We’re very pleased to present the work of three featured poets scheduled to read at the 23rd Austin International Poetry Festival: Allyson Whipple, Candy Royalle and Christopher Carmona. The festival’s headline poet this year is Nikki Giovanni, who will read April 11. Giovanni’s performance is open to the public.


AIPF, which takes place from April 9-12, is the world’s largest non-juried poetry festival. All registered poets attend free, and any registered poet can perform. Tickets are available to the public for $20-60 each. Readings and performances take place in venues around the city.


See the website for more information, including registration, ticket purchases, venues and schedules.


A special thanks to James L. Jacobs, Austin Poets International treasurer and festival committee chair for helping Ragazine bring these poets to your attention. www.aipf.org







A Letter For Waiting


I am waiting for Lawrence Ferlinghetti…to tell me what to write next…I am waiting in nothingness…for something to happen…but nothing ever happens here…I am waiting for the sparrow to turn red…and whisper that justice in Ferguson is real…I am waiting for tooth fairy to take my teeth and leave money under my pillow …but tooth fairy doesn’t want one tooth…it wants them all…I am waiting for 43 students to return from Guerrero…I am waiting for #Ayotzinapa to mean more than digital cries in tumblr-verse…I am waiting for brown rabbits to turn white so they won’t be asked for papers at checkpoint…I am waiting for tattooed bruises to disappear from women’s faces who only wear fear-scented perfume…I am waiting for the tree of liberty to be refreshed by blood of patriots…not its tired huddled masses…


I am waiting for scissors to cut more than paper…I am waiting for paper to be stronger than printed lies…I am waiting to tell myself that less rocks and more talk will change the world…I am waiting for another gunman and his student-riddled bullet ride…so we can talk about change…because we live in nothingness…where only talk is allow…action is terroristic/treasonous/and serves only the 99%…I am waiting for bones to unbreak…for guns to unshoot…for death to give birth to life…and not the other way around…I am waiting for snails to run faster than cheetahs…I am waiting for songs to cure AIDS and paintings to rid us of poverty…not give us money…but enrich lives so that dollars don’t dance in heads like sugarplums on Christmas…I am waiting to give America an 8-pack of crayons with all the colors of the world because she only has white & black. I am waiting for people to see more black and white movies so they can finally appreciate the wonders of purple lilacs and yellow sunflowers…


I am waiting for poetry to be written on walls and art to be written down in books…I am waiting for a tomorrow that will start night and end day…I am waiting for white sheets with eyeholes to once again be visible to the world…I am waiting for the avante garde to list its assets on Craigslist…in the personals…LFSJ (looking for social justice) without LHB (light human bondage)…I am waiting for barrios to echo in the halls of Casa Blanca…I am waiting for brothers not to be shot down like paper targets in a shooting range… I am waiting for you choke hold that killed Eric Garner to apologize. I am waiting for someone to actually I can’t breathe and do something about it. I am waiting for the 6 bullets buried deep in Michael Brown to admit they knew they shouldn’t of been there. Did you see hands in air, bullets? Black man on knees? Or did you only see the demon named blackness in the mind of whiteness made to feel like little babies with guns? What about you gun that thought you were a Taser? Leaving poor Oscar Grant on a stop he will never exit. What about you hoodie? Were too menacing to walk down a white street in Florida armed with skittles and iced tea, Trayvon? I am waiting for an answer.


I am waiting for Anonymous to hack through the lies of racism and dump its emails on the internet…showing us that it only eats greed…drinks contempt and watches ignorance on Youtube like porn…I am waiting…I am waiting…I am waiting for brown kids with Spanish skin and whitewashed minds to paint their lives purple like that cow Socrates…I am waiting for poets to have a retirement plan that pays off before they are dead…I am waiting for Mark Strand to come back from the dead…like some zombie poet with only a hunger for flesh ideas…I am waiting for Robin Williams to unkill himself…and teach us about the importance of sucking the marrow out of life…I am waiting for Bill Cosby to unrape all those women…and just be funny again…I am waiting for Howl to be taught in kindergarten…I am waiting for the streets to keep burning so we can always see white cops in the dark…I am waiting for this poem to change the world…I am waiting for the impossible…and I know it…


I Want to Write Like Walt Whitman


As the factory turns/let it turn/As the cogs go round and round/let the workers get caught in the gears/As the smog belches out into the sky


I want to write like Walt Whitman/on the back of newspapers/telling yesterday’s stories today/ink under fingernails and truth in the eye


Foggy morning the wind blows/teasing us with mystery and the unknown/another day with snow covering the world/creeping toward us/it comes


isn’t my war/isn’t your war/war belongs to itself/can’t be tamed/pointed in a direction/used for your goals/because war is it’s only goal


cold bitter cold/type type type/won’t warm hands/in cold room/maybe if I stop typing /cold won’t creep in/but maybe the more I type/warmth


sitting on the morning sun/watching the world spin in the sky/no umbrella to block the sun/no shades to block the light/just have to squint


Christopher Carmona is a Chican@ Beat poet from the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. The Texas Observer recognized him as being one of the top five writers in 2014. He has two books of poetry, beat and I Have Always Been Here. He edited The Beatest State In The Union: An Anthology of Beat Texas Writings with Chuck Taylor and Rob Johnson and is working on a book called Nuev@s Voces Poeticas: A Dialogue about New Chican@ Poetics with Isaac Chavarria, Gabriel Sanchez, & Rossy Lima Padilla to be published by Slough Press in 2015. Currently he is the Artistic Director of the Coalition of New Chican@ Artists. You can read more about Christopher here.



