Thursday, November 02, 2006

El Día de los Muertos 2006

1st Place Amoxcalli-Descansos Contest Winner

A month ago we invited readers to submit works to our first La Bloga Día de los Muertos Amoxcalli-Descansos Contest. The title was a mouthful, but luckily it didn't keep writers from submitting. All the La Bloga contributors want to again thank the writers who contributed their works.

I have the pleasure of announcing that Vanessa Ferrel's untitled poem emerged as the clear winner.

When we requested a short bio, she sent us this:

"Vanessa Ferrel is a Chicana currently residing in Central Califas. Her weapon of choice, used in combating the social chaos of this world, is her pen. She is working on her first book of poetry and finds inspiration daily throughout the beautifully broken barrios in Califaztlan."

I was asked by other Bloguistas whether I would do a critique of her poem for this announcement but decided that the poem didn't need me to interpret, much less embellish it, in any way.

In our eyes, however, a strength of the poem is that it speaks well and deeply to the intent of the contest. We hoped in some small way not only to give recognition to new writing, but also to help La Chicanada strengthen bonds to the indigenous and Mexican past, particularly El Día de los Muertos, while recognizing we no longer live in the past.

This poem does that. And touches much more.
Rudy Ch. Garcia
. . . . . . . .

we remember
over 400 of Juarez’s
half buried women
whose screams
scrape against the night sky
whose cries are captured
in destitute deserts
and shatter into shards of

we honor those who died while on duty
from heat and thirst
while nurturing green fields

the men that live by the sword
in foreign countries
noble or otherwise
who died in the name of freedom

we honor mi hermanito
who didn’t get to see his daughter
represent the brown skinned Cinderellas
on the white man's pagan holiday
we wonder if there are taco trucks in the sky
and if there really is a heaven
for a G

we honor the abuelitas
who hand made each meal
rolled masa with arthritic hands
whose backyards flourished in ancient remedies
for flu’s, colds or infections

we remember Alberto Sepulveda
the 11 year old boy who was shot in the back
obeying an officer's command to lay down
in his Modesto, CA. home on September 13, 2000
we pray for the trigger happy police officer
who was sworn to honor and protect...

we remember el Machetero
Filiberto Ojeda Ríos de Puerto Rico
who was ruthlessly killed
on el día de El Grito de Lares
most will say
it was not a coincidence…

of the sunkissed people
honor our dead
as did
the indigenous before us
similar to the Aborigines of Australia
more than 3000 years ago

we dance with death
and toast the unknown...

Vanessa Ferrel
© Fanesse


Joseph Gallo said...

Love your poem of honor, Vanessa. Well done.

javier said...

Congratulations Vanessa. A powerful poem. Especially powerful is the inclusion of the personal ("mi hermanito") in the middle of the poem. And, perhaps, all poems on loss--on the present absence/absent presence of those who we have lost--should end like yours: a dance, a toast, and an ellipsis.

La Bloga: keep up the good work. I get a strong sense of community whenever I read this blog.

Sheryl said...

Beautiful poem, Vanessa!

fanesse said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
fanesse said...

Thank you all for the kind words and kudos.

Rudy and La Bloga gang- thank u for the opportunity

Siempre Paz,

Guy Barry said...

Great poem Vanessa