Tuesday, March 13, 2012

On the road for banned books. On-Line Floricanto.

Road Report: Heading for a Librotraficante Meet-Up

Jesus Treviño and Ernest Hogan

The Librotraficante bus left Houston on schedule Monday, to great fanfare from well-wishers and teevee cameras. I hope the entire nation saw that on the news and knows the book smugglers are on their way.

We --I’m hitching a ride with filmmaker Jesus Treviño—departed California about the same time, and we will join the route in El Paso on Wednesday. Treviño and I are interviewing and videographing / photographing various Chicana and Chicano authors en route to Wednesday’s meet-up with the gente on the bus. My stuff will be in these road reports. Jesus’ videos are for Latinopia and a special assignment for the LA Times.

ICE alert! Just across the Colorado River, in Arizona, traffic bottlenecks then stops for an Immigration checkpoint. The Chicano migra agent doesn’t racially profile us except in krypto solidarity. Where you headed, he wants to know. "Tooson", I answer. “Took-son” he echoes and yes, he’s hot in all that tactical gear he’s wearing.

The brother bids us a good trip to Tucson, and he’s right. It is a good trip. It  shall become better by the day, heck make that by the hour because the desert is in bloom with ocotillo, lupine, brittlebush, buttercups, and gobernadora splashing the landscape with abundant colors, red, blue, yellow, green.

Monday we interview Chicano sci-fi author-artist and La Bloga bloguero Ernest Hogan and his wife, Emily, who also publishes science fiction. Today, Tuesday, we’re on the road to New Mexico.

Wednesday we’ll visit with the editor of the world’s second Chicano Literature anthology, We Are Chicanos: An Anthology of Mexican American Literature, Felipe Ortego y Gasca, and later, author Denise Chavez. That evening we’ll be covering the banned books floricanto at Mercado Mayapan in El Paso Texas.

Thursday it’s a second stop at Denise Chavez’ chante and bookshop for a morning floricanto. Then the  caravan heads north to Rudolfo Anaya’s home in Alburquerque, then to the National Hispanic Cultural Center that evening for another fabulous floricanto like the earlier fundraiser.

Friday and Saturday we’re in Tucson for floricanto, workshops, banned book distribution, and a general celebration of literature and cultura for all. Visit the Librotraficante site for late-breaking details.

On-Line Floricanto Mid-March Tuesday

Julie Brokken,  Jabez Churchill, Yasmeen Najmi, Claudia D. Hernandez, Angel Escobar

"Smuggle Compassion" by Julie Brokken
"Pura Geología / Pure Geology" by Jabez Churchill
"15 Feet" by Yasmeen Najmi
" Jaula / Cage" by Claudia D. Hernandez
"Ergonomics" by Angel Escobar

by Julie Brokken

smuggle books
if you must
but with them smuggle compassion
sneak it into your own heart
tuck it between each page
if you must
dry your tears    
soothe your fears
bare your chest show a breast
bribe the border guards with it
if you must    
smuggle your heart right out in the open
into the hearts lives souls of others
wear it on your soft sleeve
make your heart an open book
take a page from the wisdom of the ages
if you must
with patience grasshopper
fellow feeling    
in grace go
with a glad smile's healing tears
a new river is flowing
from these wet books

Julie SuZaNNe BröKKeN, March 2012

Pura Geología
por Jabez W. Churchill

Todo se borra.
La cumbre más alta
se convierte al fondo de mar
o de lago.
La zanca más oscura
e insondable,
herida más inconciliable,
a su vez
la tierra la levanta al cielo.
Todo, el acero inoxidable
a la fe inagotable
se marchita, se condensa
bajo presión
haciendose estrato,
olvido pasado,
un sol consumido.
Nada permanence
aun menos el resolver
de desafiar el cambio,
quedarse inmóbil
en la corriente universal d
e lograr equilibrio,
 el anhelo de las masa
de formarse de nuevo.

