Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Confirmation Dress

Daniel Cano

I wanted to know what my mother remembered of Mexico or at least what she had heard about it. She was born in Santa Monica, California, in 1926. She told me that she thought her mother had taken her twice to visit the family ranch in Mexico as a child. Then she went again, reluctantly, in her late teens, after spending three years in Olive View Hospital.


When she was about thirteen, my mother was misdiagnosed with tuberculosis. In the 1940s, doctors didn’t always take the time necessary to examine children carefully or correctly diagnose the disease that afflicted so many poor, young Mexican, and lower-class kids. Considered a highly contagious disease, many children and adults ended up in sanitariums, isolated from society.

Complete and total rest in a dry climate was the most common cure. My mother told me, “What should have been my best years of my life, I spent at Olive View.” Then thinking, she added, “It wasn’t until I was an adult that a doctor who examined my lungs told me, I’d never had tuberculosis. The doctors had made a mistake.”

When she was finally released from Olive View, she tried to make up for lost time. She finished high school, worked at Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills, went to dances, movies, and beach parties. Mexico or her parents' lives in Mexico were the furthest things from her mind, so when her brother Chuy invited her to visit the family ranch in Mitic, Jalisco, she answered with an emphatic, "No!”
She was about eighteen or nineteen years-old at the time. Chuy was relentless. He insisted, but she had no interest in going to Mexico or in visiting family she didn’t even know. But her oldest brother persisted. She knew he had sacrificed for the family. He left school to work and help support his mother, brother, and sisters after their father’s, untimely, death.

She remembered, “We all worked, but my brother Chuy would leave home, go work in other states, and send my mother his check, every week.”

Her father, Nicolas, was in his forties when he contracted emphysema after working for years in Santa Monica’s brickyards.

My father once told me, “In those days, they didn’t wear masks or any type of protection. They worked in clouds of red dust all day with just hankies over their noses and mouths. They didn’t know they were breathing in pieces of brick. Over time, their lungs just disintegrated. They ended up choking to death.”

My uncle Chuy finally convinced her. Who knows what he promised her. As she spoke to me, and thought about it, she came to realize, as if working through a math problem: "Chuy, my brother," she said, chuckling, "had lived in Mitic for a few years. He had a girlfriend there. I didn't know then, and he didn't want my mom to know, and he was taking my mom with him. I guess he figured I could keep my mother distracted while he went to see his girlfriend. But, I think he had a baby, too. He might have even been married but nobody really knew. My brother was private."

Mitic, was a once thriving village until revolutions, revolts, and draughts devastated most of it, sending the people fleeing to San Juan, Aguascalientes, and the United States, many to Santa Monica, where the people from Los Altos de Jalisco had already settled in and around Pico Boulevard and 20th Street, going back to the late 1800s.

I visited Mitic in 2012 and my elder cousin Francisco, and his family still own and work the ranch. The old adobes are gone, replaced by a modern brick home, cows, and the automatic milking machines. In the distance, corn fields and trees cover the hills. Other dairy and cattle ranches dot the landscape. A small river runs adjacent to the property. It is a beautiful ranch, but still, even today, it was a jarring half-hour taxi ride over a pot-holed dirt road from San Gaspar, the closest town. I can only imagine what my mom endured in 1946.

At 18, my mother was fully Americanized and not a hint of Mexican ranch life in her. She wore slacks and blouses, Rita Haworth-style, at a time when ranch women in Mexico wore long, dark dresses down to their ankles.

"They were so poor," she said, referring to her relatives living in Mitic. "All they had to offer us were cooked beans and a little soup."

As my mother spoke, it was as if she had transported herself back into time. She was a teenager again. She said that while her mother stayed with relatives in San Juan, she decided to rough it and stay on the ranch with a young cousin, Patricia, whom she had met.


By the 1940s, the village was nearly deserted, the dirt streets empty, and many of the adobe homes decaying. Mitic had fallen onto difficult times.

"I had to sleep on…not even a bed. It was like a cot, and it nearly rested on the dirt floor."
She told me the house was old, made of adobe and in poor condition. At night when she tried to sleep, she could hear scampering in the house followed by banging noises. Sometime in the early morning, she opened her eyes and saw the face of a large rat staring back at her. She realized the rats were everywhere. It terrified her. The next day she told her mother she could not stay in that house another night. "I felt so bad because I had planned on staying a few nights, but the next day I packed up and left."

