Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Final frontier. The final On-Line Floricanto for Sept

Endeavor’s Memorable Fly-by: Outer Space in the Backyard

Michael Sedano

The early morning light lured me outside to take in the view on a sharp wintry day in Redlands. It was one of those early Sunday mornings I was home from school. I looked up at the noisy sky. Our home lay under the flight path of San Bernardino’s Norton Air Force Base. In the 1960s, Norton moved millions of tons of materiel from Berdoo to Vietnam aboard gigantic C-141 jets. First thing in the morning, C-141s painted black as if draped in mourning crepe, lifted off from Norton. Every fifteen minutes their roaring overhead signaled the Military Airlift Command’s efficiency. Their roar sounded an ominous reminder the Draft was looking for me, and thousands of teenagers more. I went back inside.

I was looking up at the sky again this week when the Space Shuttle rode piggy back across my backyard bit of sky, Mt. Wilso n’s radio towers above for background. I heard them before I knew them, as nothing ordinary roars with the power that rumbled my house in a sonic earthquake of harmonic sounds. And then it was gone from sight and I stared through empty space at the mountain.

Space. The final frontier. “What does ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ mean?” my kindergarten granddaughter,  Charlotte, asks. This is the only time this event will happen, and you got to see it, I enthuse. Charlotte understands this event has never happened before, and will never happen again. So do her classmates. All the kindergarteners waved their arms and jumped around and went "ahgghh" when the big airplane and the little ones, too, cruised past, low and slow.

What a grand way for these 5-year olds to enter their space age. Last Spring, Charlotte declared when she grows up she will be a dancer and a scientist. She's going to make marvels. The space shuttle fly-by marks the end of one era, the launch of the next era of space. Her generation will build on what people of my generation, born in the aftermath of WWII, got to see from the raw beginnings.

When I was in kindergarten, space was airplanes out of Norton. I now and again stood in my backyard staring up at the noisy propeller planes cruising to and from the base. Hands cupped to mouth, I'd shout up, “Hey! Is Hairy Ass Truman in that plane?”

My dad worked at Norton. Once in a while he’d take me into the hangar where he did sheet metal. We'd go in the side door, past the time clock. Inside, the hard light filling open hangar doors silhouettes the hulking C-124 in eye-squinting contrast against the open sky. There were no wings. My father explained how the whole thing comes apart. I didn’t think about that. He fixed the holes in the airplane’s skin, and he also replaced the wings. Every time one of those beasts flew overhead in those days, I smiled. That was my dad’s handiwork in that airplane.

The space race took off in junior high, when the Russians got to space first with Sputnik. A U.S. answer, the Vanguard satellite, was built in Redlands, at Grand Central Rocket Company. The first launch was a spectacular disaster. The rocket exploded on the pad hurling the sofball-sized Vanguard onto the beach. The satellite came to rest beeping impotently in the Cape Canaveral surf. A classmate's dad built the Vanguard satellite. The man walked up to the beeping gold ball wanting a gun to put Vanguard out of its misery. Beep beep beep. Five years later, groups of us high school kids would stare up into a nightime summer sky and name communications satellites whizzing by.

Rocket science found a way to make weapons out of satellites. Many of these were launched from Lompoc, California’s Vandenberg AFB, just north of Santa Barbara. College years, the drive up the parkway from Goleta to UCSB, seeing the “pregnant guppy” was common. It was the cargo plane that ferried rocket motors up the coast to Lompoc. On campus, I lived in a decrepit structure overlooking the swamp and airfield. The roar of a pregnant guppy echoed the sounds of Redlands.

The first person to walk on the moon did it on black and white television in the middle of the day. I watched Armstrong from a bar stool in Hwaak-ni, Korea, where I had arrived the afternoon before the moonwalk, my fourth day overseas.

On the ride up to Bravo Battery the day before, the deuce and a half had bounced past a Korean man plowing a rice paddy with an ox, ankle-deep in brown water that looked like wet shit. It was; human caca. The wind blew in our direction. In the thick humidity, the incredible stink clung to my sweaty fatigues and penetrated deep into my nose filling my head with the smell of the third world.

And there, sitting next to me in the Admin Area bar, wearing his homespun traditional hemp fiber traje, was that farmer. As the ville did not have electricity, the Battery Commander invited the locals to share the event, and he'd taken a day off. If I’d had any money, I would have bought that farmer a twenty-five cent beer. “A small step for a man…” Talk about a “giant leap” for humankind.

Serving on a mountain armed with rocket ships named the “Homing All the Way Killer,” the HAWK anti-aircraft missile, never struck me as outer spacey, except for that farmer. And when the wind blew up the valley. Yet, the space age was everywhere—that missile system is a big lethal computer.

I saw my first zip-lock bag at Bravo—the missile parts arrived in them. I experienced space age adhesives when Robledo, a vato from San Anto, glued my fingers together with the stuff warheads are glued onto the rocket ship with. Instead of cranking a phone, I learned to whistle up a 60 Hz tone. "Wheeoouuuu" click; just like that the mountain is connected to anywhere in the world. It’s definitely space age to be buzzed by a MiG out of nowhere, then be knocked to the ground by a low-sweeping Air Force Phantom. “It if flies, it dies,” is an Air Defense Artillery mottto I remembered as that huge lumbering jet crossed the sky on its way to JPL.

Menso me. I’d decided I have plenty of space age memories and didn't need to photograph the Space Shuttle. The fly-by itself cannot be contained in a prosthesis for memory, and bla bla bla. As the flight comes into view and sweeps painfully briefly across the mountain vista, I jump excitedly and go "ahgghh." My waving arms feel the absence of the lens in my hand. The Shuttle does not return for a second fly-by. That’s what once in a lifetime means.

Banned Books Update in Limbo

Tucson schools has consistently failed to develop an acceptable desegregation program for over 20 years. As a result, the Federal Court maintains supervision over the district. A key element is the Special Master appointed to develop methods to help TUSD meet its obligations under the U.S. Constitution.

The Special Master could order the schools to reinstitute the Mexican American Studies program that was banned along with all those beautiful books. Or, the Special Master could suggest a framework and toss the ball to negotiators from TUSD and the community and let them battle out the details of a lawful "Unitary Status Plan" or USP. Here's the Special Master's job description:

Although the Special Masters Report was, evidently, released on 9/21, the document won't be in public view until at least September 27, 2012, when the document will be released in English and Spanish.

In the background come rumblings of discord entre Chicana Chicano Democrats that could split the local movement apart. Inklings of a krypto coalition between racists and putatively moderate raza politicians point to a festering infection in the movimiento. Signs of the ugly schism include TUSD's decision to re-hire Superintendent Pedicone and pay him a big fat bonus.

La Bloga's Banned Books Update is digging for details and will report on this ugly development when there is concrete information to report.

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Newly Literate Gente

La Bloga's Inbox this week has this from Vanessa Acosta of Cultural Arts Tours & Workshops, forwarding great news for America: more Americans in the United States can read and write now.

Here's the news from The Centro Latino for Literacy:
t's graduation time at Centro Latino!  This Friday, Sept 28th, Manos Amigas will celebrate a record 155 newly literate adults who will receive their completion certificates. They range in age from 19-73 and 69% are women. Their native countries include Guatemala, Mexico, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Belize and Peru. 33% speak an indigenous language, including Quiche, Canjobal, Mam,and  Zapoteco.

There's still time to purchase a ticket or make a contribution. Contributors Reception starts at 5:00 and the graduation is at 6:30 p.m   For more information and to purchase tickets or donate on-line visitwww.centrolatinoliteracy.org/manos-amigas 

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In Manhattan: Casa Azul Bookstore

Sergio Troncoso, Tony Diaz, Martín Espada, Melinda Palacio, Luis Alberto Urrea
Bloguera and Librotraficante Melinda Palacio read at Casa Azul Bookstore last week, along with several La Bloga friends, recognizing efforts by librotraficantes to smuggle banned books into Arizona and wherever democracy has broken down. The event in NYC will not be a rare ritual but one element in an entrepreneurial strategy to keep literacy alive.

The Inbox this week has this from La Bloga friend Sergio Troncoso, news of Casa Azul's ongoing program of readings.

Please come and support a new independent bookstore in Manhattan, La Casa Azul Bookstore, at 143 East 103rd Street, at the corner of Lexington Avenue.  I'll be reading from my two books published in 2011 with the poet Renato Rosaldo:

Reading with Sergio Troncoso and Renato Rosaldo    
Thursday September 27, 6:00 - 8:00pm

Sergio Troncoso debates and challenges us on the mystery of familias, how they determine our identity and how we break free of them, from fatherhood to interfaith marriage to educating our children. From Tucson to the Philippines, from Palo Alto to Manhattan, Renato Rosaldo's readable poems tell of illness and racism, love and death—all in vivid tones. Savor these poems, slowly, what you inbibe will engage and enrich you.


