Saturday, December 31, 2011

More books from 2011

by Rudy Ch. Garcia

In case you've already read most of the books from Manuel Ramos's La Bloga's Best Reads that was posted yesterday, and are wondering what else you might have missed from 2011, from Chicana scholar and librarian Maria Teresa Marquez, a precursor who inspired La Bloga, comes her own impressive list to complement Ramos's. It includes many of our favorites, some of which we reviewed this year. (To my knowledge, there is no significance to the order in which they're presented.)

Hers is entitled:
El chicle que pega:
Chicana/Chicano Literary Expressions in 2011.

Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Untie the Strong Woman: Blessed Mother's Immaculate Love for the Wild Soul

Nasario Garcia

An Indelible Imprint: Ruben Cobos, A Multi-Talented Personality

Jessica Helen Lopez
Always Messing With Them Boys

Juan Gilberto Quezada
Terror on the Border

Lucretia Guerrero

Tree of Sighs

Jesus Angel Garcia


Melinda Palacio
Ocotillo Dreams

Richard Yanez

Cross Over Water

Bonnie K. Rucobo

King Pachuco and Princess Mirasol

Guadalupe Garcia McCall

Under the Mesquite

Rudolfo Anaya

Billy the Kid and Other Plays

Randy Lopez Goes Home

Marisa K. Lopez
Chicano Nations: The Hemispheric Origins of Mexican American Literature

Patrick Lawrence Hamilton

Of Space and Mind: Cognitive Mappings of Contemporary Chicana/o Fiction

Bless Me, Ultima ( A Book Caps Study Guide) Kindle eBook

John Alba Culter

Pochos, Vatos and Other Types of Assimilation: Masculinities in Chicano Literature, 1940-2004

Rolando Hinojosa-Smith
A Voice of My Own: Essays and Stories

David A. Sanchez

Don't Forget the Accent Mark: A Memoir

Sergio Troncoso
Crossing Borders: Personal Essays

`Ray Villareal

Don't Call Me Hero

AnaLouise Keating and Gloria Gonzalez

Bridging: How Gloria Anzaldua's Life and Work Transformed Our Own

Gracias, Teresa Marquez
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Marcela Landres update

For those of you who submitted questions for editor Marcela Landres about Chicanos and publishing, her responses will lead off the first Saturday posting of 2012, on January 7th.

Friday, December 30, 2011

La Bloga's Best Books of 2011

La Bloga's contributors present the list of best books of 2011. The guidelines were short and simple - name the book that, for whatever reason, you consider your favorite read this year. No restrictions on genre, ethnicity, or year of publication. Below are the results. There is no ranking among these books - they are listed in order of days of the week since we have different contributors each and every day.

The eclectic mix of books reflects the several points of views the bloguer@s bring to their weekly posts on La Bloga: biography, children's, novels, poetry; coming of age to confronting death; inspirational, upsetting, out-of-the ordinary. Something for all of our readers, a clever bunch as mixed and varied as the contributors.

We'd love to hear from you about your favorite reads, or maybe some reaction to the choices. In any event, we all hope you and yours have a happy, healthful, and literary 2012.

Manuel Ramos


No hay silencio que no termine
Ingrid Betancourt


Even Silence Has An End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle
Ingrid Betancourt


Selected by tatiana de la tierra (La Bloga - Sunday)

"I love to read the true stuff of life, especially when it’s highly dramatic. Anything to do with Colombia catches my eye. Add complex characters, intriguing history, and eloquent writing and you get my favorite book of the year. This is Ingrid Betancourt’s version of what happened while she was held hostage by FARC guerrilleros in the jungle for six years. Betancourt fascinates me and I love the way she writes. Here’s a post I wrote in January of 2011 about this book: "


Steve Jobs
Walter Isaacson
Simon & Schuster

Selected by Amelia M.L. Montes (La Bloga - Sunday)

"I'm choosing the Steve Jobs biography not because I consider it the best but because of its ability to capture the complicated aspects of an individual who made a major impact on our culture. So many U.S. Latinas y Latinos have written their novels, short stories, poetry, non-fiction on a Mac or while listening to music via their I-Pods. This is a book about a man obsessed, who was abandoned, then adopted, became wealthy at a very young age, then abandoned his own first child (for a few years) and even denied she was his, was a product of the 60s -- right at the end of that era. Jobs was an individual who constantly exerted his male privilege with disarming charm and also with uncontrolled anger. It reveals all the contradictions/successes/failures of being human-- including the most serious failure of not treating his cancer when he could have done so early on and instead, opting for a variety of holistic treatments. I couldn't put it down and continue to think about it."