What made her departure worse was that she and her cousin Patricia had formed a bond. My mother remembered, “She was about fifteen and very pretty…a beautiful girl."

Patricia asked my mother to stay for her confirmation ceremony, which was coming up soon. My mother said Patricia had confided in her, saying she had nothing nice to wear for the confirmation.
Reluctantly, my mother left the ranch. She and my grandmother stayed with their cousins in San Juan de Los Lagos, while my uncle stayed at the ranch. At the time, San Juan was already a small city and a holy site for hundreds of thousands of pilgrims throughout Mexico who traveled there by bus, car, and on foot. The great Mexican writer Juan Rulfo captured the mystique of San Juan in a short story “Talpa” in his collection “The Burning Plains and Other Stories.”

My mother said her family in San Juan was middle-class. She remembered that one of her aunts was a teacher and college educated, but still their home was very modest. The children, her cousins, all played musical instruments, and she described them as "average" referring to their income. “They were all very friendly but didn’t have much.”

After leaving San Juan, they went to visit relatives in Aguascalientes, a major city, and back in the 40s, hours from San Juan. "Those relatives who lived in Aguascalientes were very, very wealthy."
My mother described how my grandmother's sister had married a banker. The family owned a house with many rooms, the floors covered in Saltillo stone, a courtyard and fountain, and maids to care for the children. These relatives, my mother remembered, were very polite and friendly but a bit reserved, and they were wealthier and more refined than any of the relatives that had come to the U.S., including her own.

As soon as my mom arrived home to Santa Monica, she excitedly told her mother she wanted to buy Patricia a confirmation dress. My mother said she picked the prettiest one she could find. She hoped the dress would fit. She and her cousin were about the same size. She wrapped it, took it to the post office, and sent it to Patricia. She wanted it to surprise her younger cousin.

A few months passed. She heard nothing from Patricia or her parents. Then, after what seemed a long time, my mother received a letter from Patricia's parents. They wrote, telling my mother how much Patricia loved the dress. However, Patricia had become ill not long after my mother’s departure. After a little time, Patricia grew worse, and she died. They thanked my mother for the dress and told her their daughter looked beautiful wearing the dress in the casket.

As she told me this, my mother looked at me and said, her voice cracking, "It was so sad."
I think there was a little tinge in her voice, as if saying, “So you want to know what it was like in Mexico and why our family came to the United States?”

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Telegramas al cielo/ Telegrams to Heaven




Written by René Colato Laínez
Illustrated by Pixote Hunt


Luna’s Press Books

(415) 260-7490


I am happy to present my new book Telegramas al cielo/ Telegrams to Heaven. Probably you know about Oscar Arnulfo Romero, the archbishop, who spoke for his people during the civil war in El Salvador. In Telegrams to Heaven, you will discover Oscar Arnulfo Romero, the boy, who has a dream to accomplish. 


As a Salvadoran, it is an honor to present the childhood of Oscar Arnulfo Romero to our niños. They also have dreams to accomplish.




* * *

Telegrams to Heaven recounts the moving childhood of Archbishop Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez, who from an early age discovers the candor, light and power of the word, which he uses to pray and to write poetry, sending telegrams to heaven from
his heart. René Colato Laínez, the renowned Salvadoran writer, has written a touching story about the great Salvadoran prophet who dreamed from his childhood of being a priest, and became not only a priest, but also a bishop, an archbishop, and the great orator of his country. His word remains, for the Salvadoran people and the world—a prayer, a poem, a sweet telegram that Archbishop Romero continues to send in the name of his people to the heart of heaven. The colorful, modern illustrations of Pixote Hunt make us reflect with deep tenderness, showing us the innocence of the great Archbishop Romero as a young child.


Telegramas al Cielo narra la conmovedora niñez de monseñor Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez, quien desde muy temprana edad descubre la candidez, la luz y la fuerza de la palabra, la cual utiliza para rezar y escribir poesía, para desde su corazón enviar telegramas al cielo. El afamado escritor salvadoreño, René Colato Laínez, ha escrito una enternecedora historia del gran profeta salvadoreño que soñó desde su infancia con ser sacerdote y no solo lo fue, sino que también se convirtió en monseñor, obispo, arzobispo y el gran orador de su país. Su palabra permanece entre el pueblo salvadoreño y el mundo: como un rezo, como un poema, como un dulce telegrama que monseñor Romero sigue enviando, en nombre de su pueblo, al corazón del cielo. Las modernas y coloridas ilustraciones de Pixote Hunt, nos hacen reflexionar con profunda ternura, al mostrarnos la inocencia del pequeño gran monseñor Romero.





Tuesday, July 25, 2017

40 Years. Gluten-free Summer Soup. On-line Floricanto

Movimiento Couple in 40 Year Retrospective
Michael Sedano


Now that headline’s a fancy way of saying what Oscar Castillo’s portrait gives away nonverbally: Diane and Sergio Hernandez celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary on Saturday evening, surrounded by immediate and extended familia at San Fernando’s American Legion hall.

Courtesy Oscar Castillo

Artists of diverse media--writers, painters, performance, musicians—arrived to a taco cart in the Legion's front patio. Rude boor whom I am, I lined up for a plato before going inside to abrazar the hosts and sundry compañeras compañeros.

Margaret Garcia and Rhett Beavers were in the taco line ahead of us, so we got our chow together and went inside. Physicist Manuel Urrutia had already arrived, seated with his wife, Maria, and my compadres Mercedes and Hugo Garcia. Mario Trillo stepped to the table, decked out in a light tan sportjacket and vintage bow tie. Carlos Callejo came in, wow, I hadn’t seen Carlos in ages. In-between mural commissions, Carlos is doing small projects while holding art workshops for middle school kids. “They make good paintings,” Carlos relates.

Serge, cartoonist for the seminal movimiento magazine Con Safos: Life in the Barrio, (link) introduced Art Flores, founding editor of C/S magazine. “This is Michael Sedano from La Bloga” Serge noted. Art made me, and all blogueras blogueros happy when he advised me, “La Bloga! Keep up the good work.” Órale, you know it.

I had been feeling the damned fool earlier. I forgot my camera, one of the consequences of CPT-fueled age. I sat framing imaginary crowd fotos when photographer extraordinaire Oscar Castillo caught my eye. I nodded back and Oscar walked over. We chatted a bit then he shared with me, and now youse, the wedding party print he’d brought for La Bloga.

Tempus not only fugits, it brings good stuff. In this case, 40 years ago, youngsters Velarde and Hernandez have their wedding photographed by equally young friend Oscar Castillo. All of them worked together on C/S. Now, los Hernandez’ spacious estate in the desert echoes with the music of three beautiful daughters, two adorable granddaughters, and a lifetime of good memories for the retired from the world-of-work couple. El picket sign in their hands, as needed.

As for Oscar, his work today resides in the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Obviously, the wedding photographer and the couple in that foto have made every second count in these 40 years. Carpe diem, gente.

One of the major highlights of the highlight-packed event came from a horny swain in the bar. As I took a seat at their table, Angel, Mercy, and an unidentified woman—I will call her Judy--were all a-titter, repeating his lines with glee. There was an amused flush to Judy’s complexion and electric energy flowed between the three laughing women. A forty-something youngster in the bar had made a move on Judy. She ignored him twice until he lay his head on her shoulder and called her “beautiful.” Judy split to go find her husband. Although the swain’s piropos went unrewarded, he was undeterred. He crashed the party and danced alone near Judy’s table not catching her attention. Hours later, as Judy left with her loquacious husband, he found friends at the exit and stopped to platicar. Rumor has it Judy hung back near the door, where curious eyes might have glanced into the darkened bar.

Happiest anniversary to Diane and Serge!


The Gluten-free Chicano Cooks
Gazpacho: Fast, No-Cook, No-Gluten Summer Soup

Without warning the overhead fluorescent tubes went dark. The muscular circular fan moaned to a stop. We knew what came next.

Across Camp Page and the lower parts of Chuncheon, Korea, a  P.A. crackled the announcement, “This is a wet bulb alert. The wet bulb temperature is twenty-three degrees celsius. Cease all physical activity and wait for the all-clear.”

Happened every time the generators went down. Dead fan, alert. Summer too hot and too humid for the U.S. Army to work. We endured the frequent half hours in silence, staring at walls in the one-windowed room, typewriter silent, the 32” fan inert in its corner, the Quonset hut an oven. Heat wraps itself around every muscle, humidity rubs against skin, the air seems to move when we stir. In the dark, no cooling breath of air no respite from the oppressive heat, the mind rambles.

It would be good to be back on top of the mountain. A constant breeze keeps a man comfortable and motivated to explore, take in the view from a mile above this battalion office and the dark and the heat and the assigned indolence of wet bulb alerts.

