I’m not.

My grandmother used
To say: “mijo ven aquí,”
And I come close,
Realizing la chancla
Was scarier than the
Boogey man.


A Day On The Beach

─For my future children

I dipped my feet into
The hot sand, grasping
A portion of small
Sediments that butter
Spread around the rim
Of my toes.

I felt the weightless air
Circulate through my pores
Like smoke in a wet mouth;
The air turned away
And pushed the waves
Towards the shore,
Catching the laughter
Of children building
Sand castles.

Their complexion resembled
Mine: muddy and wet as dirt.
His name was Santiago
And her name was Marisol.

Their happiness dazzled me
Like a shooting star running
Across the night sky.

“I love my children,” I said.
And I could feel my wife’s
Face nudge against my shoulder,
where the sun burns forever.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Fernando Rafael Izaguirre, Jr., was born in 1993. Fernando holds two associate degrees in the areas of English and Mexican-American studies. He is currently a poetry editor for Red Fez Publications. His poetry have appeared in various online and print magazines such as the Rio Grande Review, The Merida Review, Red Fez, and Weber State Metaphor. Eloquence is his first collection of poetry, has been released in September of 2014 by Editorial Trance. He is currently working on his second poetry collection.

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painting by Samuel Barrera


Colour Collection: Black and other poems

by Julia Ciesielska


Colour Collection: Black

he postponed his own funeral
to shag a random girl
hired a double
who rested for an hour or more
tricked everyone
when came back on his place
corpse remained silent
it is true to say
death is for free yet he paid for it with his own life
what is the point asking him any more questions
black bands mark
guests’ arms with the acknowledgement
of life well – lived
or life lived
they could not tell which one he led

Color Collection: Grey

girls heels must love
gravel’s talk
its dust
workman is carrying in the skin
in every furrow and crevice
he washes it off after 5 pm
as if it was a shame
that flows away from him
dirt questions its being
always like a grey irregular god
borrows words from the night’s vocabulary
smokes and coughs
cradling fatigue in one hand
and iPhone 6 in the other

Knock Out Game

I want to see
that crucifix of blank pupils
feels pain
craving your pardon
followed by a moment of your time
would be catching skyline
which stalks behind a breath
with chapped intentions
as though exhaling gospel code
I walk my fists on either side of your head
walk through you as a clear air
hearing footsteps rainstorm
gives few more seconds
to adjust prosthesis of a prayer on the shoulder
and run

The “knockout game” is one of many names given by American news media to assaults in which, purportedly, one or more assailants attempt to knock out an unsuspecting victim, often with a single sucker punch, all for the amusement of the attacker(s) and their accomplice(s). Serious injuries and even deaths have been attributed to the “knockout game”. Some news sources report that there has been an escalation of such attacks in late 2013, and in some cases the attacker has been charged with a hate crime, while some politicians have been seeking new targeted legislation specifically against it. Liberal analysts claim that their conservative counterparts falsely promote a view that the “knockout game” trend is real and conservative analysts claim that the liberal media does not report on it due to the racial implications it may have.


Don’t Let Your Fear Become a Profession

nowadays demands
being spread out like butter
go around so openly
machines of talk we are
beaten trolleys
squealing for proper conversation
park us outside the supermarket
for brands
to consume shallow personalities
and to fold over body as a plastic bag
with palpable precision they inform
there is a global insufficiency
is it just me spending overlong on what to save ?



that’s obvious I’m not after your looks
what you have inside
matters more
fascinating lungs shape
stomach filled with gastric acids
irregular heart beat in delicate ventricles

how could you say I am superficial?
repeat again
tinted gray livers look good on you
kidneys make you super curvy
so roll over and talk to me at last
this is not just a one – night stand


Pushing a Bill Worked Hard Across the Counter

people do not mock wherever I pass through
do not sneer at eastern european accent
with flattened vowels
hard pronouced ‘th’

yet I didn’t know they contribute
to their community
by committing the equivalent of a social rape
until heard them chant on a street
go back home Poles
I loath not where I’m from
do they try to make me?
their blessed crime
venial, mortal, original
goes around alive and well
in theory everyone is equal
here the code of conduct is a public bar
with men pissing out the good
for the bad outweighs all
especially after a sixth pint


* * * * * * * * * * * *


Julia Ciesielska since 2006 lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where she works as a Translator and a Business Support in Recruitment organization known for Oil & Gas world wide. She has studied English Literature at Master degree and made certificate in Practice Personnel/HR at Queens University, Belfast. Apart from various literary magazines publications, she appeared in Shalom Anthology (Crescent Writing Group in Belfast) published in March 2015. Julia’s interests, echoed in her poetry, include the feminist revision of life or naturalistic perception of daily routines. After attending workshops of creative writing, organized by Lyric Theatre in Belfast, she also got interest in writing plays. Inspired by pieces of Martin Lynch she is working on a project that is presenting with the eyes of polish minorities their observations of living abroad.

