Archives for posts with tag: Mexican artists

IMAGE: “Young Man with a Fountain Pen” by Diego Rivera (1914).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: David Diaz is a 26-year-old bike tech and part-time editor at American Mustard who lives in Lakewood, California. He received his BA in Literature and Creative Writing from Cal State Long Beach, and is currently pursuing his MFA there. His work has been featured by Cadence Collective, Birds Thumb, and has a chapbook entitled Loogie Papers that was published by Tiny Splendor Press in 2012. David loves concerts, poetry readings, book releases, drive-in movies, and is addicted to Los Angeles.


“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


Lola Alvarez Bravo: El Sueño del ahogado, c.1945

Poem by Gerald Locklin

Ambiguities haunt our languages
Of dream, desire, figuration.
Are there little quince princesses
Posing upon the river, fallen branches,
Rocks, and diving-board pilings—
The inhabitants of the slumbered Head
Of the decapitated, recapitulated Orpheus,
Or is he the handsome cynosure
Of their collective virginal lust?
Do we meet our Incubi and Succubi
In the colorless weather of the night?
Are we allowed to remember
Our silver seductions
In monochromatic flashbacks,
Or do they only remain as muscle memory?
My wet dreams are getting drier,
But awake I can shoot down every aircraft.
How damp are a woman’s humid dreams? 

Illustration: El Sueño del ahogado, c.1945, photograph by Lola Alvarez Bravo. According to, “Lola Alvarez Bravo is widely recognized as Mexico’s first woman photographer and a pioneer of modern photography…[her work spans] six decades…images include street photographs, images documenting indigenous people and traditional culture in Mexico, portraits, and Surrealist-inspired photomontages.”


Note: Gerald Locklin wrote the above poem after visiting the “Women and Surrealism” exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in the spring of 2012. The poem and several others inspired by visual art at the exhibition appear in Issue #5 of  The Más Tequila Review, available at The 130-page issue, edited by poet Richard Vargas, includes 66 poems from 37 poets. This is an amazing collection in a beautiful large format edition that includes Richard Vargas‘s homage to one of L.A.’s finest entitled “salvation…for Ray Bradbury.” Highly recommended — and a bargain at just $7.00! 

The Más Tequila Review is now accepting submissions for its Winter 2013 issue. Details here.