Karla Cordero

Karla Bio Pic

A Brown Girl’s Blues


There is demon between my eyes,

            a fanged beast, a nightmare in shadowed veils

who rips root from bone, some maniac killer of ancestry

            a cyclops stitching brown girl nicknames,

el diablo dressed in America.


Karla Cordero was born and raised as a border child along the cities of Calexico, California and Mexicali Mexico. She is currently an MFA candidate at San Diego State University and a contributing writer for Poetry International. In 2013, Karla was the first Hispanic female to join the Elevated Poetry Slam Team, which placed fourth in the country at the National Poetry Slam in Boston. She is the editor for Spit Journal, an online literary review for performance poetry and social justice. You can find more of her written work at: www.spitjournal.com 


There are wounded sparrows between my lips,

            a choir in shackles, broken beaks & rusted tongues,

new scars behind feathered backs, caged-throats

            screaming for privilege,

turns parrot color mocking a white kid’s tune.


There is a kitchen-knife between my breasts,

            a blacksmith dimple, a village of spears howling

to mother moon, a razor lump, shaman chants

            between hillsides, blood on silver coin, a wealth

so rich in earth, men are always hungry to settle their flags.


There is a brushfire between my hips,

            a savage dance, matches shoved in sick children bellies,

cigarette torches & kerosene chimneys,

            a tumble weed on candle wick, lava ash & ghost cry,

how dangerous to burn alive before the fall.


There is a cemetery between my legs,

            a war bleeding over riverbanks, tombstones

for crippled grandmothers, lost bodies in high grass,

            sacred stone & orchards swaying gentle,

bullets, mud, cracked palms & prayer.