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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: poems, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 368
1. Happy Chanukah!

Amalia Hoffman sent this in to help us celebrate Chanukah. Amalia was featured on Illustrator Saturday: http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2010/09/18/illustrator-saturday-amalia-hoffman/


Michelle Kogan not only sent in the illustration above, but also the poem below to celebrate Hanukkah.

Hustle of Hanukkah
Michelle Kogan © 2014

Hustle of Hanukkah
somehow squeezing it in
In between holidays
falling often mid week

In between school and work
and numerous car trips
In between tradition
and finding your own way

In between Maccabees
the temples destruction
In between stolen oil
a miracle appears

In between night’s darkness
inner warmth radiates
In between lights glowing
throughout cold winter days

In between your mom’s arms
and between dad’s embrace
Making Hanukkah fit
in between for eight days

The poem below was sent in by Marie Wagner. Marie is an Artist, Author, Publisher, and Web designer. http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/marie-wagner.html?tab=artworkgalleries


Thank you Amalia, Michelle, and Marie for sharing your work with us.

Hope all my Jewish friends around the world have a wonderful holiday!

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: authors and illustrators, Holiday, illustrating, Illustrator's Saturday, inspiration, Poems Tagged: Amalia Hoffman, Chanukah, Marie Wagner, Michelle Kogan

2 Comments on Happy Chanukah!, last added: 12/16/2014
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2. Is detective fiction killing us? Gluten-free treats from a good Mexican girl. On-line Floricanto: ¡43 Presente!

Michael Sedano

On November 24 La Bloga-Tuesday published an advance review of “Skin In The Game” without acknowledging the previous day’s announcement in Ferguson, despite jarringly ugly disconnects between reality and fiction.

Sabrina Vourvoulias remarks in her blog, Following the lede, how she feared a pro-cop sci-fi story she wrote might do harm since it would be published a day after the cop who murdered Michael Brown exited stage right, unindicted.

“Skin In The Game” features chicana detective Jimena Villagran, who strides into the heart of Philadelphia’s most dangerous neighborhoods where something is killing people, ripping them open and eating their organs. “Skin’s” dystopic Philadelphia uncomfortably mirrors the city's neighborhoods. Vourvoulias' journalistic eye further enhances the verisimilitude, the kind that gives good sci-fi its unnerving metaphors.

Both author Vourvoulias and publisher Tor worried that glorifying a monster-fightiing cop hero could damage people already tortured by the failure of process. “Skin In The Game” was to be published on December 2, a week following the November 24th announcement in Ferguson.

Vourvoulias believes words take on a life of their own, that people invest stories with meaning beyond the writer’s influence. She didn’t want her story of a good cop fearlessly fighting for Order and the Good to give a punch in the face to a reader working to make sense of systemic perversions of Justice.

“Skin In The Game” published on schedule, December 2, 2014, because, the editor reasoned, there might never be a week free from news of “hideous injustice”. Was that prescience, or experience?

The day following Tor.com’s publication of "Skin In The Game", New York found no reason to indict the cop in the choke hold murder of Eric Garner. But then, that’s a standard Unitedstatesian value: one hundred fifty years ago, Congress declared the November 29 Sand Creek Massacre an atrocity but allowed the commander to walk away unindicted.

Vourvoulias and her publisher resolved their concerns and published despite the clear contradictions between the fiction and the world as we have it. Similarly, La Bloga’s critical response to this work of art limited itself to the self-contained universe of the fiction.

The open issue screams out loud. Cops are not heroes, why does literature glorify them? Is it harmful to a reader to be rooting for the “good” detective to win when every day news abounds with one dead reason after another to distrust cops?

Persuasion research shows that people are drawn toward favorability of dissonant messages when an admired person advocates for the other side. The latitudes of attitude move away from favorability to the source, but toward favoring the issue. That’s in ordinary persuasion, like politics. Fiction can be perniciously influential. Could it be detective fiction is poisoning the common sense and survivability of a person confronted by a trembling cop with a Glock?

Leave a Comment to share your views. You’ll find the Comments link at the bottom of today’s column.

The Gluten-free Chicano
What’s a Good Mexican Girl To Do?

The Gluten-free Chicano has a sweet tooth. Cookies, pies, birthday cakes, conchas, helotes, marranos, polvorones, are all off-limits to Celiacs and others afflicted by gluten intolerance.

Analogs look like edible food but only in one's imagination they're good. Now, poet reina alejandra prado has found what appears to be a productive way to indulge a  Celiac's sweet tooth. Prado is the Good Mexican Girl in the eponymous bakery.

Click the link to visit the Good Mexican Girl, an artisanal bakery specializing in unique flavor profiles, says the website.

GMG's website observes, "The cornerstone of our business is a cookie - the one I call 'throw me a wedding shower' cookie, most popularly known as the Mexican wedding cookie or Russian teacake. It's buttery, nutty and just scrumptious with a hint of lemon and sweetness from the powder sugar. We made the original Gluten Free Mexican Wedding Cookie."

Here's the origins of the GMG's commitment to the Gluten-free community:

Several years ago, I learned about a gluten-free diet first from my friend Maya. She had to change her diet after under going a series of tests. After I underwent a food cleanse where I could not eat any foods prepared with enriched flour or wheat bread, I became more conscious of what is gluten-free. My awareness of the need for gluten-free products became more pronounced with my business. Clients would ask if I had gluten-free options. In November, with the pan de muerto (Day of Dead Bread), I baked our first gluten-free product.

We continued to produce gluten-free treats with the traditional Mexican sweet bread La Rosca de Reyes and with Mexican Wedding Cookies.

It’s been a joy to meet virtually and in person other Latinas who haven’t been able to eat their favorite sweet breads and now can happily enjoy them again in gluten-free form."

The Gluten-free Chicano isn't uncritical about GMG products, especially the claim "We can make any baked good with gluten-free flour. We make our flour blend that includes Rice Flour or Brown Rice Flour, (whichever one is available), Potato Starch, Tapioca Flour, and Xanthum Gum."

"Any" certainly is possible. But as noted, analogs suck, so the Gluten-free Chicano is not ever again buying "bread" or "cake" or "pie crust" made to be gluten-free. The cookies, now that's a different matter.

Full disclosure: The Gluten-free Chicano enjoys Prado's poetry but has yet to taste her cooking. When he finally has the opportunity to scarf down some GF galletas, La Bloga will report the Good Mexican Girl's success. If it's sweet and dunkable, I'm sure I'll like it. I hope I like it. Oh please.

Faltamos 43! On-line Floricanto
Frank Acosta, Ivonne Gordon Carrera, Tara Evonne, Victor Avila, Xico González

“Warrior Poets Rise (Sovereignty, Justice, Peace)” by Frank Acosta
“AYOTZINAPA” Por Ivonne Gordon Carrera
“Mezcla,” by Tara Evonne
"El Pañuelo Negro" por Victor Avila
"Semillas de Ayotzinapa" by Xico González

Warrior Poets Rise (Sovereignty, Justice, Peace)
by Frank Acosta

The stories are blood flowing thru you
Our people’s truth, worthy to be told
In solidarity, set us free to awaken
The strumming of dormant heart-chords
Searching for sacred songs of purpose
Your words are those of the ancestor’s
Spirit voice returning in wisdom
Your offerings of soulful flor y canto
The silenced stanza of a departed child’s poem
Verses of the lost, to violence, ignorance, greed
Tyrannical avarice would still humanity for gold
Shackled deep inside the belly of the beast
Songs, poems, & prayers of the warrior poet
A confluence of hearts, minds, and souls
Flesh & spirit, present & past, one great circle
Let word and deeds flow in transformative love
Sentinels of sovereignty and sanctity of all creation

Frank de Jesus Acosta is principal of Acosta & Associates, a California-based consulting group that specializes in professional support services to public and private social change ventures in the areas of children, youth and family services, violence prevention, community development, and cultural fluency. In 2007, he authored, The History of Barrios Unidos, Cultura Es Cura, Healing Community Violence, published by Arte Publico Press, University of Houston. Acosta is a graduate of University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). His professional experience includes serving in executive leadership positions with The California Wellness Foundation, the Coalition for Humane Immigration Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), Downtown Immigrant Advocates (DIA), the Center for Community Change, and the UCLA Community Programs Office. He is presently focused on completing the writing and publishing a two book series for Arte Publico Press focused on best practices to improve the well-being of Latino young men and boys. Acosta most recently co-authored a published “Brown Paper” with Jerry Tello of the National Latino Fatherhood and Family Institute (NLFFI) entitled, “Lifting Latinos Up by Their Rootstraps: Moving Beyond Trauma Through a Healing-Informed Framework for Latino Boys and Men.” Acosta provides writing and strategic professional support in research, planning, and development to foundations and community-focused institutions on select initiatives focused on advancing social justice, equity, and pluralism. He is also finalizing writing and editing a book of inter-cultural poetry and spiritual reflections.

Por Ivonne Gordon Carrera

Ayotzinapa, hace poco no podía pronunciar tu nombre.
Ahora no sólo lo pronuncio, no sólo lo repito,
sino que es una herida abierta en la tierra.
Es una violación de la tierra, 43 hijos
de vientres heridos claman, Ayotzinapa
ya no es una palabra, ya no es un lugar.
Ayotzinapa es un monumento a la violencia,
es un campamento de jardines descompuestos.
Es un grito, un aullido, es cicatriz
y carne viva. Ya basta.
Ya nos cansamos
de tanto ataúd y vitrina.

© Ivonne Gordon Carrera (2014)

by Ivonne Gordon Carrera

Ayotzinapa, not long ago I could not pronounce your name.
Now I pronounce it, now I repeat it,
now it is an open wound of the earth.
The ground has been raped, 43 sons
of wounded wombs cry out. Ayotzinapa,
it is no longer a word, it is no longer a place.
Ayotzinapa is a monument of violence,
It is a camp of decomposed gardens.
It is a yell, a howl, it is a scar
of live flesh. Enough, we have become tired
of caskets and showcases.

© Ivonne Gordon Carrera (2014)

by Tara Evonne

I became
the mix
of all those
before me
las abuelitas
enduring me
de méjico
y españa
my mix
of dark
and light
all I’ve ever
to be true
my red heart
beating brown
never did I
this corazón
when distraught
a daughter
trusting life
somewhere else
when flying
I became torn
my parts
the effects
of long term
generational genocide
buried under
the rubble
of mankind
all my relations
praying alongside
to protect
women and children
I became
the written
across maps
of great divides
hate created
by mankind
I became
the shooting star
tearing across
early dawn sky
a woman kind
of star dusting
for others
to follow
the collective
of survival.

Tara Evonne Trudell is a recent graduate with her BFA in Media Arts from New Mexico Highlands University.  While in school she developed a passion in combining the many forms of multi media with poetry to address social issues. In this process she discovered her own purpose and commitment to using these medias to create art and movement. It has become her goal to offer work that instills and emotional impact in the viewer. Her work can be viewed at www.taraevonnetrudell.com

"El Pañuelo Negro"
por Victor Avila

para mg

Porque yo no tenía
el poder de un gobierno corrupto detrás de mí,
O la farsa de un medio cobarde
que no pudo hablar la verdad en mi nombre.
Porque me habían amenazado
a punta de pistola pensando
que sería suficiente
para garanitzar mi silencio - O porque muchos habían desaparecido ya
que iba a tener demasiado miedo a levantar la voz.
Pero hoy me di cuenta" ¿Qué otra cosa pueden hacer me a mí
que aún no lo han hecho?"
Las madres de Juárez claman por sus
Hijas asesinados
Y los fantasmas de los hombres olvidados
persigan el puente donde les colgaron.
¿Qué más pueden hacer me? Se llevaron todo de mí
y eso fue su mayor error
porque también tomaron mi miedo.
Y ahora que ya no estoy asustado…
Si yo no hable hasta ahora
sólo tengo yo la culpa
cuando la policía venga llamar a mi puerta.
¿Son esos sus mismos camiones que se aproximan? Y este simple pedazo de tela
alguna vez insignificante y que ahora significa algo más.
Saludo con la mano en la cara de esos cobardes que tomaron los 43
Enojado levanto en mi puño agitándolo, agitándolo.
Ya no voy a utilizarlo para enjugar mis lágrimas
o los de mis hermanos y hermanas.
Es mi bandera para enfrente a enormes obstáculos.
Si me voy del mundo sepan que no estoy derrotado,
que México no esta derrotado,
y que nos traerá los 43 a casa.

Victor Avila is an award-winning poet. Recent work has been included in the anthology Overthrowing Capitalism and Revolutionary Poets Brigade-Los Angeles. Victor is also the writer and illustrator of the series Hollywood Ghost Comix.  Volume Two will be available on Ghoula Press in February of 2015.  He has taught in California public schools for twenty five years.  This is his eighteenth appearance in La Bloga and would like to thank the moderators of Poets Responding to SB 1070 for that honor.

"Semillas de Ayotzinapa"
by Xico González

"Nos querían enterrar
pero no sabían que éramos semillas."

Sol, tierra, agua,
cuerpo- semilla rebelde
que enterraron
para luego brotar como rabia y rebeldía

Casas campesinas están tristes
Lágrimas corren por las milpas
porque los elotes salados
de tristeza y dolor
fueron cortados verdes
con machetes amellados
en manos bruscas y ladronas
que no perdonará Dios

Ese maíz nunca llegará a ser nixtamal,
masa o tortillas
Ni nutrirá las mentes y las almas
de jóvenes guerrerenses

Mujeres del color de la tierra
no tocarán a ese maíz
con sus delicadas manos
ni lo purificarán en el metate

Las milpas extrañarán a esas mazorcas
por el resto de sus días
Oh, frutos de vida
decansen en la madre tierra
hasta volver a brotar
y calmar el hambre de justicia de nuestro pueblo.

Educator, artist, poet, and a political/cultural activista based in Sacramento, California.

0 Comments on Is detective fiction killing us? Gluten-free treats from a good Mexican girl. On-line Floricanto: ¡43 Presente! as of 12/9/2014 4:49:00 AM
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3. Interior Gongs Puro Fun. News 'n Notes. On-line Floricanto

This Is For Puro Fun - Throwback Tuesday

Michael Sedano

It’s after midnight when the phone rings. Time for a study break, she commands. I head out for a neighbor’s apartment building, gratified for the distraction from the term paper.

My knuckles tap shave-and-a-haircut on the front door then I listen for someone inside to stomp the floor twice, or call out in two-bits rhythm “come in!” Nothing.

They laugh a lot behind the green door. I hear excited shouts of “Wow!” and "Uu, groovy." People talked like that in 1966. The door's unlocked.

I push open the door to see five people bent at the waist, fingers in their ears, dancing weirdly and laughing wildly. They are swinging wire coat hangars that dangle from their necks, gyrating side to side in a manic dance, striking the wire against furniture and shouting in pleasure.

Interior Gongs

That was my introduction to Interior Gongs.

Undergraduate study breaks went like that sometimes. Wild and out of left field. There was the night we levitated the drama starlet who later ran off with a professor. And the night the swamp creature freaked us out. But those are transitory events, like the night Greco taught Bob Dylan to do the dog. You had to be there.

Nowadays, gente just push buttons on their $500 telephone and replay a movie of everything. Interior Gongs are "old tech" bordering on quintessential rasquasche. In fact, eschewing luxury you'll find few cheaper and easier ways to pass time come that brief December day when weather locks you inside--or during Dead Week and Finals study breaks--than Interior Gongs.

Fashioning Interior Gongs as a group activity gets everyone involved from the git-go, no gloomy gus sitting around watching. Once everyone is swinging their Interior Gongs, even the most curmudgeonly will jump in and do the dance.

1 ea wire coathangar.
1 ea sewing thread.

Untwist the hook end of the wire coat hangar and pull apart the ends to form a wire U.
Hangars with cardboard tubes are ready-to-tie by removing the tube. Plus, they have half-loop ends.
Measure an arm’s length of thread and cut to length.
Tie the string to the open ends of the wire. Bend over the wire to ensure the string doesn’t slip off.

Using Your Interior Gongs
Wear the string over your head and across your ears.
Position string across a thumb or finger tip and gently press and hold the string in the ear hole.
Bend slightly at the waist to allow the Interior Gongs to hang freely.
Move your shoulders slowly side-to-side until the wire strikes a solid object.

To observers, the action is silent. Your ears are filled with mighty reverberating peals.

Interior Gongs makes a great holiday gift! Make six of them and give as a matched set.

Artist Sale at Ma Art Space

Yolanda Gonzalez' studio resides in a quiet industrial park. It's worth the easy drive from anywhere in Southern California. Heck, the quality of art and jewelry at the annual event makes a drive from Arizona or Texas worthwhile.

Gonzalez' paintings command major league prices because they are major league works. She also has smaller pieces and ceramics that have Yolanda Gonzalez style without the MOMA prices.

Luring me to Gonzalez' space is the rare opportunity to see Sergio Flores' silver and gold wearable sculpture. Flores brings three cases filled with pins, aretes, necklaces, bracelets, rings. He work features gems like amethyst, ruby, tourmaline, coral, onyx, fire opals of incredible brilliance. Sergio will design custom pieces. I ask him to convert pierced earrings to clips for my wife's ears.

Gonzalez' niece has a tabletop where she sells watercolors and ceramics. I am going to pick up at least one of her black ceramic skulls for my calaveras collection.

Located at 800 South Palm Ave #1 Alhambra CA 91803, Alhambra, California (626) 975-4799, Ma Art Space is just south of a large Costco so if you've driven from Texas you can gas up at Costco.

San Antonio
Aztlán Libre Celebrates Two New Collections

Los Angeles
La Palabra Lines Up Poet Laureate & Friends

La Bloga friend Karineh Mahdessian writes:

We are completing my first year of becoming the hostess with the mostest. What better way than to celebrate but to welcome black man of happiness, Peter J. Harris, poet laureate of Los Angeles Luis Javier Rodriguez and singer of Las Cafeteras Hector Flores.

Our circle will be round. Our open mic will be open. I will smile, hug and laugh.

Please bring money to purchase the new poetry Bless the Ashes publishes by Tia Chucha Press.

On-line Floricanto: ¡Faltamos 43! 
Alma Luz Villanueva, Paul Aponte, Francisco X. Alarcón, Felix García, Graciela Vega

December opens with five poets joining voices with last month's 13 for Ayotzinapa On-line Floricanto. As with last month, the poems are nominated by Moderators of the Facebook group, Poets Responding to SB1070 Poetry of Resistance.

"Forty-three Lost Sons, Each One" by Alma Luz Villanueva
"No estamos lejos de mi México" por Paul Aponte
"Ayotzinapa Haikus & Tankas" by Francisco X. Alarcón
"El corrido de los 43 estudiantes" por Felix García
"Itzpapalotl: Prayer for the Dead" by Graciela Vega

Forty-three Lost Sons, Each One
by Alma Luz Villanueva

La Llorona y Coatlique,
weeping mother,
skull mother,
dangerous, alive mothers,

magical mothers,
furious mothers,
tender mothers,
raging mothers,

mothers of life
and death
and birth
and rebirth,

give birth to our lost
43 sons, you know
their names,
each one,

sing their
each one,

their names,
each one,
remember their

each one,
our 43 lost
sons who wait
at your womb

gate, give
them light,
give them

each one.

**To the 43 so young men teachers
in training, massacred in their
Mexico lindo y querido--we will
remember each one.

Alma Luz Villanueva was raised in the Mission District, San Francisco, by her Yaqui grandmother, Jesus Villanueva- she was a curandera/healer from Sonora, Mexico. Without Jesus no poetry, no stories, no memory...
Author of eight books of poetry, most recently, 'Soft Chaos' (2009)- and a new collection, 'Gracias,' to be published in 2015. A few poetry anthologies: 'The Best American Poetry, 1996,' 'Unsettling America,' 'A Century of Women's Poetry,' 'Prayers For A Thousand Years, Inspiration from Leaders & Visionaries Around The World.' Four novels: 'The Ultraviolet Sky,' 'Naked Ladies,' 'Luna's California Poppies,' and the most recent, 'Song of the Golden Scorpion.' The short story collection, 'Weeping Woman, La Llorona and Other Stories.' Some fiction anthologies: '500 Great Books by Women, From The Thirteenth Century,' 'Caliente, The Best Erotic Writing From Latin America,' 'Coming of Age in The 21st Century,' 'Sudden Fiction Latino, and 'Prayers for a Thousand Years.' The poetry and fiction has been published in textbooks from grammar to university, and is used in the US and abroad as textbooks. Has taught in the MFA in creative writing program at Antioch University, Los Angeles, for the past sixteen years.
     Alma Luz Villanueva now lives in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, for the past nine years, traveling the ancient trade routes to return to teach, and visit family and friends, QUE VIVA!! And taking trips throughout Mexico, working on stories and memoir, always the poetry, memory.

"No estamos lejos de mi México"
por Paul Aponte

Hoy quitan las vendas de sus ojos,
desvisten los susurros, sueltan su gran voz,
y su son quiebra el cristal transparente de sus gobernantes.

¡Poder a mi México!

La música de mí México es bellísima:
Amistades por doquier, fiestas por cualesquier,
vecindades entretejidas en sarapes coloridos.
Valentía de sobras, y familias de obras.
Trabajadores de gran ética,
y pueblos de gran estética.
Posibilidades económicas para cantar,
y todos listos para subir a su albar.

La música de mi México es bellísima
y el tiempo de acción es hoy!

Traigan su música a los pasillos gubernamentales,
y con su música limpien esas sillas, paredes, escalones y pisos
y sáquenle brillo – un hoy y futuro nuevo.
La revolución de renovación.
El águila devorándose a la serpiente.

Erradiquen las palabras altisonantes,
las frases elocuentes que dicen nada,
y las explicaciones exculpatorias
para que la frase de arriba desaparezca.

Si nomás “tomás” -
te vas al “arrás”!

El nuevo lema.

Los que sí quieren justicia,
los que sí quieren la paz para todo mexicano,
los que sí practican lo de Don Benito Juárez,
los que sí escuchan a los Emilianos Zapatas,
los que sí toman acciones para un mejor México,
los que sí están listos para librar la música de México,
son los que deben
dar liderazgo a México.

México grita por justicia.
México somos todos.
México somos 43.
México mide 43x43.
México llueve 43,
un número primo,

Paul Aponte is a Chicano poet from Sacramento, California USA. Paul, was a member of the performance poetry group "Poetas Of The Obsidian Tongue" in the 90's, and now is a member of "Escritores del Nuevo Sol". He is the author of the book of poetry "Expression Obsession" published in 1999, and has been published in "La Bloga" and in the book "Un Canto De Amor A Gabriel Garcia Márquez"

facebook website:

"Ayotzinapa Haikus & Tankas"
by Francisco X. Alarcón

o burning fire
o flower of words –

“Ayotlinapa” —
great Pregnant Turtle
weeps for her sons

* * * * * * * * * *

oh fuego vivo
oh flor de palabras —

“Ayotlinapa” —
gran Tortuga Preñada
llora por sus hijos

"El corrido de los 43 estudiantes"
por Felix García

Cuarenta y tres estudiantes,
De noche se los llevaron
Policias municipales
Al narco los entregaron
En presencia de soldados
Se hicieron que no miraron.

Amí no me queda duda
Es terrorismo de estado
Tres niveles de gobierno
Estaban involucrados
Con sus narcos militares
Y el crimen organizado.

Masacre de Ayotzinapa
No eres un caso aislado
En Acapulco copreros
Cayeron asesinados
Por pistolero a sueldo
Pagados por el estado.

Narco estado mexicano
Represivo y criminal
De Ayotzinapa, Aguas Blancas
Sin olvidarnos de Acteal
Son genocidios de estado
De lesa humanidad.

Nos han cerrado la lucha
Pacífico, electoral
Sólo nos queda un camino
Que es la guerra popular
La autodefensa del pueblo
De la bota militar.

De insensato, irrresponsable
Vas a llamar mi corrido
Si no tomamos a las armas
Nos van a quemar los niños
En Hermosillo, Sonora
La justicia nunca vino.

Guerra sucia no ha parado
En este estado costero
Desde los años 70s
No encuentran los guerrilleros
1200 camaradas
Del estado de Guerrero.

La normal de Ayotzinapa
Tiene principios muy finos
Lucio y Genaro salieron
A defender campesinos
Genaro Vázquez y Carmelo
Te vigilan el camino.

43 estudiantes
Son hijos del mundo entero
Con un diluvio de amor
Te esperamos con anhelo
Con cantos de libertad
Desde tu pueblo sincero.

Vuela, vuela palomita
Palomita de la paz
Si vivos se los llevaron
Vivos deben regresar
Tlateloco los espera
Pa’ que vengan marchar.

"Itzpapalotl: Prayer for the Dead"
by Graciela Vega

A poem for our 43 young sons
whose dreams were cut before the harvest

Tzinaka call into the night
prayers for the dead
Tzinaka call into the night
prayers for the dead
Search for our babies
until we have them again

Tzinaka flex your muscles
sparrow wing soar
Tzinaka flex your muscles
sparrow wing soar
Safe in our homes
to laugh and play

Tzinaka find our disappeared
with your night voice
Tzinaka find our disappeared
with your night voice
locate their injured bodies
to give us peace.

© Graciela Vega

Graciela Vega Cendejas born in Michoacán, Mexico and raised in the Central Coast. She earned a BA both in Film and Video Production and Gender and Feminist Studies. An artist, organizer, educator and cultural promoter Graciela Vega is raising her two children, promoting the arts with Hijos Del Sol Arts, arts non-profit and teaching in a dual-immersion program at Alianza Charter School in Watsonville, CA.
Following the example of the National Writing Project philosophy, Graciela Vega models writing in her classroom alongside her middle school students.

On-line Floricanto Bonus

On Friday last week, Manuel Ramos marked the completion of our tenth year. Xánath Caraza, who shares los Monday with Daniel Olivas, contributed a poem that has since become a You Tube hit. Click the link here to read along with the poet as she reads Aterrizando en St. Louis, Missouri 
por Xánath Caraza.

Today is the first Tuesday of La Bloga's Eleventh Year. A day like any other day, except you are here. Thank you for reading La Bloga.

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4. Happy Thanksgiving – Inspiration & Winners

Michelle Henninger sent this illustration in to help us celebrate Thanksgiving. Michelle prefers a traditional approach of pen/ink, and watercolor: with a touch of digital thrown in for good measure. She is a member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, she was a New England SCBWI Ann Barrows Illustration Scholarship recipient. She was the first 2014 featured illustrator on Illustrator Saturday. She is represented by Christina Tugeau at CATugeau.

by Eileen Spinelli

Thank you for the world–still sweet.

Thank you for the food we eat.

Thank you for the honeyed sun

that spoons its light on everyone.

Thank you for the leaves that fall

in glowing piles near the wall,

for kindness in a stranger’s face

and every unexpected grace.

Thank you for the starry dark,

for children laughing in the park,

for cozy towns and sleepy farms,

for dreamers, dancers, babes in arms.

Than you for all hearts that sing

of hope in spite of everything.

Fall Favorites
by Carol Murray

Pumpkins, round, upon the ground,

and children playing ball,

Scarecrow tips his tattered hat,

and waves to one and all.

Sleek black cats on fuzzy mats,

reclining, large and small,

and every size has starlit eyes,

like diamonds at The Mall.

Wine is chilled, and home is filled

with friends, both short and tall.

Hooray! Hooray! Thanksgiving Day.

Favorite things of Fall.
by Carol Murray

A Thanksgiving Toast

Here’s to years of happiness

and months of sunny skies,

To weeks of reaching mountain peaks,

and days of caring eyes,

To hours of hope and tenderness,

and minutes of delight,

On second thought, we wish you love,

We’re giving thanks tonight.

Thank you to Michelle, Eileen, and Carol for sharing their work to help us celebrate Thanksgiving. Hope everyone enjoys the day.


Darlene Beck-Jacobson won Gayle Aanensen’s book BETTER THAN GOLD.

Joanne Roberts won SPAGHETTI SMILES by Margo Sorenson.

Congratulations! Winner please send me your addresses so they can be sent out.

You may wonder why I did not post the poems for the Thanksgiving Poem Contest yesterday. That is because Carol Murray was the only one to send in a poem for the contest and the default winner. Thank you Carol.

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: authors and illustrators, Contest, Holiday, inspiration, Poems Tagged: Better Than Gold, Carol Murray, Eileen Spinelli, Happy Thanksgiving, Spaghetti Smiles, Thanksgiving Poem Contest

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5. ¡Faltamos 43!

Michael Sedano

When I was in the Army I decided I would kill anyone who faced me in war, but I found myself on a Korean mountaintop and didn't face the truth. My friend Mario Trillo, who was getting shot-up in Vietnam the same time I was in Korea, wrote the other day that each successive kill lightened the load on his conscience. Killing another person, the thought of it even, weighs on a person.

So what is it that allows people to kill forty-three fellow people in an act of pitiless deliberateness? Who gives the orders? And when mass grave after mass grave after mass grave turned out to be not the 43, hope for the missing teaching students dimmed:

43 estudiantes de la Escuela Normal Rural Raúl Isidro Burgos, de Ayotzinapa, Tixtla, en el Estado de Guerrero, México, están desaparecidos desde el 26 de septiembre de 2014. Vivos se llevaron. Vivos los queremos.

The students murdered in Iguala were locals. The narcos were locals. The cops were locals. They saw each other on the street. They'd looked into each other's eyes before. Some grew up together.

