Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Ajua Arepa • News 'n Notes • On-line Floricanto


The Gluten-free Chicano's Arepa Antoja
Michael Sedano

Traffic noise thrums with a different urgency that morning. I look up the avenue and see traffic cops and barricades. An NYC tianguis has popped up on the boulevard where I intend a stroll and some chow. Cops entertain themselves blowing their whistles at thronging cars. Through the rumble of buses and countless taxicabs it’s unlikely closed windows and stereo sound systems let even the shrill xrii-xriii reach the drivers. Traffic complies with the gesturing cop’s finger and detours left or right. It's life in the big city.

I step off the sidewalk and into the middle of Fifth Avenue. Pop-up booths line both sides of the closed-off block. I do not need sunglasses and more sunglasses. I don’t own an iPhone so I don’t need iPhone gadgets. Alpaca carpas and sweaters catch interest for a moment but I’m quickly distracted by the aromas of Italian sausage and peppers, Mexican asadas, and, from a few booths up, Arepas. Whatever that is.


The cocinero explains Arepa ingredients are puro corn and no flour nor wheat nor barley, nor in any of the meats and cheese. That sounds safe and The Gluten-free Chicano is about to order his first ever Arepa when gluten-free terror strikes. The whatifs win--what if I get sick when I’m in New York city for fun?--and I walk away, all antojado for the Venezolano specialty.

That was last year, a trip to enjoy the Poets Forum activities at the Academy of American Poets (link). This week serendipity rewards The Gluten-free Chicano with his first assuredly gluten-free Arepa and sabes que? It won't be the last.

Three bites short of a whole Arepa

I'm off to a camera show, and my walk takes me past some new businesses. There's a yogurt place, something else, then a hand-printed sign in a storefront makes me hitch a step. On my return walk I'm on the look-out for that “Gluten-free Sandwich” window.

Amara is on Raymond Street in Pasadena, next door to the large municipal parking lot, first 90 minutes free. It's a short walk from the Gold line's Del Mar station.

Amara prepares coffees, sweets and sandwiches. Their website features their choclatier and coffee specialties, along with arepas. The proprietor assures me he's familiar with el celiaco, era médico back home. In his new home, he's a restaurateur. Así es, pero ni modo. This is his place, and Alejandro knows celiac issues. No whatifs at Amara.

I order La Propria. Arepa names both the bun and the inside, a synecdoche of the whole for the part.


Manna from heaven must have been an Arepa. Split the arepa, spoon in some carne deshebrada, add creamy gouda cheese morsels, and The Gluten-free Chicano knows he’s been delivered from the wilderness of bread-like analog food.

The pan element of the Arepa at Amara is light, fluffy, and delicately flavored. Made with P.A.N. corn meal and water, this pan is an incredible discovery for gluten-free eating and cooking.

Alejandro and Amara welcomed The Gluten-free Chicano with incredible warmth and hospitality, which appears the standard at this worthwhile enterprise. Next time you're in Pasadena, the Arepas are on me.

Amara holds an arepa



Mail bag
Heritage Studies Celebrated in SanAnto

La Bloga friend Juan Tejeda, a principal in the daring Aztlán Libre Press, invites gente to come to San Antonio Texas for the epitome of cultural tourism. La Bloga urges travelers to select intriguing activities and plan a few days drinking in Texas' best city and Palo Alto College's engaging seminars.

Click the poster for a larger view, or, mejor, for a full list of scheduled events including times and locations, visit alamo.edu/pac/NAHHM. You may request information through the Office of Student Engagement and Retention at 210-486-3125.


from Juan's email:

We have been working hard since this past summer to organize Palo Alto College's inaugural Native American/Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration 2014 in San Antonio, Tejas. We have a great schedule of activities that includes scholarly presentations, workshops, a free Chicano Batman and Sexto Sol concert, film series, readings and book signings by prominent poets and authors.

The focus of this over-a-month-long celebration is engaging our students and community on the important fact that we are Indigenous/American Indian first and foremost, and native to this continent now called America, otherwise known as Cemanahuac, Abya Yala, Turtle Continent. In an age when most of our students call themselves Hispanic, the issue of our Indigeneity has not been addressed properly, nor our mestizaje and connection to the Indigenous populations of the Americas and our positions as Mexicans, Xicanas/os and Latinas/os in the U.S.

All events are free and open to the students and community, except for a small fee charged for the Luchadora! theater production for those 19 years and older. And there is free parking and free aguas frescos.

Late-breaking News!
Poet Laureate Laurie Ann Guerrero Free Workshop

San Antonio Poet Laureate and Palo Alto College Poet-in-Residence, Laurie Ann Guerrero, will be conducting a free one-month Creative Writing Workshop beginning Oct. 14. Details on image, click to enlarge. Guerrero is an alumna of Palo Alto College.





Mail bag
Poet Laureate Feted in Houston


Details at AP's website here.



Call for Papers


On the Eastside of the city of La, at the juncture of the 10 and 710 freeways, lies California's semi-official raza university, California State University Los Angeles. CSULA, through the leadership of La Bloga friend Roberto Cantu, holds a significant annual conference exploring junctures of las culturas on ambos sides of the frontera. 2014's theme was Rudolfo Anaya. Next up, los de abajo.

Cantu and the conference co-sponsors invite scholars to submit papers on themes surrounding the Mexican Revolution and its novels. For details, visit the conference site (click here).



October On-line Floricanto: First of Both
Betty Sánchez, Joseph Ross, Robert Neustadt, Joe Morales

La Bloga and the Moderators of the Facebook group Poets Responding to SB 1070: Poetry of Resistance share two sets of poems this month. Today, it's La Bloga's pleasure to share the first four of the month's dual delights.

Carne De Cañón por Betty Sánchez
For Gilberto Ramos by Joseph Ross
Crossing the Line by Robert Neustadt
Nothing Is Right Until You Say It Is by Joe Morales


CARNE DE CAÑÓN
por Betty Sánchez

Me llaman niño sin acompañante
Aunque ese no fue el caso
Cuando salí hace meses
De mi tierra
Mirando siempre adelante

Mi madre vendió un riñón
A su ambiciosa patrona
Para pagarle al coyote
Mi pasaje al infierno
Alias el norte
Que de libertad pregona

Mi tía Evelia se despojó
De su parcela y sustento
Para enviar a sus dos hijos
Al país de la abundancia

Rosita la vecina de mi infancia
Lavó ajeno tres veranos
Para escapar del abuso
De su padrastro y su hermano

Rogelio el hijo del cerrajero
No deseaba terminar
Como los demás del barrio
Siendo mara salvatrucha
Lloró incesante a su padre
Y obtuvo su bendición
Para irse al otro lado
Por ésta te juro viejo
Dijo besando la cruz
Que dólares mandaré
En cuanto consiga asilo

Mercedes la de la esquina
No conoció a su mamá
La dejó siendo pequeña
Al cuidado de su abuela
La anciana al enterarse
Que viajaríamos en grupo
Sacó dinero de un jarro
Para que fuera a buscarla

Con esperanza y con miedo
Nos brindaron triste adiós
Sin siquiera sospechar
Que al dejarnos ir solitos
Nos convertían sin querer
En ser carne de cañón
Al frente de los peligros
Vulnerables al abuso
Y la vejación de extraños

Partimos de Honduras
Cargando en el morral
Sueños y demonios
Derramando lágrimas
Emprendimos la ruta migratoria
Ignorando el infortunio
Que nos seguiría
Como una sombra funesta
Sobre nuestras cabezas

Tan pronto como
Abandonamos el hogar
Pisamos suelo hostil
Y actitudes áridas
Por nuestro atrevimiento
De anhelar un futuro mejor

Cada tramo de terreno
Que logramos recorrer
Arrastraba una historia
De miseria consigo

Cruzar las fronteras
No fue el desafío
Atravesarlas constituyó
Un acto de fe y valentía

El hombre de aspecto duro
Que nos sacó de San Pedro
Nos abandonó en Corinto
Sin podernos regresar
Proseguimos el camino
Hacia un futuro inseguro

Guatemala y México ignoraron
Nuestra condición de niños
Aduaneros y civiles
Nos trataron por igual
La fatiga y la desdicha
Se incrustaban en los huesos
Buscábamos refugio
bajo los puentes
En lugares solitarios y oscuros
Cubriendo nuestro dolor
Con cartones malolientes

Rosita y Mercedes
Vendieron su inocencia
Para saciar el hambre
Rogelio escapó de las pandillas
Pero no de la muerte
Por disentería y fiebre
En un albergue en Tabasco

Mis primos y yo hicimos
Trueque de pintas de sangre
Por un par de mantas
Para cubrirnos del
Escalofriante temor
Que nos producía
Viajar en el tren
Que llamaban la bestia
Un monstruo de mil cabezas
Semejantes a la nuestra

Perdimos cuenta del tiempo
Las semanas y los meses
Perdieron todo sentido
Eran solo pesadillas
Repetidas y con creces

Los que corrimos con suerte
Llegamos a la línea fronteriza
Junto a tantos otros miles
Queriendo cruzar de prisa
Para encontrar familiares
Otro hogar trabajo y visa

Pobres ilusos
Nosotros y nuestros padres
La bienvenida esperada
Se torno en una réplica
Exacta de lo ya acontecido
Carne de cañón de nuevo
Hacinados en jaulas
Durmiendo en el piso
Considerados indeseables
Objetos de escrutinio público
Temas de agendas políticas
Crisis nacional
Números, casos, estadísticas

Nos llaman niños sin acompañante
La estampita de la virgen de Suyapa
No cuenta en los reportes

Los derechos de los niños
Son solo un papel decorado
Con frases dignas sin valor alguno
La ley no nos protege ni nos acusa
Nuestros parientes no protestan
Por riesgo a ser deportados

Los que quedaron en el camino
Son olvidados
Nadie reclama
Sus huesos calcinados en el desierto
O bajo las vías de un ferrocarril
Que carga en sus lomos
Vidas engarzadas
Destinos similares
Otros mas se pierden en la indiferencia
De un mundo que no reconoce su humanidad

Tú que me lees
Y me ves a través de una pantalla
Que lloras al pensar en mi desgracia
Que me discutes en los medios sociales
Y me envías libros y juguetes para
Hacer mi estadía en esta prisión
Más llevadera
Que harás cuando sea enviado
De regreso a mi patria
A enfrentar la muerte
Que se disfraza de pobreza
De desempleo
De violencia …
© Betty Sánchez 1 de Septiembre de 2014

En honor a los niños indocumentados y en recuerdo de mi propia travesía que recorrí cargando sueños y demonios


Madre, abuela, maestra, poeta…en ese orden. Residente del condado de Sutter; trabajo como Directora de Centro del programa Migrante de Head Start.
Soy miembro activo del grupo literario, Escritores del Nuevo Sol desde  Marzo del 2003.  He sido invitada a colaborar en eventos poéticos tales como el Festival Flor y Canto, Colectivo Verso Activo, Noche de Voces Xicanas, Honrando a Facundo Cabral, y Poesía Revuelta. Ha sido un privilegio contribuir en la página Poetas Respondiendo al SB 1070, Zine 10 Mujeres de Maíz y por supuesto en La Bloga.





For Gilberto Ramos
by Joseph Ross

15 year-old Guatemalan boy who died
in the Texas desert, June, 2014

Before you left, your mother
draped you with fifty Hail Marys,

a rosary of white wood,
a constellation she hoped might

guide you. But Texas does not
know these prayers. It knows

that desert air is thirsty
and you are made of water.

It drank you slowly. Your name
only linked to your body by the string

ofaves still around your neck,
the small cross pressing against your

wooden skin, the color of another cross.
You left home on May seventeenth

with one change of clothes and two
countries ahead of you, your brother’s

phone number hidden on the back
of your belt buckle so the coyote

couldn’t find it. The coyotes pray
in the language of extortion.

The phone number was eventually
found by a Texas official whose name

your brother couldn’t remember. She called
and spoke in the language of bones. He translated

her news into “pray for us, sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.”

His prayer meant “brother,” a word
he kept moist, just beneath his tongue.
Published in the Los Angeles Times 8/31/14


I was born in Pomona, California, just outside of Los Angeles. After studying English at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, I taught high school in Southern California and then went on to receive an M.Div. at the University of Notre Dame. I taught in Notre Dame’s Freshmen Writing Program before moving to Washington, D.C. in 2000, where I founded the Writing Center at Carroll High School, taught at American University, and currently teach in the Department of English at Gonzaga College High School.  www.JosephRoss.net.


Crossing the Line
by Robert Neustadt

Little children cross the line.
Thousands,
legions of children,
seeking the love of a mother,
a father, a place to be.
A place where you can eat.
A place where you can stare at your feet,
or clouds that look like bunnies,
and not have to worry that
they’ll cut your throat,
or rape your sister,
or rape you and
cut your sister.
Thoughts. Thoughts of nine year olds?
Such are the thoughts of little children
riding the train, with hungry bellies,
cutting lines across thousands of miles,
riding rails on top of box cars.
Miles and miles and, yes, occasionally smiles.
Dreams of mami.feel the wind, it feels like we’re flying.
Rails of worry, wheels of Beast.
Don’t sleep, they’ll throw you off.
Don’t slip,
labestiawill suck you in and slice off your legs.

Swim the river, cross the desert,
Find the Migra, find Mamá.
We’re here, we made it,
the United States!.
Have we arrived?
New York, is near?

Cages. Children in little cages.
It’s like the zoo with children-as-animals--
sad young polar bears, locked inside refrigerated cages in a desert zoo.
No children with balloons on strings,
no squeals of laughter, no organ grinder music.
Just kids, never-smiling, inside cages.
This is no American Dream,
rather another segment of an endless nightmare.

Green-clad agents watch,
with guns on their belts, and tasers and clubs,
they guard the little brown children,
who dared
to cross
the crooked
lines
that divide
us
from
them.
Those
who
have
and those
who don’t
have the right
to eat,
to stare at their feet,
to find happy dreams in clouds,
to be.

Thousands of children crossed a line of water and sand.

Do we really want to hold that line?
Incarcerate children like dogs in the Pound?
Do we really want to cross that line
from human to inhumane,
shifting in shape from human to soulless steel-gutted beasts?



Robert Neustadt is Professor of Spanish and Director of Latin American Studies at Northern Arizona University. Over the last four years he has been taking students on field trips to the US/Mexico border. He co-produced and contributed a song to Border Songs, a double album in English and Spanish about the border and immigration (http://www.bordersongs.org). All contributors donated their work and the project donates all of the sales revenue to a humanitarian organization, "No More Deaths / No más muertes." Each album of Border Songs purchased provides 29 gallons of water for migrants in the borderlands. So far the album has raised approximately $65,000 for humanitarian aid.



Nothing Is Right Until You Say It Is
by Joe Morales

You, dreamer that cries in heartbreak
whose voice wails with the injustice of it
whose voice echoes against a wall of grief
gathering round the coffins
in the long sleepless watches of the night

traveler from ancient places,
you praise the finger pointing north
in awkward persistence
if you walk far and hard enough
will the sweet smell of freedom follow?

you of time, you of silent merit
you relinquished of childhood
fair flower how do you so calmly grow?
even as you are among us, you're about to let go
even if your disrespected you’ll forgive
even if you act responsible you'll be criticized
even as you walk away you’ll remember

you’re one acquainted with the night
coyotes and vampires glisten in your window
making their morbid and evil way
hacking through old neighborhoods
while slithering through, accumulating slime,
hopelessness littering the horizon

about suffering you were never without
for you all human nature seems at odds
you see violated ones with gentle hearts die
too eager for the predictable, too late for change

you’ve been standing in line patiently, quietly
too long to measure, while others perished
you’ve now raised your voice
for weary hearts and ears to hear

for all who’ll lend a hand
for those who will fight
who'll challenge the injustice, hypocrisy
give credence to inalienable rights
knowing humanity grows if nurtured
you lend your voice


Joe Morales is an artist, poet, writer, singer/songwriter and producer from Boyle Heights now living in South San Gabriel.  Married and has three children. Retired but continues to expand boundaries, generate interesting projects and cultivate new friendships.



5 comments:

Olga Garcia Echeverria said...

Great post, Michael! Arepas are divine and so are the novels of the Mexican Revolution and so is poetry from la gente

Edward Vidaurre said...

Another great post! Sharing!

Amelia ML Montes said...

Orale, Michael! Gracias for introducing us to Arepas. I look forward to the day when I first try it -- with you sitting across from me. A perfect lunch! Gracias tambien for the poesia and all the anuncios. So many great events coming up. Wonderful post.

Francisco Alarcon said...

Another wonderful issue. Gracias Em Sedano. Saludos, Francisco

Joe Morales said...

Great poem Joe Morales (Dad). Keep up the good work and keep them coming!