Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Sixth Anniversary On-line Floricanto. News 'n Notes.

Michael Sedano

La Bloga On-line Floricanto May 2016
They Also Serve Who Only Stand and Moderate
Iris De Anda, Odilia Galván Rodríguez, Sharon Elliott, Edward Vidaurre, Sonia Gutiérrez

“'even whispers can mean' war" By Iris De Anda
"Get a Spine" By Odilia Galván Rodríguez
"Skin" By Sharon Elliott
"Found Reasons Why A Guanaco Can’t Cross The Border" By Edward Vidaurre
"Relics in a Drawer / Reliquias en un cajón" By Sonia Gutiérrez

La Bloga On-line Floricanto is now two weeks into its seventh year. In April 2010, La Bloga-Tuesday issued a call for poems with the publication date the first Tuesday in May. Please be sure to read Odilia Galván Rodríguez' Moderator's Statement accompanying her biography, on the future of our On-line Floricanto.

That initial floricanto featured six poets and nine poems—Francisco X. Alarcón submitted paired works in English and Spanish:
"Breathing While Brown" by Alma Luz Villanueva
"Synergy of Hate" by Antoinette Nora Claypoole
"Borderlines" by Meg Withers
"Insist and Resist" by Manuel Lozano
"Border Ghost of Sonora" by Carmen Calatayud
“Las Flores Son Nuestras Armas / Flowers Are Our Weapons” and “For the Capitol Nine / Para Los Nueve Del Capitolio” by Francisco X. Alarcón

Thousands of readers visit La Bloga-Tuesday, and throughout the week as word-of-mouth reaches disparate locations, hundreds more seek out the daily blog column, then scroll down to share the work of the five poets selected for the month’s anthology.

Selected is the key concept. Working intensely in the background, a team of poets reads dozens of candidate works before nominating a slate of five poets for the upcoming La Bloga On-line Floricanto.

Today, La Bloga expresses our pleasure and honor to recognize the unseen laborers whose work is responsible for the monthly and special occasion floricantos presented on La Bloga-Tuesday. These unseen, often unthanked artists, are the Moderators of the Facebook poetry community Poets Responding to SB 1070: Poetry of Resistance. They include Iris De Anda, Odilia Galván Rodríguez, Sharon Elliott, Edward Vidaurre, Sonia Gutiérrez.

Honoring our departed colleague, Francisco X. Alarcón ¡Presente!, who founded Poets Responding, and co-founded La Bloga On-line Floricanto with Michael Sedano, today’s anniversary La Bloga On-line Floricanto begins with Francisco’s capstone pieces from that first-in-history La Bloga On-line Floricanto.

For The “Capitol Nine”
By Francisco X. Alarcón

to the nine students by who were arrested on April 19, 2010 at the Arizona State Capitol for protesting SB 1070

y carnalitas
and sisters:

from afar
we can hear
your heart beats

they are
the drums
of the Earth

our people
follow closely
your steps

as warriors
of justice
and peace

you take on
the Beast
of hatred

the unlawful
police enforcement
of discrimination

chain yourselves
to the doors
of the State Capitol

so that terror
will not leak out
to our streets

your voices
your actions
your courage

can’t be taken
way from us
and put in jail

you are nine
young warriors
like nine sky stars

you are the hope
the best dreams
of our nation

your faces
are radiant
as the Sun

they will break
this dark night
for a new day

yes, carnalitas
and carnalitos:
all our sisters
all our brothers

need no papers
to prove once
and for all

“we are humans
just like you are–
we are not criminals”

our plea comes to
“No to criminalization!
Yes to legalization!”

Francisco X. Alarcón © 2010

Las Flores Son Nuestras Armas
(Flowers Are Our Weapons)

we opened
the doors
of our homes

to greet them
they came in
and evicted us

we showed them
the open green
of our valleys

the sacred
clear blue
of the sky

they cut down
the trees
for their furnaces

we gave them
all the fruits
of this land

they poisend
the rivers
with mercury

yet we survived
the slaughter
of our days

and now
we face them
in this final battle

to save
our lives
the lives of all

desierto / desert
give us
your strength

viento / wind
blow into us
your courage

madre agua /
mother water
guide us in
your tender ways

y carnalitas—
and sisters
don’t be afaid

las flores
las plumas—
the flowers
the feathers
are on our side!

