Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Letter to Santa; On-Line Floricanto December 21

Michael Sedano

Dear Santa:

Seems like only yesterday I wrote you all I want for Christmas is my two front teeth, so I could with you merry chrithmath. And here we are today, several implants and numerous fillings later, but my two front teeth are all mine, so thanks for granting me that small wish.

Then there was that bit of trouble, remember? I saw Mommy kissing you underneath the mistletoe that night. How was I to know Daddy was wearing your suit? But I didn't shout, I didn't pout. I was nice. I'm wise to that list you keep and check twice. I did not want a couple lumps of coal instead of that Red Ryder BB Gun. Thank you, I see fine with one eye. It's not your fault. Besides, it got me out of the draft back in '68, so all in all, that was another good Christmas for me.

What did Grandma do that pissed you off that night? It was just the worst time of the year for such a journey, the ways deep and the weather sharp, the very dead of winter, and all of that. But getting run over by reindeer is a hard way to reaffirm one's belief in myths. Did I say myth? I mean the true spirit of X-mas and, of course, your existence, Santa. I shall be glad of another sale.

Last year I asked for RAM and got Mary's little lamb. I meant computer memory, Santa. So, now that I know you have a low tolerance for ambiguity, I am going to keep this short, sweet, and specific, OK?

First, all I want for Christmas is a room somewhere. Please make it far away from the cold night air. Lots of chocolate for me to eat, but forget the figgy pudding, ok? And make it a big room, and soundproofed because when all the faithful come joyful and triumphant, they make a lot of noise.

Second, please bring You Know Who a puppy. I saw a doggie in the window, one with a waggly tail. Tan cute; its ears were grown long and its tail cut short. But the price was astronomical, so that little dogie can just git along, that's its misfortune and none of my own. Heah!

And, wow, did you pull a fast one on me again this year! Fool me twice and all that. While no one was looking, except for California, the other guys swept the election. They must have composed quite a letter last year.

Anyway, my third wish, dear Santa, is same as last year's: Oh please, wise up that pendejo in the White House. War is not Peace. Bring the troops home now.

As I promised, I’m keeping this short and to the point. Here’s hoping all your wishes come true, too. As you say, "Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night."

P.S. Enjoy the mutton stew.

On-Line Floricanto for December 21

1. “Twilight in Juarez” by Jeanette Iskat de Aldana

2. “River” by Devreaux Baker

3. “Before the World Wakes” by Elena Diaz Bjorkquist

4. “Sullen Angel of the Arizona Divide” by Mary Pranzatelli

5. “Sand and Bone Desert Spark” by George Hartley

Twilight in Juarez

by Jeanette Iskat de Aldana

Artificially created borders
walls and roads
border songs
screaming really
at an imaginary them
who just need to leave
just go home
to solve everything
for us
just go home
never mind
that this is home
has always been
I dropped you
we've helped create?

Be careful
what you ask
what you wish on them
Rod Sterling's mestizo son
will hear you
smile into the sun
you'll get to go
you'll get to see
really see
we've created
what has been created
in your name
in these border towns.

I'll be your
It will be fun
an adventure.

a border bound bus
with me
next stop
we'll have to sneak in
bored border patrols
no one ever sneaks in
so they're all facing north.

We'll creep
to get
that authentic ice
into spines
curling us
making us
small and hunched.

Walk the streets
with me
it doesn't matter
which one
they all share the same name
Calle de Sangre.

I've got family here
I've got all my family here.

What are you doing?

Don't take pictures, idiot.

No, now you
to hand it over.
Just give him the damn
cell phone

See what
you made him

Don't worry.
It will heal
I'll talk
to his madre
see if I can get some
of it back
for you.

We're here.
My amigo's abuela's house
she'll welcome us
if we give the
secret knock.

Close shave
a hair cut
two mordida bits.

Who's there?
Ah, welcome!