Amelia Montes lived in a commune in the Los Angeles area for six years and her Mexica indigenous heritage is Purepecha.

Ocotillo Dreams: A Novel
Melinda Palacio
Bilingual Press

Selected by Daniel Olivas (La Bloga - Monday)

"Though Melinda Palacio's debut novel takes place during the infamous immigration sweeps in Chandler, Arizona, more than a decade ago, her tale could not be more timely. She has created a powerful protagonist in Isola, the young San Franciscan who inherits her mother's Arizona home only to find an undocumented immigrant living within. Palacio writes with courage as she confronts issues of identity, politics and family secrets. Ocotillo Dreams is a startling, moving and, indeed, necessary novel as our country roils with xenophobia and unfettered disdain for the other."

Daniel A. Olivas is the author of The Book of Want. Daniel's first pet was a Siamese cat whom he named Susie.

Melinda's book also was selected by Michael Sedano (La Bloga - Tuesday)

"In a year with novels from Rudolfo Anaya, Daniel Olivas, and Sergio Troncoso, bloguera Melinda Palacio’s debut novel stands out for its strong woman’s voice and ingenious plotting."

Honorable mention (from Michael Sedano):

The Norton Anthology Of Latino Literature
Ilan Stavans, general editor
W.W. Norton & Co.

"Easily the most entertaining book of the year owing to the encyclopedic sweep of writers and eras. An essential addition to any family’s books."


Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match/Marisol McDonald no combina
Monica Brown - illustrated by Sara Palacios
Children's Book Press

Selected by René Colato Laínez (La Bloga - Wednesday)

"My favorite book of 2011 is Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match/ Marisol McDonald no combina written my Monica Brown and illustrated by Sara Palacios. Marisol is a bicultural child. She is different! She is unique! But everyone said that she doesn't match at all. She could not wear polka dotted shirts and striped pants or eat peanut butter and jelly on burritos. Even her name did not match with her last name. Marisol tried to change to make everyone happy but now Marisol McDonald was sad because she was pretending to be another child. She realized that she was perfect in her own way even if she didn't match. Everyone be happy the way you are. Everyone is unique and we need to celebrate it!"



Ishmael Reed
Dalkey Archive Press

Selected by Ernest Hogan (La Bloga - Thursday)

"My favorite book of the year is Juice! by Ishmael Reed. This imaginative satire about an aging, diabetic, African American cartoonist, obsessed with O.J. Simpson is a wild ride through the American landscape of the last few decades. La Bloga readers will find a lot to identify with in its depiction of postmodern racism. And if they haven't discovered Ishmael Reed's work, the need to seek it out and start reading it now."

In 2012 Ernest Hogan's books will become available as ebooks -- something the Maya did not predict.


The Trouble Ball: Poems
Martín Espada
W.W. Norton

Selected by Lydia Gil (La Bloga - Thursday)

"In this collection Martín Espada explores the city landscape and turns founding myths inside out (such as baseball as the all-American game.) A master of disguises, he veils the knifelike quality of his verses with humor and elegance as he tears our defenses down. Suddenly, we have no choice but to confront prejudice (especially our own) head on.... These poems teach us how to read the newspaper with new, poetic eyes and, hopefully, to transform our anger into words that bellow against injustice."

The Trouble Ball was also selected by Melinda Palacio (La Bloga - Friday)

"My vote goes to Martín Espada's The Trouble Ball: Poems. Espada is fearless in his poetry. He says so much with a few strokes. In The Trouble Ball, he pays tribute to his father, mentors, and people he has loved and lost. Espada has a way of turning injustice and justice into a refrain you want to read over and over again. His exquisite poetry inspires me."

Melinda Palacio is the author of Ocotillo Dreams (Bilingual Press 2011).

Lydia usually posts in Spanish and she adds the following book to our list as her Spanish selection --

El tiempo entre costuras
María Dueñas
Atria Books

"EL TIEMPO ENTRE COSTURAS de María Dueñas es una novela que desborda de intriga y pasión. Situada entre España y Marruecos durante el periodo de la entreguerra, la novela recuerda el famoso texto EL PACIENTE INGLÉS de Michael Ondaatje. Su protagonista, Sira Quiroga, es una joven modista que deja todo atrás para perseguir una pasión juvenil que la llevará a trasladarse a Tánger.Tras la traición del hombre por quien dejó su país, la joven se instala en Tetuán donde se las ingenia para salir adelante. Codeándose de gente influyente, aunque de reputación dudosa, Sira pronto se convierte en una codiciada modista en cuyo atelier se diseña mucho más que alta costura."


