Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Scent of Acacia Blossoms

As Winter drags on with its cold, dark days and subdued landscapes, I long for the first scent of acacia blossoms. A spectacle of yellow tassels, acacia trees announce the changing season by permeating the air with a richly pungent aroma.

Acacias are scented before they’re seen, so, attuned to its unforgettable presence, I stroll up the inclined road, my eyes with a kindergartener balancing her way atop the cement curb as we walk into the zoo.

When I catch a remote whiff of acacia I look up and spot the tree, thirty or forty feet away, up the path, beginning to show splashes of yellow.

This young tree stands fifteen feet above the black pavement. The branches closest to the heat-retaining ground have almost fully opened their sprays of flower. Above, the branches sprout spikes lined with tightly-wrapped yellow balls that over the next few weeks will open into the fluffy softness of full bloom.

When ripe, the flowers release their pollen. Kids will shake branches to produce remonstrance along with copious dustings of yellow powder that covers the ground with gold dust and releases a faint echo of acacia perfume.

Spring is here, the Acacias are blooming.

Miraculous Manzanita Flowers

Last August, I stared glumly down the driveway of my family home in Redlands. Amid the blue-green coloration of wild buckwheat, cacti, jacaranda, and iceplant along the embankment, a reddish-brown shrub called attention to itself.

The two-year drought has punished the embankment--the apple tree died last year and some nopales have a sickly yellow tint--but most of the plants struggle along, stunted by thirst, but growing.

Except that sad brown mound. That day I declared my manzanita another casualty of the drought. I went into a dead plant funk.

Manzanita has long been a family favorite, the objective of many a weekend drive up into the San Bernardino Mountains. Once we'd locate a stand of manzanita we'd marvel at the gorgeous gnarled branches of old growth plants, stroke the smooth red bark that makes manzanita so delightfully different from the rough twisty branches of competing chaparral.

First wild mustard blossom of the Spring.

Then I as leave the front gate, I spot the first wild mustard blossom of the Spring. Mustard is another of those harbingers that makes my heart sing, so I stop.

Squatting to get a closer look at the bouquet of tiny blossoms a blurry splash of red-pink catches my eye in the background, up the slope where the sere brown manzanita carcass interrupts the green bank.

My eyes focus to discern clusters of whitish-pink bells growing at the end of red branches. My heart pounds as I recognize the shiny smooth redness of young manzanita. She has survived.

August 2012, the manzanita in its death throes. Dead apple tree above, left.

"Love is in the Air" On-line Floricanto Penultimate Tuesday of February 2013
Javier Pacheco, Patrick Fontes, Sharon Elliott, John Martinez, tara evonne trudell

El Tao del Amo by Javier Pacheco
A Worn Out Pillow by Patrick Fontes
Love Song to Country Music by Sharon Elliott
My Only Beauty by John Martinez
hummingbird flight by tara evonne trudell

El Tao del Amor
Javier Pacheco

Lo que uno ama más,
Debe de dejarlo en paz.

¿Qué sé yo de tus capacidades y de tus talentos?

¿Qué sé yo de tu fuerza de carácter y poder de decisión?

¿Qué sé yo de tus cualidades, defectos, miedos, debilidades, etc.?

¿Qué sé yo de la altura de tus expectativas?

¿Qué sé yo de tus callos mentales e emocionales, o de los pensamientos opacos que más te perturben?

¿Qué sé yo de tu perplejidad y de las pesadillas que todavía nutres?

No estoy para ningún quebradero de cabeza,
ni para ser una espina en tu costilla, ni un chirrido en tu memoria.

No quiero tender el alma en un hilo para que me hagan pedazos después.

Son más que indiscretas ganas de vivir, es más que una búsqueda por la amorosa maga, ó de esperanzas agrias por un soplo de alegría que debe anidarse en el corazón.

Es una sabiduría muda, un impecable traje de seda/esencia naturaleza

Es trascender los fines del tiempo, es estar sumergido en la danza,

Es la calidez, la humedad y la turgencia del corazón,

Es la inmensa paz de la estima, de la unidad integrada, solidaria,
La melosa plenitud que desvanece sombras y pasados grises.

A Worn Out Pillow
by Patrick Fontes

Last night insomnia raged
hugging my pillow between my legs
tight pretending you were next
to my warm lonely body once more
chest to naked back squeezed
pressed thighs to your sensuous hips
embracing till the new day shone
untangled our knotted limbs free
this morning between wakefulness
and sleep that magic moment
when dreamers know wondrous dreams
are about to fade into mundanity
I wept watching your beautiful body
transform once again into a worn out pillow

