Tuesday, October 29, 2013

On-line Floricanto: Iris de Anda. DDLM13: Calaveritas Contest. Floricanto for Los Muertos.


Michael Sedano

A co-worker turns to leave my office when he notices serigraphs laid flat on the carpet in the far corner.
“What’s that?” his voice has a tinge of asco, fear, and incomprehension. The top print features a bridal-gowned calavera holding a bouquet of nopales y tunas. A brown-faced girl peeks from behind the bride, and behind them cucui float through the ether.

I explain the humor in Dolores Guerrero’s work, its connections in Mexican cultura, a quick discourse on how Día de los Muertos is not Hallowe'en.

Some people have a low tolerance for la muerte. He, the owner of the company, is one. So he does not understand the humor part. And the death part, how it's not scary.

He is totally confused when I tell him I’ve given his employees the OK to wear face paint on November 2d. “Face paint?”

That was twenty-plus years ago when I'd just begun a career as an industrial trainer in a pick-and-pack catalog warehouse. As it developed, none of the warehouse staff paint their faces for DDLM, and only a few knowledge workers.

One explains, "soy salvadoreña." Others declare the futility of meticulous face painting only to sweat it off in those hot, dusty, shelves and bins. More than one tell me their familia didn't celebrate DDLM, "we're chicanos not mexicans" one explains.

Here at La Bloga-Tuesday, in advance of 2013's Día de los muertos, we're painting our faces with floricanto poetry in a bonanza of verse. In a confluence of calendars, Iris de Anda appears two times. La Bloga friend Iris de Anda is this week's spotlighted poet in La Bloga's On-line Floricanto. The fourth Sunday of every month marks the recurring La Palabra poetry reading at Avenue 50 Studio. This month's featured La Palabra poet is Iris de Anda.

Winners of La Bloga's first annual calaveritas literarias contest share their smilers today. Here's a handful of delight from Angelica Guillen, Diana Aviles Shields, Rudy Ch. Garcia, and Lori Zamarripa.

Finally, we wrap up a special Floricanto for DDLM13, featuring work from the Facebook group, Poets Responding to SB1070 Poetry of Resistance.

On-Line Floricanto: Iris de Anda

Iris De Anda (iDEa) is a writer, activist, and practitioner of the healing arts. She is a woman of Mexican & Salvadoran descent. A native of Los Angeles, she believes in the power of spoken word, poetry, storytelling, and dreams. She has been writing for most of her life and this is her ceremony, her offering, and her creation for a better world.

She has been published in OCCUPY SF poems from the movement, Mujeres de Maiz Zine, Loudmouth Zine: Cal State LA, & online @ La Bloga. She is an active contributor to  Poets Responding to SB 1070. She performs at community venues & events throughout the Los Angeles area. She hosted The Writers Underground Open Mic 2012 @ Mazatlan Theatre & 100,000 Poets for Change 2012 & 2013 @ the Eastside Cafe. Her book CODESWITCH: Fires From Mi Corazon will be published in Fall/Winter 2013. Follow her story @ www.irisdeanda.comx

Iris nvites todo el mundo to El Sereno Dia De Cultura A Day of the Dead Celebration on Saturday, November 2, 2013 from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Events take place along Huntington Drive. Organizers include Red 67 with the Community Altar at S. Huntington and Rosemead (Food4Less); Two Poets from El Sereno with the DDLM Tunnel Art Walk Gallery at Pueblo Avenue; Eastside Café with Eastside Café's Dia De Los Muertos Event & Procession at Maycrest Avenue; El Sereno Community Arts with Procession / Altar Walk at the Pueblo tunnel. For more info on each even, click the organizer's name.


