January 2014 brings record cold to miserable swaths of the United States, Canada, and Europe as Hercules, the Atlantic storm that's bringing such misery, rages on.
La Bloga sends warm wishes to our friends in frozen lands. May you have ample fuel and power, good safe roads, uneventful commutes, and several good books to pass the hours. Today's La Bloga offers baking, writing poems, reading poetry as three ways to enjoy an indoor winter day.
The Gluten-free Chicano shares his friend Marty Giffen's miraculous fruit bread recipe. La Bloga friend Tara Evonne Trudell launches an intriguing poetry installation project that converts printed poems into word-bearing beads. A million of them. The year's first La Bloga-Tuesday wraps with a superb On-line Floricanto nominated by the Poets of Resistance.
Please leave comments, observations, questions by clicking the link at the bottom of today's column.
Marty Giffen’s Cranberry Bread Gluten-free Recipe
During the recent holiday season I was the grateful recipient of a gluten-free fruit bread that turned my world upside down. Moist, beautiful crumb and texture, tasty as can be with a crusty sugar top crunch that made life one biteful joy after another. While it lasted. I ate the whole thing taking no fotos.
Marty sends along her recipe, noting, “I'm so glad you enjoyed the cranberry bread. My daughter-out-law says she usually has to modify bread recipes, not directly replacing the flour with gluten-free flour, but she told me that after I'd already made the bread for you two. She often adds sour cream and butter to moisten things up, but this recipe already has a lot of butter and milk, so I guess it was serendipity. I used the Red Mill brand of gluten-free flour.”
Marty Giffen’s Gluten-free Cranberry Bread
1 Cup white sugar
1 1/2 Cups flour (you may substitute an equal amount of gluten-free flour)
1/3 Cup butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
grated zest of one lemon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup milk
3/4 to 1 cup fresh cranberries (1/2 a bag)
For glaze: You could probably cut this in half and glaze two loaves: juice of one lemon and 1 cup of sugar
Cream sugar and butter until it is lemon-colored and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and the lemon zest. Add salt and baking powder, then add flour and milk alternately, a bit at a time, incorporating all the flour before you add more. Fold in the nuts and cranberries by hand. Bake in a loaf pan for one hour at 350. Cool about 15 minutes. Turn out of pan carefully and poke holes in the top. Mix the lemon juice and sugar together and slowly pour it over the bread and let it run down the sides, with a pan under it. It will dry into a snowy, crunchy "frosting".
Call for Poems: One Million Border Beads Project
La Bloga friend Tara Evonne Trudell invites your participation in her current poetry project. As with any conceptual proposal, elements will emerge over time. For now, Tara invites poets to contribute to the project.
Workshop with Tara Evonne Trudell.
Artist and poet Tara Trudell will be conducting ongoing workshops within communities with local poets to teach them how to turn their poetry into poetic action.
This is part of her ongoing installation project,‘Border Beads’. Using the power of poetry to address the concerns and issues on the USA/Mexico border and turning them into prayer beads.
Prayer beads for awareness and change.
The overall goal is to make 1 million prayer beads, documenting with photography and audio stories to create a traveling installation exhibit that will travel across the nation to further the awareness of such an important and ongoing issue.
Please join Tara Trudell as she takes on one of the biggest and most important projects of her life.
On-line Floricanto for January 2014
Shonto Begay, Daniel Vidal Soto, Sonia Gutiérrez, Malke Singer, Victor Avila
The Moderators of the Facebook group Poets Responding to SB 1070: Poetry of Resistance, happily submit five poets, seven poems, three languages, for January 2014's first On-line Floricanto.
By Shonto Begay
Truth is not lying dead in a battlefield in some far off country,
Truth is not promises courted and spurned every four years
Truth is the fire in the hearts of you and me
Truth is our love, our joys and fears
Truth is not amassing toys of our doom
Truth is not stared at in a living room
Truth is the sacred Mountain in first light of dawn
Truth is my vision, the first line drawn
Truth is not hidden behind masks, left outside the soul
Truth is not given to hearts gone cold
Truth is the gentle flow of our Mother's tongue
Truth is in the sage scented healing songs sung
Truth is alive and dancing, weird and bold
Truth is you who took me in from the cold again.
A' Anii ji'
A' anii, doo jinii go'
Doo' Xhaa' de da , Bitsiis de si t,ii da.
