Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Rout Step, March! At ease: artist studio sale. Forward, March! On-line Floricanto.

Michael Sedano

"Route step, March!" meant we soldiers were about to cross rough ground and other than remain in formation, we were free to chat and look around, and, of course scan the ground to avoid ankle-grabbing weeds and dirt clod obstacles.

I don't know that anyone else in my platoon saw the irony in the homophone with "rout," but when the Drill Sergeant called the command, I conjured the image of escaping a severe ass-kicking by Charlie Cong or some other imagined adversary who had just put us to rout.

Since November, good gente have been rout stepping with no escape. There's no imagined opponent. Since January, our Federal government and vaunted democratic system have been doing all they can to kick our asses: For being brown and breathing. For being poor and uninsured. For being fecund and needing reproductive health care. For welcoming ethnic and religious diversity. For being somebody else's babies.

Let us celebrate our cultura, our arte, our poetry, our "gente buena / gente honesta / gente víctima de su necesidad de migrar" (Abelardo, el inmigrante). And we shall celebrate, too, all the rest of us, native-born or naturalized, Veterans of the military who put out when Sam wanted two years of our lives, or our death, whichever came first. Let us celebrate, and we don't need permission, gente.

Our celebrations are resistance, but more so our celebrations are affirmations of our identity as raza, as women, men, senior citizens, children, United States American people. We celebrate ourselves and sing ourselves, every atom belonging to us and as good as anyone else.

That old saying, "aqui estamos y no nos vamos," is all the reaffirmation we need in the face of hatred. That, and voting, running for office, winning, taking back our civilization.

Today's La Bloga offers respite for a time from our times. La Bloga-Tuesday features a foto essay on an engaging art sale, closing with On-line Floricanto, stepping into March.

Arte Para La Gente: Artist Show & Sale At Margaret Garcia's Studio

A wondrous invitation arrived by email and over the Facebook. "No painting over $400" it read, naming artists--Margaret Garcia, Frank Romero, David Fleury and Bonnie Lambert--whose work is in major museums and collections. And here they would be offering original work of various sizes. Under $400.

I could not get away for the Saturday opening thus missed a bunch of my friends and Rhett Beavers' birthday celebration. Sunday was my free day and I head to Figueroa Street in Highland Parque.

The Sunday event was quiet, but when I arrived shortly after Garcia's studio opened at noon, two happy collectors were exiting, chattering excitedly about the bargains they'd scored.

Bonnie Lambert sits quietly in front of her wall. The red dots mean "sold" but not yet taken away by the owner. I was disappointed to see the red dot on the yellow house over Bonnie's left shoulder. It's not that I'm cheap, nor broke, but Bonnie normally prices her work with four figures, but for Arte Para La Gente, nothing was over $400.

I shoulda showed up Saturday because I wanted that yellow house. I've missed out on good work too many times that I advise myself not to hesitate. If I love it, and have the lana, buy it. Unless it's already red-dotted.

As I sat chatting with Maria Reyna, who'd driven up from Orange County for the sale, a woman arrived to take her red dot home. It is a wondrous Garcia sunflower still life, one of a pair of the same subject.

I've been in Garcia's studio a couple times when patrons showed to pick up a work. Like this woman, a buyer absolutely bubbles with joy and excitement at being able to walk out the door owning a great work of art.

Rhett introduces me to David Fleury. David tells me he's constantly drawing or painting when he's not at his full-time employment or enjoying his kids. Just then, a noise from outside draws my attention. One of Fleury's girls is out front waving a flag and announcing for all to hear "art sale!"

Back inside, David, true to his word, is working on a new drawing.  

I have known Margaret Garcia for years and recognize today's sale as not unusual for her. Margaret produces superb work and generously prices it for affordability. She doesn't want to finish a painting then slide it into the storage closet. But wow, you should see what's in storage.

While Garcia was giving me the back room tour she pulled out one of her small pieces. I love the light in this one, coming from below the girl it establishes a peaceful and affectionate moment of reverie.

I'll be returning to the studio one upcoming Monday evening to pose for Garcia's regular Monday night master class. I'm looking forward not only to the sitting but also seeing what I look like in the eyes and brushes of the gathered artists.

Forward, March! La Bloga On-line Floricanto
Norma Smith, Adrian Arancibia, Ted Jauw, Ramon Piñero, Paul Aponte

“Oakland Crossroads 3/1/17” by Norma Smith
“Poems” By Adrian Arancibia
“The Day the Free Press Died” by Ted Jauw
“Se Llevaron a Lola” por Ramon Piñero
“YOLTEOTL” by Paul Aponte

Oakland Crossroads 3/1/17
By Norma Smith

Last night again
the border crossed
our complicated sentences,
rhymed prickly pears
with Michigan cherries,
inserted the corpses of young girls
into a dream we had of
each other, pacing
in the dark, at dawn, and
as the sun sinks and flails
against your chest, from the inside, tries
not to drown in the great
river that would
separate us, but that, por cierto,
carries us through
a landscape neither of us
recognizes alone. That sandy bed
we both inhabit.

