Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Special October On-line Floricanto

Triple Ekphrasis On-line Floricanto: Letter to Drawing to Poetry

The Moderators  of the Facebook collective, Poetry of Resistance: Poets Responding to SB 1070, submit five poems that respond to illlustrations by artists who, in turn, respond to letters written by immigrants responding to living in a for-profit concentration camp.

The spark of today's special La Bloga On-line Floricanto originates with CultureStrike, Mariposas Sin Fronteras, and End Family Detention. Throughout the Summer, under the banner of Visions From The Inside, the organizers released illustrations based on letters written by prisoners.

Click here to view the full series webpage where you can read the artist statements for each image here. There also are links to connect with each artist via social media.

By any account, today's On-line Floricanto shouldn't have been on this subject. Those families should not have been imprisioned. Those countries shouldn't have been flogged politically and economically by exigencies originating inside US borders. And no matter how one looks at it, there's nothing moral about making profit from imprisoning people, nor accepting political contributions from those who do.

The for-profit prison industry doubled in size in the first decade of the 21st century, growing as the US profiled and targeted settled populations as well as FOBs. As a result privatization of government services, with the growth of immigration detentions, the two largest private prison corporations, the GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), profited. Together they now suck in $3.2 billion in annual revenue from the annual budget.

"Butterfly In Detention" by Chucha Márquez
Borderless Haiku / Haiku sin fronteras
By Francisco X. Alarcón

butterflies migrate
as free as the air and clouds
over the borders

mariposas migran
libres como aire y nubes
sobre fronteras

© Francisco X. Alarcón
August 24, 2015

Francisco X. Alarcón, award winning Chicano poet and educator, is the author of thirteen volumes of poetry, including, Ce•Uno•One: Poems for the New Sun (Swan Scythe Press 2010), From the Other Side of Night: Selected and New Poems (University of Arizona Press 2002), Snake Poems: An Aztec Invocation (Chronicle Books 1992), and Sonnets to Madness and Other Misfortunes (Creative Arts Book Company 2001).  His most recent books are Canto hondo / Deep Song (University of Arizona Press 2015) and Borderless Butterflies / Mariposas sin fronteras (Poetic Matrix Press 2014).  He has published six books for children available through Lee & Low Books, among them, Animal Poems of the Iguazú (2008) and Poems to Dream Together (2005). He teaches at the University of California, Davis, where he directs the Spanish for Native Speakers Program. He is the creator of the Facebook page POETS RESPONDING TO SB 1070 and co-founder of Los Escritores del Nuevo Sol / The Writers of the New Sun, a writers’ group of Sacramento, California.

Artist Jess X Chen
We, the Light of a Million Stars
By Odilia Galván Rodríguez

we, the light
of a million stars
carried within our souls

lighting the way
for all who dream
of being free to fly

we are the light
and we are not afraid
though sometimes everything becomes dark

have faith to survive
as our ancestors
who fought to live

free from prejudice
without the boundaries
of hate and evil

we are the wind
as free as the air we breathe
to live

Nos, la luz de un millón de estrellas

somos la luz
de un millón de estrellas
la cargamos dentro de nuestras almas

alumbrando el camino
para todos los que sueñan
ser libres para volar

somos la luz
y no tenemos miedo
aunque a veces todo se vuelve tinieblas

tenemos fe de sobrevivencia
como todos nuestros antepasados
que lucharon para vivir

libres del perjuicio
el odio y la maldad
somos como el viento

somos el viento
gratis como el aire que respiramos
para vivir

©Claudia Hernandez, 2015
Odilia Galván Rodríguez, eco-poet, writer, editor, and activist, is the author of four volumes of poetry, her latest, The Nature of Things, with photographer Richard Loya.

She has worked as an editor for Matrix Women's News Magazine, Community Mural's Magazine, and most recently at Tricontinental Magazine in Havana, Cuba.

She facilitates creative writing workshops nationally, and moderates: Poets Responding to SB 1070, and Love and Prayers for Fukushima, both Facebook pages dedicated to bringing attention to social justice issues.

Her poetry appears in numerous anthologies and literary journals, on and offline.

Artist Mata Ruda 
Slough Dwellers
By Paul Aponte

Only for
wanting better
bitterness reigned.

Angry hordes of infantile slough dwellers
wanting us to join them
but only in their misery & hatred.

I only hope for flowers.

Paul Aponte is a Chicano poet from Sacramento, California.

Paul, is a prolific writer and member of "Escritores del Nuevo Sol" and Círculo (a nascent group of poets and writers bringing exciting workshops to the west coast), and can be seen performing at various venues throughout the SF Bay and Sacramento areas.

He is the author of the book of poetry "Expression Obsession" , and has been published in "La Bloga" and in other publications.

Artist Micah Bezant
By Sharon Elliott

this fall of water
cracks open walls
where only skulls
and bloody machetes
brought on ships
crewed by
gold lovers
grave diggers

I had dreams 
for my daughter
giggling barefoot
in green grass
diving in the river
playing under clear skies
without fear

now there is
us two
clinging to each other
on a concrete bench
longing to ride
the waterfall
Copyright © 2015 Sharon Elliott. All Rights Reserved.

Born and raised in Seattle and living in Oakland, 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 Scot/Sámi/African Caribbean history, reinforcing her belief that borders are created by men, enforcing them is simply wrong.

Her book, Jaguar Unfinished, was published in 2012.

She has featured in poetry readings in the San Francisco Bay area and was an awardee of the Best Poem of 2012, The Day of Little Comfort, http://labloga.blogspot.com/2013/01/best-poems-of-2012.html

"Butterfly In Detention" by Chucha Márquez
The Beauteous Moment
By Victor Avila

for the women and children in Karnes Detention Center, Texas

She dreams at night
in a humid cage
of beauteous butterflies
that earlier that day
danced along the barbed-wire fence-
She reached out
but they were beyond her grasp.

Asleep beside her
a dark-haired son,
a curl of quiet inside her embrace.
In that stone room
she awaits the return
of the flecked-winged things
she glimpsed outside the walls.

In that moment before the dawn
those same creatures appear
in her fevered thoughts.
Like imagined sparks
they illuminate the cell
dispelling the darkness surrounding her.

And as the cell door opens...

Both mother and son rise up.
They begin journey to a far away north.
With one foot in front of the other
they begin their walk.
They are now freer than butterflies
and will never return.

Victor Avila is a winner of the Chicano Literary Prize.

His work has appeared in several publications among them the new anthology The Border Crossed Us: An Anthology to End Apartheid.

In 2015, his poem El Panuelo Negro was chosen as one of the best of 2014.

Victor has taught in California public schools for over twenty-five years.

Artist Francis Mead

We Are Humans Just Like You: Detention Centers
By Jackie Lopez






Sexual Assault


Some deserve safety more than others.

The love of power over another feeds
the beast within a colonialized mind.

And, some of them work in detention
centers with women and children.

Some of them have raped a woman
in front of her child.

Surely, our voice is stronger
than the fascists.

Surely, our compassion is stronger
than those who have a thrill with power over.

For we are humans after all, or
are we reptiles?

Surely, the status quo does not turn a blind eye
to such atrocities as we are living today.

And, today, we are living it,
Ladies and Gentleman.

Welcome to the world of “You have
less rights than I do. ”

You ignore me because, somehow, I am
a human being with less rights than most.

We are one.

Yes, this woman with dark skin
and a soul to die for says, “We are one”

because it is the truth that is hidden.

And, what you allow to be done to
me will be allowed to be done to you.

If that is not the good enough
reason to despair and proclaim our humanity,

then I don’t know what being a
human being really stands for.

Ah, Love.

It was all about love after all.

That was the purpose to come here
in the first place: It was about love.

It was about how much you loved and how
you loved and all that you would embrace

in the name of love.

Our purpose: to love.

So, I love myself enough to tell
you the truth.

So, I love YOU enough to
tell you the truth.

Coming here to this Earth plane
was all about love and courage.

Wow, honey child, because it takes
courage to love in this day and age.

I love the woman and child in
that detention center so much that I feel her

searing tears within my own eyes.

And, what am I to do?

What am I to say?

I write a poem.

That is my power.

What is yours?

Soon, they will be after the Gypsies.
What is life?

Jackie Lopez first started writing when she was 14 years old. Her best friend had given her a journal for her birthday. She kept her secrets there, but there were some secrets that she did not even dare to write or admit to herself. She did not start writing poetry then. She began writing poetry at 15 years of age because a young boy in her class wrote poetry for her in notes. When she entered UCSD, she won a poetry award and that is when all hell broke loose and she began to write poetry in her special journals. She majored in history and began writing what were to be her activist poems. After graduation from UCSD, she became somewhat known in the poetry field in mostly Southern California. She became known as an activist poet. She has read for Janice Jordan, Taco Shop Poets, Centro Cultural de la Raza, The World Beat Center, N.O. W., and many other venues for over 20 years. Graduate school for her consisted of time in The New School for Social Research in New York and at SDSU in San Diego. She experienced a spiritual awakening in graduate school and dropped out only to join a writers’ group called “Cabin 20” headed by Luis Alberto Urrea. He is still her mentor and has learned much about writing through this remarkable mentee/mentor relationship. Throughout life, she has made ends meet by teaching. You can contact her via email or facebook. Her email: peacemarisolbeautiful@yahoo.com and her facebook: Jackie Lopez Lopez in San Diego.


Francisco Alarcon said...

Thank you, Michael Sedano and all the participating poets and artists, for this wonderful Floricanto. Saludos, Francisco

Paul Apnte said...

All the works are beautiful and I was wondering if it might do some good to send all of them to the President of the United States, select Senators and Representatives. Saludos, Paul Aponte (Wolf Fox in Facebook)

msedano said...

a wondrous proposal, Paul Aponte. Please.