Do' Yo' chiid da' Dii' ninaa xhaa; ha, de'
Ni Xhi' Je' bi yi' de'
Ni,' hi Ayoo aho' ni', doo ni xha' aya hoo dlee'
A'anii' Do be ne ' needa'
Do t,o' bidii nil ge, ezh da'
A' anii' Ha yol, kaal bii'
Al tse' adaa zo' ya' daa'
A.anii' do dinees ii' da' , Do' nii k,aaz da'
Do' bees sii' na' da'
Ni hi' Ma ' Hozho' Bi zaad be'
A doo' tdaal bi yii' si la'
A' anii' II na' ba 'hozho' . ye a,al zhish.
A' aani' Be' Ha , K,aaz bi' yi de' ya'a shiinil ooz'
Copyright © 1990 Shonto Begay. All Rights Reserved.
My name is Shonto Begay. I am of the Dineh' nation formerly known as Navajo. Born and raised on the reservation as a shepherd and other sacred responsibilities. Born in a hogan in a very "traditional" settings to the sounds of songs and healing chants accompanyng stories from elders. I grew up sustainable and prayerful. At an early age, I was stolen away to a US government boarding schools andthat is where I saw the world as it is. A very large family of human loving if not killing each others. I saw the opposite of what I was taught in the Hogan., I saw the geometric world we were forced to embrace. I saw the faces of missionaries ready to strip me of my spirit and feed me fear. I heard voices echoing new languages conspiring. I survived the brutalities of the institutions and learned to use their weapons of words. I survived this partly of my spiritual strength and getting away into my drawings, I was always drawing, Inspirations from the pains and the little joy we were given. I survived. Some did not, There are many walking traumas of my generations out there today still. Arts Save Lives has been my Mantra ever since.
I was fortunate to recieve a very good art education at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe and the California College of the Arts in Oakland. I recieved my BFA in 1980 in Drawing and Art History. I worked a decade in the 1980's as a National Park Service ranger where we raised 4 wonderful children. Their mother holds a Doctorate from UC Berkeley.
I am a working artist now with shows globally. I am happy to be recognized as such and given platitudes and stages. I enjoy words and its power of beauty and changes. Its delineation of our social /cultural and spiritual realms is evident in my life. Its magic to hold power in lines, curves, slashes and dots. Like Music, a universal linear dance of characters on paper.
I enjoy working with my hands and have built homes and other structures. I love childrens literatures and have written and illustrated more than several for Scholastic, my mother publishing house. I have much more inside.
My latest venture has been as a film Star. Summer of '13 in front of a camera with a great cast is another positive step for me and us all.
I want to find words for the unspokened, for the troubled and those in power unstable. I am not a trained writer . it is a prayer rhythm I follow, It is what I hear the wind say blowing through boughs of Junipers. It is in the calling of Ravens and low drones of an ancient chants.
Ultimately, it is the words of what I have always chosen to hear. Only the voices of old warriors. I thank you . Enjoy.
The Other Side
By Daniel Vidal Soto
We began in our old neighborhood
Three o’clock comes and we take off
before the rooster realizes we’re gone
We move out the cluster of houses
with their barred windows and doors
from the neon signs
To the outskirts
where fields of horses
stand still in sleep
Looking up, the sky is a map
the crisp air rushes with dawn
and the sun looks like a bleeding marigold
We drive south, intermittent with hustling
cities and empty roadways
nothings and crowded too muches
There are bridges just above
dirt roads lie ahead
and in between, fields of sunflower
Too many petals and stems and roots
for the farmer
to hack away
Still in Texas
we stop at the mercado
where the roof is paper cuttings
Our legs are sore
and the tires have hummed
us children to sleep
Mariachi on the ride home
until the hills become bigger
and we notice a cross on every top
Mexico’s inching close
and we know we’re almost
on the other side
The hills are balding with cactus
they ride higher by the mile
and father says they’re graves for gods
The city just outside the border
electrified all around
a halo hiding this little town
There are hotels by the street
and we’re told
no where is a place for children
We dare not cross
now that the moon chimes away
the footsteps and rust
When morning comes
we see a man
with three dogs
He has skin like me
but an angry voice
and angrier badge
Cars lined like humans
we sit and wait
until we’re called
Just inside the fence
two eagles sharing a snake
Bronze, proud, broad chests
who have known many flights
They keep our bodies in their mouths
only swooping from the sky
when the snake has grown its wings
the grounding earth
and reached the other side.
Copyright © 2013 Daniel Vidal Soto. All Rights Reserved.
Tell Me About Perspective
By Sonia Gutiérrez
"It's all about perspective," you say.
Do you mean the peeled paint
from a window pane perspective?
