Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Full moon: Pregnant Moon


--------Luna preñada

Mira, las estrellas
han fecundizado a la luna;
está hinchada de luz.
Pronto dará parto
a sueños resplandecientes.
Te encontrarás en ellos
luciendo solamente
tenues reflejos del sol.

-----© Rafael Jesús González 2010

--------Pregnant Moon

Look, the stars
have made fecund the moon;
she is swollen with light.
Soon she will birth
resplendent dreams.
You will find yourself in them
wearing only
tenuous reflections of the sun.

-----© Rafael Jesús González 2010

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Golden Gate Bridge


--------------Golden Gate

Hay otros puentes —
------grises y duros
que abarcan las heridas de los cerros
-----------sangrando ríos color de hiel —
pero no como esta telaraña anaranjada
que pierde sus hilos en las nubes de acero
y gime levemente
como si tuviera una estrella entre dientes.
----------------— Hay otros puentes
----------------------— otras bahías
donde bebe el sol
y la sal se engendra —
pero en este los rezos como moscas cautivas
--------esperan que baje de su nido de plomo
la araña del tiempo
con malicia en el vientre
--------------------que vigila siempre
--------------------la avenida del puente.

------------------© Rafael Jesús González 2010

(Mark in Time, Nick Harvey, Ed.,
San Francisco (Glide Publications) 1971;
derechos reservados del autor.)

En este día en 1937, el puente Puerta Dorada (Golden Gate) en San Francisco, California fue inaugurado. La construcción comenzó el 5 de enero de 1933; fue terminado cuatro años y medio después en abril 1937. El puente mide 8,981 pies (1.7 millas) a lo largo, 90 pies de ancho con seis pistas de tráfico y 746 pies de altura — casi 200 pies más alto que el monumento a Washington. Se suspende 220 pies sobre el agua de la Bahía de San Francisco y une la Ciudad de San Francisco al condado de Marín. El color del puente oficialmente se le llama “anaranjado internacional,” un matiz un poco más oscuro que el “anaranjado de seguridad.” El guía de viajes Frommer llama al Puente de la Puerta Dorada “posiblemente el más hermoso, seguramente el puente que en todo el mundo más fotografías se le ha tomado.”

----------------Golden Gate

There are other bridges —
------------gray & hard
that broach the wounds of mountains
bleeding rivers the color of bile —
but not like this orange cobweb
that loses its thread in the steel clouds
& moans lightly
as if it held a star between teeth.
— There are other bridges
---------------------------- other bays
where the sun drinks
& salt is engendered —
but in this one, prayers like captured flies
-----await the descent from her nest of steel
the spider of time
with malice in its womb
---------------that always guards
---------------the avenue of the bridge.

----------------© Rafael Jesús González 2010

On this day in 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California was inaugurated. Construction began January 5, 1933; it was finished four and a half years later, in April 1937. The bridge is 8,981 feet (1.7 miles) long, 90 feet wide for six lanes of traffic, and 746 feet high — almost 200 feet taller than the Washington Monument. It's suspended 220 feet above the water of San Francisco Bay, and it links the city of San Francisco to the County of Marin. The color of the bridge is officially called "International Orange," a slightly deeper shade of "Safety Orange." Frommer's travel guide called the Golden Gate Bridge "possibly the most beautiful, certainly the most photographed, bridge in the world."


Friday, April 23, 2010

Hold the Light Poetry Reading April 30, 2010

SF Poetry Examiner
Poets hold the light for Haiti, Chile & China in April 30 fundraiser

April 22, 11:23 AMSF Poetry Examiner Jannie Dresser

Poets know how to hit it out of the ballpark when it comes to humanitarian fundraisers. On Friday, April 30, 6-9 pm, Oakland poet and activist Wanda Sabir will be joined by poets and writers from all over the Bay Area to assist the earthquake-ravaged communities of Haiti, Chili, and China.

The event, sponsored by the Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California, PEN-Oakland, PEN-USA, the Before Columbus Foundation and the San Francisco Bayview newspaper, will take place at the Islamic Cultural Center in Oakland, 1433 Madison Street. My advice would be to come early to get a good seat.

