Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Review: Feathered Serpent. High School Summer Teatro. 5+3 de Mayo On-line Floricanto

Review: David Bowles. Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart Of Sky. Myths of Mexico. El Paso: Cinco Puntos Press, 2018. ISBN 1-941026-71-7

Michael Sedano

David Bowles’ Feathered Serpent Dark Heart of Sky Myths of Mexico deserves to be a best-seller for all the right reasons: accessible, informative, essential. It’s destined to be the cultural anthropology equivalent to Occupied America for C/S majors.

Literary compilers will appreciate that Bowles translates primary source material to craft a unique narrative that could be the transcript of an ancient rhapsode reciting long into the night. In place of epic poetry, Bowles offers solid educational foundation in ancient Mexican beliefs in a conversational, one-to-many style. The subtitle on the cover reads "Myths of Mexico" while the publisher's webpage lists it as "The Origin Myths of Mexico." The latter is more explanatory.

The catechism-like voice of the narrator would get this book banned where books get banned. Belief underlies myth and this narrator speaks from belief about the ancients. That this narrator presumes readers share that belief is the most interesting element of an absorbing book. Mexican ontology grows out of a different paradigm and a reader can enjoy going with the flow. For other readers, the point of view will be reaffirming and delighting.

Seven “Convocation” chapters open each of seven thematic divisions. Themes include primordial origin stories, Toltecs, Maya, Aztecs, Conquest. The convening narrator introduces the theme, previews the content, qualifies the sources of the story. In the Convocation to the third theme, The Fifth Age And The Reign Of Demigods, the narrator relates,

We look into this distant past through the tales of the ancients ….words of the Aztec elders were themselves written down after the Conquest on the broad leatherbound pages of what we know today as the Florentine Codex and the Codex Chimalpopoca. Let us turn to those precious books, friends, casting our eyes from time to time as well as the Popol Vuh and that lovely collection of Maya verse from the heart of the Yucatan, the Songs of Dzitbalché.

The author makes no attempt at laying down a translation but clearly weaves what he’s learned into a narrative of his own fashion. One back cover blurb mentions Robert Fagles’ Iliad in the publisher’s endeavor to get readers to open this book and not be knocked on their nalgas at what Bowles is doing to them with this style.

The comparison to Fagles--or Lattimore’s--treatment in English of epic texts, fits David Bowles. Unlike the epics, Bowles’ material is little-known and then, fragmented. Here's a chance for readers to put it all together because it's here, in one place. Plus, there’s an excellent bibliography at the end, and a glossary that doubles as a name index when the multisyllable dieties start disputing.

Cinco Puntos Press enjoys good distribution at college booksellers and quality independent booksellers. Readers can get it publisher-direct at this link.

Summertime, And The Teatro Is Calling

Los Angeles

Los Angeles Theater Center recognizes the importance of nurturing local talent if local professional teatro is to thrive. It's a responsibility the city's other major theatre, the Mark Taper Forum, abandoned some years back.

In Boyle Heights, Casa 0101 conducts writing workshops and produces local one-acts, so LATC isn't the sole opportunity for local talent.

 LATC's summer program sounds like the kind of high calibre program that will draw from a national applicant pool, meaning a superior experience for the kids who get to participate.

The only high school students who stand a chance of participating are students who apply by the deadline. Here's LATC's description of what the opportunity brings:

The Summer Conservatory is designed to create an opportunity for high school students (9th to 12th Grade) to experience and train in a professional setting. Up to 30 students are selected each year. At the LATC, students experience and train in a university-style program to obtain the necessary tools for theater production. They attend courses in acting, playwriting, dance, voice/speech, theater analysis, and movement. The students also read college-level plays and texts to spark their imagination, enabling them to explore the expanse of their own creativity.

Applications at this link.

On-line Floricanto Ocho de Mayo
Ramon Piñero,Andrea Mauk, Oscar PeñarandaLiz Durand Goytia,Bonafide Rojas

“She Kept On” by Ramon Piñero
“Crimes of Generations” By Andrea Mauk
“With All Due Respect (for some elders)” By Oscar Peñaranda
“Esta palabra digo” Por Liz Durand Goytia
“There Was A Protest Today” By Bonafide Rojas

She Kept On
By Ramon Piñero

She kept on
even after
they took
her race cars
and gave her
dollies that
did not look
like her

She kept on,
even after they
said "get down
from that tree"
and even told
her to act like
a lady (as if
royalty were
the goal)

She kept on,
even as she
solved for x
and the only
pi she cared
about was the
three point
one four
and the numbers
that ran into infinity
because as anyone
can tell you, "Girls
can’t do math"

She kept on,
even after
the boys in the
hood and the
little cholitas
who followed
tried so
very hard
to play
their reindeer
games because
she knew, “shit
there ain't
no croquetas
in jail.”

