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Poems by Alex Z. Salinas – Connect Four and Warble August 14, 2019

Posted by vscorpiozine in poems, poetry, poets from Texas, Veteran Poets.
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Connect Four 

When I was eight or nine years old,
my parents, in the summer,
dropped me off at my grandparents’ house
on Camargo Street. It had a little brown roof
and a basketball-pelted garage door.
The house sat across from an old dirt field
where baseball once was played
by my older brothers and cousins.
My grandma would either be
in her tiny kitchen, making fresh tortillas
with lard—slapping the dough with her
small, blue-veiny hands—or in her bedroom
that smelled of incense and gardenias,
lying down and watching Telemundo.
My grandpa would either be in the cramped
living room watching luche libre wrestling,
drinking Milwaukee from the can,
or off somewhere else, most likely smoking in solitude.
The days were long then.
Every so often, my grandma retrieved
Connect Four from her closet and
shook the box—clanking the little plastic pieces
to let me know it was game time—
it was magic to my ears.
I’d always lose.
For a transplant from Hualahuises—
where Cabeza de Vaca once stepped foot and showed
the benevolence of God to the dark-skinned natives—
my homebody grandma was sharp as a dagger.
We wouldn’t talk during our matches,
as if the yellow Swiss cheese wall of
Connect Four between us had reached out and pinched our
tongues. But the truth was, I couldn’t speak Spanish.
After my grandma won, she’d release the red
and black checker pieces, which came crashing down hard
onto the dining table. Chiquito, the ever-annoying Chihuahua,
barked like mad. My grandma cackled like an old lady.
I’d stare at her dentures, a little frightened, but then remember to laugh too.
At some point, we reinserted the chips
and played again.


Woke up to the sound of
your tweeting, little birdie.
High and low, up and down
it goes,
like a tea pot whistling
or police sirens ripping through
the silence of twilight.
Sound is decay, hot exhalation,
back-of-the-throat disruption.
High and low, up and down
it goes,
forever and always so long as
the sun will fry us.



Alex Z. Salinas lives in San Antonio, Texas. His poetry has appeared in the San Antonio Express-News, Shot Glass Journal, As It Ought To Be Magazine, The Dope Fiend Daily,  Duane’s PoeTree and the San Antonio Review, where he serves as poetry editor.

His short fiction has appeared in publications such as Every Day Fiction, Mystery Tribune, Red Fez, Points in Case, 101 Words, Schlock! Webzine, 365tomorrows, and The Fusty Nut Review.