Tuesday, March 15, 2011

It's About Time. On-Line Floricanto Ides of March

Senate Politicians Make Hay While Veterans Say "Will work for food."

Michael Sedano

foto mvs: rice paddy and haystack near Panmunjom, Korean DMZ 1970

The following press release should speak for itself, but of course, it doesn't. Head trauma, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Waxman and his riche pals stealing VA land, Obama notches more Gold Star Mothers (honorary and citizen) than the previous dud, drones replace B-52s so we can rain hi-tech terror from the skies while sitting stateside; all that crud and more. So I can't help but see the gesture reported here as pandering lip service. If these valiant politicians want to thank soldiers of my generation (I served in Korea in 69-70), bring home all the kids in Iraq and Afghanistan--these are our grandchildren.

Still, I know guys who served in Vietnam who express joy at this modicum of acknowledgment of all they left behind.

Washington D.C – The U.S. Senate yesterday declared March 30th as “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day,” agreeing unanimously to a resolution introduced by Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

On March 30, 1973, all U.S. troops withdrew from Vietnam under the terms of the Treaty of Paris. This March 30th, the Senate has encouraged Americans across the country to recognize Vietnam veterans for their sacrifice and demonstrate a warm welcome to these soldiers who returned from war to a politically divided country.

“I’m pleased that the Senate has agreed to set aside a day to give our Vietnam veterans a warm, long-overdue welcome home. I strongly encourage communities throughout North Carolina and across the country to observe this day with activities and events that honor these veterans for their service. It’s time they receive the recognition they have earned and deserve. This day also provides our nation with an important teaching moment. Never again should our men and women serving in the armed forces receive the same treatment as those returning from Vietnam ,” said Senator Richard Burr.

Senator Burr introduced the resolution for the second consecutive year on February 16, 2011. For Senator Burr’s remarks on the introduction of the resolution, click

The United States became involved in Vietnam because policy-makers believed that if South Vietnam fell to a communist government, communism would spread throughout the rest of Southeast Asia . The US Armed Forces began serving in an advisory role to the South Vietnamese in 1961, and in 1965, ground combat troops were sent into Vietnam . On March 30, 1973, after many years of combat, all US troops withdrew. More than 58,000 members of the United States Armed Forces lost their lives and more than 300,000 were wounded in Vietnam .

Senators John Boozman (R-AR), Thad Cochran (R-MS), James Inhofe (R-OK), and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Mike Johanns (R-NE) co-sponsored the legislation. The resolution now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

So on March 30, everyone enjoying sweet tax breaks under the GOP-Obama tax deal, give a vet a job. And if you cannot do that, at least buy a bag of oranges from the immigrant standing downwind.


On-Line Floricanto. On the Ides of March.

Ancient latinas latinos celebrated the ides of March as a tribute to the god Mars, their warrior god (see above for something you can do for any ex-warriors you know). Most readers think of the assassination of Julius Caesar when they think "ides" but let us have a moment's silence to honor Cinna the Poet. His mother should have named him Horace.

1. "Dear America" by Griselda Liz Muñoz
2. "For Brisenia Flores and Other Lynchings Gone Unnoticed" by Bobby LeFebre
3. "Shuttle to Bullhead" by Matt Sedillo
4. "The Price of Freedom" by Bill Bogert
5."Permanent Revolution" (for Poets Responding to SB 1070) by Jeffrey Garza-Falcon

Dear America

"in withered injustice,
what a gift it is to sing”

by Griselda Liz Muñoz

Dear America,

If in chains you have kept
and been kept,
there have always been arms

if ruins, burned parches
your towns have become,
they have
always been

especially the most poor,
when they salute your flag
in the morning
they mean
I did.

there is no shortage
of the shiny eyed
for you.

Your founding fathers
of most of this
but I think we can agree
all. of it.