Just Geology
by Jabez W. Churchill

Everything is erased.
The highest peak becomes
the floor of the sea
or lake (Mead).
The darkest
most unfathomable trench,
irreconcilable of wounds,
in its own time,
the earth raises to the sky.
Everything, stainless steel to eternal faith,
weathers, condenses under pressure,
and is reduced to strata,
a burned-out star.
Nothing survives,
least of all resolve to defy change,
remain immobile
in the universal current
to attain equilibrium,
the longing of the masses
to be shaped anew.

by Yasmeen Najmi

It was more than the crust
the heel of the loaf
when you cut the round of the acequia away
spilling harvests of leaves and farolitos
an ancient shale from a river of prayers

on an afternoon sliding towards winter
the wind rattled tails of elms like angry snakes
no children danced basketball steps down the dirt court
etching stones and stories into the streaming film
and the ditchrider didn’t curve around the old cottonwood
stopping rubber to turn iron
and hook debris circling culverts like salmon waiting at the dam

did you look beyond the tsunami of metal
to the Holy Family
see the Comanches ghost dancing with San Ysidro
in the dust devils and hiss of ripples?

The sea wall you built would slow the fall
hold everything back
tumbleweeds flutter like lost headstones
another mirage turned Aral
some stories were sewn with a thinner thread

if you’d stayed a little longer
the elders might have remembered
blue lifelines mapped in the parchment of palms
carved across a silver-framed gaze
if you’d held them

they might have told you that one storm could swallow a shore
200 years carried in your tide.

Yasmeen Najmi

acequia is Spanish for an irrigation canal, derived from the Arabic as saquiyya
farolitos traditionally are brown paper bags with candles place inside used to decorate homes, streets, etc. on Christmas eve in New Mexico.

por Claudia Hernández  

Allí se encuentra
arrinconada en la
esquina del Edén/

al lado del muro
donde se engendra

y florece con fulgor
la lila flor
de bugambilia.

Desde su caída,
ningún aire
ha podido
circular en su

Ninguna vid
de hojas palmeadas,

Ninguna mata colorida

Se a querido enredar
en sus barandas

Todos le huyen—

Nadie quiere encerrarse e
inhalar el encanto verde azul
del frondoso plumaje
que allí un día existió.

by Claudia D. Hernández

It can be found there,
stranded in a little
corner of Eden/

on the side of
the wall where

the bougainvillea lilacs
propagate and bloom
with tenacity.

Since its fall,
air has ceased
to circulate
its interior.

Not a single branch
of pointed leaves/

Not one colored vine

Has yearned to wrap
around the cage’s
serpentine bars.

Everything flees—

No one wants to barricade
themselves to inhale
the blue-green essence
of the cage’s once-present

English translation by:
José Hernández Díaz

by Angel Escobar

Crossing the bridge,
through the hill,
over the fence…
Elliptical journey?
No, cut and paste.
I am selected data from my position
by means of imposition part of the content in a page layout
an abnormal arrangement to treat my hands as elements
my body an interface device to connect a wide range of necessities
so that your system can perfectly function.

No, cut and paste.
With no chances of unionization
Part of the master pattern
allowing the users to manipulate a democracy
making it easy, efficient, and enjoyable to operate. 

Are you real?
No, cut and paste
Copy of a human 
A simple machine
to produce
the desired

Are you a dreamer?
…No, cut and paste.

Mario Escobar ©2012

"Smuggle Compassion" by Julie Brökken
"Pura Geología / Pure Geology" by Jabez Churchill
"15 Feet" by Yasmeen Najmi
" Jaula / Cage" by Claudia D. Hernandez
"Ergonomics" by Mario Escobar

Julie Brökken

Julie SuZaNNe BröKKeN is an artist-poet.  She offers her poem, "Smuggle Compassion" as a gift from the heart, free to any and all who want to read it, print it, pass it forward profusely that we may all be the love and compassion that creates the best kind of change.

