Sat. Feb 4th, 2023

The Santa Ana Literary Association will be presenting a new poem by a local poet every week this year. This week’s poem is “Santa Ana River” by Marco Cadena-Villa.



Santa Ana River

By: Marco Cadena-Villa

It’s been full before—
back when El Nino came through
with its blanket of rain
sounding like millions of hands
pounding on the concrete.

Then, the dark brown waters
rippled and swayed, carrying
broken trees, drowned possums,
and a man who said, “to hell with
this world,” and jumped in.

Some said the river would
breech into the neighborhoods along
its sides and take them
all with it into the Pacific
but this didn’t happen.

The weather left, streets
dried up, crows went back
to cloudless skies as if
none of it had ever happened,
and the river emptied itself to the sea.

Light rains have fallen since,
but except for some puddles,
the river keeps dry, shows
off graffiti painted by cholos
with guns in their belts and
cigarettes behind their ears.

They are young and talk
about their girls, tattoos, and
rims they want to buy or steal.
Too young to remember the
waters that threatened to eat
up houses or flood the streets.
Foolish enough to believe that
knowing how to swim saves you
in that kind of water.

Marco Cadena-Villa was a Santa Ana native and poet. Marco was 28 when he passed away in a motorcycle accident in the East Santiago Canyons, leaving behind an unfinished book of poems. With the help of Michael Aguirre and Tatiana Alexandra Posada Benjumea, his first poetry book, SALAZAR’S MOUNTAIN, was able to see the light of publication. Marco is severely missed, but his life is carried on by his writings.

By Editor

The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

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