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Chairman's Note

Mo H Saidi

In the winter of 2008 after the Barnes & Noble monthly poetry program moderated by Jim Brandenburg, Jim and I discussed starting a quarterly literature and arts magazine in San Antonio. As I had recently returned from Harvard with a master’s degree in English literature, and having witnessed the burgeoning poetry readings and the magazines supported by many Bostonians, I thought we could count on the city’s support for this initiative. We each invested an initial $500. The next day, we registered the magazine as Voices de la Luna: A Quarterly Poetry & Arts Magazine at the Bexar County Courthouse. Initially, our goal was to publish the magazine digitally, and if we encountered demand, add a hard copy. But upon the insistence of Voices’ newly elected board of directors’ chairperson, Dr. Harmon Kelly, the plan changed. Dr. Kelly, whose family holds a notable collection of African-American paintings and sculptures, urged that the magazine be published in both hard-copy and digital formats. We were greatly encouraged by the tremendous support we received from local writers, poets, and artists. After receiving grants from the AT&T Foundation, the San Antonio Arts and Culture Department, Frost Bank, and Northeast OB/GYN physicians, we quickly published the first issue of Voices in September 2008. Sandra Cisneros led the first annual gala in 2009, which provided us with funds to ensure continuous publication of the magazine.

Now thirteen years later, we proudly present the magazine’s 50th issue at the annual virtual gala on March 21, 2021, and recognize the diligent efforts of Jimmy Adair, Voices’ Managing Editor, as well as the rest of the editorial staff. At our gala, Voices is also honoring one of San Antonio’s most respected supporters of literature and the arts, Dr. Ellen Riojas Clark, by presenting her the Voices of Texas Award.

Voices’ mission is to offer the magazine as a platform to publish the valuable work of our local writers and artists and talented young poets. We also publish national and international writers, including such luminaries as Natasha Trethewey and Ted Kooser. In addition to publishing the quarterly literature & arts magazine, we stage free monthly poetry and prose workshops and readings at local bookstores and libraries, poetry and art therapy sessions for the homeless at Haven for Hope, for youth at high schools, and art therapy workshops at the Bexar County Detention Center. Voices believes in the power of poetry and the arts. Yes, poetry heals minds, and arts advance the quality of life. Voices de la Luna is blessed with a supportive and hard-working board of directors and advisers, notable editors, and a talented executive director. We are grateful to the City of San Antonio, which from the onset supported Voices’ publication and community services, to H‑E‑B, which is sponsoring Voices’ Youth Poetry Contest, and to Wells Fargo, which is supporting the Voices annual gala. We also thank many other businesses and individual supporters who are making Voices thrive as we struggle in the midst of the dire situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you to all our supporters!


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Themes for future issues
May 2021: Architecture and the Built Environment
August 2021: Historiography: Writing History

Current Voices



Laura Van Prooyen

Mother, I wish I could twin myself and tuck you in to your blanket cocoon. You say the cold eats at your bones, and I know, because last time I heard crumbling marrow roll through you like rain. Mother, there are feathers stuck in my throat. I wish for a twin with telepathic lips against your good ear. Let her relay that yesterday a swarm of cedar waxwings picked clean your daughter’s ligustrum of fruit. The daughter who moved to warmer climes, because you said—remember?—everything would be okay. Let this more beautiful child help you find the perfect tilt, suspend your legs, undo gravity’s pressure. I made sure she knows your fleece throw should fold under your feet, that your worn pillow is to cradle your head, and it’s your left ear to which she should bend when she says: your far-away daughter sends love from her new, green yard. Her voice chimes like mine, but may sound sweeter as it swirls into your inner ear. Mother, don’t let her vibrations fool you if through thin cochlear fluid you hear: I am the girl who loves you best.i My twin is prone to lie, even as she leans, her silken hair glancing your eyes. The laws are different here. From twelve hundred miles away, I duplicate. I splinter. I fly. Mother, I float to your ceiling, drift over your body. Your body my heart once beat in, where as a dark cluster of cells I began furiously to split.




Colored Birds

Cozette Ellis




The End of Winter

Brandon McQuade

Doe and fawn graze our snow-packed lawn leaving hoofprints in the gathering dark. Uncle John’s husky, Maverick, escapes his enclosure to chase a rabbit through the deepening snow. Everything seems dead or slow. The sun shows no indication of spring, providing little warmth, its snowy glare crystallized on frosty windows— the groundhog has yet again seen its shadow. When the winter sun passes over and the frost thaws to a soft, morning dew, everything is new again.




Los Valles

Eva Marengo Sanchez




The Old Cotton Field Church

Philip C. Kolin

Once an ark sailing across the Delta heat haze carrying 40 souls every Sunday to the next week’s heartaches, the old clapboard church brought Jesus and his apostles to cotton field bodies waiting for resurrection from bristles, thorns, and crosses that weighed over one hundred pounds, dragged through ant beds and snake pits. Here souls were called to muddy water baptisms, weddings, and funerals, the cornerstones of life. Music flowed through these walls and crisscrossed floorboards with cracks wide enough to watch the dust turn into black rivers because of a late morning rain. Hail, too, pounded the roof sounding like the deluge that kept Noah awake and afloat. But as the congregations drifted away to Memphis, St. Louis, and Chicago, the old church sank into dust itself. A bronze plaque became its anchor and its obituary. Memories of it live in peeling photographs.




Our Dinner with Andre, the Cat

Sonya Gonzalez




Cat Meditation

Martha K. Grant

Without considering the letters, the poet Rumi writes, listen to the language of the heart. I consider instead the calligraphy of marks my fingers inscribe on the back of the cat now sleeping on my lap, translate the prayer I find there, brailling her fur for the purr of the heart’s soft sweet language. First published in Voices de la Luna, Feb 2016.


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