ISSN 1551-8086
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  February 2006
volume 4 number 1
-table of contents-
  home   (archived)
  contributing poets
  Elizabeth Addis
  Jack G. Bowman
  Bob Browning
  Dana Campbell
  Michael Ceraolo
  Peggy Dobreer
  Francisco Dominguez
  Lisa Helene Donovan
  Dale Duke
  Michael Estabrook
  Daniel Gallik
  Daniel garcia-Black
  Kenneth Gurney
  Roger Humes
  Amber Jacob
  Marianne LaValle-Vincent
  Marie Lecrivain
  Gary Lehmann
  Dave Nordling
  Aire Celeste Norell
  Gina MarySol Ruiz
  David W. Rushing
  Dahn Shaulis
  Durlabh Singh
  Kari Thune
  Amy Upham
  Tyler Joseph Wiseman
  mailing list
Gina MarySol Ruiz
February 2006



photo by jerry garcia

    Gina has worked in the entertainment industry for 10 years with stints at Disney Corporate Management Audit/ABC Broadcasting. She is now general manager of a online publication group specializing in the animation and visual effects industry worldwide.
    Gina is active in Aztec dancing and culture, Chicano rights activism, and collecting modern first editions. She resides in El Sereno and has four children, plus six - shortly to be eight - grandchildren.
    Gina's life is a telenovela.
Gina MarySol's website



Cien A?os

Cien años”

You would say

In that

Raspy, gruff

Yet curiously gentle

Voy a vivir cien años

Naci en el 1900

You’d tell me

As together we sat

In the patio filled with my

Grandmother’s plants


Canicas, marbles that

Lived in the bright

Green MJB

Coffee can

Cien años

Square, determined jaw

Resolute cara de nopal

Face of un indio

Beloved grandfather

Affectionately called


Deje Mexico durante el revolucion

Sadness and shadows

Flittering through your warm

Brown eyes

That must have seen

So much

Loss and pain

Brave, brown man

Strong and honest

A working man

Cien años

As we hoed the neat

Rows of

Corn, chiles, cilantro, tomate

Bright red strawberries

Freckled like me

Conoci al Al Capone en Cheecago

Proud, smiling lightly

As we picked the lemons, membrillo and laurel

Destined for Grandma’s kitchen

To become intoxicating smells

Of a distant land.


I learned of

The stockyards, the stench

Backbreaking work

Racism and hatred

He never once spoke of

Cien años

Rolling massive flour tortillas

In three quick thumps

Of the

Rolling pin

Sas! Sas! Sas!

And hands a perfectly round

White moon

To Grandma standing

At the comal

Somos Aztecas, indios

Crinkly eyes flashing

Big dimple showing

In your left cheek

Same as mine

Only deeper, much deeper

The “X” marks the spot

In a treasure map of a smile

As we watch

Los Voladores perform

Cien años

As you sat at the table

With the ever present

Playing cards

Shuffling with all the

Finesse of a Vegas dealer

And told me

Of the first time you worked

With your father

At age 3

And earned

Tres centavos

One you bought an olla with

Gave it and the remaining


To your mother

No cobramos por ayuda

Every time someone tried to pay

For the sobadas


By the healing hands

Of a sobador, a huesero

Those same hands

That carved a cherry stone

or a porous rock

into the face of a monkey

Cien años

Body racked with nausea

Losing your thick black hair


That asbestos-caused evil


From working in that place

That manufactured dishes

Gave you a turkey a year, Franciscanware

The apple pattern

Desert Rose

And the “Big C”

Dios te lo pague, hija

Each time I did something

For you

Or my Grandma

Out of love

For no other reason

But to lighten your load

Do something for those

That gave me so much

Cien años
As you kissed the

Forehead of your bride

Still in love

After decades of marriage

Dancing with her

To a bolero reminiscent of

Times past

Tengo que trabajar

After seven major surgeries

The month after

My grandmother’s death

As we tried to get

You to stop


The hard muscle

Of your indio labor

Tucked under the wrinkled

Mask of frailty

Cien años

When the hospital

Sent you home to die

A thin man hiding his


Looking like

A woodcut

By Guadalupe Posada

No tengo hambre

As I parade your favorite foods

Chicharones en chile verde

Frijoles del olla

Burnt blackened tortillas

I never understood

Why you liked them that way

Almost 86

On that April Fools

Sunny day

I called to see how you were

And found you had gone

To Mictlan just a half hour before my call

"Fitting," I said

As I held my children and cried

Fitting for the practical joker

You were


A great, great grandson

Came backwards into this world

Bearing your name – Salvador

In the Aztec veintena of


The Offering of the Flowers

In his name

Aidan Cesar Salvador Ehecatlpochtli

I gift to you this

Flower, this poem

This bittersweet tear

May you live on

In our memories, our stories

Our hearts and dreams

Por much mas que

Cien años

copyright 2005 Gina MarySol Ruiz