Archives for posts with tag: Frida Kahlo

by Daniel Olivas

Never conventional
about anything she did.

Never apologetic
about who she was.

And it was not easy.

From paint,
she did art and poetry.

From the infidelities
of her husband,
she found freedom.

Frida was the only woman
that kept challenging Diego

: for the right reasons

: she always surprised him

: he truly believed she was a genius

And it was not easy.

SOURCE: Salma Hayek interview conducted by Rebecca Murray and Fred Topel around the time of the 2002 release of Frida. 

IMAGE: Salma Hayek as Frida Kahlo in the 2002 film Frida.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:  For many of us who grew up in the Mexican culture, Frida Kahlo has been part of our lives since childhood. Her “rediscovery” by the general public was somewhat surprising (for some) but quite welcome. If she were alive today, I believe she would have used the Internet, Twitter, Instagram, etc., as yet another canvas. I Googled Frida Kahlo and found an interview with Salma Hayak who played Kahlo in the 2002 movie Frida which was based on the truly remarkable 1983 biography by Hayden Herrera.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Daniel A. Olivas is the author of seven books including the award-winning novel The Book of Want (University of Arizona Press), and Things We Do Not Talk About: Exploring Latino/a Literature through Essays and Interviews (San Diego State University Press). He is the editor of Latinos in Lotusland: An Anthology of Contemporary Southern California Literature (Bilingual Press), and has been widely anthologized including in Sudden Fiction Latino (W. W. Norton), and You Don’t Have a Clue: Latino Mystery Stories for Teens (Arte Público Press). Olivas has written for many publications including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, High Country News, and California Lawyer. Visit him at

Self Portrait with Thorn Necklace1
by Carol Berg

The gold chain wrapped around
your throat menaces me.
The sky is in the basement with
empty beer bottles and discarded baby
seats. You think mice have invaded
but really they’re clouds making all that mess
clouds that risk their throats for the steel you’ve
laid bare. You come in with your tools
and bring me down down the stairs
again to show me. The goats are tied up here
bleating. I want their solace I want
their sturdy hooves. The dryer turns
its unconventional rotation into a study
of wheels of cogs of squeals. I squeeze
the washcloths and soap refuses
to come out to release itself to vacate.
I wish for the vacancies of garages
of cupboards holding the last of the Halloween
candy bars. I try to refuse the bleach you
offer try to refuse your stares.
Your leash singing on the hook.

IMAGE: “Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace” (detail) by Frida Kahlo (1922).

Carol reading1

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Carol Berg’s poems are forthcoming or in The Journal, Spillway, Sou’wester, Redactions, Pebble Lake Review, Fifth Wednesday Journal, and Verse Wisconsin.  Her most recent chapbook, Her Vena Amoris, is available from Red Bird Chapbooks. She lives in Massachusetts.

by Shelley Wong

He goes to her. He goes and so does my hair
the way he likes it. It falls, feather-like, arrow-
ready at my feet. They call me a bird,
but I rust: a dropped key, forgotten
scissors. I make my own forest and coax
thorns, moths, and metal to swarm in my hairnest.
The sky is a door in a sky. I wait
for messages sent by suspended ribbons,
which are the arteries of devotion.
Here are my monkeys and bears, here is
my new face. I go deeper into the trees
when he runs to her. My mouth is full
of watermelon. Its sweetness gone out
like a veladora. I am the horse that runs.

IMAGE: “Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird” by Frida Kahlo (1940).

by David Dominguez

Yesterday afternoon, I hung a framed print in the living room—
a task that took two head-throbbing hours.
It’s a wedding portrait that we love: Frida and Diego Rivera.
I wonder how two people could consistently hurt each other,
but still feel love so deeply as their bones turned into dust?
Before Frida died, she painted a watermelon still life;
before his death, Diego did too.
I want to believe that those paintings were composed
during parallel moments because of their undying devotion.
If I close my eyes, I can see melon wedges left like
centerpieces except for the slice
Diego put on the table’s corner—
one piece of fruit pecked at by a dove
that passed through a window. . .

MORE: Read “Wedding Portrait” by David Dominguez in its entirety at

SOURCE: “Wedding Portrait” appears in David Dominguez‘s collection The Ghost of Cesar Chavez (C&R Press, 2010), available at

IMAGE: “Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Wedding Portrait” by Frida Kahlo (1931).