Part I

We were imbued
with a sacredness
that infused us
a sensation
of moving with the universe
one force of energy
touch created illumination
shadows like illusions sweeping
white spaces with figures
enacting out on walls
what our bodies were formed for

exaltations expressed through exhalations
dripping then drenched
a medley of
heavy caresses
played out in a melody
at high volume
we intoned with voices
greater than our own
a new state of being
with exuberance we shifted
away from our humanness

We were visions to each other
couched in an elation
that comes from
bodies connected to some
things we could never understand
we cannibalised one another
devoured our longings
consumed the burning
then lit fires beneath
the thirst so that it evaporated
dissolved again


Part II

That cycle still sits within me
without the relief of our bodies colliding
I spin
whilst the cravings spread
knowing that this period of enlightenment
has ended

If I can not gorge myself on you
fill myself to full
gulp down on our lasciviousness
I am left starving
a forced fasting
malnourished from trying
to exist on the memories alone
of how I devoured your extremities
before entering
inhaled your cries
pushed past your pain
filled you
I was the flame that licked
at every fragment
left you burning
until you turned into smoke
filling my room
an invisible vapor
that whirled with the incense we burnt
spirals as entangled as our
shadows were


Part III

You don’t want to know
about my suffering
the passion was okay
when you were in love with me
but suddenly this other side is ugly

Unfortunately I can’t just turn it off
I have not regained my humanness
I am still that animal
seeking the scent of you
on sheets pillows
my t-shirts you wore
one whiff
and I am overcome by despair
at this finality

it’s a form of masochism
I sit and witness my own sickness
not interested in self forgiveness

So come back to me
for one last fuck
we’ll make it just that
shed our skins
leave multiple trails of
blood sweat tears
smeared on sheets
that are the final page
of our story
I want nothing to do with your heart
just your body
let’s cheapen the whole experience
we’ll make it a transaction
your flesh for my sanity
I don’t care if this vulgar state
leaves you disgusted
because there are parts of me
I recede into these
find them comforting
even if these moments
of unabashed wanting
are ugly



Candy Royalle is an award winning performance artist and poet who fuses cinematic storytelling, poetry and unique vocal rhythms with confronting, political and heart thumping content. She tackles topics ranging from sexual obsession to social injustice, exploring the human condition and illuminating the darker areas of the human psyche for her audiences. Read more about Candy Royalle here.Logo CR


* * *

I always forget where things belong



My earliest memory: my mother

calling 911 because

I’ve shoved an overcooked,

sponge-soft carrot cube

up my nose.

When my sister learned to taste

I discovered she didn’t

have a discerning palate.

By then, my mother had

learned not to panic,

even when one daughter

fed the other one lint.



Insurance cards belong in the glovebox;

I leave them on the desk.

Earplugs belong in carry-on luggage;

I leave them in the bathroom.

Shoes belong in closets;

I remember too late –

my dog loves the taste of leather.


Sometimes, in bed with you,

I’m wide awake at three,

not sure I believe that this

is home.

Perhaps I belong somewhere

in my past, with

that infested apartment,

that deathtrap car,

that family I left behind.

You remember riding

No, wait, you don’t –

you know you were out riding

but you don’t remember

turning on the ignition,

the sandpaper-smooth road

beneath your tires,

or the weight of the helmet

on your skill, much less

the slam of the car

against your frame,

the burn in your throat

as you screamed,

the crack of your teeth

against pavement,

the bruises blossoming,

the blood soaking through

your skin and your jeans

You remember:

standing in your bedroom

deciding not to wear

your riding gloves

You remember:

deciding not to wear the jacket

with body armor

because you wanted to feel the

first warm night of the year

up and down your arms

You remember:

walking to the door, and something

grabbing your collar and

guiding you back to the closet,

taking your wrist so you’d pull

the jacket off the hanger

You remember:

one o’clock in the morning

hobbling out of the hospital



Allyson Whipple is the director of the Austin Feminist Poetry Festival and vice president of Austin Poetry Society. Her chapbook, We’re Smaller Than We Think We Are, is available through Finishing Line Press. She is the co-creator of Choice: Texas (http://www.playchoicetexas.com) and co-editor of the 2016 Texas Poetry Calendar. Allyson teaches business and technical communication at Austin Community College, and studies Kung Fu in her spare time.

Read more about Allyson here.