Her poem was inspired as a response to Arizona SB 1070, the banning of books in Tucson schools, and the fear and ignorance that fuels such actions.  She wanted to support the Librotraficante and their efforts.  (See Librotraficante.com)

Julie is descended from primarily European farmer immigrants, (Norwegian, Swedish, German, English, French, Swiss, Turkish, and Native American) many of whom experienced anti-immigrant bigotry during World War I.  She learned from her Grandma Dorothy, not textbooks, that in 1919 at age nine Dorothy had to cease speaking German. Iowa's Governor Harding had issued his infamous "Babel Proclamation" which made English the only legal language in the state.  There were incidents of people of German descent being lynched in Iowa and other Midwest states.

Julie states, "It was a Sunday morning I was thinking about my grandmother, and about the Defendemos Libros Benefit for Librotraficante at The Outpost Performance Space here in Albuquerque later that night.  That's when the words came ~ the gift of this poem ~ when this issue really got under my skin, into my heart and soul.  I wrote it for all the beautiful children, for everyone, even those fearful and misguided folks who created this untenable situation.  I offer the poem as a gift to any and all... to be shared, distributed, received."

Julie SuZaNNe BröKKeN is a professional artist and poet who lived in Arizona for 27 years, taught art in public schools and private venues, and worked as a reference library assistant for the Phoenix Public Library.

After growing up on the family farm, Julie attended Iowa Wesleyan College while working as a nursing assistant in local nursing homes and the obstetrics ward of the county hospital ~ the same place her mother had worked as a nurse and where she herself was born.  Julie received an arts education degree from with a strong emphasis in studio art in 1983.  Her literature requirements were filled with poetry classes.

Julie taught ceramics at the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan for the next four summers.  She moved to Phoenix after that first summer to teach art in the public schools while also pursuing her professional art career.  She's taught at Phoenix Art Museum, Mesa Summer Arts Camp, and Arizona Museum for Youth.  She was a member of the Phoenix Artists Coalition and a core artist with the MARS Artspace (Movimientio Artistico del Rio Salado), a non-profit organization that promoted the artwork of Mexican American/Chicano artists in the valley and was inclusive of whole of the arts community.  She served as president of the artists' board until an illness required that she resign not only from the art space, but from her teaching position as well.

Julie moved in and out of the local art scene as she moved through a series of potentially life-threatening illnesses that spanned nearly two decades.   Repeatedly healing, reinventing and expanding herself, she continued to make art.   She sporadically wrote more and more poetry.  She describes those years illness and healing as "grace-filled journey into wholeness".

Her journey has taken her to New Mexico.  Since moving to Albuquerque she has been writing poetry prolifically.  "There's just something about New Mexico, about the land and the people here.  I do a lot of happy dances."

A fellow poet, Dee Cohen, states " Julie Brokken's fresh voice manages to walk the fine line between the everyday and the metaphysical. Her artistic background is apparent in all she writes, a combination of whimsy and experience, depth and playfulness. Her work is filled with color and emotion. Her views of New Mexico's landscapes, both external and internal, are singularly unique and enlightening."

Julie's 6-word memoire, published on smithmag.net under the alias of Dustbunny, reads "Farm girl sprouts artist-poet wings!"

Other recent publications include the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Echo; Adobe Walls; The Rag; Duke City Fix: Sunday Poem; and Artistica.  Julie is an open mic regular here in Albuquerque at venues including Fixed and Free, East of Edith, Adobe Walls @ Page One, as well as at Poetry at Paul’s in Chupadero.

In September, 2011, she participated in 100 Thousand Poets for Change with her poem, “Breathing for Peace”.

Julie has been a featured poet at the Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice, and Kosmo Tapas.  She will be the featured poet at Sunday Chatter at The Kosmos Performance Space on May 20th.  She will co-feature with poet, Don McGiver, at Fixed and Free later that same week.

