Monday, August 31, 2020

Festival Internacional de Poesía Turrialba, Costa Rica por Xánath Caraza


Festival Internacional de Poesía Turrialba, Costa Rica por Xánath Caraza


El pasado 18 de agosto de 2:00 a 4:00 p.m., Mountain Time, fui una de las invitadas a participar en el II Festival Internacional de Poesía Turrialba en Costa Rica en línea. 


Con agradecimiento y entusiasmo me preparé para el Recital de Poesía donde, de manera virtual, compartí el escenario con los poetas Waldo Leiva (Cuba), Mercedes Roffé (Argentina) y Pedro Larrea (España) todos autores de Nueva York Poetry Press. Este recital fue dirigido por la poeta y directora de la editorial, Mar Russo.


Gratamente me sorprendió la cantidad de gente que participó como audiencia esa tarde.  No cabe duda que esta es la manera actual de hablar, respirar y compartir poesía. 


A continuación un par de poemas que leí el 18 de agosto, entre otros. ¡Que la poesía nos salve! 


Tinta negra


Llueve en el fosforescente verde matutino.

Descubro entre la cibernética tinta negra,

entre un desconocido norte que es mi sur,

palabras entretejidas con miedos,

sentimientos disfrazados de distancia,

muros metálicos dividen dos países,

dos corazones, madres e hijos,

padres y hermanos, pasado y presente.


¿Qué nos hace diferentes?


Somos manos que escriben,

que trabajan, limpian y guían

en la oscuridad más grande.


¿Qué es una frontera?


Límites creados,

culturas forzadas

a darse la espalda.


Llueve en el fosforescente verde matutino.

Descubro entre la tinta negra

de esta pantalla de luz artificial,

los hombres y mujeres sin nombre

que apenas dejan rastro de su existencia

en los desiertos. 


Anónimos seres que nunca

serán reclamados.


Esperan las madres orgullosas

a los hijos e hijas tragados por

la flamígera arena del desierto.


Rojo atardecer llena mi pantalla

y la tinta negra empieza a sangrar.




En la distancia húmeda

de esta mercurial mañana

el acechante verde

se acerca a mí, me atrapa

los días fluyen poco a poco

largas horas

y el vacío se instala en

el fracturado espíritu

no hay flamígeros latidos

ni anhelante espera bermeja

las palabras dulces se desvanecen

las redes de acero se han construido

protecciones ante el miedo

¿Qué nos queda?

La creencia de poder estar

la ilusión de construir con otros

los recuerdos que se niegan.


Ambos poemas están incluidos en Tinta negra / Black Ink (Pandora Lobo Estepario Press, 2016)


Saturday, August 29, 2020

The Vietnam Moratorium by Antoniosolisgomez


I and the other vatos from Con Safos Magazine had attended dozens of community events during the last few years in order to sell magazines and our preparations for the Vietnam Moratorium followed a similar script. We gathered a few boxes of magazines with both current and back issues, a folding table and a couple of chairs and most importantly a few gallons of San Antonio wine for friends and customers that would come by.


It was to be a warm day in the low 90’s and we dressed causually. I was taking my 6 year old son, my daughter who had just turned 5 and also two of my 15 year old nieces, for the event promised to be a fun filled picnic kinda of celebration. We in the magazine were deeply committed to the underlying reasons for the protest, the high number of Chicanos dying in Vietnam was the main reason for many and for some it was that there was no reason for us to be in Vietnam killing poor peasant people. But it was never a gathering to condemn our soldiers, how could it be, many of us had friends and relatives fighting there. I had a younger brother flying around in a helicopter, helping take soldiers to battle zones or to extract them.


We set up our table in the northeast corner of the park, a hundred yards from the temporary stage that was placed at the northwest corner where the organizers like Raul Ruiz were to speak as well as the politicos wanting to cash in on the exposure.


Rafas had his guitar and was strumming and signing his original “Hey Carnalito” song. Sergio Hernandez, Magu and Frank Sifuentes and Arturo Flores were busy talking with people stopping at the table, the wine flowing freely into the plastic cups that we provided, the laughter a cacophony indiscernible against the backdrop of the many thousands that were finding their spot, throwing blankets on the grass to claim it, bringing out their food, their kids running around like mine.


My nieces had gone to look around almost as soon as we had arrived and I was keeping an eye on my kids while trying to engage people walking by for we were not shy about hawking the magazine that had been receiving accolades for the creativity and the unabashed support for La Causa with vitriolic articles as well as great short stories such as Mario Suarez’ El Hoyo, Joe Navarro’s Blue Day on Main Street or the poem Mind Jail by Raul Salinas a pinto in Leavenworth. We had also published Oscar Acosta’s first chapter of his book the Brown Buffalo, so we were tight with everyone.




Not more than a half hour after our arrival my attention was drawn to some commotion originating from the area where the stage was located. Loud voices and screaming quickly intensified and the first movement associated with the disturbance sent a chill of fear in me, people running away  from the area and a trail of smoke following them. The yelling became clear now, the sheriffs were invading the park.


Our table was still a good distance away from the area where people were running away from the sheriffs who were swinging their long nightsticks at anyone within striking distance. My first thought was to get my kids to safety but I couldn’t find the keys to my VW and Sergio ended up with the task of driving my and Arturo’s kids to safety. The rest of us began gathering our stuff.






As we drove away with the intent of rendezvousing at Arturo’s house in El Sereno I realized that my nieces were no longer with me and a sense of dread and guilt overtook my anger.


At Arturo’s with cups of wine in hand the television became our focus as we watched the development of events, the dozens of heavily armed sheriffs patrolling the streets, Chicanos throwing anything available at them like present day scenes from Palestine, the burning of storefronts and the killing of Reuben Salazar at the Silver Dollar. It was griping stuff and with every hour our resolve to fight back became our main concern as we watched into the wee hours.






We the East LA generation of the 60’s baptized with the blood of John Kennedy in 1963, the blood of his brother Robert and the blood of Martin Luther King in 1968, were now baptized with the blood of Reuben. We had no illusions left about a country that could assinate its leaders or war against an oppressed people here or in a far away country.