The imperial couple were cosmopolitan, de la primera clase. The students, the professor, the campesino--the 43--were los de abajo. They would have been teachers, the victims. They could have been teachers, the gunmen. Two roads diverged not long before Iguala.

Shoulda. Woulda. Coulda. I grieve. You grieve. We grieve. Today, 13 poets grieve the 43. !Faltamos 43!

On-line Floricanto: 13 for the 43
Iris De Anda, Marcela Ibarra Mateos, Betty Sánchez, Sonia Gutiérrez, Xánath Caraza, Sharon Elliott, Viva Flores, Daniel Vidal Soto, Patrick Fontes, Jan G. Otterstrom, Andrea Mauk, Nephtalí De León, Carolina Torres

"Ayotzinapa: Rojo Amanecer" Por Iris De Anda
"Mamá, si desaparezco, ¿a dónde voy? / Mother, If I Disappear, Where Do I Go?" By Marcela Ibarra Mateos (Trans. Sonia Gutírrez)
"Todos Somos Ayotzinapa" Por Betty Sánchez
"Los huesos hablan / Bones Speak" By Sonia Gutiérrez
"Espuma Sangrante" Por Xánath Caraza
"Semillas de Ayotzinapa" By Sharon Elliott
"Lucecitas, para Ayotzinapa" Por Viva Flores
"A Poster Asks to Find the Missing 43" By Daniel Vidal Soto
"La Llorona Weeps Once More" By Patrick Fontes
"Hijos perdidos" Por Jan G. Otterstrom
"Mexico, My Mirror" By Andrea Mauk
"43 Howls of the Soul" By Nephtalí De León
"Nudo" Por Carolina Torres

Ayotzinapa: Rojo Amanecer
Por Iris De Anda

tápame los ojos
que ya no puedo ver
el duelo de mi país
otro rojo amancer
el gobierno es maestro de oscuridad
los estudiantes ejercen la luz
es por eso que los de arriba
dan órdenes para apagar
el fuego del pueblo
pues les ilumina
su corrupción
pero les falla su matanza
porque por cada vela que apagan
se enciendien 43 más y más y más
cuarenta y tres semillas de luz digna rabia
se estremece el mundo entero
la humanidad está de luto
y los 43 viven en su llanto
no dejes que te llenen de miedo
la justicia es tu arma
y el sol tu aliento
porque otro rojo amanecer
no podemos aguantar
sigue luchando
mi gente presente
la luz es de quien la enciende
tu voz es un altar
recordamos a los caídos
los levantamos en nuestro gritar
Ya Basta Ayotzinapa
tu sembraste un campo de ideas
ahora la cosecha despierta
ombligo de México
nace tu revancha
el gobierno no se queda impune
porque el pueblo se levanta
levantate hermano
levántate ya
tus compañeros te apoyan
desde el desierto y la montaña
cruzamos fronteras
unimos las manos
tu duelo es el mío
y tu noche la mía
marchamos con luz de dia
exigimos justicia
- Abel García Hernández
- Abelardo Vázquez Peniten
- Adán Abrajan de la Cruz
- Alexander Mora Venancio
- Antonio Santana Maestro
- Benjamín Ascencio Bautista
- Bernardo Flores Alcaraz
- Carlos Iván Ramírez Villarreal
- Carlos Lorenzo Hernández Muñoz
- César Manuel González Hernández
- Christian Alfonso Rodríguez Telumbre
- Christian Tomás Colón Garnica
- Cutberto Ortiz Ramos
- Dorian González Parral
- Emiliano Alen Gaspar de la Cruz.
- Everardo Rodríguez Bello
- Felipe Arnulfo Rosas
- Giovanni Galindes Guerrero
- Israel Caballero Sánchez
- Israel Jacinto Lugardo
- Jesús Jovany Rodríguez Tlatempa
- Jonas Trujillo González
- Jorge Álvarez Nava
- Jorge Aníbal Cruz Mendoza
- Jorge Antonio Tizapa Legideño
- Jorge Luis González Parral
- José Ángel Campos Cantor
- José Ángel Navarrete González
-José Eduardo Bartolo Tlatempa
-José Luis Luna Torres
-Jhosivani Guerrero de la Cruz
-Julio César López Patolzin
-Leonel Castro Abarca
-Luis Ángel Abarca Carrillo
-Luis Ángel Francisco Arzola
-Magdaleno Rubén Lauro Villegas
-Marcial Pablo Baranda
-Marco Antonio Gómez Molina
-Martín Getsemany Sánchez García
-Mauricio Ortega Valerio
-Miguel Ángel Hernández Martínez
-Miguel Ángel Mendoza Zacarías
-Saúl Bruno García

Iris De Anda is a writer, activist, and practitioner of the healing arts. A womyn of color of Mexican and Salvadorean descent. A native of Los Angeles she believes in the power of spoken word, poetry, storytelling, and dreams. She has been published in Mujeres de Maiz Zine, Loudmouth Zine: Cal State LA, OCCUPY SF poems from the movement, Seeds of Resistance, In the Words of Women, Twenty: In Memoriam, Revolutionary Poets Brigade Los Angeles Anthology, and online at La Bloga. She is an active contributor to Poets Responding to SB 1070. She performs at community venues and events throughout the Los Angeles area & Southern California. She hosted The Writers Underground Open Mic 2012 at Mazatlan Theatre and 100,000 Poets for Change 2012, 2013, and 2014 at the Eastside Cafe. She currently hosts The Writers Underground Open Mic every Third Thursday of the month at Eastside Cafe. Author of CODESWITCH: Fires From Mi Corazon. www.irisdeanda.com

Mamá, si desaparezco, ¿a dónde voy?
Por Marcela Ibarra Mateos

Solo sé que si desaparecieras te buscaría
entre la tierra y debajo de ella.

Tocaría en cada puerta de cada casa.

Preguntaría a todas y a cada una de las personas
que encontrara en mi camino.

Exigiría, todos y cada uno de los días,
a cada instancia obligada a buscarte
que lo hiciera hasta encontrarte.

Y querría, hijo, que no tuvieras miedo,
porque te estoy buscando.
Y si no me escucharan, hijo;
la voz se me haría fuerte
y gritaría tu nombre por las calles.
Rompería vidrios y tiraría puertas para buscarte.

Incendiaría edificios para que todos supieran
cuánto te quiero y cuánto quiero que regreses.

Pintaría muros con tu nombre
y no querría que nadie te olvidara.

Buscaría a otros y a otras que también
buscan a sus hijos para que juntos
te encontráramos a ti y a ellos.

Y querría, hijo, que no tuvieras miedo,
porque muchos te buscamos.

Si no desaparecieras, hijo,
como así deseo y quiero.

Gritaría los nombres de todos aquellos
que sí han desaparecido.

Escribiría sus nombres en los muros.

Abrazaría en la distancia y en la cercanía
a todos aquellos padres y madres; hermanas
y hermanos que buscan a sus desaparecidos.

Caminaría del brazo de ellos por las calles.

Y no permitiría que sus nombres fueran olvidados.

Y querría, hijo, que todos ellos no tuvieran miedo,
porque todos los buscamos.

Mother, If I Disappear, Where Do I Go?
By Marcela Ibarra Mateos

I do not know, son.
I only know that if you would disappear
I would search between the earth and beneath her. 

I would knock on every house door. 

I would ask every and each person
who would cross my path.

I would demand each and everyday,
every instant obliged to search for you
until you are found.

And I would want, son, for you not to fear
because I am looking for you.

And if they would not listen to me, son;

my voice would grow strong,
and I would bellow your name through the streets. 

I would break glass and tear down doors to find you. 

I would burn down buildings
so everybody would know
how much I love you
and how much I want you to return.

I would paint murals with your name,
and I would not want anyone to forget you.

I would search for others who are also
looking for their children, so together
we would find you and them. 

And I would want son for you to not be afraid
because we are looking for you. 

If you would not have disappeared, son,
as I wish and want. 

I would bellow the names of all
those who have disappeared. 

I would write their names on walls. 

I would embrace in closeness
and in the distance all those fathers and mothers;
sisters and brothers who are looking for their disappeared.

I would walk arm in arm with them through the streets. 

And I would not allow their names to be forgotten. 

And I would want, son, for all of them
not to be afraid because we all searched.

Translation by Sonia Gutiérrez

La Dra. Marcela Ibarra Mateos es profesora e investigadora de la Universidad Iberoamericana Puebla  en el Departamentos de Ciencias Sociales con experiencia de investigación en migraciones transnacionales; jóvenes rurales, participación comunitaria, y migración.

Sus publicaciones y ponencias han sido presentadas en foros internacionales, nacionales y locales. Publicó el libro Entre Contextos Locales y Ciudades Globales. La configuración de circuitos migratorios Puebla-Nueva York, co-coordinado con Liliana Rivera Sánchez y que reúne textos sobre migración poblana. Recientemente publicó el libro Jóvenes, migración e identidad, como resultado de un proyecto de investigación financiado por INDESOL.

Desde sus inicios ha impulsado el trabajo de investigación articulado a iniciativas de desarrollo local. Particularmente en localidades de Puebla se ha desarrollado trabajo participativo transnacional con organizaciones de migrantes y con familiares en sus localidades de origen.

Todos Somos Ayotzinapa
Por Betty Sánchez

Mi nombre puede ser el tuyo
Yo soy Ayotzinapa
Estudiante normalista
Residente de Guerrero
Padre hijo hermano amigo
Culpable del crimen
De desear superarme
De enseñar en un aula
De defender mis derechos
Y oponerme a la injusticia

Pienso luego desaparezco
En un auto gubernamental
En una burocracia a favor
Del poderoso e influyente
En un sistema municipal
Federal y judicial corrupto
En un gobierno que vende
Impunidad al que puede pagarla
En manos de sicarios
Al servicio del mejor postor

Protesto luego desaparezco
Me encontrarás de rodillas
En el patio de la policía preventiva
En una fosa clandestina
Con el cuerpo calcinado
Brutalmente torturado
Desollado con las cuencas
De los ojos vacías
Símbolo del abismo sombrío
En que vive mi gente

Mis opresores no dan la cara
El Presidente municipal
Huye con permiso y gastos pagados
El Gobernador niega estar involucrado
El Presidente de la República
Se dirige a su pueblo
Diez días después de lo acontecido
Pronunciando un discurso
Con cara de aflicción
Y balbuceando promesas endebles

El silencio ya no es una opción
No soy un caso aislado
Soy un crimen de estado
Victima del terror blanco
El reflejo de una sociedad
Donde la muerte violenta
Es un asunto cotidiano
Noticia internacional
Evento del momento
Como lo fue Tlatelolco y Acteal

No somos los primeros
Pero queremos ser los últimos
Ahora somos 43 desaparecidos
Antes de nosotros
Decenas cientos miles
Todos somos Ayotzinapa
Su lucha y su dolor son los nuestros
Únete a mi grito de indignación
Y solidaridad


Betty Sánchez
En respuesta a los acontecimientos
ocurridos el 26 de Septiembre del 2014
En Iguala Guerrero

Photo by Andres Alvarez
Betty Sánchez, madre, maestra, poeta, ciudadana indignada por lo acontecido en Iguala Guerrero en Septiembre del 2014.

Los huesos hablan 

Por Sonia Gutiérrez

“Ayotzinapa: río de las calabacitas”
Los perros se comportaban 
como si fuera el último hueso. 
Pero los dueños sabían 
que había toneladas
de huesos almacenados
en sus casas blancas, 
en Los Pinos, y en los palacios 
de gobierno. Esos patrimonios
achicaban las casitas de Ayotzinapa.

Pero los huesos no eran mudos;
hablaban. Los huesos se asomaban 
por los cimientos, y por eso los dueños
mandaron crear jardines botánicos 
para apaciguar su conciencia
y distraer a sus invitados importantísimos.

Quinientos años después,
debajo de la avaricia y del odio continuo
contra nosotros mismos,
los dueños nos dejan
máscaras rojas sin piel y con los ojos picados.
Y desde el río de las calabacitas,
los huesos se apoderaron
del sentimiento de la nación
y lo encendieron.

Pisamos fuerte por nuestros
hijos e hijas con y sin huaraches,
con tenis o zapatos,
con sandalias o botas,
este suelo sagrado
que nuestros antepasados caminaron,
dejando atrás el miedo 
haciendo temblar a los domadores
que olfatean el dinero,
el miedo y se arman
hasta los dientes.

Está claro;
los huesos sí hablan:
ustedes, los cuarenta y tres
valientes, sembraron semillas sin miedo—
existe el sueño mexicano
digno de cultivar.

Bones Speak 

By Sonia Gutiérrez

“Ayotzinapa: river of little squash”
The dogs behaved 
as if it were the last bone. 
But the owners knew 
there were tons
of stored bones
in their white houses, 
at Los Pinos, in government
palaces. Those patrimonies
dwarfed the little houses
of Ayotzinapa.
But the bones were not mute;
they talked. Bones peered through
the foundations, and for this reason the owners
created botanical gardens
to appease their conscience
and distract their very important visitors.
Five-hundred years,
underneath continues greed and hate
against ourselves,
the owners leave us
skinned red masks with minced eyes,
And from the river of little squash,
the bones took over
the sentiment of the nation
and lit it.

We step firmly for our
sons and daughters with orwithout huaraches,
with tennis shoes or shoes,
with sandals or boots,
this sacred ground
our ancestors walked,
leaving behind fear,
making the tamers,
who sniff money,
fear and arm themselves
to the teeth, tremble.

It is clear
bones do speak:
you, the valiant forty-three,
planted fearless seeds—
the Mexican dream exists
worthy of cultivating.

Sonia Gutiérrez is the daughter of two Michoacanos. She teaches English Composition and Critical Thinking and Writing at Palomar College. La Bloga is home to her Poets Responding SB 1070 poems, including “Best Poems 2011” and “Best Poems 2012.” Her vignettes have appeared in AlternaCtive PublicaCtions, Mujeres de Maíz, City Works Literary Journal, and Huizache. Her bilingual poetry collection, Spider Woman/La Mujer Araña (Olmeca Press, 2013), is her debut publication. Kissing Dreams from a Distance, a novel, is under editorial review.  To learn more about Sonia, visit SoniaGutierrez.com.

Espuma Sangrante
Por Xánath Caraza

Para los 43 estudiantes de Ayotzinapa

Este mar que lame el arena
Olas hambrientas
Testigos sonoros
Luna de agua con ojos quietos
Inmóviles palmeras mudas frente a mí
Caminan los rayos del amanecer en las calles
Marchan ante el contenido rugido del mar
Aves migratorias en el horizonte
Con ellas vuelo
Arena salmón lamida por la espuma sangrante
Mientras cuarenta y tres niños perdidos
Gritan en tus líquidas rojas entrañas
Aullidos sordos, aullidos sordos
En este mar estático que ruge
Ruge mar, ruge, ruge sus nombres
Para la eternidad

(11 de octubre de 2014, Acapulco, Guerrero, México)
Bleeding Foam
By Xánath Caraza

For the 43 missing students from Ayotzinapa

The sea licks the sand
Hungry waves
Resounding witnesses
Moon of water with quiet eyes
Mute, immobile palm trees before me
Dawn sunrays walk through the streets
They march before the restrained roar of the sea
Migratory birds on the horizon
I fly with them
Salmon sand licked by bleeding foam
While forty-three lost children
Howl in your liquid red entrails
Silent screams, silent screams
In this static sea that roars
Roar, sea; roar, sea.  Roar their names
For eternity

(October 11, 2014, Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico)

Xánath Caraza’s bilingual poetry and short story collections are Sílabas de viento/Syllables of Wind (2014), Noche de Colibríes: Ekphrastic Poems (2014), Lo que trae la marea/What the Tide Brings (2013), Conjuro (2012), and Corazón Pintado: Ekphrastic Poems (2012).  She writes the column, “US Latino Poets en español”.  Caraza is a writer for La Bloga and for Revista Zona de Ocio, and teaches at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC).  She is an advisory circle member of the Con Tinta literary organization.

Semillas de Ayotzinapa
By Sharon Elliott

I hoped
I could construct a barrier
between us
like surgical gauze
or a
made of fir needles
from the forest floor
to keep the horror
at bay
pero a veces esperanza no sirve

a dream
came gently
on a warm south wind
to a room with whitewashed walls
worn wooden floors
for dancing
llena de estudiantes
gozando la vida

in one corner
an argument
loud voices
arms gesticulating wildly
hands raised in clenched fists
above heads
sure of themselves
como compañeros
sure that even if
agreement was not reached
the truth would be told

in another corner
a muchacho with hands soft
touches the face
of his beloved
she receives his caricias
con una sonrisa
and a delicate sigh

at a long scrubbed table
a portly guy
with a laugh
big and jovial
like his stomach
fills a plate
tamales and chicharrones
and all the joy it can hold
while his friends bring cerveza
to wet his whistle
so he will tell a joke

on the stage
a boy plays his guitar
notes rain from strings
like pearls and bullets
his throat forms words
nuggets of gold

those waiting
go for the gold
leave their humanity behind

when I wake I know
los jovenes son nuestros
they are our children still
grown though they may be

they might be dead
or unable to come back
from a different kind of death
we may not understand

my lips say “soy  Ayotzinapa”
my body growls “soy Ayotzinapa”
my brain shouts “soy Ayotzinapa”

my heart cries “los jovenes de Ayotzinapa son yo”

“they tried to bury us, they didn’t know we were seeds
trataron de enterrar , que no sabían que éramos semillas”

Copyright © 2014 Sharon Elliott. All Rights Reserved.

Born and raised in Seattle, Sharon Elliott has written since childhood. Four years in the Peace Corps in Nicaragua and Ecuador laid the foundation for her activism. As an initiated Lukumi priest, she has learned about her ancestral Scottish history, reinforcing her belief that borders are created by men, enforcing them is simply wrong.  She has a book: Jaguar Unfinished, Sharon Elliott, Prickly Pear Publishing 2012, ISBN-13:  978-1-889568-03-4, ISBN-10:  1-889568-03-1 (26 pgs); and has featured in poetry readings at Poetry Express and La Palabra Musical in Berkeley, CA.  She was awarded a Best Poem of 2012, The Day of Little Comfort, in La Bloga Online Floricanto Best Poems of 2012, 11/2013, http://labloga.blogspot.com/2013/01/best-poems-of-2012.html.

Lucecitas, para Ayotzinapa
Por Viva Flores

“Ahora que/vamos a hacer/buscando cuarenta y tres
luciérnagas/ con/
frascos de miel/
ahora que/vamos a hacer.”

Dice la alquimia que las esencias se transmutan
solo con intención-
leña a polvo,
polvo a leña
los ciclos acaban como se
empiezan y
no hay materia que se transforma
a nada.

Históricamente, el silencio del fuego nunca ha servido para
ocultar los gritos de las bocas
la gasolina no fue hecha para derramar en las caras,
en una pila de cuerpos.

Hay una madre en su cama llorando como niña en su
exigiendo justicia como alimento
pero no le dan
Una mañana guardando el silencio
esa misma mujer carga a su arma.
Cuidado con la que ha perdido todo-
ya no le pueden quitar

México, cuarenta y tres luciérnagas calcinadas
han encendido las puertas de tu casa,
dieron luz a tu palacio empolvado-
un manojo de gusanos
retorciéndose por plata.

A Cuauhtémoc le quemaron los pies los europeos
pero el Tata nunca se dio. Sus huesitos derritiendo
candentes de valor.

Los guerreros nunca mueren
solo se transmutan, cambian de
Copyright 2014 Viva Flores. All rights reserved.

Viva Flores is a regular contribute at Balck Girl Dangerous. She studied Literature at University of Texas at El Paso.

A Poster Asks to Find the Missing 43
By Daniel Vidal Soto


You’ll never find them
Take the posters
And wrap them in a sailboat
Headed to the moon
Across la frontera through the bridge
To America’s house

Weep even for those who cross in safety
Safe enough to begin a family
For the kids, weep again
Into the realization
The American Dream does not exist
The schools really are also a prison
If we survive even this

Do it because
Alhambra has forgotten
Nahua’s agua through the well
Take the poster into a solid dream
Write poems and death notes
Stepping stones
Drowned beyond tomorrow


A crushed bag
Bottle of
Bibs and bitings
Teeth inked
Gold badge and copper wire
Silent eye
Talisman crosshair
beyond the fire


Crushed van
Bone paint
Some moan
A splint of femur
In the neck
The neck breathing
Aveoli and
An eye
beyond the fence


Mayor’s wife
Cheaper than
Yesterday’s piss
Golden locks
And thinking
She’s white
Uncle Sam’s
Cock sucker
Ass bender
Money fucker
Spirit twister
Cold eyed non-sister
Hope the furnace forgive
What the earth
And all our – not your – children
Can sing again in bigger choir


I see
My friend
Being arrested
And I tell him
It’s no different
Jamaican, Trinidadian
Dominican, Haitian
Puerto Rican
Moreno, Indio, Mestizo
The Trinidadian Parade
Announced We Ready
Habibi has already played
Through the warm Egyptian air


There’s a beat
Coming in my stomach
My fingers touch
Through the cotton
Singing incantations
What was it she said –
Sana, Sana
Taking the knife
And cutting away the cloud
An egg shell appears
Brighter and more promising
Than the eye
It is an oval and white
As is its halo

Daniel Vidal Soto is author of "Demon in Plastic", and has been published in Cloudy City Press, Brooklyn Paramount, thosethatthis, La Bloga Floricanto, and the Nerds of Color. He currently pursues an MFA in poetry at Long Island University - Brooklyn, where he teaches and is working on his second book of poetry.  He roots himself in Acuña, Coahuila, Mexico and the North Side of Fort Worth, Texas.

"La Llorona Weeps Once More"
by Patrick Fontes

Last night I heard La Llorona weeping
Echoes along the shores of Texcoco
In anguish along Chapala
The Pánuco
And Rio Grande
Her hands bloodied
Stained with the sangre of her hijos
Slain in her madness in Guerrero

Copyright 2014 Patrick Fontes. All Rights Reserved.

Currently I am a PhD candidate in history at Stanford University. My research involves border issues, Mexican religion, the Virgin Mary, immigration into the Southwest, and the criminalization of Chicano culture.

I grew up in Fresno, in a working class Chicano home.
During the Mexican revolution my great grandfather, Jesus
 Luna, crossed the border from Chihuahua into El Paso, then on to Fresno. In 1920 Jesus built a Mexican style adobe house on the outskirts of the city, it is still our family’s home and the center of our Mexican identity today. Nine decades of memories adorn the plastered walls inside. In one corner, a photo of Bobby Kennedy hangs next to an image of La Virgen de Zapopan; in another, an imposing altar to Guadalupe.

The smells, voices, sounds, hopes and ghosts of familia who have gone before me saturate my poems.

por Jan G. Otterstrom

Tengo siete hijos
no se encuentran entre
los desaparecidos, pero
en una pausa momentánea
comparto el dolor de padres,
madres, su carga preciosa
carne de su carne
pequeñas voces riendo
pateando sus balones
oraciones sinceras cuando
los pusieron a dormir, asegurando
el amor de una familia
ahora en peligro o para mal
Padres indefensos
solamente pueden recurrir a Dios.

© Jan G. Otterstrom F.
Noviembre 12, 2014

Poet, Jan Otterstrom Fonnesbeck, born 1944 in San Francisco, California presently living in Costa Rica, Central America.  Retired: BA Brigham Young University (English) Hart-Larson Poetry prize 1967.  J.D. Gonzaga, University 1972, MBA INCAE Costa Rica 1992, Poetry books "Ibis Of Imaginings A poetic Diary 1965-1994" Costa Rica; "Telar" 2005 Ediciones Union UNEAC Cuba; "Suite De La Habana" 2008 Coleccion Sur UNEAC Cuba; "Gatherings Collected poems 2006-2011" 2011 Xlibris, USA: "Portal Fragments of Journal Entries 2011-2012"  Y Mountain Press BYU; "To Return Home" 2013 Y Mountain Press, BYU; "Eleven Degrees North" 2014 Y Mountain Press BYU 2014; "Often There Post-Script and Orchid" Y Mountain Press 2014. His books are available at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, BYUBookstore.com, UNEAC, La Habana Cuba and Cuban Bookstores.  “Telar” is in a second edition of 5000 copies and sold in South America. Web page: www.janotterstrom.com

Mexico, My Mirror
by Andrea Mauk

If I did not believe in divine connection
between everyone and everything
I could write this poem solamente about 43
43 from Ayotzinapa, Guerrero
43 estudiantes innocentes
43 normal teachers to be
pobres destined to teach más pobres, not unlike me,
but I can no longer see one incident
There are 43,000,000,000 stars above that tell me it isn't so,
y ya me cansé.

I must peel the cataracts from my eyes,
unstitch the lips silenced by promised kisses of butterflies,
patch together my heart cut to pieces by control and lies.
I can cry for the parents, wail with los abuelos,
stand in shock con las novias, in despair with los hijos.
I feel the pain of towns full of citizens that clang together hollowed with fear,
the people that watch over their backs each day in narco states,
those that now pray for faster relief from blinged out narco saints,
I can question Our Lady as to how can she let this be,
but I cannot stop there.
Ya me cansé.

Mexico is my mirror that shines on the world.
I slide it up, turn it towards our 50 states,
examine one side of the coin in exchange for the other,
Grand white houses and bellies filled with greed reflect upon each other.
People starved of caring and meaning and faith
Silenced by a system that rules with the gun
But no longer represents,
And all of us normales fragmented like splintered stars
scrapping to fight for this cause or that,
grappling for change that's just beyond reach,
not able to unburden ourselves from history's scars.

Leaden soldiers have no hearts, puppet leader have no brains
and whoever runs the show is buried at the core of the nesting dolls
that we've yet to discover. And the drug trade that exists for whom?

(Long Pause) y ya me cansé.

My eyes no longer jaded, stitches removed from my lips,
the smoke in my mirror has vanished.
I can take it no more.
No more senseless poverty, judgment, death or war
in the name of God or glory or power or oil.
And the meek shall inherit whats left of the earth
for La Revolución 43 has begun.
Ya me cansé en Mexico.
Ya me cansé in the Middle East
Ya me cansé in Africa
Ya me cansé in the deadly American streets.

The dust of 43,000 crushed bones
and 430,000 dientes pulverizados
and uncountable fragments of hopes and dreams
float above this world of chaos,
marking the unknown graves.
The universe forms clouds of shame,
persistent memories of war.
Doesn't that truly reflect who we are...

Connect the stars. Connect the dots.
The mirror reflects back on us.

November 13, 2014

 Andrea Garcia Mauk grew up in Arizona, where both the immense beauty and harsh realities of living in the desert shaped her artistic soul. She currently calls Los Angeles home, but has also lived in Chicago, New York and Boston. She has worked in the music industry, and on various film and television productions. She writes short fiction, poetry, original screenplays and adaptations, and is currently finishing two novels. Her writing and artwork has been published and viewed in a variety of places such as on The Late, Late Show with Tom Snyder; The Journal of School Psychologists and Victorian Homes Magazine. Both her poetry and artwork have won awards. Several of her writings are included in the 2011 anthology, Our Spirit, Our Reality. She currently teaches elementary theatre for the Los Angeles Unified School District. She is producing an original musical with her 5th grade students this December in Cudahy, CA. She is also in the midst of a cookbook project in which she seeks to make recipes classic healthier. Visit her cookbook website at http://www.corazonenplatillo.com

43 Aullidos del Alma  
© by  Nephtalí  De León

sad pigeons in Iguala
wept in Juan Álvarez Street
when the government police
shot at Ayotzinapa
Aldo was hit on the head
busloads of students were dead
43 of them corralled
prisoners taken ahead

vuela vuela palomita
limpia tus lágrimas de oro
dí que’l más grande tesoro
las joyas de Ayotzinapa
las mutilaron del mapa

cerca de Cocula un río
lleno de ranas y peces
tiemblan pero no de frío
es el llanto de un hallazgo
bolsas de plástico hundidas
gente desaparecida

fue el 28 de Septiembre
del año 2014
un tiempo sin igualdad
como duele recordar
allá  por Iguala Guerrero
cuando entregan a los presos
43 normalistas
al cartel de los Priístas
que´s que Guerreros Unidos
degenerados bandidos

a  Julio Cesar lo hallaron
desollado de su cara
his eyes and his skin were missing
sin ojos ni piel en cara
y el presidente de lujo
paseando por el mundo entero
ni al propio gobernador
se le ocurrío penar luto
the national signs of mourning
were Mexico´s tears next morning

dígame gobernador
diga señor presidente
dónde los 43
si vivos se los llevaron
¡ vivos los quiero presentes !

43 Howls of the Soul
By © Nephtalí De León

tristes palomas de Iguala
por calle Juan Álvarez lloran
al ver policías del gobierno
con balas para Ayotzinapa
una en la cabeza de Aldo
muertos camiones de alumnos
43 ya redados
prisioneros del estado

take wing little dove take wing
wipe off your teardrops of gold
tell the world  of the treasure
the jewels of Ayotzinapa
massacred without measure

close to Cocula the river
trembles with fish and with frogs
it shivers but not with the cold
there´s 43 howls in the waves
plastic bags full of remains
lost in their watery graves

on the 28th day of September
in the  year 2014
it hurts me so much to remember
the things of inequity days
when in Iguala Guerrero
the 43 Normalistas
by police they were delivered
to Priístas and Cartel
Guerreros Unidos both bandits
degenerates all from hell

when Julio Cesar was found
his face was peeled back unbound
two empty holes in his sockets
where his eyes should have been found
the president in full luxury
travels around the world
not even the governor said
there´s mourning and we´re all sad
el dolor se hizo presente
de México al día siguiente

governor will you tell me
Mr. President will you tell me
where are the 43
you took them from us alive
alive do we want them back !