If I met Thomas Jefferson
would I even be human
to him?
Would he
want to

you hate
Because I am the daughter
of immigrants,
my mothers broken
angers political pundits,
and I cannot forget
my language,
it is embedded in all of the stones

Tell me you don’t
tell me you don’t,
and that I could build here
right here
and id be left alone
that I could plant seeds here
and be

In amber waves
I wish to lay;

Griselda L. Muñoz

For Brisenia Flores and Other Lynchings Gone Unnoticed

by Bobby LeFebre

Legend has it,
that if you whittle the trunk of a tree in the Southwest long enough,
you’ll eventually find missing pages of American history hidden between the rings.

Wooden shelves house dirty secrets tucked away in corners like naughty children,
there is no catalogue that lists the call number of this manuscript.

The document is written in blood.
Stamped with hate
Sealed with government approval
and self addressed to oblivion.

But trees are known to carry cellular memory.

They remember things they wish they could forget.
Each scar tells a story.
Every limb writes its own chapter.

Trees in the Southwest are living museums

The branches were arms twisted into cradling the sins of man.
They wept sap through the knots in their stomachs,
as their hands were tied like the nooses that penetrated their skin.

Human pendulums swayed in snapped neck
as crosses were set ablaze beneath them.

The roots watched the falling leaves with envy in autumn
as the wind swooped them up in sanctuary.

They became roaming witnesses to hate crimes,
screaming in tumbling rustle,
warning brown skin bodies of the dangers that lurk down dirt roads.

Etched into the bark of their back was a rolling obituary of Spanish surnames
American history has written off like a business expense;
Mexican Americans have been lynched while the sun watches,
but the screams can only be heard in the shadows.

We learned about African-Americans in the segregated south,
but we were never taught about the people of the sun in the Southwest.

How we too dangled like decorations from willows that wept for us

The trees have seen it all.

History has a stutter,
it cant help but repeat itself,
lynching, lynching, lynching has only changed clothes.

Brisenia Flores was only nine.

Had just bought a new pair of shoes for a summer camp she would never see,
she smiled like a third grader.

She loved Belle from Beauty and the Beast
and her puppy

Her heart was bubble wrapped in childhood.
She saw the world through the same eyes as God;
Perfect, unmolested and pure

She couldn’t yet smell the stench that emanates from a world rotting from the inside;
she was far from a threat.

Her steps were too feather to leave scars,
but heavy enough to leave impressions.

There was a tree outside her home too unseasoned to know the blood of generations before.

Pistols have replaced nooses,
Brisenia's last words are proof of that,
“Please don’t shoot me”
she begged as two bullets to the head transformed her pulse into a halo.

On May 30th 2009,
a minuteman militia member feared a nine year old girl with bronze skin more than god.

Hate pulled the trigger killing Brisenia and her father.

Just like those who hung before,
her screams were heard only in the shadows.

The tree outside her home has memorized her story like a script.

It will tuck the scar away in the pocket of its rings for years
until someone whittles its trunk away,
exposing what the media refused.

Brisenia’s blood will run in the veins of the leaves.
It will never forget what it saw.
Trees remember things they wish they could forget

Shuttle to Bullhead

by Matt Sedillo

Writing a 5 part series about my trip through Arizona this is part one its about the shuttle ride over and some racist asshole who was driving the shuttle.

The Young and the Damned
Part 1 (Shuttle to Bullhead)