Come inside,
Lock the doors,
Don't make
any sudden moves,

I know
the phone
is ringing.
Don't answer it.
It's only the kidnappers again
asking for more money
but she's only a third
cousin's child
not a prima prima
they guessed
or maybe not
but we'll wait
see if they leave an authentic
voice mail
tu sabes?

I see
your eyes watering
in the smoke
the real trees
burned away
long ago
into hungry fires
splintered furniture
with the smell of burning glue
is what fuels
cooking fires
keeps us warm
you'll get used
to the tears
as we did.

Eat with us,
some authentic
comida mexicana.
Oh, that's
people food
that we cannot
grow it
farm it
slaughter it
Have some
top valued Ramen
the salsa
is still
for now
home made
hasn't trade marked
these chiles
too picoso
for mass market tongues.

our shrinking bellies
of empty noodles
sawdust is filling
when you spice it right
the corn
of history
the maiz
that built empires
is no longer
the range
of our shrunken purses.

I won't stop you
you run back outside
your eyes
from chiles
hotter than
chemical fires
running blindly
only to pull back
nose wrinkling
at the smell of burning
in step
past rows of pink crosses
to tiny jobs
in big places
huffing dreams
while colonial masters
drive separate roads
so they
never have to see it.

I find
curled up underneath
a rusted out shell
dead orange truck
on a curb
like smashed teeth

You look at me
eyes watering
as you stroke
the matted fur
of a pueblo dog
you had no part
in building this
you want to go home
right now
you want to go home
right now
right now
right NOW.

I begin to tell you
that the world is
as we all make it
when we let them pass
SB 510
SB 1070
or fail
to let dreamers awaken
I see you
your fear
I'll be kind
speak to you
Dancing with the Stars
The Hills
what Rhianna is wearing
you begin to breathe
a bit easier.

I take pity
that we can take a shortcut back
that privilege is still ours
stop by the gift shop
buy some authentic hand made calaveras
hand made
touched by authentic human hands
on an assembly line
in China
maybe buy
my friend went to
Ciudad Juarez
and all I got
was this t-shirt
in the blood
of empire.

We'll cross
the border
the bus
will swing
we'll fill our bellies
with value meals
doze uneasily
into the made cheaper
in China
Mexican blanket.

Next time,
I'll take you there
maybe Guang Zhou
brown skies
and all
I've got family

Oh, yes.
I've got family


by Devreaux Baker

This river knows nothing but her name
She is the hard blue muscle
That pumps blood into the mouth of morning,

The woman who sits at the edge of sorrow
Grafting time into the shape of a clay pot or reed basket,
Insatiable with longing and filled with the ovaries of stars,
The mind of all things drawn to silt and sludge,
To pools and ferns.

Currents streak her back with a name that means dreaming fish
Where ripples of reed ducks and water rats pattern hieroglyphs
Against her wide green thighs.

She is the water that we shed as tears, scooped up by the hands of night
And poured into the throat of day, turquoise and lapis, emerald and jade.
The moon hums against her skin.

She knows nothing but her name rising as fog over fields,
Or sleeping in limbs of apple trees as the Eyeless One
Who spirals through a thousand lifetimes and dances Kali or Quan Yin.

Look, the animals are searching for their reflection in her face.
Even the God who sleeps curled in the belly of small creatures
Wakes up, slips on her mask of moonlight
And swims from this opening into Mother Ocean.

She splashes their bodies with moss and now they are snarled
In her net of fish scales and seal bone.

These are the knees of devotion,
The tangled roots of our lives coming to fruition.
The river is a mirror for our bodies.

She carries the planets inside her belly and hums the earth into being
So that our bodies, blooming with their fisted flowers of blood
Are filled with that song.

The River, who speaks in tongues, is born and dies
In the fissured cracks of our cells so that
We become the sleeping center of the shell,
The speck of sand turning into pearl.

~Devreaux Baker

Before the World Wakes

by Elena Díaz Bjorkquist

In the stillness of early morning
before the pale rays of dawn
become the first glorious glow of morning,
Mother Nature is in a state of flux,
her energy stable.