Sabir (pictured left) will introduce Haitian poet Boadiba who will give the keynote address. (Boadiba and San Francisco poet Jack Hirschman recently co-translated a book of Haitian poetry, Voudou Songs from Savalou E, or a Word to the Wise (Is Enough), that was published by Berkeley's CC. Marimbo press.)

Over two-dozen Bay Area writers will participate and present one poem each in this evening's poetry extravaganza. A donation of $5 to $10 will be asked at the door, however, no one will be turned away for lack of funds, and for those who can afford to give more, they will earn Angel Points for their generous contributions and know that the money will be wisely spent by Doctors Without Borders, the fundraiser's beneficiary.

For more information, contact: Kim McMillon at or call (510) 681-5652, or go to

The list of participating poets and writers reads like a veritable who's who of Bay Area literarary illuminati and includes the following:

San Francisco Poet Laureate Diane di Prima

Al Young, California Poet Laureate Emeritus

Former San Francisco Poet Laureate devorah major

Alameda Poet Laureate Mary Rudge

Pleasanton Poet Laureate Deborah Grossman

PEN President Floyd Salas

Ishmael Reed (founder of the Before Columbus Foundation)

Michael McClure

Claire Ortalda

Tennessee Reed

Shailja Patel

Jack & Adelle Foley

Lucha Corpi

Maya Chinchilla

Oscar Bermeo

Meg Day

Amir Rabiyah

Sharon Doubiago

Kiala Givehand

Karla Brundage

Vanessa Huang

John Curl

Kari McAllister

La Tigresa

Joan Gelfand

Ayodele Nzinga

Nina Serrano


Rafael Jesús González

Andrew Hayes

Kirk Lumpkin

Kim Shuck

Ava Square LeVias

Augusta Lee Collins

Daniel Y. Harris


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day (40th Anniversary)

Si no hablamos

Si no hablamos para alabar a la Tierra,
es mejor que guardemos silencio.

Loa al aire
que llena el fuelle del pulmón
y alimenta la sangre
del corazón;
que lleva la luz,
el olor de las flores
y los mares,
los cantos de las aves
y el aullido del viento;
que conspira con la distancia
para hacer azul el monte.
Loa al fuego
que alumbra el día
y calienta la noche,
cuece nuestro alimento
y da ímpetu a nuestra voluntad;
que es el corazón de la Tierra,
este fragmento de lucero;
que quema y purifica
por bien o por mal.

Loa al agua
que hace a los ríos
y a los mares;
que da sustancia a la nube
y a nosotros;
que hace verde a los bosques
y los campos;
que hincha al fruto
y envientra nuestro nacer.

Loa a la tierra
que es el suelo, la montaña,
y las piedras;
que lleva los bosques
y es la arena del desierto;
que nos forma los huesos
y sala los mares, la sangre;
que es nuestro hogar y sitio.

Si no hablamos en alabanza a la Tierra,
-----si no cantamos en festejo a la vida,
----------es mejor que guardemos silencio.

© Rafael Jesús González 2010

Escrito especialmente para el Congreso Mundial de Poetas,
Tai’an, Provincia de Shandong, China, otoño 2005

(Siete escritores comprometidos: obra y perfil; Fausto Avendaño, director;
Explicación de Textos Literarios vol. 34 anejo 1; diciembre 2007;
Dept. of Foreign Languages; California State University Sacramento;
derechos reservados del autor.)

If We Do Not Speak

If we do not speak to praise the Earth,
it is best we keep silent.

Praise air
that fills the bellow of the lung
& feeds our heart’s blood;
that carries light,
the smell of flowers
& the seas,
the songs of birds
& the wind’s howl;
that conspires with distance
to make the mountains blue.

Praise fire
that lights the day
& warms the night,
cooks our food
& gives motion to our wills;
that is the heart of Earth,
this fragment of a star;
that burns & purifies
for good or ill.

Praise water
that makes the rivers
& the seas;
that gives substance
to the clouds and us;
that makes green the forests
& the fields;
that swells the fruit
& wombs our birth.