Nephtalí De León, is a poet, author, playwright, and muralist painter. A migrant worker, he published his first book while a senior in high school, which was the last experience with formal education that he cared to be involved with.  Some of the author´s  publications are:  Chicano Popcorn (poetry),  Chicanos: Our Background and Our Pride, (essays in prose), -- Coca Cola Dream;  Hey, Mr President Man! (both, poetry),  I will Catch the Sun (for children), and others. Translated into Chinese, Russian, Arabic, Catalan and other languages, he has been published in USA, Mexico, France and Spain. His latest activity has been collaborating with the making of movie “Vamos al Norte” in Spanish with English subtitles, awaiting theatrical release. His dream is to have Mexica Chicano Natives de-colonize themselves from misnomers such as “Latinos” and “Hispanics,” which he says hold us as psycho/physical hostages of ourselves in a self-colonizing perpetuity that needs chains broken.

Por Carolina Torres

Hoy te gritaré
con la desesperación
de 43 voces
hasta que incontables puños
encendamos los cerillos
que desaten la esperanza,
arderá el amor
y no necesitaremos más carteles
con fotografías
empapadas en llanto de madres,
nunca más será domingo
así no tendrás permiso de muerte,
ni bala,
ni fuego,
ni fosas,
no, no habrá verde olivo
con pestilencia de Estado
capaz de atravesarte,
hoy correrás a los brazos
de la ternura
y ya no tendremos que clamar
por vivir o morirnos,
desaparecemos los dinosaurios.

Carolina Torres. Tegucigalpa, Honduras (1989). Estudiante de la carrera de Medicina en la Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Honduras. Su poesía ha sido incluida en Honduras: Golpe y Pluma, Antología de poesía resistente escrita por mujeres (2009-2013), Miembra del Movimiento poético Las de Hoy. Miembra activa de la Asociación Nacional de Escritoras de Honduras, ANDEH. Ha participado en Festivales internacionales de Poesía de Centroamérica.

QEPD los 43

0 Comments on ¡Faltamos 43! as of 11/18/2014 2:59:00 AM
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6. Free Fall Friday – Two Book-Give-a-Ways & Poem Winner


greaterthangoldGayle Aanensen’s new 88 page novella, GREATER THAN GOLD hit the book shelves this week. It is now available on Amazon and will appeal to anyone who celebrates Christmas.

Greater than Gold is the story of two troubled boys and their two Christmases—Oscar in the present day, and Omar way back in biblical time. A good description would be The Polar Express meets The Book of Luke. After all, if a magical train ride can restore a boy’s belief in Santa Claus, why can’t an angel time-travel Oscar back to Bethlehem, where he discovers the peace, joy (and danger!) of the very first Christmas. Twelve-year-old Oscar Olsen is missing his soldier Dad, and he wants nothing (repeat, nothing) to do with Christmas this year! He acts out his anger on his Mom, his friend, Melissa, and even the strange new kid in church, Albert. A young, inexperienced angel, still struggling to control her wings, appears in Oscar’s bedroom. She tells Oscar that her official alphanumerical name is too long, so he can call her Earth Angel 10. She whirls him back to 2,000 years ago, where he becomes Omar, an orphaned camel-boy, riding with the Magi. Omar is a brand-new person in the traditional nativity story. Young readers will be drawn into the boys’ two parallel stories, told in alternating chapters.


Ten days ago, I featured Margo Sorensen new book, SPAGHETTI SMILES and forgot to offer everyone a chance to win a copy her wonderful book illustrated by David Harrington who was featured on Illustrator Saturday. So we are offering the book give-a-way this week.

So if you leave a comment to this post you will automatically have a chance to win GREATER THAN GOLD OR SPAGHETTI SMILES.

If you reblog, tweet, post on your facebook page you will get an extra ticket with your name paced in the hat. This will definitely up your chances for winning one of the books. You can comment now and then do the other things later, but please come back before the deadline and let me know how many things you did. Both will make a nice gift for the holidays. Good luck!

The Unusual Stew by Robert Zammarchi was voted as the best Halloween poem. His prize is a featured post right here on Writing and Illustrating. He can choose to use it right away or hold on to it for when he wants to talk about something special. Thank you to everyone who submitted poems and to everyone who voted.

I think everyone enjoyed this, so I am going to do the same thing for Thanksgiving. If you have a poem or an illustration inspired by the holiday, please email it to me at: Kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail.com – Please put THANKSGIVING POEM or THANKSGIVING ILLUSTRATION in the Subject Box.

Alexander Slater

Agent Alex Slater

Remember to submit your first pages for this month. It is the last one for this year.

The four winning first pages will be sent to Alex Slater from Trident Media for critique. PLEASE DO NOT SUBMIT IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO HAVE YOUR CRITIQUE POSTED.

Here are the guidelines for submitting a First Page in November:

In the subject line, please write “November First Page Critique” and paste the text in the email. Please make sure you include your name, the title of the piece, and whether it is as picture book, middle grade, or young adult, etc. at the top.

Plus attach your first page Word doc. to email. Format using one inch margins and 12 point New Times Roman font – double space – no more than 23 lines. First page should not be submitted with two pages. Send to: kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com.

PLEASE FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES: Last month a number of submissions were taken out of the mix, due to not following the directions for both the pasted email and the attached Word doc.

DEADLINE: November 24th.

RESULTS: November 28th.

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: Agent, Contests, illustrating, inspiration, opportunity, Poems Tagged: Agent Alex Slater, November First Page Critiques, Thanksgiving Poems, Two Book Give-a-Ways, Winner of Halloween Poem Contest

10 Comments on Free Fall Friday – Two Book-Give-a-Ways & Poem Winner, last added: 11/14/2014
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7. #654 – Rhyme Schemer by K. A. Holt

rhyme scheerx

Rhyme Schemer

Written by K. A. Holttop-10-use-eb-trans
Chronicle Books 10/01/2014
Age 8 to 12 176 pages

“Kevin has a bad attitude. He’s the one who laughs when you trip and fall. In fact, he may have been the one who tripped you in the first place. He has a real knack for rubbing people the wrong way—and he’s even figured out a secret way to do it with poems. But what happens when the tables are turned and he is the one getting picked on?”


“First day of school.
My favorite.
Easy prey.

Giant John.
A parade float of himself.

The Story

Kevin, the class bully, is in seventh grade. He loves picking on certain kids. His teacher, Mrs. Smithson, does not like him, but does like to send Kevin to the principal’s office. She also turns a very blind eye when Kevin is no longer the bully, but the bullied. At home, Kevin is the accident baby with four “P” brothers: Patrick, Paul, Petey, and Philip. Mom and dad are both busy physicians with little time for home or Kevin.

Kevin keeps a notebook of his days at school, writing them in verse. Petey, in charge of driving Kevin to school, is a bully himself. When he notices Kevin’s notebook, Petey makes terrible fun of Kevin and then chucks the notebook out the car window. Kevin searches but cannot find it. Robin, who fits perfectly between the boy’s bathroom sink pipes, finds the notebook. It becomes blackmail. Robin wants to be the Poetry Bandit. Robin is a little jerk.

Mrs. Little, the librarian, knows it is Kevin tearing out pages from classics, circling and adding a letter or two, creating a unique poem, and then posting it at school for all to see. Mrs. Little soon takes to Kevin. She encourages Kevin to stop defacing school property and use paper other than pages from children’s classics for his unique poetry. As long as Robin has Kevin’s private notebook, sharing it at random, Kevin is nervous. There are a few bombs in the notebook that Kevin does not want exploding at school.


Written in verse, Rhyme Schemer is a fast read. It is also an extremely enjoyable read that kept me laughing, sometimes loudly. Kevin is not a bad kid. His home life looks ideal to others, but reality is another matter. His parents are rarely home and brother Petey—who hates Kevin—is especially mean whenever possible. Bullies beget bullies. Kevin enjoys picking on his classmates. He meets with the principal much too often.

Kevin is not the classic bully who is mean and full of hate that spews out at other kids. Kevin is frustrated and trying to get his parent’s attention. His home life is mostly unfair and soon school will become unfair. The teacher ignores Robin’s attacks at Kevin, whether it is passing mean notes during class or ignoring a physical confrontation—where Kevin does not retaliate. She really does not like Kevin and then favors Robin, mainly because his father holds an important position.

I really like Kevin. He is a character you can easily favor, wanting him to catch a break. He’s a likable kid. Kevin pays a big price for defending Kelly, but he gains a friend, his first. I understand Kevin. He is the baby in a large family, but instead of being spoiled, he is picked on, sometimes harshly for no real reason. In a house full of people, Kevin is alone. What must it be like to have four brothers, all wanted, and with planned-out names beginning with a “P” (I wish I knew why), but he is the accident with a name beginning with the wrong letter. This alone must make him feel alienated from his family. Kevin deals with school unfairness and home by becoming a feeling-less, like stone.

Kids will like Rhyme Schemer. They will like Kevin. Kids will see a bully from a new perspective. The text is funny in so many places, and even sad in a few. Ms. Holt’s writing style is enjoyable and kid like. Kevin is the narrator, but I wonder if he is also the author and Ms. Holt his conduit. Kevin wrote several Odes to his principal’s tie. Some are in the story and some are at the end of the book. Don’t pass these by.

“[Clearing throat noise here.]
O, Principal’s tie
You make me want to puke
Because you are the color of
Squishy, moldy fruit”

Reluctant readers will also find Rhyme Schemer easy to read. At the end, I was not ready to stop reading. I wanted more. There are no unanswered questions, no threads laying in wait for a resolution; I simply want to read more of Kevin’s poetry. Rhyme Schemer is one of those rare books that stay with you, long after the last page flips over. I hope to read Kevin’s eighth grade notebook.

RHYME SCHEMER. Text copyright © 214 by K. A. Holt. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

Read a excerpt of Rhyme Schemer HERE (no cost)

Buy Rhyme Schemer at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryChronicle Booksyour favorite bookstore.
Learn more about Rhyme Schemer HERE
Meet the author, K. A. Holt, at her website:   http://kaholt.com/books/
Find more middle grade books at the Chronicle Books website:   http://www.chroniclebooks.com/

Also by K. A. Holt

Brains for Lunch

Brains for Lunch

Mike Steller Nerves of Steel

Mike Steller Nerves of Steel




Coming Fall 2015 – House Arrest – Chronicle Books



rhymer schemer

Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews

I really like the author information on the back inside book jacket.
K. A. Holt is a writer
a mama
a bad (but fearless) cook.

She has written three
books for kids.


She shelved books
in the library
during grade school.

Ms. Holt claims
she never had a detention.

Believe what you want.”

Filed under: 6 Stars TOP BOOK, Books for Boys, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Poetry, Reluctant Readers, Top 10 of 2014 Tagged: absent parents, bullied, bullier, children's book reviews, Chronicle Books, K.A. Holt, middle grade novel, poems, poetry, seventh grade

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8. Review: High Aztech. Frontera Happenings. On-line Floricanto

The Desmadreization of Xólotl Zapata

Review: Ernest Hogan. High Aztech. Smashwords, 2013. Link here.

Michael Sedano

While it’s trite to call a novel “unique” you’d have to go all the way back to 1962’s A Clockwork Orange to read a novel anywhere similar to Ernest Hogan’s 2013 High Aztech. There’s certainly nothing like High Aztech in Chicano Literature, nor the broader U.S. science fiction genre.

Fans of A Clockwork Orange are sure to enjoy High Aztech’s multicultural dystopia and distinctive Españahuatl dialect. There’s horrowshow ultra-violence but the sharp edges are taken off by absurdist humor and the hapless first person voice of thirty year-old Xólotl Zapata.

Hogan jumps the reader into the middle of a xixatl storm, no preamble. Xólotl is tied to a table drugged by an (at this point) unseen inquisitor. The all-seeing government may be Zapata's iniquisitor. Then again, it might be one of the other organizations vying to control Tenochtitlán: The mafia. Or the Iyakuza. Or the Neliyacme. Or the Pepenadores. Or High Aztech itself.

The economical plot effectively incorporates backgrounds and definitions as the narrative unfolds, Hogan rarely stops the action to explain something. The pepenadores, for example, are ubiquitous hazmat-suited ciphers. They recycle trash into useful materials but also phantasmagoric vehicles that give them a fighting chance against their similarly heavily-armed rivals.

Hogan understates the grand irony that los pepenadores, like service workers everywhere, grow invisible to hoity-toity tipas tipos who spill secrets around the help. They make perfect spies and a formidable insurgency. Each of Hogan's thugitome combatants has their quirks and capacities for trouble.

Zapata’s girlfriend, Cóatliquita, infects him with a virus. It gives him a compulsion to go around in crowds, like the metro, and touch people, passing along the virus. The government and the rival groups know and want to capture Xólotl.

What ails Zapata is not some Ebola-like plague that kills, but a faith virus developed in Africa, where the world's best science is, that spreads by touch. The virus genetically modifies the brain. Give a Catholic a Catholic virus they ardently reaffirm their faith. Give that virus to a Muslim and you have a troubled convert.

The virus Zapata is spreading reaffirms or converts gente to the neo-Aztec religion that already has an upper hand among the gente. Clearly, the Catholic government wants Zapata off the streets. The other organizations want Zapata, to study and make their own viruses. And kill Zapata.

Zapata as the story begins, lives a semi-famous comic book writer and "a rare literate expert on Españáhuatl." As the virus grows in him he begins thinking of himself as an Aztec warrior and seeks a flowery death every time it looks like he’s about to bite the dust. And that happens a lot in ways that bring smiles of a reader’s face.

Chaos, riots, sex (but only a hint), surprise, treachery, philosophy, surreality push the plot along. Your head will spin. Zapata is captured, escapes, is captured, escapes, is captured. He’s injected with all the religion-inducing viruses in the world. He escapes to spread the resulting virus.

Hogan’s writing is at its best in Xólotl’s hallucination when all the gods and Gods and goddesses come together during a wild virus-induced religious bacchanal. Readers will find their own favorites. High Aztech hits readers with page after page of memorable inspirations from the author’s fevered imagination.

The Españahuatl is lots of fun. As a Chicano writer, Hogan has a good feel for code-switching etiquette and uses that in building his extensive Nahuatl Spanish vocabulary. Fortunately, the author abandons appositional translation early on, allowing the code-switched idiom to stand on its own.

Not that gente will have much difficulty with easy cognates like mamatl, or radioactivotl “hot,” horny, or chilangome Tenochtitlán inhabitants, pl. chilangotl sing. Applying phonetics to other terms will make them readily accessible, like quixtianome non-Aztecan religionist, Christian, or xixatl for shit. Some words might be decipherable, but real pronunciation challenges, making reading a tongue-twisting “A” ticket ride like the key term, ticmotraspasarhuililis.

Hogan provides a useful glossary at the back, but leave it for later.

As with any successful science fiction, High Aztech provides food for thought, perhaps advocacy, on the roles critical thinking, belief, and syncretism play out in people’s contentment with one another. Above all, High Aztech is a good-humored story that pushes the boundaries both of science fiction and Chicano Literature and, until more raza start writing genre literature, High Aztech is sui generis and merits broad readership.

High Aztech comes to you as a publishing initiative by the author’s effort. Click the link for Ernest Hogan's La Bloga column on the venture. Various booksellers distribute the work in these formats: epub, mobi, pdf, rtf, lrf, pdb, txt.

My reading was of the Smashwords edition of High Aztech, https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/321713.

Mailbag, News 'n Notes
It's Happening at a Frontera Near You

Artesia NM • 9/14 - 21
Tara Evonne Trudell

Alas is a Border Beads poetry project that La Bloga friend Tara Evonne Trudell (featured in this week's On-line Floricanto) launches to bring awareness to unconscionable treatment of women and children immigrants detained in Artesia, NM.

Trudell has issued a call for poetry that deals directly with the current immigration and detention travesty.

Trudell and friends fashion prayer beads from the printed poems. They will roll the submitted during a weeklong fast in solidarity with the mothers and children, the week of September 14 through 21.

Submissions are open now. Please submit to trudellt@yahoo.com

Austin • 9/21

San Benito, TX • 10/4

Date: Saturday, Oct. 4th
Time: 10 am - 6 pm
Location: Narciso Martinez Cultural Center, San Benito, TX

Event Description: This is the first book festival of South Texas which is a collaboration between UT-Brownsville, Mexican American Studies at UTPA, and the Coalition of New Chican@ Artists (CONCA). This space is to reserve a table for small presses, independent bookstores, libraries, etc. The first table is free but if you wish to rent a 2nd table the fee is $50. We have limited space, so this will be handled on a first come, first serve basis.

For more information, contact Christopher Carmona at concavoices@gmail.com or call at 956-854-1717.

Deadline for Submission is September 22nd by midnight.

Guerrero MX • 12/24

From La Bloga friend Reyna Grande:
This December 2014, I will be going to my hometown in Guerrero, Mexico to host a Christmas event known as a "Posada", where I will be giving free toys to all the neighborhood kids! When I lived there in poverty, the posadas were something to look forward to. I have never forgotten the poverty I came from, and how the simplest acts of kindness can change a child's life.

Please help me make this Christmas season special for the children living in my hometown. Starting today, I will be doing a sixty day fundraiser campaign for my Christmas toy giveaway. Be part of the Grande Posada by contributing to my fundraiser!

Please consider donating today or tell a friend! Thank you so much!

Click here for the IndieGoGo campaign.

On-line Floricanto September 9, 2014
Tara Evonne Trudell, Sonia Gutiérrez, Jorge Tetl Argueta, Eva Chávez, Raúl Sánchez, Tom Sheldon

"This Round" by Tara Evonne Trudell
"Grandchildren of the United Fruit Company/Nietos de la United Fruit Company" by Sonia Gutiérrez
"Nuestros niños y niñas / Our Children" by Jorge Tetl Argueta
"Faces Under the Shadows / Rostros bajo las sombras" by Eva Chávez; edited by Raúl Sánchez
"Poetry Is" by Tom Sheldon

This Round
by Tara Evonne Trudell

this round
will go
to mother earth
she who
and survives
she who
takes destruction
and rebuilds
finding her
way to grow
all odds
against her
she not trying
to hide
her beauty
in nature
giver of life
jealous gods
and bible words
captured in
man's greed
and corruption
the pain
of persecution
never leaving
her awareness
in layers
of the not caring
upon ground
she provides
a place
for humanity
to stand
over and over
all source
of inspiration
her gift
of being
and providing
for all those
around her
raising fists
in the air
earth wins
this round.

Copyright © 2014 Tara Evonne Trudell.

Tara Evonne Trudell studied film, audio, and photography while in college at New Mexico Highlands University. She is a recent graduate with her BFA in Media Arts. As a poet and artist raising f four children, it has become her purpose to represent humanity, compassion, and action in all her work.
Incorporating poetry with visuals, she addresses the many troubling issues that are ongoing in society and hopes that her work will create an emotional impact that inspires others to act. Tara has started a life long project, Border Beads, that takes poetry off the page and transfers it into energy in action by making beads out of the poems. She uses her own poetry as well as other poets to address the crisis on the border.

Grandchildren of the United Fruit Company
by Sonia Gutiérrez

for Claudia González

Knock, knock, knock.
America, there are children
knocking at your door.
Can you hear their soft
knocks like conch
shells, whispering
in your ears?

Weep, weep, weep.
Can you hear
the children whimpering?
Their moist eyes
yearning to see friendly TV-gringo-houses
swing their front doors
wide open.

America, America, America!
The children are here;
they have arrived
to your Promise Land,
sprinkled with pixie dust,
paved with happiness
and freedom.

America, why do these children
overflow your limbo rooms?
Why are the children corralled
in chain-link fences,
sleeping on floors
and benches?

America, did you forget
your ties dressed in camouflage
and suits in that place
called The Banana Republic?

What say you, America?
Please speak. And speak
loud and clear—
so the brown pilgrim
children never forget
the doings
of your forked tongue
and their color schemed

Nietos de la United Fruit Company
por Sonia Gutiérrez

para Claudia González

Tan, tan, tan.
América, hay niños
tocando tu puerta.
¿Puedes escuchar los golpes
suaves como conchas,
susurrando tus oídos?

Llorar, llorar, llorar.
¿Puedes escuchar
a los niños quejarse?
Sus ojos humedecidos
anhelando ver las puertas amistosas
de Tele-casas-gringas que se abran
de par en par.

América, América, América!
Los niños llegaron;
han llegado a tu Tierra Prometida,
espolvoreada con polvo de hada,
pavimentada con felicidad
y libertad.

América, ¿por qué estos niños
desbordan tus cuartos limbo?
¿Por qué hay niños acorralados
en bardas de alambre,
durmiendo en pisos
y bancas?

América, ¿acaso olvidaste
tus lazos vestidos de camuflaje
y trajes en ese lugar
llamado La República Platanera?

¿Qué dices tú, América?
Por favor habla. Y habla
fuerte y claro—
para que los niños peregrinos
morenos nunca olviden
las acciones de tu lengua viperina
y las esquemas de colores
de sus vistas prisioneras.

Sonia Gutiérrez is a poet professor, who promotes social justice and human dignity.
She teaches English Composition and Critical Thinking and Writing at Palomar College. La Bloga is home to her Poets Responding SB 1070 poems, including “Best Poems 2011” and “Best Poems 2012.” Sonia recently joined the moderators of Poets Responding to SB 1070.

Her vignettes have appeared in AlternaCtive PublicaCtions, Mujeres de Maíz, City Works Literary Journal, Hinchas de Poesía, Café Enchilado, Storyacious and forthcoming in Huizache. Her bilingual poetry collection, Spider Woman/La Mujer Araña is her debut publication. To listen to “Grandchildren of the United Fruit Company,” visit Poets Cafe on KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles’s PodOmatic.

Nuestros niños / Our Children
por Jorge Argueta

Nuestros niños

Juegan con trocitos de madera
llevan mariposas en las manos
se levantan con los pájaros

Nuestras niñas cantan
a la ronda
le hablan a las nubes
un día se van siguiendo sus sueños

Nuestros niños y niñas
no le temen a la bestia

Nuestros niños y niñas
son guerreros
son gorriones
tienen vocales y coraje en sus corazones

Nuestros niños y niñas
no son extraterrestres o ilegales
son como los niños y niñas
de todo el mundo

Hermosos como el agua
como el viento
como el fuego
como el amanecer

©Jorge Argueta 2014

Our Children
by Jorge Argueta

Play with small pieces of wood
They carry butterflies in their hands
They rise with the birds

Our children sing
Round and round
They speak to the clouds
One day the go follow their dreams

Our children
They do not fear “The Beast”*

Our children
Are warriors
Are hummingbirds
They have voice and courage in their hearts

Our children
Are not aliens or illegal
They are like all children
Of the world

Like the water
Like the wind
Like the fire
Like the sunrise

*The Beast: the train that travels through Mexico to the border.
© Jorge Argueta 2014

Jorge Argueta is an award-winning author of picture books and poetry for young children.He has won the International Latino Book Award, The lion and the Unicorn Award, The Américas Book Award, the NAPPA Gold Award and the Independent Publisher Book Award for Multicultural Fiction for Juveniles. His books have also been named to the Américas Award Commended List, the USBBY Outstanding International Books Honor List, Kirkus Reviews Best Children’s Books and the Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choices. His new book, Salsa, A Cooking Poem is due for publication in Spring 2015. He also is the founder of two popular poetry festivals, Manyula Children's Poetry Festival and Flor y Canto Para Nuestros Niños y Niñas. A native Salvadoran and Pipil Nahua Indian, Jorge spent much of his life in rural El Salvador. He now lives in San Francisco.

by Eva Chávez, edited by Raúl Sánchez

We are the bronze skinned people
whose shoulders bear the burden
heavy bags sweet harvest grown
on fertile land

we climb up and down
ten or twelve foot ladders
eight, nine or more than ten hours
our feet know the weight

cold dawn our dry skin cracked
raising sun travels west
to burn our skins
at dusk we count our full bins

our backs bent all day
we work under our own shadow
picking asparagus onions
everyday we take that soil on our skin

orchards full a table full
bounty of the earth
your family and mine partake
the sweat, and sweetness of our labor

we are not afraid of hard work
others avoid
they prefer to criticize us
we take care of the land

we tend this American soil
where we live and grow
under the shadows proud and brown
as the soil, the land watching us grow

por Eva Chávez, editado por Raúl Sánchez

Somos gente de bronce
cuyos hombros soportan la carga
bolsas pesadas, llenas de fruta dulce
cosechada en tierra fértil

subimos y bajamos escaleras
escaleras de diez o doce escalones
ocho, nueve o más de diez horas por día
nuestros pies y hombros conocen la carga

el amanecer frío seca nuestra piel ya agrietada
el sol créce en su camino hacia el Oeste
para quemar nuestra piel
al atardecer contamos cuantas cajas cosechamos

durante el día, nuestras espaldas permanecen dobladas
trabajamos bajo nuestra propia sombra
piscando cebollas, esparragos
todos los días la tierra se queda en nuestra piel

huertos llenos una mesa llena
generosidad de la tierra
para tu familia y la mía
disfrutando el sudor y la dulzura de nuestra labor

no tenemos miedo al trabajo duro
lo cual otros evitan
y prefieren criticarnos
nosotros cuidamos de nuestra madre tierra

cuidamos esta tierra americana
donde vivimos y crecemos
con mucho orgullo bajo nuestras sombras de bronce
tal como la tierra que me ve crecer

Eva Chavez. I arrived to the USA in 2005, at the age of 18. I worked for five consecutive years picking fruit in Washington State. This was my first job in the United States after emigrating from Mexico. On average, I worked eight to ten hours per day, six to seven days a week. All that hard work in the fields taught me all the value that immigrants bring to this country. This hard work also taught me the importance of education.

My educational journey started about four years ago at Yakima Valley Community College (YVCC). In those four years I progressed from the ESL program, to Adult Basic Education (ABE), to completing my GED, to enrolling in the DTA in Business Administration in YVCC and CWU. My experiences working in agriculture are motivating me to reach my educational goals, but also they inspired me to show to others the importance of the immigrant workers in the USA.

Therefore, one of the fuels that moves my art expression comes from the sweat that immigrants workers leave on this American soil. This is also part of the fuel and motivation that keep me involved in the activism for immigration.

Raúl Sánchez comes from a place south where the sun shines fiercely. He is a translator currently working on the Spanish version of his inaugural collection "All Our Brown-Skinned Angels" that was nominated for the 2013 Washington State Book Award in Poetry. He is also working on a Long Poem Memoir a project for the 2014 Jack Straw Writers. He is a mentor for the 2014 Poetry on Buses program sponsored by Metro King County and 4 Culture. http://beyondaztlan.com and http://moonpathpress.com

Poetry is
by Tom Sheldon

Poetry is a cold wind on an
empty street.
Its a symphony of broken glass
with letters falling.
Poetry is open doors,and open hearts.
Its the smell of blood on
home ground.
Poetry is the song of a thousand birds
in color.
It is the first born,the first kiss
and the first tree.
Poetry is the smell of fresh paint
on a sagging wall.
Poetry is tears ,and ink
A communion of thought form,
and mystery.
Poetry is a law that reaches deep
It is the light in the dark
a breathing prayer.
Poetry is winter dust sparked
by a spring rain.
Poetry is.

My name is Tom Sheldon and I was born and raised in New Mexico and come from a large Hispanic family. I have always loved and appreciated the gift of creating in various forms. Southwestern themes and landscapes are among my favorites and the wonder and beauty of the the history her and my surroundings here continually inspires my artwork. Thank you greatly for considering my words. Mil gracias.

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9. for the kid in me

Inspired by Kenn Nesbitt’s, “My Brother’s not a Werewolf”. Hope you enjoy.   Tale of the WeirdoWolfBy Donna Earnhardt He transformed in the daytimeavoiding moonlit nightsHe cringed at his own shadow,fear brought him no delight He was a vegetarian.He loved to draw and paint.And when he howled,No one was cowed*,Except for him… He’d faint.  …

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10. Whose muse mews?

The final, quiet days of summer before the turning of the season and the chill of back-to-work autumn are a perfect time to slow down, turn off the electronics, and refresh the soul by reading poetry. On the other hand, what could be more fun than an internet quiz about cats?

We sat down with Oxford Scholarly Editions Online, and fired up the search, looking for cats stalking the pages of literature. We found some lovely stuff, and something more – a literary reflection of the cat’s unstoppable gambol up the social ladder: a mouser and rat-catcher in the seventeenth century, he springs up the stairs in the eighteenth century to become the plaything of smart young ladies and companion of literary lions such as Cowper, Dr Johnson, and Horace Walpole.

cat oseo

Your Score:  

Your Ranking:  

Image credit: Cat with OSEO, © Oxford University Press. Do not re-use without permission.

The post Whose muse mews? appeared first on OUPblog.

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11. Ajua Arepa • News 'n Notes • On-line Floricanto

The Gluten-free Chicano's Arepa Antoja
Michael Sedano

Traffic noise thrums with a different urgency that morning. I look up the avenue and see traffic cops and barricades. An NYC tianguis has popped up on the boulevard where I intend a stroll and some chow. Cops entertain themselves blowing their whistles at thronging cars. Through the rumble of buses and countless taxicabs it’s unlikely closed windows and stereo sound systems let even the shrill xrii-xriii reach the drivers. Traffic complies with the gesturing cop’s finger and detours left or right. It's life in the big city.