Tu que hoy vuelas
con el amanecer
despiertas de colores
con mariposas
fragrancias de Cempasuchil

Tu eres heroe del Castillo
con palabras que
se quedan en mi memoria
azul como el mar
que te lleva a descansar

Tu existes en mi lucha
con aliento dulce
murmuras de noche
con el viento
lluvia de Estrellas

Tu vives para siempre
con musica fuerte
bailando zapateado
con la Catrina
serca del cielo

Tu te fuistes muy pronto
con palabras por decir
horizontes que ver
con parte de mi
clavada en tu Corazon

Tu regresas cada año
con velas y tequila
vestido de fiesta
con cuentos de mañana
risas como Rey

Tu atraviesas el tiempo
con sueños bordados
cruzas fronteras
con espiritu brillante
reflejas la Luna

Tu y Tu y Tu
Siempre aqui
Siempre presente
Siempre Tu
adentro de mi

Jamas se Olvida / Never Forgotten

"Por que el color de la sangre jamas se olvida
Los masacrados serán vengados
Vestidos de verde olivo
Políticamente vivos
No has muerto, no has muerto, no has muerto camarada
Tu muerte, tu muerte, tu muerte sera vengada
¿Y quien la vengara?
El pueblo organizado
¿Y como?
Luchando, pues lucha, lucha, lucha
No dejes de luchar
Por un gobierno obrero campesino y popular"***

Remembering your life
as if you were still here
as if you never left our family
as if you will always remain

Remembering your death
as if you weren't one of many
as if you kissed that tragic end
as if you transcended pain

I will always

Remembering your ideals
as if you are still near
as if you inspire my path
as if you sacrificed for our future

Remembering your love
as if you can still embrace
as if you visit me in dreams
as if you whisper truths in our sleep

I will always

Every fallen angel
fallen brother/sister
fallen hero
fallen story

Remembering you are me
I AM you
we are they
& you are here still
hearts beating
hearts beating
hearts beating

***canto del pueblo

Sage for the Silent Ones
prayers choked silent like tears
lift up like sage smoke seeking light
let it drift to dark corners
where children hide from bombs
let it carry angels who died to soon
to a beautiful place away from here
let the scent of burning sage
erase the moment of pain
let the fire consume us
for we are them
let this offering ignite
in humans their heart
let us remember the deep
hurt like oceans red
let this cycle be undone
for it has condemned us
let the sage invoke
blessings for silent ones
let it rise to the heavens
like eagles soaring
let the embers solicit
amends for mankind
that will never come
the innocent ones
the forgotten ones
the silent ones
will never again
shine their light upon this world

moon rituals for fallen sisters

New Moon rituals that connect cycles
across generations of mujeres

the woman is crying
cry woman cry
red tears vision blurring
lamenting one more moon
she left too soon

the mother is fighting
fight mother fight
precious flower hits the floor
pain & sadness consume
no witnesses in the room

Waxing Moon rituals build bonds
linking one female to another

the daughter is dreaming
dream daughter dream
no more hurting
stars fall upon eyelids
as spirit leaves this world

Full Moon rituals share stories
of healing with the Goddess

the sister is flying
fly sister fly
hearts breaking
another fallen feather
we weep together

the woman is remembering
remember woman remember
underneath the earth
scars leave traces
of beautiful faces

Waning Moon rituals release rage
rising up of divine feminine

Darkest before the Dawn

It is always darkest before the dawn
it has been dark for so long
i have been sleeping
eyes wide open
then an illuminated path
marked by pyramids &
the descending of the feathered serpent

it is always darkest before the dawn
it has been dark for so long
i have been dreaming
then a spark of fire
mistaken for the sun &
the rising of my inner light

it is always darkest before the dawn
it has been dark for so long
i have been awakening
third eye blooming
then a flash of sight
musings of new visions &
rainbow warriors awakening

it is always darkest before the dawn
it has been dark for so long
i have been remembering
soul bursting
then a flaming candle
memories of ancestors &
wisdom keepers returning

it is always darkest before the dawn
it has been dark for so long
i have been consumed
spirit transforming
then an exploding galaxy
mixing me with the milky way &
the coming of spring

La Palabra at Avenue 50 Features Open Mic and Iris de Anda

Northeast Los Angeles' Avenue 50 Studio provides a home for numerous arts endeavors including studio space, classes, fabulous sales, and regular poetry readings. The fourth Sunday of every month welcomes the Luivette Resto-hosted series, La Palabra.