She kept on,
even when
they told
her to wear
a dress
get high heels
put on lipstick
act like a lady
(again, as if she aspires
to royalty).

They really
don’t get it;
those little
hood boys
and them
gangsta girls
(who she beat
at every game
played in;)
tried to beat
her in.

She kept on
even when
he came on
to her
known for
many years
played bball with
played futbol with
played cops and
robbers with
he told her
he would
take her home
its late
its gonna
rain; its gonna
get in.

She kept on;
even after
they stitched
her wound
even after
they poked
and probe
even after
all the
and even after
he was

She kept on
turning pain
into strength.

She kept on
during the12 hour
labor. she kept on
when they said
she could not.

In the face of
naysayers, haters,

She kept on
even when she
stood in front
of the gates
and told Peter
“I’ll take it
from here.”

Crimes of Generations
By Andrea Mauk

Crimes of generations
passed down like
macabre fingers
latch around
necks of
our young.

By freeing ourselves,
do we tighten
the noose
we are unaware of
into the future?

Is there
no absolution
for the sins
of our fathers,
for our own
for mistakes
never meant
to hurt
gentle hearts?

With All Due Respect (for some elders)
By Oscar Peñaranda

To my gradual surprise I
found that in
your old age
you are not wise

the folly that flourished
excusable in your youth
did not melt
in the thaw of spring
but hardened
in the winter of your years

old ones
your sometime truant and wide-eyed boy
feels for you

always did
and always will

Esta palabra digo
Por Liz Durand Goytia

A la sonrisa que arrancó la bestia,
a las miradas que escurren de los ojos
a los verdugos que creen que no los vemos…
a los sueños que se han vuelto ceniza,
a los huérfanos que no comprenden,
a los días que vendrán ciegos,
a las piedras adosadas a nuestros corazones,

Digo esta palabra porque más no tengo
para dejar saber que me lastima
que ser mujer nos ha vuelto corderos.
Hablo desde los vientres que germinan vidas,
desde los ríos de leche dulces y nutricios
que hacen crecer al hombre con sus sueños.

Esta palabra digo porque quiero
que los verdugos conozcan a las madres,
a las mujeres cuyas altas frondas
beben la luz para alumbrar al mundo.
Hablo en el nombre de todas:
Marías, Juanas, Isabeles, Karen
que desde el pozo en que las despeñaron se preguntan
por qué tienen los huesos fracturados,
la piel acuchillada y el grito silenciado.
Hablo con este desconsuelo que me deja la rabia
por no poder quitar esa guadaña
que nos deja sin hijas, sin madres, sin hermanas.

Repito sin cansancio que es luz lo que llevamos dentro.|
Que la sombra se quede lapidada y la justicia haga
que el sacrificio cese y el rencor se marche.
Somos de luz, de flor, de nube y tierra
somos hijas del fuego y de la lluvia
no somos carne que se taja
ni llanto que no tenga clemencia.

A mis hermanas todas les digo su responso,
les ofrezco que nunca van a ser olvido
y que alzaré mi voz para que las palabras
aturdan la conciencia del esbirro,
hasta que guarde el negro corazón que tiene
en la condena que no ajusta justicia.

Somos de luz, de luz estas palabras,
vamos con alas, mujeres incansables
a sangrarnos los pies en los caminos
que sembrados de fosas nos esperan.
Resucitemos a todas nuestras muertas
en la memoria del mundo y de la historia:
todos sus nombres se escriban con el oro
que de sus sueños ha sido despejado.