I step off the sidewalk and into the middle of Fifth Avenue. Pop-up booths line both sides of the closed-off block. I do not need sunglasses and more sunglasses. I don’t own an iPhone so I don’t need iPhone gadgets. Alpaca carpas and sweaters catch interest for a moment but I’m quickly distracted by the aromas of Italian sausage and peppers, Mexican asadas, and, from a few booths up, Arepas. Whatever that is.

The cocinero explains Arepa ingredients are puro corn and no flour nor wheat nor barley, nor in any of the meats and cheese. That sounds safe and The Gluten-free Chicano is about to order his first ever Arepa when gluten-free terror strikes. The whatifs win--what if I get sick when I’m in New York city for fun?--and I walk away, all antojado for the Venezolano specialty.

That was last year, a trip to enjoy the Poets Forum activities at the Academy of American Poets (link). This week serendipity rewards The Gluten-free Chicano with his first assuredly gluten-free Arepa and sabes que? It won't be the last.

Three bites short of a whole Arepa

I'm off to a camera show, and my walk takes me past some new businesses. There's a yogurt place, something else, then a hand-printed sign in a storefront makes me hitch a step. On my return walk I'm on the look-out for that “Gluten-free Sandwich” window.

Amara is on Raymond Street in Pasadena, next door to the large municipal parking lot, first 90 minutes free. It's a short walk from the Gold line's Del Mar station.

Amara prepares coffees, sweets and sandwiches. Their website features their choclatier and coffee specialties, along with arepas. The proprietor assures me he's familiar with el celiaco, era médico back home. In his new home, he's a restaurateur. Así es, pero ni modo. This is his place, and Alejandro knows celiac issues. No whatifs at Amara.

I order La Propria. Arepa names both the bun and the inside, a synecdoche of the whole for the part.

Manna from heaven must have been an Arepa. Split the arepa, spoon in some carne deshebrada, add creamy gouda cheese morsels, and The Gluten-free Chicano knows he’s been delivered from the wilderness of bread-like analog food.

The pan element of the Arepa at Amara is light, fluffy, and delicately flavored. Made with P.A.N. corn meal and water, this pan is an incredible discovery for gluten-free eating and cooking.

Alejandro and Amara welcomed The Gluten-free Chicano with incredible warmth and hospitality, which appears the standard at this worthwhile enterprise. Next time you're in Pasadena, the Arepas are on me.

Amara holds an arepa

Mail bag
Heritage Studies Celebrated in SanAnto

La Bloga friend Juan Tejeda, a principal in the daring Aztlán Libre Press, invites gente to come to San Antonio Texas for the epitome of cultural tourism. La Bloga urges travelers to select intriguing activities and plan a few days drinking in Texas' best city and Palo Alto College's engaging seminars.

Click the poster for a larger view, or, mejor, for a full list of scheduled events including times and locations, visit alamo.edu/pac/NAHHM. You may request information through the Office of Student Engagement and Retention at 210-486-3125.

from Juan's email:

We have been working hard since this past summer to organize Palo Alto College's inaugural Native American/Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration 2014 in San Antonio, Tejas. We have a great schedule of activities that includes scholarly presentations, workshops, a free Chicano Batman and Sexto Sol concert, film series, readings and book signings by prominent poets and authors.

The focus of this over-a-month-long celebration is engaging our students and community on the important fact that we are Indigenous/American Indian first and foremost, and native to this continent now called America, otherwise known as Cemanahuac, Abya Yala, Turtle Continent. In an age when most of our students call themselves Hispanic, the issue of our Indigeneity has not been addressed properly, nor our mestizaje and connection to the Indigenous populations of the Americas and our positions as Mexicans, Xicanas/os and Latinas/os in the U.S.

All events are free and open to the students and community, except for a small fee charged for the Luchadora! theater production for those 19 years and older. And there is free parking and free aguas frescos.

Late-breaking News!
Poet Laureate Laurie Ann Guerrero Free Workshop

San Antonio Poet Laureate and Palo Alto College Poet-in-Residence, Laurie Ann Guerrero, will be conducting a free one-month Creative Writing Workshop beginning Oct. 14. Details on image, click to enlarge. Guerrero is an alumna of Palo Alto College.

Mail bag
Poet Laureate Feted in Houston

Details at AP's website here.

Call for Papers

On the Eastside of the city of La, at the juncture of the 10 and 710 freeways, lies California's semi-official raza university, California State University Los Angeles. CSULA, through the leadership of La Bloga friend Roberto Cantu, holds a significant annual conference exploring junctures of las culturas on ambos sides of the frontera. 2014's theme was Rudolfo Anaya. Next up, los de abajo.

Cantu and the conference co-sponsors invite scholars to submit papers on themes surrounding the Mexican Revolution and its novels. For details, visit the conference site (click here).

October On-line Floricanto: First of Both
Betty Sánchez, Joseph Ross, Robert Neustadt, Joe Morales

La Bloga and the Moderators of the Facebook group Poets Responding to SB 1070: Poetry of Resistance share two sets of poems this month. Today, it's La Bloga's pleasure to share the first four of the month's dual delights.

Carne De Cañón por Betty Sánchez
For Gilberto Ramos by Joseph Ross
Crossing the Line by Robert Neustadt
Nothing Is Right Until You Say It Is by Joe Morales

por Betty Sánchez

Me llaman niño sin acompañante
Aunque ese no fue el caso
Cuando salí hace meses
De mi tierra
Mirando siempre adelante

Mi madre vendió un riñón
A su ambiciosa patrona
Para pagarle al coyote
Mi pasaje al infierno
Alias el norte
Que de libertad pregona

Mi tía Evelia se despojó
De su parcela y sustento
Para enviar a sus dos hijos
Al país de la abundancia

Rosita la vecina de mi infancia
Lavó ajeno tres veranos
Para escapar del abuso
De su padrastro y su hermano

Rogelio el hijo del cerrajero
No deseaba terminar
Como los demás del barrio
Siendo mara salvatrucha
Lloró incesante a su padre
Y obtuvo su bendición
Para irse al otro lado
Por ésta te juro viejo
Dijo besando la cruz
Que dólares mandaré
En cuanto consiga asilo

Mercedes la de la esquina
No conoció a su mamá
La dejó siendo pequeña
Al cuidado de su abuela
La anciana al enterarse
Que viajaríamos en grupo
Sacó dinero de un jarro
Para que fuera a buscarla

Con esperanza y con miedo
Nos brindaron triste adiós
Sin siquiera sospechar
Que al dejarnos ir solitos
Nos convertían sin querer
En ser carne de cañón
Al frente de los peligros
Vulnerables al abuso
Y la vejación de extraños

Partimos de Honduras
Cargando en el morral
Sueños y demonios
Derramando lágrimas
Emprendimos la ruta migratoria
Ignorando el infortunio
Que nos seguiría
Como una sombra funesta
Sobre nuestras cabezas

Tan pronto como
Abandonamos el hogar
Pisamos suelo hostil
Y actitudes áridas
Por nuestro atrevimiento
De anhelar un futuro mejor

Cada tramo de terreno
Que logramos recorrer
Arrastraba una historia
De miseria consigo

Cruzar las fronteras
No fue el desafío
Atravesarlas constituyó
Un acto de fe y valentía

El hombre de aspecto duro
Que nos sacó de San Pedro
Nos abandonó en Corinto
Sin podernos regresar
Proseguimos el camino
Hacia un futuro inseguro

Guatemala y México ignoraron
Nuestra condición de niños
Aduaneros y civiles
Nos trataron por igual
La fatiga y la desdicha
Se incrustaban en los huesos
Buscábamos refugio
bajo los puentes
En lugares solitarios y oscuros
Cubriendo nuestro dolor
Con cartones malolientes

Rosita y Mercedes
Vendieron su inocencia
Para saciar el hambre
Rogelio escapó de las pandillas
Pero no de la muerte
Por disentería y fiebre
En un albergue en Tabasco

Mis primos y yo hicimos
Trueque de pintas de sangre
Por un par de mantas
Para cubrirnos del
Escalofriante temor
Que nos producía
Viajar en el tren
Que llamaban la bestia
Un monstruo de mil cabezas
Semejantes a la nuestra

Perdimos cuenta del tiempo
Las semanas y los meses
Perdieron todo sentido
Eran solo pesadillas
Repetidas y con creces

Los que corrimos con suerte
Llegamos a la línea fronteriza
Junto a tantos otros miles
Queriendo cruzar de prisa
Para encontrar familiares
Otro hogar trabajo y visa

Pobres ilusos
Nosotros y nuestros padres
La bienvenida esperada
Se torno en una réplica
Exacta de lo ya acontecido
Carne de cañón de nuevo
Hacinados en jaulas
Durmiendo en el piso
Considerados indeseables
Objetos de escrutinio público
Temas de agendas políticas
Crisis nacional
Números, casos, estadísticas

Nos llaman niños sin acompañante
La estampita de la virgen de Suyapa
No cuenta en los reportes

Los derechos de los niños
Son solo un papel decorado
Con frases dignas sin valor alguno
La ley no nos protege ni nos acusa
Nuestros parientes no protestan
Por riesgo a ser deportados

Los que quedaron en el camino
Son olvidados
Nadie reclama
Sus huesos calcinados en el desierto
O bajo las vías de un ferrocarril
Que carga en sus lomos
Vidas engarzadas
Destinos similares
Otros mas se pierden en la indiferencia
De un mundo que no reconoce su humanidad

Tú que me lees
Y me ves a través de una pantalla
Que lloras al pensar en mi desgracia
Que me discutes en los medios sociales
Y me envías libros y juguetes para
Hacer mi estadía en esta prisión
Más llevadera
Que harás cuando sea enviado
De regreso a mi patria
A enfrentar la muerte
Que se disfraza de pobreza
De desempleo
De violencia …
© Betty Sánchez 1 de Septiembre de 2014

En honor a los niños indocumentados y en recuerdo de mi propia travesía que recorrí cargando sueños y demonios

Madre, abuela, maestra, poeta…en ese orden. Residente del condado de Sutter; trabajo como Directora de Centro del programa Migrante de Head Start.
Soy miembro activo del grupo literario, Escritores del Nuevo Sol desde  Marzo del 2003.  He sido invitada a colaborar en eventos poéticos tales como el Festival Flor y Canto, Colectivo Verso Activo, Noche de Voces Xicanas, Honrando a Facundo Cabral, y Poesía Revuelta. Ha sido un privilegio contribuir en la página Poetas Respondiendo al SB 1070, Zine 10 Mujeres de Maíz y por supuesto en La Bloga.

For Gilberto Ramos
by Joseph Ross

15 year-old Guatemalan boy who died
in the Texas desert, June, 2014

Before you left, your mother
draped you with fifty Hail Marys,

a rosary of white wood,
a constellation she hoped might

guide you. But Texas does not
know these prayers. It knows

that desert air is thirsty
and you are made of water.

It drank you slowly. Your name
only linked to your body by the string

ofaves still around your neck,
the small cross pressing against your

wooden skin, the color of another cross.
You left home on May seventeenth

with one change of clothes and two
countries ahead of you, your brother’s

phone number hidden on the back
of your belt buckle so the coyote

couldn’t find it. The coyotes pray
in the language of extortion.

The phone number was eventually
found by a Texas official whose name

your brother couldn’t remember. She called
and spoke in the language of bones. He translated

her news into “pray for us, sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.”

His prayer meant “brother,” a word
he kept moist, just beneath his tongue.
Published in the Los Angeles Times 8/31/14

I was born in Pomona, California, just outside of Los Angeles. After studying English at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, I taught high school in Southern California and then went on to receive an M.Div. at the University of Notre Dame. I taught in Notre Dame’s Freshmen Writing Program before moving to Washington, D.C. in 2000, where I founded the Writing Center at Carroll High School, taught at American University, and currently teach in the Department of English at Gonzaga College High School.  www.JosephRoss.net.

Crossing the Line
by Robert Neustadt

Little children cross the line.
legions of children,
seeking the love of a mother,
a father, a place to be.
A place where you can eat.
A place where you can stare at your feet,
or clouds that look like bunnies,
and not have to worry that
they’ll cut your throat,
or rape your sister,
or rape you and
cut your sister.
Thoughts. Thoughts of nine year olds?
Such are the thoughts of little children
riding the train, with hungry bellies,
cutting lines across thousands of miles,
riding rails on top of box cars.
Miles and miles and, yes, occasionally smiles.
Dreams of mami.feel the wind, it feels like we’re flying.
Rails of worry, wheels of Beast.
Don’t sleep, they’ll throw you off.
Don’t slip,
labestiawill suck you in and slice off your legs.

Swim the river, cross the desert,
Find the Migra, find Mamá.
We’re here, we made it,
the United States!.
Have we arrived?
New York, is near?

Cages. Children in little cages.
It’s like the zoo with children-as-animals--
sad young polar bears, locked inside refrigerated cages in a desert zoo.
No children with balloons on strings,
no squeals of laughter, no organ grinder music.
Just kids, never-smiling, inside cages.
This is no American Dream,
rather another segment of an endless nightmare.

Green-clad agents watch,
with guns on their belts, and tasers and clubs,
they guard the little brown children,
who dared
to cross
the crooked
that divide
and those
who don’t
have the right
to eat,
to stare at their feet,
to find happy dreams in clouds,
to be.

Thousands of children crossed a line of water and sand.

Do we really want to hold that line?
Incarcerate children like dogs in the Pound?
Do we really want to cross that line
from human to inhumane,
shifting in shape from human to soulless steel-gutted beasts?

Robert Neustadt is Professor of Spanish and Director of Latin American Studies at Northern Arizona University. Over the last four years he has been taking students on field trips to the US/Mexico border. He co-produced and contributed a song to Border Songs, a double album in English and Spanish about the border and immigration (http://www.bordersongs.org). All contributors donated their work and the project donates all of the sales revenue to a humanitarian organization, "No More Deaths / No más muertes." Each album of Border Songs purchased provides 29 gallons of water for migrants in the borderlands. So far the album has raised approximately $65,000 for humanitarian aid.

Nothing Is Right Until You Say It Is
by Joe Morales

You, dreamer that cries in heartbreak
whose voice wails with the injustice of it
whose voice echoes against a wall of grief
gathering round the coffins
in the long sleepless watches of the night

traveler from ancient places,
you praise the finger pointing north
in awkward persistence
if you walk far and hard enough
will the sweet smell of freedom follow?

you of time, you of silent merit
you relinquished of childhood
fair flower how do you so calmly grow?
even as you are among us, you're about to let go
even if your disrespected you’ll forgive
even if you act responsible you'll be criticized
even as you walk away you’ll remember

you’re one acquainted with the night
coyotes and vampires glisten in your window
making their morbid and evil way
hacking through old neighborhoods
while slithering through, accumulating slime,
hopelessness littering the horizon

about suffering you were never without
for you all human nature seems at odds
you see violated ones with gentle hearts die
too eager for the predictable, too late for change

you’ve been standing in line patiently, quietly
too long to measure, while others perished
you’ve now raised your voice
for weary hearts and ears to hear

for all who’ll lend a hand
for those who will fight
who'll challenge the injustice, hypocrisy
give credence to inalienable rights
knowing humanity grows if nurtured
you lend your voice

Joe Morales is an artist, poet, writer, singer/songwriter and producer from Boyle Heights now living in South San Gabriel.  Married and has three children. Retired but continues to expand boundaries, generate interesting projects and cultivate new friendships.

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12. Pockets Magazine Accepting Articles



Pockets® is a 48-page devotional magazine for children ages 6-12, published by The Upper Room®. They pay $.14 a word. If you want to write for children and are open to writing for a Christian Magazine, then this could be an opportunity to get published and earn some money. The themes for articles are listed at the bottom of this post.

Launched in 1981, the magazine began as a response to parents and grandparents who wanted a devotional magazine especially for children. The magazine is published 11 times per year. (January/February is a combined issue). Pockets is designed for the personal use of children to help them grow in their relationship with God. The magazine is distributed by individual subscriptions and standing orders to churches, which provide the magazine to the children in their congregations. Pockets includes full-color photos, stories, poems, games, mission-focused activities, daily scripture readings, non-fiction features, and contributions from children who read the magazine. Writer’s Guidelines

What is Pockets?

Designed for 6- to 12-year-olds, Pockets magazine offers wholesome devotional readings that teach about God’s love and presence in life. The content includes fiction, scripture stories, puzzles and games, poems, recipes, colorful pictures, activities, and scripture readings. Freelance submissions of stories, poems, recipes, puzzles and games, and activities are welcome. The magazine is published monthly (except in February).

The purpose of Pockets is to help children grow in their relationship with God and live as Christian disciples. It is written and produced for children and designed to help children pray and to see their faith as an integral part of their everyday lives. The magazine emphasizes that God loves us and that God’s grace calls us into community. It is through the community of God’s people that we experience that love in our daily lives.

What should I write about?

Each issue is built around a specific theme with material that can be used by children in a variety of ways. Submissions should support the purpose of the magazine to help children grow in their faith, though all submissions do not need to be overtly religious. Seasonal material, both secular and liturgical, is appropriate. Most of the magazine’s content is written by adults, but we also welcome submissions from children.

Copies of our themes are also available by mail with a SASE. Please note deadlines for each issue; late manuscripts cannot be considered.

Pockets is inter-denominational, and our readers include children of many cultures and ethnic backgrounds. These differences should be reflected in the references that are made to lifestyles, living environments (suburban, urban, rural, reservation), families (extended families, single-parent families, and blended families as well as more “traditional” families), and individual names. Stories should show appreciation of cultural differences.

What ages are Pockets readers?

The magazine is for children 6–12. Though some children may share it with their families or use it in church group settings, Pockets is designed primarily for children’s personal use.

What type of material should I write?

Fiction and scripture stories should be 600 to 1000 words. Our primary interest is in stories that can help children deal with real-life situations. We do not accept stories about talking animals or inanimate objects. Fictional characters and some elaboration may be included in scripture stories, but the writer must remain faithful to the story.

Stories should contain lots of action, use believable dialogue, be simply written, and be relevant to the problems faced by this age group in everyday life. Children need to be able to see themselves in the pages of the magazine. It is important that the tone not be “preachy” or didactic. Use short sentences and paragraphs. When possible, use concrete words instead of abstractions. However, do not “write down” to children.

Poems should be short, not more than 20 lines. Both seasonal and theme-related poems are needed.

Non-fiction articles that are open for submissions include: theme-related quizzes; Kids with a Mission profiles of children involved in charitable, environmental, community, and peace/justice issues; biographical sketches of persons, famous or unknown, whose lives reflect their Christian commitments and values; and Family Time activities for families to do together (seasonal or theme-related). The length of these features varies greatly, and we strongly suggest sending a SASE (please send 6 x 9 size envelope) to receive a sample copy of the magazine if you are interested in submitting any of these.

Editorial Philosophy

The primary purpose of POCKETS is to help children grow in their relationship with God and to claim the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ by applying it to their daily lives. POCKETS espouses respect for all human beings and for God’s creation. It regards a child’s faith journey as an integral part of all of life and sees prayer as undergirding that journey.

Special note: In addition to receiving regular submissions, Pockets sponsors a fiction contest each year.

How should I submit my writing?

Contributions should be typed, double-spaced, on 8 1/2″x 11″ paper, accompanied by a SASE for return. Writers who wish to save postage and are concerned about paper conservation may send a SASP for notification of unaccepted manuscripts, and we will recycle the manuscript. Please list the name of the submission(s) on the card. Because of the volume of manuscripts we receive, we do not accept manuscripts sent by FAX or e-mail.

How will I know if my submission will be used?

If we use your submission, we will notify you before publication. Along with your letter of acceptance, you will receive a contract and a W-9 (IRS form) that must be completed, signed and returned in order for us to process your payment.

Submissions not chosen for publication will be returned only if they are accompanied by a SASE. Because of the number of submissions we receive, we are unable to check the status of submissions.

Send all submissions to:

Pockets Magazine
ATTN: Editor
PO Box 340004
Nashville, TN 37203-0004


Upcoming Writing Deadlines


June 2015

Deadline: 11/01/2014

Caring for Creation

Being good stewards of God’s creation is not only a matter of our self-interest or good intentions. It is a basic way of honoring our Creator. The aim of this issue is two-fold: a celebration of the wonder of creation and a challenge to look at practical ways we can address the earth’s problems. Typically this theme draws many stories on recycling and litter pick-up. While these are certainly important efforts (and we may feature one such story), we encourage writers to think more broadly about realistic ways children can have a positive impact on the environment. The tone should be hopeful and show that we can accomplish great things when we open ourselves to God’s power working through us.

More Info

July 2015

Deadline: 12/01/2014


Competition for Pockets readers could be many things: striving to make the best grades, wanting to have the coolest clothes, trying to be the best player on the soccer team or in the school orchestra, or consistently vying to be the center of attention. Competition can be healthy when it encourages us to do our best, but it is unhealthy when it causes us to make “winning” too important. We want this issue to help children examine their motives for competing and the role of competition in their lives. Does competing make them feel energetic and excited? Do they like to be with other competitors because of their shared interest? Or does competition make them anxious or cause them to dislike those with whom they are competing? Do they find themselves thinking that being first or best is more important than anything else? We want to invite children to view the competitive arenas of their lives (as we want them to view all of their lives) in light of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

More Info

August 2015

Deadline: 01/01/2015


One of the paradoxes of our age is that we are, arguably, both more connected and more isolated than ever. One of our Kids’ Advisory Board members reported that other children she encountered in an on-line game (with the benefit of anonymity) made comments questioning whether anyone truly cares about them and expressing the wish that someone would love them. Sad as this is, it’s perhaps not surprising. In our highly mobile, extremely busy, increasingly impersonal society, many people are lonely. Many of us live far from extended family and may not even know our neighbors. Technology encourages us to interact with others through devices instead of face-to-face. Violence causes us to spend more time behind locked doors, and even then we may be suspicious of others. Consequently, we find ourselves increasingly isolated from one another. Children do not escape this phenomenon. Perhaps they have difficulty making friends. Perhaps their families are too busy or in too much turmoil to offer comfort and companionship. Perhaps the families themselves are isolated from the larger community. Through this issue we want to help children understand that they are never truly alone, that God is with them always. We want to offer them comfort as well as creative ways to deal with their loneliness.

More Info

Talk tomorrow,



Filed under: article, children writing, earn money, magazine, Places to sumit, Poems Tagged: Children's Christian Magazine, Pockets Magazine

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13. Poets Laureates Farewell and Welcome • Chingón LATC Fest • On-line Floricanto

Laureate Closes Term Poetically: The Most Incredible & Biggest Poem on Unity in the World

Michael Sedano

The “crown jewel” of the University of California system shifted from Berkeley to UC’s Riverside campus last week, where faculty member and California Poet Laureate emeritus, Juan Felipe Herrera
closed out his two-year term with a Unity Poem Fiesta.

Stephen Cullenberg, Dean of the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, rounded up a cohort of sponsors to give the event first-class cachet from entry onto campus to the siting of the free lunch, poetry tables, and presentations on a main campus walkway. Hundreds of passersby, if for only the minute’s traverse, shared The Most Incredible & Biggest Poem on Unity in the World.  Click here for sponsor details.

A major bugbear of attending University public programs is paying nine bucks parking to attend a free event. UCR took care of it, free parking. Organizers set aside the closest-to-campus parking lot for poetry. Making sure drivers find their free parking, directional signs line the highway approaching campus.

This superb planning put smiles on faces following the signs to the fiesta a quarter mile distant. Reaching the walkway, the first tent greeting visitors is the free lunch. A soft tacos bar—three per eater, asada, pollo, vegetables--with the trimmings.

In the shady park, multiple hydrating stations offer iced water, juice, coffees. Another proof of top-notch planning, there’s ample supply of cups.

Ambience goes unnoticed in events like these, and this is the curse and compliment of being among the organizing staff. The curse is not being noticed for your crucial role, the compliment is visitors aren’t supposed to notice planning, preparation, attention to detail. Nothing staff can do about the intense desert sun. Empty rows of folding chairs close to the speeches and readings weren’t enough to lure any but a few gente from the cooling lawn and deep shade.

Herrera, Chancellor Wilcox, Dean Cullenberg, Winer
The speeches met their epideictic obligations but the speakers kept their style informal and affectionate. They spoke of Herrera the poet, Herrera the person. Mixed in were accolades for the Laureate, the Professor, the Friend. Dean Cullenberg read his remarks bilingually. It was heartfelt and it worked. Chancellor Kim Wilcox and Andrew Winer, chair of the Department of Creative Writing, also took the lectern.

African-Colombian music from UCR’s Mayupatapi ensemble opened the preliminaries, but poetry was the order of the day. The ceremonies begin with 4th and 5th graders from Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary in Moreno Valley.

The kids perform a beautiful choral reading of their composition Roses are red violets are blue There's only one unity between me and you! The poem was composed by the students as an element of the Poet Laureate’s The Most Incredible & Biggest Poem on Unity in the World Project.

The highlight of the fiesta is the Unity Voice Choir assembled from myriad regional poets and writers, including La Bloga friends Liz Gonzalez and Iris de Anda, along with La Bloga’s Michael Sedano.

Improvising from a chapbook assembled from the Unity poem, the choir performs call-and-response voice music. The bass and drums of Trokka Rhythm & Spoken Word Percussion Group, featuring poet John Martinez on congas, add to the enjoyment of both the choir and the audience. Martinez lays down some complex beats.

Herrera has invited poets from across California to join him today. They form the heart of the Unity Voice Choir. Herrera begins the aural feast by reading off the chapbook page. The choir follows along, guided by the book. Inspiration conquers page and Herrera calls out rhythmic and singsong variations, short gasps or multisyllabic chant, puro a la brava taking off on rhyme and reason that have the choir laughing to keep up. The words call out all manner of inspiration from fruit to vegetable to love.

Puro fun, this closing segment of the California Poet Laureate Project, The Most Incredible & Biggest Poem on Unity in the World.

Video by Concepción Valadez

The Unity Poem Fiesta sent-off the California Poet Laureate in grand style and highest spirits. Herrera’s work as Laureate lends significant prestige to the University, one more signal of UCR’s rapid coming-of-age as a major cultural force for the Inland Empire. Read about the Unity Poem Project here.

Click here to read the California legislation creating the California Poet Laureateship.

Luis J. Rodriguez Named Los Angeles Poet Laureate

A nourishing sign of poetry continuity arrives even as Juan Felipe Herrera closes his two years as the California Poet Laureate. The day after the UCR fiesta, the Mayor of Los Angeles announced the Los Angeles Poet Laureate is Luis J. Rodriguez.

A candidate for Governor of California, Rodriguez lost in the primary despite articulating a philosophy of unity and opportunity. The Los Angeles Laureateship reminds gente that foremost Rodriguez is a poet. Given Rodriguez' activist nature, Los Angeles should look forward to eye-opening poetry initiatives that reflect the City's objectives for the Poet Laureate program:

Enhance the presence and appreciation of poetry and the literary arts in Los Angeles;
Create a focal point for the expression of Los Angeles culture through the literary arts;
Raise awareness of the power of literature, poetry, and the spoken word;
Inspire an emerging generation of critical thinkers, writers, storytellers, and literary artists;
Bring the literary arts to people in Los Angeles who have limited access to poetry or have few opportunities for exposure to expressive writing;
Encourage both the reading and writing of literature; and,
Create a new body of literary works that commemorate the diversity and vibrancy of the LA region.

La Bloga sends abrazos and felicidades to Luis J. Rodriguez, Poet Laureate of the City of Los Angeles.

News & Notes
Teatro Summit Sweeping Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Theatre Center in the heart of Los Angeles is the site of an historical gathering of professional raza theater companies from across the nation. If LATC's publicity sounds ambitiously chingón that's because they stand behind their work.

A vibrant company that hires local actors and develops plays by local writers, LATC recognizes an obligation to widen the artistic horizons of what people get to see on stage. Per LATC's website, Encuentro brings

a month-long celebration of Latina/o theater from October 12 through November 10. This groundbreaking month-long event is the first theater festival in the U.S. to bring together more than 19 theater companies and 150 artists from the U.S. and Puerto Rico to present 19 works that represent the multi-faceted Latina/o experience on stage – from violence at the border and pressing immigration concerns to the complexities of romantic relationships and families.

Visit the teatro's website for tickets and curtain times.

News & Notes
Anaya Lecture Slated for Albuquerque

The UNM Department of English hosts distinguished writer Ana Castillo to deliver the 5th annual Rudolfo and Patricia Anaya Lecture on the Literature of the Southwest, on Thursday, Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. in George Pearl Hall room 101. A reception will follow. George Pearl Hall houses the School of Architecture and Planning and is located on Central and Cornell NE. The lecture is free and open to the public.

On-line Floricanto for the 14th of the Tenth
Victor Avila, Richard Vargas, Oralia Rodríguez, Jeff Cannon

The Moderators of the Facebook group Poets Responding to SB 1070; Poetry of Resistance commend four poets in the second of this month's pair of La Bloga On-line Floricantos.

Looking Through Chain-Link at McAllen Station
by Victor Avila

Although this young girl is not Ruby Bridges
and has never heard her name
she has the same heart of forgiveness
for those looking to blame
this anonymous child for every ill in the world
as she tries to get sleep in McAllen Station.

In her dreams she looks into the eyes of an ambiguous nation
and sees two completely different faces.
One speaks with empathetic eyes that understand her suffering.
While the other face...speaks about God's love and mercy
but seemingly, only on Sundays.

She's awakened by the hum of fans on the ceiling-
beside her, a younger sister who is still sleeping.
She notices a orange butterfly just outside the window.
She wonders what it would be like to have wings
that could fly over any wall or any border.

