Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Honoring Piri. Pocho2. On-Line Floricanto

In Memoriam: Piri Thomas

United States letters lost a vital voice in October with the death of Piri Thomas. Tato Laviera, by way of Emmy Pérez who gets this from colleague Stephanie Alvarez, requests La Bloga honor the late poet with Laviera's tribute. La Bloga happily fulfills the poet's request.


“El Coro”

Piri Thomas, suavecito vaya, aya, ya, va, vaya su camino
Spiritu        S Piri tu  Cheverote Grandote su destino
Poet, playwright, novelist,storyteller,filmmaker par excellence
Piri Thomas, suavecito vaya, aya, ya, va, vaya su camino
Spiritu        S Piri tu  Cheverote Grandote su destino
From 1928 to 2011 serving us justice with the written flow. He had the flow,the low, the owl and the wolf in palabras.
Piri Thomas, suavecito vaya, aya, ya, va, vaya su camino
Spiritu        S Piri tu  Cheverote Grandote su destino
Piri Thomas, suavecito vaya, aya, ya, va, vaya su camino
Spiritu        S Piri tu  Cheverote Grandote su destino
Empirical to arms with our own written destino
Piri Thomas, suavecito vaya, aya, ya, va, vaya su camino
Spiritu        S Piri tu  Cheverote Grandote su destino
Inspiring and conspiring to make us sabios
Piri Thomas, suavecito vaya, aya, ya, va, vaya su camino
Spiritu        S Piri tu  Cheverote Grandote su destino
Metempiric:  beyond or outside the field of experience
Piri Thomas, suavecito vaya, aya, ya, va, vaya su camino
Spiritu        S Piri tu  Cheverote Grandote su destino
Reinspirited andaba como un sacerdote Reinspiriting las calles down own
These streets se abren Palabras Spiritual mean ing sus peasos they opened
The waves like Moses
Piri Thomas, suavecito vaya, aya, ya, va, vaya su camino
Spiritu        S Piri tu  Cheverote Grandote su destino
He walked like a sacerdote. The streets opened up with a new found resource a hemorrhage of expressions emerging from tenements woods feresqurecita maduritas. Literary rain fire through
Your black negrito you opened up the street possibilities and we emerged like rioters from
The jungle. Piri Thomas, suavecito vaya, aya, ya, va, vaya su camino
Spiritu        S Piri tu  Cheverote Grandote su destino
A lo negrito you shouted libarartion lingo uniting our movement of 500yrs. aged
On the cotton plantation recojindo cotton fruits of the thorn cut blades was the same as the main bdwy factoria where we cut the cotton by piece work the Brussels eran los mimo’s nothing has changed.
Piri Thomas, suavecito vaya, aya, ya, va, vaya su camino
Spiritu        S Piri tu  Cheverote Grandote su destino
Un negro from the island Arturo Schomburg revolutionice
The research of black studies and a negro from Manhattan Piri Thomas
Revolutionized the projections of our screaming thoughts
Piri no era un uncle Tom, No era un tio Tomas. He was and is the late
20th century embodiment workshop, jails, instiutions, teaching us to take the mines
And revolutionized click it! Click it! Empty that mother into the baseline paper
And fill it up llenala with blood ink, brain child of your intimate and pensamientos
Panama hat priestly garment sensual sexual, seductive socueror sprirtual smooter spiritoso
Muciian of magical palabras gracias Piri Thomas nobility Puetro Rican black man for all
 Piri Thomas, suavecito vaya, aya, ya, va, vaya su camino
Spiritu        S Piri tu  Cheverote Grandote su destino
Piri Thomas, suavecito vaya, aya, ya, va, vaya su camino
Spirituous Crema de negro, puresa par siempre
Spiriferous  El mejor sitio para formar el gran hielo
Vampiric Sabroso chupando a lo mozo
Piri piri spicy pepper salsa que pica
He talked of 500 years of repression. That meant he sought for liberation against the system, against oppression
Open Speaker to us all – paz, cariño
(note: abridged)

Social Media for Chicanas Chicanos – A Thumbnail History

Michael Sedano

Social media giant Facebook seems like  molecular sieve, the stuff that sucks vapor from between your dual pane windows. Except Facebook sucks organizations and individuals into the dead air space between yesterday’s Usenet-Listservs and tomorrow’s mega-Facebook.

