In this collection of poems and stories, Armando García-Dávila shows us why he is one of Sonoma County’s best writers as he celebrates his Mexican heritage and grieves his church. García-Dávila writes of his book, “What follows in this book are some revelations of my life and soul through a few poems and short stories. I have no pretensions to seek your understanding or forgiveness. I only hope you enjoy the pathos, sense of seeking, and humor in my work. The Catholic Church and our family’s Mexican roots and modest means provided the foundation of my young years. I remain indebted to my parents, older brother, twin brother, and four sisters for the core of my being. Without them, I would be but a shadow. However, the church confused me early in life as I came to realize the fallibility of the institution. My intention in writing about it is not to offend but to simply offer its effects on me as an innocent and malleable child.”
“‘La vida contigo es un tango. Life with you is a tango, / sometimes tricky, sometimes sweaty, always bold, / daring, grace, guts, and comedy!’ In ‘El Tango,’ one of many tributes to the woman he adores, poet and storyteller Armando García-Dávila sums up his artful dance. With love up his sleeve-charming, savvy-he moves across life’s floor, hugging his Mexican roots, embracing spirituality. Betrayed by the Catholic Church of his youth, the poet steps back from institutions, trusting instead the tell-tale intimacy of family and community. In ‘American God,’ a prose-poem, he revisits his questioning childhood.
‘Other kids went to church in newer cars, with newer clothes, with newer parents. . . . But if we praised the same God in the same way, then why did He bless them so much more than us?’ To the beat of one heart, Armando García-Dávila’s Profile shines a lyric light into America’s ballrooms, backyards, and closets.”
“This is lovely, well-written book of verse and stories touched my heart. These poems and stories travel back and forth in time evoking childhood memories of the Catholic Church paired with a writer’s close analysis of the betrayal of innocence and the senselessness of war. However, interwoven throughout these painful moments is a poet’s eye for finding those moments in life which also heal. Lines such as ‘And the only sounds interrupting this immense meditation would be the wisps of butter y wings, and a prayerful chant quietly echoing in each canyon.
“Love.” “Love.” “Love.” Those words help to remind us, that despite the perplexity of life, there is tremendous power in the transformative act of remembering and being present to the beauty of living.”
“A writer’s heart displayed is a beautiful thing, especially when the view includes honesty, courage, and wisdom. In his new book, Profile, Armando García-Dávila shows us the passion- ate, loving, laughing, angry, proud, and wise heart that beats in his chest. At first blush these forty-seven poems and seven stories feel safe and warm, like Armando’s studio on a hilltop in Santa Rosa, until you realize the risks he takes-and asks us to take-in many of his pieces.
'Want to be free?’ Armando asks. ‘Lay your ego by the side of the road and in your sternest voice give the command, “Stay!”
Then run like hell until you can’t hear its protests anymore.’ In ‘The Muse,’ Armando writes: ‘Poetry barged through my door one day. . . . When in good humor, she gave herself without pause or shame, and the verses owed freely. . . . Other times she ripped a tooth from my jawbone in barter for a single line.’ Armando’s love poems do what the finest of that genre always have: make us feel what we’re called upon to give and receive to call ourselves human. Armando is a Sonoma County treasure, and in the world I want to live in he’d be a treasure in all of California and beyond, wherever the young, the sensitive, the passionate, the hungry, the hurt, the abandoned, and the brave demand respect and truth.”
“How wonderful to have in hand this hot book. Call it ‘An Armando García-Dávila Reader.’ A collection of new and old work, poems, prose poems, and stories, it explores love, death, sex, and labor. The author’s voice cries out from the wilderness, laments the loss of faith and celebrates the renewal of faith in poems that shock, arouse, and evoke the beauty of earthly and heavenly bodies and extoll the earth itself. In Profile: Poems and Stories, García-Dávila reveals himself as a dreamer waking to the agony and the ecstasy of life, rousing and arousing readers from sleep, from forgetfulness and from their own addictions.”
—Jonah Raskin, author of Rock ‘n’ Roll Women (2012) and A Few French Scenes (2013)