Review: Flirting with the Past by Reyes Cárdenas

Review by Christian Garduno

Sepia-tinged nostalgia lures everyone in eventually. It’s tempting to skip back over bridges burned so long ago we can’t remember which one of us even held the match anymore. Everyone has plenty of emotional blind-spots. But how do you validate a memory when the one who holds the other half of your recollection is gone forever? Reyes Cardenas’ newest collection oscillates between themes of ageing out of childhood and returning to a place that no longer exists. He’s adopted a swift couplet-style, which is perfect because Cardenas’ meter is quick bursts of expressive, combustible imagery. If the Barrio Gods allowed the 12-year old you to peek behind the curtain and speak with the 60-year old you, would you ask what happens to Dad- to Lupita- to Pete with the Honda bike? Most likely, you’d find “sometimes your past and your future / meet up with each other to destroy themselves.”

Editor’s NoteYou can also find Christian’s review as a blurb on Goodreads.

Christian Garduno’s work can be read in over 75 literary magazines. He is the recipient of the 2019 national Willie Morris Award for Southern Poetry. Garduno is a Finalist in the 2020-2021 Tennessee Williams & New Orleans Writing Contest. He lives and writes along the South Texas coast with his wonderful wife Nahemie and young son Dylan.

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