Calexico native and poet Charlie M. Zamarripa’s infectious personality was live on display during Camarena Memorial Library’s latest author visit on Thursday afternoon, May 27, where Zamarripa read selections from his book, “Lost in Thought,” and told anecdotes about his life. | CAMILO GARCIA JR. PHOTO
CALEXICO (amid cyberspace) — Charlie Z is no stranger to folks around this border city. His glazed-eye antics, infectious smile, and roaring sense of humor is something to be expected, none of which has ever masked the depth behind this son of Calecia.
But now others outside Calexico are getting a chance to get in on the literary potential and talent of the 50-year-old Charlie M. Zamarripa as he begins to promote his debut volume of poetry, “Lost in Thought,” released March 28.
Zamarripa, with his two youngest children in tow, Diego and Mina, sat down for Camarena Memorial Library’s latest live author Zoom on Thursday afternoon, May 27, in which Zamarripa took to cyberspace to read selections from “Lost in Thought,” tell stories, and take questions from the audience, although the only questions would come from the media members trying to spread Charlie’s good word.
“Man is strong because a mother gave him unconditional love.” And with these moving words, Zamarripa began.
The author read six poems from his book, “Lost in Thought,” which contained themes of loss, love, and maternal figures.
The first poem read was “Had I Known,” which expresses the feelings of an unknown character who questions if he deserves the love of his partner. With a trembling voice, Zamarripa asks, “Why do the people we love choose us despite our mistakes?”
A standout poem was the titular “Lost in Thought.” Here the protagonist witnesses a small, intimate moment with a loved one, who is “tapping her feet at the beat of the song.” As the loved one is released from their transcendental experience, she quickly becomes embarrassed because she was unaware that someone was looking at her. With rapid fire accusations, she tries to regain her composure, yet she is unaware of this intimate moment she shared with her loved one.
As the session progressed, Zamarripa’s children introduced the poem, “My First Memory.” (He also has two older children.) This poem, six short lines, is simply about being born.
Once all six poems were read, the audience encouraged Zamarripa to share parts three, four, and five from “The Tragedy of Crazy Bear,” the fever-dream epic that in many ways launched Zamarripa’s career as a poet, or at least got his kicked his creative juices into overdrive. These parts dealt with Crazy Bear’s ascension to chief, the realization that he will lose his mother, and the loss itself.
Some 29 people logged on to participate, said Camarena Library Director Lizeth Legaspi.
“I think it went very well. We got very positive comments from those in attendance,” Legaspi said of the event on Saturday morning, May 29. “They really liked the poems he shared. I almost cried again with one of the Crazy Bear poems.”
Zamarripa also shared short stories about his older brother, Paul. In one of these stories, Zamarripa shared that Paul was teaching him how to ride a bicycle, but as Zamarripa mentions “he wasn’t good at listening to directions, and his brother didn’t teach him how to turn.”