No, her dreams of becoming a butterfly will not be denied.
Certainly not by those who shout venomous words
that she can't understand. She's beginning to learn
that forgiveness is greater than hatred found in some hearts.
And that humility is a sign of true strength no matter the circumstance.

It's as if God has polished her heart
and it now reflects His light for the world to see.
Her love is His love and a beacon for all
including those who protest her presence through ill-conceived notions.
Yes, the butterfly has flown and left McAllen Station
And flutters northward beyond the reach of ignorance and hatred.

Victor Avila is an award-winning poet.  His poetry was recently included in two anthologies: Occupy SF-Poems From the Movement and Revolutionary Poets Brigade-Los Angeles. He is also writes and illustrates the comic book series Hollywood Ghost Comix.  Volume Two will be released in November through Ghoula Press.  Victor has taught in California public schools for twenty-five years.

song for Shenandoah… for Luis Ramirez
by Richard Vargas

“The Devil has the people by the throat…” Annina, explaining to Rick why she is leaving her country.              Casablanca

oh Shenandoah, strip mined and bare
by the sweat of men cursing in broken
English as coal-black dust streaks their
European faces with eyes on the
look-but-don’t-touch prize

mother to Tommy and Jimmy
Dorsey who gave our soldiers
big band swing music as they
dodged bullets on the way to
victory over Berlin and Tokyo

land of Mrs. T’s Pierogies
and a meager slice of the
American dream worth
$12, 562 per capita income
at the start of the 21st century

some say the name
is derived from indigenous tongues
means “beautiful star daughter”

small town once proud once
thriving thirty thousand strong
today’s headcount barely five thousand
Shenandoah hangs on like another
forgotten whistle stop crying out
for new blood new people
until we heed your call

we climb your walls and
wade through muddy brown river
we walk and run across deserts
hide in bushes and seek shade
while drinking warm water from
discarded plastic Coke bottles
tied to our waists with twine

we die with swollen tongues from border heat
we smother in the trunks of cars and asphyxiate
packed like sardines in 40 ft. trailers left to
bake in the noonday sun for the jobs you
don’t want and the wages you refuse

the grass will always be greener
the grass will always be greener
the grass will always be greener

Shenandoah, we claim you
cut your lawns
bus the tables
wash your dishes
take out the garbage
sweep your sidewalks
shore up crumbling walls
patch the cracks in your
weathered face with flowers
that bloom in the spring

the bass of a tuba
vibrates dirty windows
shakes the dust off
worn and faded curtains
we bring tortillas and pico
de gallo to your table
Tecate and pan dulce
the laughter of children
breaking open Spider-Man
piñatas on birthdays
we are grateful because
for us a day’s hard work
is a gift from God

Shenandoah, your children walk
the streets angry and drunk on
the sweet lies of corporate media
mouthpieces singing empty and false:
The Mexicans are coming!
The Mexicans are coming!
The Mexicans are here!

a man’s head kicked hard
with the force of a hate unleashed
from the dark side of fear and loathing
will crack like a melon dropped
on the pavement and its juices
will slowly leak and stain the street

a religious medal hanging from
the neck and stomped into a man’s
chest will imprint the holy face
of the savior deep into the skin
brand him in the name of
twisted salvation
Jesus salva
he convulses
Jesus salva
he foams at
the mouth
Jesus salva
he is still

hiding behind screen names
on the internet a new generation
of minutemen join in
take aim and post comments:
“these boys sacrificed their futures
in much the same way a marine
sacrifices his life on the battlefield
we are being invaded
if i was on the jury no way
these boys would be convicted
more dead illegals will discourage
future border jumps”

sometimes a moment
is an hour, a week, a year
sometimes a decade or
a century passes in the blink
of an eye when all it takes
to recall the history of
our people buried deep
in our genes is the
sound of one word
is the humiliation of
tired and hungry ancestors
enduring its ugly sound
while picking Texas cotton
and California grapes from
sunup to sundown
is the mean reminder of
all that can never be and
all that will be denied
is the neighborhood
where houses can be rented
and the side of the railroad
tracks that are off limits
after dark
is long drives down
dusty roads looking
for crops to pick and ditches
to dig in a strange land
where wages are determined
by skin color

and still we come
again and again

Shenandoah, why are you weeping
why are your shoulders hung low
do not hide your face in shame
your sad cry rolling through
the valleys and bouncing off
the mountains is not in vain
no matter how many miles
there are between us
how many walls are raised
to keep us out

we are
coming home
coming home

coming home
to you

“This poem began to take form while I was a student of Prof. Jesse Aleman at the University of New Mexico. He provided early criticism that helped me shape the poem into what it is today. A few years later, at the National Latino Writers Conference, (National Hispanic Cultural Center, Albuquerque, NM) I had a one-on-one session with poet/teacher, Francisco X. Alarcon, and he gave the poem an in-depth critique that led to the final edits. I am grateful for their consideration and professional input.”

Richard Vargas was born in Compton, CA, attended schools in Compton, Lynwood, and Paramount. He earned his B.A. at Cal State University, Long Beach, where he studied under Gerald Locklin and Richard Lee. He edited/published five issues of The Tequila Review, 1978-1980. His first book, McLife, was featured on Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac, in February, 2006. A second book, American Jesus, was published by Tia Chucha Press, 2007. His third book, Guernica, revisited, was published April 2014, by Press 53. (Once again, a poem from the book was featured on Writer’s Almanac to kick off National Poetry Month.) Vargas received his MFA from the University of New Mexico, 2010. He was recipient of the 2011 Taos Summer Writers’ Conference’s Hispanic Writer Award, and was on the faculty of the 2012 10th National Latino Writers Conference. Currently, he resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he edits/publishes The Más Tequila Review.

He will be reading at the following Midwest venues in Oct. 2014:
10/15: Left Bank Books, St. Louis
10/16: The Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, Indianapolis
10/17: Rainbow Bookstore Co-op, Madison, WI
10/19: City Lit Books (w/Diana Pando and Carlos Cumpian) Chicago

por Oralia Rodríguez

Tumultos de cenizas
ríen, al no poder llorar,
los cuerpos
se volvieron flores deshojadas
son llevados
en brazos por el viento,
la muerte danza, danza
en un eterno letargo,
las bombas
marcan su ritmo.
Las sombras se abrazan
al escuchar los alaridos
de los jazmines mutilados,
el dolor vuelto a nacer,
el estómago es un nido de alacranes,
¿Dios, Dios,
aún estas ahí?.
La humanidad se viste de indiferencia
las palabras son menos que sal,
el cielo vomita lumbre,
el laúd esta de luto,
ahora guía al cortejo
de trozos de ilusiones, sueños y esperanzas,
que ni la embriaguez
los gobiernos como perros se disputan,
muerden, ladran, engañan
en la tierra de nadie.
La Tierra cual cántaro de sangre,
las bestias, se jactan, besan los trozos
que encuentran a su paso
Cuando la mar se seque sabrá
del dolor,
que muerde mis adentros,
la verdad, ¿cuál verdad?
Tan simple, tan llano
son genocidas.

© Oralia Rodríguez 

MARIA ORALIA RODRIGUEZ GONZALEZ. Poeta y pintora, nacida en Jerez Zacatecas, radicada en Tijuana B.C. Estudió la Licenciatura en Informática en el Instituto Tecnológico de Tijuana, y la Licenciatura en Educación Primaria en la Normal Fronteriza Tijuana. Trabaja como docente de educación básica. A participado en antologías en México y Argentina , en encuentros literarios. Actualmente estudia la maestría en Cultura Escrita en el Centro de Posgrado Sor Juana y el Diplomado de Creación Literaria del INSTITUTO NACIONAL DE BELLAS ARTES en el Centro Cultural Tijuana.

Before the Darkness
by Jeff Cannon

I fold a homeless leaf weary
writing to the air

Then your distant light falls on me
potent fire thread
I uncurl from that brown devouring mouth
Eating me
Swallowing me into the sad stomach of
its Detroit trashed home
where boarded windows weep
life less rooms eat me with
their endless moans
the food betrayed dreams can only place
on empty tables

Lift me poet light from this dungeon
i am alive
must speak despite the words that fail me
words no longer moist
more brittle autumn whispers than
volcanic passion that rose before
the clamp
darkness pressed against my throat

Save me poet light
warm me by your sounding
the way Neruda passed the vibrant ocean
to everyone imprisoned

I am your wounded kin
my fleshless palm still presses against
the open wound
spurting what’s left of me against
dead concrete side walks
angry roads, death fumed cars, mad driver driven

Since the vocabulary of love got stopped
at the border
the guards couldn’t find its number
sent love back into the desert to die

my word brothers, my verse sisters
i may be sinking ankle caught but
not ready yet to descend into oblivion
without at least
another swing
before the bullets

© Jeff Cannon, 08/08/2014, 12:09 am, at desk with thanks to my sister and brother poets, in particular this time to Francisco X. Alarcon.

Besides the honor of this second poem in La Bloga, Jeff Cannon appears in Boundless 2014 and in Goose River Anthology: 2014. Jeff is the author of three books of poetry: Finding the Father at Table and Eros: Faces of Love (2010, published by Xlibris Corporation), Intimate Witness: The Carol Poems by Goose River Press, 2008, a testament to his wife’s courageous journey with cancer. He first appeared in the anthology celebrating parenthood, My Hearts First Steps in 2004. He has been a featured poet at Manchester Community College, CT and at local Worcester poetry venues as well as in New Hampshire. He is the father of two daughters, retired and “can’t stop writing” although he does not read out as much as he would prefer.

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14. The 100th anniversary of Dylan Thomas’s birth

On 27th October 1914 Dylan Thomas was born in Swansea, South Wales. He is widely regarded as one the most significant Welsh writers of the 20th century.Thomas’s popular reputation has continued to grow after his death on 9th November, 1953, despite some critics describing his work as too ‘florid‘. He wrote prolifically throughout his lifetime but is arguably best known for his poetry. His poem The hand that signed the paper is taken from Jon Stallworthy’s edited collection The Oxford Book of War Poetry, and can be found below:



The hand that signed the paper

The hand that signed the paper felled a city;

Statue of Dylan Thomas, Maritime Quarter, Swansea, by Tony in Devon. CC-BY-2.5 via Wikimedia Commons.

Five sovereign fingers taxed the breath,

Doubled the globe of dead and halved a country;

These five kings did a king to death.

The mighty hand leads to a sloping shoulder,

The finger joints are cramped with chalk;

A goose’s quill has put an end to murder

That put an end to talk.

The hand that signed the treaty bred a fever,

And famine grew, and locusts came;

Great is the hand that holds dominion over

Man by a scribbled name.

The five kings count the dead but do not soften

The crusted wound nor stroke the brow;

A hand rules pity as a hand rules heaven;

Hands have no tears to flow.


The post The 100th anniversary of Dylan Thomas’s birth appeared first on OUPblog.

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15. Happy Halloween – Illustration and Poems

dia de muertos2014-KathyT

Illustration by Ana Ochoa: Featured on Illustrator Saturday 1/11/14


by Eileen Spinelli

No howling cats.
No “Boos!” No bats.
No creaking chairs.
No cobwebbed stairs.
No goblin stew.
No ghostly brew
this year for you.

My Hallowish is new:

a day of fun,
a pumpkin pie,
a bed of leaves
on which to lie,
a moon that’s spooning
orange light…
sweet autumn dreams
to last the night.


Eileen Spinelli is a well-published author. She has written seventy-two books that are still in print.

When she is not writing poems, stories and books for children you might find her . . .pouring tea. . . trying on hats. . . picking herbs. ‘. . painting in her dream journal. . . browsing in thrift shops. . . dancing barefoot. . . waiting for the mailman. . . star-watching with my husband . . . curled up with a novel. . . taking a nap on the back porch. Zzzzzzzz…..

The Witches of Fairy Top Hill

by Vivian Kirkfield

On Halloween eve up on Fairy Top Hill,

a trio of witches, Pam, Tamsin and Lil,

were practicing magic and chanting out loud,

“Bat-candy, bat-candy…rain down from that cloud!”

“Kaput and Kabob!” Pam invoked with a shout,

The sky quickly filled with a hover of trout.

“Kibosh! and Pish-posh!” Tamsin yelled with finesse.

A chorus of frogs joined the fish-slippy mess.

Then bold Lil spoke up, “This is Trick-or-Treat night,

and children get candy and Turkish delight.”

Costumed as young children…with treat bags to fill,

the trio went guising, Pam, Tamsin and Lil.

vivian kirklandPicture240Writer for children – reader forever…that’s Vivian Kirkfield in five words. Former kindergarten teacher turned parent-teacher workshop leader turned author, Vivian believes that communication, consistency and compassion are key ingredients in any successful relationship. Plus a sense of adventure – she’s already ticked off skydiving, banana-boat riding and parasailing from her bucket list…what will be next?

To find out more about her mission to help young children become lovers of books and reading, please visit her website, Picture Books Help Kids Soar.


by Carol H. Jones

That crazy October!

It’s really not sober.

It’s so dizzy with yellow and orange and red.

Like a quilt full of color pulled over your head.

And the store that was featuring back to school gear

Is where witches and goblins and ghosts first appear.

They give you the willies!

They scare you half silly!

But of course, we all know that there’s nothing to fear.

That’s what really is fun about this time of year.

caroljones260cropprfCarol is a former elementary school teacher, a grandmother, and an SCBWI member. She’s been writing picture books (none published yet) in both prose and poetry for over five years. Some of my titles are The Three Little Pigs Sing Again, Olaf The Troll And The Billygoat Ambush, My Fly Is In A Jar And The Jar Is In The Car, The Brainkeeper Team, Benny Can Do Anything, Edgar and Gretta: Big City Here We Come, Quit Your Bickering, The Scary Veggie Lady, Octopus Wishes, Princess Pippa, Fox Guards The Henhouse, and Oh, No! Peas!


by Jane Resides

I made a tall black witch’s hat

Then snuck the kitchen broom

My wand was brother’s hockey stick

I pilfered from his room

I leaped onto the jaggy broom

And sailed right off my bed

This witching isn’t going well.

Just see my bandaged head!


Which witch should I become this year,

the good one or the bad?

Good witches wear gold crowns and gowns,

But bad ones I must add,

Although they’re wart-nosed, dressed in black,

They have a lot more fun.

They cackle, snarl, and frighten kids

Kids shriek! They scream. They run.

A crystal ball is what I need

I think that would be dandy.

I’d gaze into that ball to see

Which witch would get more candy.

Jane Resides, a graduate of Pennsylvania State University, writes poetry, picture books, and historical fiction.

She has published stories, articles, and poetry in Highlights, Once Upon a Time, Penn & Ink, and When I can’t Get to Sleep, a West Chester Library poetry book.

Her husband and grandson are beekeepers, and her article “Emme Loves Bees” was published in Highlights.


That Magical October Sky

by Wendy Greenley

Momma Mouse saw harvest moon.

Little Mouse saw pie.

Momma Mouse said, “Come in soon!”

Little Mouse said, “Why?”

“It’s time for bed,” Momma warned.

“Back soon!” said Little Mouse,

Running toward the broomstick

He’d left beside the house.

The broomstick creaked and sputtered.

Little Mouse took flight,

Headed for a pumpkin treat

Before he said goodnight.

Past the trees,

Through the stars,

Little Mouse rose high,

Aiming for the scrumptious shining pumpkin in the sky.

The voyage was untested.

The landing pad untried.

Dropping to the orange orb,

Little Mouse was pie-d.

wendygreenleybio photocropped




A childhood prankster who finds it hard to change her ways, Wendy Greenley is an aspiring children’s book author, writing for picture book and middle grade audiences.




Illustrated by Laura-Susan Thomas

Scary Things Come Out at Night

by Kelly Ramsdell Fineman

Scary things come out at night

Ghosts that boo! and bats that bite;

Warlocks cloaked in purple capes;

Satyrs wearing wreaths of grapes.

Sometimes you might spy a witch

Or a hunchback with a twitch

Don’t be frightened by this scene –

After all, it’s Halloween!

kellyfinemanFall 2014Kelly Ramsdell Fineman is a children’s author and award-winning poet. Her picture book, At the Boardwalk, came out from tiger tales books in 2012. Her children’s poems appear in National Geographic’s Book of Nature Poetry, ed. by J. Patrick Lewis (coming in 2015), Dare to Dream . . . Change the World, ed. by Jill Corcoran (2012), National Geographic’s Book of Animal Poetry, ed. by J. Patrick Lewis (2012), Write Your Own Poetry by Laura Purdie Salas (2008), and in Highlights for Children magazine, as well as other places.

You can visit her at her eponymous website, www.kellyfineman.com, or her blog, Writing & Ruminating, at http://kellyrfineman.livejournal.com



by Carol Murray

Jack-o-Lantern’s laughing,

up and down the hall.

Jack-o-Lantern’s leering,

hanging on the wall.

Spooks and spiders lurking,

Black cats can be seen.

Ghosts are flying through the sky.


It’s Halloween.



Boo! On the wicked witch.

Her hat and cape are black as pitch.

It seems like she mad a little glitch.

And dropped her broomstick in a ditch.

So now I know what I will do.

I’m doing more than saying, “Boo!”

I’ll grab that broom this very day

and sweep the monsters all away.

carolreadingCarol is a published poet and author of several books for children. She has been a teacher for over thirty years with students, aged three years (Wee Wigglers) to ninety-three (Elderhostel). She taught English and Speech at Hutchinson Community College for twenty-five years and has also taught Creative Writing, Poetry, Interpersonal Communications, and Children’s Literature.

Her picture book titled, The Cricket in the Thicket being Illustrated by Melissa Sweet and published by Holt will hit bookshelves in Spring of 2016.

A Demon’s Treat

by Carol MacAllister

Fresh newt’s eyes and frog legs flinch

while boiling in the brew,

Spells are cast on howling winds,

There darts a trick or two.


Trouble lurks at every turn,

unknowing victims race

from moaning dead, banshee cries,

monster’s snarling chase.


Autumn’s rustling branches drone

at demons overhead

on ancient brooms, phantom steeds,

Rousing up the dead.


Strange, how innocence is lured

to wander through dark streets,

Each year, a few just disappear,

Snatched! – a demon’s treat.

carolmCarol MacAllister holds an MFA in creative writing with a concentration in poetry and fiction. She has been widely published in poetry for years on both a children  and an adult level. Her poems have won many awards and have been presented in public venues. Her book RIPASSO is a privately published collection of poetry by others and includes Robert Pinsky, and other poet laureates, as well as her own work. She judges the annual Federation of State Poetry Societies competition, as well as others.

The Green Witch’s Brew

by Pia Garneau

Organic, non-toxic


All natural, sustainable


The Green Witch is brewing a nourishing stew

with wholesome ingredients for her little Sue.

Six silver eyes of humanely-farmed newts

Fangs from a bat ground with seasonal roots

Fine golden locks from a gluten-free child

A pesticide-free rodent grown in the wild

A bunch of greens (fresh triple-washed frogs)

Two coiled tails from hormone-free hogs

The old door creaks.  L’il Sue walks in.

“Come mix with the broomstick,” Witch said with a grin.

“Mom, what’s that smell?” Sue said with dread,

wishing she smelled pumpkin pie instead.

Pia Garneau Photo


When she’s not brewing a green stew, you can find Pia Garneau brewing picture book stories instead.  She seasons her stories and cooks them just right in hopes that a publisher or agent will gobble it up and ask for more. 

You can also find her chauffeuring her two gluten-filled boys around, who are good sources of inspiration…and protein.

For kidlit tweets, follow her on Twitter:@piagarneau.



by Donna Weidner

‘Tis All Hallows’ Eve and in true scary fashion,
The wind is a’ howlin’ with fury and passion.
The moon’s begun waning, but still lights the way,
For our loved ones who’re now on the ‘other side’ of the bay.

Up from the floorboards, through ceilings and walls,
They knock on the windows and shriek down the halls.
There’s laughing, and singing, and regular howls.
If we didn’t know better, it might clench our bowels.

‘Tis their annual visit. They come once a year—
The thirty-first of October, when it’s easiest to appear.
Two Anns and one Otto, three Roses and Abe,
Aunt Zelda and Tina and Vito, a.k.a. Dave.
The Willys and Johnnys, the Franzes, Gwinnells,
With Weidners and Omi, they assure us all’s well.

More souls arrive. We party into the night
With swooping and swaying, a paranormal sight.
Till just before dawn, when the ruckus calms down,
Not only at home, but all over town.

The candles, still burning, flicker twice then stretch high,
When Mom clears her throat, then begins with a sigh,
“For all gathered here, this eve’s been a treat—
“Though for you, our dear loved ones, perhaps ’tis bitter-sweet.
“So let me assure you, we are always nearby,
“Just put out your hand and close your eyes.
“Feel our breath in the wind, hear our words in a song,
“The trick is to know us—have faith — you are strong.
“We whisper in dreams, in a butterfly’s flutter,
“In brooks we may babble, or sigh — sometimes, mutter.
“We send you our love through the smile of another—
“Friends, neighbors, strangers—even someone else’s mother.”

Then as fast as they came, they disappear in a second,
Leaving us alone—or not—what do you reckon?



Donna is a Writer, Reiki Master, Wisdom Keeper, all around adventuress and everyone’s cheerleader. I also love anything that deals with archery, armor, and swashbuckling. I can especially appreciate a good sword.






The Unusual Stew

by Robert Zammarchi

witch with pot_robert zammarchi_

Illustrated by Robert Zammarchi

Oh no, its that witchy poo
spotted with gooey goo
and her unusual cat

On Halloween fright night
she turns on her night light
and bakes an unusual batch

Her evil, disgusting,
highly mistrusting
usual potful of stench

She feeds it to children
who travel so pilgrimed
to see this unusual wench

She sprinkles in hob-nobs
and boils it with gob-gobs
and all her unusual rinds

And all of the children
will come by the millions
to sample her usual grinds

She tosses in bones
of goblins and moans
“I love my unusual stew!”

“But this year needs something
to make it more frightening
beyond all the usual goo.

“She looks all about,
but there’s none to find out
that is past all her usual stuff

“Something unusual,
highly excusable,
natty and dratty and rough.”

“Something so rotten,
it won’t be forgotten
beyond just the usual mourn.”

“Something so ugly,
unusually fugly,
it shouldn’t have even been born.”

She looked all around
and what this witch found
was unusual even for her

She flinched for a bit
with her wickedly wit,
then she heard that unusual purr

Goodbye my dear kitty
You never were pretty!
I’ll miss your unusual eyes

rob zammarchi_halloween costume 2014She picked up her cat
and went, “plop in the vat”
Her unusual stew did a rise

But when word got out
that the cat was in doubt,
unusual things did occur

The children no longer
came far by to wander
inside her unusual door

It wasn’t the witch
after all, that the kids
came to see with unusual fervor

It was the old cat
on his natty, old mat
they found to their usual favor

Now witchy-poo groaned,
she mourned and bemoaned
this unusual turn of events.

Then she walked in her dread
to her usual bed
and never was heard from again.

Robert Zammarchi is an award-winning freelance illustrator who has worked for a wide range of clients over the past 20 years in various mediums. At this point in my career, however I am most interested in pursueing the whimsical world of the children’s illustration field, where my heart truly lies.

Robert Zammarchi’s Childrens’ Illustration Website http://www.robzammarchi.com 

Thank you to everyone for your poems and illustrations. It really is a great gift to help us celebrate HALLOWEEN!

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: Poems Tagged: Carol H. Jones, Carol MacAllister, Carol Murray, Donna Weidner, Eileen Spinelli Poem, Halloween Poems, Jane Resides, Kelly Ramsdell Fineman, Pia Garneau, Robert Zammarchi, Vivian Kirkfield, Wendy Greenley

10 Comments on Happy Halloween – Illustration and Poems, last added: 10/31/2014
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16. New Poll – Vote For Your Favorite Halloween Poem


Almost missed sharing this wonderful illustration sent in by Michelle Kogan. She is an illustrator/painter/instructor and writer from the Chicago area. Here is her website: www.michellekogan.com Her cards are available in her Etsy shop – www.MichelleKoganFineArt.etsy.com

Last Thursday I posted the Halloween Poems sent in for the holiday. I was impressed with the talent out in the audience and will repeat this for other holidays. I decided to create a poll and let everyone chose their favorite poem. I left out Eileen Spinelli on purpose.

I will give the winner of the favorite Halloween poem a chance to be interviewed by me on this blog and show off their work: Book, illustrations, Poems. The winner can hold on to the win for when their book comes out or they can use it immediately. So if you had a poem on last Thursday’s post or have a friend who had their poem posted on October 30th, vote and tell all your friends to vote, too.

Click here to read the poems: 

Voting is open until November 9th.

Take Our Poll

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: authors and illustrators, Competition, Poems, Win Tagged: Carol Jones, Carol MacAllister, Carol Murray, Donna Weidner, Jane Resides, Kelly Fineman, Pia Garneau, Poll - Vote, Robert Zammarchi, Vivian Kirkfield, Wendy Greenley

1 Comments on New Poll – Vote For Your Favorite Halloween Poem, last added: 11/5/2014
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17. On-line Floricanto for DDLM

Memorial Poetry Reading for James Foley

Among LA's hardest-working poets, Luivette Resto, Iris de Anda, Gloria Enedina Alvarez

La Bloga friend and fútbol poetry contributor, Yago S. Cura, sends news that will have gente circling their calendars to remind of a spectacular reading of Los Angeles poets. Here's Yago's email:


On Sunday, November 23, from 2-4 PM the La Palabra reading series will host a reading for American Journalist, James Foley, at Avenue 50 Studios (131 N Avenue 50, Los Angeles, CA 90042 / (323) 258-1435) in Highland Park.

The reading hopes to celebrate Foley's work as a combat journalist, fiction writer, and English teacher. The event will also serve as an opportunity for people to donate to the James Foley Legacy fund and the James Foley Scholarship  at Marquette University in Milwaukee.

Please come celebrate his legacy with some of L.A.'s hardest-working poets: Dennis Cruz, S.A. Griffin, Billy Burgos, Annette Cruz, Millicent Accardi, Matt Sedillo, Luivette Resto, Angel Garcia, Ashake M. Jackson, oConney Williams, Ryan Nance, Rebecca Gonzalez, Gloria E Alvarez, Daniel Sosa, Iris De Anda, Karineh Mahdessian, and William Gonzalez

On-line Floricanto for Día de los Muertos

"If I Could Weigh My Memory" by John Martinez
"Baile" By Jose Faus
"Two Dia De Los Muertos Tales" By Odilia Galván Rodríguez
"Ancestor Dreaming" by Christine Costello
"A beautiful day in the neighborhood" by Sharon Elliott
"Holyhand" By Jolaoso Pretty Thunder
“My Own Louie” By Paul Aponte
"Tinta roja"/"Red Ink" Por Sonia Gutiérrez
"Altar en el desierto / Altar in the Desert" by Francisco X. Alarcón

If I Could Weigh My Memory
by John Martinez

If I could weigh my memory
Like a sack of something,
It would have the weight
Of my loving dead

My Uncle in an empty church,
Red carpet beneath
Pressed soles

My mother holding her arm
Like a wounded baby

My brother, opening
Another door to a lesson,
Still seated in the center
Of his room
Where loss and imagination
Are riddled about
And the exhale of the dying,
Is distant and furling
Through trees

If I could weigh my memory,
On the scale,
Like a gunny sacks of chili's
And beer hands reaching,
And burning sun
Scorching our skin
Browner than brown,
I would weigh it with a smile

Because the weight
Of my  memory,
Summons a sum paid

And so I walk away
With the grin of a child,
Walk into a perfect landscape,
With my reward secure
In my dusty pockets

(c) John Martinez 2014
All Rights Reserved

john Martinez has published poetry in several journals, including, LA WEEKLY, EL TECOLOTE, Red Trapeze and this will be his 17th poem published in LA BLOGA. Martinez studied creative writing in the early 80's at Fresno State University under, the now, U.S., Poet Laureate, Phillip Levine and has attended seminars with several established American poets. For the last 30 years he has worked as an Administrator for a Los Angeles Law Firm and has recently complete his long awaited Manuscript of 60 poems entitled PLACES, which will be published by IZOTE Press.

by Jose Faus

She came to my door last night
like so many times before
At first I do not see her
hiding in the bushes
Turning back into the living room
her bony legs trip me
and I land on the floor

I love it when that happens
She laughs and heads for the altar
helping herself
to the ofrendas on the shelf
Hey what gives señorita
You know these are for the souls
that will come tomorrow night
Do you really think I am a señorita
She smiles coyly
the blush coloring her bleached bones
Of course my lovely

And for the umpteenth time
since we first met
I lead her to the table
and serve her tamals
baked in banana leaves
a tall glass of avena
with a hint of cinnamon
On the stove
arroz con pollo
spiced with cloves and
littered with green olives

I pour her a cup of vino de casa
and in the dim light we reminisce
Tio Jaime and tu primo Sancho
send their regrets
Emerita tu abuelita
cries over her Cuco
Give me a picture to take to her
Then she takes her finger
and slowly strokes my beard
and with the hollow of her eyes
looks deep into my heart

You know someday
I will come for you

Don’t think of work tonight my dear
I reach behind her on the table
and grab the long stem rose
She puts it in her mouth
and stands apace
I push the player to shuffle
and in a tight embrace we sway
to boleros and tangos
the rattle of her bones
an eerie metronome
I ply her with vino
until she is tipsy in my arms
Any moment she will fall asleep
and then suddenly she glides
awkwardly across the floor
stops and holds the rose
on the tips of her weary bones

These advances are so nice
to feel and be what I was once
but it is futile to resist
someday I will come for you
and what will have been
the point of this

Nada chica nada
But you can’t blame me for trying
Besides how many can claim
to have danced
with such a lovely death
cheek to cheek
in a tight embrace
Alma de mi vida
you can really shake and bake

José Faus is a founding member of the Latino Writers Collective and Writers Place board president. He is a 2012 Rocket Grant recipient for the community project VOX NARRO. His writing appears in the anthologies; Primera Pagina: Poetry From the Latino Heartland, Cuentos del Centro: Stories From the Latino Heartland, Raritan, Whirlybird Anthology, Luces y Sombras and I-70 Review. He is the 2011 winner of Poets & Writers Maureen Egen Writers Exchange award.