A Bus ride to Vegas
A shuttle to Bullhead
Headed into Arizona
With a mind ill at ease
The driver’s voice heavy
With fascism
With Frontiersmen
With the desert
Asks me where I am from
Then tells me Los Angeles
Is collapsing under the weight of its youth
Blames the gangs
By which he means blacks
Blames illegals
Looks me over suspiciously
Would deny racism if confronted
Wears his hatriotism on his sleeve
Would say he is just proud to be American
Treats white women
With the Jefferson Davis courtesy
Of an old fashioned gentleman
Stares at me
Longing to play
John Wayne to my Camanche
Joe Arpaio to my Latino
Probably sees himself
As the last line of defense
The head of a lynch mob
Or a chain gang
Border patrol or as
The avenging angel of a line in the sand
Yes he has all the chivalry
Of an old fashioned Klansman
There are nooses in his eyes reflection
There is vigilante on his breath
And there is a whole stretch of desert
Between us and Bullhead
But this is two thousand and eleven
And all things are a process
And all things make progress
So his hatred his ignorance
Have crossed the color line
You see
Mostly he blames my city’s problems
On people who just don’t want to work
And in this economy
That could mean damn near anybody
And Arizona is no country for traveling poets
And there is a limit to how much venom
I will allow to splash across my ear drum
He speaks past me
Mutters the word illegal
And looks me over again
Take a good hard look racist son of a bitch
I am third generation
Second to speak English as a first language
Not a spic
Not a wetback
But a man
Like my father
My grandfather
And his father before him
Who died sick
Off that Colorado black lung
He got slaving away in the coal mines
To fuel the economy
Of los Yankees
Before the economics
Of racism and exploitation
Xenophobia and deportation
Chewed his ass up and spit him out
Jose Calderon was a man
Who sacrificed everything for his family
Yet still raised children
Who wondered if their father truly loved them
Because his heart was hardened
By the decisions forced on him by poverty
Yes this beast this monstrosity
Has feasted bones of my family
For far too long
So when you say that word
It is not only a slap in the face
To people fighting to feed their families
Or just make it through the day
No you are spitting on my great grandfather's grave
And you are lucky
You are lucky
You are lucky
I have left violence behind me
But I could feel the rage building
Up inside of me
And I could feel the quote
Welling up in my throat
“Why don’t you shut the fuck up
Before I knock your old racist ass out”
But it came out
More like sigh
Finally we arrived
Cross state line
Into Arizona


Is eternal vigilance.

After a while,
You get a little crazy,
You know.

Freedom is tired.
She takes off her tiara
Lays down her torch
And cries on my shoulder.

Lady Liberty
Did not know
She had a price.
Now she feels like a whore
Raped and unloved.
Will she ever be clean enough?
She rubs and she scrubs.

She fears the workers
She once
Covertly welcomed
Now will attack her,
Peal off her green skin
In long thin strips
To be sold for the copper.
Her nerves turn to wire,
Naked, endless, never yet in tune.

Her country's become
A coast to coast crack lab,
A white powder nation,
A space for transactions.

Only fools think
Relationships last.

I picture a note on her fridge:

"This is just to say
We had to take
All that you had
All that you make
-- Don't get mad --

"All of your work,
All of your play,
All of your past,
All of your future
-- Don't be a quitter --

"Just to pay
For another day
You understand.
You're so sweet.
-- Don't get bitter --

Wall Mart and Wall Street."
But I lie.
There's no poem, no confession,
No explanation.

Just more and more locks on the door,
Spilled glitter, kitty litter
-- That needs to be changed --
A thousand yard stare.

The price of freedom
Is eternal vigilance.
Truth or dare?

Knock. Knock.
Who's there?

Bill Bogert

Permanent Revolution (for Poets Responding to SB 1070)

by Jeffrey Garza-Falcon

Rise up Xicanos and claim our native land!
Arizona is the spoil of war to the wicked.
Rabid settlers are putting us in the crosshairs.
The fate of Navajo brothers who are now dispossed.
Arm yourself with the machinations of self-defense.
Time to recognize your role in permanent revolution.

Rise up Xicanos and claim our native land!
Africans, Asians, and Latin Americans hear the call.
It is our precious earth. It is our golden sun.
We are a people who are increasing in strength.
Racists politicians are abusing state power.
Time to recognize your role in permanent revolution.