NOTE: Artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo were married on August 21, 1929.

David Dominguez

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: David Dominguez earned a BA in comparative literature from the University of California at Irvine and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Arizona. He is the author of the collections Marcoli Sausage (2000), published in Gary Soto’s Chicano Chapbook Series, Work Done Right (2003), and The Ghost of César Chávez (2010). Dominguez’s poems have been published in the anthologies The Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry (2007), Bear Flag Republic: Prose Poems and Poetics from California (2008), Breathe: 101 Contemporary Odes (2009), and Camino del Sol: Fifteen Years of Latina and Latino Writing (2010).  Dominguez is the co-founder and editor of The Packinghouse Review. He teaches at Reedley College in Reedley, California.



by Chelsey Minnis

The aquamarine becomes invisible when you place it into the sea. It seems like birds should have aquamarine beaks that they can dip into the sea and therefore surprise the fish. They could also sing aquamarine songs. If you borrowed someone’s aquamarine, swallowed it, and jumped into the sea, then you would not become invisible. But your soul would become visible and all the fish would try to bite you. If you put an aquamarine onto any surface other than the sea, then it should be visible. If you put on an aquamarine choker and look in the mirror and don’t see anything, then you must be the sea.

SOURCE: “The Aquamarine” appears in Chelsey Minnis‘s collection Zirconia (Fence Books, 2001), winner of the 2001 Alberta Prize, available at

IMAGE: “Self-Portrait with Choker” by Frida Kahlo (1933).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Chelsey Minnis received a BA in English from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and studied creative writing from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She is the author of several collections of poetry, including Zirconia (2001), Foxina (2002), Bad Bad (2007),  and Poemland (2009). She lives in Boulder, Colorado. Read more of her work at

by Alberto Rios

I am stealing things All the time.
I steal what I can from everywhere, 

The light, the air, The music that matters most to me. 
I carry them away neatly, invisible in word 

Valises, inside unfathomable 
Thoughts, attached to the magnet 

Harvest of a song I’m singing-nobody, 
Nobody is the wiser- I carry everything away with me 

Using rhyme dollies and spelling knots.
The police have not caught on. 

But I am at large, 
Unwieldy, and unstoppable. 

I walk freely 
Every day, anywhere, all the time

In spite of having stolen 
Horses and kisses-the stars themselves, 

More than one, more than once.
I steal, I steal, 

I have always stolen. 
Be careful of me. When you see me, 

Speak quietly and do little. 
Do not let me notice you. 

Get away 
If you want to be safe. 

Illustration: Pages from The Diary of Frida Kahlo


“They thought I was a Surrealist, but I wasn’t. I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality.” 


Mural by Levi Ponce, Pacoima (Los Angeles), California, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Photo by Robert Medina, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

by Pablo Neruda

…the round, magnificent,
star-filled watermelon.
It’s a fruit from the thirst-tree.
It’s the green whale of the summer.
The dry universe
all at once
given dark stars
by this firmament of coolness
lets the swelling
come down:
its hemispheres open
showing a flag
green, white, red,
that dissolves into
wild rivers, sugar,
When we’re thirsty
we glimpse you
a mine or a mountain
of fantastic food,
among our longings and our teeth
you change
into cool light
that slips in turn into
spring water
that touched us once
And that is why
you don’t weigh us down
in the siesta hour
that’s like an oven,
you don’t weigh us down,
you just
go by
and your heart, some cold ember,
turned itself into a single
drop of water.

Painting: “Viva La Vida” by Frida Kahlo (1954) — Kahlo’s last painting.

Today we honor Frida Kahlo, the groundbreaking artist who was born on a summer day (July 6, 1907) and passed away on a summer day (July 13, 1954). Like her husband, the celebrated painter Diego Rivera (1886-1957), the subject of Kahlo’s last painting was the watermelon — the essence of all things summer. We raise a slice of summer to Frida and Diego — and thank them for their sublime art. Kahlo’s last painting includes the phrase “Viva La Vida” — long live life — as exemplified by the wonders of the watermelon.

When one has tasted watermelon, he knows what the angels eat.” MARK TWAIN

For the curious, Diego Rivera‘s last painting is featured below.



“They thought I was a Surrealist, but I wasn’t. I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality.” FRIDA KAHLO

Mural by Levi Ponce, Pacoima (Los Angeles), California, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Photo by Robert Medina, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED