Tuesday, July 19, 2011

On-Line Floricanto

Publishing Project Ready for the Press

La Bloga friend Meg Withers sees the fruition of a major project, "an anthology of women's writing that is accompanied by black and white photos from the first part of the last century," Meg writes. The project puts forth an impressive face via the video below.

Giving credit to her co-workers, Withers notes, "It's an honor to have participated with Joell Hallowell, videographer and photographer, on this 3-year project.

"In honor of our mothers, daughters, granddaughters, sisters, friends, and ancestresses, we hope you will enjoy the video and pass it along to whomever you believe would like to see this homage to the women who created us all.

More information about the anthology from this link.

La Bloga On-Line Floricanto • Penultimate Tuesday July 2011

1. "My Heart Is a Strawberry Field" by Sonia Gutiérrez

2. "Talking About Fences" by Dani Raschel Jiménez

3. "The Ones that Live On" by Nancy Aidé González

4. "Igualdad / Equality" by Fernando Rodriguez Villa

5. "The Activist" by Matt Sedillo

My Heart Is a Strawberry Field
To Lorenza Álvarez
by Sonia Gutiérrez

It’s becoming more difficult to breathe
on this gurney. I—American born.

Crimson drips from their fists
as they take my pregnant strawberry
heart and take turns squeezing—
this bitter sweet dream of mine.

I am no Florence Owens Thompson.
I stand in a ransacked strawberry field—
endless with rows and furrows echoing
echoing my wailing—my children’s
wailing—my womb’s wailing.

These strawberries saw them take
my Julio away; they too cry tonight,
shedding a million seeds—
tiny tears falling from their seedless faces.

They took him from the Strawberry Festival
like my country is used to—taking.
Ohhhhh Dear L—,
This country of mine:
taking children to boarding schools,
taking field hands heavy with milk to toil,
taking paper-tagged families to internment camps,
taking my Julio to a detention center,
taking progeny to war, and bringing
migrant fathers to strawberry fields while La Señora Statue of Liberty
and El Jefe Uncle Sam wear blinders with crimson smudges
around their puckered, drooling lips—taking
strawberries from green baskets.

I—American born, whose heart knows
no boundaries, whose heart knows
no laws, whose bitter sweet dream
is once again classified illegal
in this country of mine
wrapped in robe and uniform,
wants strawberry fields
of freedom for this unborn,
now fatherless child of mine.

“ICE Agents Raid Strawberry Festival and Arrest Two Fathers in Front of Children”
—from Francisco X. Alarcón’s facebook wall

Talking About Fences
by Dani Raschel Jimenez

We test fences on the border.

He pushes through the cane
on the river banks. I follow
and know these fences don’t need

testing. A bird hears us, freezes
on the ground, the sun
above its blue-black wings.
I wonder if the wings shine
the same on the other side.

On the other side, our actors are dubbed,
a barbaric language forced on their lips.
Menudo comes in cans.
Tacos lack cilantro and pico de gallo.

And still, his shadow bends at the knees.
He wants to try, to jump, the fence.
I can’t make him stay. I know
these fences don’t need testing.

It needs abandonment of the skin.

The Ones that Live On
Nancy Aidé González

I come from a long line of Mexican women,
who washed their clothes on wash boards in a bucket,
who worked in the fields,
who worked as maids in wealthy households,
who made beans at dawn
and boiled tortillas at dusk,
fed the chickens in their back yards,
watered their lush green plants,
disciplined their children
and rarely questioned their husbands.

These women fought to survive
swallowed their tears
hid their fears,
my fore mothers never gave up
even when times were difficult they took
hardship with dignity.

My great grand mother and grandmothers
were women who went to church
and prayed
had faith
and believed in God,
they were excellent mothers and wives,
the cornerstones of the family.

My mother was strong
when her husband cheated on her,
beat her,
verbally abused her
then left her with two children
standing by his closed casket.

My aunt was wild,
adventurous, hilarious,
fun loving,
and left by her only love
with a child to care for all alone.

These women were survivors
whose blood runs through my veins.

I come from a long line of women
tough as nails,
hard as steal,
soft like velvet,
sweet like pan dulce,
full of wisdom
secrets that will never be told.

They are my past,
They are my present,
They are….

They live in my heart
These women with lyrical voices,
They are what bring me to keep walking
When all I want to do is go into a deep dark sleep
and never wake up,
They keep me alive when
I feel too weary to go on.

They are the force
That reach out to touch my soul,
They are the hands that lift me up when I have failed,
They bathe me when I am covered in mud.

They are my fore mothers,
They are the past,
They are the present,
They are the future,
They are the ones that live on.

