Wednesday, July 28, 2010

(re SB1070 & all dat sh't)


----Sin pelos en la lengua

Un mundo ancho y ajeno
en una Tierra
cada vez menos ancha
debe ser nuestro.
¿Quiénes somos nosotros?
¿Quiénes somos los otros?
¿Quiénes fijan las fronteras
cuando ni el hambre ni la justicia
saben de tales cosas?
El pan que no se comparte
----envenena el alma;
el corazón que no se abre
----envenena la vida.
Abajo con las fronteras,
----abajo con las banderas,
abajo con el mando de los ricos
----y que no haya pobres.

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

----Bluntly Speaking

A world wide & of others
in an Earth
ever less wide
should be ours.
Who are we?
Who are the others?
Who sets the borders
when neither hunger nor justice
know of such things?
The bread not shared
----poisons the soul;
the heart that does not open
----poisons life.
Down with borders,
----down with flags,
down with the rule of the rich
----& let there be no poor.

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

Monday, July 26, 2010

Full moon: Moon for La Llorona


-------Luna para La Llorona

Dicen que en noches de la luna plena
se oye el lamento desolado
de una mujer que llora por sus hijos.

Ha de vagar por el mundo esa madre;
no hay lugar a que no llegue su llanto —
a orillas de los ríos y los mares,
en los montes y los llanos,
los bosques, los desiertos,
las ciénagas, los arenales,
las selvas, los puertos,
en las esquinas de las calles
retumban los ecos de su llanto.

Llora por sus hijos
-----la desconsolada madre,
sus hijos arrebatados por la guerra,
por la violencia, por el hambre.

Es sordo el que no la oye,
su corazón tambor mudo y desusado;
llega su llanto hasta a los valles
y los mares secos de la luna,
hasta a los oídos indiferentes
-----de los ángeles.

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

----------Moon for La Llorona

They say that on nights of the full moon
is heard the anguished crying
of a woman who weeps for her children.

That mother must wander through the world;
there is no place her crying does not reach —
to the edges of the rivers and the seas,
on the mountains and the plains,
the forests, the deserts,
the marshes, the sands,
the jungles, the ports,
on the street corners
resound the echoes of her cry.

She cries for her children,
-----the inconsolable mother,
her children carried away by war,
by violence, by hunger.

He is deaf who does not hear her,
his heart a drum dumb and disused;
her cry reaches to the valleys
and the dry seas of the moon,
even unto the indifferent ears
-----of the angels.

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

Sunday, July 25, 2010

New Poets of the American West


proudly announces publication of

New Poets
of the
American West

an anthology of poets

from eleven
Western states

Edited by
Lowell Jaeger

Kim Addonizio • Sandra Alcosser • Sherman Alexie • Jimmy Santiago Baca •Ellen Bass • Jim Barnes • Marvin Bell • James Bertolino • Sherwin Bitsui • Judy Blunt • Christopher Buckley • Henry Carlile • Maxine Chernoff • Marilyn Chin • Katharine Coles • Mary Crow • Matthew Dickman • Gary Gildner • Rafael Jesús González • Dana Gioia • Samuel Green • Mark Halperin • Sam Hamill • Joy Harjo • Jim Harrison • Jane Hirshfield • Garrett Hongo • Christopher Howell • Linda Hussa • Lawson Fasao Inada • Mark Irwin • Lowell Jaeger • Ilya Kaminsky • Melissa Kwasny • Lance Larson • Dorianne Laux • David Lee • Philip Levine • Adrian C. Louis • Clarence Major • Ron McFarland • Sandra McPherson • Jane Miller • Dixie Partridge • Simon Ortiz • Carol Muske-Dukes • Robert Pack • Greg Pape • Lucia Perillo • David Ray • Lois Red Elk • David Romtvedt • Alberto Rios • Pattiann Rogers • William Pitt Root • Wendy Rose • Vern Rutsala • Kay Ryan • Reg Saner • Leslie Marmon Silko • Maurya Simon • Floyd Skloot • Gary Soto • Kim Stafford • David St. John • Primus St. John • Luci Tapahonzo • Rawdon Tomlinson • Bill Tremblay • David Wagoner • Robert Wrigley • Al Young • and many more!