Here Lies Lalo: The Collected Poems of Abelardo Delgado
Jarica Linn Watts, ed.
Arte Público Press

Selected by Manuel Ramos (La Bloga - Friday)

"As noted in the introduction, Abelardo Lalo Delgado (1930-2004) could be hailed as the humble poet laureate de Aztlán, a title well-deserved. I knew him also as an activist, entertainer, comedian, philosopher, cultural warrior, and teacher. All of these roles, and more, are admirably presented in this collection. Hats off to the editor, Jarica Linn Watts, who gathered and edited the material, and to the Delgado family for their willingness to share Lalo's papers and rare publications with new generations of readers. Kudos to Arte Público Press for saving and investing in Lalo's bits of wisdom and, thus, preserving an important part of American history that otherwise would be lost. The editor includes five of Lalo's self-published volumes (out of fourteen), which represents a major step in safeguarding Lalo's output. Open this book to any page and you will hear the voice of a sensitive, strong, caring human being. Lalo continues to inspire and lead."

Manuel Ramos listens to Outlaw Country.



My Shoes And I
René Colato Laínez - illustrated by Fabricio Vanden Broeck
Boyds Mills Press

Selected by Rudy Ch. Garcia (La Bloga - Saturday)

"As a co-founder and regular contributor to La Bloga, and a primary bilingual teacher, I selected our own René Colato Laínez's book My Shoes And I. It received 2nd place in the 2011 International Latino Book Award in the Best Children's Book - English category. Synopsis: Mario is leaving his home in El Salvador. With his father he is going north to join his mother who lives in the U.S. She sent Mario a new pair of shoes, and he is thrilled. He will need them because the trip will be long and hard, crossing the borders of three countries. They will walk, ride buses, climb mountains and wade the river. But Mario has faith and believes his shoes will take him anywhere where his family will be reunited. An inspiring story--dramatically illustrated by Fabricio Vanden Broeck. I won't repeat my whole appraisal from my May 2011 post about this book's cultural relevancy for young Latino bilinguals. But from days of watching a class read, reread, analyze and discover My Shoes, I've no doubt it should be in every home library."

A little-known fact no one would guess about me is that I have an athletic zombie's pulse (54), or prebradycardia.


I'm impressed - by the list and by our contributors. If you read at least one of these books I guarantee you will start the new year right. Goodbye 2011. Ya 'stuvo. We've had fun - maybe we provided a bit of valuable information, an insight or two, moved someone to laugh or a wistful sigh. But if we accomplished nothing more than maintaining a forum for a new novelist or poet, or reintroducing an old favorite, we've done our job.

Manuel Ramos

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Huella del terror en América

Una nueva antología de ensayos editada por la escritora y activista chilena Marjorie Agosín se enfoca en la huella que han dejado los eventos traumáticos de mediados de siglo XX hasta comienzos del XXI en la memoria de América.
Agosín ha dedicado gran parte de su prolífica obra académica y creativa a la convergencia entre derechos humanos, arte y literatura.
En este volumen, recién publicado por Wings Press, recoge 14 ensayos de escritores y críticos en los cuales reflexionan sobre el arte de recordar -tanto como el de olvidar- eventos difíciles en la historia reciente del hemisferio americano.
Para la selección de ensayos, Agosín se enfoca en el tema de la memoria: ¿cómo recuerdan y cómo olvidan tanto individuos como naciones?
Los ensayos aquí publicados contribuyen diversas perspectivas al tema de la memoria como una zona intermedia entre lo arbitrario y lo objetivo.
Según explica Agosín en la introducción al libro, las dictaduras militares de los años 70 aun siguen contribuyendo a un clima de silencio conspirador entre sus ciudadanos.
"En muchos países latinoamericanos todavía existe una lucha para olvidar y reescribir la historia", escribe.
Agosín cita como ejemplo a su natal Chile, donde el proceso de reconciliación todavía es tema de debate.
Los ensayos de la colección están dedicados a las diversas respuestas tanto a nivel individual como colectivo a la represión de las dictaduras en Latinoamérica al igual que sus paralelos con el McCarthyismo en EE.UU. y los disidentes estadounidenses que emigraron a México.
Agosín toma como punto de partida su propia historia de exilio como el evento que impulsó su activismo en el campo de derechos humanos y, eventualmente, la publicación de esta colección.
Como editora, afirma Agosín, su labor se enfocó en representar a todos los países americanos, incluido EE.UU., donde el tema de la representación de la memoria es de interés especial después de los eventos del 11 de septiembre de 2001.
"Cada uno de estos escritores hurga en lo que significa explorar la memoria tanto política como histórica al igual que en recuerdos más íntimos", escribe.
Uno de los logros más significativos de la colección es la diversidad de sus contribuyentes.
Al no tratarse exclusivamente de académicos, los ensayos abordan el tema de la memoria desde distintos ángulos, multiplicando así las posibilidades de interpretación para el lector.
La pintora argentina Claudia Bernardi, por ejemplo, se enfoca en la masacre de 1981 en El Mozote, El Salvador donde, según afirma, perecieron más de 800 personas y solo una mujer sobrevivió para contarla.
Su ensayo está escrito en forma de diario en el cual recuenta su visita a El Mozote en 1992 como parte del Equipo Argentino de Antropología Forense que su hermana Patricia había ayudado a fundar.
En su diario anuncia proféticamente el cambio que esta experiencia provocará en su vida.
"El Mozote se convertirá en Claudia", escribe. "Después de El Mozote, seré otra Claudia".
En su obra visual, Bernardi regresa una y otra vez a la historia de El Mozote, plasmando en capas sobre el lienzo la tragedia salvadoreña.
La colección ilustra también otros proyectos de memorialización tanto en arte como en literatura, inspirados por momentos traumáticos en la historia del hemisferio.
Laura Rocha Nakazawa escribe sobre el memorial por los detenidos-desaparecidos en Montevideo y Emma Sepúlveda reflexiona sobre el "Parque por la paz Villa Grimaldi" en Chile.
Otros proyectos de memorialización no toman dimensiones monumentales como por ejemplo, la canción, tema que aborda Susana Kaiser en su ensayo sobre la memorialización mediante la música popular argentina.
Agosín incluye también un ensayo de Marita Sturken sobre el proyecto del edredón hecho en memoria de las víctimas del sida.
En resumen, esta colección incluye ensayos importantes sobre la memoria y los eventos traumáticos de las últimas décadas.
Leídos en conjunto, nos quedamos con la impresión de que ningún país, sea del primer o tercer mundo, es inmune a la represión o al sufrimiento ni a los esfuerzos por mantener con vida la memoria de sus víctimas.
(INHABITING MEMORY: Essays on Memory and Human Rights in the Americas. Marjorie Agosín, editor. Wings Press. 220 páginas).

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

El brindis del bohemio

English translation below

El Brindis del Bohemio
Guillermo Aguirre y Fierro

En torno de una mesa de cantina,
una noche de invierno,
regocijadamente departían
seis alegres bohemios.

Los ecos de sus risas escapaban
y de aquel barrio quieto
iban a interrumpir el imponente
y profundo silencio.

El humo de olorosos cigarrillos
en espirales se elevaba al cielo,
simbolizando al resolverse en nada
la vida de los sueños.

Pero en todos los labios había risas,
inspiración en todos los cerebros,
y repartidas en la mesa,
copas pletóricas de ron, whisky o ajenjo.

Era curioso ver aquel conjunto,
de aquel grupo bohemio,
del que brotaba la palabra chusca,
la que vierte veneno,
lo mismo que melosa y delicada,
la música de un verso.

A cada nueva libación, las penas
hallábanse más lejos del grupo
y nueva inspiración llegaba
a todos los cerebros
con el idilio roto que venía
en alas del recuerdo.

Olvidaba decir que aquella noche,
aquel grupo bohemio
celebraba entre risas, libaciones,
chascarrillos y versos,
la agonía de un año que amarguras
dejó en todos los pechos,
y la llegada, consecuencia lógica,
del feliz año nuevo...

Una voz varonil dijo de pronto:
¡Las 12, compañeros!
Digamos el requiescat por el año
que ha pasado a formar entre los muertos.

¡Brindemos por el año que comienza!
porque nos traiga ensueños;
porque no sea su equipaje un cúmulo
de amargos desconsuelos.