Praise earth
that is the ground,
the mountain, & the stones;
that holds the forests
& is the desert sand;
that builds our bones
& salts the seas, the blood;
that is our home & place.

If we do not speak in praise of the Earth,
-----if we do not sing in celebration of life,
----------it is best we keep silence.

© Rafael Jesús González 2010

Written especially for the World Congress of Poets,
Tai’an, Shandong Province, China, Autumn 2005

(147 Practical Tips for Teaching Sustainability:
Connecting the Environment, the Economy, and Society
Timpson, William M. et al, Eds.,
Atwood Publishing Co., Madison, Wisconsin 2006;
author’s copyrights)


Wednesday, April 21, 2010




El toro de la tierra fija
lleva como un diamante
entre los cuernos
la estrella matutina.
---Su corazón de esmeralda
---oculta un valor firme
y al cuello lleva yugo de cobre
que lo une
-------------a la tierra
-------------a la estrella
-------------a lo infinito.

------------© Rafael Jesús González 2010


The bull of the fixed earth
carries the morning star
like a diamond
between his horns.
----------his emerald heart
----------hides a firm worth
& at the neck he wears a copper yoke
that joins him
------------------to the earth
------------------to the star
------------------to the infinite.

------------© Rafael Jesús González 2010

Sunday, April 18, 2010

San Francisco earthquake

-------------De fuego y canto

Mientras Roma ardía, dicen,
Nerón tocaba el laúd y cantaba
(por ninguno cual tenía talento Nerón.)
Dichoso San Francisco — cuando cayó
derribado por terremoto y ardiendo
fue Caruso quien cantó.

-----------------© Rafael Jesús González 2010

--------------Of Fire & Song

While Rome burned, they say,
Nero played the lute & sang
(for which neither had Nero talent.)
Happy San Francisco — when it fell
brought down by earthquake & burning
it was Caruso who sang.

-----------------© Rafael Jesús González 2010

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Cinco de mayo

Latinos Unidos/Adelante

College of Alameda

invite you to celebrate

555 Ralph Appezzato Memorial Parkway
(at Webster Street)

Alameda, California 94501

(510) 522-7221

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

11:30 AM — 1:30 PM

the Quad & Cougar Village 124C

with guest speaker

poet, scholar, activist

Rafael Jesús González

music, dancers, piñatas
refreshments, lunch

Latinos Unidos/Adelante

Colegio de Alameda

le invita a celebrar

Colegio de Alameda

555 Ralph Appezzato Memorial Parkway
(con Webster Street)

Alameda, California 94501

(510) 522-7221

el miércoles, 5 de mayo, 2010

11:30 AM — 1:30 PM

en el patio y Cougar Village 124C

con invitado de honor

poeta, maestro, activista

Rafael Jesús González

música, danzantes, piñatas
refrigerio, comida
- -

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Oakland Museum of California May 1st & 2nd



Saturday, May 01, 2010

11:00 am

continuously to

6:00 pm

Sunday, May 02,

Oakland Museum of California
1000 Oak St.
Oakland CA, 94607


Celebrate with OMCA!
The newly transformed
Oakland Museum of California (OMCA)
opens Saturday, May 1,
with 31 hours of continuous,
free programs and events.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fool


-------------El loco

Permíteme enseñarte la locura —
----ver la calavera en la rosa blanca,
----su mollera un espejo
----en que los laberintos del pensar
----se pierden.
El perro fiel ladra a tus talones
pero el precipicio llama:

Allí están los ángeles precisos,
no para impedir tu caída,
sino para presenciarla;

con eso basta.

-----© Rafael Jesús González 2010

-------------The Fool

Let me teach you madness —
----to see the skull in the white rose,
----its pate a mirror
----in which the labyrinths of thought
----are lost.
The loyal dog barks at your heels
but the precipice beckons:

The necessary angels are there,
not to break your fall,
but to witness it;

it is enough.

------© Rafael Jesús González 2010

(El hacedor de juegos/The Maker of Games;
Casa Editorial, San Francisco 1977;
Author's © copyrights)