© Nancy Aidé González, 2011

"Igualdad / Equality"
by Fernando Rodriguez Villa

Please click image for a full view of "Igualdad / Equality"

The Activist
by Matt Sedillo

I was born of the first generation
In American history
That by all projections
Will have a lower standard of living
Than that of their parents
I was born in the era
Of outsourcing
Disaster capitalism
Free trade agreements
Manmade famine
A global village
To the ground
When I was a child
I was grateful
To have been born American
Because I had heard
That they were starving
In Africa
South America
I was happy
To be poor here
Instead of there
Better them
Than me
Those were their
You see
I was raised
Dog eat dog
Brother vs. Brother
Survival of the fittest
I was raised
The American way
Family moved on up
To a crashing housing market
To bank accounts
That couldn’t quite keep up with
Raised expectations
Parents traded stability
For appearances
But by then
I was a young man
So that
That was their fucking problem
And I
Had already hit the ground running
Out the suburban bubble
Deep into the concrete Jungle
Hunting for four walls
And some rent control
Social Darwinism
Like I said
Survival of the fittest
You just do your best
And let nature sort out the rest
I lived
Another day
Another dollar
Got beer in the fridge
So who cares about the squalor
The sirens
The violence
The desperation
Right outside
No no not I
Because those
Were someone else's problems
And besides
Mine weren’t really
All that different
Modern day chattel
Slaving away
In a modern day Hooverville
In Calvin Coolidge’s America
Where the business of America
Is and has always been business
Yeah I read some
Yeah I knew the score
And History is always up for grabs
But I was born in the generation
Of no working solutions
Of privatization
Market derivatives
Corporate mergers
I saw the world grow smaller
And their profits
Grow bigger
I saw
The merger of state and corporation
2 point 0
I heard business
To the bells of
Wall Street
To the tune of
Too big to fail
Too big for class action
Too big for justice
But I was just a young man
Born of a generation
Of the young and the damned
Behind a desk
Just happy to have a job
And the world crumbling around
At my feet
Well that
That was someone else’s
Fucking problem
Lost my job
Told everyone
I was laid off
Left on my own terms
Couldn’t bare the truth
Couldn’t stomach the embarrassment
Couldn’t admit to myself I had failed
That these too were now
My problems
No heat
No phone
No running water
No electricity
But time
Time enough finally
And I read
By candle light
The lives of men
And women
Who had come before me
Of humble beginnings
And heroic deeds
And I wept in shame
Stepped out the house
Soaked in
My neighbours
As much as I could of them
Before the inevitable eviction
And I saw people
Through the eyes
The eyes of someone
Aware of something bigger
Than himself
I saw the world
With all its terrible problems
And all its wonderful possibilities
And all that I must do
And I saw for the first time
For the very first time
For myself
That if you are not part of the solution
Then what exactly are you


1. "My Heart Is a Strawberry Field" by Sonia Gutiérrez
2. "Talking About Fences" by Dani Raschel Jiménez
3. "The Ones that Live On" by Nancy Aidé González
4. "Igualdad / Equality" by Fernando Rodriguez Villa
5. "The Activist" by Matt Sedillo

Sonia Gutiérrez
photo:Esveida López
Sonia Gutiérrez’s work—poetry, fiction, social criticism and photography—has appeared in alternaCtive publicaCtions, Lavandería: A Mixed Load of Women, Wash and Word (Winner of the 16th Annual San Diego Book Awards Association for Best Anthology), the San Diego Poetry Annual, La Bloga’s On-Line Floricanto—Poets Responding to SB 1070, La Revista Literaria de El Tecolote “Celebrating Its 40th Anniversary,” Fringe Magazine, City Works Journal among others and forthcoming in Turtle Island to Abya Yala. She teaches English Composition/Critical Thinking and Writing at Palomar College, Mt. San Jacinto College and Creative Writing for Upward Bound (CSUSM). She is also working on Kissing Dreams from a Distance, a novel, and her first full-length poetry manuscript, Spider Woman/La Mujer Araña, is seeking publication. To see more of her work, visit her bloguita, Chicana in the Midst.

Dani Raschel JiménezWhat you'll find on Dani Raschel Jiménez's bookshelf: Franz Kafka, Martín Espada, Kurt Vonnegut, and volumes of Fullmetal Alchemist. Her truck was stolen a few years ago while she was moving with her husband to a new apartment, and it hurt her to think of how the thieves had probably thrown away the novels she'd left in a box on the backseat, the words wasting away, silenced breaths.

Nancy Aidé González Nancy Aidé González is a Chicana poet, writer and educator. She currently lives and works in Lodi, California. Nancy graduated from California State University, Sacramento with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature in May of 2000. She was first published in Calaveras Station Literary Journal in 1999. She has contributed poems to Poets Responding to SB 1070. She writes eloquently about issues of cultural and gender oppression, and her work is influenced by feminist theory and cultural studies. Miss González also writes poetry about conflicts directly related to her upbringing, including divided cultural loyalties, feelings of alienation, family relationships, and poverty.
She teaches first-generation, Mexican –American migrant elementary students. She enjoys teaching her first grade students and giving back to her community. She holds a Master’s degree in Education with an emphasis in School Administration from California State University, Stanislaus. Nancy Aidé González is involved in Chicano Organizing & Research in Education (C.O.R.E.) a non-partisan, research and advocacy organization that aims to improve the educational environment of all Chicano/Latino students. She is currently working on a novel about Chicana women.

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