Guest Posts, poetry


February 27, 2019

By Alma Luz Villanueva

“I used to think I was the strangest person in the word, but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me, too.”

Frida Kahlo

Me– “Frida, I think if
we had been girls to
gether, we would have
been best amigas.”

Frida– “Are you more
boy than girl?” she

Me– “I think I’m half
and half, sometimes the
boy takes over, and
sometimes the girl.”

Frida– “I wouldn’t
want to be all boy or
all girl, that would
be boring, como no,” she
laughs again, stirring the
dark mole, making me
hungry. “Juana will
take over, time to
paint, boy/girl,
girl/boy, I give
birth to paintings, not
children,” she

Me– “I gave birth to four
children, poetry and
stories, my body
demanded both, boy
girl,” I smile into
Frida’s dark eyes.

Frida– “Which gave you
more pleasure, Alma Luz,
I like your name,
Soul Light. You gave
birth to children who
will die and words
that will live for
ever as long as some
one finds them,” she
smiles directly into
my hazel eyes.

She waits, la verdad, truth. So
do I, la verdad.

Me– “My children gave me
more pain than pleasure,
but they also gave me
more joy, simple joy.
My words the same,
but not as much
simple joy,
simple love,
simple daily
miracles, I
know you
understand, Frida.”

Frida– “You have a
woman’s heart, Alma Luz,
you love the perishable
more than monuments,” a
tear fills her eye, then she
eats it. “I have
loved this way,” she
smiles defiantly, “a woman’s
heart, the daily
miracles I capture
with my rainbow,” she
dips her brush,
blood red, precisely.

Me– “Your red reminds me
of the reddest of roses
and a baby’s crowning
head, it always makes
me sad when the roses
wither, die after so much
beauty, yet I continue
to plant them, witness the
tiny bud, fragile flower,
full bloom, each petal,
their red hearts,
opened, opened
wide to life
death life death…”

Frida– Laughter. “That’s
why I use the rainbow,
nothing in this world dies,
I am Coatlicue and
I command here,
my little world, my
crippled, dancing, living,
loving body died over
sixty years ago, and here
we are, Alma Luzita,
speaking of what
matters- I have a
woman’s heart and
create with a boy’s daring
leap, a woman’s
empty/fertile womb-
I was forty-one when my
body died, and you’re now
seventy-two, yet here, we
are the same age, our
empty/fertile wombs,”
laughter. “I am IxChel
and I command the Rainbow-
do you write with
rainbows, your

She waits, la verdad, staring
into my eyes, my


Me– “I stole a rainbow
from the sky when I
began to bleed, a girl,
first blood, quick storm,
I climbed scaffolds, 13th
floor, slippery iron,
men gone for the day,
I climbed alone in
spite of fear, in
spite of death, and
when the rainbow
arched the sky, San
Francisco, I laughed
with joy, I stole it
from the sky,
first blood, my

Frida– She reaches for a
bottle of tequila, pours
two full shots-
“I know you suffered
at times with your
children, especially
with the men you
loved, as I did
with mi Diego, el
cabrøn, mi amor de
mi vida- I think women
are better lovers,” she
pours another shot,
herself and me, soft
laughter, “but los
hombres, why can’t
we resist them, Alma
Luzita, is it their boyish
clumsy innocence that
wounds, echoes of

our sons, born or
unborn, I wonder,

Me– I laugh with
her, drink my second
shot, she pours
another- “I have a daughter
too, three sons, two men
I’ve loved, they all leave
us in time…”

Frida– “Were you ever
simply loved
for your self,
Alma Luzita?”

Me– “At times, at
times, mi Yaqui Mamacita
simply loved me, taught
me to reach for
rainbows, words in the
sky, words in the
Eagle’s talons, she
taught me to dream
and to fly without fear,
to dare
to steal
my rainbow.”

Frida– “My father
taught me too, that
daring to steal the
Rainbow, my mother
simply loved me
ayyyyyy.” She pours
us a 4th shot-
“The mole is almost done,
can you smell it, we’ll
finish this bottle con
la comida,” she

laughs with so much

Me– “I’m getting drunk,
let’s dance a little
before our legs give
out,” I laugh with
her- a mariachi band
appears in full regalia,
smiles on their radiant
aces, a woman steps
forth, begins to sing
full-throated, “Besame,
besame mucho….”
Frida and I hold
hands, laughing, we
kiss and dance,
our woman’s heart
intact, our boyish
daring, the Rainbow
held in empty/fertile
wombs, we command
this moment, simple

shouts- I lift
my shot glass,

*        *        *

(Simple Hate)

Juana brings us cafecitos,
the Sixth Sun begins to
greet the Great Star,
Quetzalcoatl, still burning,
dancing in violet streaked

Frida– “Have you ever
truly hated someone,
like their very guts,”
she scowls with
pleasure, the violet
light caressing her