It would be better to be back home at UCSB. In the library, the air-conditioned library so spacious so cool. Or lounging in the shade at the Enchanted Forest at Isla Vista beach, waves crashing unseen.

On second thought, forget Isla Vista. What wouldn’t that G.I. give to fast forward in time to a summer afternoon in 2017? The Army a remote past, the day's oppressive heat and penetrating humidity still enervating the old man. He stares down into a chilled bowl of freshly-made, naturally gluten-free, Gazpacho.

Call me a time traveler because that’s exactly what took place in The Gluten-free Chicano’s chante the other day. Summer’s heat had me listless two days in a row. Totally unmotivated to cook. But my daughter’s farm had produced beautiful burpless Persian cucumbers. My own cosecha included tarragon and basil, chile huero, and chile piquin in abundance. Thanks to cursed squirrels, I’m between tomato crops right now, so the grocery store provided tomatoes and bell peppers. The larder supplied the rest of the ingredients.

not shown: fresh basil leaves

Fresh Ingredients for a zesty Gazpacho
Tomatoes
Green and red bell peppers, de-stemmed and seeded
Cucumber, peeled
Chile huero
Chile piquín
Garlic
Onion
Tarragon
Basil
Celery
Tomato juice
Salt

Cuisineart/Food Processor Method
Rough chop all the vegetables and put them into the processor bowl: tarragon, basil, garlic, onions, chiles, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes. For a blender, fine-chop the vegetables and blend them one at a time.

Food Process for thirty seconds or several pulses. Taste. Adjust chile and salt.

The size of the rough chop makes a difference. Know your machine. If your cuisineart's motor and blade usually perform unsatisfactorily, pulse each vegetable one at a time.

In a few seconds, the veggies all reduce into a bubbly pulverized liqud that expands to fill the bowl nearly to the top. If there's too generous a result, ladle off a quantity and store it in the serving bowl.

Add a half cup or more tomato juice and pulse to thin. A big pinch of sea salt now will bring up flavors.

Stirring in chopped vegetables to the processed vegetable mélange adds texture and flavor explosion
If you like it hot
Empty the processor bowl into a large vessel. Return a quantity of the soup to the Cuisineart, chop several chiles more, and whiz them into this “special” batch of soup.

Nearly ready to ring the dinner bell.

A cook’s head might be spinning just about now, thinking of all sorts of modifications and additions. "Why don't I just chop some vegetables into tomato juice and save this work?" Maybe add Bay shrimp; crisped gallego ham; aguacate; a curl of toasted carrot…forget it. The pure simplicity of this Gazpacho sings its flavor medley unimpeded by unnecessarily complex flavors. Let it be. It’s time for the finishing touch.

Chop or mince a tomato, half an onion, half a bell pepper, a third of a cucumber. Stir these into the Gazpacho to add texture and tiny explosions of individual flavor when that spoon hits the mouth.

Serve a generous ladle to each diner, and bring the tureen to the table for seconds. You can eat straight from the food processor, or chill it and dig in at your convenience.

A bowl or two makes an elegant lunch. For dinner, I served antipasto salad loaded with olives, mushrooms, salami, and cheeses for protein and contrast. My wheat-eating wife had a fresh bolillo.

A cold soup lunch or dinner, tasty and naturally gluten-free

Calculations, mouths and take-home.
How many mouths will eat and how much do you want left over? What volume can my processor hold? These issues define the quantities of vegetables to use.

For one dinner for two and generous left-overs, 4 medium-size tomatoes, 2 cucumbers, 3 bell peppers, 1 large brown onion, 4 cloves garlic, 2 chile huero, 1 chile piquin, and a stalk of celery were just right. I amended a second batch with 3 piquín and another huero.

I suspect many people enjoy a hint of bite to their Gazpacho, but not killer hot. I like a lot of picoso, that’s why I pour off a generous bowl of the semi-finished soup and put it back in the Cuisineart to whiz in all the chiles at hand.

Gazpacho that sits for several hours builds marvelous flavors. You can eat it immediately, room temperature, and it's wonderful. If you can make it then let it chill for a day, you'll find your Gazpacho world-quality.

Provecho!


