Thursday, July 22, 2010

Poet Profiles: Vato Lovers and Down Low Uptown

By Charlie Vázquez

One of the joys of networking in the queer people-of-color writer’s world is unearthing new talents from the fringe—whether they be from the Bronx (where I grew up) or the Southwest. I discovered two talented queer poets recently; Aaron Powell from the Boogie Down, and Joe Jimenez, who was included in the queer Latino poetry anthology Mariposas: A Modern Anthology of Queer Latino Poetry (Floricanto Press, 2009), edited by my queer Latino warlord brother Emanuel Xavier.

Joe Jimenez, who is an educator currently living in San Antonio, teamed up with Los Angeles-based filmmaker Dino Dinco to produce a short film based on his poem “El Abuelo” (The Grandfather), a lusciously sensual look into the eroticism inherent in t-shirts and bandanas—and in this case, Jimenez’s boxer shorts, torso, and tattoos. This lovely masterpiece weaves through Latino identity, family history and loving his first “vato.”

Take a look.

Entertainment publicist Aaron Powell’s new poetry collection Behind Concrete Doors (Karen Hunter Media, 2010) touches upon the sex scandals rocking the world of Hollywood, but its “real meat” explores the fireworks residing within the homoerotic “down-low” sex culture of uptown New York. Fantasizing about barbers and getting down with hot-thug dudes, this collection reveals the intersecting and often clashing politics of “Blatino” sexual identity and more. Developed from over ten years of journals, these poems shine a light on true desire and conflict.

More info here.


  1. Joe Jimenez is beautiful. The poem is beautiful and the video is beautiful. I've alerted the Stonewall Library and Archives, suggesting they include him in their next literary festival. Thanks for posting htis.

  2. What I found most arresting Tony, was not only Joe's physical beauty, but the sensitivity of the poem's performance. Pretty breathtaking.

  3. Charlie, thanks again for spreading the word. I'm quite proud of this film and the people to whom it speaks. When the Fashion in Film Festival commissioned me to make a film for their 2008 Festival, Joe and his work instantly came to mind.

    Your readers should also know about the poetry of Yosimar Reyes, a young two-spirit performance poet and activist based out of East San Jose, CA. Yosi's chapbook of poems, "for colored boys who speak softly..." was published with the assistance of Carlos Santana and is a must have for any library.

    Here's a video of Yosi performing his poem of the same name:

    Hit up Yosi directly for a signed copy:

    And thanks again.

    Dino Dinco

  4. Both of these new poets have so much talent, the world has a lot to look forward to from both. Aaron Powell's BEHIND CONCRETE DOORS sounds like the perfect book for the beach/Fire Island this summer.