Brindo, -dijo otra voz-, por la esperanza
que a la vida nos lanza,
de vencer los rigores del destino,
por la esperanza, nuestra dulce amiga
que las penas mitiga
y convierte en vergel nuestro camino.

Brindo, porque ya hubiese a mi existencia
puesto fin con violencia
esgrimiendo en mi frente mi venganza,
si en mi cielo de tul limpio y divino
no alumbrara mi sino
una estrella brillante : "Mi Esperanza".

¡Bravo!, -dijeron todos-, inspirado
esta noche has estado
y hablaste breve, bueno y sustancioso.

El turno es de Raúl; alce su copa
y brinde por... Europa,
ya que su extranjerismo es delicioso...

Bebo y brindo, -clamó el interpelado-,
brindo por mi pasado,
que fue de luz, de amor y de alegría,
en el que hubo mujeres tentadoras
y frentes soñadoras
que se juntaron a la frente mía...

Brindo por el ayer que en la amargura
que hoy cubre de negrura
mi corazón, esparce sus consuelos,
trayendo hasta mi mente las dulzuras
de goces, de ternuras,de amores
de delicias, de desvelos.

Yo brindo, -dijo Juan-, porque en mi mente
brote un torrente
de inspiración divina y seductora,
porque vibren en las cuerdas de mi lira
el verso que suspira,
que sonríe, que canta y que enamora.

Brindo porque mis versos cual saetas
lleguen hasta las grietas
formadas de metal y de granito,
del corazón de la mujer ingrata
que a desdenes me mata...
¡Pero que tiene un cuerpo muy bonito!

Porque a su corazón llegue mi canto,
porque sequen mi llanto
sus manos que me causan embelesos,
porque con creces mi pasión me pague...
¡Vamos! porque me embriague
con el divino néctar de sus besos.

Siguió la tempestad de frases vanas,
de aquellas tan humanas
que hayan en todas partes acomodo,
y en cada frase de entusiasmo ardiente,
hubo ovación creciente,
y libaciones y reír y todo.

Se brindó por la Patria, por las flores,
por los castos amores
que hacen un valladar de una ventana,
y por esas pasiones voluptuosas
que el fango del placer llena de rosas
y hacen de la mujer la cortesana.

Solo faltaba un brindis, el de Arturo,
el del bohemio puro
de noble corazón y gran cabeza;
de aquel que sin ambages
declaraba que solo ambicionaba
robarle inspiración a la tristeza.

Por todos estrechado alzó la copa
frente a la alegre tropa
desbordante de risa y de contento.
los inundó en la luz de su mirada,
sacudió su melena alborotada
y dijo así, con inspirado acento:

Brindo por la mujer, más no por esa
en la que hayáis consuelo en la tristeza
rescoldo del placer ¡Desventurados!;
no por esa que os brinda sus hechizos
cuando besáis sus rizos
artificiosamente perfumados.

Yo no brindo por ella, compañeros,
siento por esta vez no complaceros;
brindo por la Mujer, ¡pero por Una!
por la que me brindó sus embelesos
y me envolvió en sus besos:
por la mujer que me meció en la cuna.

Por la mujer que me enseñó de niño
lo que vale el cariño
exquisito, profundo y verdadero;
por la mujer que me arrulló en sus brazos
y que me dio en pedazos,
uno por uno, el corazón entero.

¡Por mi Madre bohemios!

Por la anciana que piensa en el mañana,
como en algo muy dulce y muy deseado;
porque sueña tal vez, que mi destino
me señala el camino
por el que volveré muy pronto a su lado.

Por la anciana adorada y bendecida,
por la que con su sangre me dio vida
y ternura y cariño;
por la que fue la luz del alma mía
y lloró de alegría
sintiendo mi cabeza en su corpiño.

¡Por ella brindo yo!
dejad que llore y en lágrimas desflore
esta pena letal que me asesina;
dejad que brinde por mi madre ausente,
por la que sufre y siente
que mi ausencia es un fuego que calcina.

Por la anciana infeliz que sufre y llora
y que del cielo implora,
que vuelva yo muy pronto a estar con ella;
por mi Madre, bohemios,
que es dulzura vertida en la amargura
y de mis negras noches es mi estrella...

El bohemio calló.
Ningún acento profanó el sentimiento
nacido del dolor y la ternura,
y pareció que sobre aquel ambiente
flotaba inmensamente...,

Un poema de amor y de amargura.