Wrapping July With Floricanto
James Downs, Joe Navarro, Txai Frye, Ralph Haskins, Pharr Texas Barrio Writers

“Haiku: massive military might.” By James Downs
“Revolutionary Love” By Joe Navarro
METAMORPHOSIS By Txai Frye
“Mitochondrial Memories” By Ralph Haskins
“Nuestra Historia / Our Story” A Collective Poem – Pharr Texas Barrio Writers


Haiku: massive military might.
By James Downs

huddled in tiny
....places...arms around arms...faces...
hope bombs miss spaces


Revolutionary Love
By Joe Navarro

Here I am
Bleeding again
A bleeding heart
And sweating
Profusely
Through the point
Of a pen
First I capture suffering
Then resentment
And rebellion
Leading up to Revolution
But it's all Romantic, you see
Es puro amor
Yo amo a mi esposa
Y a mi familia,
Pero tambien
Quiero a mi gente
La Raza
My revolution is love
Of all people, all ethnic groups
Who suffer at the whim
Of violence, greed
Class, race and gender
Love of freedom
Love of democracy
Love of justice
Love of self-determination
Love for human dignity
And self-respect
Mi revolución es por
El amor de la dignidad
De toda la humanidad
Yes my blood and sweat
Flow freely onto paper
En declaraciones
Por la justicia
Paz e igualdad
Palabras libres
Pintando el cielo
Con esperanzas de
Liberación, sin opresión
You see, my weapon in
The revolution is
Word murals, armed
With allusions, similes,
Metaphors, and hope
Poems that explode
With pride and promise
For a bright new day


METAMORPHOSIS
By Txai Frye

Like a moth to a flame
She was drawn to her calling
And they watched her
Transformation
From an interested onlooker
To a full-fledged participant
Her message was birthed
Like a silkworm…who is destined…
To spin words like fine silk
Metamorphosing from a plain caterpillar
Into a beautiful silk moth
While nibbling on metaphors
And similes that floated listlessly
From the amped-up microphone
…that beckoned to her…
As if they were white mulberry leaves
And the famine became a feast
As her whispers turned into a roar
And she steps forward from the sidelines
To unfurl her still evolving wings
Like a brightly colored silk taffeta gown
So that her voice can rise up and take flight


Txai Frye - is a poet/open mic artist, whose passion is to write and read his poetry at various open forum venues. He is unpublished but currently working on a collection of poetry entitled, “Funk Epiphanosis.” Some of his poems have been featured on online poetry sites, and he was included in an anthology, “The Bronx Files, Contemporary Poetry from the Bronx,” with other poets whose lives were affected by growing up in the Bronx.

He has been involved with Green Earth Poets Café, a Brooklyn, NYC based nonprofit poetry organization promoting literacy, self-confidence, communication, community, and educational development among young people since its inception in 2013. h. Txai Frye has also participated in panel discussions involving unjust incarceration of our youth and other minorities. He is currently counseling a small group of aspiring poets on performance techniques in association with the NYC Queens Library – Lefrak City branch.


Mitochondrial Memories
By Ralph Haskins Elizondo

Reaching down my long maternal line,
my mother and grandmother,
and hers as well,
within the scents of tomate y cebolla,
chile y cilantro, the burning smell
of tortillas toasting en el comal,
memories of long kitchens
connecting us
for thirty-five thousand years
across the sea,
thank you ancestral mother.


Ralph Haskins Elizondo was born and raised in Monterrey, Mexico. His family moved to South Texas during the social turmoil of the 60’s. The new cultural challenges he experienced led him to express himself through poetry. Many of his poems touch the cultural and political issues of our times. His works have appeared in Puhnk And Miscellany Magazine, The Best Unrequired Reading In American Literature 2011 (Harcourt), Poesía En Vuelo, La Bloga (Poets Responding To SB 1070), and Poetry Of Resistance Anthology. Today, Ralph lives in McAllen, Texas where he supplements his poet’s income by moonlighting as a science teacher at a local high school.


Nuestra Historia / Our Story
By Pharr Texas Barrio Writers

A Collective Poem – Student Writing Workshop ~12 June 2017 – Pharr, Texas

Mí tío
una buena influencia
Christmas
Honduras
Travel
No water
Oldest
Baby boy
From Mexico
She came here at three
Worked very hard
Su hijo
Cambio su Vida
Daughter
Helped change him
High school
a struggle
Writing
A baby
Drogas aleja uno de la familia
Primo falleció
Por estar en malos pasos
Madre fallece
Had to depend on the streets
Separates families
Distant from mother
Did drugs at ten years old
But recovered
Addicted
Mother of a baby girl
Life changed
Becoming a mother
Father at an early age
Changed his life
From Reynosa to here
Un choque cultural
Sotomayor
Ayuda hijas
Con muchos planes
Y perdió
El miedo
Un club de Español
¿Me Entiendes?