Norma Smith was born in Detroit, grew up in Fresno, and has lived in Oakland since the late 1960s. She worked in hospitals for more than 40 years. She has also worked as a journalist, a translator, an educator, and as an editor and writing coach. She has organized events and conferences and facilitated writing groups, most recently “narrative medicine” workshops for healthcare providers and people experiencing illness and a reading and writing forum at Liminal, a feminist/womanist writing space in East Oakland. Her work has been published in academic, political, and literary journals, and she has read at poetry reading series around the Bay Area.

By Adrian Arancibia

they told me poems
were just words.
they told me they wouldn't amount
to much.
these comments
were worn around my wrists
like shackles. like the words
eye wrote to women eye loved
when eye was twenty. and yet,
eye am older now.

and see, the poems,
they keep coming strong
like the tears on my drive
north. tears when eye hold
a book eye bought
when eye was twenty
something. in the way
of the things.
still driven
to find the meanings.
to describe. in nonlinear
ways. but resistance
may have worn out
its welcome.

eye am shoe horning
this tongue to make
sure it still fits and speaks.
in fits and starts. to make
sure the words will ring
clear to my daughters.
my daughters, who are infinitely smarter
than eye am.
but perhaps, lack the swapmeet
drive to make
most of these days.
the ones wearin me to a nub.
eye am choking up
at the word tradition.
in the. tradition is table speak.
is crazy uncles.
is lying. to make a story true.
eye learned from the best.
eye find the paths.

eye gone back to the beginnings.
eye gone back. eye know
the best and worst of it.
but the poems. them free.
to call out, to tell truths.
to be. older and wiser.
but still, angry and eye
look to the words on that
old book. the one you'd
follow as paths to realize
the score.

newark. paterson.
methods to the madness.
lauryn. ras. why? who's clef?
eye am just a spectator.
eye am scraping
the words from a plate.
scraping the imagery
from an urban dream
eye learned to love.
and then you realize
the tradition must be.
it must be. passed
on to the next generation.

Adrián Arancibia is an author and critic based in San Diego, California. He is a founder of the seminal Chicano/Latino performance poetry collective Taco Shop Poets. Born in Iquique, Chile (1971), Arancibia is the co-editor of the Taco Shop Poets Anthology: Chorizo Tonguefire (Chorizo Tonguefire Press). He has authored the collection of poetry titled Atacama Poems (City Works Press) and The Keeper/El guardador (Editorial La Ratona Cartonera) and will release another collection of poetry in 2017 titled Poems of Exhaustion(Parentheses Press). A Literature Ph.D., he currently works as a professor of English and Creative Writing at Miramar Community College. His creative work depicts and comments on the lives of immigrants, while his critical work focuses on literature and its relation to social spaces and popular culture.

By Ted Jauw

a parody of “American Pie” by Don McLean

A long short time ago
I can still remember when
Press Briefings used to makes us proud
And I knew if I had to know
The Press Room is where we would go
And maybe, sometimes it was wild and loud

But February made me wary
With every briefing it got scary
Sean Spicer at The White House
He just threw the Press out...

I can't remember if we cared
When people read this were they scared?
Did people protest? Did they dare?
The day the Free Press died...

Bye, bye Free American Press
See you later Fourth Estaters well now who would have guessed
And them good ole boys, well, they couldn't care less
Singin' this is the American Way

Did you write the New York Times?
And did you know Truth was a crime?
If Sean Spicer tells us so?
Do you write for Politico?
for CNN? Then you must go
Or do you write in small words, real slow?

"Well, I know that you all write Fake News
'Cause I saw that you were owned by Jews
You all now are going to lose
You all laughed when I blew a fuse..."

He was a screaming Press Secretary from Hell
Played on air by women straight from SNL
But who was there and who lived to tell
The day the Free Press died
I started singin'

Bye, bye Free American Press
See you later Fourth Estaters who of you would have guessed
And them good ole boys were now in charge of the mess
Singin' this is the American Way

Now, for four weeks we've been on our ownz
Except for Teen Vogue and for Rolling Stone
But, that's not how it used to be

When Sean Spicer lost it it was bad
In a suit he borrowed from his dad
And he spouted alt facts. It was sad

Oh and while the boss was looking down
Steve Bannon stole his phony crown
The Press room was adjourned
No Media returned

And while Maddox read up on his Marx
The News now came from Gorky Park
The day that Spicer Jumped the Shark
The day the Free Press died
We were singin'...

Bye, bye Free American Press
See you later Fourth Estaters, yeah, and who would have guessed
And them good ole boys on the Alt Right claimed success
Singin' this is the American Way

Kelly Anne conspired and said that Flynn retired
The Trump flew off but never said he was fired
Bannon, he just smiled behind the scenes

It fell to Sean to Meet The Press
Reporters tried that but who would guess
hat Sean Spicer would just shut down in distress

Now the News that night was not perfume
While Maddow told of the locked out room
We all got up to fight
Oh, but we never did that night

'Cause the AltRight tried to take the field
The Fourth Estate refused to yield
Do you recall what was revealed
The day the Free Press died?
We started singin'

Bye, bye Free American Press
See you later Fourth Estaters. Damn and who would have guessed
And them good ole boys were there to lie and supress
Singin' this is the American Way

Oh, and there we were all left to muse
An angry public without news
With no time left to start again

So come on Let's be nimble, Let's be quick
Let's fill Flash cards and mem'ry sticks
'Cause Exposure's the only way to bring him down...

Oh and as I watched him on the stage
My hands were clenched in fists of rage
No angel born in Hell
Could break that Satan's spell

And as he lied to excite the base
He brought up color, sex and race
I saw the glee light up his face
The day the Free Press died
He was singin'

Bye, bye Free American Press
See you later Fourth Estaters, yeah and who would have guessed
That them good ole boys would be there when I digress
Singin' this is the American Way

I saw a gal who did interviews
And I asked her, 'what happened to the news...'
But she just cried and walked away

I went down to the briefing room
Where I saw a man screaming to the gloom
But the man was only screaming to him self

And in the schools no children learned
And as we watched our nation burned
But not a word was spoken
The Press was all but broken

And the three men I admire the most
Brinkley, Murrow, and Cronkite's Ghosts
They rolled over and sighed the most
The day the Free Press died
And they were singing

Bye, bye Free American Press
See you later Fourth Estaters, yeah and who would have guessed
That them good ole boys would put the Oh in Opress
Singin' this is the American Way...

NowPunk novelist Ted Jauw is, sometimes, called 'Baba Teddy' and is sometimes called upon to comment on today's events... The current political climate has forced him to abandon Haiku.

Se Llevaron a Lola
Por Ramon Piñero

Se llevaron
a Doña Lola;
la vecina del lado
madre de Marta y Juan
se la llevaron mientras
marta y juan
en la escuela.

¿La conocen?
la que siempre
salía de casa
con una risa

Su esposo
limpiaba tu patio
y los platos
en el restaurante.

Se llevaron a
Doña Lola;
¿te acuerdas
de ella?

vinieron a la
hora del almuerzo
estaba preparando
comida pa’ los críos
cuando le tumbaron
la puerta,
la niña en la escuela
el varón también
el esposo

Se llevaron a Fátima,
madre del bodeguero
viuda de Omar
quien falleció
sirviendo huevos
para desayuno
en las torres
en el nueve once

A Luis Antonio,
un soñador,
lo agarraron
de camino a una
clase de artes plásticos
hablando con la novia
en su celular
disfrazado de policías
lo sacaron esposado
su papa no sabe
ni su madre;
ellos fugaron
el estado de golpe
huyendo los

Ahmed murió
su mama.
él tenía doce años
flaquito con ojos
le pegaron un
no pudo resistir
el llamado de

Ellos construyen
prisiones privados
para los no de aquí;
construyen herramientas
de guerra
drones para espiar
para lanzar
nuevos cohetes

Se llevaron a Doña Lola;
a Fátima, la mama
del bodeguero,
le dispararon un taser
y mataron a Ahmed
protegiendo su mama
de Luis Antonio
no se sabe.
nunca apareció
su padre todavía
lo espera.

Los perros de guerra
ladran de nuevo
los capitanes
de injusticias
se saludan cada
día. Job Well Done!

Adiós Doña Lola
Hasta luego Fátima
A Luis Antonio bien viaje
Descansa en paz, Ahmed
Se forma una tormenta
y los que no lo saben
es porque prefieren
la ignorancia

Ramon Piñero is an ex Bay Area poet living in the buckle of the Bible Belt, aka Florida. Where good little boys and girls grow up to be republicans who vote against their own interest. Father of three and Grandfather to five of the coolest kids ever. Nuff said...

By Paul Aponte

Mind of love
Mind of warrior
Embracing unity
Subtle intelligent words
To enlightenment
To recognition of self
in others

In Lak'ech

Few words
Turning American Pie into Pan Dulce
Chevrolet into Low Riders
Nopalitos into Giant Prickly Pear Nopales
Bearing fruit
Reaching far and wide
Caressing the good
aspiring to do the same
Clearing darkness
Birthing curative agave words
Lighting truth
Sprouting fields of Corazón
El Gran Corazón que nos hace falta

Paul Aponte is a Chicano Poet from Sacramento. He is a member of Escritores Del Nuevo Sol and Círculo.   He is soon to be published in "Poetry in flight" - El Tecolote Press Anthology,  and has been published in Sacramento Poetry Center's quarterly "Poetry Now", the "Los Angeles Review Volume 20 - Fall 2016", and in "Un Canto De Amor A Gabriel Garcia Márquez" a publication from the country of Chile containing poems from around the world with 31 countries represented.  He was also the editor's choice in the online journal "Convergence" and is the author of the book of poetry "Expression Obsession". Many of his poems can be found on his Facebook "Notes" under the pseudonym Wolf Fox.

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