Translated by Heart Bitz
Written by Guillermo Aguirre y Fierro

A Bohemian Toast

Around a cantina table

on a winter’s night

rejoicefully were sharing

six happy bohemians

The echos of their laughter were escaping

and, from that quiet town

they were going to interrupt the imposing

and profund silence
The smoke of aromatic cigarettes

in spirals was raising to the sky

symbolizing, as it dissipated into nothing

the life of dreams … the dreams of life
I neglected to tell you, in that evening

this bohemian group

among laughter and sorrow, were celebrating

the happy arrival of the new year
Suddenly, a manly voice said

It is Midnight, comrades

Let us all toast for the year

that has become part of the Dead
Let us toast to the year that starts

May it brings us sweet dreams

not sour grief

Let us toast this time to the hope

that Life throws at us and the pains alleviate
I toast that, in my existence

already riddled with violence and vengeance

if, in my heaven, from yours – clean and divine

would shine but

a star … my hope
I drink and toast to my past,

which was of light,
of love, and happiness,

and in which the gorgeous foreheads

of seductive ladies

had joined mine
I toast to Yesterday that, with sorrow

today covers with darkness my poor heart

scatters its comfort

bringing into my mind the sweetness

of joy, of tenderness, of good fortune, and concerns
I toast that in my mind

sprout a torrent of divine inspiration,

that the chords of my lyre vibrate

the verse that yearns, sings, and fall in love
I toast that my verses

reach the center of the woman that I love

for that with interest my passion pays off

for that I get intoxicated with the nectar of her kisses
Continued the barrage of meaningless phrases

of those so human

and, after each phrase of ardent enthusiasm

applause would grow
They toasted to the Motherland, to the flowers

to the chaste loves and to heated passions

that fill with roses the mud of pleasure
Only one toast was missing, Arturo’s

the pure bohemian of noble Heart

he stated that he only wanted

to steal the inspiration from Sadness
And this way he spoke, with inspired intensity
I toast to the woman, yet not to the one

in which you find solace in sadness

not to the one that gives us her charms

when you kiss her soft and scented curls
I do not toast to her … No, comrades

Sorry that this time I don’t please you

I toast to the woman, but only to one

to the one that offered me delights

and engulfed me with her kisses

I toast to the woman that tucked me in the crib
I toast to the woman that taught me from childhood

the value of profound and truthful love

I toast to the woman who cuddled me in her arms

and that bit by bit gave me her entire heart
To that golden and blessed old lady

that with her blood she offered me life

to the one that was the light of my soul

today I toast to my Mother, to my darling Mother
To that sad old woman that lives and cries

and to Heavens implores that I return

to my Mother, bohemians, who is the sweetness

poured into my sorrow and, in this night, a star

who wishes that I soon be with her
The bohemian became silent

and not a word spoiled the sentiment

born from pain and tenderness

and it appeared that, over that atmosphere,

was immensely floating …
A Poem of Love and Sorrow

The Gluten Free Chicano. On-Line Floricanto at Year's End.

The Gluten-free Chicano is a fourth-Tuesday monthly La Bloga feature
The Gluten-free Chicano Atones 

Michael Sedano

Over the holiday, the Gluten-free Chicano made a cardinal mistake. All antojado for chile colorado at northeast LA’s best chicano food emporium, El Arco Iris, that’s what I ordered and cleaned my plate.

I know this superb restaurant, like so many others, uses wheat flour to thicken its red chile roux. I gave that not a thought until later that hour when my body began calling me a pendejo for poisoning it. Over the next two days I reminded myself of my standard ever-lasting new year resolution: always read the label, ask the order-taker to check ingredients, or order cocido.

The only avenue to enjoy safe chile colorado is cook it yourself.

Quick Gluten-free chile Colorado

The fastest method uses a bottle of blended chile powder. I like the flavor of Gebhardt’s, it was my mom’s standard. You can take a little more time and blend your own from such flavors as California, Pasilla, New Mexico, Negro, Arbol, Piquín. Add comino, salt, black pepper.

In a deep cast iron skillet high heat olive oil and wilt finely minced onion and garlic, fresh peppers. Add thinly sliced beef and stir over high heat.

With meat still pink, stir half a jar of Gebhardt’s chile powder into the pan.
Add liquid slowly, like pork, beef, chicken, or vegetable broth, or water. Simmer at low boil five minutes. Mix 2 tablespoons corn starch in a quarter cup of water  and stir this into the chile until it thickens to satisfaction.

