Friday, February 03, 2006

Bits and Pieces

Manuel Ramos

First, Congratulations to La Bloga's own Gina MarySol Ruiz on the publication of her poem Cien Años in the current issue of poeticdiversity. Gina's poem, a moving tribute to her grandfather, premiered here on La Bloga last year and we are happy that it is now available in one more venue. Check it out. Felicidades, Gina.

From the Tattered Cover Events Calendar:
"Time: Saturday, February 25, 2006 2:00 PM Location: Cherry Creek (Denver)
Title of Event: Meet the Authors Storytime with Renee Fajardo & Carl Ruby
Renee Fajardo, Carl Ruby, and contributing members of the Rocky Mountain Storytellers Conference will read from and sign Olè! Posole! & Other Tummy Tales ($14.00 Jems Books), the fourth and final book in the Tummy Tales series. Each book in this unique series, which includes Chili Today/Hot Tamale, Holy Mole Guacamole, and Pinchalotta Enchiladas is a warm and personal collection of family food stories that look into the culturally diverse culinary taste of the folks that call America home. Sprinkle in an ample helping of family recipes from long ago and far away and you have a feast for all occasions.
Request a signed copy:"

The 2005 recipients of the Mayor's Awards for Excellence in the Arts were recently announced. The awards, first presented in 1986, recognize individuals and organizations that have made significant and lasting contributions to the arts in the City and County of Denver. They will be presented on Feb. 21 in the Ellie Caulkins Opera House at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Among this year's honorees are a couple of old friends. Here's the blurb about their award:

Daniel and Maruca Salazar, visual artists and long-time arts activists: In the 1970s they formed Chispa, a predecessor to the Chicano Humanities and Arts Council (CHAC). The venue served as a visual arts space, as well as a gathering place for Chicano artists of all kinds. They have since worked to develop cultural policy to allow for more opportunities for Latinos and other artists of color.

The honorees were selected by Mayor Hickenlooper, the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs and the Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs. To the right is El Valiente by Daniel Salazar. You can see more of Daniel's art at En Foco - sorry, could not find any sample of Maruca's work on the web.

In honor of Gina's abuelito poem - and because poor fathers are still taken from their sons to fight rich men's wars - here's A Name On The Wall, first published in The Pearl Street Press back in 1989, written by yours truly.

Mighty Frankie Valdez, Jr.
Jumped on his bike
Rode through
The most dangerous sidewalk
In North Denver.

Granpa held the back of his seat
Mighty Frankie pedaled and steered
Skimmed over lawns
The curb
Across the street.

Granpa hollered
Grabbed for the bike
Missed the boy.

Frankie's legs were demons
His bike a rocket
Launched into heaven
Among the clouds where
Mighty Frankie laughed like a two year old.

He landed in Johnson's hedge.

"Jesus, Frankie. You're either
Real stupid or
Real brave
I don't know which
Just like your old man."

Photograph in the golden frame
On his mother's dresser
Young man with dark eyes, thick moustache
Brown, serious uniform
Flag draped in the corner.

Mighty Frankie Valdez, Jr.
Climbed back on the bike
Rode through the afternoon
Granpa stood back and watched.


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