Ernesto Antonio Mares has died today.

In 2002, E.A. (Tony) Mares was my writing mentor. I was in the 10th grade at Albuquerque High School. Tony was a veterano poet from my barrio: Old Town, Albuquerque; La Plaza Vieja, Alburque; La Ruca, Burque; Los Estados Undidos de Atzlán. After a long struggle with lung disease, he joined los santos de poesía today. He inspired many young poets for decades as un profe at la Universidad de Nuevo Mexico and Albuquerque Public Schools. He performed at many Poetry and Beers, MAS Poetry Slams, Blue Dragons, Fixed and Frees, East of Ediths, Duendes, Central Avenues, Church of Beethoven, and Sunday Chatters. His poems captured the essence of the Chican@ existence in Albuquerque, he was always jovial, humble, and a teacher.

I, and many Burqueño poets, owe much debt to his work, his spirit, and his heart.

Rest in power, our profe.

May all the poems we write in the following years carry the lessons you taught us.

Please watch over our words, guide us in the path de verdad, amor, y justicîa
as you lived all your days, and as all your poems embodied.

Watch over us, please.

We need you now more than ever.

– Con respeto y amor por su familia,
su estudiante,
Damien Flores

4 Responses

  1. Tony, I sat down with you at J B Winnings coffee shop. I met with you to get permission to use your poetry in a performance I was doing at the Albuquerque Museums “Lo Maduro de LA Cultura” graciously you said “Patricio you have carte Blanche permission to do my work any time” I was thrilled! I went to my other poet friend, Cecilio Garcia Camarillo, who was writing the Dia de los Muertos work and he too was thrilled to know that you gave us permission to include your work. We then went to Oscar Lozoya who gave us permission to use his Dia de los Muertos images as projections. It was a great night and it does show that there is a strong arts community in Burque. You now join Cecilio in heaven, I’m sure you two are talking happily about that night. Peace be with you.

  2. Tony was also an incredible translator. Because he was such a great poet himself he was able to transmit not only the meaning of the texts, but also the music and rhythm. My husband, the Spanish poet Ángel González, always said that of all his translators Tony was the one who best captured the essence of his poetry. He was also so much fun! He will be sorely missed. Susana Rivera

  3. Damien, I heard of this through your FaceBook. Joining the angel band. You speak so beautifully of your old teacher. We’re all sad, all the way to New Jersey, I heard from a friend there yesterday.
    You’ll carry on the work. XXX joan Logghe

  4. I met Tony a number of years ago in Taos NM. We became good friends and when I opened my gallery was privileged to have Tony read on numerous occasions. I learned so much from him, his talent as a poet, his humor and his grace. He will be sorely missed but his legacy will live on not only through his works but in all the lives he touched.

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