Fall's First On-Line Floricanto
Francisco X. Alarcón, Tara Evonne Trudell, John Martinez, David Romero, Abyss Borboa-Olivera

"New Huge Galactic Blackhole Named After SB 1070-2B" by Francisco X. Alarcón
"Nuevo Enorme Agujero Negro Nombrado SB 1070-2B" por Francisco X. Alarcón
"De Colores of SB 1070" by Tara Evonne Trudell
"He Had the Smile of a Healer" by John Martinez
"Sweet Pocho Pie" by David Romero
"I Resign Myself" by Abyss Borboa-Olivera
"Renuncio a Mi" por Abyss Borboa-Olivera

New Huge Galactic Blackhole Named After SB 1070-2B
by Francisco X. Alarcón

Photo of Andromeda Galaxy by Clifton Reed: “This is the culmination of a lot of work, effort and study. You have my permission to use it any way you wish. BTW--this object is 2.5 million light years away. The time it took the light to travel here is older than human beings.”
a new huge

at the center
of Andromeda
Galaxy some

2.5 million
light years away
from Earth

has been named
today after Arizona
law SB 1070–2B

“this is the largest
blackhole we have
ever found in space

it swallows all matter
and even light can’t
escape its huge pull;

because it is a dark
force that we can only
detect by its gravity

we have named it
SB 1070-2B for being
as ‘dark’ as the new law”

© Francisco X. Alarcón 2012

Nuevo Enorme Agujero Negro Nombrado SB 1070-2B
por Francisco X. Alarcón

un nuevo enorme
agujero negro

al centro
de la Galaxia

a 2.5 millones
de años luz
de la Tierra

ha sido nombrado
SB 1070–2B como
la ley de Arizona

“este el mayor
agujero negro jamás
descubierto en el espacio

absorbe toda materia
y no deja que ni la luz
se escape de su imán

porque es una fuerza
oscura que solo podemos
detectar por su gravedad

la hemos nombrado
SB 1070-2B por ser tan
‘oscura’ como la nueva ley”

© Francisco X. Alarcón 2012

De Colores of SB 1070
by Tara Evonne Trudell

the color
of politics
and blue
corrupted news
passing bills
making rules
taking brown
throwing rights
into spirit wind
the fight
proving papers
marking suspects
police questioning
human rights
based on the color
of where
you were born
how brown
your skin
in sun
in shadows
immigration control
wearing green
not addressing
the reality
of humanness
her pink dress
grey nail polish
selling products
in a manicured war
them looking
the other way
promising people
rainbows to follow
their ever changing
of equality
fooling minds
allowing justice
of nazi mentality
to control
the masses
of ancestors cries
red blood
under brown skin
the people must speak
fast and slow
freedom dissipated
and in their control
brown bodies
piling up
on the border
shot for throwing stones
for being brown
killing first
hiding bodies
in news feeds
conditioning generations
to not care
color scheming
between the lines
of genocide
until the colors
blinding white
the light
of politicians
Americans fear.

© Tara Evonne Trudell 2012

He Had the Smile of a Healer
by John Martinez

There was nothing
More to do,
Than to pick up
The picket sign,
White-hot summers
Sand underneath us,
A cloudless baby
Blue sky,
The grape pan,
Into the row.

We stopped picking
Because the chanting
Told us to stop,
We stopped picking,
Because it was time

And my father saw
The shitty money
Empty from his eyes,
The Foreman, with his white
Man’s neck,
His map
Of a desert face;
He was counting
The trays,
But we dropped
Our grape knives
And picked up
The picket signs

Huelga, Huelga, Huelga!

And we marched
That day,
On the tar,
Softened by the sun,
Carrying our Clorox
Bottles filled
With frozen water.

We knew then,
That we were
Not alone,
That what we felt
About this field,
Was felt by others,
We were going to fight,
Because we could
Feel the poison
From the Crop Dusters
In our lungs,
Blurring our eyes,
Tightning our jaws

Because we knew
It was wrong
To work children,
With the sun,
Like a knife
On our backs,
To pay near nothing
For scorched knees
And burned faces

But this man,
He came to save us,
Yes, this man,
Dressed In School
Teachers clothes,
Brown face like ours,
Black hair like ours,
He had the smile
Of a healer.

