Friday, February 14, 2014

Join the Poetry Locomotive, Send Luis to Sacramento/ Love Poem for Valentine's Day by Jessica Ceballos

Poets in Support of Luis J. Rodriguez for Governor, Sunday Feb. 16

Luis J. Rodriguez Seeks California Gubernatorial Bid
  photo by Melinda Palacio
Poets take to the train and local businesses to help send Luis Rodriguez to Sacramento. Abel Salas, Poetry Locomotive co-organizer, told La Bloga about how the idea to take to the trains got started.

"The project evolved from an idea I originally shared with an emerging poet from El Sereno, Iris de Anda. Luis and I have been friends for over 25 years. I first met him in San Antonio when his book POEMSACROSS THE PAVEMENT had just been released by Curbstone. This was long before ALWAYS RUNNNG. I was introduced to him by poet Raul Salinas, author of UN TRIP THROUGH THE MINDJAIL Y OTRAS EXCURSIONS. Raul had been mentoring me in Austin at his Resistencia Bookstore as far back as 1982, when I was still in high school. Luis looked up to Raul as one of the pioneer vernacular Xicano poets who believed in la literatura comprometida, that is, writing with a social consciousness. Last fall, when I learned that Luis was running for governor and needed signatures to get on the ballot, I though it might be a good idea to do a X-mas Posada, or a "Posada Poética" using the train as a vehicle to gather signatures and making stops like in a traditional posada to share poetry on the East Side and in Boyle Heights, where I've been organizing readings and publishing Brooklyn & Boyle since 2008.

"After conversations with the Luis Rodriguez campaign staff, with Luis and with Iris de Anda (co-organizer of Poetry Locomotive) and a few poets we both knew and liked, we decided we really needed to come out strong as poets, writers, journalists and Chicano community activists in support of a maestro, a mentor who we have all been blessed to know. We knew that Feb. 20th was the deadline for submitting signatures and we decided Valentine weekend was the perfect time to show some love to our beloved teacher, friend and fellow poet."

The Poetry Locomotive Tour

The tour begins with a small 1pm rally at the Gold Line Civic Center Stop in East LA. Among the poets scheduled to read are Francisco X. Alarcón, a world renowned poet whose work in English and Spanish has been translated into Gaelic and Japanese and Gloria Enedina Alvarez, an L.A. poet who has mentored a generation of younger poets throughout a decades-long career as the voice of Latina feminist poetics. Poets and fans will disembark from the poetry train at four stops and will re-board for travel to the following fine locations to hear three different featured poets in each space. Open mic readers are invited to share on the train between stops.

Lupe’s #2 Burritos, 4642 East 3rd St., East LA, CA 90022 (Gold Line Maravilla stop)

Quetzal Boutique, 3509 East 1st St. East LA, CA 90063 (Gold Line Indiana St. stop)

Mariachi Plaza/Espacio 1839, 1839 E 1st St, Boyle Heights, CA 90033 (Gold Line Mariachi Plaza stop)

Union Station/Placita Olvera, 800 N. Alameda St., Los Angeles, CA 90012

Poets: Francisco X. Alarcon, Gloria Enedina Alvarez, Iris De Anda, Leon Arellano, Jessica Ceballos, Bus Stop Prophet Francisco Escamilla, Luivette Resto, David Romero, Karineh Mahdessian, Peter J. Harris, Abel Salas, Matt Sedillo, award-winning high school poetry students and our very own Luís Javier Rodríguez with more to be announced.

Help put Luis on the ballot:

Can't make the train? Sign the petition here.

Read Poetry from Tia Chucha Press

Poetry Books from Tia Chucha Press

Happy Valentine's Day

Jessica Ceballos, a supporter of Luis Rodriguez offers words of encouragement for everyone to join the Poetry Locomotive in support of Luis Rodriguez and a love poem for this 14th day of February 2014. 
Jessica Ceballos photo by Michael Sedano

"Doing the "right" thing and making the right choices for the betterment of society (which includes the disenfranchised, the earth and the animals) is what democracy always forgets. Voting isn't an act of democracy when we have candidates like Luis Rodriguez, it's a revolution! A revolution is what we need to makes things right in this state, country, and world.  As a long-time believer in the Green Party philosophy it's a given that I'd support Luis, but I'm also very proud to be supporting someone who I believe in, someone with a desire and ability to reform our education, prison, and health care systems. I'm proud to support an artist, advocate, mentor, leader, do-er...a perfect representative of the majority of California." -- Jessica Ceballos

Her Departing Lament

It was a struggle to be so close.
For her, not was okay.
In my dreams the struggle
was behind us. She was wrapping
yesterday's arms around me
easing thoughts of my tomorrow.
Assuring me that tomorrow happens
to everyone.
To be ready with just-done hair,
candy apple red stilettos
and a pretty clutch in hand to match.
Preparing for cumulus clouds
that will flood our insides,
is an impossibility.
“The side you’re on now,” she says,
“is the side to prepare for.”
As she continued immersing me
in maternal longing, I absorbed her.
Held her disappearing hands tightly
until the hands I held became my own.
Learning that struggle was a prerequisite,
I begin to earn the soul I was gifted.
Today, I wake up in conversations;
dialogue between two who now strive
for a life that would prefer closeness.
Tonight, long before dreaming
we’ll wrap the day's arms around each other,
fear disappearing. Earning the right
to call each other
mother and daughter.

© Jessica Ceballos, all rights reserved.

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