Tuesday, August 09, 2011

A Final Mental Menudo. On-Line Floricanto.

Michael Sedano

Concepción Valadez, Magu

Magu, Gilbert Lujan, worked tirelessly over years, at times manically, to create and sustain a community dialog about art, cultura, and fun. His artwork aside, Magu’s legacy includes a notable activism for bringing disparate gente together to talk with one another about important ideas. Magu termed the discussion series--akin to salon, or tertulia--Mental Menudo.

Mental Menudo was a labor of love for Magu, of inestimable value to people who participated in one or more Mental Menudos over the years. Click here to read Mark Vallen’s eulogy for Magu and Vallen’s enchantment by Mental Menudo. Be sure to follow the links Vallen provides.

“I’m through with Mental Menudos,” Magu was wont to proclaim, “I’m retired. Someone else has to pick up the ball.”

Abelardo de la Peña and Mario Trillo picked up that ball in Magu’s memory Friday August 5, 2011. De la Peña opened the Mexican Cultural Institute’s doors to the morose gathering of artists and friends. The site is fitting; this Olvera Street gallery has been the host of numerous Mental Menudos.

Magu planted a seed with a community in the San Diego region that continues to hold Mental Menudos. Locally, numerous eastside gente declare their intentions to hold “mental cocidos” to continue the dialog and camaraderie Magu sowed among them.

Not that this is the last Mental Menudo, only the final one of the Magu era. Click an image for higher resolution foto; for best quality fotos visit http://readraza.com/mmfinal. Thank you, too, to Abelardo and Mario for help with names.

Abelardo de la Peña, editor of LatinoLA and host for the evening.

Mario Trillo is Magu's Mental Menudo co-organizer and the discussion "sergeant at arms". Mario is co-host tonight with Abelardo.

Mario relates one of Magu's final wishes was to take a ride in Mario's panel wagon. That would have been a wonderful trip, Magu and Mario cruising the streets of Aztlán.

Ricardo Silva, Magu's next door neighbor. Ironically, given Magu's popularization of low riders and car culture, the artist's own trokita did not run. Ricardo provided transportation and all manner of assistance to his neighbor. A good neighbor indeed.

Shandu, a grafitti artist, spoke about Magu's influence on Shandu's art and of wide-ranging discussions he and Magu enjoyed about art, aesthetics, culture.

Julie Soto reminisces as Oscar Magallanes and Raul Baltazar ponder. It's a night to remember silly little things, tokens of character, Magu's legacy of art and words.

Richard Montoya lets the talk sink in. Later he will talk about important connections across generations, from José Montoya to Magu to Montoya's own son.

Montoya and others remain infected by Magu's intensely joyous spirit. The somber mood breaks into warm smiles as Montoya recalls a Fresno proto-mental menudo that brought together José Montoya, Magu, the Royal Chicano Airforce, the Royal Chicano Navy, and all night antics by a bunch of young artists with all the time in the world.

Emilia Garcia smiles at happy memories, flanked by Ricardo Duffy and Rudy Cardona.

Anita Renker laughs through her tears.

Sergio Hernandez and Diana Duran crack up at one of numerous happy remarks.

Joe Bravo shows the Mental Menudo poster he and Magu designed. A joyous memory, Joe's emotions show through. Magu was proud of the poster and talked it up.

Alfredo Lascano and Diane Hernandez listen as Vanessa Acosta recounts Magu's gathering thousands of old film reels that became part of Magu's design for the Hollywood & Vine subway station.

Serge Hernandez has additional fotos of this Mental Menudo, and an earlier gatheriing, at Serge's Facebook page.

La Bloga On-Line Floricanto: August’s Second Tuesday 2011

Francisco Alarcón, the poet from UC Davis, is founder and one of the moderators of the Facebook group, Poets Responding to SB 1070. Francisco Alarcón. Last week I named Notre Dame poet, Francisco Aragón, in poet Alarcón's post. My apologies to both tocayos.

I allow myself three errors per year and that leaves me with two now.

At any rate, Francisco Alarcón and his co-moderators of the group nominate these five poems for this second Tuesday in August 2011 La Bloga On-Line Floricanto. With pleasure, La Bloga presents:

"Be Fearless: Choose Love" by Nina Serrano
"El Valor de Las Cosas / The Value of Things" by Javier B. Pacheco
"Marisela" by Nonankoatzin Chantiko (Mamacoatl)
"The Polish Boy" by Ralph Haskins
"La tierra bajo los muros" por Fernando Marti

Be Fearless: Choose Love
I am very excited as tomorrow (Saturday July 30, 2011) my grandson Camilo is getting married and I am the officiate for the ceremony. I have written a special poem for this blessed event.