Two Dia De Los Muertos Tales
by Odilia Galván Rodríguez

La Calaca's
bones rattle
make sounds
como when los músicos
play la marimba
Calaca dances
down the hall
looking for people
to mesmerize
with its fancy jiggly steps
it dances street and wise
La Calaca wants to steal
anyone’s last sweet breath
and twirl them dazed
into its bony arms
of death

ஜ ஜ ஜ ஜ ஜ ஜ ஜ ஜ ஜ ஜ ஜ ஜ ஜ

La Llorona they say
drowned her children
because their father left her and
she lost the love of her life
but others say it was because
she could no longer provide
on a single mother campesina’s wages

didn’t know how to care for them on so little
that was not the life she had envisioned
she despaired for her children’s future and
went crazy from so much worry
about how to pay for care for them
while she was at work   or sometimes even
where their next meal would come from

one night after crying and crying and
ravaged with so much guilt and fear
she decided it was better
to return them to the water
so they’d swim happily back
to that calm calm place
where all life begins

Odilia Galván Rodríguez, eco-poet, writer, editor, and activist, is the author of four volumes of poetry, her latest, Red Earth Calling: ~cantos for the 21st Century~. She’s worked as an editor for Matrix Women's News Magazine, Community Mural's Magazine, and most recently at Tricontinental Magazine in Havana, Cuba. She facilitates creative writing workshops nationally and is a moderator of Poets Responding to SB 1070, and Love and Prayers for Fukushima, both Facebook pages dedicated to bringing attention to social justice issues that affect the lives and wellbeing of many people. Her poetry has appeared in numerous anthologies, and literary journals on and offline.

Ancestor Dreaming
by Christine Costello

(Idle meandering thoughts of an insomniac)

Eyelids flutter as my curtains blow to the same beat
Flutter whoosh whoosh
Window open like a restless mind
The wind seeks sleep
perhaps a dream
Flutter snap wind
A dream awaits
A shadow passes by in the hall
A spirit conjured by the wind paces back and forth
Waiting for the sound of tires on a wet street
dripping with a hope of rain.

Insomnia holds me captive
under the weight of a dream
waiting to be released to a sleeping mind
Ancestor I hear your whispers
Ancestor I feel your strength
sleep doesn't live here anymore
Only a deep flutter of a restless night

Sweet slumber
I beg you to quick grab the key
The key
It opens to the dream
Please open
Wrong key
Missing is the slumber
the evasive sleep I crave
Is there a key
I can't remember

Born and raised in San Francisco Christine Costello is a 6th generation San Franciscan who grew up in the Mission District. She was the recipient of the Benny Bufano Art Scholarship and attended the San Francisco Art Academy majoring in Fine Art. She has been keeping illustrated journals for 40 years. Christine still resides in the City's Duboce Triangle neighborhood. Christine was a union labor activist for many years, working for various unions after being inspired by the farm workers movement, For the last 14 years she served as Business Agent for Theatrical Stage Employees Union Local B18, Christine volunteered her services for many years as the event planner for Instituto Laboral de la Raza’s annual fund raiser.  An early retirement  due to a disability has once again spurred her writing, journaling and illustration. She is a priest of Yemaya practicing the Lucumi traditions as well as an espiritista.

A beautiful day in the neighborhood
by Sharon Elliott

copper calavera
above blue seas
grey sand

a white flower
coffee cup
at the inlet

drives a car
strewn with branches

leaves are
woven into noise
grate against
too full of sound

of unknown origin
calls to children
playing in the street
they shout at each other
without answering her

wings gifted to
the calavera
stop her tortuous flight
allow her
to settle on a skylight
blocks away
knock three times
dissolve through it
fluff her bony
over a purple pillow
drink a lighted candle
blow wax through her ears
smile toothily
at humans
choosing to ignore her

she decides to stay

Copyright © 2014 Sharon Elliott. All Rights Reserved.

Sharon Elliott was born and raised in Seattle and lives in Oakland. Four years in the Peace Corps in Nicaragua and Ecuador laid the foundation for her activism in multicultural women’s issues. Her book, Jaguar Unfinished was published in 2012. She was an awardee of the Best Poem of 2012, The Day of Little Comfort, by La Bloga On-Line Floricanto; and has been featured in poetry readings in the Bay Area. She is an initiated Lukumi priest of Scot/Sámi/African Carribbean ancestry; ally to people of color and to the earth.

By Jolaoso Pretty Thunder

I am saying datura grows in colonies
on abandoned roads on the hips of the interstate
I do don't remember what she says
lost several hours, days even
ghost rattle
I am saying the dumb sky above looked down
on my galvanized roof, my castle
and two bucks locked antlers
In front of the house
03:00 am
dragging each other 150 feet
I call the dream helper by name
It's that time again
mist captured
The women of my clan tossed the family name into the pit
I too burn the bridges
My vision can change with the invisible borders that
I see, then cross
Yet further
I push it, reach the edges, some kind of darkness that brightens
Don’t look in the skeleton closet
you will find me there
The town dump, ocean, ravine, last stand of redwoods
I am the rubbish of the compound
Being eaten by the village chickens
I shapeshift into the sailor, a crossroads
Then the common wife, the storm flower, perfect whore, your queen
I am on the porch tethered to a cinderblock that lays in the crabgrass
This is exile self chosen
I nap in the sun
Drawing it out with a stick in the dirt
I am the green hoop around the sun
on far away days
I see you in your manner
I speak in your Way
Dressing the house in tea and cakes
Spirit plates left for the dead
I know the songs for war, love, invisibility and undoing the sorcery
I tie knots in the rhythm
I say outright you have abandoned your own self
I say to you, those matching dishes and pillows are your spirit, malnourished
That formal garden, the same
I speak that I fear my own black magic and what I can do
what I have already done
I say I know these trees and which way to glance to accomplish it all
Blood in the hollow
This is what I am saying
This is the language I speak

Jolaoso Pretty Thunder is an initiated Apetebi and Orisa priestess of Oya in the Lukumi tradition. She lives in the woods of Northern California with her two dogs Rosie Farstar and Ilumina Holydog. She is a certified practitioner and student of herbal medicine (Western, Vedic, TMC and Lukumi) and  is an ordained minister of First Nations Church. She is a well traveled poet and  loves southern rock, porch swings, pickup trucks, cooking, camp fires, lightning, steak, long drives, hot cups of coffee, gathering and making medicine and singing with her  friends and family.

My Own Louie
by Paul Aponte

Andábamos en su ranfla
down Capitol Avenue.
You know, Capitol Avenue en SanJo.

Way Before some güey
decided to express it
by demolishing cantones
and turning it all
into a cesspool
of boiling concrete & cars.

Andábamos en su ranfla
down Capitol Avenue.
El Louie was driving Dad's
46 Plymouth Coupe
From Story Rd
down Capitol Avenue
approaching el Payless.
with the huge drive-in type parking lot
where jainas and vatos hung out at night,
listened to "Angel Baby" and "Hanky Panky".
but right now it was daytime,
and two of his buddies
con su ranfla chingona
came up right next to his window.
With lip-bobbing cigarette he said:
"Ey, Louie you got a match!"
"Órale.  Hold on.
Poly, drive the car.
Just grab the steering wheel!
El Louie sat on the window sil
paper matches in hand
lit up three together to make sure,
lit the vatos trola,
and sat down
before the carrucha
about the 8 year old steering it.
He gave me a couple of looks
and on the 2nd gave me his signature laugh:
He drove me to Mark's Hot Dogs,
the place with the juiciest,
crispiest and most delicious dogs,
making me feel welcome again.
My summer vacation from el Defe,
starting off pretty well.
He'd been there, himself.
Got a tough guy reputation
in a place filled with the toughest.
Constantly came back to our Tlatelolco apartment
beat up for taking on too many at once.
I imagine they called him el Tlate-loco.
So the uncles had to send him back to SanJo.

I never saw any meanness.
I only saw crazy funny,
or quiet, wistful, pensive Louie.
Though, most times he was out and about.
Even so, I do have some memories.
Like that hot summer night
when he was stuck at home for some reason.
He gave me a note, and instructions:
"All you have to do is knock on the window.
When Sylvia opens it, tell her Louie sends this.
Now, go!"
I knock, and Sylvia opens the window
immediately grabs the note without asking
and tells me to wait.
She comes back out with her thick eye-liner,
and puffy hair with the flipped out ends
and straight cut bangs barely above her brows.
she gives me another note to give to Louie.
Then I become a ping-pong ball on the
table of grounded teenagers.
I know at some point it stopped,
but I actually don't remember that moment.
I think the ghost of me or parallel universe me
is still out there doing it.

He was definitely the ladies man,
and even though he was tall & studly,
with light skin & light blue eyes,
he liked them gorditas, prietitas y bien Chicanas.
Le gustaba la guitarra just like Dad,
and he impressed the ladies just like Dad.
The summer was over.
Back en el Defe things began boiling.
Just like everywhere around the world and the U.S.
1968 came around - a horrific year.
The beginning of the Tet Offensive in Vietnam.
Labor strikes and riots in Poland, France & Italy.
Race riots throughout the U.S.
President Johnson refused to run for re-election.
Martin Luther King - assassinated.
Bobby Kennedy - assassinated.
Student riots in Mexico City.
Estudiantes contra granaderos.
In Tlatelolco where I lived -- many students were murdered.
and in 1968 ...
Mi carnal Louie died.  He was 18.
He died March 30th, 1968.
The newspaper said he drowned in Coyote lake.
Maybe he drowned in sorrow
after his good friend
committed suicide.
Maybe he abused his body
and just couldn't come back out.
Maybe, as they say, he was involved with gangs
and was killed when he chose to lead a different gang,
beaten up and thrown in the water
at a supposed "going away" party.
Don't want to know.
Years after:
My sister's daughter was born ... on March 30th.
My son was born ... on March 30th.
There is a supernatural feeling about that.
I think it was 1970
cuando me retaché a mi dulce hogar
for the summer.
I remember getting a high fever, almost delirious.
In the depths of my illness
I actually felt myself feeling like I might die.
Casi estiraba el teni.
Then I had a dream.
I was in the middle of the main road
in a typical western town of the old wild west
a strange town, unknown to me
deserted dirt streets
rolling tumbleweeds.
I realized I was going to be in a gun fight.
The other guy showed up at a long distance
on this main town road
in a hero's style cowboy outfit
with a red scarf blowing in the wind
I knew it wasn't my town
I knew this man meant business
and I had no business being there.
His arms slightly out, hands wide open by the holsters.
Then I saw it was Louie.
His message was “this town, his town, ain't big enough for the both of us”.
After I recuperated from my fever,
and was playing outside on a windy day,
I thought I heard in the wind, his signature laugh.

Paul Aponte is a Chicano poet born in San Jose, California USA, and now a proud citizen of Sacramento.   Paul, was a member of the performance poetry group "Poetas Of The Obsidian Tongue" in the 90's, and now is a member of "Escritores del Nuevo Sol". He is the author of the book of poetry "Expression Obsession" published in 1999, and has been published in "La Bloga" and in the book "Un Canto De Amor A Gabriel Garcia Márquez" which was put together by Alfred Asis from the country of Chile to honor Gabriel Garcia Márquez with poems from around the world with 31 countries represented. Through his many poems in English, Spanish, and Spanglish he conveys a connection to his culture that transcends the material.  He does this while retaining a voice that is very clearly his own, one which he commands with sincerity and a truthful, even wise sense of humor, and of self. Facebook website.

por Betty Sánchez

Se ha esparcido la noticia
Usted no lo va a creer
Graciela Brauer Ramírez
Ya ha dejado de ser

Con el Creador hizo un trato
De llegar a los sesenta
Pero al llegar a esa edad
Se fue a comprar indulgencias
Y rebasó los ochenta

Se murió placidamente
Esbozando una sonrisa
Logró lo que tenia en mente
Cruzó esta vida sin prisa

En vida fue muy activa
Practicaba el Tai Chi
Tenia otras perspectivas
Eso apenas descubrí

Tres maestrías completó
Se la pasaba leyendo
Sus memorias registró
Como le hizo no lo entiendo

La muerte llegó en carreta
A recoger sus huesitos
Vio dormida a la poeta
Y se robó sus escritos

El sol de los escritores
Se ha eclipsado de momento
Muy tristes le llevan flores
Perderla es el peor tormento

Los ángeles y el chamuco
Por su alma se pelean
Han armado un emboruco
Uno y otro forcejean

Ni pa’ ti ni para mi
Dijo el demonio enfadado
Esto ya lo decidí
Echémonos un volado

La parca que no es paciente
Les arrebató a su cliente
Se fue directo a los cielos
Para evitar mas recelos

En la puerta la esperaban
Con maracas y tambores
José Montoya y Phil Goldvarg
Para hacerle los honores

Tremenda pachanga armaron
Que les costó el paraíso
Al infierno los mandaron
Para volverlos sumisos

En la tierra los mortales
Añoran a su poetisa
De vez en cuando hay señales
Que nos visita la occisa

En México se aparece
Por la calle Bucareli
Ahí transcurrió su infancia
Sus recuerdos no perecen

Alguien asegura verla
En las aulas de Sac State
Acaso eso nos sorprende
Si por veinticinco años
Su enseñanza aun trasciende

El averno esta de gala
Se organiza un floricanto
La calaca se acicala
Luciendo su mejor manto
Graciela es la invitada
Que a todos deleitará
Con su épica chicana

Si una grulla ven volando
No es una pájaro cualquiera
Es ella que esta extrañando
Sus hijos nietos y amigos
Los árboles y los ríos
de ésta su amada ciudad
Que aun sigue visitando

Adiós viejecita linda
En mi corazón te llevo
Con respeto se te brinda
Ésta plegaria que elevo.

Con todo mi cariño y admiración para mi querida Graciela B. Ramírez
28 de Septiembre de 2014

foto:Andres Alvarez
Betty Sánchez, miembro activo del grupo literario, Escritores del Nuevo Sol desde  Marzo del 2003.

He colaborado en eventos poéticos tales como el Festival Flor y Canto, Colectivo Verso Activo, Noche de Voces Xicanas, Honrando a Facundo Cabral, y Poesía Revuelta.

Ha sido un privilegio contribuir en la página Poetas Respondiendo al SB 1070, Zine 10 Mujeres de Maíz y en La Bloga.

Tinta roja
por Sonia Gutiérrez

“Si tú mueres primero, yo te prometo . . .”
—Julio Jaramillo, “Nuestro juramento”

Hace unos minutos
vino mi Lola.
Estuvo aquí.
Sentí su presencia
como un zarape
cálido sobre mi cuerpo,
y sus colores
como rayos de luz
llenaron mi corazón.

En el cuarto junto
a mi alcoba,
donde nuestros cuerpos
florecían y perfumaban
las noches, ella misma
encendió la música
con su llanto.

Me visitó mi Lola
para que juntos
la guitarra,
las palabras,
y los gemidos
de nuestra canción.
Y entonces las paredes
y los santos recordaron
nuestros besos, nuestras caricias.

Estoy contento.
Estuvo aquí mi Lola;
cumplimos nuestra promesa,
y Ay como le agradezco
su visita para que ella vea
que tomé la pluma roja
y recordé
nuestro juramento.

Red Ink
by Sonia Gutiérrez

“Si tú mueres primero, yo te prometo . . .”
—Julio Jaramillo, “Nuestro juramento”

A few minutes ago,
my Lola came.
She was here.
I felt her presence
like a warm
zarape over my body,
and its colors
likes rays of light
filled my heart.

In the room next
to my bedroom,
where our bodies
flowered and perfumed
the nights, she herself
turned on the music
with her cry.

My Lola visited me,
so together
we could listen
to the guitar,
the words,
and the moaning
of our song.
And then the walls
and the saints remembered
our kisses, our caresses.

I am happy.
My Lola was here;
we kept our promise,
and Oh how much I appreciate
her visit, so she could see
that I took the red pen,
and remembered
our oath.

Translation by Sonia Gutiérrez

Sonia Gutiérrez is a poet professor, who promotes social justice and human dignity. She teaches English Composition and Critical Thinking and Writing at Palomar College. La Bloga is home to her Poets Responding SB 1070 poems, including “Best Poems 2011” and “Best Poems 2012.” Sonia recently joined the moderators of Poets Responding to SB 1070.

Her vignettes have appeared in AlternaCtive PublicaCtions, Storyacious, and Huizache. Her bilingual poetry collection, Spider Woman/La Mujer Araña, is her debut publication. Kissing Dreams from a Distance, a manuscript written in the Tomás Rivera and Sandra Cisneros literary tradition, is under editorial review. “Tinta roja” first appeared in Tijuana poética #7 / octubre 2014.

Altar en el desierto / Altar In the Desert
by Francisco X. Alarcón

foto:Javier Pinzón

foto:Javier Pinzón

Francisco X. Alarcón, award-winning Chicano poet and educator, was born in Los Angeles, grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico, and now lives in Davis, where he teaches at the University of California. He is the author of thirteen volumes of poetry, including Borderless Butterflies / Mariposas sin fronteras (Poetic Matrix Press 2014), Ce • Uno • One: Poems for the New Sun (Swan Scythe Press, 2010), From the Other Side of Night / Del otro lado de la noche: New and Selected Poems (University of Arizona Press, 2002), Sonnets to Madness and Other Misfortunes (Creative Arts Book Company, 2001), Snake Poems: An Aztec Invocation (Chronicle Books, 1992), Of Dark Love (Moving Parts Press, 2001). He is the author of six acclaimed books of bilingual poems for children on the seasons of the year originally published by Children’s Book Press, now an imprint of Lee & Low Books. He has received numerous literary awards and prizes for his works, like including the American Book Award, the Pen Oakland Josephine Miles Award, the PEN Oakland – Josephine Miles Award, the Chicano Literary Prize, the Fred Cody Lifetime Achievement Award, the Jane Adams Honor Book Award, and several Pura Belpré Honor Book Awards by the American Library Association. He is the creator of the Facebook page “Poets Responding to SB 1070.”

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18. Veterans Day 2014 • Review: Take This Man • On-line Floricanto Eleven Eleven

Veteranspeak, or 5 Questions To Ask a Veteran

Michael Sedano

MiG Alley below, Homing All the Way Killers above

I’ve been a Veteran since August 1970, forty-four years since I walked away from Ft. Lewis Washington, discharge in hand but still in my Class A uniform. In a curious parallel, that was early in the predawn darkness, just like that January day in 1969 when my busload of inductees stood in the predawn fog of Ft. Ord.

Ever wonder what to say when you learn someone was once boots on the ground? Veterans of my era will spin you some memories to one or more of these conversation ice-breakers. I was Army, other services have similar answers. Kids from Bush and Obama’s Iraq and Afghan wars are likely to understand the questions--the answers are the cement that links a majority of Veterans with one another.

What was your MOS?
Military jobs have code numbers, the Military Occupational Specialty, M.O.S. The best known is eleven-bravo, 11B, Infantry. Me, I was trained as an oh five bravo intermediate speed morse code radio operator, a defunct trade in military communications, even then. Assigned to a rugged anti-aircraft missile site guarding MiG Alley at the Korean DMZ, I worked an oh five charlie field wireman's job. Mid-tour I lucked out and took a job in the Colonel’s office, writing military propaganda as an acting 71Quebec Information Specialist.

Short and Shorter. Sedano 3d from right, with shades.
When did you DEROS?
Short, short-timer. We counted the days until we would “get back to the world.” Upon arrival overseas, clerks calculate your Date Estimated Return from Overseas. If all goes as planned, you’ll be heading for the airport on your "dee-rhos" date. Not every Veteran served overseas. A stateside post meant serving the full two year hitch. Draftees doing one of the hardship tours—Vietnam and Korea—often put in a thirteenth month in order to earn discharge upon DEROS. I put in thirteen months, two weeks, three days, seventeen hours seven minutes and thirteen seconds in Korea, but who’s counting, que no?

RA or US?
Did you sign up, or were you Drafted? Draftees were assigned US serial numbers, volunteer tipos were Regular Army. On the sidelines were ER and NG, Enlisted Reserve and National Guard. The latter pair did Basic Training then went home. Everyone in today’s military are RA, or in barracks vernacular, Lifers. For a long time I knew my serial number by reflex. It was stamped on the dog tags to identify our bodies. I've forgotten the number now, and that's a good thing.

Would you want to see your grandchildren in uniform?
Not involuntarily.

Would you do it again?
Gente I know, to a man and woman say, Yes. I told an Army recruiter friend that I would go if I could take the place of one of the kids he was signing up. No way in Hell would I volunteer for the Draft, but if they called me again, I'd go.

Veterans and active duty wearing a uniform get free chow at  a number of chain restaurants today. A DD214 gets you fed, too. So there's that.

Veterans get to understand important yet amorphous concepts like Duty and Honor. I remember telling a friend about my cannon fodder post had the north invaded. The friend asked why I would hold my ground instead of running before it was too late? I told him it was my Duty. His eyes told me I was a fool. Así es.

Not short.

Take This Man Grossly Captivating Memoir

Review: Brando Skyhorse. Take This Man. NY: Simon & Schuster, 2014.
ISBN 9781439170878

Michael Sedano

Take This Man, along with its author Brando Skyhorse, occupy a unique spot along the continuum of U.S. ethnic literatures. These people, Brando and his mother, aren’t chicanos, but could have been. And they aren’t Indians, but they’re passing. His mother prefers fantasy history and invented Indianness, she becomes Running Deer Skyhorse, her son Brando Skyhorse, son of a chief. This is Identity run awry.

Take This Man revolves around Maria Skyhorse’s story, but at the memoir’s core lives a boy looking for a father in the men his mother regularly brings home. They all leave. Then she finds a replacement. Herein lies a challenge for readers: don't judge.

Maria’s acts gouge with such ferocity they steal the spotlight from Skyhorse’s more intimate explorations, overwhelming the author’s memories in his struggle to sort out identity and family and fatherness from his mishmash of an upbringing.

Skyhorse engrosses his reader with sordid details that make it tough to like that woman, Brando’s mother. While disgusted readers will grow furious at events, the author denies them an ally in their feelings. Skyhorse's tone is nearly emotionless, he refuses the reader's escape valve for the horror. The only release is turn the page, there's more.

It’s hard not to judge the people Skyhorse had in his life, not to want to spread chisme about those lowlife fathers, so consistently awful the child’s memory of fathering is a guy ferreting out hiding places, robbing piggy banks to buy a night’s drinking and gambling. Mother's not dumb but the easy way out is her route, such as her work-at-home telephone sex worker job. It brought in good cash and she didn't have to give up her food stamps. Marie laughed, ate well, and grew fat.

The little boy’s life is so gutwrenching I find myself wondering that people like this live among us, asking myself, he can’t be making up this stuff, can he? Skyhorse pulls off a tour de force voicing  disarming neutrality. Animated wit and punch-line paragraphs add depth to the mostly fast-moving account. It’s a challenge separating the creative from the nonfiction. Just turn the page.

The crud just piles up for this boy. Five husbands, lots of boyfriends, flings on the road, Vegas, Reno, Tahoe, ritualized humiliations. One example suffices to illustrate the savagery of Brando’s mother, her insanity, and Skyhorse’s own neutrality as he recounts a time he couldn’t produce some coupons to pay for a bus.

The mother shouts, I’ll just leave you here! You’ve taken enough of my life from me! Mother’s fury and hatred for men finds at-hand Brando easy pickings, normally with her mouth. In this instance, however, Maria gets lethally physical.

My mother grabbed my throat. Then she pulled me across the trailer the way a girl would drag a lifeless doll up a flight of stairs. She threw me shivering onto the bathroom floor and then snatched one of Nakome’s leather knife holsters and stabbed at my neck with it…. My mother wrapped her hands around my neck again and pushed my face in the toilet water while I flailed my short arms trying to reach the flush handle.

After Maria locates the boxtops she explains to the son how his carelessness led to the bathroom incident. Skyhorse matter-of-factly clarifies her logic for the reader, Not being given the box tops wasn’t an excuse; I should have asked for them.

The slight bitter aftertaste here is among the few instances where the memoirist’s otherwise controlled voice deviates from its straightforward, low-affect style. This son does not judge his mother. The author, ever a good son, won’t have readers criticize her, either. That’s just the way she was, this is what is available to remember.

Which, of course, is not what happens. Brando Skyhorse, the writer, isn’t disingenuous in what he’s chosen to recall and detail. That mother so burdens his life it takes over the book. The son-writer runs out of room for his main goal, and only skims the surface of the boy’s understanding of fathering and his relations with his biological father and daughters. Then again, the author notes, he hasn’t got this worked out yet.

With Take This Man, Brando Skyhorse should have exorcised the demons of his mother and fathers. He said good things about most of the men. He was kind to his mother and in that way gets back at her. Now the author can rekindle the spark seen in Madonnas of Echo Park, and hinted at in the Bukowski homage of this memoir, to drop the "creative non-"and get on with it.

On-line Floricanto for November 11, 2014
Elizabeth Cazessús, Henry Howard, Ashley Garcia, Jackie Lopez, Iris De Anda

Los Rehenes, Elizabeth Cazessús
Guilty of Being Brown (Showdown in Arizona), Henry Howard
Illegal, Ashley
Blessing for James' Place, Jackie Lopez
#bringbackourgirls, Iris De Anda

Los Rehenes
Por Elizabeth Cazessús

…el viento del crimen a la altura del delirio.
Rodolfo Hasler

es la hora de escribir un poema acerca del mundo
de diagnosticar las formas en que amedrenta
con su odio y deslava el rostro de la sinrazón
para justificar mil malabares políticos

es hora de escribir que estamos al acecho
de ladrones, de gangsters, de la avaricia
de la falta de libertad y la zozobra
de la mezquina relación de las entelequias

es hora de callar lo escrito
aquello que no tiene razón en la sobremesa
congestionadas las entropías mediáticas
ante verdades telúricas y tan llanas

es hora de nombrar en lo oscuro
la íntima ejecución de los días
la denuncia, el porvenir y la esperanza
con un silencio atroz que no deje dudas

es hora de contar metrallas, muertos, a los que corren,
de ver la película en las calles y al desnudo
dilucidar acaso en la espesura
de ciertas e inexplicables densidades

es hora de escribir un poema acerca del mundo
de éste y no del otro repleto de metáforas
ya no podemos escapar, no hay letras de salva
Somos rehenes de la impunidad que nos cohabita.

(del libro Hijas de la Ira)

Guilty of Being Brown (Showdown in Arizona)
By Henry Howard

I had a nightmare the other night.
I dreamed I went to buy the morning paper,
And the headline screamed
For all the world to see,
“SB1070 Declared Fully Legal!”
And I cried, because I knew
I was now legally unwelcome here.

My mother took the paper and milk from me
With trembling hands,
And told me in her soft Mexican voice
That Papa had been arrested on his way to work.
For the crime of driving without a Green Card,
He was found Guilty of Being Brown.

We did not have time to kiss him goodbye,
Or even make him a sandwich
On his way back to a country he had not seen
In twenty years.

I woke with my heart pounding,
And my eyes full of tears.
I slowly relaxed,
Realizing it was just a dream.

Then I drove to the store in my first car,
And the morning paper screamed
For all the world to read,
“SB1070 Declared Fully Legal!”

It was my 16th birthday,
and now I, too,
Had been found Guilty of Being Brown.

I am a Los Angeles activist and Peace Poet, whose literary focus has been on human rights since 2001. Published most notably as a featured writer on Quill and Parchment.com, and the legendary Sam Hamill's global anti-war poetry protest, Poets Against the War (beginning in February, 2002), my most recent work was published as a full-length compilation of peace and justice poetry called "Sing to Me of My Rights: Poems of Oppression and Resistance" (editor/publisher Mark Lipman, Vagabond Books 2014). Immigrant rights have been a focus of my street-level activism since 1980, when I learned in college of the murder of El Salvador Archbishop Oscar Romero--followed, of course, by the rape/murder of the four U.S. churchwomen that December. I was active in the Sanctuary Movement from 1984-98, and a member since 1986 of Refuse and Resist! and La Resistencia. I have never been to our Southern border, but it looms large in my consciousness. The horror of our country's involvement in the collective Central American slaughter, and the residual xenophobic policies towards immigrants, both documented and undocumented, reflected in legislation such as SB1070, haunts me to this day, and inspires me to take to the streets. I have one philosophy that sums up all my activism, including my writing: NO HUMAN BEING IS  ILLEGAL!

Contact me about the poem or order my book. I am also available for readings at public and private events, and will travel to Arizona, Northern California or Nevada to share my work at open-mic events. EL PUEBLO UNIDO! JAMAS SERA VENCIDO!