If this trend persists, in a few years everyone in the world will be connected to everyone else within line of sight of a satellite.

What if history repeats itself to recreate the transition humanity experienced moving from bards to books? When society depended upon oral communication for literature and news, poets and students of poetry developed prodigious memories. Then, with the advent of mass produced books, human memory becomes disused. Since you could look it up, why memorize anything?

So disused and abused is the faculty of memory that every time I ask a junior high school kid to recite Portia’s “quality of mercy” speech, the kid quotes the Terminator at me.

So what is to become of social intercourse when a few years from now, everyone in the world is connected to everyone else via multimedia and The Cloud?

In the future, one-on-one conversation will be formulaic. Judge: “Do you take this man to be your husband, do you take this woman to be your wife?” Bride&Groom: “Like. Like.”

In the future, people will assume they are being overhead by millions of ears and all intimacy will disappear.

In the future, wired societies will have to develop extra sensory perception in a zen of social media where we discipline our bodies to become the extension of The Cloud. Speech disappears with memory, humanity falls silent.

I miss the old days and enjoy certain links. La Bloga, for example, finds its raíces in a Listserv, Chicle.

A Listserv, like a blog, offers one-to-many messages and feedback via email to a central server that posts those messages to a reference site, Chicle. Subscribers elected to receive emails individually, or a daily digest. Users reply as desired to start colloquy, or not. Moderated, messages were filtered and posted when some standard was not exceeded.

Promulgated by Teresa Márquez at the University of New Mexico, Chicle was one of the rare places chicana chicano literature readers and scholars could “sit down” at the same table intent upon exchanging views. Manuel Ramos, Rudy Garcia, Michael Sedano met virtually on Chicle.

After Márquez closed down Chicle, Rudy started the ball rolling in the nascent days of blogging. At that time, the Denver-based Garcia and Ramos had not met the Pasadena-based Sedano. The latter and Garcia have not exchanged abrazos. Sedano has, however, met Garcia’s brother, in Houston. A tangled web we weave, the internet.

Another way of savoring the old days is joining the ongoing message board Pocho2.

Begun by cartoonista Lalo Alcaraz, the original board--formally the Cyber Cholo Chat Room--practiced flaming and argument as blood sport. The place was a riotous cacophony of voices from the community, mostly it seemed, teenagers, young adults--many college students--and the occasional old fart.

Still, despite the pedo, Pocho and Pocho2, like Chicle, offered satisfying interactions with raza and others on issues, arts, chisme, community. Sadly, the original Pocho board dissolved in a welter of controversy and, happily, abandoned in Alcaraz’ burgeoning career in syndicated cartooning.

The board concept resurfaced as Pocho2, recreated by a computer whiz with the handle “Cachis,” from up northern Califas way. Much as Cachis’ personal initiative and skills recreated the space, he was answering community demand for a special “place of one’s own.”

Pocho2 stands as a labor of love, especially lately. The site regularly gets robot-spammed with wildly unconvincing subject lines. Cachis manages the board single-handedly, so spam stays up for days at a time.

Pocho2 offers users “old-fashioned” internet benefits. There are rules and "pendejos and chowderheads" get kicked off the board. Messages feature text. Images and embeds come at the user’s option and require some skill to make them work. The site comes with its own look and feel. Since users come deliberately to the place and its software, there's a privacy there absent elsewhere. In other words, Pocho2 is not Facebook.

Pocho2, like usenet, Listservs, Yahoo groups, fades. Probably it’s Facebook's bandwagon and smooth interface. Additional shrinkage results from a mixture of maturing people—several members have recently welcomed new babies to their families—career development, other social media like Linked In, or the want ads.

In good news, maybe there’s a plethora of cool people everywhere now? You’re out there clubbing and book grouping, going to concerts and art openings, Occupying, doing meetings and Ph.D.’s., now and again checking in to La Bloga or Pocho2.

¿Who needs social media?

