Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Memorial Day 2018. The naming shame. CSUCI On-line Floricanto

Bring the troops home from everywhere!
Michael Sedano

I strolled up the company street from the chow hall. The company clerk, a Spec5 from Boston, called over to me in that broad foreign accent all outraged. “Sedano, why didn’t you get promoted?”

I am stunned. I expected to make E-3, being top student in Radio School with the fastest Morse Code,  first to establish a network in the field, the supernumerary on guard detail, I assumed I’d make PFC. And here I’m being told by the guy who typed out the list that I’m not on it.

Sergeant Cafano’s revenge against an uppity soldier, or Cafano’s usual incompetence? Didn’t matter. The clerk said he’d fix it. He takes the sheet with the names of the promoted, rolls it into his Royal and types my name at the bottom of the list. The Captain has already signed it.

“Aren’t you going to thank me for promoting you?” Sergeant Cafano strutted over to me the day I showed up wearing my PFC chevron.

Life in the United States Army is a string of memorable moments separated by blank spots where you know you put in the time but that’s about all you know. Some of those moments are silly as can be, like my promotion. Other moments dig deep into profoundly helpless wretchedness.

It was after chow at the end of the duty day. The Bostonian calls over, "Hey Sedano!" He waits to get my attention. I turn and make eye contact quizzically. “Sedano! Report to Building 201 tomorrow to get your orders for Vietnam!”

And that was the start of a miserable night talking my panicked wife out of catastrophic thoughts and living with the inevitable. I believed I was going to Vietnam and so be it. It is what it is. She argued.

“Let’s go to Mexico!” She doesn’t speak Spanish and Mexico extradites. “Let’s go to Canada!” Canada is cold, I told her. Irony. She played the ultimate card, “You might get killed!” The teevee probably was on, flag-draped aluminum coffins filling a C-136, the boys coming home.

“If I get killed I won’t know it.” And she would have gone on with her life. Millions died in Vietnam, among them guys I trained with, guys I was interchangeable with but luck of the draw.

So live that when your summons comes... Live, something all of us are doing right now, the day after Memorial Day 2018.

Click here to listen. (Opens a new window)
To brothers dead crossing the rapido river…194?
in a day
in an afternoon
in a night
in years of fury
and tears
alone and far from home
away from familiar sounds
tender arms
you fell on the earth of italy
blood of mexico
blood of the northern
blood of the bitter border
spilled on earth of italy
on the earth of italy
hope of america
the vain hope of america
never realized hope of america
against a wall of teuton steel
you waded the chilling river
waters tasting of death
far from home
tasting of sudden death
left your dead on the river banks
tears of mothers on the river banks
hopes of sweethearts on the river banks
left tomorrows on the river banks
bitter yesterdays on the river banks
for a hope
vain hope

Anonymous pp 42-43 in Antonia Castañeda Shular, Tomás Ybarra-Frausto, Joseph Sommers. Literatura Chicana. Texto y Contexto. Englewood Cliffs NJ: Prentice Hall, 1972.

Battle of the Name Looms in Texas

The law may be an ass but in Texass the bigger asses are those who assess and promulgate policy. In the case of our gente versus the TXSBOE, the issue devolves to one of the most fundamental elements of dignity and identity: what you'll allow others to call you.

Six Texas cities hold a conference call tomorrow, Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at 1:30pm CST. Organized in the past few days by National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies Tejas Foco Committee on MAS Pre-K-12, the call brings together a raza brain trust.

Mexican American, or Ethnic? Identity or invisibility? Stop them or suck it in? I suppose it could be "The History of Chicanos of Mexican-American descent," to get really gacho about it.

Call or email for tune-in datos.

El Canto de los Delfines On-line Floricanto. An on-line festival de flor y canto in multiple parts, Part I.

California’s state university system places new campuses in areas where supply-demand makes sense, and whose geography attracts academic professionals. The Camarillo area of southern California meets the criteria.

Danzantes procession across CSUCI campus.

Come down that steep grade onto the coastal plain, that’s the outskirts of Camarillo. Citrus up to the hills, then flat fields of strawberries. Up the coast lies Ventura and UC Santa Barbara. Cal State University Channel Islands lies to the south, a blue highway skirting massive housing developments of gated tracts.

The conversion of the one-time state hospital grounds into a university campus will eventually replace today’s picturesque Spanish colonial architecture with functional boxes. Visit right now, the campus is worth a tour, and the big projects haven’t begun. Malibu and the sea lie pa'lla, a journey circling back to Santa Monica and points east.

Locals will always go to college here at Channel Islands, no matter how fancy it grows. Growers kids and pickers kids. There’s oranges all the way to the mountains and up the valleys, and piscadores with kids. Highway 101 traffic zips past strawberry fields that provide the livelihood for pickers, “stoop labor with high school rings on their fingers” whose kids grow up and want careers where you need a degree.

In past years, chisme out of the sylvan campus proposed that Con Safos Magazine might have a revival at Channel Islands. That is still in the works. More immediately, Professor Margarita López has guided her CSUCI students to write for publication in El Canto de los Delfines.

El Canto de los Delfines is why people go to college, beyond attending lecture and lab. Join the debate team, the band, the newspaper, the literary magazine; see the world meet new ideas.

For language and literature majors, whose own education is about books, producing a book is the best kind of learning. They went away to college to read books, and they made one.

El Canto de los Delfines is a book, a softbound, photo cover, typeset, hot glue bound hold it in your hand and pass it along libro.

What excitement and pride for familias to come home after a day in los files to their college-going scion who hands them a book with the family name inside. "This is why we send you to school, mi'jx."

This year’s fourth edition in the Delfines series promotes a Voces sin barreras (Voices beyond borders) theme. Students created work grown from studying movimiento and modern photographs by Oscar R. Castillo. Some of the images are in the Smithsonian Institution.

The writers went through the writing editing revising process as classroom study. Then, with campus institutional support, an editorial team took on the publication process with Professor López advising.

With publication of a book, writers become more fully engaged with their art, more competent communicators having achieved vertically integrated control of the process from beginning--writing the work--to reading as an author to the audience at the gala book release pachanga.

Oscar Castillo conceived and curated this La Bloga El Canto de los Delfines On-line Floricanto. In coming weeks, La Bloga-Tuesday shares work selected by Castillo from the journal. Not all the works directly address the photo used in the publication. The editor and publisher, Dr. López, links images to pieces where she sees connections and likely so too the reader. I’ll call that an editorial ekphrastic.

All photographs are © Oscar Castillo and are published with permission. In the course of the next weeks, La Bloga offers text and in some cases, video, of works selected from the 2018 volume of California State University Channel Islands’ El Canto de los Delfines literary journal.

La Bloga On-line Floricanto: Canto de los Delfines
from photographs by Oscar Castillo

Madre Mía por Aimé Rosario Aguayo
Nuestro Amor por Araceli García 

Poeta en  el jardín. 2016, Oscar R. Castillo
Por Aimé Rosario Aguayo

Madre mía
¿Te pinto un nuevo corazón?
Uno sin tristezas y rencor
Sin reproches o malas caras
Sin decepción o sin mentiras
Sin desgracias o pecado
Uno que luce como las promesas cumplidas
¿Uno que nadie será capaz de abandonar?
Discúlpame, mamá,
Pero tú mereces un corazón más excepcional que un corazón pintado.

Nuestro Amor
Por Araceli García

El amor creció entre mi esposa y yo.
El día que decidimos entregarnos el uno al otro
Fue algo mágico el día que ella decidió contraer
matrimonio conmigo
Nuestro amor siguió floreciendo, el día en que nos dimos
la oportunidad de sellar nuestro amor ante Dios.
La fidelidad es un lazo muy importante en nuestro
Desde ese entonces...

Quiero pasar el resto de mi vida a tu lado.
Y no hay dudas, ni temores por lo que siento.
Porque te llevo a todas horas en mi pensamiento.
El tiempo que hemos estado juntos,
Me ha enseñado lo mucho que significas para mí.
Y lo mucho que significo para ti.
Te quiero de una manera inexplicable
Que no hace falta verte horas y horas
Para que mi amor crezca cada día más.
Estoy inmensamente agradecido
Porque desde ese entonces te has convertido en mi mayor
Eres, mi alegría y mi esperanza.
Quiero estar siempre a tu lado,
Y recordarte a diario lo mucho que te amo.
Eres mi querida esposa
Y quiero que sepas que eres lo que siempre había

Meet the poets
In 2017 Aimé Rosario Aguayo received her degree in English literature and criticism from CSUCI. After a year off she plans to study teaching at Channel Islands.

Araceli García studies Spanish. She has long enjoyed public speaking owing to her grandmother who was a teacher in Guanajuato. She seeks a career as a Spanish teacher. Araceli says we should live sensibly because we live only once.

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