* * * * * * * * * * * *


art by Jane Gilday



by Terin Tashi Miller

The sun was bright and hot even though it was in the late afternoon. The cold bottled water went down as well as the warm vino tinto from the wineskin. A slight breeze blew, and I smoked my Faria too fast.

Below me, in the ring, a man, a matador, stood. He stood on one end of the ring, in the sand. At the other end stood a bull. I could not hear what the man said to the bull, but I saw him lift the red small cape in front of him and, from the opposite side of the ring the bull charged across the sand, hard and fast, gathering speed before dipping its horns to lift the cape.

In the seconds it took the bull to cross the beige colored sand, the cape was still there, but the man had moved. The horns caught the cape, and the bull tried to gore and lift the helpless cape out of his way. But there was no substance to it, no jar of impact of the horns against flesh or bone, and as the bull looked it saw the cape had moved. Not only had it moved, it was now on the side of the ring, across the sand, from where the bull had charged.

Again, the matador called to the bull, standing partly in the shade. Again, the bull used the distance to gain speed.

The matador completed his entire faena, calling and gesturing to the dark brown bull from across the beige sand. The bull passed so close to the man in its quest to remove the cape that the man’s “suit of lights” was stained with the bull’s blood from his thighs to his chest. The blood was dark, like that coagulating on the bull’s hide from where it had been pic-ed only once behind its neck and from where the paper-decorated barbed dowels, the banderillas, hung. The bull’s blood coagulated fast, so fast that when it came out it formed strings hanging from the bull’s hide rather than drops.

Each time the bull passed so close to the man that, if it had looked up from the cape, it would have gored him with a sharp, hard horn in his thigh, his groin, his stomach, his chest, or his kidneys. The man passed the bull in front of him twice and from behind him once, the man’s feet motionless until the bull had tried for the cape.

You could see the toes of the man’s black slippers digging into the beige sand, but the slippers did not flinch, even when it looked like the charging bull might step on them, its 650 kilos on a hoof on top of the man’s slipper. You could look up from the sand and the slippers, past the pink socks and up the traje de luces to the man’s face and all you’d see was control. The matador, a virtual no-name who many had ignored at the start of this, was in complete control of the bull – from the opposite side of the yards-wide ring.

His across-the-ring passes of the bull, his faena with the red cape, however, meant one unmistakable thing. You could hear the bells on the bridle of the horses from inside their entryway long before you saw them. But you knew what the faena and the bells meant.

The matador walked over to his assistants on his side of the ring, opposite of where he’d left the bull standing on all fours, panting slightly, from its racing across the ring after the cape, irritated like a man by a mosquito he can’t seem to get rid of.

The matador and his assistants were arguing, hands flying into the air up by their faces and heads, near their black woolen montero hats.

The matador walked back into the center of the ring, took his montero off, showed it in a slow, sweeping circle from where he stood, and tossed it behind him, toward the section of the ring where the most critical fans sat, a couple sections away from the Royal Box.

The moment he tossed it the matador knew something had happened because of the loud, collective gasp from the crowd. Quickly he looked in the direction of where he’d left the bull. The bull stood there, still resting. The matador looked behind him. His montero had landed on its top, upside down – an omen, some thought, that the bull’s fate would be reversed.

The matador slowly walked over to his montero and turned it so it sat properly on the sand, its red lining no longer visible under the black wool. The crowed cheered.

“Ha preguntao si el toro ha ganado su vida – si se merito indulto,” the man sitting next to me said in Spanish. “He asked if the bull had won its life,” he said again, in English so I would understand. I nodded as if I knew what he was talking about. “But his cuadrillo, his promoter, and God said ‘no.’”

Another gasp around the ring drew my attention back to what was happening in front of me. The matador was standing yards away – again on the opposite side of the ring, almost, from the bull. He’d raised his killing sword, shiny silver and bent downward at the tip, in an arc as if scraping the sky with it, using its blood run as a site to aim where he wanted it to go.

“Por Dios, que grande son sus huevos, hombre!” shouted the man next to me. “He’s not going after the bull to kill it! He’s going to have the bull come to him!”

“Is that good?”

“It’s very rare,” the man next to me said. “He’s got balls, this one.”

The crowd all around the ring – even in the most critical seats – grew silent. You could hear the matador calling to the bull, holding the small red cape in front of his left knee, his forearms forming a cross with the sword tip pointed in the direction of the bull.

The bull and matador stood just outside the first white line that ringed the beige sand of the arena.