Rise up Xicanos and claim our native land!
Free your minds of white nationalist hubris.
March to decolonize the university.
March to deschool the society.
Drop out altogether in a wave of social protest.
Time to recognize your role in permanent revolution.

Rise up Xicanos and claim our native land!
Sherrif Arpaio is legalizing the killing of our children.
The rich white elites should never be trusted.
Capitalism is a system of human genocide and greed.
Marxism is a system of equality and human need.
Time to recognize your role in permanent revolution.

Rise up Xicanos and claim our native land!
Fight against racism with all of your weapons.
Before toxic agents damage our native organs.
Class struggle rages in streets and in prisons.
The unveiling of a hidden government deception.
Time to recognize your role in permanent revolution.

Rise up Xicanos and claim our native land!
Do not salute the anthems of corporate domination.
Do not wave the national banner of class oppression.
We claim liberation from the tyranny of the whites.
Shaking hands with the man is against my religion.
Time to recognize your role in permanent revolution.

Rise up Xicanos and claim our native land!
Imperialist hegemony is shadowing my tortured psyche.
Brutal white amerikkka will lose against counter-insurgency.
The legacies of elite regimes will bow down to the people.
It's right to rebel against banker occupation.
Time to recognize your role in permanent revolution.

Rise up Xicanos and claim our native land!
Drink fresh water from the wells of victory.
A transcendent spirit dwells deep within our souls.
Indigenous culture will shape our future identity.
The general strike will ring in an era of new reality.
Time to recognize your role in permanent revolution.

1. "Dear America" by Griselda Liz Munoz
2. "For Brisenia Flores and Other Lynchings Gone Unnoticed" by Bobby LeFebre
3. "Shuttle to Bullhead" by Matt Sedillo
4. "The Price of Freedom" by Bill Bogert
5."Permanent Revolution" (for Poets Responding to SB 1070) by Jeffrey Garza-Falcon

Bobby LeFebre is an award-winning spoken word artist, actor, and social worker from Denver, Co. He is a two time Grand Slam Champion, a National Poetry Slam Finalist, an Individual World Poetry Slam Finalist, and is managed by Layman Lyric Productions for performance poetry booking. LeFebre was recently featured in the National Museum of the American Latino Commission’s first-year report to President Obama and Congress, speaking on the importance of the potential creation of the Museum of the American Latino on the National Mall. He has shared stages with with the top performance poets in the nation, Grammy nominated musicians Les Nubian, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, Dead Prez, UNIVERSES, Saul Williams, Bahamadia, The Chicano Messengers of Spoken Word, D.J. Kool Herc, Talib Kweli, Gil Scott-Heron, Trinidad Sanchez Jr., Sandra Maria Esteves, and The Last Poets.

Matt Sedillo is a national slam poet, published author, member of the Revolutionary Poet's Brigade and artist affiliate of the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign. He has been described by HBO Def Poet Besskepp as well as others as "the hardest working poet in Los Angeles. Sedillo has shared the stage as a headlining act with talents as diverse and renowned as Jack Hirschman, Luis Rodriguez and Taalam Acey. In addition to performing poetry Matt has also taken part in and or hosted discussion panels and groups on racism and poverty and twice been featured on KPFK, once on Freedom Now and once on the Pocho Hour of Power.

Matt Sedillo has been a featured performer at various venues such as City Lights Books, Beyond Baroque, A Mic at Dim Lights, Still Waters, Flagstaff Slam, Tuesday Night Cafe, Kaleidescope Free Speech Zone, Berkley Poetry Express, The Nook, Urbane Culture, Corazon Del Pueblo's Flowers of Fire, Natural High, Mental Mondayz, Freedom Fridays, Black Box Griots, The Sound Lounge, The Sacred Lounge, Redondo Poets, Griot's Cafe, Natural Mystic, the Indigo Lounge, Hues of Red,Clusterfunk, Sylmar's YO! Youth Center and Tia Chuchas. As a member of the 2009 Empire Mindstate slam team competed in the battle for San Diego, the Battle for the IE, Battle for LA and of course the 2009 National Slam competition. Matt was individually the winner of the first ever Damn Slam, L.A.'s premier monthly money slam and in 2010 competed at Inkslam on a team representing that venue.