by Nina Serrano

to Jessica Xiomar Garcia and Camilo Landau

Afraid of computer viruses
Afraid of terrorists
Afraid of the planetary extinction
of our current paths
of spreading diseases
of urban crime rates
drug lords owning governments
torture as a commonplace weapon
and humanless drones
with only a button to press
to explode life to smatters and splinters
Only a law to pass to steal it all

Fearless love is the only defense
to face the morning light
Greedy power in my face like in yours
wants to make us forget
But we cannot forget this nagging feeling hard wired in the bones
wanting to belong snugly
in the nest of our planet
be accepted fully because we exist
and not for our documents, licenses and wealth.
From that innate primordial desire comes our fearless love
peeking around the polluted rubble of destruction
the abandoned gas stations the poisoned waterways
We look beyond and see other heads bobbing up
and down
beaming the signal
calling to us to show our fearless love
in the face of everything
Fearless love the daily challenge
Ready or not
it is here.

© 2011 Nina Serrano

El Valor de Las Cosas

Dedicado a Gilbert "Magú" Luján
(16 de octubre de 1940 – 24 de julio de 2011)

por Javier B. Pacheco

Porque he decidido expresarme en español
porque las campanas que me suenan
destacan otro timbre
al olor de la humanidad
manos sudadas temblando
coordinadas por gente solidaria
porque la vida
se juega según las reglas
uno se comporta, comparte y conforma,
sin conocer el valor de las cosas
o su significado
y después ellos llegan a darse cuenta
lo que tiene sentido
lo que siempre tuvo sentido
las promesas que nunca tuvieron sentido
que todo esto es un engaño
las condiciones intolerables porque
éste es el juego que hemos decidido jugar.

El Magulandia celebraba el juego,
en la manera en que se jugaba,
en las horas compartidas;
Porque el maestro
que había forjado sus ánimos en
los grandes murales
regresó a la tierra simple:
juntando sus ramas y ramitos,
palos, vigas y colores
juntando y creando formas,
creó su propio valor
trazó su propio camino
mezclando los mundos arcoiris de su alma
de un pueblo animado y rico
un aprecio nuevo
culturas de nuevos apodos
y nuevas traducciones
espejos kármicos para el pueblo
materiales de la Tierra.
la vida en sus disfraces innumerables
la paciencia demostrada de un tolteca
buscando un lugar común para todos
un artista guerrero de gran corazón
hablando en voz calmada
su vida fue el ejemplo de uno
que razonaba antes de reaccionar
sus esperanzas y sueños eran los mismos
pero él vivió y creó su nuevo mundo
vivió el ensueño mutuo
también como lo viven sus piezas
porque su vida reflejaba el arte;
se le va a extrañar.
su voz gentil siempre nos sonará.

No tiene precio una sonrisa tuya
Ni tu voz silenciosa al recitar
Cosas fermentando desde hace años
sentimientos desde muy adentro
lo intercalado se vuelve a modelar
Algo a que tú le das nueva vida.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The Value of Things

Dedicated to Gilbert "Magú" Luján
(October 16, 1940 – July 24, 2011)

by Javier B. Pacheco

Because I’ve decided to use Spanish
because the bells that ring for me
highlight another timbre
to the smell of humanity
sweated hands trembling
melded by people in solidarity
because life
is played by rules,
one behaves, shares, and conforms,
without knowing the value of things
Or their significance
and later they finally realize
what makes sense
what always made sense
promises that never made sense
that this is all a lie.
the intolerable conditions because
this is the game we’ve decided to play.

Magulandia celebrated the game,
in the way it was played,
in the shared hours;
Because the master
who had forged his soul in
the great murals
returned to the simple earth
gathering his branches and twigs,
sticks, planks, and colors
gathering and creating forms,
created his own worth
charted his own path
mixing rainbow worlds of his soul
of a people animated and rich
a new appreciation
cultures with new surnames
and new translations,
karmic mirrors for the people
materials from the Earth.
life in its myriad disguises
demonstrated patience of a Toltec
seeking common ground for all
warrior artist of great heart
speaking in calm voice
his life was an example of one
who reasoned before reacting
his hopes and dreams were the same
but he lived and created his new world
he lived the mutual dream
as do also his objects
because his life reflected art;
he will be missed.
his gentle voice will always resound within.

A smile of yours has no price
nor your silent voice upon recital
things fermenting for many years
feelings from very deep
the re-dressed goes on display again
Something to which you provide new life.


Brota cual la hiedra esta canción
Para Marisela
Una humilde ofrenda de amor
Y de luna llena...