Our summer creative writing workshop for youth is taking place at Sonia Sotomayor High School in Pharr, TX June 12-June 16, 2017. The workshop is co-sponsored by Red Earth Productions & Cultural Work, The Center for Mexican American Studies at UTRGV, and the Creative Writing Program at UTRGV, in collaboration with Sonia Sotomayor High School, Buell Central High School, and Ballew High School in the PSJA school district. The workshop is an affiliate program of Barrio Writers.




Monday, July 24, 2017

The Raving Press ‖ Comentario a la antología _Bad Hombres & Nasty Women_



The Raving Press ‖ Comentario a la antología _Bad Hombres & Nasty Women_


Translated by Gabriel H. Sanchez

Poetry and narrative as dialectic processes are a constant transmutation that like a wind or water vortex produces a linguistic synthesis in direct response, in most instances, to the political and contextual manifestations of our age. This anthology represents a response to an erroneous adscription leveled at chicanas and chicanos, latinas and latinos in the United States. It is a cleansing of—and an appeal against—an imposed set of unfounded proclamations, utilizing words to wash them away by reclaiming and repurposing the two concepts “Bad Hombres” & “Nasty Women.” In turn, poets and writers responded to the call by using the new concepts as a catalyst for the creation of potent poetry and prose laden with social commentary.
We should celebrate the cultural heritage which chicanos, chicanas, latinos, latinas have imparted to this nation as much as we should celebrate every wave of immigrants which has reached our shores and has contributed to the formation of what we know as these United States. How to declare this country as “mine” if the adjective qualifiers that pretend to portray our likeness are nothing more than minimizing pejoratives? How to feel as part of the greater whole who share the roots set upon this land when our officials fail to celebrate the contributions of the immigrant in a dignified manner? Therein lies the origin of this anthology of poetry and prose; a space where poets and narrators are conjured to reclaim, respond, and recreate the representations of immigrants, latinas, latinos, chicanas, chicanos, the plight of women, class distinction, and many more social ills which are central to our present reality.
In this anthology, poets and writers depict a vision and a collective sentiment that cannot be silenced. Silence could never be the solution, for it is the written and enunciated word, which like an incantation, counters and abolishes hurtful and misplaced descriptions. These poets and prose writers are brimming with intent and “ganas” [fervor] to bring about change for our present and future generations. The hard-fought victories earned by chicanos, chicanas, latinos, latinas in the United States cannot be eradicated by nonsensical positing. That is why when readers immerse themselves in the pages within this book they will discover the strength of the poet. They will fuse with the poetry and prose written primarily in English, with a few lines in Spanish, and on occasion, writings interspersed with code switching between the two languages.
We hear Edward Vidaurre say “we can be brown together.” I can relax and be myself. We translate the lines that read, “she can wear rebozos and I / can get tattoos of feathered hair Chicanas.” We are who we are and it is right that we use the rebozo [shawl] as a symbol to honor previous generations of women, specifically las adelitas, those who formed part of the Mexican Revolution. Seres Jaime Magaña writes, “We see that you intended to expel the love from our lives” channeling the strength and the goodness of the people, of la Raza. He adds that despite all that is being imposed on us “We will shine through with our multicolored eyes;” that specter of light shall cause this burdensome darkness to rise up off our backs floating upward like smoke plumes taking away with it all prejudice until they disappear.
In Mónica Alvarez’s lament we feel the perils of a journey to reach Los Angeles. We experience in her words the great suffering that many have endured in that lengthy peregrination, “The putrid smell of rotten corpses / danced around the meadow, / where the virgin flowers / turned away / so their silky petals / would not get tarnished / by the filthy stroke / of blood-soaked wind.” We sing along with “Song for America” by Fernando Esteban Flores and shout a loud chorus, “Sweat in America’s factories / Wait on America’s tables / Fight in America’s wars.” And then we dance as we reclaim our identity to the tune of “gabachita’s corrido. / a bit tejana, rancherita, a bit hip hop, pop a bit classical, antigüita” by Priscilla Celina Suarez, who upon listening to a song while in the waiting room at a dentist’s office is moved to reflect upon the love of her people; of those who have been lost and those who have been buried; of those who have made her who she is: a proud chicana who exudes the heritage of la raza through her pores.
Between the lines of prose tales within, this anthology culminates with images fed through different experiences and observations of unjust situations visited upon our people. Such tales as Phillip Bannowsky’s “Jacobo Gets the Good Job” which with incisive images leads us by the hand from the first line to a place of work where the ICE agents arrive unannounced; something many of us are intimately familiar with. With agile storytelling, Bannowsky keeps us on edge throughout, narrating the interior world of the protagonist existing in his own exterior reality as if caught between parallel universes until that moment that takes him by surprise; that prompts him to flee; that compels him to think of his fellow workers from Guatemala and Ecuador, of hardworking family men like himself. We escape alongside the protagonist until the early morning sun dazzles our eyes and finds us as it shines through corn plant leaves. There, in our last refuge, a cutting voice, like a machete, asks: “Amigo, do you speak English?”
It is an open-ended question. It is posed at the world for posterity. This world where friends should be welcome and not condemned. We are the cornerstone of this country. Our previous generations have planted every form of fruit and vegetable which adorn our tabletops. We are our daily bread, and that is what this anthology proclaims. Bad Hombres & Nasty Women is a fervent declaration, a handful of fresh but potent words which exalt our perspective, vindicate our ancestors, our parents, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and over all else, our youth. Let us rise and break through, breaching a space where we may call things by their true names.