He has performed at events such as the Los Angeles International Film Festival, the 40th Commermoration of the Chicano Moratorium, Santa Ana's Noche del Altares (in front of an estimated crowd of 8,000) the opening of La Bodega in East Los Angeles, Revolutionary Poet's Brigade San Fransisco Book Launch, Celebrating Words festival, Hear NO HO arts festival, Beyond the Boots, Leimert Park Art Walk, Concierta sin Fronteiras, Saje Holiday Marketplace, Floricanto Adelanto, Noche Bajo la Estrallas, Indiginous people's day, the opening of the art exhibit Your Revolution Under Construction, Lionlike Inaguration, Los Angeles Valley College Youth Summit, 2010: A Beyond Baroque Odyssey and Spit.

Matt has performed at the following universities, LMU, Arizona State University, Pasadena Community College, Pitzer, Cal State San Bernadino, UCLA, Cal State Fullerton, Azusa Pacific University, Redlands University, Cal State San Bernardino, El Camino college, Compton College, Cal State Northridge, Southwest College and SOKA University

Anti-Semites expelled Bill Bogert's grandparents from the Ukraine in 1908. Born in San Francisco in 1952, Bill spent his teen years in Southern California, later studying philosophy at Santa Cruz and then Renaissance drama at Berkeley, where he now makes his home. Bill only discovered live theater, which requires alive audiences, when he encountered Campo Santo performing in San Francisco's Mission District in the late '90s. Bill wants to marry emancipatory Marxism to political ecology. What he can't solve in life, he metabolizes into poetry. He's pretty much unpublished but occasionally shows up at open mic's.

Jeffrey Garza-Falcon is a poet, conceptual artist, and journalist born and
raised in Fresno, California.I am a second-generation Chicano from Fresno, California. My grandparents were migrant farmworkers. They came to the San Joaquin Valley in the 1960's after spending many years working the fields as Braceros in south Texas, and before that in northern Mexico.

I'm a latch-key kid of the 1970's. A Generation X product of multiple broken homes that were filled with divorce, alcoholism, violence, and poverty. I wanted to be a writer as far back as I can remember. I enjoy the sense of empowerment that writing provides, especially poetry. It connects me to something much larger in the universe. As a writer, I have the power to overthrow the ruling class and establish something much more beautiful. If I can control my narrative, I can control the truth. I can defeat the liars. I think that writing about your life experience is an incredible act of self-determination. As Chicano/Latinos, we know an awful lot about being denied our right to determine our own destiny.

I was an uninspired high school drop out at one point. Fresno Unified School District and its arsenal of lying educators failed me in a big way. But just a year later I discovered the environmental movement that was burgeoning in the early 90's, by way of Greenpeace and Earth First! At the time I was working with the California Conservation Corps, fighting wilderness fires. My growing awareness of how multinational corporations were destroying the Amazon rainforests helped me to develop greater sensitivity to issues of social justice. From there I began to spend a lot of time in public libraries reading about 1960's era social protest movements. I started to dream of going to Berkeley and becoming a student radical, like my new heroes in the New Left.
fter a few years at Fresno City College, I made it to Berkeley and graduated. It was a dream come true.

Since then I've worked as a magazine writer, newspaper reporter, a columnist, and an arts reviewer. I've also worked as a dishwasher, crisis counselor, and telemarketer in between writing gigs. I'm working on a memoir and writing a lot of poetry. I earned a BA in Philosophy from UC Berkeley in 1997. I've completed graduate coursework towards a PhD in Theology at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley. Currently, I reside in Palo Alto where I ride my bike everywhere I go.

No comments: