Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Diga Me! Icons of the Invisible. On-Line Floricanto

1973~2010 Festival de Flor y Canto Writers in Live Performance

Michael Sedano

Alejandro Murguía at 1973 Festival de Flor y Canto • Foto:msedano

Diga Me!, a reading of chicana and chicano writers, comes to UCLA's Fowler Museum for a single performance, October 29.  Diga Me! helps celebrate the 15th season of the longest running spoken word series in Los Angeles, The New Short Fiction Series, hosted by Sally Shore. 

Diga Me! features three writers from the 1973 and 2010 Festivales de Flor y Canto, Vibiana Aparicio-Chamberlin, Alejandro Murguía, and Ron Arias. Unlike most author readings, the writers join the audience and watch as a cast of professional actors voice the work. For this event, the Fowler's charming center courtyard will provide the intimate setting for the performances. 

I will moderate a post-performance conversation with the writers. We will chat about their work, el movimiento, yesterday and today, and speculate on the emergence of an authentic chicano renaissance.

Diga Me! comes to UCLA's Fowler in cooperation with Mapping Another L.A. : The Chicano Art Movement. See Dan Olivas' column at La Bloga-Monday for information on L.A. Xikano, and the Chicano Studies Research Center website for an overview of UCLA's cornucopia of chicanarte.

For details on Diga Me! on October 29, click the poster below, or this link.

Oscar Castillo L.A. Xicano Foto Exhibit: Icons of the Invisible

Icons of the Invisible: Oscar Castillo exhibits fifty images captured by the noted Chicano photographer. Castillo's frames of the August 29, 1970 Chicano Moratorium march and aftermath are among the most lasting images of the consequences of peaceful protest. The police riot that day killed three Chicanos after gassing and putting to rout thousands of people looking for a Sunday in the park with familia.

Oscar Castillo's work, however, extends well beyond the political. His lens has captured thousands of everyday images of people, places, objects, that together form an important visual matrix for understanding la cultura. The exhibition at UCLA's Fowler Museum is free (parking is $11), and runs through February 26, 2012. It is presented as one element of UCLA's role in Pacific Standard Time.

La Bloga attended the "soft opening" of Icons of the Invisible: Oscar Castillo. The "hard opening" will be a gala event on October 15 dedicated to memory of Gilbert Magu Sánchez Luján qepd. Email UCLA to attend the soirée.

The morning fête for hoi polloi included numerous friends here to hear a colloquy. Castillo arrived early and conducted impromptu personal tours for early arrivers. The give-and-take with the artist made the event all the more rewarding for these gallery goers who adjourned down to the auditorium for the featured talk and power point display.

Joining Castillo for an artist's conversation is photographer and arts profe, Harry Gamboa. Gamboa was one of the four artists in the performance group, Asco. Asco, coincidentally, is the focus of its own major exhibition, Asco: Elite of the Obscure, A Retrospective, 1972–1987 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Castillo (left) and Gamboa's talk invigorates the audience. Among the attendees are a handful of notable artists whose work will hang in the Mapping Another LA show. Below, David Botello shares some observations with Wayne Healy looking on.

Here Rosalio Muñoz, one of the Chicano Moratorium organizers, comments on inaccurate data in the tag accompanying one of Oscar's images of an early 1970 marcha. Muñoz is writing a memoir of his life in activism and has developed a penchant for double-checking historical documents.

Icons of the Invisible: Oscar Castillo features recently scanned archival prints selected from thousands of images Castillo's donated to the Chicano Studies Research Center and UCLA. The fifty on view illustrate the riches of the Castillo archive. The exhibition runs through early 2012, allowing ample opportunity for multiple visits to explore both Castillo's work and the Fowler's stunning exhibition and performance schedule.

On-Line Floricanto for 10 - 11 - 11

October's second Tuesday brings seven arresting poems recommended by Francisco Alarcón and the other moderators of the Facebook group Poets Responding to SB 1070. Today's floricanto brings code-switching, Spanish, or English expression from five poets, John Martinez, Francisco X. Alarcón, Claudia Hernandez, Raúl Sánchez, Jorge Argueta:

"Forest Lawn" by John Martinez
"Against the New HB 56 Law of Alabama - A Calavera Poem" / "Contra la nueva ley HB 56 de Alabama - Calavera" by Francisco X. Alarcón
"Arraigada a mi Tierra" by Claudia Hernandez
"Venceremos" por Raúl Sánchez
"Vos" / "You" by Jorge Argueta


by John Martinez

Under layers of earth
There is
An ear listening
A scorpion
Trapped in tangled root
It waits with a
Suspicious twitch
The morning brings
A young daughter with
A ribbon dress,
She asks “why?”
The moon is a sickle
In the light blue sky
The crickets sleep
But will awaken
Question marks
Crackle in the wind
Dead leaves rise
On a swirl of air
Then a young boy
His face a round
Bowl in his hands
Whispers ”Will I see you again?”
The soil opens again
In the jaws of a Caterpillar
Tents rise
And the sun
Positions itself
For another green
Shadow on the mound
Of Forest Lawn

©2011 John Martinez

This is the English version of a poem originally written in Spanish regarding the new anti-immigrant HB 56 Law of Alabama following the "Calavera" tradition in which poets take on politicians by writing satirical verses around the Days of the Dead--Francisco X. Alarcón



               by Francisco X. Alarcón

Goddess Mictlancihuatl 
and God Mictlantecuhtli, 
the Lady and Lord
of the Dead and their region

swiftly ended up around
the City of Montgomery 
in the State of Alabama
of the American Union

with long teeth and hairless,
very bony and ferocious
they cry out vociferously:
“we’re here without papers”

when an unaware racist policeman 
detains them driving in their car 
–a very luxurious convertible
fashioned as a Chicano low-rider— 

guilty of fitting the profile  
of undocumented immigrants
but just before arresting them
under the new HB 56 Law

Goddess Mictlancihuatl
shows off her long white teeth
like ivory pointed fangs to him
making the policeman fall flat

like a hard rock to the floor
“let badgers step all over you
until erasing all trace of you 
for lacking any conscience”

and God Mictlantecuhtli 
ran inside the State Capitol 
into Senator Scott Beason and
Representative Micky Hammon

who happily campaigned and 
passed this sinister HB 56 Law
to make the lives of immigrants
and their families more difficult

until instilling so much fear
among so many brown children 
who don’t want to go to school 
now due to this Law of Terror

“Beason, I’m turning you
into a beast of burden, so you
will know what a burden you are
even in this hellish underworld”

Mictlantecuhtli told him
smoking a grand cigar,
a gift from Lacandon Indians
and then said very sternly:

“Hammon, I’m condemning you
to forever serve as a hammock
where cleaning ladies working
in the Limbo take their rest”

the Mictlan Lords found
Governor Robert Bentley
hiding under a big bed 
in the Governor’s Mansion

disguised as Dracula,
with a blood dripping mouth,
shrouding his lacking of any
humanity and very bad faith

“we’re going to let this one live
so that he can suffer in flesh
the racist Jim Crow laws—
let the crows torture him ”

“we don’t want him to infect
with xenophobia and racism
the World of the Beyond
where souls rest in peace”

the Aztec deities then
proclaimed: “Death does 
not respect any unjust laws;
borders can’t contain Her”

chanting: “as you see us now,
you will see yourself one day;
at the end, documented and 
undocumented are all the same”

© Francisco X. Alarcón
October 7, 2011

Este poema sobre la nueva Ley HB 56 de Alabama fue escrito como parte de la tradición poética de las “calaveras” en las que los poetas critican de una manera satírica a figuras políticas durante los Días de los Muertos—Francisco X. Alarcón


               por Francisco X. Alarcón

la diosa Mictlancihuatl 
y el dios Mictlantecuhtli, 
la Señora y el Señor
de los Muertos y su región

a la ciudad de Montgomery 
del estado de Alabama
en la Unión Americana
veloces fueron a parar

muy dientudos y pelones,
muy huesudos y feroces
a todas voces repelen:
“aquí llegamos sin papeles”

cuando un incauto policía
racista los para en su auto
–un convertible muy fausto
estilo “low-rider” de Aztlán–

culpables de tener facha 
de ser indocumentados,
pero antes de arrestarlos
según la nueva Ley HB 56

la diosa Mictlancihuatl
sus largos dientes le pela
como colmillos de marfil
y el policía muy tieso cae

como piedra dura al piso
“que los tejones te pisen
hasta ningún rastro dejar
por conciencia no tener”

y el dios Mictlantecuhtli 
halló en el Capitolio Estatal
al Senador Scott Beason y
al Legislador Micky Hammon

quienes campantes pasaron 
la siniestra Ley HB 56
para la vida dificultar
a inmigrantes y familias

hasta infundir tanto temor
entre muchos niños morenos
que al escuela ya no quieren ir
debido a esta Ley de Terror

“Beason, a ti te convierto
en una bestia de carga
para que sepas qué carga eres
hasta en este mundo infernal”

le dijo Mictlantecuhtli
fumándose un gran puro
regalo de los Lacandones
para luego grave decir:

“Hammon, a ti te condeno
a siempre servir de hamaca
donde descansen las mucamas
trabajadoras del Limbo” 

los Señores de Mictlán 
bajo una cama encontraron
al Gobernador Robert Bentley
en la Mansión Gubernamental

disfrazado como Drácula,
desangrando por la boca,
escondiendo su muy poca
humanidad y muy mala fe

“a éste lo dejamos vivito
para que en carne escarmiente
las leyes racistas Jim Crow—
que los cuervos lo atizen”

“no queremos que nos infecte
de xenofobia y racismo
el Mundo del Más Allá
donde las almas reposan”

las dioses aztecas luego
proclamaron: “la Muerte 
no respeta leyes injustas;
ni fronteras la contienen”

cantando: “así como ahora
nos ves, un día te verás;
al final, documentados 
e indocumentados son igual”

© Francisco X. Alarcón
7 de octubre de 2011

Arraigada a mi Tierra

by Claudia Hernandez 

Like a
I stand

It is I
Who allows
The wind
To peel
My hearty

It is I
Who allows
The sun
To caress
My sturdy

—My sturdy,

A mi tierra
Con las venas

No permito que
Me amagues o
De mi tallo.

Yo recibo
Con ternura de
Tu lluvia

Siempre y cuando
Al rociarme
No me acabes,
No me ahogues.

Like a
I stand

Keep your

Elevate me
To the clouds

All your
In my ears

Solo de
Este modo
La espiga se

Retoñaran flores.
Retoñaran flores.



por Raúl Sánchez

De calaveras los panteones llenos están
Hay vivos que quisieran ver a otros muertos
Hay muertos que quisieran seguir viviendo

En esta sociedad llena de inmundicia
hay gobernantes llenos de avaricia
podridos de rancor y odio

contra gente diferente
gente consciente llena de vida
cuyo crimen es ser distinto

¿cómo es posible que el arco iris
sea arco iris si le falta algún color?
no todo es blanco y negro

el sol no se ve todo el tiempo
el aire no siempre es fresco
el idioma no sólo es uno

ningún ser humano
tiene derecho a privarle
la libertad a otro

lamentablemente vivimos
entre gente inhumana
que llevan piedras

en lugar de corazones
agua en el cerebro
veneno en la sangre

y odio en la punta de su lengua
estas gentes son descendientes
de colonizadores

cuyos vestigios racistas
siempre desean deshacerse de aquéllos
que no se amoldan a su modo de ser

miedo y amenazas son las armas
favoritas de esta gente desalmada
esa es la tendencia demoniaca

de las leyes como la HB 56 y la SB 1070
impuestas por jueces y gobernantes
para llevar a cabo su “limpieza étnica”

empujando a esta parte de la poblacion
a esconderse y alejarse; nos tratan como
si el color de nuestra piel fuera un color sucio

como si nuestro lenguaje fuera obsceno
como si nuestros rasgos fueran amorfos
como si fueramos basura

nuestra fuerza esta en nuestra sangre
en nuestra voz
en nuestra historia

basta ya de tanta discriminacion!
basta ya de que nos escupan en la cara!
basta ya de que nos pisoteen el alma!

basta ya de que nos ignoren!
basta ya! ya basta!
de toda esa mierda!

unámonos ahora más que nunca
con mas fuerza y con más Corazón
si hay que pelear,

nos defenderemos
como los guerreros
que siempre hemos sido



por Jorge Tetl Argueta 

Mamita vos
Sos cachimbona
Y ahora que estás vieja
Sigues siendo
La misma niña hermosa
De hace muchos años

Vos mamita
No tenés miedo de la noche
A tu edad salís con tu cartera roja
A buscar a tus amigos y amigas
Por la calle

Sos amiga de los desamparados
Y los otros ancianos y ancianas
De tu edificio donde vivís se admiran
Y te envidian
Al verte salir
Casi ciega y cojeando
Por las tardes

Vos te vestís de rojo
Y llevas en tu andar rojo
El atardecer indio de nuestra raza

Vos sos alegre como las nubes del invierno
Tus cuentos tienen muertos alegres
Que no paran de reír
Muertos tristes
Que no paran de llorar

Vos en tu pueblo
Corrías descalza por los maizales
De tu papá Alfredo
Y como él
Tenías un caballo
Llamado Zanate
Ordeñabas las ubres de las vacas
Y bebías del balde las mañanas de leche

Tus ojos vieron el volcán de Izalco
Cuando como vos decís
Su fuego
Era un camino rojo
Que subía al cielo como una llama

Vos estabas alegre comiendo
Queso hecho de mamita Tancho

Vos no conocías el mar
Pero el viento te traía
Al patio de tu casa hermosos sonidos salados

Vos recojías las orejas del árbol de conacaste
Y te quedas encendida como el árbol de fuego
Esperando a que nacieran las estrellas
Para contarlas todas

Vos te fuiste un día para San Salvador
Y terminaste en un barrio llamado San Jacinto
Lejos muy lejos de tu pueblo

Vos te volviste mujer
Madre de mis hermanos y hermana

Vos cocinabas mañana tarde día y noche
Cocinabas sonrrisas de frijoles y tortillas
De maíz  y casamiento
Y huevos picados
Y huevos estrellados
Con tomatada

Vos mamita
Nos diste a saborear
Amor en las cacerolas
Y en las ollas
Llenas de atol
Y tantas otras delicias

Vos sembrabas flores y plantas
Y árboles
Recordabas a tu pueblo
Nuestro pueblo

Cuando llego la revolución
No le temías a la guardia
A todo volumen escuchabas
Las Omilías de Monseñor Romero
Y te ibas a las demostraciones

Tenías un poster del Che Guevara
Y decías que vivan los estudiantes

Vos saliste de El Salvador
Para los Estados Unidos
Te quedaste sola
Después de que tus hijos
huimos de la guerra

Vos tenés los pies quebrados
desde una demostración
Y los coyotes decían que
No ibas aguantar la caminada
Por los cerros de Tijuana

Vos no tuviste miedo
Ni los escuchaste
Me cuentas que pensaste
En tus hijos
Todos nosotros

-Yo tengo que llegar a ver a mis hijos-
Les dijiste y te volviste invisible
No te vio la migra
Ni la policia cuando cruzaste la frontera
Te volviste más oscura que la misma noche
No te vio la migra

Vos seguís cocinando
Dándome cuentos
Y poemas de amor
En tus frijoles

Vos mamita
Sos como un hermoso vendabal
Sé que a tu edad das tu vida
Por mi vida
Y si alguien me ofende
Levantas tempestades
Despiertas al Diablo
Y después te arreglas con Dios

Vos mamita casi no sabes leer
Ni escribir
Pero eso no importa
Tenés el corazón bien puesto
Tu medicna
Es tu amor y tu humildad

Vos mamita sos curandera
De sabores tiernos llenos
De piedras dulces de nuestro pueblo

Vos mamita
Mamá Serve
Estoy feliz
Orgulloso de ser tu hijo
Y de que te guste
El rojo
Y las rancheras
Y de que salgas de tarde
Y que hables las palabras que hablas
En náhuatl
Y que adores a tu pueblo
Mi pueblo
A mamá Elba,
mamá Rufina
Mamá Toya
Chela y a todos
Que no es tan tan lejos
Porque vos mamita nunca estás lejos



 by Jorge Argueta

You mama
Are amazing
And as old as you are now
You continue to be
The same beautiful girl
Of many years ago

You mamita
Are not afraid of the night
At your old age
You fix yourself
Put on your red jacket
Take your red big purse

And you go out
To the streets
To find your friends

You are friend with the homeless
The other elderly people
From your building
Admire you
Envy you
When they see you going out
Almost blind
And limping
As the afternoon falls

You leave dressed on red
Taking with you
The Indian sunset of our roots with you

You are as happy as the winter clouds
Your stories
Have happy dead people
Who never stop laughing
Sad dead people who never stop crying

In your town
You used to run shoeless around the cornfield
Of your papa Alfredo
Like him you had a horse named Zanate
You milked cows and drank from buckets the white morning

Your eyes saw the Izalco volcano
You say it’s fire was
Like a road of flames going towards the sky

At the time
You were a little girl eating home made chess
From your grandmother Tancho

You never saw the ocean
But the wind brought you salty sounds of waves

You used to pick up conacaste bark leaves
And you light up as the flowers from the tree of fire
You waited for the stars to be bloom
To count them all

One day you left for San Salvador
And ended up
In a neighborhood name San Jacinto
Far from your hometown

You become a woman
The mother of my brothers and my sister

You used to cook
In the morning and the afternoon and at night
You cooked with smiles
And tortillas
And rice and beans
Smiles and fried eggs
And overeasy with tomato sauce

You Mamita
Gave us your love in pots and pans
Filled with atole
And other delicious dishes

You use to plant flowers
And trees
You remembered you town
Our  town

When the revolution came
You were not afraid
Of the military police
You will turned up the radio
To hear Mongsinior Romero homily
And you would go to the demonstrations

You had a poster of Che Guevara
And you would say long live the students

You left El Salvador
For the Unites States

We your kids left fleeing death
You remain alone
But not afraid
Soon you came

You had broken bones from a demonstration
In El Salvador
And the coyotes would say
This old woman is not going to make it
She is not going to resit the walk though the hills of Tijuana

You were not afraid
You didn’t listened to them
You told me you thought of us

-I have to go and see my kids-  you told them
And you made your self invisible
Immigration nor the police couldn’t see you

Now you keep on cooking
Giving me poems and stories and your beans

You mamita
Are like a wonderful tornado
I know you gladly give your life for mine if you could
And if someone hurt me
I know you will raise hell
And heaven and kick ass
And later you will make your peace with  the Creator

You  hardly know how to read or write
But that’s not important
Your heart is in the right place
You medicine
Is your love and humility
You are a true healer
Of tender flavors
Sweet rocks from our hometown

Mamita Serve
I am happy and honored
I am your son
I am happy
You like to dress in red
And that you love rancheras song
And that you like to go out in the late afternoons
And that you speak the Nahuatl words
That you like to speak

I know you adore our hometown

And mama Elba
And mama Rufina
Mama Toya
Chela and everyone else
They are not that far
Because you mamita
Are never too far