“Huh, Toro!” the matador said. “Huh!”

He moved the cape slightly up, then back down over his knee. The bull watched, yards away. His ears moved, and his tail flicked.


The matador, his black slippered toes digging into the sand, stood his ground as the bull charged, all four legs pulling it towards him. The matador pushed himself up onto his toes, like a ballet dancer, leaning forward as the bull came in, putting the sword up to its hilt on the first try right behind the bull’s neck and between its shoulder blades just as the bull stopped to lower its head for one great toss of its curved-in horns just before hitting the man’s waist.

In the instant it lowered its head, the sword went in and the matador, his suit of sparkling thread matted with the bull’s blood, rolled to his left over the curved-in horn and brought the cape with him, making it suddenly disappear from in front of the bull’s face.

The bull got a few more paces before standing stock still. But it did not go down. The matador picked up his montero, quite near where he’d actually killed the bull, and formed a sign of the cross “En nomine del Padre, del Hijo, del Espiritu Santo….” At the bull’s hindquarters, then pointed downward at the sand. He commanded the bull to die. But it stood there, wavering slightly, on all four legs.

That the bull had been killed by the perfect placement of the curved-down sword – that its aorta had been severed by the curved tip of the sword as it glided in for its task, there could be no doubt. Had the sword been placed badly, puncturing a lung, the bull would be coughing up blood. But it wasn’t. Its tongue wasn’t even lolling out of its mouth, as it usually did. Nothing changed for what seemed a long time. Then, the bull took one more step forward, and almost flipped onto its back, falling over sideways, its four legs stiff as the legs of a chair.

The matador, like much of the crowd at Las Ventas that afternoon, had tears in his eyes. The crowd leapt to its feet, cheering loudly, wiping tears, and didn’t sit back down until the horses with bells on had dragged the bull around the ring and out the way it had come in. The ring maintenance crew took several buckets of sand but had a difficult time, and worked slowly, trying to cover the streak of blood from where the horses had dragged the bull.

The matador walked silently back to his assistants, and lifted the clay botijo filled with cool water into the air, pouring some from its spout onto his face as well as into his mouth. But he did not spit the first mouthful into the sand behind him as usual. He did not try to clean the bull’s blood off his suit of lights.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Terin Tashi Miller spent many of his formative years in India, the child of anthropologist parents. Since then, he has lived and worked in a variety of countries in Europe and Asia.

The author of three novels, Kashi, Sympathy for the Devil, and Down the Low Road, his writing has appeared in guide books, international magazines including Time and Geografica Revista, and newspapers including The Wall Street Journal, The Dallas Morning News and The Los Angeles Times. His short stories have also been published in numerous literary magazines.

He began his writing career as a part-time reporter for Time magazine, then worked for The Associated Press in India and North Dakota and AP-Dow Jones News Services in Spain and New York, and as a reporter for The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The Milwaukee Sentinel, Amarillo Daily News and the Hilton Head Island Packet.

Born in St. Louis, Mo., and raised in Madison, Wis. and several provinces in India, he currently lives in New Jersey.


* * * * * * * * * * * *


photo by Angela M Campbell

Graphic novel

Tia Nelly

by Gabriel Canul Olivares and Emaus Torres

aunt nellie1It’s awesome that they let you stay and play after the party!
Well, at least while there’s daylight.
I’ve always liked playing outside, since I was small, because I can see the city lights and all the people passing by.
They bought me these dolls in the city. I really like them. They are so green and scaly!

Tía Nelly002-2Well, now that we’re friends, I’ll give you this one with the medallion of power.
So you can destroy all your enemies.
No need to thank me, let’s play.
People are weird.

aunt nellie3Aunt Nelly says that’s why she had the party.
A party, she’d said.
Ha ha…Well, some of the neighbors went home pretty drunk…
With their noses and cheeks all red, so disgusting.
Another color would have been better.

aunt nellie4Although everyone else disagrees, I think Aunt Nelly is fabulous.
She looks after me and she loves me a lot and it’s not true that she teaches me bad things.

aunt nellie5On the contrary, she always tells me I should be good and smile at everyone.
“Winning them over is the first step,” she always tells me.

aunt nellie6But those people are a little crazy; they tell me mom is sick because of Aunt Nelly
The kid that sits next to you at school, with the snotty mouth told me his dad is a doctor.
And he says it’s impossible for a woman with the disease my mom has to stay alive so long without being in the hospital.
He says it seems more like it’s Aunt Nelly that’s making her sick.

aunt nellie7And you know what? A while ago, I still remember when mom could talk, she said that the most important thing to Aunt Nelly is looking after me and watching me grow up.
She said it was her that brought me into the world.
Sometimes I think I love Aunt Nelly more than my mom. Everybody, maybe even Aunt Nelly, thinks that because I’m only six I can’t remember.
But I can.
Dad called her to help mom when she was expecting me. The people started to hate her when she came.

