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Ángel de la independencia

Ángel de la independencia,
una diosa alada, una rompedora de cadenas
descendiendo de los cielos
para honrar a los liberados de los opresores,
para bendecir a los que continúan
con inspiración y esperanza,
para recordarnos la fragilidad de la libertad,
vigilando una fundación
de secretos sagrados, almas y huesos,
una fundación de un pueblo recién nacido

Victoriosa y triunfante,
una amada dadora de coronas
de laureles para los descendientes
de El Grito y toda la gente gritando
por la soberanía, la justicia y la paz
en todos los lugares, en todos los tiempos
Ella es la vencedora invencible,
Ella que siempre triunfará,
Ella que siempre acompañará
a los héroes de la independencia

Exported from Medium 30th July, 2020.


A bird sits alone on a branch
in the garden as we talk about
nature and lost souls. If there
is such a thing. The bird sings
to no one. Does it have a soul?
We could push everything aside

to reveal light breaking through

the trees. We could reveal secrets

if we knew what we believed.

Could we strip naked and reveal

our betrayals? There is a stream

that flows through this valley

in spring. The water gives shape

to our formless selves. It carries 

us as we make our way across

the hills and through the skies.

It sustains us and the land as we

fashion myths from nothingness,

as we nurture carefully crafted

prophecies. We are surrounded

by small broadleaf trees bearing

fruit, not all of it edible. Manzanita

berries bloom in spring. The alluring

red fruit and flowers are edible.
They will sustain us if we fall.

*Originally appeared in Hitchlit Review


Once rebuked,

he referred to himself in third person


If only he had listened


If only he had tried a bit harder,

if only he had turned this way


instead of that way

he might have made something


of himself, of his life


He’s going to light a cigarette now

Doc said it’s not worth killing yourself


but it steadies his nerves


He remembers a joke about a father

who left home to buy a pack of cigarettes


and never returned

*Originally appeared in 3Moon Magazine


The first time I saw my daddy cry

was the day the tracks got pulled up.

The world had changed they said,

time had bypassed us they said.

The brickworks was forced to close,

it could no longer operate at a loss.


Loss is what tore apart my daddy

the day he cried. He could feel it

in his tired, brittle bones as he sat

staring out the window of our home

at the factory that was now nothing

more than an abstract pile of scrap iron.


A whirlwind of old torn newspapers

blew across the road, over the raised

gravel beds where the tracks once lay,

pushed against a sagging, rusted

chain-link fence. Yes sir, I can do that,

my daddy said under his breath,

yes sir, I can work weekends 

and holidays, he was nodding his head,

yes sir, I can come in early, stay late.


The long mornings became the most

difficult part of the day. He and my

momma sat at our round wooden table,

doing their best to sip dark coffee and

eat buttered toast with homemade jam.

They were silent most mornings

before daddy went to the window to

monitor any changes. We used to play

outside that window, in the yard.

When he squinted, he could see us

laughing, running around through the

water whirling out of the sprinkler he

bought at now-closed A-1 Mercantile.

I remember my daddy’s smile that day.


*Originally appeared in The Diaspora Anthology pub by UC Berkeley


A steadfast mother in ancient Mesopotamia
was teaching her daughter to weave wool
to provide warmth in the coming winter
of the river lands of the Fertile Crescent,
the life-sustaining Tigris and Euphrates, as
father directed water to desperate crops.


Somewhere just below the tree line in the 
White Mountains of eastern California, 
a seedling begins new life, its tentacle like 
roots gripping into the rocky dolomite soil
as winds of fine sand cut through the dry
rain shadow of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Today, the antediluvian sentinel Methuselah
stands, the proud protector of the Great Basin
Bristlecone Pine progeny, its gnarled hardwood
arms reaching out like burghers cast in bronze, 
nature’s historic monument, a reminder to
remain open to mystery and wonder.

*Originally appeared in humana obscura


blocking in scrubbing out

   defining eliminating

bring the sun in

     for a closer look

dots of light

   on the surface

sparkling embers

     floating on breaths

bits stuck in the tooth

   some in deep canyons

others barely visible

     some crevices deepened

some skimmed over

   shadows are formed

opaque objects block

   source light

     hard light

       soft light

     white light

   yellow light

nonblack shadows

   transparent layers

absorbed colors

     reflected colors

highlighting differentiating

   concealing revealing

organizing unifying     

     weaving in and out

of visible degrees

   on an invisible scale

*Originally appeared in Subterranean Blue Poetry


Kodokushi refers to a Japanese phenomenon of people dying alone and remaining undiscovered for a long period of time.


It hit me like a ton of something on a day I no longer remember. I think I read a ton of feathers weighs the same as a ton of bricks.  An Italian guy dropped cannon balls from a tower. I don’t remember why, something about gravity. I heard that from a tour guide, seems like a past life. It was the only time I ever left the country. There’s still an old paper map on a table, with faded newspapers, photographs, and origami cranes. The din of cicadas is omnipresent as night now falls in pieces like rocks filling up this space, this overstuffed chair. Sometimes, when the weight is overwhelming, I see myself imploding, spilling out onto the floor, only to be mopped up by a stranger.


*Originally appeared in Spillway Journal

Justified margins have been altered to fit this page

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KENNETH JOHNSON 2022 No part of may be reproduced without permission from copyright owner

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