Film Project Attracts Support

La Bloga friend Juan Tejeda, musico, co-publisher, with wife Anisa Onofre, of Aztlán Libre Press,  emails to endorse the young musician in Guillermina Zabala's film, Juanito's Lab.

Zabala writes:

Juanito's Lab is a documentary film that explores the life and art of 22-year-old Juanito Castillo, a blind musician proficient in 14 instruments and considered one of the most talented and versatile young accordion player in South Texas.

You'll find a clip and more information at Zabala's website.

On-Line Floricanto • November's Second on the Eighth of the Eleventh Month 2011

"The Passing" by Sonia Gutiérrez
"Sunlight Fire" by Alma Luz Villanueva
“Ofrenda" by Nancy Aidé González
"Mis muertos / My Dead" by Francisco X. Alarcón
“maize in my mind..." by Kathy Rising Dove Robinson-Martel

The Passing

 by Sonia Gutiérrez

                                              To Estela Gutiérrez


Before the passing, you recite
your recipes to me. I want to write
ingredients and measurements—trap
them with letters and numbers.

You say, “No—taste. Look—
remember,” as your frail hands
sift through powdered sesame seeds
heavy with timeless recuerdos.

The taste buds of your fingertips
reside with ancient memories
of the moon’s umbilical cord—

Your kitchen emanates the work
of molenderas of times past,
grinding almonds, stirring warmth,
tasting chocolatl.


Today, I make mole in your honor.
The sesame seeds on the comal turn
a cinnamon brown. The sweet scented
entrails of chiles pasilla dig into huts
and pyramids. Your griot hands
have become mine.

Mother, you are not gone; you live
on the tip of my tongue and fingers,
craving the memory of you.

Sunlight Fire 

by Alma Luz Villanueva

To my granddaughter, la Ashley- as we all ride
into the Mayan Sixth World, a time of
transformation, shifting, as the Mayan
Long Count Calendar predicted, A time of
human unfolding, the spirit. 12/21/12

Ashley, when you were
six we rode an elephant
together, we were both
scared and laughing, your

bright self in front of
me, your hair in sunlight
fire. I remember thinking, What
else could be so beautiful

than this child riding an
elephant with me, her large
ears made you laugh-
in Bali they place morning

blossoms behind Ganesh’s
elephant ears, light incense,
offerings of food, to Ganesh-
“May there be no obstacles.”

Today we held signs of
CRUZ, we shared one making
us laugh, I DON’T NEED

ME EVERY DAY, car honks, we
wave, dance our sign for
the one in five children hungry

daily, parents cannot
feed them, lost their union
jobs, the 1% buying the
largest yachts in his/story,

the 99% standing here,
riding this enormous elephant,
Ganesh, May there be no obstacles,
we ride this elephant, together,

twenty-four years later,
granddaughter, healer, amazon,
dancer, your hair in sunlight
fire- we yell, WE ARE THE 99%

fiercely, laughing,
Ganesh leading the
way, we all ride,
May there be no

obstacles, May there
be no obstacles,
May there be no

for the 99%
world wide, our Earth,
as we ride into the
Sixth World.


by Nancy Aidé González

for Lazaro Soltero

"Even jade will shatter.Even gold will crush.
Even quetzal plumes will tear.
One does not live forever on this earth.
Only for an instant do we endure."
( Fifteenth Century Texcocan poet king)

Fragile marigolds

frame your altar,
their fragrance
remind me of the
of life.

The dancing flames
of candles placed around your picture,
guide you back
to me abuelo.

Red, purple, blue, and green
papel picado,
cut into intricate designs ,
have been carefully strung to
flutter over,
around your altar,
celebrating your vibrant life.

Dishes of mole poblano,
with savory dark chili peppers and
sweet chocolate,
crescent moon
pumpkin empanadas,
and sugary
tear drop shaped
pan de muerto
await your lips.

I have placed
a glass of water,
una taza de
café con canela,
and a mug of champurrado
on your altar ,
to satisfy your thirst
after your long journey.

Your worn black bible,
romance novels,
and tool belt,
the things you held
most with your callous
anticipate your

The white smoke of
copal incense rises
to the sky in
clearing your way,
calling you home.