"Forest Lawn" by John Martinez
"Against the New HB 56 Law of Alabama - A Calavera Poem" / 
"Contra la nueva ley HB 56 de Alabama - Calavera" by Francisco X. Alarcón
"Arraigada a mi Tierra" by Claudia Hernandez
"Venceremos" por Raúl Sánchez 
"Vos" / "You" by Jorge Argueta

John Martinez studied Creative Writing at Fresno State University. He has published poetry in El Tecolote, Red Trapeze and the LA Weekly. He has performed (as a musician/political activist) with Teatro De La Tierra, Los Perros Del Pueblo and TROKA, a Poetry Ensemble. He has also toured with several Cumbia bands throughout the Central Valley and Los Angeles and is finishing (finally) his first Novel, Cumbia Days, which is expected out in 2012. He has worked for the last 17 years as an Administrator for a Los Angeles Law Firm and makes his home in Upland, California with his beautiful wife, Rosa America y Familia. 

Francisco X. Alarcón, award winning Chicano poet and educator, is author of twelve volumes of poetry, including, From the Other Side of Night: Selected and New Poems (University of Arizona Press 2002), and Snake Poems: An Aztec Invocation (Chronicle Books 1992)  His latest book is Ce•Uno•One: Poems for the New Sun (Swan Scythe Press 2010). His book of bilingual poetry for children, Animal Poems of the Iguazú (Children’s Book Press 2008), was selected as a Notable Book for a Global Society by the International Reading Association. His previous bilingual book titled Poems to Dream Together (Lee & Low Books 2005) was awarded the 2006 Jane Addams Honor Book Award. He has been a finalist nominated for Poet Laureate of California in two occasions.  He teaches at the University of California, Davis.  He is the creator of the Facebook page POETS RESPONDING TO SB 1070 that you can visit here.

Claudia D. Hernández was born and raised in Guatemala. She holds a BA in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in Art and a BCLAD teaching credential. She is a bilingual educator in the city of Los Angeles and is currently working on a Masters in Multicultural Education. In her spare time she also writes, illustrates, and manually binds children’s books. She has written five children’s books, one of which (Julia Always Knew—Julia Siempre Supo) has been integrated into the curriculum for It’s OK to Be Different, a comprehensive elementary school program in the state of New Jersey that teaches children tolerance and respect for people who are different. Claudia has had photography exhibits throughout Los Angeles and has donated her photographs to various charitable organizations. Some of her photography, poetry, and short stories have been published in the Indigenous Sovereignty Issue of The Peak. Several of Claudia’s poems have been posted on the Facebook page, Poets Responding to SB 1070. In addition, a poem of hers will appear in an inaugural anthology published by Colectivo Verso Activo. This is the second poem of hers to appear in La Bloga, the first being ‘¿Qué mas Quieres?

Raúl Sánchez is a Seattle Bio-Tech technician, prosody enthusiast, translator, and DJ, who conducts workshops on The Day of the Dead in Tieton WA. Featured in the program for the 2011 Burning Word Poetry Festival in Leavenworth WA. His work appeared on-line in The Sylvan Echo, Flurry, Gazoobitales, Pirene’s Fountain and several times in La Bloga. His most recent work is the translation of John Burgess "Graffitto" released  by Ravenna Press. Also, he appears in the second Anthology by The Miracle Theatre Viva la Word!, Latino Cultural Magazine, on Bookmarks by the Seattle Public Library 2007 Poetic Art Project, and in the Anthology Speaking Desde las Heridas (Publisher: Universidad Nacional Autónoma  de México). Lastly, soon to be announced his debut Chapbook! stay tuned.

Jorge Tetl Argueta is a native Salvadoran and Pipil Nahua Indian raised in rural El Salvador.

He now lives in San Francisco and is an award-winning author of bilingual children's books. His latest book, "Arroz con Leche/Rice Pudding" was selected as a 2010 Best Children's Book by Kirkus Review. He currently directs Talleres de Poesía that promotes children's literature in the U. S. and El Salvador.

1 comment:

веб промо said...

Written simply and tastefully. It’s pleasant to read. Thank u.