Lisbeth Coiman


Lisbeth Coiman is an emerging, bilingual writer wandering the immigration path from Venezuela to Canada to the US. Her work has been published in Hip Mama, the Literary Kitchen, Nailed Magazine, Entropy, and RabidOak, and most recently in Lady Liberty Lit. She was also featured in the Listen to Your Mother Show in 2015. Her self-published memoir, I Asked the Blue Heron (Nov 2017), explores the intersection between immigration and mental health.

Coiman lives in Los Angeles, where she teaches English as a Second Language and speaks for NAMI about living with a mental disorder. She dances salsa to beat depression.

On IG, Twitter, FB, and LinkedIn as Lisbeth Coiman

El Guaire


             “You’ll drink water from El Guaire,” he said.

             And the red seals clapped.


Before born,

El Guaire provided Caracas

With fresh water streaming down from tributaries.


Citizens proud of

First source of constant energy

In the subcontinent.


Sanitation efforts drained sewage

Canalized it

The river became a torrent of human and industrial waste.


              “Beberán agua de El Guaire,” he said.

             And the red seals clapped.


As a young college student commuting

To and from the city, caught in flood,

Traffic at halt, I stepped into liquid filth.

I waddled in open sewage shivering with disgust.

Made no difference to release my bladder,

Without shame.


Covered in rushes up to waist

Two rounds of antibiotics later,

Still reeked of human excrement.


             “En un año, se bañarán en El Guaire,” he said.

             And the red seals clapped.


On social media,

The only reliable news from dystopian country,

Hundreds of citizens slide down the sewage,


carrying plastic containers

To quench their thirst

With the waste of a country gone awry.


             “You’ll drink water from El Guaire,”

             Hugo Chavez Frías, 2006

© The Acentos Review 2019