By Ashley

You say I am illegal because of my flesh,
Apartheid, a race apart.
Even after the laws change,
Discrimination still exists
Cradling fear and fight of flesh-hood
Same flesh, different color.
So is it my flesh, my body, or my being?

You say I am illegal because of the land I stand on.
I do not belong here.
The land sits underneath the sky,
Shall we fight over clouds?
However, this is no different than the land I was born from.
Migration to illegal immigration,
I am, me, the im- in immigration,
The prefixed knot in the rope,
The prescribed not of ‘im’ and ‘il’
So is it the land, my body, or my being?

You say I am illegal because of love,
An endearing criminal at best,
Same heart, different passion,
Love is not a crime.
What matters is within:
not the shape of our skin
377: I went sleep in 2013 and woke up in 1860,
So is it my heart, my body, or my being?

You say the I of me, the me of I is- Illegal.
The law versus: Land, love, and life,
No! No being is illegal,
Neither my body, flesh, nor heart,
Not even my soul,
It is time,
To set my soul afire and let it free.

This poem was first published on Orinam on Dec 20, 2014 at http://orinam.net/illegal/ and is being republished with permission of the author

Ashley was born and raised in Southern California. Her parents are from Mexico. Ashley has been published both online and in-print. A poet, aspiring writer, and is currently learning classical dance. This poem "Illegal" was first published on Orinam on Dec 20, 2014 at http://orinam.net/illegal/ and is being republished with permission of the author

Blessing for James' Place
By Jackie Lopez

James, I bless you from the tip of my hat to the bottom of your feet.
James, never covet another’s house because your place is blessed for having feasted.
I do believe you are entitled to a blessing.
I do believe you become disjointed at the ends when I don’t come around.
Don’t worry.
I will come around every Thursday night at 7 in between meals.
I happen to have happiness around.
I happen to have a misnomer claiming that I am “mad,” but that is how it should be
because I am quite the crazy little pajama party girl.
The mockingbird is singing outside of your studio.
The melancholy moon is twisting in her bed.
She heard you have blasted fun.
The pavement to your studio has been watered by daffodils.
The encouragement of the nonchalant is ever present.
There’s an artistic renaissance running around naked in your studio.
There’s a show girl at your doorstep.
There’s a criminal lurking around, but you know better, there is never a love that can be considered a crime.
If you watch your watch words, you will find me misbehaving.

When I was lost and had no matrimony to offer,
you took me in.
When the painters, poets, musicians, prophets, dancers, and one-night-stands came by,
you gave them an apple dessert to eat.
It so happens that I have come a long way from my home,
and I am able to salute you on a happening basis.
When the ticket to the train I was going on fell through,
I took to hiding in between the sheets.
Now I have you to call friend.
If ever you need a helping hand, if ever you are lonely and blue, call me telepathically.
I shall send the angels to rescue you because you deserve it, James Watts-and you, too, Juan Pazos.
Thursday night dinner is for dancing and being ludicrously in love.
It is for harnessing a misbehavior and going about town.
It is for the young at heart and for the philanthropists.
I summon all the powers of the Universe Complete to bless your studio now
and forevermore or for as long you endeavor to stay home.
When I saw your rocket scientist artwork, I became a lucid woman.
Simple things mean so much more when they are shared with friends.
So, keep on trucking.
I shall meet you on the other end of a transcendence.

Jackie Lopez is a poet and writer from San Diego. She was founding member of the Taco Shop Poets and has always pursued a study of history of which has influenced her writing. She has taught in San Diego City Schools and has been published in several literary journals. She has just finished her Magnum Opus titled “Telepathic Goodbye” described as a long poem of 25, 333 words. She is now looking for a publisher for this. You can catch her work on facebook under “Jackie Lopez Lopez” where she shares her work with a daily poem. She has a radio interview that will come out later this year. Her email: peacemarisolbeautiful@yahoo.com

By Iris De Anda

ruby rage shouts escape
as our young girls disappear
there is no sleep
when night falls without them near
days and days and days have passed
can you remember their bright eyed brilliance
forsaken flowers with petals that wither
under boots of beatings and men with guns
they are killing them softly
raping them daily
silencing their spirit
every time one of them dies
can you feel it in your body
walk around so heavy
carry unseen sadness
on the bridge of our backs
they are our future failing
mountains crumbling
deserts flooding
stars extinguished after lightyears of shining
blood moon tainting the night sky
mothers wailing to the goddess
bring back our schoolgirls
bring back our daughters
they are the martyrs of this modern plague
where men get away with murdering women
while the world looks away
closed eyes to our girls plight
makes the whole world blind
you do not want to see
what you would rather neglect
because it’s not your daughter, sister, or niece
you pretend to respect
can you protect morning dew from the blazing sun
the young woman from the older man
a system that teaches a girls life is worth less than his pen
there is no gentle here where our daughters cry
only rivers of pain
flowing back to the Niger
years of disdain
growing darker by the hour
bring back our sisters
bring back our feminine
bring them back
backdrop of africa
blackout of femicide
backbone of generations
backyard of transgressions
giveback our girls
payback our pain
paperback our stories
comeback our angels
we are waiting
arms wide open
feet tired from running with you and for you
tongues chanting
all the ways we could pray for you
hearts broken
night and days we wait for you
bring back our girls
bring back our girls
bring back our girls

Iris De Anda is a writer, activist, and practitioner of the healing arts. A womyn of color of Mexican and Salvadorean descent. A native of Los Angeles she believes in the power of spoken word, poetry, storytelling, and dreams. She has been published in Mujeres de Maiz Zine, Loudmouth Zine: Cal State LA, OCCUPY SF poems from the movement, Seeds of Resistance, In the Words of Women, Twenty: In Memoriam, Revolutionary Poets Brigade Los Angeles Anthology, and online at La Bloga. She is an active contributor to Poets Responding to SB 1070. She performs at community venues and events throughout the Los Angeles area & Southern California. She hosted The Writers Underground Open Mic 2012 at Mazatlan Theatre and 100,000 Poets for Change 2012, 2013, and 2014 at the Eastside Cafe. She currently hosts The Writers Underground Open Mic every Third Thursday of the month at Eastside Cafe. Author of CODESWITCH: Fires From Mi Corazon. www.irisdeanda.com

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19. Summer reading starts here. The Gluten-free Chicano. On-line Floricanto.

Review:  Linda Rodriguez. Every Hidden Fear. NY: Minotaur Books, 2014.
ISBN 978-1250049155

Michael Sedano

Something there is that does not love a Summer Book. The intent grad student with one hundred years of novels to read by September. The television programmer who wants you to sit open-mouthed in the dark watching re-runs. The curmudgeon who wants no one to have any fun and sneers at “genre fiction.”

Those tipos don’t love a Summer Book.

But grad students can use a break. Re-runs, give me a break. Curmudgeons will refuse to have fun, even with the kind of book tolerant gente want to read cover to cover--non-stop si se puede and the phone is Off.

When you pick up a Summer Book you intend to be happily absorbed by cool characters in rip-roaring stories. While you don’t intend to take notes you dog-ear provocative, memorable, artful passages where the author’s having lots of fun, too. In short, you intend to be entertained, and that’s what’s in store from Every Hidden Fear by Linda Rodriguez.

Rodriguez writes like she’s enjoying herself. Lavishing pages to develop a hateful asshole character who deserves to be dead, introducing detective Skeet Bannion and various residents of a small Missouri town threatened by real estate moguls from nearby Kansas City, killing him takes a while. Then the author kills the jerk with gruesome excess. Justice requires Skeet Bannion to step up in the face of inept local policing.

Bannion comes with a history of hair-raising times in cases sketchily alluded in passing detail. In fact, Every Hidden Fear will motivate readers to seek out Linda Rodriguez’ two earlier Skeet Bannion novels, Every Last Secret and Every Broken Trust. The Cherokee connection adds a unique resource to the character’s potential.

The detective’s a real-looking character, not some hot chick but plain old her. But there’s something about Skeet that has the local cop and a big muscular vato sniffing around. Skeet says it’s not important, keeps her nose to the grindstone as compense for no sex “in a while.”

Everyone else is hooking up. The little town has lots of good-looking women, old and young, who fell for the young heartthrob who left town and a knocked-up beauty behind. When the appropriately named Ash returns as front man for the mall developer, he threatens to name names. He claims fatherhood of the son in a public cuckolding of teenager’s father. He lives up to his name, ash-hole.

Skeet's teenager finds himself in a love triangle between the railroaded suspect, a teen heart throb girl, and himself. The girl lives with an evil stepmother, the one who gleefully describes Skeet’s beauty faults. The evil stepmother is hooking up with Ash’s rich, evil employer, himself a rapist.

What a suspect list. "Joe, you've got a strong suspect in Peter…Bea was most likely sexually involved with Ash when he was a kid…Walker was furious with Ash for causing all this trouble".

No spoilers here. Summer reads are supposed to be fun and Linda Rodriguez has enough formula to keep the pages flying by. There’s romance, intrigue, back-biting, crummy people you can’t do anything about. And there are serious issues like senior abuse versus senior love, steamroller economic development, growing up.

Rodriguez weaves a lament for hometowns throughout the book, in frequent references to passing trains, and walking. Trains become particularly potent. Every chapter carries at least one instance where Skeet hears a train rumbling through town. The motif becomes eccentric, noticed. It’s a set-up.

 “You noticed?” the author seems to say, having fun, when she has the failing cop, Joe, make her point about disappearing hometown economies. “Wish they hadn’t destroyed the trains. America’s railroads were the envy of the world, but we gutted them, and now can’t get to most places in this country by train. Damn shame!” I dog-eared that page.

With summer’s slower pace and vacation time, a Summer Book fills the leisure time need for fun, entertainment, and every now and again, something to make you sit up and take notice. Turn off teevee. Take a break. There’s a lot to “genre” writing that deserves attention. A good start in 2014’s Summer Book list is Linda Rodriguez’ Skeet Bannion novel, Every Hidden Fear.

The Gluten-free Chicano Cooks
Gluten-free Breakfast Crepe

Crunchy peanut butter and maple syrup wait on the table for the morning’s sweet beginning. You can prepare bacon, weenies, or ham in advance. These delectable delights cook in about five minutes, and you can turn out a batch of these in a short time.

This recipe makes a thin batter that spreads to fill a cooking surface. Two eggs create a creamy texture. Enhanced with sour cream and equal portions flour and milk, the batter cooks into a thin, flexible pancake you can use as a dinner entrée, a breakfast treat, or a quick merienda when the occasion fits.

Breakfast Crepe
Serves two or more, half hour refrigerator to table.

Two eggs
¼ cup King Arthur gluten-free flour
Pinch baking soda
Pinch baking powder
Vanilla or other flavoring to taste
¼ cup milk
1 tbs sour cream
greased non-stick frying pan, hot

Hold the Vanilla when you plan a savory filling like garlic butter. Look for The Gluten-free Chicano's Garlic Crepe in a future La Bloga.

Beat the eggs frothy with the dry ingredients and vanilla. Then add the flour and incorporate it into the eggs.

Whip in a tablespoon of sour cream. Be vigorous but don't mind a smattering of white spots where you didn't get all the sour cream into the mixture. You could substitute melted butter.

A non-stick surface is essential. Ladle a small amount into a hot pan, just enough to cover the bottom. Hot means the flame touches the bottom of the pan and nearly smokes. Let the crepe bubble before turning.

If you're good, flip the pan. I use a spatula, tilt the pan and delicately flip over. Don't worry about liquid; lift the crepe and let the liquid slide under then flip the crepe atop that.

The dappled surface indicates a hot surface. This thin batter cooks quickly once turned, half a minute or less.

The eggy batter is rich and flexible. The pockets formed on this side capture fillings if served this side up, or rolled with the outer side the first pour.

On-line Floricanto
<!--[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE <![endif]--> Frank de Jesus Acosta, Xico González, Frank de Jesus Acosta, John Martinez, Fernando Rodriguez, Francisco X. Alarcón

Maya's Gift (Honoring Maya Angelou) 
by Frank de Jesus Acosta

Today a poet became her poems
Soulful songs of the caged bird
Child of Africa, cradle of humankind
Legacy of slavery, an American anathema
Inheritance of hope, spiritual defiance
Heart of conviction, defying abhorrent hate
Unbroken by bigotry, sexism, or poverty
Claiming the inalienable ways of love
Walking a life of advocacy, sovereignty
Inspiring women to rise in inherent divinity
Admonishing men to live in fullness of equality
Spirit pen of justice, revealing painful truth
Lies of history, dogma of tyranny, canons of greed
Envisioning a world with prose of possibility
Verses of healing for wounded generations
Women, mother, sister, friend, warrior shaman
Today you ascend, our guardian lyricist ancestor
Leaving us a literary legacy of eternal living words
Seeds of love; that the poem within us all may rise 

Poem by: Frank de Jesus Acosta

Original Dreamers
by Xico González

In the immigrants’ rights movement
often times we hear of the Dreamers
with their graduation gowns
fists in the air
and beautiful butterflies

Marchas, rallies and sit-ins
that lead to deportations
Sacrificios de sueños soñados

In senators’ offices
self-sacrificing dreamers
get arrested and deported
to prove a point:
the US immigration system is broken

For the dreamers,
la escuela o los guachos
Dos caminos
that end in papeles and green cards

Let me ask you a question,
what about the original dreamers?
Who speaks for them nowadays?

They have sueños too

Have we forgotten about the
padres, madres
hermanos y hermanas
that came to the US too old 
to go to school
or join the armed forces

They have sueños too

Pero le tubieron que chingar
In low paying jobs
como los files, la construcción, los hoteles,
rich people’s homes, and restaurants

You know the ones bumping
cumbias, norteñas, banda y racheras
in kitchens across the United States

The ones that yell,
“Apurate güey,”
“ya esta listo güey,”
“No mames güey,”

They have sueños too,

They dream that their children
will have a better life in this country
instead of discrimination and exploitation

They have sueños too

Migra raids at workplaces
that lead to deportations
Sacrificios de sueños soñados

For the original dreamers,
el trabajo y la explotación
Dos caminos
that end in fear and shadows

They have sueños too

El jóven que trabaja en la construcción en la Bahía
has dreams too

La señora que cuida güeritos en Hollywood Hills
has dreams too

El señor que trabaja en los files del Valle de San Joaquín
has dreams too

So let us help the original dreamers
dream their dreams of a better future
without the fear of being deported,
Exploited and used

Next time you hear of the Dreamers
think of their parents and siblings
because they share the same dream

They have sueños too.

© Xico González 
I wrote this poem for the event "Filed Away: The Undocumented Experience,"  a conversation and exhibit sponsored by UCD SPEAK and the UCD Cross Culture Center.  The poem was inspired by two posters that I created for the 1ro de mayo: Dia del Trabajador Rally and Marcha in Sacramento.

Maya's Gift (Honoring Maya Angelou) 
by Frank de Jesus Acosta

Today a poet became her poems
Soulful songs of the caged bird
Child of Africa, cradle of humankind
Legacy of slavery, an American anathema
Inheritance of hope, spiritual defiance
Heart of conviction, defying abhorrent hate
Unbroken by bigotry, sexism, or poverty
Claiming the inalienable ways of love
Walking a life of advocacy, sovereignty
Inspiring women to rise in inherent divinity
Admonishing men to live in fullness of equality
Spirit pen of justice, revealing painful truth
Lies of history, dogma of tyranny, canons of greed
Envisioning a world with prose of possibility
Verses of healing for wounded generations
Women, mother, sister, friend, warrior shaman
Today you ascend, our guardian lyricist ancestor
Leaving us a literary legacy of eternal living words
Seeds of love; that the poem within us all may rise 

I Love You Forever Olivia
by John Martinez

For my mother

It is not a dream, but a loop,
A replay of her breast falling
From my sleeping face

The dawn, the sycamore
In the window, her hand
Hushing my lips
When I cried out,
Squeezed between
Her soft folds

And time doesn't fade,
But lingers in the crevices,
Between sweat and laughter,
How she combed my hair,
With hands of pain and joy

No, the sky won’t bring
Her back, bundled
In wings, as promised,
No golden chalice
Pointing her path to me

She lives right here,
In the journey of my blood,
She will always be-

So when the wind smiles
Into my window,
With the fruit of her breath,
I will always say:

"I love you forever, Olivia"

© John Martinez
All Rights Reserved

by Fernando Rodriguez

A single human being
can take many jobs
can make many shifts
Vacations there's not 
Courageous, brave, strong 
Delicate to the touch 
Yet hard to the bone

A restless being
Night without sleep
Sacrifice all and all that she has
Kisses and love struggles and more
The hardest profession
The worst valued one
There's billions of women 
but mother just one 
A day in a year for sure it’s not fair
To thank all the efforts
And all that she cares
Thank You mother
Today in your day

por Francisco X. Alarcón                 by Francisco X. Alarcón

Via James Downs:

From a new book of bilingual eco-poems by Francisco X. Alarcón, Borderless Butterflies: Earth Haikus And Other Poems / Mariposas sin fronteras: Haikús terrenales y ottos poemas that will be published by Poetic Matrix Press in 2014.

<!--[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE <![endif]--> Frank de Jesus Acosta, Xico González, John Martinez, Fernando Rodriguez, Francisco X. Alarcón

Frank de Jesus Acosta is principal of Acosta & Associates, a California-based consulting group that specializes in professional support services to public and private social change ventures in the areas of children, youth and family services, violence prevention, community development, and cultural fluency. In 2007, he authored, The History of Barrios Unidos, Cultura Es Cura, Healing Community Violence, published by Arte Publico Press, University of Houston. Acosta is a graduate of University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). His professional experience includes serving in executive leadership positions with The California Wellness Foundation, the Coalition for Humane Immigration Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), Downtown Immigrant Advocates (DIA), the Center for Community Change, and the UCLA Community Programs Office. He is presently focused on completing the writing and publishing a two book series for Arte Publico Press focused on best practices to improve the well-being of Latino young men and boys. Acosta most recently co-authored a published “Brown Paper” with Jerry Tello of the National Latino Fatherhood and Family Institute (NLFFI) entitled, “Lifting Latinos Up by Their Rootstraps: Moving Beyond Trauma Through a Healing-Informed Framework for Latino Boys and Men.” Acosta provides writing and strategic professional support in research, planning, and development to foundations and community-focused institutions on select initiatives focused on advancing social justice, equity, and pluralism. He is also finalizing writing and editing a book of inter-cultural poetry and spiritual reflections.

Xico González is an educator, artist, poet, and a political and cultural activista based in Sacramento, California. He received a MA in Spanish from Sacramento State, and a MFA in Art Studio from the University of California at Davis.  González currently teaches Spanish and Art Studio at the Met Sacramento High School.
The work of Xico González seeks to empower people uniting in common cause against a common oppressor disguised in different máscaras.  Gonzalez's silkscreen posters address and support numerous political causes, such as the struggle for immigrants' rights, the Palestinian and Zapatista struggles, and the right for Chicana/o self determination.  González is not only an artist, but is also an activist/organizer that puts his artistic skills to the benefit of his community.  Xico's work contributes to the long dialogue of art, activism and the legacy of the Chicano Art Movement.  González has been influenced primarily by his mentors, Chicano artists Ricardo Favela (RIP), and Malaquías Montoya, and by early Chicano art collectives like the Mexican American Liberation Art Front (MALA-F), and the Rebel Chicano Art Front also known as the Royal Chicano Air Force (RCAF).
<!--[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE <![endif]-->

John Martinez studied Creative Writing at Fresno State University. He has published poetry in El Tecolote, Red Trapeze and The LA Weekly. Recently, he has posted poems on Poets Responding to SB1070 and this will be his fifth poem published in La Bloga. He has performed (as a musician/political activist, poet) with Teatro De La Tierra, Los Perros Del Pueblo and TROKA, a Poetry Ensemble (lead by poet Juan Felipe Herrera) and he has toured with several cumbia bands throughout the Central Valley and Los Angeles. For the last 17 years, he has worked as an Administrator for a Los Angeles Law Firm. He makes home in Upland, California with his beautiful wife, Rosa America y Familia.

My name is fernando Rodriguez and i decided to express myself in this poem as a gift for all the mothers because of what they do all year round. Writing gives me freedom and freedom gives me joy, joy gives me happiness and happiness is what we look for.

Francisco X. Alarcón, award winning Chicano poet and educator, was born in Los Angeles, grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico, and now lives in Davis, where he teaches at the University of California.  He is the author of thirteen volumes of poetry, including, Ce • Uno • One: Poems for the New Sun (Swan Scythe Press 2010), From the Other Side of Night: New and Selected Poems (University of Arizona Press 2002). He has two books poems coming out this year, Borderless Butterflies / Mariposas sin fronteras will be published by Fall 2014 by Poetic Matrix Press, and Canto hondo / Deep Song will be published by the University of Arizona Press at the end of 2014.
Francisco is also the author of four acclaimed books of bilingual poems from children on the seasons of the year originally published by Children Book Press, now an imprint of Lee & Low Books: Laughing Tomatoes and Other Spring Poems (1997), From the Bellybutton of the Moon and Other Summer Poems (1998), Angels Ride Bikes and Other Fall Poems (1999), Iguanas in the Snow and Other Winter Poems (2001). He has published two other bilingual books for children, Poems to Dream Together (2005) and Animal Poems of the Iguazú (2008). 
He has received numerous literary awards and prizes for his works, like the American Book Award, the Pen Oakland Josephine Miles Award, the Chicano Literary Prize, the Fred Cody Lifetime Achievement Award, the Jane Adams Honor Book Award, and several Pura Belpré Honor Awards by the American Library Association. He is the creator of the Facebook page, POETS RESPONDING TO SB 1070. 

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20. Review – The Croc and the Platypus

The Croc and the Platypus I commented recently on the Further Adventures of the The Owl and the Pussy Cat by Julia Donaldson and Charlotte Voake. Donaldson’s ineffable lyrical style does indeed take Edward Lear’s nonsense tale one step further and is a jolly expedition for the reader to navigate through. As you’d expect, it’s a very good picture book. Then I found an even better one.

Jacki HoskingWith ute-fulls of respect to Donaldson and Voake, Jackie Hosking’s and Marjorie Crosby-Fairall’s debut creation of The Croc and The Platypus is a very, very good picture book.

Fans of Lear’s will relish the lilting musical quality of Hosking’s verse as she transports us as effortlessly as Julia Donaldson through the Australian outback with as an incongruous couple as the Owl and Pussycat; Croc and Platypus.

Hosking is spot on with this ingenious retelling of a childhood classic however, somehow makes it feel much more loose and flowing and bizarrely, even easier to read than the original. Her narrative sings with a down-to-earth gritty realism but is delivered with Lear’s same congenial, nonsensical joie de vive. Hub caps ring and didgeridoos blow as Platypus and Croc ‘play up a hullabaloo…baloo.’

I love Hosking’s incorporation of recognisable Aussie icons; Uluru, tea and damper and lamingtons to name a few as Croc and Platypus trundle across the plains eventually camping under the Southern Cross after cleverly procuring their tent. For those not so familiar with ‘click go the shears’ terminology, there’s even a neat little glossary.

Extra applause must go to Marjorie Crosby-Fairall for her truly epic acrylic and pencilled illustrations. The outback is vast and engulfing as are the illustrations of this picture book with gorgeously generous helpings of full colour, movement and sparkle on every single page.

Hosking’s appreciation of, commitment to and finesse with the rhyming word are self-evident. She works them all to perfection in this richly Aussie-flavoured celebration about embracing unlikely friendships and sharing stellar moments with those closest to you whilst enjoying a good old Aussie road trip.

The Croc and the Platypus has every reason to glow proudly alongside The Owl and the Pussycat, and dare I suggest outshine it. Croc and Platypus launch invite June 2014

Discover and rediscover all three books here. For those in Sydney around early July, make sure you don’t miss Jackie’s launch of The Croc and the Platypus.

Walker Books Australia June 2014

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21. Poetry Contest & Poetry and Prose Reminder

mindThe Mind Magazine First Annual Insight Poetry Competition:

General information:

Mind Magazine’s First Annual Insight Poetry Competition is now accepting entries. Deadline is August 15th. The winners will receive prize money and publication on the “Mind Magazine Top Talent” page, created to showcase the work of the finalists.

Fee: $10


First place: $300.00, Gold Medal Standing on-line presentation, and publication as specified.

Second place: $150.00, Silver Medal Standing on-line presentation and publication as specified.

Third place: $50.00, Bronze Medal Standing on-line presentation and publication as specified.

Forth place: $50.00, Mind Magazine T-Shirt and publication as specified.

Fifth place: $50.00 and publication as specified.

Electronic submissions are preferred, and can be purchased in the Mind Magazine store. Please be sure to include the entry identification number provided with your entry purchase, your return email, and the author’s name with each poem entered.

Send all entries clearly marked with the email heading, “Contest Entry” to: mindmagazinesubmissions@gmail.com Up to three poems may be submitted per $10 entry.

Entries may be mailed to:

Mind Magazine

PO Box 387

O’Brien, OR. 97534

Checks must be made out to Mind Magazine.

Entry Fees:

One to three poems: $10 All entry fees are non-refundable.


Mind Magazine is accepting submissions of poetry, prose, scientific articles and scientific papers. Poetry should be no more than three pages in length per poem, single spaced, #12 Times or Times New Roman font, two poems maximum per submission, one submission per month. Send submissions of poetry in electronic form, rtf or Word format, with the email heading clearly marked, “Poetry Submission” to Michael Spring at: bluecrow_4@yahoo.com  Include your return email and contact information.

Submissions of prose, scientific articles and papers must be provided single spaced, #12 Times or Times New Roman font, one submission per month, in electronic form, rtf or Word format, with the email heading clearly marked, “Prose/Science submission” to Rich Norman at: mindmagazinesubmissions@gmail.com  Include your return email and contact information.


Dream Quest One Writing and Poetry Contest See April Post

Postmark deadline: July 31, 2014 All contest winners will be published online in the Dare to Dream pages, on September 20, 2014. Entry Form: http://www.dreamquestone.com/entryform.html

Prizes: Writing Contest First Prize is $500. Second Prize: $250. Third Prize: $100. Poetry Contest First Prize is $250. Second Prize: $125.  Third Prize: $50. Entry fees: $10 per short story. $5 per poem.

To send entries: Include title(s) with your story (ies) or poem(s), along with your name, address, phone#, email, brief biographical  info. (Tell us a little about yourself), on the coversheet. Add a self-addressed stamped envelope for entry confirmation.

Mail entries/fees payable to: “DREAMQUESTONE.COM” Dream Quest One Poetry & Writing Contest P.O. Box 3141 Chicago, IL  60654

Visit http://www.dreamquestone.com for details on how to enter!


Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: authors and illustrators, Competition, Contests, earn money, inspiration, opportunity, Places to sumit, Poems Tagged: Magazine Contest, Money and Publication, The Mind Magazine Poetry Contest

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22. Babybug mail

Look what came in the mail last week:
I think I need to go to the beach now.
But wait, there's an inside spread too:

There, that's a little cooler, whew.

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23. Beyond Boundaries Part II. Ten On the 5th of the 8th: On-line Floricanto

Beyond Boundaries: Networking and Workshopping in Lake Como, Italy, Part II

Guest post by Thelma T. Reyna.

Here's a link to Part I of Thelma's Guest post on Melinda Palacio's Friday column. That column opens like this:

I was invited by one of my publishers to attend a national/international conference they co-sponsored at Lake Como last month. This “Abroad Writers Conference” (AWC) was designed as advanced learning for published authors from the U.S. Their “faculty” included 4 Pultizer Prize winners and 2 National Book Award recipients teaching intensive one-week workshops. Embracing this rare opportunity, I headed to Lake Como in my first overseas networking, workshopping, poetry reading experience. . . . 

Debut Reading from My New Book

My poetry reading at Lake Como was a highlight for me. How often do we have the opportunity to “debut” a new book in Europe? Instead of reading poems from my two chapbooks (all the poetry readers read from their chapbooks), I chose my new full-length collection—Rising, Falling, All of Us. I also purposely selected poems that my workshop fellows had not seen. It was my way of breaking from the norm.

Comprised of published poets and other authors, it was a tough audience. Pulitzer Prize winning poet Rae Armantrout sat in the front row to my left. Next to her was Paul Harding, a Pulitzer novelist. The famed poet Nikky Finney sat farther back. One of the conference co-sponsors, editor and publisher of Kentucky’s Finishing Line Press, Leah Maines, sat in the front row to my right. For about 20-25 minutes, I shared my poems about famous and infamous people, real and make-believe, dead and alive: my “persona poems,” for this new book is a gallery of snapshots of people we know or wish we did, people we’ve read or heard about. My opening poem was appropriate for being in Italy, I told the audience: “Pope Francis.”

With much relief, I can say that the audience was engaged, kind, and receptive.                       
Reading in the lovely, architraved              
room of the Villa Galliata.   
My Poetry Workshop colleagues,
with Rae (in black jacket) in the center.
Looking to the Future…for All of Us

The next AWC is scheduled for Spain (http://abroadwritersconference.com/). Though I had never heard of these AWC’s, I learned that Como was the tenth. Others were held in France, Ireland, Thailand, and other exotic places. Sometimes some of the same top authors (“faculty”) teach the 15 intensive hours of each workshop. There is, thus, a cyclical consistency, with faculty and attendees making repeat appearances.

Regardless of where other AWC’s are held, I hope there will be greater ethnic diversity in attendees as well as faculty. At Como, Nikky Finney, a divine African-American poet and National Book Award winner, taught a workshop. Of approximately 50 attendees, I met 3 African-Americans and the 2 Asian-Americans in my poetry group. As stated before, I never saw other Latinos.

