Tuesday, February 01, 2011

News 'n Notes; On-Line Floricanto First of February

Michael Sedano

FM Radio & Internet Interview with Thelma Reyna

Live Radio Interview, KPFK, with Thelma T. Reyna
Wednesday, February 2, 7:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.
You can hear the program via the link for 90 days after the show airs.
90.7 FM, Los Angeles; 98.7 FM, Santa Barbara.
Streaming live on the web at www.kpfk.org.

Pasadena author Thelma T. Reyna presents her book, The Heavens Weep for Us and Other Stories, which brings to life the stories of everyday people. She will also give us a taste of her soon-to-be-released book of poetry, Breath and Bone.

Reyna’s fiction and nonfiction have been published in literary and academic journals, anthologies, textbooks, blogs, and regional media. She is also an editor and writing consultant who owns her own business, The Writing Pros. Having worked as an administrator for the Pasadena and South Pasadena school districts, Reyna understands the importance of educating youth around issues of literacy.

Join your hosts Ariana Manov, Lynn Harris Ballen, and Celina Alvarez --this Wednesday night at 7:00 pm! This is what feminism sounds like! Listen live on 90.7 FM Los Angeles, 98.7 FM in Santa Barbara, and streaming live on the web at www.kpfk.org. If you can't catch us live, you can always listen on archives for up to 90 days after the show airs. It is available on podcast!

Reminder: Conference on Modernity, Critique, and Humanism February 12-13 CSULA

The El Sereno campus hosts speakers and panelists representing 17 different countries and 38 universities, from Denmark to South Korea and Turkey.

Per the conference website, "This conference is sponsored by the University of Copenhagen (Denmark); Universidad de Guadalajara en Los Angeles; Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo (México); Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Cuajimalpa (México); Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACyT, México); the Gigi Gaucher-Morales Memorial Lecture Series; the Center for Contemporary Poetry and Poetics; the College of Arts and Letters; the College of Natural and Social Sciences; and the Departments of Chicano Studies, English, and Modern Languages and Literatures at Cal State L.A."

The conference website offers its own visual treats, in addition to its list of a host of adventurous panel topics organized by Roberto Canto.

On-Line Floricanto

Valentine floricanto:
Francisco Alarcón and the moderators of the popular Facebook group Poets Responding to SB 1070 next week turn their thoughts to words of love with a special collection of thirteen poets writing in respect of St. Valentine's day observed against the landscape of Arizona's hate laws.

On-Line Floricanto, second month of the eleventh year of the new millenium, as the earth turns...

Aristotle, that ancient chicano rhetorician, posits that all things being equal Good will overcome Evil, but having an effective speech and a quick tongue are weapons every person needs, to keep matters on an even keel.

That worked, until the Romans invaded and made slaves of the best rhetors. Thus ancient youth studied what Quintillian and a bunch of other OG latinos termed scientia bene dicendi. The bene of the slogan being the moral virtuous speaker, armed with an effective message.

Somewhere in here lies a convoluted irony fixed at the loci of Arizona law, teaching C/S, and poetry. A handful of good lawyers will help, undoubtedly. A handful of good poets, undoubtedly does, too.

1. "Invisible" by Ramón Piñero.
2. "Without Papers, la vida está pelada en el Gabacho" by Gerardo Pacheco
3. "In Memory" by Jesus Cortez
4. "Conquistador" by Matt Sedillo
5. "Guilty Skin" by Beth Brotherton


I am an
in my
an orphan
in my
(so to speak)
in my

they came
to me
on the
by a
grist for
the mill
of death.

I am an
en mi
in my

I gave
from my
I had;
they slept
in warmth,
in peace,

I was
what they

men, women
en cadenas
in chains
dead eyes
and empty
torn from
brought to

When I
spoke up
they sent
me to
a room
para mi

I could
no longer
at my
in my

I am
an orphan
in my
own home

where I

this dream
is made
an endless

I am
a visitor
in my
a visitor

I need
to speak
I need
to think
I need
to hope
I need
to live

I no
I am
in their

I am
an orphan
un huerfano
en mi
a stranger
in my
an orphan
in my
in this

this will
as other
but we
will be
as never
at full

they cannot
stop the
for we
with both

© Ramón Piñero 1/2011

Without Papers, La Vida Esta Pelada En El Gabacho
by Pacheco, Gerardo.

cuando el gabacho me pide mis papeles,
se me hace un nudo en la garganta.
el pecho se me llena de rabia.
trato de respirar, pero no puedo,
me sofoco, y no es el pinche calor.
ya estoy cansado de este desmadre.
me muerdo los labios,
muerdo fuerte
hasta que algo se rompe
dentro de mi. me trago mi saliva y sangre,
me seco el sudor y bajo la cabeza,
me acomodo el sombrero y sigo
trabajando aquí en este maizal de california,
la tierra de la fiebre de oro y libertad.

whenever el gabacho asks me for my green card,
i get a lump in my throat.
my chest fills up with rage.
i tried to breathe, but i can’t.
i choke, and it’s not the damn heat.
i’m tired of this desmadre.
i bite my lips
and bite harder until something breaks
within me. i swallow my saliva and blood.
i wipe off my sweat and lower my head.
i settle my hat and go on
working, here in this corn field in california,
the land of the gold rush and freedom.


by Matt Sedillo


Go forth woman
Carry your child
Not long to be a man
Into uncertainty
Flee the certain wreckage
Of broken promises
Of better tomorrows
That to be hated
To be hunted
Is still better
Than to starve