aunt nellie8To be honest, I’m not that interested in meeting dad…
Even though Aunt Nelly says that he’s always asking about me and that he is getting a lot of stuff ready for when he comes back to get me.
I think it will be like a party because he says the whole family will come. Can you imagine? If Aunt Nelly had a party and all those people got drunk…

aunt nellie10What will they all be like after a party they’ve been preparing for so long?

aunt nellie9I never met dad. People say he hurt mom and that’s why I was born. They say that word that I’m not supposed to say because it’s a bad word, I think they say it when parents aren’t married.
People don’t like dad much either. You know why? Because he abandoned my mom, just because he found out I was on the way. But Aunt Nelly came and helped mom.

aunt nellie11And although neither she nor I like people very much, I have never felt alone because she says she’s always in touch with relatives.
That’s why we never need money or food. Ha! You know she cooks really well.
“We really like cows.”
I think she really likes you and that’s why she cooked hamburgers for you and sodas to drink.
So you didn’t have to eat the horrible meat and vegetables the adults eat.
Well, I suppose they like it.
They got really fat!

aunt nellie12But people say she’s bad, too.
They say she does bad women’s work because she gets money for going into the woods at night, to meet men.
Maybe really bad men because some people who say they’ve seen them call them “monstrous men”.

aunt nellie13Well, I don’t know anything about that, I’ve never seen her go out at night.
Although sometimes I wake up when it’s really late and I’ve seen the moon so bright over the woods that it looks like daytime.
Such bright moonlight seems so familiar…
That it calms me and I go right back to sleep.
I bet our relatives will be back soon and Aunt Nelly will want the people around here to get along with them…
She had the party so people could see she’s good. And it worked! They even let you stay and play, see?

aunt nellie14And everybody smiled.
And they even danced.
And they all hugged.
And kissed.
We’ll get along well now, for sure.
Now it’s late, see? The sun has gone down.
You’d better go home and look after your new “Star conqueror” doll.
I’m going to run home, too.
I’m happy because Aunt Nelly said that after the food she served everything would be different. Now people are going to change, for sure!

aunt nellie15I enjoyed chatting and playing with you.
See you tomorrow!

(translated by Patricia Johnston)

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Gabriel Canul Olivares (Writer)
Born and rised in Mérida, Yucatán, México. He started making comic books, drawing and writing stories at very early age, wishing to make his own ideas come true.

After high school he went to “Centro Estatal de Bellas Artes” and attended to a painting free workshop.
Gabriel Canul is much a self taught artist and in the year of 2012 he entered to an artist community created by Javier Pech Matu.

It was in this group that Gabriel began to realizing his ideas and making his contribution to the art by performing in public events and the publication of his comic book story “Chica Diamante” in the pages of the anthology “MANIC”.
Gabriel Canul likes to work in many ways of art.

Emaús Torres (Artist)
Born and rised in Mérida, Yucatán, México. A student of art at “CEDART Ermilo Abreu Gómez” focused on plastic, visual arts.

Emaús’ dream has always been to make comic books of his own.

In the year of 2013, Emaús was discovered in a contest organized by the CDS, an art group created by Javier Pech Matu.

Emaús’ most important influences are the graphic novel writer Alan Moore and the movies director Stanley Kubrick.
To date Emaús is working on his story “Dark Soul” (also published in the anthology “MANIC”) to which Cher Bibler, in her musician facet, wrote an image song.

Emaús is always working in many other facets of art besides the visual.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

About “Tía Nelly”
It was a privilege to work side by side with Gabriel Canul and I thought it was an interesting perspective on the alien theme.
It was a nice challenge to finish the task because it’s always been a subject that myself have always been afraid of.
At the same time it was very satisfactory to have accomplished the mission of narrating such story.
Finally, I want to thank all of you, readers, and I expect that all of you to lose some sleep after reading it.
-Emaús Torres.

All I can say is that I have never had a better play mate than Emaús. So it was almost necessary to design a story that we could perform together.
To date nothing makes me more proud than to work with this guy and not only that but counting him among my friends.
For this story I wanted to include and art style that emoted a childish point of view and Emaús Torres was younger  (age 14) when we made it and his art had not evolved to the quality he has today.
So thank all of you for reading it, I wish you to enjoy it and hope that you feel through this work happiness of friendship that it is based on.
Thank you for everything Cher Bibler.
-Gabriel Canul Olivares.


The Merida Review also thanks  to Steve Benson for editing, and David Espadas Tamayo for technical stuff on Gabriel and Emaus’s end.

Gabriel's cover 001