Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Poetry Fights Elder Abuse. Farewell Until Next Year, Francisco.

Poetry Reading at USC Keck School of Medicine
Michael Sedano

New Mexican photographer Geraint Smith's stunning landscapes were used with the artist's permission.
La Bloga friend Karen S. Cordova's poetry collection, Farolito, adds dimension to the phrase "deeply personal." For the poet, she recounts a loving granddaughter's desperate battle to be an advocate for her failing abuelita, from cooking her food to getting power of attorney over health issues, and extending the old woman's life while adding joyousness to her final months.

For Cordova's uncle and cousins, the poet's account of brutal, selfish, cruelty will be a lifelong reminder of a permanent stain on the Souls of a son and his spawn for how they treated a helpless person: steal her money, trash her home, take whatever possession they desired.

One hopes the neighbors read Farolito, too, so as to know that such people walk among them.

And for medical students, Farolito is a career-defining reminder of a physician's personal responsibility to burst the boundaries of scientific disinterest and guide a doctor's understanding beyond the role of patient to seek the heart and humanity of aged people in the doctor's care.

Thanks to Dr. Laura Mosqueda, Chair and Professor of Clinical Family Medicine and Associate Dean For Primary Care at University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine, a handful of medical students came to poetry and their conscience at a reading by Karen at the school.

Dr. Mosqueda told the audience that when she read Farolito she recognized an opportunity to bring humanities to science by means of the work, and invited Cordova to discuss her experience and read some of the powerfully emotional pieces in the collection. (Here's La Bloga's review.)

Elder abuse is one of those crimes that dare not speak its name, an ugly family secret that some look away from, that others know but do nothing to intercede. Medical professionals may feel helpless in the face of such evil.

Mosqueda and her colleagues are growing proactive about elder abuse and the physician's responsibility. When an aged patient comes to their doctor, doctors will be asking questions  beyond how do you feel, where does it hurt, adding  "Is anyone taking your money without permission?" "Is someone hitting you?" "Are you afraid of anyone in your home?" Hearing answers in the affirmative, the doctor will alert the proper agencies in government--every state has some form of protective laws--and the helpless aged will be rescued. Ojalá.

Scientists like to say "there's nothing more practical than a good theory." Now USC's Family Medicine graduates can add, "there's nothing more practical than a good poem."

March One On-Line Floricanto: Grief's Final Farewell to Francisco X. Alarcón
Paul S. Flores, Israel Francisco Haros López , Doroteo García, Gabriela B. Ramírez, Kim McMillon

La Bloga's March One On-line Floricanto shares a third set of elegies for our friend, the people's laureate, Francisco X. Alarcón. In years to follow, we shall remember Francisco on the anniversary of his transition.

Francisco's life was puro poetry, he lived to write and read his work. There's no need to ritualize and hold annual memorials to his memory. Mejor, everyone can celebrate Francisco's life without any special occasion: write poetry, read poetry, read poetry aloud to yourself, read poetry aloud to children, read poetry aloud to your friends. Make floricanto part of your backyard and institutional celebrations.

For Frankie Five Angels, By Paul S. Flores
When, By Israel Francisco Haros López
¿Dondé quedaron los poetas? Por Doroteo García
Mariposas y tú, Por Gabriela B. Ramírez
Francisco “El Corazón,” By Kim McMillon

For Frankie Five Angels
By Paul S. Flores

You made us young Raza poets feel
When you showed up to read at Poems y Poemas back in the 90's
In the Lower Haight
With your Sactown posse of Poetas
You blessed all the brown college kids in the audience with the four directions
And copal
While the espresso machine hissed
While the Muni bus right outside the door hissed
While the homeless peeped inside and hissed
We stood proud with you repeating
Ta hui
Your poetry came to us like beaming sun rays
Even at night
And after the reading was over
You came to our house to sit with the young poets
A smile keeping your posture alert
Offering your kindness and powerful witness
While we got drunk and celebrated
A poetry angel in our home.