Johnny Ramirez
An immigrant kid
Who crossed over
With his mother
When he was six
Abandoned by his
Father when he was three
Always had it rough
Lived by the motto
If I don’t see the cops
Then I don’t see why not
Lived in a system
That offered him nothing
That taught him
He was unwanted
Without a record
But a criminal by birth
So why not earn the title
Things are tough in
Migrant America
Poverty wages
An imploding economy
ICE raids
It’s always
One thing or another
In this new country
This land of opportunity
There is always a new pain
To discover
A new way to slowly
Kill yourself and your mother
In the land of milk and honey
He had caused her so much pain
He who took refuge in gangs
In drugs in liquor
Belief that he was
An Aztec warrior
Fighting the Blacks
Fighting El Salvadorians
Fighting other Mexican kids
From other corners
Crossing them out
Like so many toy soldiers
Things were rough all over
For the children of the poor
When there aint no jobs
There aint no opportunity
So you join a gang
Like the US military
Leave your mother crying
As you promise her
A path to citizenship
A road to scholarships
A real future in this country
Johnny Ramirez remembered
That conversation well
As he lay wounded fatally
In Fallujah
A gang banger
Turned general issue soldier
Turned cannon fodder
Turned statistic
Turned propaganda
Turned bumper sticker
Support our troops
Or protect our borders
Either way one less hated Mexican wetback
Or one more honored brave American soldier
Who kill and die in wars
Who live and die by the sword
Because those
Were the only two options
Ever given
Turned piece of meat
Whose humanity
Is sacrificed
To the so called
Ways of the world
Turned turn the page
Turned the same old song
Johnny’s mind began to race
He thought of a little girl
He had seen years earlier
In the paper
Shot on the corner
Of Whittier blvd
How the shooter claimed
It was an accident
Johnny thought
How children of Iraq
Were called collateral damage
How he called them Hajis
How he convinced himself
Their deaths were necessary
How his squad leader
Convinced him
They were less than human
How he let himself be convinced
That maybe he deserved this
Maybe he had always
Wanted to deserve
Something like this
That life from birth
Had never been worth
The effort of his mother
To push him through
Was this finally it
Was this what it meant
To be an American
To kill and die
In this now God forsaken nation
Once the cradle of civilization
As a reckless child
In ancient temple
Like the hands of a broken stop watch
As history repeated itself
As an immigrant
A soldier
A poor kid
Who never had a chance
A Conquistador
Of home
His cousin’s low rider
And murals
Of Aztec Pyramids

Guilty Skin

by Elizabeth Brotherton

Silver pain
shattered an otherwise crystal morning.
Splintered memories drip like liquid scarlet atop Colonial asphalt.
Remember the hate.
I saw it's face personified on a dollar bill...
wondering--wondered--wonder at its ferocity,
caustic as the late Arizona sun
yet insipid like stale coffee and repetitive mediocrity.

Shame--shaming--shamed by my shaking white hands,
Killer Xeroxed from mine.
I don't own the gun...
my hands are not sullied nor my disciplined tongue.
I am unblemished like my American color--
eyes closed and lips clenched

Silenced--silencing--silent my kind are among the wolves,
snarling, putrefied teeth circle around brown bodies.
My other sisters and brothers cry out,
hands outstretched in pure yearning.
I cower in steadfast impotence,
shivering in comfortable denial--
ears covered and brain disengaged

Pretending, pretended, pretend my skin is innocent,
while fragile chaos rains
and melts my confectionery defenses.
Truth rubs my skin raw.
A sound penetrates the illusory silence.
I look up to meet the white bullet--
shards of remorse and conscience…
gunpowder on my guilty skin.


1. "Invisible" by Ramón Piñero.
2. "Without Papers, la vida está pelada en el Gabacho" by Gerardo Pacheco
3. "In Memory" by Jesus Cortez
4. "Conquistador" by Matt Sedillo
5. "Guilty Skin" by Beth Brotherton

Ramón PiñeroBorn and raised in New York,,,spent my formative adult years in the Bay Area and somehow found myself in Florida...I get to the Left Coast a couple of times a year try to get my culture fix...my body is in Florida but my spirit floats all over the Bay Area...

Gerardo Pacheco MatusGerardo Pacheco Matus was born in Huhi, Yucatan, Mexico. He is Mayan. Pacheco migrated to the United States when he was fifteen years old. He was the first in his family to graduate from high school and college. Pacheco’s writing is influenced by his Mayan and Mexican heritage. He uses their magic & history to bridge two worlds that have been in conflict not only with their language, but their culture. Also, Pacheco's writing deals with migration and its social and cultural hardships. Pacheco had published poems at Cipactli Magazine and Transfer Magazine, El Tecolote Newspaper,LA BLOGA, The Amistad Howard University Journal. He has been a Smart Cookie scholar since 2006. Pacheco is a candidate for the MFA Creative Writing- Poetry at San Francisco State University.

Beth Brotherton.When I am not working at an academic library in upstate New York I can be found writing or making art. I have always loved being creative and expressing my rich inner world through words or brilliant colored pictures. Art, in all its myriad forms has been an important part of my life ever since I was a wee child. Since I met my husband in 2005, a Muslim/Indian immigrant named Khalid who has experienced racism through the immigration judicial system, art has become even more important to me; becoming a means to express my anger, sadness and incredulous at a system clearly in need of reform. I am currently working on a series of art pieces depicting the tragedy and inequality inherent in the contemporary incarnation of American immigration policies. Additionally, I am coordinating the creation of a quilt designed to bring attention to the dysfunctional immigration system which will include the names of individuals who have been deported from the United States.
As a result of witnessing the difficulties of my husband in adjusting his status my heart goes out to everyone who has experienced similar problems and has been needlessly separated from a loved one. Additionally, I sympathize with anyone who has experienced discrimination and racism. We are all human beings who should be treated with respect, courtesy and equality. This is what I want for every individual—regardless of gender, race or class-- and I won’t stop writing or painting until such an equitable world manifests.

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