A colleague of mine believes that more ethnic minority authors are not involved in international venues such as AWC primarily for economic reasons. This may be so. AWC presenters, however, are subsidized; and this is where diversity can be injected into AWC as a jumpstart. Imagine if our Latino heavyweights, especially our Pulitzer Prize winners (See http://hispanicreader.com/2012/04/15/latinos-and-the-pulitzer-prize/) were included as faculty. Or if Asian-Americans, such as Amy Tan, taught workshops along with African-American authors. The more diversity, the better.


There are those who’ll say, “If Latinos are not in attendance, interest in them would be moot.” Perhaps. But if it is beneficial for all authors to have visibility in international settings, to build national networks for learning, collegiality, and visibility purposes, then a means must be found for Latino authors to do this. Perhaps this is a discussion for La Bloga or other literary forums. How can authors of color obtain necessary resources for enhancing our work, our careers on a broader stage? Can there be “common pots” of financial support, for example, that are identified, created, and nurtured? Or do these exist already? How can awareness of these be expanded and leveraged?

I know that, personally, going to Lake Como was worth my investment of time, money, and effort. I believe that, for months if not years to come, my experiences there will impact my work somehow. For example, I am still in email contact with several friends I met there, and at least two book projects in which I’ll be involved are under consideration.

Writing—as is true of any other complex, serious undertaking—requires ongoing economic sustenance. True, all authors, except the big names, struggle to an extent. And AWC is not a be-all, end-all resource. But we can see what is and work toward what can be…for greater benefits for greater numbers.
* * *
Photo by Jesus Treviño
Thelma T. Reyna, Ph.D., is the author of four books, including Rising, Falling, All of Us—issued in summer 2014. Reyna’s short fiction, poetry, and nonfiction have appeared in anthologies, literary journals, textbooks, blogs, and regional print media off and on for over 30 years. Visit www.ThelmaReyna.com

Ten On the Fifth of the Eighth: August On-line Floricanto
Mark Lipman, Odilia Galván Rodríguez, Devreaux Baker, Ralph Haskins Elizondo, David Romero, Antonio Arenas, Iris De Anda, Josefa Molina, Gerardo Pacheco Matus, Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo

Four years ago when La Bloga and the Facebook group, née Poets Responding to SB1070, launched this ongoing series of On-line Floricanto readings, energies and passions drove hundreds of poets to fashion thousands of poems, giving them an audience via postings on Poets Responding to SB1070: Poetry of Resistance, the group's current identity. From those, the Moderators nominated five poems to appear in On-line Floricanto.

Moderators of the internet group, founded by Francisco X. Alarcón, nowadays name five exemplary works for monthly publication in La Bloga's On-line Floricanto. The volume of work entering the literary churn had been so ample that On-line Floricanto went weekly.

In recent days, poets' voices rise again. Sparked by world events and increasingly empowered racism at home, a deluge of poetry floods the Moderators. Reflecting the upswell of expression, this month the Poets Responding Moderators advance ten voices, several of them familiar from those heard in poetry's initial throes of disgust at Arizona's state-sponsored hate.

"The Border Crossed Us" By Mark Lipman
"Collecting Thoughts from the Universe" By Odilia Galván Rodríguez
"Ten Aspects of The World Without War" By Devreaux Baker
"Murrieta’s Morning Sun" by Ralph Haskins Elizondo
"The Ladder - Anastasio Hernandez-Rojas" By David Romero
"Sin Fronteras" By Antonio Arenas
"Here" By Iris De Anda
"La Llorona" By Josefa Molina
"The Children of La Frontera" By Gerardo Pacheco Matus
"The Boys of Summer" By Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo

The Border Crossed Us
By Mark Lipman

I step onto land
where my ancestors
planted our family tree
over 1,000 years ago.

I have known no other sand
between my toes
under my feet
this is my only home.

One day though
a stranger arrived
sat down at our table
drank our wine
ate our bread
raped our women
burnt our village
then declared me illegal.

The color of my skin
the language on my tongue
the god that I chose to believe in
demonized in order to justify their cruelty.

The freedom that I enjoyed
my right to self-determination
gone, victim to yet another
military occupation.

My peace,
simply a broken olive branch
cut from the tree they tore down.

My home,
rubble, beneath the tracks
of their bulldozers.

All I have ever had
all that I’ve ever known
all, taken from me.

My blood,
turned into their gold.

My heart,
broken from generations
of lies and betrayals.

If you cut me, do I not bleed?

Crushed, beneath the boot of technology
by persons with no soul or body to touch

with no heart to feel

eyes, blinded by hatred
ears, closed to any reason
mouths, shut out of fear

comfortably tucked away in their beds
while human beings die in the streets
under the batons and artillery shells
of a militarized police state

Wrapping oneself in a flag
worse yet, a religion
while making excuses for genocide
sanctioning the murder of children.

News actors continue to blame the victims
force feeding us lies, calling us terrorists
because we were born onto the land that they coveted.

Who is the real enemy,
the one who believes in something different than you,
or the one uses what you believe in to change who you are?

There is no escaping the soul staring back in the mirror
regardless of the shifting lines on some map
human rights have no borders.

Collecting Thoughts from the Universe
By Odilia Galván Rodríguez

What do the stars say
about children dying
or is it their spirits
twinkling down
big smiles on their faces
there's no suffering there
At the border
people act less than human
frighten traumatized children
in yellow school buses
their small faces pressed
against the windows
they see
the gnashing of teeth
hear shouts of rage.
What kind of war
is being waged here
these children fleeing war
fleeing death
looking for a place to dream
or looking for what's left
of their family
that's already flown away
for fear or promise
We wage wars
support criminal
heads of State
murderous coups
the false war on drugs kind
the raining down bombs
on innocents kind
the scaring of innocent children
riding on yellow school buses kind.
And who do we help
does all this war make life better
who is the real enemy
in a land
where one percent of people
owns more wealth
than the rest of us put together and
can we be put together again

Ten Aspects of the World without War
By Devreaux Baker

This is the morning soldiers dismantle guns
And abandoned tanks become nesting grounds
For cranes and starlings

This is the morning that trees are planted in the ruins
Of village streets and bunkers become seed exchange
Stations for non-gmo farmers

This is the morning that prayer flags fly
From the highest buildings in cities
That ring the world with chants or songs

This is the morning that snipers learn
The ancient recipes for baking bread
And distribute their loaves for free

This is the morning long tables are set
In the middle of rubble strewn fields
And musicians gather to welcome everyone

This is the night where stars are recognized
In the deepest recesses of space
As a saving grace

And men, women and children
Drift into sleep where there are no longer
The faces of war…but only the sound of wind
In trees, or water forming waves
Against some forgotten

Murrieta’s Morning Sun
By Ralph Haskins Elizondo

Murrieta’s morning sun had beamed
with hope for hospitality and shelter.
Greyhound buses filled with teddy bears
and dolls drove into town today.

Little eyes peered out from tinted windows
searching for their welcome party.
Instead the darkened crowds had gathered
blocking out all rays of hope.

Their signs and chants eclipsed
the chance for children.
Buses stopped and turned around,
every child a delicate piñata
filled with fear, ready to be broken
with the stick of hatred.

And as the day wore down
the heavens blushed in shame.
Sickened by the hateful scene below,
the mourning sun plunged off the western sky,
it spilled its darkest red upon the land
and died. There are no children left
to mourn Murrieta’s morning sun.

The Ladder – Anastasio Hernández-Rojas
By David Romero

This poem was written during a session of Last Words: Giving Victims a Voice.

Is a ladder
San Diego
Is a ladder
My name is Anastasio
I know all about climbing ladders
I’m a painter
A roofer
They tell me
Coyotes or police
One day
I will fall off
In screams and shadow
In bones and blood
I smile
You’ll only fall
If you look down
Will only look down
If you’re too afraid
To climb
I’ve never been afraid
I know all about climbing ladders
I’m a painter
A roofer
This life is a ladder
Tijuana is a ladder
The desert is a rung
Parched lips are a rung
Dry throat is a rung
Blistered feet are a rung
Hours waiting for work are a rung
The bosses are a rung
Cheap pay is a rung
La migra
La policia
But between the cold steel
Is a view
Each view
More beautiful
Than the one before
My kids go to college
They find work
In the shade
Never have to spend a day
Climbing ladders in the sun
I buy my wife a car
One that doesn’t immediately break down
She puts her feet to the pedal to visit her cousin
It runs
A new washing machine
A dryer
They run
For the first time
My wife
Every child
They run
Under one roof
This house
This freshly painted house
Our house
Shines like the afternoon
It rests at the top of the ladder
I can see it
I can breathe it
I can taste it
Like when I rise from my work
And rest on my haunches
Look out over a roof
See the tiles
Near completion
Like a glass jar of money
Almost full
I can see it
I feel it
The border is a ladder
And I am getting closer
With each job
Each crossing
Even at night
I will climb
My hands will grasp each rung
Because I have to
Because I am almost there
My hands
“Hands up!”
Grasp air
“Hands up!”
I fall
“Hands up!”
My hands reach out
"Hands up!"
The ladder is gone
“Hands up!”
I hit
"Hands up!"
They surround
On the desert floor
More than a dozen
Black uniforms
Shouting figures
Malevolent faces
Illuminated by the glow of tasers
Striking like rattlesnakes
They sting and bite
I cringe and cry
Each kick is a rung
Each baton is a rung
Each kick is a rung
Each baton is a rung
Each kick is a rung
Each baton is a rung
So many, many rungs
Bones and blood
Somewhere far in the distance
I see San Diego
But where
Has the ladder gone?

Sin Fronteras
By Antonio Arenas

Sin fronteras caminamos por el mundo,
Gritando a los cuatro vientos,
Que viva la paz entre hermanos,
Y liberando nuestros sentimientos.
Libertad de pensamientos,
Libertad de expresión,
Libertad de correr bien fuerte,
Por la emoción,
Como vuelan libres las aves,
Cantando un estribillo,
De paz y amor,
Y Teniendo de coro a un pueblo,
Que canta con el corazón,
Queremos paz en la tierra,
Sin fronteras en ninguna región,
Sin discriminación de razas,
Ni convicción política, ni religión.
Sin fronteras jugamos al fútbol,
Sin fronteras nos inventamos los juegos,
Sin fronteras escuchamos la música,
Que viva el idioma de los pueblos.
Regresan las aves a sus nidos,
Porque no podemos regresar a nuestra tierra,
Si es una tierra de hombres libres,
Un manantial de paz y belleza,
Donde se respira un aire puro,
Que no tiene fronteras.

By Iris De Anda

here we are
after years
crossing borders
wings & wire
monarch butterfly
flutter over under
forest trees
storm clouds
arid deserts
spring flowers
hope in heart
future in fingertips
truth in tongue
I AM dreaming
this here now
this you I
this us them
we are all together
there was no time
no space
no borders
only jade spirals
obsidian death
coral life
growing blooming
touching creating
sleeping awakening
luz consciousness
la Mujer
rises morning sun
roja, amarillo, naranja
refleja reflects
a mirror
deep ocean waves
profundo azul
everywhere floating
lotus crying
daughters of desert
Mother Earth drum
mud feet
clay dance
bruja guerrera
lagrimas lapis lazuli
copal fire
after years
here we are

La LLorona/ Cihuacoatl
By Josefa Molina

Let me drop the withered bodies of my young
at your doorstep, children eaten
by the Beast or left to die in deserts
next to bone dry water tanks shot full
of holes by local cowboys with
delusions they were sheriff.

Let me drop my dying children at your feet,
praying for refuge from the coyotes that follow,
that you've fed, that salivate
over the fear-filled scent of frightened children.
Coyotes call, promising home, then slit
small, smooth, brown throats and devour their prey.

Let me drop my ghost children at your border,
hoping for compassion in a land where full~ bellied,
ranting "Patriots" want to send them back
to the slaughter they've risked life and limb to escape.
"Patriots" cursing and spitting out jagged shards
of hate that dismember with a familiar terror.

I howl with anguished cries as I mourn
my sons and daughters. If only I could feed them
with my withered breast and let them drink salty tears,
I might save them. Instead, I'm left to wail
each dread full night, as I gather up the remnants
of their souls and softly call them each by precious name.

Copyright: 2014
Josefa Molina, PhD
All rights reserved.

The Children of La Frontera
By Gerardo Pacheco Matus

we are the children of la frontera
left to live, to rot and to dream en el desierto

day and night, we follow the old coyote’s shadow
through this dry world of cacti and rattlesnakes

en el desierto, the dead speak to us
disguised with our father and mother’s voices---

we listen to their feeble hearts
beat as soon as they tell us
the old coyote left them to die
alone and thirsty en el desierto

some dead children smile too glad to see us
others cry and shriek like crows
too fearful to see the old coyote
guide us through this wasteland

day and night, we follow the old coyote
through this labyrinth of bones and shadows
hoping we will live
free en el gabacho

we wear La Virgen de Guadalupe’s medal
for protection
so mother Death knows
we are the children of la frontera

day and night, we wait en el desierto
chewing and gnawing at dry cactus roots
until la migra breaks our spell…

day and night, we wait for la chansa
de cruzar la linea, no matter what…

as we are the children of la frontera;

The Boys of Summer
By Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo

In Carpinteria, California a preteen boy in red shorts
runs down a clouded over beach to play at junior lifeguard.
He is lost in a sea of boys and girls just like him
all smiling and learning lessons on how to be safe.

In Brooks County, Texas a boy with a note pinned to his shirt
addressed to an aunt in New Jersey
wrestles with his mother’s hopes pinned to this his shoulders.
Death pins his dehydrated and cramping leg muscles together.

On a beach in Gaza four cousins play soccer.
One calls Messi while another calls Neymar before the injury.
The score is tied. They set up penalty kicks on the edge
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24. The Jane Lumley Prize – Poems


The first annual Jane Lumley Prize For Emerging Writers is open for submissions till November 30th 2014!

The Jane Lumley Prize is awarded annually to a writer who has yet not published a full length book of poetry or prose. The prize alternates each year between prose and poetry, and the inaugural year will seek to recognize the brilliance of an exceptional piece of poetry.


The Jane Lumley Prize will only be awarded to writers who have not published a full length book. However, they may have published a chapbook, and/or found a home for their works in other literary journals. We also invite unpublished writers to submit their poems for consideration.

If you know the editor and/or any staff member of Hermeneutic Chaos Literary Journal, you must not submit your work. If such a relationship is identified, your entry would be disqualified.


You may submit a maximum of six poems for consideration in a single word document. The poems must be original and previously unpublished.We welcome submissions of all forms of poetry, including prose poetry.Each poem should not exceed 2 pages.​Please remove all identifying information from the poems themselves, for all the entries will be read anonymously. However, you may include a brief third person bio in the cover letter.We encourage simultaneous submissions, but we request you to withdraw your work in case it finds an acceptance elsewhere by clicking on the withdraw link on Submittable.

You must create an account https://hermeneuticchaos.submittable.com/submit/34128
Enter your information to create a new account below.

If you already have a Submittable account, please .

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: Contest, opportunity, Places to sumit, Poems, poetry, publishers Tagged: Emerging Writers, Hermeneutic Chaos Literary Journal, Jane Lumley Prize, This year's Contest - Poetry, Unpublished writers

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25. Review: Not For Everyday Use. On-line Floricanto 7 X 5

Elizabeth Nunez. Not For Everyday Use. NY: Akashic Books, 2014. ISBN: 9781617752339 e-IBSN: 9781617752780

Michael Sedano

You won’t necessarily take a phone call one day, maybe you’ll be there. You won’t necessarily be 64 like that song, but you’ll be old when you get the news your mother is dead. Not For Everyday Use is Elizabeth Nunez’ memoir of the hours and days following her mother’s passing.

In the course of a few days, the family reunion, funeral and church rituals, sibling expectations, and the author’s own disconnectedness spark reflections upon memories that guide the daughter’s comprehension of the immensity of this change in her family.

While the theme of the matriarch’s death is universal, readers will appreciate the writer’s post-colonial, immigrant, and person-of-color themes that play strongly throughout the memoir. Nunez devotes elaborated discussion to class v. color arguments, fidelity, decolonized mindsets, the isolation and hardship of an immigrant single mother on her own, why her mother pushed her away.

Written with a novelist’s pen, the story flows from incidents and anecdotes juxtaposed in time. In one section, the reader learns that Nunez and Betty Shabazz work in the same academic department. Any sense of solidarity between the Trinidadian and the US Muslim quickly dissipates in another account, Nunez being told off by a U.S.-born black woman that the Trinidadian black woman should know her place. They were competing for a student leadership position. Another tale, in dialect, reflects an attitude that infects and strengthens the Nunez clan, what don bile, don spile. It's the attitude the old man displays looking upon the corpse of his wife of 65 years. He nods and says before walking away, "Well, that's that."

Mourning often gives way to old resentments and unfinished business. Nunez has some of this, perhaps, in her descriptions of her sisters and brothers. Her sister Karen really gets under her skin. Her father’s cheating and her mother’s pain at it are recurring jabs at the 90 year old demented man. The father’s Carnival dance at the funeral parlor comes as total surprise and author's restrained humor. You’re not supposed to laugh, are you?

Not For Everyday Use is the autobiography of Nunez’ novels Anna In-between and Boundaries. For practitioners of the craft of memoir writing, the author shares a writer’s insight on using one’s life and family to populate her fiction, and how a moment's recognition winds and unravels skeins of time recorded in the words.

Readers of those two excellent novels will appreciate the connections between the writer’s world and that of the novels. Prior reading won’t be required with Nunez calling attention to key parallels and differences between the novels and the author's life. The writer treads a storyteller's line that leads her familia to accuse the author of getting too honest about private matters. The writer’s defense, “I’m a writer.”

Reading Elizabeth Nunez’ two-novel life of Anna Sinclair, Anna In-Between and Boundaries, introduces readers to a flinty mother, a daughter wanting more affection, a divorced single mother immigrant black woman employed in New York publishing industry. That’s almost Nunez’ profile. She’s an English professor.

In the novels, Anna and Beatrice suffer one another’s needs but maintain an icy distance. Nunez' friends say she's too hard on the fictional mother. That’s also the mother-daughter relationship the author weaves together in Not For Everyday Use. It’s not a spoiler to say--look for it--Elizabeth and Una have a warm reconciliation when both manage to say, without choking on the emotion, “I love you.”

Readers and writers of US ethnic literatures will find Nunez’ voicing of immigrant sentiments familiar, eloquent, and distinctive. Coming from a newly de-colonized gente--she's first generation--the author’s voice and insight into exigencies in-common will prove vitalizing to readers and writers.

You can order Not For Everday Use through your local independent bookseller, or directly from the publisher, Akashic Books’ website here.

Seven by Five: On-line Floricanto for September 2
Gabriel Rosenstock, Francisco X. Alarcón, Jackie Lopez, Frank de Jesus Acosta, Mario Angel Escobar

The Moderators of the Facebook group Poets Responding to SB1070 Poetry of Resistance recommend five poets from two continents writing in three languages for today's La Bloga On-line Floricanto.

"An End to Borders" by Gabriel Rosenstock with his original poem in Gaelic, "Deireadh Le Teorainneacha"
"Frontera / Border" by Francisco X. Alarcón
"Slithering Our Way to Heaven" by Jackie Lopez
"Why I Write?" by Frank de Jesus Acosta
"Brown Chronicles" by Mario Angel Escobar

by Gabriel Rosenstock

An end to borders
An end to flags
An end to barbed wire
An end to towering walls
An end to nations
End the base tinkle of currencies
End wars
Let the planet breathe freely
Without borders
Without flags
Without barbed wire
Without towering walls
Without nations
Without the base tinkle of currencies
Without wars
An end forever to borders

by Gabriel Rosenstock

Deireadh le teorainneacha
Deireadh le bratacha
Deireadh le sreang dheilgneach
Deireadh le fallaí arda
Deireadh le náisiúin
Cuir deireadh le cling shuarach na n-airgeadraí
Deireadh le cogaí
Lig don phláinéad análú gan bhac
Gan teorainneacha
Gan bhratacha
Gan sreang dheilgneach
Gan fallaí arda
Gan náisiúin
Gan cling shuarach na n-airgeadraí
Gan chogaí
Deireadh go deo le teorainneacha

Gabriel Rosenstock. Poet, novelist, playwright, haikuist, essayist, author/translator of over 170 books, mostly in Irish (Gaelic). Taught haiku at the Schule für Dichtung (Poetry Academy), Vienna, and Hyderabad Literary Festival, India. Prolific translator of poems, plays, songs, he also writes for children, in prose and verse. Represented in Best European Fiction 2012 (Dalkey Archive Press) and Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years (W. W. Norton & Co. 2013). Books Ireland, Summer 2012, says of his detective novel My Head is Missing: ‘This is a departure for Rosenstock but he is surefooted as he takes on the comic genre and writes a story full of engaging characters and a plot that keeps the reader turning the page.’
New and selected poems I OPEN MY POEM …(translated from the Irish) published in 2014 by PoetryWala, Mumbai, India and The Partisan and other stories published by Evertype, 2014.
Rosenstock’s Blog address:

Frontera/ Border
by Francisco X. Alarcón

Francisco X. Alarcón, award winning Chicano poet and educator, born in Los Angeles, in 1954, is the author of twelve volumes of poetry, including, From the Other Side of Night: Selected and New Poems (University of Arizona Press 2002), and Snake Poems: An Aztec Invocation (Chronicle Books 1992), Sonetos a la locura y otras penas / Sonnets to Madness and Other Misfortunes (Creative Arts Book Company 2001), De amor oscuro / Of Dark Love (Moving Parts Press 1991, and 2001).
His latest books are Ce•Uno•One: Poems for the New Sun / Poemas para el Nuevo Sol (Swan Scythe Press 2010), and for children, Animal Poems of the Iguazú/Animalario del Iguazú (Children’s Book Press 2008) which was selected as a Notable Book for a Global Society by the International Reading Association, and as an Américas Awards Commended Title by the Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs. His previous bilingual book titled Poems to Dream Together/Poemas para sonar juntos (Lee & Low Books 2005) was awarded the 2006 Jane Addams Honor Book Award.
He teaches at the University of California, Davis, where he directs the Spanish for Native Speakers Program. The issue of eco-poetics and xenophobia are a the core of three upcoming collections of poems, “Poetry of Resistance: A Multicultural Anthology in Response to SB 1070,” “Borderless Butterflies: Earth Haikus and Other Poems / Mariposas sin fronteras: Haikus terrenales y otros poemas.” He is the creator of the Facebook page POETS RESPONDING TO SB 1070 where more than 3,000 poems by poets all over the world have been posted. This is the link to the Facebook page:

Slithering Our Way to Heaven
by Jackie Lopez

I see love, peace, and joy slithering like a snake in the grass up to our spines.
It enables us to see Heaven on Earth when there is plenty of Orisha-orientations.
We sink into Mother Earth for her comfort and strength in our enterprise for survival.
And, we will survive.
Every border,
every genocide,
every racist, sexist, classist sentiment is thrown out the window for our survival.
Every history book will speak the truth of our organization.
Every Thursday we shall have dinner with wonderful disorganization.
Now and then, we cross the border of discontent and organize an evolution.
We march in the streets.
We picket on the line.
And, we shall nail our edict on the cross.
There is hope in a word.
There is hope in a dance.
There is hope in a march and we go marching on.
We claim the universe complete.
We are anointed and know that the only way to survive is if we take a trip to the truth.
I am not agnostic and esoteric at the same time.
I am survival of the kindest.
I am survival of true love.
We sink or swim in misbehavior.
For our solution is found in the consultation of our souls.
And, where does it all start?
And, where did I come from?
It all started with a misbehavior one evening when I was anointing the masses.
We are organizing an evolution for the promotion of restitution.
We are aghast with philosophy, and we shall anoint whomever washes a dish.
And, the saints are marching in.
We wear mini-skirts and shorts.
We wear an Alaskan mask and we shoot the breeze with the namesayers.
We are closet scientists and we mistake enamorations for flirtations.
So, now I say, Let us rejoice for the world has opened up with dire pollution in order for us to be united as emancipators.
We shall cross the border.
We shall reach the sea.
We have been accosted at every turn with oppression.
And, it is getting thick like molasses.
So, I cling to hope and enamorations.
I cling so that I might see the universe for what it really is and what it does to us.
We are disjointed at the ends, and we are getting the Heaven out of Hell.
So, speak your truth.
I am listening.
Sing, for boyfriends offer patrimony to the lovely creationism that you bring.
And, I dive into the lies and remember that the only thing that can get through my pores is the truth.
We are shamans.
We promote the non-toxicity of the world.
We are crazy with love and emotional control.
We sing in the spirit of a saint.
And we embark on traffic control.
There is not such a thing as hope without despair.
It is now our golden opportunity to live on Earth and say, “We are hope.”
So, little is said about the misogynistic era of enlightenment.
However, I am one to say it.
This is the millennium of Heaven.
There is an ocean of forgiveness somewhere out there.
There is emancipatory proclamations out there as well.
And, we are ones to ride that wave.

Jackie Lopez is a poet and writer from San Diego. She was founding member of the Taco Shop Poets and has always pursued a study of history of which has influenced her writing. She has taught in San Diego City Schools and has been published in several literary journals. She has just finished her Magnum Opus titled “Telepathic Goodbye” described as a uniform poem of 25, 333 words. She is now looking for a publisher for this. You can catch her work on facebook under “Jackie Lopez Lopez” where she shares her work with a daily poem. She has a radio interview that will come out later this year. Her email: peacemarisolbeautiful@yahoo.com

Why I write?
by Frank de Jesus Acosta

I write to:

Give scope to my growing understanding of truth;
Impart my dreams and visions;
Honor the sacrifice of the ancestors;
Remember the stories, traditions, and history of my people;
Reflect the duality of pain;
Express gratitude for the miracle of creation;
Acknowledge the integrity of all cultures;
Celebrate the expression of my own;
Lament the anathema of hate, greed, egoism, and tyranny;
Witness to justice, compassion, respect, and non-violence;
Incite aspiration to human possibility;
Voice the inspiration of love;
Commune with the presence of God in others;
Leave footprints of my dance to the song of life...

Reflection by: Frank de Jesus Acosta

Frank de Jesus Acosta is principal of Acosta & Associates, a California-based consulting group that specializes in professional support services to public and private social change ventures in the areas of children, youth and family services, violence prevention, community development, and cultural fluency. In 2007, he authored, The History of Barrios Unidos, Cultura Es Cura, Healing Community Violence, published by Arte Publico Press, University of Houston. Acosta is a graduate of University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). His professional experience includes serving in executive leadership positions with The California Wellness Foundation, the Coalition for Humane Immigration Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), Downtown Immigrant Advocates (DIA), the Center for Community Change, and the UCLA Community Programs Office. He is presently focused on completing the writing and publishing a two book series for Arte Publico Press focused on best practices to improve the well-being of Latino young men and boys. Acosta most recently co-authored a published “Brown Paper” with Jerry Tello of the National Latino Fatherhood and Family Institute (NLFFI) entitled, “Lifting Latinos Up by Their Rootstraps: Moving Beyond Trauma Through a Healing-Informed Framework for Latino Boys and Men.” Acosta provides writing and strategic professional support in research, planning, and development to foundations and community-focused institutions on select initiatives focused on advancing social justice, equity, and pluralism. He is also finalizing writing and editing a book of inter-cultural poetry and spiritual reflections.

by Mario Angel Escobar

If you ever want to walk
the corners of your streets,
Be ready to put your hands up
because the pigmentation of your skin,
Has already made you guilty.
Be ready to hold your last breath
because eyes with a sense of supremacy
will stalked you
following your foots steps.
Don’t hold anything in your hands
Open them like roses in the spring
accelerating their process
because if you don’t
the law will drop a white blanket
on a puddle of blood
covering a history
that has been deny
over and over again
but why cry
if the tears will continue to blossom
flooding with sadness
our sunsets.
Wherever you go
Will stalked you
suffocated your path
with the scent of your
dead ones
If you ever want to walk
the corners of your streets,
Be ready to put your hands up
because a single phrase
I am not guilty!
I am not guilty!
I am not guilty!
Will not do
and in the vortex
of the hourglass sand
you will find
that the dream
still a dream
in the corners
of your street.

© Mario A. Escobar 2014

Mario A. Escobar (January 19, 1978-) is a US-Salvadoran writer and poet born in 1978. Although he considers himself first and foremost a poet, he is known as the founder and editor of Izote Press. Escobar has stated that his exposure to “poetic sounds” began during his childhood and that his foundation in poetry stemmed from what he witness during the Salvadoran Civil War. Escobar began his writing career by the age of 13 as a poet. He cites Roque Dalton, Tato Laviera and Jaime Sabines as some of his early poetic influences. Escobar’s work has been feature in UCLA’s publication Underground Undergrads which recognizes the poet as an activist for the undocumented Student Movement. In 2004, Escobar was placed under arrest and was scheduled to be deported. In 2006, Escobar won his case for political asylum making him one of the last Salvadorans to win a political case fourteen years after the Salvadoran Peace Accords were signed in 1992. Escobar is a faculty member in the Department of Foreign Languages at LA Mission College. Some of Escobar’s works include Al correr de la horas (Editorial Patria Perdida, 1999) Gritos Interiores (Cuzcatlan Press, 2005), La Nueva Tendencia (Cuzcatlan Press, 2005), Paciente 1980 (Orbis Press, 2012). His bilingual poetry appears in Theatre Under My Skin: Contemporary Salvadoran Poetry by Kalina Press.

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