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About this poet

Andrés Montoya was born on May 18, 1968. He received a BA from California State University–Fresno, where he cofounded the Chicano Writers and Artists Association, and an MFA from the University of Oregon. His first book, the iceworker sings and other poems (Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe, 1999) received a Chicano/Latino Literary Prize in 1997 and a Before Columbus Foundation American Book Award in 2000. In 2017 Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe and Letras Latinas copublished the posthumous poetry collection a jury of trees, edited by Daniel Chacón. Montoya died from leukemia on May 26, 1999.

love at the beginning

tonight for a moment as the owl sleeps
i’m going to dust this city’s dirt from my clothes
the dry hot deaths that bring the strongest to their knees.
i’m going to run headlong through a rainstorm
dodging lightening blasts and hurdling rivers
as wolves howl on a peak of purple darkness.
with my nose flaring, the sulfur of the fields will not deter me,
i’m going to come through to a background of laughing cars
and screaming
                                sirens.
my forehead pushing forward to the street
of your house, i’m going to come with the smile of a boy,
my smile,
my hands offering callouses, offering struggle.
tonight as the owl sleeps, i’ll come with the silence of a cricket,
with the intensity of a flower and for an instant, a second,
before i tell you it’s starting and bring the guns,
feathers will flow from my mouth to tell you, mi amor, my soul,
a kiss before we pray. i gather the stars like berries
and bring them to light your face, let me again smell
the skin of your stomach,
let me wash your feet with my lips,
nibble the meat from behind your knees.

From A Jury of Trees (Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe and Letras Latinas, 2017). Copyright © 2017 by Andrés Montoya. Used with the permission of Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe.

From A Jury of Trees (Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe and Letras Latinas, 2017). Copyright © 2017 by Andrés Montoya. Used with the permission of Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe.

Andrés Montoya

Andrés Montoya is the author of the iceworker sings and other poems (Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe, 1999) and a jury of trees (Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe and Letras Latinas, 2017).

by this poet

poem

there are the stars
and the sickle stare
of the moon

there are the frogs
dancing in the joy
of the ditch and the crickets
serenading everything

there are the trees
and the huge shadow
of the wind whispering
the old hymns of my childhood

and of course, there

poem

the night swoons
               to the hip-hop
               of gunshots
               and stars.

a young woman’s teeth
               challenge
               everything

about sorrow’s suitcase
of explanations

and i am learning to hope
               like a

poem

i have found
the face
of story
lying again.

i’m tired.

i’m a moth
on sunday.

i’m rain
looking
for a cup’s
crippled rim.

this is my decision:
blindfolded
i will look for truth
in the rough skin
of wood
sticking up
at the sky