There Was A Protest Today
By Bonafide Rojas

watch puerto rico closely
there was a protest today
there isn't a stable electricity grid
there isn't clean water everywhere
there have been cuts to the university system
& 200 schools have been closed
there were police in military riot gear
relatives dressed in police military riot gear
there were crying children
there was blood on on their hands, blood on the floor
frustrated puerto ricans screaming for justice
survivors of hurricane maria
the government is pushing back the protestors

there was no money to rebuild
yet they paid for rubber bullets
the future is being tear gassed by colonialism
look at the faces of those in uniform
remember their eyes
& how they've betrayed us all
the sheep put their uniforms on
the police will say the march was out of control
observe the number of excuses
how will they justify following protesters home
watch how they'll lie right to our face
watch the american media say nothing
this is how imperialism works
look at how our brethren works against us
how they follow an anti-community agenda
watch the faces of the children, see the sorrow
there is brutality here, we se it with their own eyes

watch puerto rico closely
this is martial law
paramilitary swat teams
a peaceful protest
full body armor
covered from head to toe
watch their eyes
a cocktail of twirling batons & aggressive force
tear gas & rubber bullets

tear gas & rubber bullets
for a peaceful protest

& if the people are marching
for a more unified puerto rico
for a country to stand on its own
for houses to be rebuilt & repaired
for schools to remain open
for teachers to teach the children
for students to learn in their schools
for families to have working electricity
for families to have clean water
for a country that deserves their right to exist

why are they met with force
why are there two sides to this story
why would our countrymen
fight against the people
for basic human rights
why would our countrymen
fight the community
for things they themselves
may not have but severely want
why would our countrymen
fight their friends & family
for a government that will do
the same to them
when the time comes
watch puerto rico closely
the police attacked the community
during a peaceful protest

Meet the poets
“She Kept On” by Ramon Piñero
“Crimes of Generations” By Andrea Mauk
“With All Due Respect (for some elders)” By Oscar Peñaranda
“Esta palabra digo” Por Liz Durand Goytia
“There Was A Protest Today” By Bonafide Rojas

Ramon Piñero. Former Bay Area Poet exiled to the wilds of Central Florida, where the further north you travel, the farther south to go

Andrea García Mauk grew up in Arizona, where both the immense beauty and harsh realities of living in the desert shaped her artistic soul. She calls Whittier, CA home, but has also lived in Chicago, New York and Boston. Andrea currently sells real estate, advocates historic preservation and teaches theatre. As a writer, her work includes poetry, short fiction, original screenplays, children’s plays and novels. Her award-winning writing and artwork have been published and viewed in a variety of places such as on The Late, Late Show with Tom Snyder, The Journal of School Psychologists and Victorian Homes Magazine. Several of her poems and a memoir are included in the 2011 anthology, Our Spirit, Our Reality, and her poetry has been featured in Hinches de Poesia, Mujeres de Maiz “Zine,” Poetry of Resistance: Voices for Social Justice, and the tribute to Francisco X. Alarcon, Sonadores: We Came to Dream. Andrea has also worked in the music industry, sang with a jazz band, and has been a moderator of an online writing workshop. She has a cookbook project on the back burner. She is currently working on making a documentary about the band, Redbone. When not working, Andrea loves taking road trips, singing for an audience, cooking, and spend time with her dogs and horse.

Liz Durand Goytia, Orizaba, Ver., 1955. Poeta y artista plástica, promotora cultural independiente. Ha publicado Caja de Colores, Cincelar el tiempo, Alrededores del Perdón, Poemas en un Cuaderno y la compilación de relatos Mujeres que Cuentan. Ha sido antologada en varias publicaciones en México, Cuba, Argentina. Brasil, Uruguay, Berlín. Ha formado parte del Comité Organizador del Encuentro Internacional de Mujeres Poetas en el País de las Nubes y es organizadora del Festival Internacional Palabra en el Mundo en Ensenada, B.C., donde reside. Imparte talleres de escritura creativa y talleres de bordado.

Bonafide Rojas is the author of four collections of poetry: Notes On The Return To The Island (2017), Renovatio (2014), When The City Sleeps (2012) & Pelo Bueno (2004). He's appeared on Def Poetry Jam & has been published in numerous anthologies & journals. He in the band The Mona Passage, whose new record "The New Myths" is due this summer. He's performed at: Lincoln Center, The Brooklyn Museum, El Museo Del Barrio, Bowery Ballroom, The Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre, Pregones Theatre, Rotterdam Arts Center, The Nuyorican Poets Cafe, BusBoys & Poets & Festival De La Palabra. For more info www.grandconcoursepress.com

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