She shares her poetry, art, photography and heart on her weekly blog "Ripples from the Center" at juliebrokken.blogspot.com

Julie's White Butterfly Studio is located at the Factory on 5th Artspace in downtown Albuquerque.  She is working to re-establish her visual art career with a new body of work integrating watercolor-gouache, mixed media, photography, assemblage, poetry, handmade chapbooks, and installation art.  The themes parallel the rich, varied and layered themes of her poetry ~ a diverse blend of nature, mysticism, fairy tales, dreams, sensuality, wholeness, childhood experiences, farm life, the New Mexico landscape, and the landscape of the soul and spirit.

Julie says, with laughter in her voice, that her mission is to spark nothing short of expansive inclusive everyday enlightened kind community everywhere.

She asks that you please watch and share: The poets and performances at Defendemos Libros Benefit for Librotraficante at The Outpost Performance Space, Parts I, II:

Recent exhibitions include:
 Awesome Blahj: An Assemblage Group Show at 5Gallery at the Factory on 5th, Albuquerque, NM in 2011.
Wild Grace: Inspired by Nature, an Artist-in-Residence Exhibit by Julie at the Artists Studio at The Farm at South Mountain, Phoenix, Arizona, 2009.
Art That Heals, a curated group exhibition, Tohono Chul Park Gallery, Tucson, Arizona, 2009.
Enlightened Laundry, an solo outdoor art installation at The Farm at South Mountain, 2009 and the Nourishing Words Project on the same historic grounds of The Farm at South Mountain the same year.
Permanent collections include the Tucson Museum of Art and private collections nationally.

Jabez W. Churchill
Born in Northern California, educated in Argentina and the U.S.
Single dad currently teaching Spanish at Santa Rosa Junior College and Mendocino College. (S.R.J.C., since 1986.)
California Poet in the Public Schools since 1998.
Practicing nearly-civil disobedience since 1970, and submitting poetry for publication since 1979.
SONG OF SEASONS, Small Poetry Press, 1996
CONTROLLED BURN, Small Poetry Press, 1996
SLEEPING WITH GHOSTS, Kulupi Press, 1999
THE VEIL, Kulupi Press, 2000
SANTA CLARA REVIEW, Spring/Summer 2002
americas review, 2003
languageandculture.net, chapbook series, 2005
FIRST LEAVES, Literary and Art Journal, 2009
Featured poet in Spain, Summer 1999.
Casa de las Americas, La Habana, Cuba, Summer 2000.
Summer Dream Poetry Festival, Vancouver, B.C. 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011.

Yasmeen Najmi
Yasmeen self-published a poetry chapbook in 2004 titled Ankh, the Hindi word for "eye," and is working on a second featuring poetry and photography inspired by historic Main Streets created by the railroad in New Mexico. Her poems appear in the Graffiti Kolkata Broadside, Artistica, La Bloga, El Tecolote’s 40th Anniversary Literary Edition, Poets for Living Waters and the anthologies The Stark Electric Space, Adobe Walls and Fixed and Free Poetry. An environmental planner and public servant, her poetry often reflects her deep connections to the ecology and cultures of the Rio Grande.

Mario Escobar
Mario Escobar is the author of Gritos Interiores (Cuzcatlan Press, 2005), a book of poems written in response to California Proposition 187. He is founder of Izote Press and co-founder of UCLA IDEAS (Improving Dreams Education Access and Success). Born in El Salvador, he is a child of civil war who came to the US at age 12 and was raised in South Central and East Los Angeles, attaining asylum in this country in 2006. He holds a BA in Spanish Literature and Chicano Studies from UCLA, a Masters degree from Arizona State University, and is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Maryland College Park. Escobar has lectured on the trauma of child soldiers at the University of Santa Barbara, the University of Los Angeles, the University of Southern California, and Arizona State University. He currently lives in Maryland with his linda Chinana compañera Karla Escobar-Gutierrez and their three beautiful daughters: Alexa, Victoria and Frida Valentina.

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