By Israel Francisco Haros Lopez

When a poet that struck our soul dies. we are always left
with a gap of dreams and ghosts
left behind by words not written. not spoken
the gathered winds of their breath
no longer present.
we are left with the layered presente notions
of what does that vacuum inside of us
mean. in this now and then. in this then
and when. in this when and what
we are left dancing in our own skin
with the tears fears everything dancing becoming
the oldest of ghost start crawling back inside of us
the youngest spirits start guiding us
another ancestors came and went
what is this trail you leave behind francisco alarcon
what is this trail you leave behind john trudell
what is this trail of tears of poems
what is this trail of fears and words
stepping into the light of your grace
what is this trail of imperfect perfection
que somos humanos cantando y llorando
el puro reflejo del sol
mariposas sin fronteras
hombres y mujeres con alas
en las gargantas
we are the stone song left when all the steam
is gone . when all the water has been poured out
and we are pure bone song dust again
we start to feed the earth back all the songs
and all the colors she fed us
we become the journey. the best part of the journey
when the human condition. when the human contradiction
but as always we are the ones left dying
because we miss you. we miss you. and we miss you
and nothing was ever enough. this is our testament
to the human condition. that it was never ever enough
despite all the touch. despite all the opportunities
it was never enough. never ever enough. to be by your
side. to hear your words. to fight with you. to be at peace
with you. to love you. to listen to you. to be heard and seen
by you. to laugh with you. to cry and fear with you.
to hope with you
it is never enough. when you are finally gone
when the material is finally gone
when the body goes back to the four winds
to the seven directions
to the 13 generations.
in that sage of smoke
in that breath of cedar
in that one final tear
right there
when no one is looking
when no one else but you
is listening
its that song of grain of sand
its the final flor y canto
cuando todos los pajaros te llaman
para regresar.
cuando todos los latidos regresan a tu sol
cuando todos los latidos te regresan
al lugar donde nacio la agua
al lugar donde vive la madre
de quetzalcoatl
a la boca del universo
alli en ese silencio
que inspiras en este vacio
digo que pues haci es no?
nunca fue lo suficiente
la forma que una alma toca al mundo
la forma que una alma regresa al fuente
te queremos
te escuchamos
mas que nunca
poeta mexica
poestas mexicas
poetas lakotas
somos las variaciones
de las mismas lenguas
desde el centro del universo
tonantzin tlalli
pueblos de la madre
tiahui tiahui
tiahui a todos los vientos
hasme un campito
te veo no tan pronto
pero igual hasme un campito
en le fuego eterno del comienos
en la agua eterna del comienos
tiahui tiahui
tiahui tiahui

¿Dónde quedaron los poetas?
Por Doroteo García

Para que los poetas
No se extingan del planeta
Yo quiero seguir escribiendo poesía
Para que los poetas
No se queden en el olvido,
Leamos por un día
un libro de poesías.

Esta sociedad tan consumista
Querrá borrar la inspiración
Desaparecer con ellos los poemas
Y poner de moda,
Cualquier insípida canción.

Esta sociedad tan egoísta.
Podrá militarizar todas sus fronteras,
Bombardear los sentimientos.
Pero no podrá aniquilar a nuestras musas.

Que protesten todos los Sabines
Que resuciten todos los Neruda
Que se revuelque Borges en su tumba
Que escriba Octavio Paz
Un verso de protesta,
Contra esta sociedad
Que tanto apesta.

Francisco “El Corazón”
By Kim McMillon

It is morning
It is night
It is twilight
And, the poets come out
Did you know?
That twilight carries the music
The poets’ voices
We press our ears to the earth
Oh, the music
The art,
That greets us
The calling
Wrapped in deep brown earth
That when run through our fingers
Connects the heart
The heart of the poet
Francisco, we feel your
Beating heart
In the earth
The deep brown earth
giving us the music
the voice of poetry
It is in the hearts
It is in our hearts, our minds
It is cradling those parts of us
The darkness and the light
Until they are intertwined
Calling us to remember
Oceans of words
Creating in us the twilight
Creating in us the morning
Creating in us the night
Calling our names
Calling our brother and sister poets
Greeting us with soundless words from
the deep brown earth.

Meet the Poets
For Frankie Five Angels, By Paul S. Flores
When, By Israel Francisco Haros López
¿Dondé quedaron los poetas? Por Doroteo García
Mariposas y tú, Por Gabriela B. Ramírez
Francisco “El Corazón,” By Kim McMillon

Poet, performance artist, playwright, and spoken word artist Paul S. Flores explores the intersection of urban culture, Hip-Hop, and transnational identity rooted in his growing up in both Chula Vista, CA and Tijuana, Mexico. His theater works include the play PLACAS: The Most Dangerous Tattoo (2012), a bilingual tale of fathers and sons, transformation and redemption; the solo performance You’re Gonna Cry (2011); and the two-hander REPRESENTA! (2007). He is a 2015 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award winner, 2014 KQED Hispanic Heritage Local Hero, and 2011 San Francisco Weekly Best Politically Active Hip-Hop Performance Artist. Support for his work also includes the 2016 Gerbode, Hewlett Foundation Theater Commission Award, National Performance Network Forth Fund Award (2014) and NPN Creation Fund (2012), an NEA Theater grant (2013), and a National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures Fund for the Arts Individual Artist Award (2009). Paul is director of the Latino Men and Boys Program at The Unity Council in Oakland and a leader in the movement to improve outcomes for Boys and Men or Color. As a co-founder of Youth Speaks, he has introduced spoken word to hundreds of thousands of youth all over the country, and has developed a national platform for young people through the Brave New Voices: National Teen Poetry Slam, seen on HBO. He teaches Hip-Hop Theatre and Spoken Word at University of San Francisco. See more www.paulsflores.com

Israel Francisco Haros Lopez was born in East Los Angeles to immigrant parents of mexican descent. He brings his firsthand knowledge of the realities of migration, U.S. border policies, and life as a Mexican American to his work with families and youth as a mentor, educator, art instructor, ally, workshop facilitator and activist. Even with a 1.59 High school G.P.A., Israel managed to go back to the community college and raise his grades to get accepted into U.C. Berkeley and receive a degree in English Literature and Chicano Studies followed by an M.F.A in Creative Writing. At formal and informal visual art spaces, Israel creates and collaborates in many interdisciplinary ways including poetry, performance, music, visual art, and video making and curriculum creation. His work addresses a multitude of historical and spiritual layered realities of border politics, identity politics, and the re-interpretation of histories. This month he will ask individuals to collaborate with him in an digital collage and digital community poems titled #mexicanjazz. His work can be found at chicanocoloringbooks.com, waterhummingbirdhouse.com, and bordercanto.wordpress.com.

Mi nombre es Doroteo Garcia, vine del sur del estado, de Oaxaca trabajo, como janitor en la Universidad de Stanford . Y todos los dias escucho, percibo, siento, vivo las injusticias de este mundo. Y por eso escribo para denunciar. Hablo por mis compañeros de trabajo, por mis vecinos por aquellos que no tienen voz. Escribo poesias e historias de nuestra gente. (He escrito y publicado un libro "cuentos de inmigrantes") En donde relato de una forma simple el sacrficio y esfuerzo que cuesta vivir en EU. En East. Palo Alto, la ciudad donde vivo formamosun comite de vecinos que lucha por viviendas accesibles y control de rentas para que las familias de bajos recursos no seamos desplazados. No tengo mas que decir de mi mismo. Que los otros hablen por mi.

Graciela B. Ramírez Taught Spanish and Ethnic Studies at California State University, Sacramento for 25 years. As a poet, she published: Educación,Una Epica Chicana, the history of the Chicanos at CSUS. She has also written her memoirs and a book of poems to be published as Memories Frozen in Time and Poemas Buenos, Malos y Regulares. Her poems have appeared in different anthologies. Since the early 1970’s she has organized and participated in many poetry readings in the Sacramento area and out of town programs. She was coordinator for 11 years of the group: Escritores del Nuevo Sol (Writers of the New Sun.) She helped edit in Spanish this group’s anthology: Voces del Nuevo Sol, Cantos y Cuentos.

Kim McMillon is currently completing a Ph.D. in World Cultures, at the University of California, Merced, with an emphasis on the Black Arts Movement and African American Literature. In collaboration with UC Merced’s Office of Student Life and Center for the Humanities, Ms. McMillon produced the UC Merced Black Arts Movement Conference 50 Years On, February 28 - March 2, 2014. As President of the UC Merced African Diaspora Student Association, Ms. McMillon produced programs on race and culture with such renown speakers as Askia Toure, one of the main architects of the Black Arts and Black Power Movements, and former Black Panther Charlotte “Mama C” O’Neal as well as facilitated a graduate panel on diversity at UC Merced. Ms. McMillon is a guest editor for a spring issue of The Journal of PAN African Studies special edition on the Black Arts Movement and has been asked to contribute to Black Power Encyclopedia (1965-1975), a two-volume reference work that explores the emergence and evolution of the Black Power Movement in the United States. From 2001–2005, Ms. McMillon produced the Oakland Literature Expo with PEN Oakland as part of the City of Oakland’s Art & Soul Festival. Ms. McMillon’s radio show Arts in the Valley (2010-2014) aired every Saturday on 1480 KYOS AM in Merced, California. In 2014, the PEN Oakland anthology Fightin’ Words, which she co-edited with Claire Ortalda and Judith Cody, was published by Heyday Press in Berkeley, California. In November 2015, Ms. McMillon was one of the invited guest speakers at Stanislaus State University’s Social Justice in the Central Valley Conference.

1 comment:

Odilia Galvan Rodriguez said...

As always, big thanks to you Michael for your ongoing collaboration with Poets Responding to SB 1070 and Poetry of Resistance! Adelante, Odilia