© John Martinez 2012

Sweet Pocho Pie
by David Romero

I’m as American as sweet pocho pie
Light flaky crust
Identity crisis inside
Like apples to oranges
We are pochos
Children of these lands claimed
Ambassadors of a great American immigration
That often doesn’t want us
Our ancestors were criminalized for speaking Spanish
Yet, we’re expected to speak it without an accent
Expected to fit a stereotypical appearance
While Spanish stations display the opposite
Ask a career professional on a Latino panel
How to succeed in America and they will answer
“Remember: you’re a professional first
Latino second”
As if the two were mutually exclusive
Pochos pronounce their last names wrong
Argue this has become right
My name is Romero becomes ROW-MARROW
Rolling rs seem as silly as caricatures of twirling mustaches
Saying my own name properly makes me feel like Zorro
Pochos can know more about African American history
Than their own
It can politicize them
Relating to the status of outsider
Like Detroit Red becoming Malcolm X
Or like a boy named Sue with something to prove
Pochos can make for the best of activists
Carrying chips on their shoulders
The size of boulders
Emblazoned scrolls upon these read
“Insecurity” “shame” and “guilt”
Enough for long marches and late nights
To connect with the people
They are ambassadors to America
For a great immigration
That often doesn’t want them
Teases them bare and naked
Points out how tenuous their relationship
To being a Latino is
How it so easily crumbles
Like a soft crust
More apple than orange
Sweet pocho pie
“Sold out” here
Finger pointing
They laugh
“Gringo! Gringa! Gringo!” They cry
Some pochos are sliced into a permanent state of denial
Cut themselves white or “other” for charts
Others go on a journey of discovery of their Latin roots
With all of the subtlety and discretion of Christopher Colombus
Leaving division and destruction in their wake
Crushed hopes
Broken dreams
Promises of a piece of the pie with nothing inside
That’s why some in our communities fear us
Who are we?
Ambassadors to a great immigration
In an America that’s constantly changing
The children you wanted to have a better life
Then got mad at for having
The pochos you didn’t want
The pochos you taunt
For trying to be everything to everyone
We laugh, dance, scream, sing, argue and smile
We taste sweet as pocho pie
Smell the air
Look at the crowd
Feast upon their eyes
America loves sweet pocho pie

© David Romero 2012

I Resign Myself
by Abyss Borboa-Olivera

I resign myself
to be blind to the all truth
I resign to false humility
I resign to lists of demands
I resign to good intentions
if there is no action to prevail
if there is no work to understand
if there is no country to take care of.

I resign to call you brother
if you don’t walk next to me
if you don’t fight for your freedom
to stand wholeheartedly beside me.

I resign to the fake liberty we have
or the censorship that censors our minds
I resign to keep dreaming
if tomorrow never comes.

I resign to be awake early
if I’m a wealthy gentleman
even when I read the newspaper
knowing that my government
has killed an innocent man.

I resign to be invited to your table
wishing for all the women to be alive
I resign to discuss prices
if you don’t know the price of life.

I resign to be a patriot
if I don’t raise my voice with yours
asking for tolerance for our women
that have no freedom or another choice.

I resign to be a poet
if I don’t stand for what I believe
I believe that a cause has get started
and you have been in complicity
because you don’t want to fight
in what we have called reality.

I resign myself
If I have the words to fight for thee
I resign myself
If you haven’t noticed our autonomy.

Our and our women’s freedom
depends upon a dream
showing to the world we can fight together
raising our voices to reality;
we fight together
and together we should be
to show that our hope starts
when people start to believe.

© Abyss Borboa-Olivera 2012


Renuncio a Mi
por Abyss Borboa-Olivera

Renuncio a mí mismo
a ser ciego ante toda verdad
reuncio a la falsa humildad
renuncio a los pliegos petitorios
renuncio a las buenas intenciones
si no hay acción que prevalezca
si no hay trabajo que se entienda
si no hay un país que cuidar.

Reuncio a llamarte mi hermano
si tú no caminas a mi lado
si tú no luchas por tu libertad
de seguir completamente conmigo.

Renuncio a la falsa libertad que tenemos
a la censura que amaña nuestra mente
renuncio a seguir soñando
si el mañana no es para siempre.

Reuncio a despertar temprano
si soy un hombre acaudalado
aún cuando lea las noticias
sabiendo que el gobierno
a un hombre inocente ha encarcelado.

Renuncio ser invitado a tu mesa
deseando que todas las muejeres no estén muertas
renuncio a discutir los precios
si no conoces el precio de la libertad

Renuncio a ser un patriota
si no levanto mi voz con la tuya
exigiendo tolerancia para nuestras mujeres
que no tienen libertad ni esperanza.

Renuncio a ser poeta
si no tengo las palabras para luchar por ellas
renuncio a mí mismo
si aún no te das cuenta de nuestra autonomía.

La libertad nuestra y de nuestras mujeres
depende de un sueño inalcanzable
para mostrarle al mundo que luchamos juntos
alzando nuestras voices a las realidades
juntos luchamos
y juntos debemos estar
para mostrar que nuestra esperenza comienza
cuando la gente comience a pensar.