Serve with tortillas de maíz and gf beer.

La Bloga Heads-Up

Friday's La Bloga features Manuel Ramos' year-end column naming La Bloga's ten favorite books of 2011. 

On-Line Floricanto to Close the Year 2011

Today's six poems from five poets,  Mari Herreras, Teresinka Pereira, Kathy Rising Dove Robinson-Martel, Iris De Anda, Francisco X. Alarcón, wrap up La Bloga's popular On-Line Floricanto for the year.

Next week, Francisco Alarcón and co-moderators of the Facebook group Poets Responding to SB 1070 will nominate the ten favorite poems from 2011.

“Thieves and Saint” by Mari Herreras
"Insomnio" por Teresinka Pereira
"On the Border" by Kathy Rising Dove Robinson-Martel
“Remember It Now..." by Iris De Anda
“Main Argument / Argumento principal" by Francisco X. Alarcón

Thieves and Saints
by Mari Herreras ©2011

You probably think I forgot you.

I did. I left you behind an old stucco apartment off First Avenue and Grant Road.

It was 1991. I figured there was no place for you where I was going.

I've returned.

Maybe it’s by longing for old habits.

A few friends would say it’s a return (or trick) of faith.

I think it’s because in mid-life I appreciate symbols.

Right now they don’t need to be accompanied by prayers.

You are a woman who loves her son, and appreciates roses.

You have a reputation for barking orders at men.

If you were painted without cover, left round, left brown more often,

I would have appreciated you even more. Maybe we'd be best friends.

So, here we are. You sneak-thief.

Great company on a road where we travel both sides.

That side of the road is where I made a little shrine for you above my desk.

Accompanied by a rock I found in my pocket.

Paper flowers made by my son.

A postcard of my city.

Offers for my imagined protection over the words I arrange.

Recently, I lit candles for you in secret at your shrine behind the mission.

I wondered if the woman who sells the candles sees truth.

I wonder if, through a Catholic-mother network, she calls my mother.

For a moment there are angels singing in heaven.

“See, she hasn’t forgotten,” sung in operatic fashion

fat cherubs accompanied by Vicente Fernandez.

No, I guess I never forgot you.

I am in mid-life. I am a sneak-thief.

I am a mother making space for her ancestors.

I am someone who travels both sides of the road.

And sometimes I get lonely and I need your company.

por Teresinka Pereira

Doy un vistazo
por mi destino
y por los astros
que hacen hervir
mi sangre.
Mi cerebro
es la serpiente
del paraiso
que se oculta
en la oscuridad.
La noche es mi
pecado original.

on the border
by Kathy Rising Dove Robinson-Martel

in the screaming quiet
of night time
the hunted come
to seek passage
the invisible line,
while the hunters
sit silently
in waiting
to steal
the hunted ones
the line
it is drawn
in the red earth
as real as
one's imagination
allows it to be.
the delerious
and refined art
of the hunters
with high power
killing machines,
scanning the moonless night
for anything that moves...
anyone who dreams.
the footprints
have been
on the paths
smoothed over
by thread-bare
old tires...
the hunters
and the hunted,
wits against wits,
pitting life against
freedom against
on the border
that separates
the dreamer
from the dream...

Remember It Now...
by Iris De Anda

mass delusion
gives you visions of fear
wears you down
down the abyss
intoxicated paranoia
you have been lied to
senseless words
static noise
disguised ideals
frequency misused
feeling marginalized
divided they conquer
our choice is clear
compost patterns of the past
not meant to last
agenda of the ages
third eye shut down
open it now
sages must rise up
upward and onward
wave wands of truth
ground self in Earth
build movements
that shake away
tear down
all that this programmed
reset button now
know this
you are heaven sent
brilliant being
of stardust
holding cosmic truths
let it flow forth
before structures and order
chaos came first
perfect explosion of life
descends onto this
dimension outside
space time continuum
gather warriors of the rainbow
connect essence
through energetic
cords of light
lift all to higher good
a vast experiment
look within to travel far
inside is what you seek
a code that decodes
natural detector of lies
solar plexus
guides your path
global nexus
interlacing ideas
free us
be yourself
question reality
invent your own
create a better world
then recreate it again
always growing
weaver of dreams
believe no one
love everyone
your soul on fire
heart embers
remember it now