Love Song to Country Music
Sharon Elliott

standing on the threshold
where the barn doors part
she hears the music
before she sees
the wooden dance floor
laid down between
hay bales

in the corner by the horse stalls
a make-shift bar
vends white lightning
to starry eyed fools
who gurgle liquid courage
down throats made mute
by toil and rage

when the fire hits their bellies
their bleary eyes
survey the room
choose partners for a wild stomp
boot heels thud
pelvis grinds
breath overcome by alcohol
seeks lips
willing or not
for momentary pleasure

she wants no part of
honky tonk courtship
semblance of love and misery
twanged into songs

she refuses to have compassion
for men who venture blind
into rage they use against her
such a constricted idea of coupling
holds no appeal or fantasy for her

she turns on her heel
shrugs off the fool
approaching from across the barn
protects her nostrils
from the rank fragrance of bootleg suffering
fills them with perfume
of sweet alfalfa and moonlit night
walks home across a field of damp grass
and chirping crickets
wraps herself in a thick brown shawl
gifted to her by the sheep behind the fence

than any embrace
offered to her in that strange
misguided ballet

My Only Beauty
John Martinez

Para mi Rosa

In every measure
Of your skin,
I dream a rainbow,
A cloud waiting
For my brow.
I dream my dreams,
Sifting into yours,
I dream my bones,
Speaking the years
Of my ancestors,
Laying down
Next to yours
And becoming one,
And they did
Become one,
And this was not
A dream

In every note
Of your voice,
I hear my name
Scattering in a field
Of grass and dandelion,
I hear your heart,
That infinite drum;
You reached into
Mine and made us

Now the clock has spun
On the mantel,
And our eyes
Sink into the photos
Of the living
And of those
Who have
Our tears,
Washed in the rain,
Dried in the yellow hills,
Our laughter, furled
In the swirl
Of the great Pacific,
Where we have often
Lost our gaze;
That cradle
We return
With no regrets,
With pressed lips,
Dressed in our best

When I think
Of everything
All at once, I find
You standing there
In the blouse you wore
On our second date,
Standing there,
A woman
With faith,
Not fear,
I see you now,
In your early fifties;
You’ve become
My only beauty,
Napping on the couch.
I want to kiss
You awake
And read you
This poem

hummingbird flight
tara evonne trudell

the sensual part
of flying
diving passion
lovers connection
in wholeness
in being
making love
with care
free falling
fast touching
skin to skin
palms sliding
wanting belly
curving thighs
breaths releasing
with wings
seeking love
in air
the sensual part
of remembering.

El Tao del Amo by Javier Pacheco
A Worn Out Pillow by Patrick Fontes
Love Song to Country Music by Sharon Elliott
My Only Beauty by John Martinez
hummingbird flight by tara evonne trudell

Born in Palo Alto, CA, Javier B. Pacheco is a veteran published bilingual poet/musician living in the San Francisco Bay Area. His YouTube Channel is "Pachecure" where one can find over 95 videos of music, cultural events, and poetry readings.

Patrick Fontes is a PhD candidate in history at Stanford University. My research
involves border issues, Mexican religion, the Virgin Mary, immigration into the
Southwest, and the criminalization of Chicano culture.
I grew up in Fresno, in a working class Chicano home. My father was a
construction worker, my mom, a waitress. My father grew up in makeshift tent
communities, picking crops up and down California in the 1950s and 1960s.
During the Mexican revolution my great grandfather, Jesus Luna, crossed the
border from Chihuahua into El Paso, then on to Fresno. In 1920 Jesus built a
Mexican style adobe house on the outskirts of the city, it is still our family’s
home and the center of our Mexican identity today. Nine decades of memories
adorn the plastered walls inside. In one corner, a photo of Bobby Kennedy hangs
next to an image of La Virgen de Zapopan; in another, an imposing altar to

The smells, voices, sounds, hopes and ghosts of familia who have gone before me
saturate my poems.

Born and raised in Seattle, Sharon Elliott has written since childhood. Four years in the Peace Corps in Nicaragua and Ecuador laid the foundation for her activism. As an initiated Lukumi priest, she has learned about her ancestral Scottish history, reinforcing her belief that borders are created by men, enforcing them is simply wrong. Her chapbook, "Jaguar Unfinished", was published by Prickly Pear Publishing in 2012. She has been a featured poet at Poetry Express in Berkeley, CA, and has been invited as a featured poet by La Palabra Musical, March 2013, Berkeley, CA.

John Martinez studied Creative Writing at Fresno State University. He has published poetry in El Tecolote, Red Trapeze and The LA Weekly. Recently, he has posted poems on Poets Responding to SB1070 and this will be his 15th poem published in La Bloga. He has performed (as a musician/political activist, poet) with Teatro De La Tierra, Los Perros Del Pueblo and TROKA, a Poetry Ensemble (led by poet Juan Felipe Herrera) and he has toured with several cumbia bands throughout the Central Valley and Los Angeles. For the last 17 years, he has worked as an Administrator for a Los Angeles Law Firm. He makes home in Upland, California with his beautiful wife, Rosa America y Familia.

Tara Evonne Trudell, a mother of four, is working on her BFA in Media Arts with an emphasis in film and audio. It is through that art, combined with her passion for poetry that she is able to express fearlessness of spirit for her family, people, community, social awareness, and most importantly her love of earth.

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