The HyperTexts

Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal

Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal, Portrait by Karen J. Harlow

Michael: This is a splendid idea [publishing the career-defining poems of Luis Omar Salinas] and no one deserves this attention more than Luis Omar Salinas.  Thank you so much for taking an interest in an important and wonderful poet, who continues to write beautiful poetry.  Karen Harlow is his true guardian angel.  I can see why Luis Omar is so inspired to write such powerful poetry, such as "Chivalry." I want to share with you a poem I wrote for Luis Omar, which he read that night, where brightness filled a dark room in Fresno. Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal in a letter to Michael R. Burch, editor of The HyperTexts

Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal is a poet who was born in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico. He now lives and works in Los Angeles County. His first book of poetry, Raw Materials, will be published by Pygmy Forest Press.


for Juan Amilcar Berriozabal

I will search for strength.
I will look in my soul
To lift up my spirits
As I am grieving.  Loss
Has brought me to this state.
This loss will remain here
As a reminder to
The brother I loved and love.
I will search for strength.
I know how hard he fought.
I know there is hope as
My brother showed us all.


For Luis Omar Salinas

There are rivers
Where La Llorona's cries
Become an insane silence

The rivers flow inside us
Keepers of silence
In the "sadness of days"

In these rivers
Fishermen tales are woven
But never told

The sacred rivers
Are the padres
Who keep our confessions

"Ay, mis hijos"
La Llorona's voice
Wants to break through

The river's "hard crust of silence"
The anguish in her horse's face
Speaks just as loud

Cedar Branches

Cedar branches
bent by blackbirds
who whistle
and sing
as I count
my pennies
instead of my blessings.
If only my mood
were different,
I might join them
in song.

A Crow Sang for Me

A crow sang for me:
shook me up,
pierced my heart.
A murder of crows
mimicked the song,
but my heart belonged
to the first crow,
who sang first,
who made me feel again.

Song of the Heart

The blackbird sings in the backyard.
I'm listening: knowing: hearing
what I call a song of the heart.

Once that voice breaks you only
lie still in the earth and write
the notes that fill you up inside.

Such a song is heard and not forgotten.
The song and then the truth speaks.
Think instead: the song will remain,

What I call a song of the heart
is what the blackbird sings
in the backyard: lie still and listen.


He takes me to the tree,
which is made of plastic.
He tells me it looks real.
I agree with him.

He feels the leaves with his
Hands, and smiles.  He knows
It isn't real and I
Hope that in time he

Could feel the same about
The voices in his head,
Which are incessant
And without mercy.

Secondhand Smoke

I'm secondhand
chain smoking
a man who
claims to be God,
Jesus, and
the Holy Ghost,
wrapped up in
just one person.
He smokes and
he smokes, smiling,
talking: said
He will save me
if I tell
the doctor how he
should be free,
His hands tremble
as the smoke
rises from his
Do you believe
in Jesus?
He looks at me
blowing smoke
inside my eye.
He throws it
down and gets one
more.  He puffs
away and coughs.
His chart read
lung cancer, but
he won't quit.
Watch me make a
halo, he
tells me.  I am
Jesus Christ.
I can do it
all, you know.
He just cannot
stop smoking.

The HyperTexts