After reading the 22 page scathing letter (dated December 15, 2011) by Thomas E. Perez, U.S. Assistant Attorney General, dennouncing the discriminatory police & incarcerating policies & practices of Maricopa Sheriff's Office headed by Sheriff Joe Arpaio that violate the Constitution and federal law

by Francisco X. Alarcón

because all humans
-above all- are just humans
not other labels

not matter language,
race, outlook, skin complexion,
national origin

and deserve respect,
protection of their human
and all civil rights—

let the dark forces
twist in fire under the light
of the desert Sun

© Francisco X. Alarcón
December 18, 2011


Tras leer la carta acusatoria de 22 páginas (fechada el 15 de diciembre de 2011) de Thomas Pérez, Procurador General Asistente de EE.UU., que denuncia las políticas y prácticas discriminatorias policíacas y carcelarias de la Oficina del Aguacil del Condado de Maricopa encabezada por el Aguacil Joe Arpaio que violan la Constitución y la ley federal

por Francisco X. Alarcón

todos los humanos
–antes de todo– son humanos
no otras etiquetas

no importa lengua,
raza, apariencia, color,
origen nacional

y merecen respeto,
protección de sus derechos
humanos y civiles—

que las fuerzas oscuras
se retuerzan ante la luz
del Sol del desierto

© Francisco X. Alarcón
18 de diciembre de 2011

“Thieves and Saint” by Mari Herreras
"Insomnio" por Teresinka Pereira
"On the Border" by Kathy Rising Dove Robinson-Martel
“Remember It Now..." by Iris De Anda
“Main Argument / Argumento principal" by Francisco X. Alarcón

Mari Herreras, a fifth generation Tucsonan, is an award-winning journalist who works for the Tucson Weekly. When she’s not writing about the ugly and beautiful that makes Tucson weird and wonderful, she writes with the Sowing the Seeds women's writing collective. The group recently published its second anthology, "Our Spirit, Our Reality: Celebrating Our Stories."

Teresinka Pereira nacio en Brasil y es Presidenta de la Asociacion Internacional de Escritores
y Artistas (International Writers and Artists Association, IWA). Es tambien Senadora y Embajadora
del Parlamento Mundial de los Estados para la Seguridad y la Paz y Ministro de Derechos Humanos
en la Organizacion Mundial de los Pueblos Indigenas. Tiene el titulo nobiliario de "Dama" de la
Orden de Caballeria de Malta, y tambien el titulo de "Dama de Gracia Magistral" concedido por el
Principe Grao Mestre Don Waldemar Baroni Santos (Brasil).
         TP recibio' el Premio Nacional de Teatro en Brasil, obtuvo el tirulo de "Poeta del An~o de la
Canadian Society of Poets, y el Premio "Ciudad de Atenas" (Grecia). En 1989 fue elegida miembro de
la Academia Norte-Americana de la Lengua Espanola, correspondiente de la Real Academia Espanola".
En 1992 fue coronada con "Laureles de Oro" por la United Poets Laureate Internacional (USA) y en 1994
fue elegida Directora Internacional de la Asociacion de Cultura Latina.En 2002 recibio el titulo de Gran
Oficial de la Orden Real de la Corona de Nubia y en 2003 recibio la medalla del Estado de Sicilia (Italia).
Recibio' los diplomas de Doctorado Honoris Causa:
1973 - Doctorado en Lenguas Romances de la Universidad de New Mexico (USA)
1997 - Doctora Honoris Causa de la Universidad Simon Bolivar (Colombia)
1999- Profesora Honoris Causa de la Academia Internacional de St. Lukas, Antwerpen
2000 - Doctora Honoris Causa en Filosofia y Humanidades de la Academia de Cultura y Ciencias de Moldova.
2001- Doctora Honoris Causa en Humanidades de la Academia de Ciencias Politicas de Alemania.
2002 - Doctora Honoris Causa en Ciencias Politicas de la Universidad Americana de Paranaibo, Surimani.
2003 - Delegada y Chanceler de la Cambridge International University in USA.
2007 - Poeta Honoris Causa del Clube Brasileiro da Lingua Portuguesa.
2010 - Presidente Honorario de la Asociacion Hispanista de Escritores.
2011 - Honorary Ambassador of the International Forum for Literature, Arts and Culture (IFLAC) in USA.

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. to be closer to nature. She endeavors to have a book of poetry published one 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.

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: