Tuesday, November 05, 2013

News & Notes. Special DDLM On-line Floricanto

Mail Bag

Michael Sedano

A Special La Palabra
(Re)Defining & (Re)Claiming
featuring Roberto Leni, Cihuatl Ce, Ron Baca, Yago S. Cura, Iris De Anda, Xochitl Julisa-Bermejo, Abram Gomez.
Sunday, November 10, 2013 2:00pm until 4:00pm
Avenue 50 Studio, in LA's thriving northeast

La Palabra, hosted by Luivette Resto and Avenue 50 Studio, brings a constantly changing line-up of fresh poetic voices on a regular schedule, the month's fourth Sunday. November's La Palabra arrives earlier, in a special program featuring five LA poets reading around a theme of reclaiming and defining.

Hitting Them Where It Hurts

Three years ago this month, a La Bloga foto essay and column reported the release by The National Hispanic Media Coalition of a UCLA C/S Research Center study counting the sickening regularity of hate speech spewing across the publicly-licensed AM radio spectrum. Click here to download a PDF of the full report.

The report goaded the broadcasters while the license-holders chortled all the way to the bank. Owing to the profitability of hate, Broadcasters failed to engage in meaningful communication with NHMC. Now, in an inspired move and the most fundamental corrective available to Federal regulators, NHMC is asking the appointed commissioners to take a stand for hate-free public airwaves. The NHMC, the nation's leading non-profit, non-partisan, media advocacy and civil rights organization for the advancement of Latinos, has petitioned the FCC to shut down one of Los Angeles' worst perpetrators of hate speech, Clear Channel's KFI AM 640.

Kanellos Moves Into City Limelight 

Per the Mayor's website, Dr. Kanellos is recognized for his scholarly achievements, receiving the Denali Press Award of the American Library Association; American Book Award in the Publisher/Editor category; Hispanic Heritage Award for Literature presented by the White House; as well as various fellowships. 
Link here for the mayor's full proclamation. 

16th Year for Latino Book Awards

Click here for link to Latino Book and Family Festivals awards page, and details and fees.

DDLM On-line Floricanto
Karen S. Córdova, Samuel Duarte, Jeff Cannon, Javier B. Pacheco, Irma Guadarrama    

The moderators of the Facebook group Poets Responding to SB1070 Poetry of Resistance called for Día de los Muertos poetry for today's special post-DDLM On-line Floricanto. La Bloga proudly presents the five poets and six poems representing 2013's Poets Responding to SB1070 Poetry of Resistance selections.

Preparing His Place on the Altar by Karen S. Córdova
The Essence of El Mojado by Samuel Duarte
My Arms by Jeff Cannon
Struggling With An Absence of Light / Luchando Con Una Ausencia de Luz by Javier B. Pacheco
Our Birth Rite (for Gloria Anzaldua) by Irma Guadarrama    

Preparing His Place on the Altar
by Karen S. Córdova

I sit on the cusp of day
 of the dead   listen to breathing
like weary wind tangled in brambles

where pregnant Santa Muerte aimed
a little arrow five years ago and hoped
I wouldn’t notice the birth wound

fester   rob me of my father   coin
minute at a time   through plaque holes
ripping through cortex forest and his voice

fell somewhere onto these present vines
 where cough is shadow to every word
he said before slow stab of forgetting.

Does he sleep with open eyes
to mime the sugar skull ready for icing
his name?

Karen Cordova is a writer and business woman, who lives in Southern California. She is a graduate (B.A. and M.B.A.) of the University of California at Irvine.

Karen was born in Colorado and has deep roots both in Southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. Much of her writing reflects love of her heritage by weaving stories about el gente of the Southwest; her ancestors are Spanish, Native American, and a few extranjero mountain men, who wandered west.

Karen participates in formal spoken word performances. She is proud to have participated in the 2010 Festival de Flor y Canto at USC, as well as in many ekphrasis events. Her next event, The TAO of Autumn, will be on November 8, 2013 at Town Hall in Taos, NM. This collaboration of poets and artists is sponsored by the Taos Arts Council and is curated by Andrea L. Watson, Joan Ryan, and Paul Figueroa. Karen will curate her first show, Ekphrasis: Sacred Stories of the Southwest, on May 2, 2014 at OBLIQ Gallery in Phoenix, AZ. This show will be sponsored by the owners of OBLIQ, Larry and Sandra Ortega.

Karen’s work has been published in various publications. Her first book, Farolito, will be published in 2014. It is a true story, which casts a Hispano light on the dark subject of elder abuse and neglect, but also illuminates a jagged path to solution and unexpected healing. After reading several of the poems in the manuscript, executives from a production company featured Karen in the 2011 documentary, Mary Kay Inspiring Stories.

The Essence of El Mojado
 by Samuel Duarte

The Essence of El Mojado
is flooded with constellations,
            faceless women, children and men
                        encamped outside unknown kingdoms

Plagued by La Malinche who bore him
            leaving them abandoned by the
                        unrestricted movement of charging bulls.

The Essence of El Mojado
            is flailed by conquests and revolutionary might,
                        of Mujeres Soldaderas rising from the earth
                                                 who protect children and men

 Enslaved by Corporate Tongues
slashing our native tongue
                                                  shamed by Los Hijos de La Chingada.
The Essence of El Mojado
            is the essence of every immigrant of the world;

                          it is strength through struggle
                            movement against oppression
    silence amidst accusation
      heartbreak through separation
                    walks through trampled vines
          over splintered carnations and stones
              graced by the sanctity of invisibility
                                                                                through paraffin light.

That is the Essence of El Mojado;
            of Los Determinados
Los Desconosidos y Valientes
                        who with their hands and feet shake the ground
to reveal themselves uprooted and replanted
over this bruised earth.


Samuel H. Duarte is a poet and community advocate for social and educational equality. His work has been featured in Differentia Press, Sound of Poetry Review, La Bloga, and in Memoir Journal’s InVisible Memoir Anthology, among others. He has been a featured reader in various festivals and venues, including the San Luis Obispo Poetry Festival, SLOMA’s Steynberg Gallery, Corners of the Mouth, Manchester Experiment Gallery of Fresno and the Coalesce Bookstore. He is the organizer of the Santa Maria 100,000 Poets for Change and the Guadalupe Central Coast Reading Festival. His books include, Carnalval; Red Balloon Press 2011, and two short story compilations, Stories from the Other Side of Town and A Meal With No Spices. He lives in Santa Maria California with his wife and two sons.

by Jeff Cannon

My arms to you without question leap as soft deer from
the forest of my pain
the darkness of deep suffering
that would consume me
but for your light cutting through the shadows
weaving their litanies of sorrow
partial realities that too easily make themselves a world
cover the moreness that exists
beyond the chapel of their teary liturgies

My arms to you naturally extend petaled greetings
those flowered bouquets from the earthling garden
I have held so long waiting to give
wanting to give before their beauty wilted
dried to crumbling ashes in my hands
the silence that buries prematurely hearts
in mausoleums of disappointments
where aliveness unanswered roams forsaken pathways
spiral down
turning as hard as marble boxed time affection’s sweet gift
but for your appearance from the background
turned drab from familiarity
that did not rob epiphany of its wonder

My arms to you spontaneously extend
merry revelers offering hospitality
my body with out question responds to yours
creature to creature, same to same
one pulse believing itself attuned
to the living mirror to myself
wonder spectacle revelation to myself
reflecting what I see and miss
what I know and have yet to understand
to resolve my doubt about being here

Yet, am I naive?

The question sickle sharp
cuts my young wheat legs dancing
to run beyond my shadow
escape the shelter of my gated heart
shrink the distance that marks landscapes
sets distinctive boundaries where
guards stop curiosity to examine its passport

Do I remain more childish than childlike?

I face daily evidence that tells me
arms can be clubs
hands the stab of 10 knives in the back
bodies a bag of hungry wounds when
lips press open dark windows
an embrace a mausoleum to encase
desire in disappointment’s sealed vault

I cannot close the closet to cautionary tales
fleshy histories keep bound in my skin
the ones we forget; the ones our senses remember
warn us with a blink, a stammer, a halt, a shiver
the natural vocabulary erased by civilized education
relationships bound in walled cities
where islands of longing get bridged by gadgets
without presence
just fingers that type shorthand

without tongued dialogue
exploring as much as flesh

without the poetry of actual voice
real close, solid close as the breath that unbuttons throats

I will break the solitary confinement of labeled identity
commodified place

relax into the other an easy flow of mellow wine
the music of connections that construct nothing
merely allow each arm and hand to seedling sprout
intertwine to form a bridge toward one another
to meet where I am, the other is
with no treasure to buy, to steal or plunder
only pass back and forth between each other
the pleasure of space no longer missed
delight of time no longer passed
both finally lived
through the gentle faith opening arms
an invitation for each other into the company
each heart has for too long waited on one shore to find
while seeing not far away, the answer to its tears

Jeff Cannon is the author of three books of poetry: Finding the Father at Table and Eros: Faces of Love (2010, published by Xlibris Corporation), Intimate Witness: The Carol Poems by Goose River Press, 2008, a testament to his wife’s courageous journey with cancer. He first appeared in the anthology celebrating parenthood, My Hearts First Steps in 2004. He has been a featured poet at Manchester Community College, CT and at local Worcester poetry venues as well as in New Hampshire. From 2007-2008, he was the spoken word component with singer song writers John Small and Lydia Fortune as part of Small, Fortune and Cannon.  He was published in Goose River Anthology: 2009 and started at that time to write monthly essays and poetry for the “Sturbridge Times” of Sturbridge MA. He is the father of two daughters, retired and “can’t stop writing” although he does not read out as much as he would prefer.

Struggling With An Absence of Light    
© Javier B. Pacheco

Some can shuffle the deck
but don’t know how to play the cards,
others choose not to play the game;
and so I thought frankly that I’d slept
happy in my inert domain
until the teacher’s stern voice interrupted,
“Javier! Please, . . . wake up!”
I’d always thought school existed for
growing a superior mind.
In truth, life school contradicts this:
education should have been about more than
the learning of some set skills
in order to make a buck
to be another wheel spoke,
it should have been dedicated to creating
a consciousness, a universalist view
developing the capabilities of the head
working together with the heart:
beings awake of mind / soul.
But too many high priests overdose,
want to cut the cake and eat their share,
thinking mostly about their glorified names
counting notches on their headboards
content with a job half-done
as long as the checks were in the mail.
they cared very little
because that was the size of their
conscience, of their lack of light,
that was the limitation on their
well-hidden low self-esteem,
measured love for all living creatures
that was the limitation on their
empty empathy for  the rest.

So its no mystery that the “chosen frontiers”
of most early settlers
never strayed far from their nests,
or that the newly empowered
sons of legacy homesteaders and squatters
would feel superior to the undocumented;
gang rapes are up in India;
starving children of Sudan with food handouts
are robbed in daylight by fat adult humpties,
remorseless people ,
like the corporate elite that robs us,
instead of sharing the wealth
it’s a race to climb to the top
and take it all, control everything
but the view is so limited
the cross-eyed can only see so far
into the causes of poverty and misery:
of the kinds of damages done by
those who live in their eggshells:
plush-plumed serpents
with their well-armed ‘posum,
kicking up their heels
peddling the bicycles of others
racketeers and gangsters
broken in their dispositions and habits
of greed and corruption,
wretched selves
suppressing inaccessible emotions
while contributing to the psychic civil wars
creating lies and intrigues,
loss of authenticity
mangled moral character
that withers eagle feathers;
a blind arrogance that leads to wars
because we can’t understand
that the mask is hollow
has little to do with …who we really are;
the pathologies of a nation
are a mirror of individual wars within,
outer fragmentation as a manifestation
of a human’s inner division
conflicts between what is
and what should be,
struggling from early age
with an absence of light

Hope is a measure of
the awakened, sane part of civilization,
of its growing vitality
born from fears and despair,
the transmutation of the Phoenix;
there is no better medicine,
it is the soul’s balm
joy’s glimmer, our sweetest blossom
hope and youth are intertwined
hope cannot be bought with money
a people who are not afraid
cannot be oppressed.
Mastering one’s emotions is
seeing fear for what it is:
we begin to understand that fighting outwardly
is what we have been given in our lives
to conquer inwardly;
we have to elect to leave the past behind,
to let go of old sorrows, suffering,
life’s turmoil’s and insecurities,
the old mind-loops of conditioning,
replacing all this
with optimism and courage
the necessary tools
to win the struggle against death
to move beyond our fragmentation
and see ourselves as whole
in total awareness
terribly awake and living completely,
alive and kicking
skillful in action and observation:

The eye’s iris is like a nebula
a brain cell is a tiny universe
the birth of a cell resembles
the death of a star
When life awakens us
we live fully—the opposite of evil
the heavy load of life is lessened
we become enlightened.
Love, respect, tolerance, sharing,
gratitude and forgiveness
we arrive at personal deep knowing
the “me” of mind and heart in harmony
intuitive gifts that follow allow us
to refocus our lives toward that light.

Luchando Con Una Ausencia de Luz
© Javier B. Pacheco          

Algunos pueden barajear
pero no saben jugar las cartas,
otros escogen no entrarle al juego;
y así creí que de plano dormí
contento en mi dominio inerte
hasta que la maestra me gritara,
“¡Javier! Por favor, …Despierta!”
Yo siempre pensaba que la escuela existia para
crecer una mente superior.
En verdad, la escuela de la vida contradice esto:
la educación debió haber sido más que
el aprendizaje de algunas destrezas fijas
para ganarse un peso,
ser otro rayo de la rueda,
debió haber sido dedicado a la creación de
una consciencia, una vista universalista
desarrollando las capacidades de la cabeza
trabajando conjunto con el corazón,
seres despiertos de mente / alma.
Pero demasiados altos sacerdotes toman sobredosis,
quieren cortar el pastel y comerse su parte,
solo pensando en sus nombres glorificados
contando muescas en sus cabeceras
contentos con el trabajo hecho a medias
con tal de que fueran enviados los cheques,
les valió pifas
porque ese fue el tamaño de su
consciencia, de su falta de luz,
eso fue la limitación de su
bien-ocultada baja auto-estima,
amor medido para todas las creaturas
eso fue la limitación de su
empatía vacía para los demás.

Así que no es misterio que las “fronteras escogidas”
de la mayoría de los primeros pobladores
nunca se desviaron lejos de sus nidos,
ó que los nuevamente empoderados
hijos del patrimonio de colonos y okupas
se sientan Tarzanes ante los indocumentados;
aumentan las violaciones de pandillas en la India;
niños hambrientos del Sudan con alimentos donados
son robados en pleno dia por huercos adultos gordos,
gente sin remordimiento
como los corporativos elite que nos roban,
en vez de compartir las riquezas
es una competencia a llegar al cima
y tomarlo todo, controlar todo
pero la vista es tan limitada
los bizcos solo pueden ver tan lejos
hacia las causas de pobreza y miseria:
de los tipos de daños hechos por
ellos que viven en sus cáscaras de huevo:
serpientes lujosamente emplumados
con sus tlaquachis bien afilados,
dando taconazos
pedaliándo las bicicletas de otros
mafiosos y gangsters
rotos en sus disposiciones y hábitos
de avaricia y corrupción,
seres miserable’s
suprimiendo emociones inaccesibles
mientras contribuyen a las guerras civiles psíquicas
creando mentiras e intrigas,
la pérdida de autenticidad
caracter moral mangoneado
que marchita las plumas del aguila;
una arogancia ciega que conduce a guerras
porque no podemos entender
que la máscara es hueca
tiene poco que ver …con quienes somos en verdad;
las patologías de una nación
son espejo de guerras individuales en nuestro interior,
fragmentación por fuera como manifestación
de la division interna humana
conflictos entre lo que es
y lo que debe ser,
luchando desde edad temprana
con una ausencia de luz

La esperanza es una medida de
la parte despierta, sana de la civilización,
de su vitalidad creciente
nacida de temores y la desesperación,
la transmutación del Fénix;
no existe mejor medicina,
es un bálsamo del alma
el atisbo de alegría, nuestra flor más dulce
la esperanza y la juventud estan entrelazados
la esperanza no se puede comprar con dinero
a un pueblo que no tiene miedo
no se le puede oprimir.
Dominando las emociones propias es
mirar al miedo por lo que es:
empezamos a entender que la lucha exterior
es lo que se nos ha dado en nuestras vidas
para conquistar interiormente;
tenemos que elijir a dejar el pasado atrás,
dejar ir a las penas viejas, el sufirmiento,
los remolinos e inseguridades de la vida,
los viejos mente-espiras de acondicionamiento,
reemplazando todo esto
con optimismo y coraje
las herramientas necesarias
para ganar la lucha contra la muerte
para movernos más alla de nuestra fragmentación
y vernos completos. como un todo
en conciencia total
terriblemente despiertos y viviendo completamente
vivitos y coleando
hábiles en acción y observación:

El iris del ojo es como una nebula
una célula cerebral es un universo pequeñísimo
el nacimiento de una célula se asemeja a
la muerte de una estrella
Cuando la vida nos despierta
vivimos totalmente—lo contrario del mal
se disminuye la carga pesada de la vida
nos convertimos en iluminados.
Amor, respeto, tolerancia, el compartir,
la gratitud y el perdón
llegamos al profundo saber personal
el “yo” de la mente y corazón en armonía
los dones intuitivos que siguen nos permiten
re-enfocar nuestras vidas hacia esa luz.

Javier Pacheco is a S.F. Bay Area performance poet, pianist, composer, arranger, and ethnomusicologist.

Our Birth Rite (for Gloria Anzaldua)
by Irma Guadarrama

Pieces of earth puzzled into
  mosaic revelations of
    gaps and stops;
the human stride hampered
  by a matching duo of
    transnational bridge and border wall;
for every bridge a wall and still,
    migration rebounds like
the ebb and flow of relentless
  time and space, and
    the rebirth cycle of
day and night. Never stopping:
  like a lake that cradles
    the spewing brew, or
a river that collects cascading water,
  or fresh sprouting trees
    fused with fossilized stumps.

Humans’ undeterred spirits
  run their gamut like water flowing,
    roots reaching, and rivers
morphing into oceans,
  deep, vast, and free.

    Featherless flying beings we are,
embracing the essence
  of our birth rite.

Irma Guadarrama recently retired after a 44-year career of teaching and research, starting out as a bilingual teacher and finishing as a professor at various universities, the last ones being the University of Houston and the University of Texas Pan American in Edinburg, which is in South Texas. I began writing poetry and songs in my twenties but I wasn’t interested in performing or publishing until 2009 when I became involved with the Writer’s Forum group in South Texas. Living on the border was such a unique, inspirational experience, and my literary interests broadened and deepened. I have a collection of poems and songs that I’m still refining and eventually will publish a chapbook, and perhaps, record my songs.
My poetry and song lyrics have been published in literary anthologies and magazines such as the Interstice literary journal from South Texas College, the Boundless 2011 anthology of the RGV international poetry festival, and Voices from the Chicho anthology (Narciso Martínez Cultural Center’s Writer’s Forum Group). I also published two bilingual chapbooks of children’s original fables while a professor at the University of Houston: Cuéntame una fábula and Cuéntame mas fábulas.

I received a bachelor’s degree from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Master’s degree from the University of Texas in San Antonio, and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. My area of study was education with an emphasis in reading and language and culture.

I was born in Cd. Juárez, México, but grew up in Central and North Texas areas. My home is currently Houston, TX where I live with my two children.

Presently, I work as a writer/researcher for a couple of blogs, which I recently developed: Bilingual Frontera (http://bilingualfrontera.blogspot.com) deals with themes related to social and political issues in the borderlands, and Mujeres, Fronteras y Sus Historias/Women, Borders and Their Stories (http://mujeresfronteras.wordpress.com), that focuses on the plight of immigrant women in the United States. In the former project, I’m collaborating with colleagues from Matamoros, Tamaulipas.


Unknown said...

Thank you, Em Sedano, for another great issue of La Bloga. I read every word on this issue and made my day. I am ready to face the world today. Again, muchas gracias--Francisco

yellowpad said...

News for the heart, hope for the spirit, portent poetry resurrects the body from the curbside grave offers sustenance to heal the torn cloth of compassion. Thanks for your work. Saldudos, Jeff Cannon