Luivette Resto hosts La Palabra
La Palabra readings offer regular opportunities to hear poets make their debut, to follow a familiar reader's development, confidence, and poise when reading their own stuff aloud, to hear emerging and established voices. La Palabra readings come with fabulous settings provided by whatever exhibition program Avenue 50 is hanging that fourth Sunday.

Vachine making last-minute edits
I get a moment before the reading assembles to chat with Vachine. His name should be spelled with an ñ he says, like "vecino" in Spanish, "vaciñe" is a Romanian neighbor. He's wavering between selections, telling me he'll decide based upon who has read before him.

Abram Gomez
Abram Gomez' stream-of-consciousness introduction takes on direction and poetic shape as he works his way through themes of happenstance and injury. When he needs to break the emotion he whips out his harmonica and blows a lament.

Annette Plasencia [foto removed] makes her debut today. She will come to project her Spanish-language poems, occupy both her immediate space and reach out to the back rows with her projection. A soft voice and contemplative line rarely commands attention against ambient distractions.

Antonio Ometeotl
Antonio Ometeotl is developing comfort in front of his audience. La Bloga witnessed Luivette's son's debut reading at an earlier La Palabra. "My peanut butter and jelly piece," Antonio reminds me when I say hello. He's still working on his projection. He handles his manuscript effectively and doesn't stand behind the lectern.

Eddy Bello Sandoval
Recently widowed, Eddy Sandoval is consumed by grief and her reading offers her respite from her dazed pain by expressing how she cannot understand death.

Toti O'Brien
Toti O'Brien's reading comes with extra delight for the painter poet. Her Frida Kahlo portrait sold early at the exhibition's Opening Reception the previous evening. O'Brien will want to release that grip on the stand, and move to her left or right to allow her whole body to express her poetry.

Vachine, ordinarily a larger-than-life presence, elects a more subdued mien. It's contagious as Jeff Rochlin, a similarly energetic reader, adopts the more contained delivery style. One of these, perhaps Vachine, was challenged to read something a 14 year old could hear in school.

Jeff Rochlin
Eddy Bello beams for the camera.
Unidentified woman looks away.
Contest Winners: Calaveritas Literarias for DDLM

Winners of this year's La Bloga Calaveritas Literarias Contest receive the foto above, printed on 8.5" x 11" photographic stock and archival inks.

By Vika G

already with happy dancing bones
clacking huesos
wearing feathers lace and other unknowns
me cai bien gacho
estar muerta y andar calavariando
no nalgas
no xixiis
ni puedo saboriar la miel de tus frenx besos
carajo! se me caio otro hueso!

(sin titulo)
By Vika G

        low ebb time
      opened altar doors

 con sombrero sun
she rises
          to love once more
                                                      “mijos!, I am home!”

By Diana Aviles Shields

My mom always looked well
Clear as a bell
Even when she was really sick
Mi familia would give her hell
With chismes of stone and stick
She just wants attention
They would never fail to mention
On the day she went down
All gathered around
Pissed for they missed her last breath
Too late! I yelled like a Friar confirming death
All go to hell
Y’all who said she was well
Now look at her dead
In her lovely cold bed
Entiende you dicks
Those weren’t her tricks
My mom was not well
Clear as last bell

She was really sick

Calavera al Poeta de Aztlán
By Rudy Ch. Garcia

We knew him quite well--sí, un poco--
Este poeta Lalo--¡ay qué loco!
So well named, y tan delgado
So soft spoken, el desgraciado.

How thin he split los pelos
Con palabra desafilada;
His kindly verses, un buen ejemplo
De cómo nació, con boca cerrada.

