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ArLiJo Features Ventura Valdez Poetry Winners

Winner of the 2010 Ventura Valdez English Poetry Award

*Curandero of Juárez (A Childhood Memory)

Curandero, my aunts bring me to you. I have been ill. They tell me you heal. Word of your gift is known north and south of the border, from Las Cruces to Camargo, my maternal family home.

I entered the room. A powerful graying man came forward. I felt calm, at peace in his presence. I saw my beloved father in his face.

Curandero with thick, mystical two-thumbed right hand, how do you cure me with blessed holy water, then making the sign of the cross on my bloated belly?

He was seen at his home in the Juárez barrio, disciplines said, as Cuauhtémoc, Aztec chieftain incarnate— red and yellow feathered crowned aura merging with his, curandero and chieftain both speaking a strange native tongue.

Curandero, where do you go when in a trance to find him? Still in a daze, he slowly awakened, unaware of what I, a mystified child, was asking.

*In Latin American a curandero is a traditional folk-healer.

Copyright © 2010 by Joseph Baldi Acosta.

Biography: Joseph Baldi Acosta was born in Los Angeles, California and is of Italian-American and Mexican heritage. He grew up in the Culver City-Venice area of southern California, in a predominantly Spanish speaking household.

He has an undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California in biochemistry, and a master’s degree in Ibero-American studies from the University of Wisconsin. In 2003 he retired after 37 years of working for the federal government, where his various assignments and contract employment included U.S. based and international public health and development assistance work (Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, and Jordan) for the Peace Corps, U.S. Public Health Service and the U.S. Agency for International Development. He has since worked as an independent consultant in the fields of primary health care and HIV/AIDS.

Baldi Acosta is the author of several articles dealing with primary health care in rural areas of the US and public health in developing countries.

In addition to his family, his passions include international travel, foreign languages, birding, tennis, and most recently, creative writing – particularly poetry, which he has studied at Montgomery College. His diverse cultural heritage and foreign assignments heavily influence his world outlook and writing. Baldi Acosta’s hope is that his writing will be enjoyed by those who read it.

He is married to Maria Thorne and has two daughters and a granddaughter.

Winner of the 2010 Ventura Valdez Spanish Poetry Contest


Sobreviviré a la catedral de tus sueños, me arrodillaré ante tu altar el día que caiga la luna hacia la sombra de mi poesía; suplicaré perdón un viernes santo que el agua queme tus cabellos, mientras crucifico tu dominio bajo los clavos de mi razón… resucitaras bajo aquella sombra besando tu oportunidad, lagrimeando tu confusión, mientras abrazas el polvo de tu sin razón.

Abriré tus puertas bajo el techo húmedo, la oscuridad será cómplice de tu temor; olvidaras tus sueños y mi amargura la beberás una tarde tibia; olvidaras tus pecados y te entregaré a mi perdón, te haré impoluta a mi ilusión… aunque mas tarde te sepulte bajo mixtura de flores… aunque sufras en el infierno cerrado de mi olvido.

Copyright © 2010 by Harvy R. Valencia.

Biography: Harvy R. Valencia was born in Arequipa, Peru; he came to the United States in 2005. He has been writing since he was very young, his first influence came from Cesar Vallejo, one of Peru\’s most talented poets.

Valencia has not only written poetry but also essays and plays. His inspiration comes from the mixture of sadness and love, loneliness and life, religion and pain and his own philosophy of life. He has a degree in economics from the University of San Agustin in Arequipa, and will be graduating this May from Montgomery College with a degree in paralegal studies. Valencia plans to publish a book based on his life in a near future and also a collection of his poetry. Finally he also plans to attend law school. One of the main aspects of his poetry is the lack of titles. For the purposes of the Ventura Valdez Poetry Contest he had to title the poems he submitted.

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