New Poets of the American West is a panoramic (and revealing) view of the West through the eyes of more than 250 poets and 450 poems, including poems in English, Spanish, Navajo, Salish, Assiniboin, and Dakota languages. Collected here are poems about horse racing, mining, trash collecting, nuclear testing, firefighting, border crossings, buffalo hunting, surfing, logging, and sifting flour. In these pages you will visit flea markets, military bases, internment camps, reservations, funerals, weddings, rodeos, nursing homes, national parks, backyard barbecues, prisons, forests, meadows, rivers, and mountain tops. In your “mind’s eye,” you will meet a simple-minded girl who gets run over by a bull, two mothers watching a bear menacingly nosing toward unsuspecting children, and children who “have yet to be toilet trained out of their souls.” You will learn to “reach into the sacred womb, / grasp a placid hoof / and coax life toward this certain moment.” You’ll teach poetry to third graders, converse with hitchhikers, lament for an incarcerated brother “trying to fill the holes in his soul / with Camel cigarettes / and crude tattoos.” You will sit at the kitchen table where perhaps the world will end “while we are laughing and crying, eating of the last sweet bite.” In the short time each of us has in this world, here’s your chance to experience life widely and to reflect on your experiences deeply. Lowell Jaeger, Editor In New Poets of the American West, we hear from Native Americans and first-generation immigrants, from ranchlanders and megaopolites, from poet-teachers and street-poets, and more. In fact, the West is so big, and home to such diversity that the deeper one reads in this anthology, the more voices and world views one encounters, the more textures of thought, emotion, and language one discovers, the less we may find ourselves able to speak of a single, stable something called the American West. Rather, we may find ourselves living in (or reading into) not one West, but many.

Brady Harrison, Professor
University of Montana

New Poets of the American West
is available for purchase
at or by contacting:
or call 406-756-3814 (9:00 - 5:00 M-F)

For more information, please contact Lowell Jaeger at
406-756-3907 or
ISBN: 978-0-9795185-4-6
7 x 10 - 550 pp

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hart Crane (July 21, 1899 - April 27, 1932)


----------From Another Tower

------------------------to Hart Crane

Call love the knell
if in the paralytic dream
of longing hell
a bird should wound you.

-----(I too have heard
-----the bells of Santa Prisca
fling blue prisms of delight
into my green volcanoes -
-----voices like the darknesses
-----inside nuns' skirts —
iron sounds that starch the mind
and bleach dark hurts.)

-----Fate was molded thus
-----to give no reason
--------------------------or return
hasten the words which find no answer,
-----wander —
-----------------hesitate —
------------------------------and turn.

Perhaps the sea can tell —
-----resound the gong in its purpuric caves,
----------perpetuate the knell
and toll the clappers of the waves
to drown this glorious hell.

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

(El Grito, Vol. 6 no. 3, Spring 1973;
Author's copyrights.)

-----------------Desde otra torre

----------------------------a Hart Crane

Llámale al amor el toque
si en el sueño paralizado
del ansioso infierno
un pájaro te hiriera.

-----(Yo también he oído
-----las campanas de Santa Prisca
esparcir prismas azules del deleite
en mis volcanes verdes -
-----voces como las oscuridades
-----dentro las enaguas de monjas —
sonidos de hierro que almidonan la mente
y decoloran daños oscuros.)

-----El destino se moldea así
-----para no dar razón
--------------------------o retorno
apresurar las palabras que no encuentran respuesta,
-----vagan —
----------------titubean —
------------------------------y vuelven.

Tal vez el mar pueda decir —
-----retumbar el gong en las cavas púrpuras,
----------perpetuar el toque
y doblar los badajos de las olas
para ahogar este glorioso infierno.

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




El león, ojos de carnalina,
colmillos, garras de sardónice,
lleva en el pecho corazón de rubí
que guarda el fuego fijo del valor.
-----Anhela devorar al sol
-----y mudarlo en oro
que surgiera por sus venas
como río caliente de luz.

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


The lion, carnelian eyes,
fangs, claws of sardonyx,
carries in his breast a ruby heart
that holds the steadfast fires of courage.
------It desires to devour the sun
------& turn it into gold
that would run in his veins
like a hot river of light.

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

Friday, July 16, 2010

On this day 65 years ago

It was on this day 65 years ago that the first atomic bomb exploded. This test explosion happened at 5:30 a.m. on this day in 1945 near Alamogordo, New Mexico, which is about 120 miles south of Albuquerque.

A scientist who witnessed the test reported: "We were lying there, very tense, in the early dawn, and there were just a few streaks of gold in the east; you could see your neighbor very dimly. ... Suddenly, there was an enormous flash of light, the brightest light I have ever seen. ... It blasted; it pounced; it bored its way right through you. It was a vision which was seen with more than the eye. It was seen to last forever. ... There was an enormous ball of fire which grew and grew and it rolled as it grew; it went up into the air, in yellow flashes and into scarlet and green. It looked menacing. It seemed to come toward one."

J. Robert Oppenheimer was the physicist who led the Manhattan Project, which created the atomic weapon. Years later, he said that what came to his mind as he witnessed the explosion were these words from the sacred Hindu text The Bhagavad Gita: "If the radiance of a thousand suns / Were to burst into the sky / That would be like The splendor of the Mighty One ... / I am become Death, the shatterer of worlds." But there at the desert on that day he murmured only the words: "It worked."