Y no le hagan caso
A un obituario blanco;
El Poeta que ya no baila
No tiró dedo, ni ningún pedo.

Pobre de San Pedro en la aduana celestial,
For not asking Lorca y Zapata,
Si querían tener la visita
Of another guerrero, macho, artista.

Y le haremos un altar mayor
If they send him back below,
En que cabrá, si no todo el cuerpo,
Por lo menos, his big brown soul.

por Rudy Ch. Garcia y C.R., 7/04

Child’s Play
By Lori Zamarripa

We used to play hide and seek
En el panteón de la esquina.

"Les va a salir la calaca
Y les va a jalar de la pata"
Nos advertía la abuela, sentada en su mecedora
En el porche de la casa

WE would dart in and out of tombstones
Calaca, calaca no me jales de la pata!

Y...cuando oíamos un ruido,
Corríamos despavoridos
Abuelaaa, Abuelaaa
Escondemos tras tu falda
Que nos sigue la calaca
Pa' jalarnos la pata!

Floricanto for los Muertos

The moderators of the Facebook group, Poets Responding to SB1070 Poetry of Resistance, observe el Día de los muertos with a selection of seasonal poems from Nancy Aidé González, Francisco X. Alarcón, John Martinez, Arturo Mantecón.

Los Muertos
By Nancy Aidé González

Somos los muertos
we roam seams of time
collect scattered fragments of memory
in our back pockets
watch the sun mingle with
dew drops that bathe in grief

we run our fingers over clumps of dirt
while repeating sacred words
smell the purple hunger of leaves
stroke the knotted black hair of loss
claw at desire in buds
we tango in ghostly fire of consuming ache
walk with trout among clouds

our eyes see worlds swirl in dust grains
our names were our names
our flesh was our flesh
death was not a departure
it was an arrival.

por Francisco X. Alarcón

This poem is written within the calavera poetic tradition of Mexico and the US Southwest in which poems taking on politicians are written around the Day of Dead in humorous, sarcastic and ironic ways. This poem is both in the original Spanish and then translated to English below--Francisco X. Alarcón

por Francisco X. Alarcón

se nos muere la Reforma
Migratoria ya yaciendo
en el Capitolio sin forma —
“ay, se nos está muriendo”

dice triste el congresista
Luis Gutiérrez quien se alista
a darle una respiración
de boca en desesperación

pero un globo desinflado
tiene más aire que el flaco
de Chicago, el dientudo
político tan huesudo

La Muerte llega muy lista
a recorrer como activista
calles, plazas, corredores,
con los Dreamers/Soñadores

¡ay!, como ratones y arañas
corriendo por todos lados
a disfrazar sus malas mañas
van muchos republicanos

“aunque te vistas de Drácula
te reconozco, Gran Mosco”
La Muerte catrina y sin mácula
le dice a John Boehner

de lejos vemos a La Pelona
arriando a un gran buey;
es Ted Cruz que sin corona
se creyó de tontos el rey

“por hacer sufrir a la Raza
ahora cargas harta leña
hasta el Infierno, tu casa”
le chifla ella con gran seña

La Muerte luego también
le da un soplo de historia
a la Reforma Migratoria
para que viva haga el bien

¡Vivan los Muertos!

© Francisco X. Alarcón
24 de octubre de 2013

by Francisco X. Alarcón

Immigration Reform is now
dying, shapeless lays down
under the Capitol Rotunda
 “ay! life is escaping from it”

says sadly Congressman
Luis Gutiérrez who is ready
to give CPR to the reform
in total desperation

but a flattened balloon
has lots of more air than
the skinny, bonny, big-teeth
politician from Chicago

on her own, Death arrives
as an activist to accompany
young Dreamers to streets,
plazas and halls of power

ay!, as mice and spiders
escaping to every corner
go many Republicans trying
to mask their bad deeds

“even in your Dracula costume
I recognize you, Big Fly’
says Miss Dead, dressed to kill,
to House Speaker John Boehner

from afar, The Grim Reaper
is seen leading an ox pulling a cart;
it’s Ted Cruz who without a crown
believed himself to be the Fools’ King

“for making our people suffer so much
now you carry this burden of firewood
all the way to Hell, you new home”
whistles Bonny Dead  to the air

La Muerte then goes down to blow
some airy life and history
to the Immigration Reform
so it could go on doing good

¡Vivan los Muertos! Long Life to the Dead!