© Abyss Borboa-Olivera 2012


"New Huge Galactic Blackhole Named After SB 1070-2B" by Francisco X. Alarcón
"Nuevo Enorme Agujero Negro Nombrado SB 1070-2B" por Francisco X. Alarcón
"De Colores of SB 1070" by Tara Evonne Trudell
"He Had the Smile of a Healer" by John Martinez
"Sweet Pocho Pie" by David Romero
"I Resign Myself" by Abyss Borboa-Olivera
"Renuncio a Mi" por Abyss Borboa-Olivera

Francisco X. Alarcón (was born in Los Angeles, in 1954) is the author of twelve volumes of poetry, including, From the Other Side of Night: Selected and New Poems (University of Arizona Press 2002). His latest book is Ce•Uno•One: Poemas para el Nuevo Sol/Poems for the New Sun (Swan Scythe Press 2010). His most recent book of bilingual poetry for children is Animal Poems of the Iguazú (Children’s Book Press 2008). He has been a finalist nominated for Poet Laureate of California in two occasions. He teaches at the University of California, Davis. He recently created a new Facebook page, POETS RESPONDING TO SB 1070 that is getting lots of poetry submissions and comments. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Poets-Responding-to-SB-1070/117494558268757?ref=ts

John Martinez studied Creative Writing at Fresno State University. He has published poetry in El Tecolote, Red Trapeze and The LA Weekly. Recently, he has posted poems on Poets Responding to SB1070 and this will be his 12th poem published in La Bloga. He has performed (as a musician/political activist, poet) with Teatro De La Tierra, Los Perros Del Pueblo and TROKA, a Poetry Ensemble (lead by poet Juan Felipe Herrera) and he has toured with several cumbia bands throughout the Central Valley and Los Angeles. For the last 17 years, he has worked as an Administrator for a Los Angeles Law Firm. He makes home in Upland, California with his wife, Rosa America y Familia.

David A. Romero is an artist, activist and male model.

Romero is the author of Diamond Bars: The Street Version and Fuzhou, two collections of poems released by Dimlights Publishing. His work has been praised by writers and poets such as the Tony Award winner Poetri, the author of Up the Street Around the Corner Besskepp, and the West Coast Editor of Rock & Rap Confidential Lee Ballinger.

Romero has opened for Latin Grammy winning artists Ozomatli and Latin Grammy nominated artists La Santa Cecilia. He has featured alongside Taalam Acey as well as with a number of HBO Def Poets, including: Beau Sia, Paul Mabon and Thea Monyee.

Romero is the host of Between the Bars Open Mic at the dba256 Gallery Wine Bar in Pomona, CA.

Romero teaches writing and performance workshops on spoken word poetry. His many themes and prompts include: Poetry - The Language of Protest and Mementos & Metaphors - Poems of Family and Identity. Romero has led workshops for the Say What? Teen Poetry program of the Los Angeles Public Library, high school activists at the Santa Monica Mountains Peace Camp and students at the Juvenile Detention and Assessment Centers in San Bernardino, CA.

In April 2012, Romero collaborated with the Nogales High School Poetry Club to produce their first book, F-5. Later that year, he collaborated with the Say What? Teen Poetry program of the Los Angeles Public Library to produce a book of poems written by Angeleno middle and high school students.

Romero is an artist affiliate of the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign (PPEHRC) and a member of the Revolutionary Poets Brigade (RPB).

"I enjoy performing funny poems, but I hope that after the laughs, people can stay and listen to the messages that I am spreading with my poetry against racism, against prejudice, against imperialism, against labor exploitation and against economic injustice. I believe in a world free from hunger or any other kind of scarcity."

Romero is a graduate of the University of Southern California, a double major in Film and Philosophy.

Check out his blog, "The Mexi-Asian Perspective: A Mexican's Guide to All Things Latin, Asian, or Both," on www.projektnewspeak.com . Visit his website, http://www.davidaromero.com/ for more.

Abyss Borboa Olivera, Poet, writer, actor and director for ENTRETELONES Theater Group, was born in February 1977 in Tijuana, Mexico. He studied Lengua y Literatura de Hispanoamérica at Universidad Autónoma de Baja California. He is a Professor at Universidad Tecnológica de Tijuana, and teaches literature at Preparatoria Federal Lázaro Cárdenas.

ACABALLOMÓNTAME by Proyecto Existir 2004.
MUERTES ESCRITAS by Lulu Editorial. 2012.
Short Story
POST-MORTEM by Lulu Editorial. 2011
BENIGNA; DETRÁS DE TI by Lulu Editorial. 2012

Most of his work is based on Women and Gender as an ideological paradigm.

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