Three Poems by Christopher Carmona

Beautiful War


I wish I was beautiful like war.

with gorgeous napalm skies.

sublime mushroom bombings.

& pretty scars that leak tears like strawberry milk.

I want to have my stories filled with lovely scenes of half standing buildings littered with cute pieces of nose and the occasional decorative ear.

I want my characters to be charming with alluring acts of rape & graceful gunfights

that leave exposed hearts beating for unrequited dominance.

I want so much to be more attractive than the hideous activist

fighting with disgusting words and revolting hope for a disturbingly still world.


but I am ugly like peace.

with deafening quiet & no PTSD to stir my soul.

I sit like a chair.

 & never move like an airplane dancing in black rain.



A World Without Choice



eyes like wet stones stare back at me

from her glossy prison

a staple through her navel

tells her that this is not her body

it belongs to hungry fingers of the righteous

they hand out her choice

fold her voice so that her knees kiss lips

and erase her agency with bars made from

psalms and parables of their choosing

treating their scripture like a Chinese buffet

take what you want and leave the rest

and the sin of lust is always hers

He is free from fault,

His sin is being enticed

She suffers not like a good Buddhist

but like a prisoner in the Gulag of ideology.



every day she sees them

telling her story

they cannot hear

only believe

never care

just see

the apparitions of faces

that ghost these streets

until one day she sees

a young woman with tears for cheeks

and bruises for thighs

a terrible reminder growing inside

that a world without choice is a world without...



The Greatest Challenge of the Day is a Standing Rock


As long as the grass grows and the water runs

Most people would rather die than think, many do

I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees


Get a little further; you are too near me

A people's dream died there. It was a beautiful dream.

From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.


As long as the grass grows and the water runs

Silence is argument carried out by other means.

The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall.


Get a little further, you are too near me

We begged for life and the white men thought we wanted theirs; we heard the soldiers coming.

They made us many promises, more than I can remember, but they never kept but one; they promised to take our land, and they did.


As long as the grass grows and the water runs

I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness.

With my own eyes I saw Spaniards cut off noses & ears of Indians, male and female, without provocation, merely because it pleased them to do it.


Get a little further, you are too near me

I am poor and naked, but I am the chief of the nation.
We do not want riches but we do want to train our children right. Riches would do us no good.


As long as the grass grows and the water runs

As the long forgotten peoples of the respective continents rise and begin to reclaim

Their ancient heritage, they will discover the meaning of the lands of their ancestors.


Get a little further, you are too near me

The life of a single human being is worth a million times more than all the property of the richest man on earth.

The greatest challenge of the day is: how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution which has to start with each one of us.

hristopher Carmona was the inaugural writer-in-residence for the Langdon Review Writers Residency Program in 2015. His book, The Road to Llorona Park, won the NACCS Tejas Foco Best Fiction Book of 2016. His story, “Strange Leaves,” was the third finalist in the Texas Observer Short Story Contest of 2014. He was also a Pushcart Prize nominee in 2013. He has been published in numerous journals and magazines including Trickster Literary Journal, Interstice, vandal., Bordersenses, & the Sagebrush Review. He has co-edited an anthology called Outrage: A Protest Anthology about Injustice in a Post 9/11 World for Slough Press and was a co-editor for The Beatest State in The Union: An Anthology of Beat Texas Writing. He was also a co-author for a scholarly conversation book entitled Nuev@s Voces Poeticas: A Dialogue about New Chican@ Identities and has two collections of poetry: beat and I Have Always Been Here. Currently, he has a new book of poems, 140: Twitter Poems, a bilingual edition translated by Gerald Padilla due out in 2017 by Jade Press and is co-editing Outrage: Witness and Silence for Slough Press with Rossy Evelin Lima.