Manzano Mountain Review is an online New Mexico literary journal affiliated with UNM-Valencia.

Little Wolf #6 
Februrary 2018 

True Hell    
by Katiany Valido-Vargas

Hell is not what most people think, it’s like. It’s not an infernal flame within a realm of tortured souls. It’s a dark, cold place with no flickers of light in sight, the perfect uninviting place where no one could hear you scream. Within these walls no one can save you, you cannot escape and you’re trapped here forever, as you slowly come to your death with every second that passes by. At that moment you’ve lost everything. Your friends, your family, even your memories. You cannot prove there is life after death or that even reincarnation exists.

But all you know is what’s worse than what they’ve come to think hell is.

Loneliness, and no, not the kind of loneliness where you’re alone in a room with no one around to keep you company. But the kind of loneliness of which you’re in a room full of people, but nobody acknowledges you’re there. You’re existence is obsolete and invisible. You’re ignored as you perceive yourself surrounded within darkness and find yourself ignoring them as well, for their ignorance of the pain they have cause you.

You realize you’ve become no more than a ghost and no one believes the most sincere words you speak. No one knows you, so no one believes in you. They hate and discriminate against you when you try to speak. So you hide on the inside where no one may reach out to you. You distrust and doubt anyone’s words, because now all hope and belief of your own is gone.

You no longer believe in love, as you reject anyone’s help because they’d only get in your way. Now, you no longer care if you’re selfish. Your only intent is to be free from the prison that is, our own minds.


 Why I Dance
by Larissa Hidalgo

Stepping into the dance studio I can feel myself come alive, I can feel my heart beat a little bit faster, more energy is coming into my body. I look around and feel at home, with the mirrors on every wall, the heat and smell of sweat from previous classes. As my instructor starts a simple song for our warms ups I can feel the beat of the music starting to stir my soul in an unexplainable way. Every inch of my body seems to come alive with a newfound energy that makes my heart beats a little faster as I continue to stretch preparing myself for the magic that is about to happen. My body starts to loosen up, my mind becomes more alert, everything seems to be brighter, my life in that moment in that dance studio feels complete.

Throughout my life I was never into any sports. I played soccer, softball, and basketball and they were fun but never something I really truly loved or enjoyed. When I was little my sister, cousin and I would perform dances to songs I would choreograph, in those moments I felt something I never did before, a part of me had come alive. It felt as if my soul was on fire, and all I ever wanted to do was dance. With my little iPod, I downloaded a lot of songs with this beat that tugged at my heart, put my headphones in, stood in front of the mirror in my room and danced my little seven year old heart out. My passion for the art of dance continued to grow, it was something I could do when I was sad, mad, happy, I could express my emotions, or just who I was without having to use a word to describe myself and I loved that part of me.

There were so many different ways to express myself in the form of dancing, with contemporary, hip-hop, and my greatest love flamenco. In my contemporary dance class I had to break out of my shell of shyness to be able to choreograph dances in our small groups, and in solo performances I had to be expressive and big with my movements. This class taught me how to express any emotion I was feeling into a beautiful dance, I could be feeling down and sad. Without having to say a word to anyone I could just dance in slower movements, lower to the ground, more pauses, and acts of giving up in the dance. Dancing expressively was more effective then trying to find the perfect word for how I was feeling, sometimes the word ‘sad’ didn’t even began to say what I was feeling but in dance class I could express how I was feeling and have so much love from my peers pushed towards me, it made me feel more appreciated.

In my hip-hop class I learned to appreciate the beat, I started to pick up the highs and the lows of music and I become lost in the beat. I learned that the beat holds down everything, I wanted to become a part of the beat. Our instructor would play a song and I could feel myself being pulled onto the floor to start moving, the connection between my soul and the dance moves was something I had never experienced before. Everything flowed through me like I was a river of water, nothing seemed to stiff or rigid when I moved, it was my art growing becoming more beautiful then I had ever thought possible. I would want to tell a story with my moves, my hops, or even my pops and the feeling I had was incredible I felt alive, I felt as if I was coming home, allowing this inner part of me to breath fresh air for the first time in a long time, it was my heaven.
Flamenco, the word alone makes my heart twirl, and my soul flutter.     This was the dance I had been meant to dance my whole life, this was where my heart belonged. Putting on my shoes, the long skirt, the rose in my hair and the long dangling earrings I felt like I was who I was meant to be my pulse would go faster and faster with each hit on the ground, the cajon would stay a steady beat with me until I started to go faster and then it would go just as fast as me it was my partner we would create a beautiful dance the cajon and I moving as one but two different beautiful sounds. I could hear my peers shouting out “Ole,” their hands clapping and cheering I moved faster I moved strong, my skirt was being twirled around so fast, everything was a blur to me, I seen no one but the beat and my dance moves. Tangos was my heart I would move my body and my feet would hit the ground so hard the nails in my shoes would start to fall out. At the end of the dance I felt as if I just painted a masterpiece for the world to see, it was my art that I was incredibly proud of.

Dance is my paintbrush to create my masterpiece of art, it is the reason my lungs are on fire, but wanting to feel like this every singe second in the day. I dance because it is an escape from the world around me, I can be the raw person I am while I’m dancing, my emotions explode in my dance, making me feel free. My soul becomes alive when I dance, craving for more craving for me to create, to inspire, to start another chapter in my life with more dance. I don’t dance to see the amazement in others eyes, I don’t dance to show off my talent I dance to prove to myself I am worth something, that I have a talent many do not have. I dance to unleash myself onto the world with power and beauty.

Family Tales
by Jazimine Faith Rioux

She lay in bed, sheets of silk,
getting ready for bed, with a glass of milk.
“Read to me,” she cried, looking at her mother,
“Alright, I shall tell a story I have never told another.”
The tale she spun for her, was not what she had in mind,
Treasures, bandits, or maybe a hero in a bind?
No, she spoke of love, of romance, for “him”.
She spoke of how he taught her to to shoot arrows and how to swim.
The father appeared when she spoke of her perfect first kiss,
And he scooped her mother up and said, “And it looked like this."