Francisco X. Alarcón © 2010

Para Los Nueve Del Capitolio
Por Francisco X. Alarcón

para los nueve estudiantes arrestados el 20 de abril de 2010 en el Capitolio Estatal de Arizona por protestar la ley SB 1070

y carnalitas
y hermanas:

desde lejos
podemos oír
sus corazones latir

ellos son
los tambores
de la Tierra

nuestra gente
les sigue de cerca
sus pasos

como guerreros
de la justicia
y la paz

la Bestia
del odio

el uso
de la policía

se encadenan
a las puertas del
Capitolio Estatal

para que el terror
no se escape hacia
nuestras calles

sus voces
sus acciones
su valentía

no nos las pueden
ya arrebatar
ni encarcelar

ustedes son nueve
jóvenes guerreros
como nueve luceros

son la esperanza
los mejores sueños
de nuestra nación

sus rostros
son radiantes
como el Sol

y romperán
esta negra noche
para un nuevo día

sí, carnalitas
y carnalitos:
todos nuestros
hermanas y hermanos

no necesitan papeles
para probar
de una vez

“somos humanos
como ustedes son–
no somos criminales

nuestra petición es:
“¡NO a la criminalización!
¡SÍ a la legalización!

Francisco X. Alarcón © 2010

Las Flores Son Nuestras Armas / Flowers Are Our Weapons
por Francisco X. Alarcón

las puertas
de nuestra casa

para recibirlos
ellos entraron
y nos despojaron

les mostramos
el verde sin fin
de nuestros valles

el sagrado
y limpio azul
del cielo

ellos cortaron
los árboles
para sus hornos

le dimos todos
los frutos
de esta tierra

ellos envenenaron
los ríos
con mercurio

pero sobrevivimos
la matanza
de nuestros días

y ahora
los enfrentamos
en esta batalla final

para salvar
nuestras vidas
y las vidas de todos

tu fortaleza

de tu valentía

madre agua
para practicar
tu ternura

y carnalitas–
y hermanas
no tengan temor

las flores
las plumas–
the flowers
the feathers
ESTÁN a nuestro favor

Francisco X. Alarcón © 2010

"'even whispers can mean' war"
By Iris De Anda

even silence can mean death
even smiles across the wrong skin
can mean other things to other people
even now after all this politically correct
the sound of your voice
can release the bullets of a firing squad
the echo of your words
heard in the smallest of towns
can ignite unearthed rebellion
the deep inhale and exhale of your breath
the moment between us and them
even shouts can mean so little
when the disappearances say so much
so we must not let them bring your chants
to a stand still
even whispers can mean war
even secrets can mean friends
even sign language can resurrect the fallen
give them wings with whistled prayers
give them life in the dream seeds of a poet
even too much talk and not enough action
can mean that the person talking has nowhere to go
will not let you advance too
hold you still with slithering tongue
until quicksand commands your next step to nowhere
even wind can mean rebellion
listen to the chant carried by the robins
even hope can mean resistance
even closed eyes see the truth behind lies
even songs can mean morning
our mourning dispersed across the sky
as we hear
turn volume up
rise up
stand up
don’t ever give up
even whispers can mean more than this
frequency of the dispossessed
marginal offerings from those who said
too much
too fast
too soon
ignite reason with raw rage
underneath the ribcage
an A capella grace
hums notes from past composers
each one reciting symphony of creations
spinning life and death on record vinyl
smothered notes for the soul
after decades of loud noise
which leads to nothingness
even whispers can mean war
even war can mean open hearts
ready to love again
listen again
begin again

Get a Spine
By Odilia Galván Rodríguez

Trapped in Charlotte’s Web
freedom fighters advise
Go Home or Die Here
come back
to fight another day
we live in
A Nation of Enemies
but we are
History in the Making
trying to make sense of this
Invisible Circus
born out of
The Jungle
where men believe
in survival of the fittest
dog eat dog
they’ve never subscribed to
The Poisonwood Bible
but we who believe
in freedom continue
Speaking Out
even when we must use
201 Spanish Verbs
to get our point across
Borderlands/La Frontera
that does not represent us
because we do not believe
in lines nor crossing them
the twisters of lies
love to write
Crude Chronicles
paint us on
The Shining Path
we know we are not
Paradise in Ashes
we know we must dare
to struggle dare to win
this prison we’re in
is sometimes
More Terrible Than Death
though we pretend it is normal
to live walking on eggshells
awaiting death that could come
any second of any whim
of a supposed peacekeeper
with a badge and a gun
we know we are
The Chosen
some of us
have been
Dreaming in Cuban
for so long wanting
that place that is more
a time before this one
where children can play
on streets
run wild
fun is stick ball or
a domino game set up
on a table on the corner
under a shady flamboyán
there they have
know who they are
where they belong
we live here
A Wrinkle in Time
terrible in its depth
of racial hatred and
for all things other
even the Nations
of these lands
before the Whiteman
known by other tongues
Turtle Island
not a country
but a living breathing
they want it all
to drain her dry
put us to doing this
dirty work for them
they want it all
Everything but the Burden

By Sharon Elliott

skin is wood
dark velvet like bocote
peeling red like madrone
mottled light like birch
unbreakable like bamboo

skin decides
what should be let in
the chambers of the heart
the long slow march
of no touch

skin speaks
in three languages
does not
see color
or feathers
dropped along the road

skin hopes
when hope has been
then heals
scars that may be invisible

skin crawls
along a prickly cactus highway
burning the asphalt
into memory

when skin is not alone
it thanks a larger presence
for travelers
who visit the vast
unknown places
eyes shut
arms open
breath a sacred thing

Previously published in: Boundless Anthology of the Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival 2016.

Found Reasons Why A Guanaco Can’t Cross The Border
By Edward Vidaurre

Because there's a Caifanes
tribute concert in Reynosa, Tamaulipas

Because Tic-Tack is still a trago amargo

Because the procession on
Semana Santa in Guatemala


Because my father is buried and I’m looking
for the casket spray of calendulas two years later

Because my grandmother wants
to let me in on a family secret

Because Donald Trump

Relics in a Drawer
By Sonia Gutiérrez

Everything inside
weighed heavy of Lola.
When Lola’s daughter
needed a needle
and thread to mend herself,
she found them tucked away
in the top drawer
of her mother’s dresser.
The necklace Lola’s daughter
never wore—
the gift with the jade and copper
from the deep earth
with freshwater pearls from sweet rivers
and the pinks-purples-blues
of her garden’s hydrangeas—
hugged her neck
and wiped her tears.

In public, a safety pin from Lola’s
drawer fastened her daughter’s
swollen chest.
Photographs became ghosts,
telling stories through the pinhole
of their memory.

If a foreseen departure
awaits you,
go gently like Lola,
but promise you’ll leave relics
for the unconsoled eye.
Promise me.

Reliquias en un cajón
Por Sonia Gutiérrez

Todo lo que había adentro
pesaba de Lola.
Cuando la hija de Lola
necesitaba una aguja
e hilo para remendarse,
los encontraba guardados
en el cajón de arriba
de la cajonera de su madre.

El collar que la hija de Lola
nunca usó—
el regalo de jade y cobre
de la profundidad de la tierra
con las perlas de agua dulce de los ríos
y los rosados-morados-azules
de las hortensias de su jardín—
abrazó su cuello
y limpió sus lágrimas.

En público, un imperdible del cajón
de Lola sujetaba
su pecho desbordado.
Las fotografías se convirtieron en fantasmas,
contando cuentos a través de la estenopeica
de sus memorias.

Si una partida prevista
te espera,
vete lentamente como Lola,
pero promete que dejarás reliquias
para el ojo desconsolado.

Meet the Moderators

Iris De Anda is a Guanaca Tapatia who hosts The Writers Underground Open Mic at the Eastside Cafe every third Thursday of the month. Author of CODESWITCH: Fires From Mi Corazon. www.irisdeanda.com

One of the last things Maestro Francisco X. Alarcón and I spoke about in the final days leading up to his journey to the spirit world was how important Poets Responding to SB 1070 has been not only for him, but for all of us who have been involved since the beginning in 2010.  He asked me to assure him that I would be continuing the project, as he was fond of calling it, and I assured him I would.  He could get me to promise almost anything, and I agreed.  Poets Responding was and is important, we discussed why and just how much, countless times before during our travels together to promote a fair and just immigration reform, and to talk to communities about the race war that is going on this country. How racism and xenophobia are alive and well and killing people with impunity. Well they aren’t exactly, but the agents of these abhorrent and ignorant ways of thinking are.  I am so very proud to have had the chance to work closely with the Maestro over the years as well as all of the past moderators. I am especially grateful for the current moderators.  We are a tight-knit group, very dedicated to this cause among others in our our respective communities. Without you: Iris De Anda, Sonia Gutierrez, Sharon Elliot, and Edward Vidaurre we couldn’t do what we do, and I couldn’t keep my promise to the Maestro.  Gracias. And last, but never ever least, I give a special thanks and shout out to you Michael “Em” Sedano for being with us from the start  and sponsoring this amazing online Floricanto feature in La Bloga on Tuesdays.

Blessings and love to all y Adelante!
Odilia Galván Rodríguez

Odilia Galván Rodríguez, poet, writer, editor, and social justice activist, is the author of six volumes of poetry, her latest, The Nature of Things, along with photographer Richard Loya.  She is co-editor, along with the late Francisco X. Alarcón, of Poetry of Resistance: Voices for Social Justice, from The University of Arizona Press. Odilia has worked as an editor for various magazines, most recently as the English edition editor of Tricontinental Magazine in Havana, Cuba. Her activist work stems several decades with organizations such as the United Farm Workers of America AFL-CIO. Currently she facilitates creative writing workshops nationally, and is a moderator of Poets Responding to SB 1070 and Love and Prayers for Fukushima, both Facebook pages dedicated to bringing attention to social justice issues that affect the lives and well-being of many people. Her poetry and short fiction has been anthologized in many anthologies and literary journals in print and on-line media. 

Sharon Elliott has been a writer and poet activist over several decades beginning in the anti-war and civil rights movements in the 1960s and 70s, and four years in the Peace Corps in Nicaragua and Ecuador.  She is a Moderator of Poets Responding to SB1070, and has featured in poetry readings in the San Francisco Bay area. Her work has been published in several anthologies and her poem “Border Crossing” appears in the anthology entitled Poetry of Resistance: Voices for Social Justice, Francisco X. Alarcón and Odilia Galván Rodriguez, eds.  She has read it in Los Angeles at AWP and La Pachanga 2016 book launch.  Her book, Jaguar Unfinished, was published by Prickly Pear Press, 2012.  She was an awardee of Best Poem of 2012 by La Bloga, for The Day of Little Comfort.

Edward Vidaurre, an emerging voice in Latino literature and Beat poetry. His work is featured in The Beatest State in the Union: An Anthology of Beat Texas Writers and in Poetry Of Resistance: An Anthology Of Poets Responding To SB 1070 & Xenophobia. Vidaurre has also been published in other anthologies: Arriba Baseball!, and Juventud! and Boundless--the Anthology of the Valley International Poetry Festival 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014, 2016 and in literary journals, among them: La Bloga's On Line Floricanto, Bordersenses, RiversEdge, Interstice, La Noria Literary Journal, Harbinger Asylum, Left Hand of the Father, Brooklyn & Boyle. His first collection of poetry, I Took My Barrio On A Road Trip, (Slough Press) was published in 2013 and his second collection, Insomnia (El Zarape Press), was published in 2014. Beautiful Scars: Elegiac Beat Poems (El Zarape Press) was published in 2015, his latest collection Chicano Blood Transfusion (FlowerSong Books) was published this year. Vidaurre is the founder of Pasta, Poetry, and Vino--a monthly open mic gathering of artists, poets, and musicians.

Sonia Gutiérrez’s work promotes social and human dignity. She is an Interim Assistant Professor of English at Mt. San Jacinto College at the San Jancito Campus.

Her poems have appeared in the San Diego Poetry Annual, La Jornada Semanal, Konch Magazine, and Poetry of Resistance: Voices for Social Justice, among other publications. Her poem, “The Garden of Dreams” is forthcoming in Poetry in Flight / Poesía en vuelo: Anthology in Celebration of El Tecolote. La Bloga’s “On-line Floricanto” is home to her Poets Responding to SB 1070 bilingual poems, including “Best Poems 2011” and “Best Poems 2012.” Her vignettes have appeared in AlternaCtive PublicaCtions, Huizache, and Sunshine Noir II.

Sonia’s bilingual poetry collection, Spider Woman / La Mujer Araña (Olmeca Press, 2013), is her debut publication. She is a contributing editor for the The Writer’s Response (Cengage Learning, 2016). Her manuscripts, Kissing Dreams from a Distance, a novel, and Legacy / Herencia, her second poetry collection, are seeking publication. Since 2014, Sonia has been a moderator for Facebook’s Poets Responding to SB 1070, founded by her Chicano role models, Francisco X. Alarcón and Odilia Galván Rodríguez. She is at work on a children’s book.

News 'n Notes from CSULA

email from Pablo Baler
Next Monday, May 23, straight from Mexico D.F., Dr. Mariantonia González Valerio (UNAM) in Cal State University, Los Angeles talking about Aesthetics and Biotechnology, the work of her research group Arte+Ciencia, and the intertwining of art, science, technology and humanities. What else can you do in L.A. but attend this talk?

News 'n Notes from D.C.
Origins Journal Expanding Horizons

email from editor Dini Karasik
Origins Journal is a literary magazine that examines the art of narrative through the lens of identity. We aim to “normalize” the voices of women, writers of color and others who have been historically marginalized by the industry or otherwise relegated to invisible literary corners.

Since our launch in 2014, Origins has published three print issues (our next one is due out this month). We’ve also created a website with content that features poetry, prose, author interviews, and a collection of mentorship essays in collaboration with the University of Notre Dame’s Letras Latinas program. The authors we’ve interviewed include Roxane Gay, Matthew Zapruder, Amin Ahmad, Fabienne Josaphat, and many more.

Currently, we’re in the planning stages of a new initiative called Project Amplify. The project will consist of specially-curated online issues that showcase the work of writers and poets currently enrolled in literacy and other nonprofit efforts here in the United States and abroad. Our vision is to publish the work of writers who might not otherwise have access to publishing. Examples of such groups include at-risk youth, the mentally ill, refugees, and the elderly. The issues will also highlight the work of the collaborating non-profit organization—one for each special issue—and feature essay introductions by established authors. We hope to publish the first Project Amplify issue this summer.

Can you support us with a donation today? If yes, here's a link to our donation page:

News 'n Notes from San Francisco
Avotcja & Modúpue At San Francisco International Arts Festival

email from Avotcja
SUNDAY May 22nd 2016   7PM
Fort Mason Center - Gallery 308.
2 Marina Blvd #308, San Francisco, CA 94123.

Please spread the word!!!
VAL SERRANT-Steel Drum, Djembe & Vocals
FRANCIS WONG-Sax, Flute & Clarinet
RAUL RAMIREZ-Afro-Peruvian Multi-Percussion
AVOTCJA-Poetry & sm. Multi-Percussion
All ages welcome & Wheel Chair accessible
http://www.sfiaf.org/avotjca  or  http://www.avotcja.org/

 Click here for ticketing information. There are a limited number of half price tickets at $7.50. Click here for the half price offer.

News 'n Notes Request for Information
Where Are Your Local Author and Poet Reading Venues?

Los Angeles author and literary organizer Conrad Romo called recently with a vision of a Chicana Chicano "chitlin circuit" or "borscht belt." This would be a set of performance venues where independent authors could do road trips publicizing their work while spreading raza arts to a cultura-appreciating world.

Independent artists can attest to the intensive labor involved in doing a multi-city tour, like one Las Lunas Locas completed earlier this year. Audiences could experience such delights far more frequently, and artists could share their work and sell their books at higher velocity, if they could refer to a comprehensive listing of places to negotiate visits.

La Bloga-Tuesday visualizes assembling a database of places and contact gente who are arte-friendly and could form the backbone of a chicanarte circuit. Much like La Bloga's author sidebar, the database would be available on a non-commercial basis to writers and independent impresarios with a literary manda.

Mail to La Bloga@readraza.com, or please Click Here to Share a Venue. or leave a comment to share the name, address, phone/email, contact name of your centro, library, bookstore, gallery. If your community hosts a reading series you've enjoyed attending or participating in, please send the datos of those places.

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