Francisco X. Alarcón
Swan Scythe Press, 2010
El Tecolote's Nina Serrano reviews Francisco X. Alarcón's latest collection, Ce•Uno•One.
I first read this book of short poems in the time it took for three BART stations to pass, my mind was calmed, reassured and lured into new and ancient realms. Ce•Uno•One by Francisco X. Alarcón, meaning “One” in three languages, raises the questions following me since childhood. Questions like: What will happen to my soul when I die and my body rots? Or my old favorite, “What will happen to this inner voice I call ‘me’?”
But while I pondered the poems, written in the simplest language, I was tempted to say them aloud very quietly in the five languages they appear: English; Spanish; Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs; Mapuche, the language of indigenous people of Argentina and Chile; and Gaelic, the original language of Ireland. With my face hidden behind the book I mumbled new sounds against the hum of train. They became chants on oneness, and how it applies to my essential question about the life of the soul after death.