Xánath Caraza
Kansas City, MO



La poesía y narrativa como procesos dialécticos son un constante devenir que como remolinos de agua y de viento producen una síntesis lingüística que responde, muchas veces, a la situación política y contexto de nuestro tiempo. Esta antología responde a una adscripción errónea que se ha dado a las chicanas y chicanos, las latinas y latinos en los Estados Unidos.  Esta antología limpia y reivindica lo que se ha querido imponer y lava con palabras lo que se ha dictado sin fundamento.  No se detiene ahí, retoma estos dos conceptos, Bad Hombres & Nasty Women, los reclama y los hace creación pura; los poetas y escritores contestan y los usan como catalizador para crear una cascada de poemas y relatos de comentario social.
Celebrar las herencias culturales que los chicanos, chicanas, latinos, latinas que han contribuido a este país, es lo que todos deberíamos hacer constantemente. De igual manera celebrar cada ola de migrantes que ha llegado a los Estados Unidos y ha hecho de este país lo que entendemos como tal.
Cómo decir este país es mío si los adjetivos calificativos que nos retratan son minimizadores y peyorativos.  Cómo sentir que las raíces de este suelo son nuestras si no se celebran las contribuciones de los migrantes de manera digna por los medios oficiales.  Éste es el origen de esta antología de poesía y narrativa, un espacio donde se conjuntan poetas y narradores para reclamar, contestar y recrear las percepciones de migrantes, latinas, latinos, chicanas, chicanos, la condición de la mujer, clase social y otros tantos temas que son centrales a nuestra realidad actual. 
Esta antología está hecha de reacciones constructivas que exponen la visión y sentimientos que jóvenes poetas y narradores no pueden callar.  El silencio no es la solución sino la palabra escrita y enunciada para, como un conjuro, deshacer las descripciones equivocadas y hasta dolorosas.  Estos poetas y narradores están llenos de ganas, de intenciones de lograr un cambio para las generaciones de hoy y las futuras.  El duro camino y lugar ganado por los chicanos, chicanas, latinos, latinas en los Estados Unidos no puede ser erradicado por comentarios sin sentido.  Es por eso que cuando el lector se compenetra en las páginas de esta antología descubre la fuerza de los poetas.  Se vuelve uno con la poesía y narrativa escrita en su mayoría en inglés con poemas también en español y en ocasiones cambios de códigos lingüísticos. 
Escuchamos a Edward Vidaurre decir “we can be brown together” me puedo relajar y ser quien soy, traducimos entre líneas, “she can wear rebozos and I / can get tattoos of feathered hair Chicanas”.  Somos quienes somos y está bien usar rebozo como un símbolo para honrar las previas generaciones de mujeres, específicamente a las adelitas, las que formaron parte de la Revolución mexicana.  Seres Jaime Magaña dice “We see that you intended to expel the love from our lives” y reclama la bondad y la fuerza de la gente, de la Raza; y agrega que a pesar de todo lo que se quiere imponer, “We will shine through with our multicolored eyes”, ese espectro de luz permitirá que esta oscuridad impuesta se esfume para que los prejuicios también desaparezcan. 
En el lamento de Mónica Alvarez sentimos el doloroso camino para llegar a Los Ángeles.  Sufrimos con sus palabras lo que tantos han experimentado en ese largo andar, “The putrid smell of rotten corpses / danced around the meadow, / where the virgin flowers / turned away / so their silky petals / would not get tarnished / by the filthy stroke / of blood-soaked wind”.  Cantamos con “Song for America” de Fernando Esteban Flores y repetimos en voz alta “Sweat in America’s factories / Wait on America’s tables / Fight in America’s wars”.  Al tiempo que bailamos, también reclamamos nuestra identidad con el “gabachita’s corrido. / a bit tejana, rancherita, / a bit hip hop, pop / a bit classical, antigüita” de Priscilla Celina Suarez, a quien una canción que escucha en el consultorio del dentista le hace reflexionar sobre el amor por su gente, por los que ha perdido y hasta enterrado y que la han llevado a ser quien ella es, una chicana con mucho orgullo, que transpira la herencia de la raza en la piel.
Entre líneas de narrativa, los relatos, esta antología culmina con imágenes alimentadas por diferentes experiencias u observaciones de situaciones injustas experimentadas por nuestra gente.  Como en el relato de Phillip Bannowsky, “Jacobo Gets the Good Job” que con imágenes incisivas nos lleva de la mano, desde la primera línea, al lugar de trabajo donde los agentes de ICE llegan sin aviso, como sabemos sucede en múltiples ocasiones. Su habilidad para contar nos tiene en tensión y de forma paralela narra sobre el mundo interior del protagonista y su mundo exterior, ese momento que lo toma por sorpresa, que lo hace escapar, que lo hace pensar en sus compañeros de trabajo de Guatemala, de Ecuador, de gente de familia, dedicada al trabajo.  Nos hace escapar con el protagonista hasta que despunta la mañana y los primeros rayos de sol nos deslumbran entre las hojas de plantas de maíz.  Ahí, cuando creemos estar a salvo, una voz afilada, como un machete, le pregunta, “Amigo, do you speak English?” 
La pregunta queda abierta.  La lanza al mundo.  A este mundo donde los amigos y amigas deben ser bien recibidos y no condenados.  Somos el fundamento de este país.  Nuestras previas generaciones han sembrado cada fruta y verdura que hay en nuestras mesas, somos el pan nuestro de cada día y eso es lo que esta antología reclama.  Bad Hombres & Nasty Women es un grito lleno de ganas, un puñado de palabras frescas y fuertes que ponen en perspectiva, reivindican a nuestros ancestros, a nuestros padres, madres, hermanos, hermanas y sobre todo a nuestra juventud.  Hay que abrir brecha y llamar a las cosas por su verdadero nombre.

