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you dug, you and she: the hole where you’d place your treasure. Now, he would sleep alonenot with her. Never again with her. He would wake to virgins and to angels. ONE POEM IN “NOVENA,” “A Final Prayer for Ventura,” both sets the tone and justifies the title of the collection. In “Final Prayer…” a young Saenz pays his final respects to his dead grandfather, “a dark and perfect angel.” Unlike many Chicano writers, Saenz avoids the idealization of his ancestors. Readers will find little sentimentality in Saenz’s description, and his sharpness can be surprising if not shocking. The smell of stale tobacco Poured from your Indian skin. You needed A bath, needed to be clean. I’d never hug you dirty. On the other hand, the boundary between gritty realism and lyricism in “A Final Prayer,” as well as in other poems, is very subtle. This particular poetic vision and sensitivity is explained later within the poem: Having been born to the realism of my dying century, I fight the urge to make a romance of your life. And yet I conjure you A poet. Death is another theme that appears in several poems. In “Interlude” \(part of a written in memoriam for Robert Campbell Robertson, the poet talks to his agonizing friend and realizes that […] it’s not the words that always matter; it isn’t what we see. No one sees exactly. Listen, it’s the voice. The voice, the sound, the process, the motion, the elusive, and the evasive, these are the phenomena that seem to absorb Saenz’s imagination. In “Traveling to Chi[…]When her cries hit the air And she breathed, I knew That sound: Solid as the wood Of any altar. I have been traveling towards These sounds all my life. I have been traveling Traveling toward the earth. most of Saenz’s existential, mystical and cultural experiences in a series of symbolic poetic sketches. His desire for universality, freedom, and permanent change are best expressed at the end of the poem: I write in English, dream in Spanish, listen to Latin chants. […] At dusk, I breathe out fragments of Swahili. I want to feel words swimming in my throat like fighting fish that refuse to be hooked on a line. CLASSIFIEDS PERIODICALS ORGANIZATIONS WORK for single-payer National Health Care. Join GRAY PANTHERS, intergenerational advocates against ageism and for progressive policies promoting social and economic justice. $20 individual, $35 family. 3710 Cedar, Austin, TEXAS AIDS NETWORK dedicated to improving HIV/AIDS policy and funding in Texas. Individual membership $25, P.O. Box 2395, Austin, TX LESBIAN/GAY DEMOCRATS of Texas Our Voice in the Party. Membership $15, P.O. Box 190933, Dallas, 75219. SICK OF KILLING? Join the Amnesty International Campaign Against the WORK FOR OPEN, responsible government in Texas. Join Common Cause/Texas, 1615 Guadalupe, #204, TEXAS TENANTS’ UNION. 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