Me– I watch the
final glitter/dance of
Quetzalcoatl, Juana
brings us huevos con
mole, papas frita, tortillas,
mango y piña con limøn on a
platter, salsa muy
picante/hot the
way I like it, caliente
first fork full, I close
my eyes with pleasure,
Sixth Sun rising
“I hated my first husband’s
guts, heart, eyes, mouth,
feet, penis, especially
his fucking hands, he
touched my young
children, told them if
they told me, he’d kill
us all 4, 5, 6, never
raped them, caused them
that ugly pain, they’d
tell me, their mother, I
would have killed him,
cut off his penis, his
hands, one by one…”Juana pours us more
cafecito, silence-

Frida– “Ayyy Alma Luzita,
este hombre beyond un
cabrøn, I would do the
same for my children,
a woman’s heart, our
empty/fertile womb’s
fury- I hated Diego’s
guts, his penis, panzøn
pinche pendejo self
when he seduced mi
hermana- how long
and hard and furioso was
that hatred, until at last
I finally forgave him,
ayyyy Alma Luzita, I

Me– “When the monster was
leaving his diseased, worn
out body- he molested
other children, I found
out- one early morning
on a beam of sunlight, my
skylight, he came to me,
a beautiful boy of
three, his innocence asked,
Will you forgive me?
I hated the man,
I loved the boy,
I forgave the innocent
boy of three, the best
of him, the boy I
loved at fourteen, his
gift to me- his trauma
childhood, Marines, more
violence- the sensitive boy I
loved, walking to the
beach from the Mission,
the stories, the tears we
shared, those walks, he
returned to me in
the gift of

a beautiful
boy of three,
Frida,” I weep,
“now, I realize,
healing my

Frida– “Mas tequila,” she weeps,
“mas tequila, Alma Luzita,” she laughs.
She pours a bit into
our cafecitos. A tiny
hummingbird pauses
between us, her
gift of green/red
energy, her
whirring wings,

*         *         *

(Simple Courage)

“Nothing is worth more than laughter. It is strength to laugh and abandon oneself, to be light.”    La Frida

El mercado- vegetables,
fruits, rainbows of
abundance piled seductively,
Frida flirts with a
vendor, who slices every
thing she points to-
watermelon, mango, papaya,
a perfect strawberry-
“Mi amiga, Alma Luzita,”
she laughs, I get my
share. We unload the
feast, two bottles of
tequila, fresh limes, a
tray of flautas de pollo
y guacamole-
I ask,
“What is the most courageous
thing you’ve ever done,

She laughs, slicing the
juiciest mango, sprinkling
it with lime, chilie-
“To dare myself to stand,
the spear through my
body- to dare myself to
lift my feet, that
pain, walk fall walk-
to dare myself to dance,
como no, and to flirt
like a girl again, to
believe I might be beautiful
again, to paint myself
as I am, no more,
no less, that a cripple
is enough to be
loved. I think that
vendor loves me, just a
little, open your mouth,
Alma Luzita.” Mango fills
my mouth, ripeness.
“And you?”

I laugh, with pleasure.
“Do you always speak
the truth?”

“Señora Muerte has no secrets,
why bullshit, I didn’t in
life, why now? Open
your mouth, Alma Luzita.”
Frida smiles, feeding me
like a child.

Me– “As a girl I climbed
scaffolds of buildings, jumped
roof to roof, I fought
boys, bullies, Mamacita
tossing me out the door,
‘No te dejas…Fight back!’
And I did, knocked out my
drunk/crazy stepfather at
ten, strangling my pregnant
mother- took my first
husband, el monstro, to

the front room when he
returned after a week, my
two black eyes, ‘Here’s for
your pretty face’- I showed
him my butcher knife,
‘If you ever hit me again, I’ll
stab you in your sleep”-
he left a few months
later- in a fit of jealousy
my second husband threatened
to hit me if I didn’t shut
up, in his car,
‘Go ahead, hit me, you
fucker, HIT ME’- I
made him stop the car,

2am darkness, San Francisco
Waterfront- ‘Are you
crazy, get back in!’
‘I’d rather deal with an
honest rapist/murderer than
your sorry ass!’ An amiga
came to get me, howling
with laughter, my angry
face- the bar full of
men glanced over, looked
away, She must be very
crazy or very dangerous
my second husband not ever
tried that again, he realized
I was both…”

Frida– “Ayyyy Alma Luzita,
no hombre ever hit
me, not even my sweet
Papå- you have los
muscles de un hombre,
on the inside, como no,
mas tequila!
My muscles also on the
inside, that fights my
pain, that I may
dance! And love as I
We do gritos with
lime, mas tequila,

*       *       *

(Simple Spirit)

We sit in her garden patio,
gazing up at pointy
tipped stars, no light
only candles-

Frida– “Juana made us this
beautiful drink, mangos,
limøn y tequila, always
tequila,” she laughs.
“Do you see Quetzalcoatl
dancing, my Spirit Star,
the brightest one, there,”
she points. “And he greets
me at dawn, sweet

Me– “Plumed Serpent, the
male/female God…”

Frida– “God as they
should be, both
sexes, not that boring
god of the Catholics,
always angry, in
need of a lover,” she laughs,
“yes, Quetzalcoatl is my God
and all the wild Diosas,”
she smiles, sipping the
fresh mango con
tequila y limøn.

Me– “Tibetan Buddhism has
Mother-Father In Union,
entwined, making love, the
sacred,” I sip the
mango, “oh, this is so
yummy, like Mother-Father
In Union,” I laugh.
“Do you see Diego
over there when you’re
not here? Do you miss
him, Frida?”

Frida– “Yes, he’s busy
painting cloud murals,
sunrise, sunset ones
too. I paint the Stars,
La Luna and sometimes
I refresh Madre Sol-
and Quetzalcoatl a regular
touch up. If I want
an orgasm I simply

merge with beauty,
simple beauty,
simple spirit-
when I left my
sweet suffering body
I wrote, ‘I hope the
exit will be joyful
and I hope never
to return,’ and I
haven’t returned.”
She pours us each a
full drink,
“Mas tequila,” she
murmurs, gazing at
her beloved
Do you live with a
man, Alma Luzita?”

Me– “I know what you
mean by merging with
beauty, simple
beauty has become
my lover- it would take
quite a man to join me
there,” I laugh, watching
Quetzalcoatl dancing
erotic rainbows.
“When I lived with men,
30 years of mi vida, I
had to guard my
beauty, the reality of
beauty, simple
beauty, simple

spirit, their desire to
own it all- I couldn’t
put it into words, but
I knew, guard my
beauty, in truth
it’s all I have-
the warrior body ages,
the beloved children too,
they must find/guard
their own beauty,
share it from the
freedom of their
Spirit, the
only gift
we humans
have to

once I was a
slave, I loved
without choice,
freedom, yet it
was necessary,
such flowers,
such harvest,
that time, no regrets-

if I ever lived with a
man again, it would
have to be like you y
Diego, the bridge
between you, the
freedom to dream
your own dream,
la verdad, hermosa

Frida– “Yes, that bridge was
crossed often,” she laughs,
closes her eyes in memory.
“In the meantime, we’ll
share the same lover,
Beauty, Alma Luzita, look,
Quetzalcoatl is flirting with
us both, enough for
all, no jealousy
allowed, Beauty,

the Cosmos can’t help
herself, he keeps
creating Beauty,
without, no
existence, nada,
but fear not,
she can’t help
himself, greatest
ancestor, Beauty.

Me– “May the exit be
joyful and maybe
I’ll return, to Beauty,
always Beauty…”

she shouts, un grito.

Me– “Do you hear that singing…”

“Through the returning seasons, may I walk.
On a trail made of pollen, may I walk.
With grasshoppers at my feet, may I walk.
With dew at my feet, may I walk.
With beauty, may I walk.
With beauty before me, may I walk.
With beauty behind me, may I walk.
With beauty above me, may I walk.
With beauty below me, may I walk.
With beauty all around me, may I walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, lively, may I walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, living again, may I walk.
It is finished in beauty.
It is finished in beauty.” *

Frida– “It’s the Ancestor
Stars singing, watch
closely, they dance
their light so sweetly,
Quetzalcoatl showed me
this, their distant fires,
he/she starts the first fire.
‘Beauty all around me,’
they keep singing,
dancing…few hear, see,

Me– “The other morning in
mi casita, café con
kahlua, vasito de
champagne con fresas…
strawberries floating, scrambled
egg tacitos, such peace,
simple joy, I thought of
your words after you
left Diego, seducing tu
hermana, ‘At least I
know who’s fucking who in
my own casita,’ did you
say those words, Frida?
I said them out loud with
a little grito, la verdad.”

Frida– “At least I know
who’s fucking who in my
own casita!” she shouts
a grito, laughing,

Me– “Y champage con
fresas, the ripest of
strawberries!” I shout
a grito, laughing with her.
I don’t want her to go,
to leave me, so I
shout, sing,
She joins the Ancestor
Stars, making me

“It is finished in beauty.
It is finished in beauty,
Almaluzita, always
it is finished  in
simple beauty,” she
sings with her lover
Quetzalcoatl, making me

*From the ‘Navajo Night Chant,’ gracias, listen.
Alma Luz Villanueva
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico- April 2016

Alma Luz Villanueva is the author of four novels, most recently, ‘Song of The Golden Scorpion’- and eight books of poetry, most recently, ‘Gracias.’ I’ve taught in the MFA in creative writing program, Antioch University Los Angeles for 20 years (many marvelous writers, poets, my students)- and I have lived in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, the past 14 years, returning to teach, see in la flesh my grown children, grandchildren, and two Grande-grandchildren. Gracias a la vida…my Authors Guild web site

Jen’s book ON BEING HUMAN is available for pre-order here.

Join Lidia Yuknavitch and Jen Pastiloff for their WRITING & THE BODY RETREAT. Portland April 5-7, 2019. Click the photo above.


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