I feel your presence,
You don’t have to speak,
just caress my cheek,
mi abuelito
and place your arms
around me.

© 2011 Nancy Aidé González

maize in my mind...

by Kathy Rising Dove Robinson-Martel 

within the maize
in my mind...
better days
sweeter world
kinder people,
once lived in
my heart
and nurtured my spirit
and knew
real love.
i drank from the water
in the mountain
sweet and crisp
like the once clean
i used to breathe...
i feasted
on the tasty morsels
offered up
from the untainted
now toxic
and untouchable...
i remember
the three sisters
planted with gentle hands
and prayers
of a good harvest
and thanks to the
great spirit.
oh mother,
how do you still
to sustain us
in all our
from what is good
to that which sickens
i picture
the maize
in my mind
blowing gently
on the warm breeze
of the season
in which you grow...
you used to soothe me
as i look all around
i find myself
just like you
oh our sweet mother...
how i love
the maize
in my mind...
now instead
of drinking from your streams
i pour out my heart
in prayer...
we need
to get
back to the earth
back to our mother
back to our hearts
back to a life
where our children can
also grow
in their minds...


"The Passing" by Sonia Gutiérrez
"Sunlight Fire" by Alma Luz Villanueva
“Ofrenda" by Nancy Aidé González
"Mis muertos / My Dead" by Francisco X. Alarcón
“maize in my mind..." by Kathy Rising Dove Robinson-Martel

Sonia Gutiérrez, poet, mom, professor, and translator, teaches at Palomar College. Sonia’s work has appeared in AlternaCtive PublicActions, Fringe, among others and forcoming in Turtle Island to Abya Yala: A Love Anthology of Art and Poetry by Native American and Latina Women. Her bilingual poetry collection, Spider Woman/La Mujer Araña, is seeking publication, and she’s at work on a novel, a book of translations and a libro cartonero. To see more of Sonia’s work, visit her bloguita, Chicana in the Midst.

Alma Luz Villanueva was raised in the Mission District, San Francisco, by her Yaqui grandmother, Jesus Villanueva- she was a curandera/healer from Sonora, Mexico. Without Jesus no poetry, no stories, no memory...
     Author of eight books of poetry, most recently, 'Soft Chaos' (2009). A few poetry anthologies: 'The Best American Poetry, 1996,' 'Unsettling America,' 'A Century of Women's Poetry,' 'Prayers For A Thousand Years, Inspiration from Leaders & Visionaries Around The World.' Three novels: 'The Ultraviolet Sky' (American Book Award), 'Naked Ladies' (PEN Oakland Fiction Award), 'Luna's California Poppies,' and the short story collection, 'Weeping Woman, La Llorona and Other Stories.' Some fiction anthologies: '500 Great Books by Women, From The Thirteenth Century,' 'Caliente, The Best Erotic Writing From Latin America,' 'Coming of Age in The 21st Century,' 'Sudden Fiction Latino.' The poetry and fiction has been published in textbooks from grammar to university, and is used in the US and abroad as textbooks.         Has taught in the MFA in creative writing program at Antioch University, Los Angeles, for the past thirteen years. And is the mother of four, wonderful, grown human beings.
     Alma Luz Villanueva now lives in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, for the past six years, traveling the ancient trade routes to return to teach, and visit family and friends, QUE VIVA!! And taking trips throughout Mexico, working on a novel in progress, always the poetry, memory.

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 has contributed poems to Poets Responding to SB 1070. Her poems, “The Ones That Live On, “La Pulga”, and “Among the Vines” have been published on La Bloga. Miss González is a participating member of Escritores del Nuevo Sol, a writing group which honors the literary traditions of the Chicano, Latino, Indigenous and Spanish-language peoples.
She teaches first-generation, Mexican –American migrant elementary students. She enjoys teaching her 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 Chicanas.

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 at:


Kathryn Rising Dove Robinson-Martel, of English and Native American descent, grew up in the suburbs of New York City, and moved to rural Maine in 1979, inspired to become a writer some day, finding inspiration in the natural, simple life Maine has to offer.  She attended Nasson College, University of Southern Maine and Pace University at White Plains.  Her dream is to one day have a book of poetry published.

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