Free of disordered vibrations,
my mind remains in the land
of slumber, although awake.
Deep sleep washed away impurities
accumulated from yesterday.

My mental, physical, emotional potential
is heightened to meditate in this peaceful,
energetically charged, in-between time.
I connect in intimate fashion
with the Divine.

Light, air, energy, flow around me,
speak in hushed tones of the day to come,
set my mood for a serene, fulfilling day.
In the glorious glow of morning
I wake as the world awakes.

Embracing the joy of being,
I draw upon the unique energy of
daybreak for comfort, creativity, vigor.
I feel blessed with the gift of
another day of life.

The sun’s ascension inspires me, as it
grows golden to the birds’ serenade.
My vitality returns as I become
one with the stirring of other beings
rubbing sleep from their eyes.

I greet the sun, the new day
in the traditional ancient way,
like my grandmother before me,
and her mother before her.
I call out in the four directions.

First to the north, tauhi, tahui,
tahui, tahui.
Then to the east, tauhi, tahui,
tahui, tahui,
To the south, tauhi, tahui,
tahui, tauhui,
and to the west, tauhi, tauhi.
tahui, tahui.

I return to the center,
open my arms and embrace the world.
I am centered, my destiny
not yet written,
there is nothing I cannot do.

Sullen Angel of the Arizona Divide

by Mary Pranzatelli

Line of Demarcation
Rigid and Restricted Valley of the Gods
Mexican hat and bluff
Sullen Angel of the Arizona divide
I'm waiting for you
oh I have waited for you
and waited and waited

You silenced me
silenced me with fear
you confused me
terrorized the barrio
of my emotions
the numbness of my soul
I have no choice
there is no choice
no freedom
no escape from you

All the battles that I fought
could not be won
You enjoy the pain
you inflict on mankind
You are the devil's son
the torch that shines over
this so called Gringa
is burning my eyes
I don't want to go blind
Not many get to see
the view like I did
Arizona divide
Oh Arizona divide
I am a sullen Angel
of the Arizona divide

Towering red mesas
please show the world
there is such thing as love
May your eerie nights
shimmer softly with the moon
that gleams above
and give us words of wisdom
Precious Navajo land
endless sand of desert infusion
It's been fourteen days
fourteen nights
four corners and no more water
I'm here for you and waiting for you
and waiting for change

this sullen Angel
this so called Gringa
is waiting for you
just waiting to look in your eyes
waiting to touch your skin
waiting to put my head on your chest
to listen to the breaths that you take
just waiting for you
and waiting for you
please make it home alive

Sand and Bone Desert Spark

By George Hartley

Huesos arena spark
combine, conjunto
lost in the desert

burnt and callused feet
walking, hiding, running:

grain by grain the imprint
cry by cry the impact
trade agreement shipment of goods
more precious to the gods (capital)
than flesh (accident)

spark, phosphorescence, glimmer
what remains of lives given up
to the glow of memory—darkness

imprints in air and sand
their last breath
a suck of my own breathing
spin and dizzy the sand
sing and measure the sorrow

of a child at home now motherless
now fatherless
with only grain of bone of sand to testify
to the pull of love’s immediacy
and strength

blood and bone and sand
to the rhythm of riches and nations
spilled and spent

left to the spark of memory

December 10, 2010

[Inspired by student art displayed in the University of Arizona library, December 5, 2010.]


1. “Twilight in Juarez” by Jeanette Iskat de Aldana

2. “River” by Devreaux Baker

3. “Before the World Wakes” by Elena Diaz Bjorkquist

4. “Sullen Angel of the Arizona Divide” by Mary Pranzatelli

5. “Sand and Bone Desert Spark” by George Hartley

Jeanette Iskat de Aldana

Jeanette Iskat de Aldana is a painter, working mostly in mixed media and watercolor, and a poet, working mostly in mixed metaphors and words written in water. She is working on her first collection of poems and really wants someone to give her the letterpress and type blocks they have just hanging around so she could typeset old school broad sheets.

