BY MONIQUE QUINTANA
Reading the work of Rios de la Luz is akin to taking a kaleidoscopic journey through the borderlands, outer space, and the neon glow of chisme and spellcasting. Her Interstellar Bruja zines come in two volumes. The first followed her first book, “The Pulse Between Dimensions in the Desert,” winner of the Wonderland award for best short story collection and Vol. 2 follows her novella, “Itza.” In the glossy cosmic pages of these zines, you’ll find testimonials, dream work, incantations and affirmations. They imagine a future that is deconstructing colonization, while giving women the opportunity to nerd out with their feminism.
What stands out the most about these pieces is the hybridity of each short narrative. de la Luz identifies as a Queer Xicana Chapina and her words examine what intersectionality really is. Interstellar Bruja Vol. 1 begins with the radical glamour of a chola mother and shape shifts to contemplations of a cosmic mother, recalling ancestral inclinations to duality in both time and space. In the piece, “Little Vulcan Runaway,” the speaker says, “I wondered if in another dimension, Máma was picking me up from the lunar school.” These micro-collections feel less like fragments and more symbiotic, as one piece seems to be birthed from another, the way flowers bloom and burn on cacti.
Vol. 2 invites to reader to reaffirm the autonomy of their bodies. Images from lotería provide the skeleton of this zine, and pulsing through the bones are sinews of family, love, and desire, “Criatura, you deserve to devour/ Criatura, you deserve to be devoured.” Each piece in Vol. 2 is a setting afire to things past, but the smoke still lingers, so that power can be renewed in the body. There are the mysterious scapes of the ocean and its life and the vast expanse of celestial things, as if they were twin worlds floating on top of each other. From Bodies of Retrograde, “Mars gushes lava onto your tongue and down your throat. Neptune is an ocean. You drink from the planet and feel small fish wriggle down your throat.” So much universe in so small a space.
Monique Quintana is a Senior Contributing Editor at Luna Luna Magazine and a pop culture contributor at Clash Media. Her novella, Cenote City is forthcoming from Clash Books in March 2019.Her work has appeared in Winter Tangerine, Queen Mob's Tea House, Grimoire, Huizache: The Magazine of Latino Literature, and The Acentos Review, among other publications.