Or the coming home to your favela
made out of cardboard and tin perspective?
Or do you mean the staring from the inside
through steel bars with clenched fists perspective?
Or the working like an ant with a dry tongue
day in, day out exposed to the elements perspective?
Do you mean the pushing a grocery cart
with ragged clothes and empty cans of pop
through a city's austere streets perspective?
Or do you mean the sitting behind a desk
calculating money signs from the bushels
of cotton perspective?
Oh no—wait, I think you might mean the sipping of a glass
of Chardonnay on a yacht perspective.
Or, perhaps, the driving a Mercedes to a restaurant
to relish caviar pizza perspective.
Or are you talking about the hiding behind the word—
p e r s p e c t i v e?
Tell me about perspective.
Can you please give me more details—
I’m dying to know what perspective you speak of?
Háblame De Perspectiva
"Todo tiene que ver con la perspectiva," me dices.
¿Hablas de la perspectiva desde un panel de una ventana
con pintura descascarada?
¿O de la perspectiva de llegar a tu hogar, una favela
hecha de cartón y hojalatas?
¿O te refieres a la perspectiva de mirar desde
adentro a través de las rejas
de acero con las manos en puños.
¿O de la perspectiva de trabajar como hormiga
con la lengua seca día tras día expuesto a los elementos?
¿O hablas de la perspectiva de empujar un carro de mandado
con trapos andrajosos y latas vacías de refresco
por las calles austeras de una ciudad?
¿O hablas de la perspectiva de estar sentado detrás del escritorio
calculando los símbolos de dinero de los montones de algodón?
O no—espera, creo que querrás decir de la perspectiva de beber
una copa de Chardonnay a sorbos en un yate.
O, quizás, de la perspectiva de conducir un Mercedes a un restaurante
para comer pizza de caviar.
¿O hablas de esconderte detrás de la palabra—
p e r p e c t i v a?
Háblame de perspectiva.
¿Me puedes dar más detalles—
me muero por saber de cuál perspectiva hablas?
Copyright © 2013 Sonia Gutiérrez.
Sonia Gutiérrez is a poet professor, who promotes social justice and human dignity. She teaches English Composition and Critical Thinking and Writing at Palomar College.
Her poetry has appeared in La Jornada, The San Diego Poetry Annual, and contratiempo. La Bloga is home to her Poets Responding SB 1070 poems, including “Best Poems 2011” and “Best Poems 2012.” Her translation of “Tell Me about Perspective” first appeared in FRONTERA-ESQUINA. Her vignettes have appeared in AlternaCtive PublicaCtions, Mujeres de Maíz, Hinchas de Poesía, and recently in Storyacious: Feasting on Stories.
Her bilingual collection, Spider Woman/La Mujer Araña (Olmeca Press, 2013), is her debut poetry publication. Her novel, Kissing Dreams from a Distance, is seeking publication. To learn more about Sonia, visit SoniaGutierrez.com and Chicana in the Midst.
We make home
By Malke Singer
write powerful poemes
liderle y corridos
of our own
and our mother’s mothers’
stories and songs - no?
inmigrantes un zeyer kind
for our souls
Copyright © 2013 Malke Singer. All Rights Reserved.
I live in Oakland and am a student of drumming of Africa, the African Diaspora, and the Middle East. I am 2nd generation child of Jewish immigrants from Russia and grew up in Southern California, listening to the beauty of multiple languages and nurtured by multicultural perspectives.
I have always used writing as a way to figure out how to think about and express experiences and world events that shake me.
I write with Writer’s Café online and in Berkeley CA. and read at open mics.
By Victor Avila
The moon is a prisoner in the owl's eye.
My horse ran off frightened
as if snakes had crawled up on the saddle.
The grass is hair over a criminal's grave.
And if I searched here long enough I'd find
rusted spurs and a lady's comb.
My eyes are those of a rabbit
waiting for a tiger to jump out of the brush.
Where are you dear dancer in green?
I wait with a rose. I wait for your kiss.
The eucalyptus swoons with desire
and the leaves become tears on the branch.
You'll be mine when you get here and no one else's-
Not the wind's, not the mare's, nor the knife's in my sheath.
Come to me now dear dancer in green
with a lamp held high in your hand.
The light is a warm wash that discovers your face.
And ah, you are more lovely than your mother could remember-
Come take me before I hang.
The knife's in the water-
I watched the ripples turn red.
I've brought you your mirror. I've brought your favorite dress.
I'm as impatient as a murderer on a balcony.
I am delirious for your kiss.
Copyright © 2013 Victor Avila