Es que la recuerdo
Ampárandose con la viva piel de su verdad
Sí que la recuerdo
Desmayando de rabia ante semejante impunidad
Ante la impotencia general de una población enajenada
Ante el desgaste colosal de nuestra mirada acribillada
El aullido y el lamento de una fiera embravecida
Madre loba del desierto
De todas la muertas y las malheridas
Te recuerdo hoy de pie

Ni tu cuerpo, ni tu llanto
Ni tu dedicación, ni tu lucha
Ni tu hija asesinada
¿Por qué mujer nadie te escucha?
Ni tu valor de ciudadana, ni tus derechos constitucionales
Ni las pruebas contundentes ante los tribunales
Ni la sociedad civil
No te permitieron vivir

Y los ríos de sangre
Se desboradan y se secan en el ventarrón
La mano del exterminio -como a tantos, te atravezó el corazón
Y una bala del gobierno -como siempre, silencio aquel llanto
La magnitud del hecho -como nunca, oscureció mi canto

Y como punto estratégico de aquel proyecto de nación
-Vale notar
Se sacrifica un hijo, se glorifica a un padre
Y con la bendición de Dios
Se gesta otra promesa de paz
En nombre del hijo
Por el honor del padre
Tal y como está escrito
Por los magnos ingenieros
Del nuevo orden mundial

Pero crece y brota
Igual que la hiedra
Esta humilde ofrenda de amor
Y de luna llena
Crece y se fortalece por todos los rincones
Por patios y veredas
Y por los corazones
Indomable se propaga
Como la verdolaga
Verdecita y fresca
Por la madrugada
Por tu integridad
Y por esa gracia de ser gacela
Entrañable compañera Marisela.

MamaKoatl 2011
San Francisco CA

The Polish Boy
by Ralph Haskins

This poem honors the Polish boy depicted in the picture below as well as Jacob Lewin, Yitzak Lewin, and four year old Jdo (Ido) Levine, victims of the Holocaust.

I wish I knew your name.
Was it Ytzhak? Was it Jacob?
I shall call you Ido.
In your life's early spring
your hands were raised high,
trying desperately to pick
the fruits off the tree of safety,
but the tree was barren.
In this blizzard of history's winter
their bullets broke your body.
It has been seven decades down,
my dear Ido. You should be old today,
and yet your image holds,
frozen, in tones of grey,
and I the old man now, with chills
I gaze on your eternal frightened
childhood, the ice inside me melting,
and flowing down my face.

La tierra bajo los muros

por Fernando Marti

¿Lo sientes?
Aquí hay muros invisibles
entre azul y rojo,
entre blanco y bronce,
entre lenguas y vestires.

¿Has visto?
Un muro en Palestina que cerca vidas,
corta aguas y pueblos,
un muro en la frontera colgado
de cruces y huesos disecados.

¿Has oído?
Muros de los que ya nadie habla
de Marruecos a Berlín,
o estas carreteras que cuartean
mi ciudad, cortando sangre y
comunicación, partiendo barrios
entre el que llamamos “mío” y
el que llamamos “tuyo.”

¿Has puesto manos?
Muros en ruinas, piedras
trazando líneas sagradas
sobre las colinas. ¿Qué caciques,
qué esclavos con manos
rajadas, pusieron estas piedras?
Y ¿qué huracanes, qué
diluvios, qué guerras, qué
revoluciones las tumbaron?

Aquí, aquí, debajo de tus pies:
¿Sientes el terremoto que ya
se acumula, sientes los pulmones
de la tierra tomar su
respiración profunda?

Ya viene, ya viene…

~ fm
San Francisco, November 2009

"Be Fearless: Choose Love" by Nina Serrano
"El Valor de Las Cosas / The Value of Things" by Javier B. Pacheco
"Marisela" by Nonankoatzin Chantiko (Mamacoatl)
"The Polish Boy" by Ralph Haskins
"La tierra bajo los muros" por Fernando Marti

Nina Serrano I am a poet, writer, arts educator and media producer, voted “best local poet “ by Oakland magazine in the July 2010 issue. I produce radio programs on KPFA-fm: LA RAZA CHRONICLES, a magazine program focusing on political and cultural issues in the Latino community, locally and globally and a monthly literature show OPEN BOOK presenting the works of local author and poets.

Javier B. PachecoJavier B. Pacheco was the only poet/pianist at the first Flor y Canto Festival at USC (1972). He is a S.F. Bay Area performance poet, pianist, composer, arranger, and ethnomusicologist. His poetic works have appeared in: Califas, Chismearte, Elektra, La Gente, Maize, Mestizo, Metamórfosis, Quarry West, RiverSedge, Saguaro, Tejidos, West End Press, and Puerto Del Sol.

MamaKoatlMamaKoatl, Barrio Poet, Songstress, Curandera, Artivist, works for the reconnection of the human soul with the living Earth through music prayer and political action.

Ralph HaskinsRalph Haskins was born and raised in Monterrey, Mexico. His family moved to South Texas during the social turmoil of the 60’s. The new cultural challenges he experienced led him to express himself through poetry. Many of his poems touch the cultural and political issues of our times. Today, Ralph lives in McAllen, Texas where he supplements his poet’s income by moonlighting as a science teacher at a local high school.