Xánath Caraza
Kansas City, MO


Los poetas y narradores que participaron en el proyecto de The Raving Press:

introduction (v)
Xánath Caraza

Lillian Locks the Door (page 1)
Anders Carlson-Wee

Bad Vato c/s Nasty Ruca (page 2)
Edward Vidaurre

First They Came (page 3)
Don Mathis

Fuck Me (page 4)
PW Covington

The People United (page 6)
Seres Jaime Magaña

Poor Old LEANDRO (page 8)
Jose Sanchez

Un mundo RARO (page 10)
by Mónica Alvarez

NEIGHBORHOOD (page 12)
Bri Ianniello

A Withering REIGN (page 13)
Debbie Guzzi

Song for AMERICA (page 14)
XVII
Fernando Esteban Flores

At seventy, stop building the fence (page 15)
Steven Ray Smith

Refugee (page 16)
Ana M. Fores Tamayo
una tarde in the dentista’s waiting room (page 22)
Priscilla Celina Suarez

Late Afternoons (page 23)
Lynne S Viti

Monster in a Dress Shop, No. 6 (page 27)
Christine Stoddard

Untitled (page 29)
Paul Luikart

Weathered Reports: Trump Surrogate Quote from the Underground 19 (page 31)
Mark Blickley and Amy Bassin

Short-fingered vulgarian? Thirty pictures on Trump, the vulgarian whose fingers are not short
No. 1(page 33)
Dmitry Borshch

Numero Cuarenta y cinco     (page 35)
By Bruce Harris

Jacobo Gets the Good JOB (page 37)
Phillip Bannowsky

Blunderland      (page 39)
Joel & Valerie Reeves

First Pitch (page 45)
Kenneth Nichols

Shayes' Taxi Service   (page 47)
Steve Smith

Leave it to Beaver (page 51)
Tyson West

Eight Decades On (page 57)
Maverick Smith