She lives in Los Angeles with her philosopher-songwriter husband, Jesus Aldana Alba.

Devreaux Baker

Devreaux Baker's work has been published or is forthcoming in many journals and anthologies including; The New Millenium, ZYZZYVA, The American Voice, Borderlands Review of Texas Poetry, The Guadalupe Review, Bloomsbury Review, High Plains Literary Review, Counter-Punch,El Tecolote, and the Inheritance of Light Anthology . She was an editor of Wood, Water, Air and Fire: The Anthology of Mendocino Women Poets and produced The Voyagers Radio Program of Original Student Writing for National Public Radio. She taught poetry in the schools for many years and has published three books of poetry; Light at the Edge, Beyond the Circumstance of Sight and Red Willow People. She is the recipient of a MacDowell Fellowship, A Hawthornden Castle International Poetry Fellowship, three California Arts Council multi-disciplinary fellowships, and the Helene Wurlitzer Writing Fellowship. She has conducted workshops on creative writing in France, England, Scotland and Mexico. She currently directs the Mendocino Coast Poets Reading Series.

Elena Díaz Björkquist

Elena Díaz Björkquist, a writer, historian, and artist from Tucson, writes about Morenci, Arizona where she was born. She is the author of two books, Suffer Smoke and Water from the Moon. Elena has been on the Arizona Humanities Council (AHC) Speakers Bureau for nine years and not only performs as Teresa Urrea in a Chautauqua but also does two presentations about Morenci, Arizona and one about the 1880’s Schoolhouse in Tubac.

Elena is co-editor of Sowing the Seeds, an anthology written by her writers group. The project was funded by AHC. She is nearing completion of another collection of Morenci stories entitled “Albóndiga Soup” and is co-editing a new anthology entitled “Our Spirit, Our Reality” by the Comadres of Sowing the Seeds.

A SIROW Scholar at the University of Arizona, Elena conducted an oral history project funded by AHC; “In the Shadow of the Smokestack.” A website she created contains the oral history interviews and photographs of Chicano elders living in Morenci during the Depression and World War II. Another project funded by AHC and the Stocker Foundation is “Tubac 1880’s Schoolhouse Living History Program.” Her website is www.elenadiazbjorkquist.net/.

Mary Pranzatelli

This writing was written from the bottom of my heart. Much of the time people do not realize the hardships that an American girl faces in a relationship with a man caught up in this broken immigration system. She is caught in between two structures amongst her peers. She lives with her man who feels degraded because he has to depend on her for his basic needs. He depends on her for the simple things we all take for granted, and he can only invest emotions with her. These emotions become dysfunctional. His "Gringa" is an "Angel of the Arizona Divide", because only an Angel could survive the circumstance. She cries everyday, and lives in the shadows with him. Watching employers, landlords and everyday people brand him with the "stereotype". When she talks about him to her working class peers they think it’s OK to ask if her man is an "illegal". By night her man’s underground friends do not care for her much either, because they resent the fact that she is a citizen and has the basic needs that she needs. Her man loves her deeply but they are trapped within a mainstream culture, and an underground culture. This feels much like she is struck with a knife when she hears this label. She becomes angry, frustrated, depressed, and her psychological state becomes self-destructive with dysfunction. In this poem she is an "Angel" and in her dreams she crosses the border with her man for the second time, after he faces a deportation. He appears 14 days later in her town in a yellow taxi cab from NYC. He made it home alive. He didn't die in the desert from dehydration. He wasn't abandoned by criminal Coyotes, but now she waits for this horrible system to change. She waits, and waits and waits. She has to be an "Angel" to survive.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The beautiful poem River, stole my heart and set me adrift on beautiful images. River helped me traverse through all the poems and stop at their banks to learn their wisdom.

Esmeralda Bernal