© Francisco X. Alarcón

October 24, 2013

by John Martinez
For my brother

The muscles

In our eye sockets
Carry the world,

Gurgling stars,
Black iris-
I am thinking;

You of all people

So you drift
Into the magnified eyes
Of a Praying Mantis,
Deep into blades of green

Shock up your fear, 
The stupid melody
Of the living
Is no longer important

And so you go,
Knowing that the unforgiving
Pinch of a catheter,
The mauve walls,
The mundane hiss
Of silence,
Says nothing now

There are no more
Poems to write,
Because poems are written
By the living

When you floated through
That window;
The same window
You once sat next to
And sighed
At the evening exhaust,
I felt there was
Something more
And so I touched my face,
Like a soft rain

(c) John Martinez 2013
All rights reserved

by Arturo Mantecón 

Hoy enterraron al jefe
--el comandante general--
and the earth will enfold
ese vato, a vate who sang
in baritone, vernacular
bardic strophes
of the lowly and despised
those who labored, thieved, loved
drank, smoked, spat profanities
and worshiped
beneath an indifferent sun.

Hoy enterraron al jefe,
and these streets and avenues
de Sacra
that shade under dark wooden bones
will no more feel his tread.
Los callejones y las cantinas de oro
will ever be haunted
por un fantasma
con disembodied horn-rimmed,
tinted lentes y stingy brim.
¡Águila! Que ahí va el espíritu
de nuestro poeta
en busca de suaves licores,
amables pláticas y un tazón dominguero
de tripitas y pata
homeopathic pancita for belly remedy
for the hanging miseries
of late Saturday revels.
¡Dale paso al jefe! Dale paso,
for here he comes singing,
a derelict upright dog
with his hunchback vihuela
chiming in tenor accord
with that unforgettable vozarrón
que tenía when he was young.
When he was young…
Nothing but pity for you
if you only saw the man of four score.
Como gato and ligero on his athlete’s legs
he was.
Era un galán con élan.
He strode through the world
confident but wary just the same.
The stage was his world,
and every stage was his
the instant he took it.
He was a Greek creature for panic,
a companion of nymphs,
a bucking capricious, goateed
fulano de tal.
Quick era su salero.
He punned like a chuked-out
Gertrude Stein,
arroz es arroz es arroz.
Too much folkloric irony
Too much self mockery,
the weaponry of the assailed,
of the put upon,
of those put on guard
from the age of reason…
But the mouthed beauty
of the phrase,
the words so liquid
as to not be dammed upon the page,
the words that were meant to be heard,
palabras líricas that were as nothing,
without that voice…
It did not matter what he said!
But what he said mattered
with a switching of codes
with the lightning
of the syntactical synapses
between castellano, inglés y caló,
the three-cornered wit of our fathers,
the incomparable beauty
of the plenty of our language,
the mercury of our words.

Hoy enterraron al jefe.
Hoy enterraron al jefe.

Por Arturo Mantecon


Anonymous said...

Thank you Mr. Sedano for the inspiration and celebration and all the good works. Also, thanks for including me.

jovita said...

dia de los muertos is the start of a new year of life for me. Your calavera contest spirited me with laughter towards a new ano.

from vika g

Anonymous said...

¡Qué alegría ver las Calaveras Literarias de tanta gente! Las he leido todas y muchas me han gustado. Ojalá este concurso continue, aún más fuerter, el año próximo! Hicieron falta más Calveras a los politicos asesinos de la Reforma Migratoria.
Thank you Sr. Sedano