© 2010 American Public Media

---------Lazarus to Einstein

‘What I have given you,‘
-----------he said,
------‘is the ghost of a flower,
for I have come back from the dead.
I have picked myrrh
---from mountains of black granite
& frankincense
---from green deserts of quartz sand
& dug gold
---from the pits of serpents.
I have come back from the dead
-----& know that they lie
for the moon is not green cheese
-----but cold white stone, &
the stars are not the eyes of angels
-----but suns.
& my going was painful
-----but my coming was hell
---------& I hated my going
---------but my coming back
-----I clasped to myself
---------calling it life
though life was dead in me.
-----& this ghost of a flower
is the black seed of a star
------------&, I think,
-----it may grow you a sun.’

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

(Tejidos, Vol. I no. 4, p. 3; author’s copyrights.)

----------Lázaro a Einstein

‘Lo que te he dado,‘ —
------------dijo —
----‘es el espanto de una flor,
pues he regresado de los muertos.
He pizcado mirra
---en montañas de granito negro
e incienso
---en desiertos verdes de arena de cuarzo
y he escarbado oro
---en las madrigueras de serpientes.
He regresado de los muertos
------y sé que mienten
pues la luna no es de queso verde
-----sino de piedra blanca y fría
y las estrellas no son los ojos de ángeles
----------sino soles.
Y mi ida fue dolorosa
-----pero mi volver fue un infierno
----------y odié mi ir
----------pero mi volver
-----me lo acogí
----------llamándole vida
aunque la vida en mí estaba muerta.
-----Y este espanto de una flor
el la semilla negra de un lucero
--------------y, creo,
------que te crecerá un sol.’

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


Monday, July 12, 2010

Pablo Neruda (July 12, 1904/September 23, 1973)


---------Luna para Neruda

Por la ventana la luna anida
en las ramas más altas de un pino
----como una gran garza
de plumaje tan blanco que duele.
Inmóvil por un momento, se antoja
una figura luminosa en forma de sirena
en la proa del galeón de la noche
que corta por la espuma de las estrellas
para echar ancla en una isla negra
donde el poeta se ahoga en sus libros
que le trae uno de sus esclavos
ya no sabe si Calibán o Ariel,
si para liberarlo del insomnio
o más hundirlo en los sueños.

La luna se desenmaraña
de las ramas del pino
y sigue su curso.

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

----------A Moon for Neruda

Through the window the moon nests
in the highest branches of a pine
like a great egret
of plumage so white that it hurts.
Immobile a moment, it seems
a luminous figure in the shape of a mermaid
on the prow of the galleon of night
that cuts through the spindrift of the stars
to cast anchor on a black isle
where the poet drowns in his books
brought to him by one of his slaves,
he no longer knows if Caliban or Ariel,
if to free him from insomnia
or sink him more deeply in dreams.

The moon disentangles itself
from the branches of the pine
& continues its course.

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

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fida Kahlo (July 6, 1907 – July 13, 1954)


Conocí a Frida por primera vez en el verano de 1950, tenía yo quince años de edad y en un viaje a México mi padre nos llevó a la familia al museo
nacional de arte moderno. Allí conocí a Frida en doble, un lienzo grande (el más grande que creo jamás haya pintado) en que dos Fridas, una vestida de blanco en el estilo de fines del siglo XIX y la otra en traje tehuano, sentadas ante un cielo atormentado, se cogían de la mano, los corazones expuestos y sangrando, las miradas clavadas en la mía. Quedé absorto y fascinado. Mi madre tuvo que desprenderme jalándome de la mano.

Creo que entonces me enamoré de Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo Calderón. La buscaba por dondequiera; entonces sus cuadros no eran tan fáciles de encontrar como los de su esposo Diego. Cuando los encontraba, allí estaba ella, siempre mirándome con mirada fija y estoica aunque en muchos de ellos el dolor que ostentaba como una flor maligna o un joya venenosa era palpable — collares de espinas; corsés como instrumentos de tortura medievales; la espina vertebral expuesta, una columna quebrada; una que otra lágrima como adorno de perla, gotas de sangre como alhajas de rubí. Cada uno de estos pequeños cuadros era como una reliquia preciosa del sufrir o una golosina de dolor, retablos como mandas por algún milagro perverso, exvotos a un dios cruel. Lo que me asombraba eran los colores, la sensualidad, la belleza con que celebraban su dolor. Entre los cincuenta y tanto autorretratos que pintó, aun en los que no aparecen imágenes del dolor, jamás, de que yo sepa, se pintó sonriente.

Poco a poco me enteré de su historia — su rebeldía precoz, el polio que de niña le atacó, el accidente de tranvía atroz que de joven la dejó en pedazos, su amor obsesivo por Diego (aunque no tan obsesivo que le impidiera otros amores con hombre o mujer), su valor que prestaba fuerza a su empeño por la alegría (que a veces ha de haber fingido), su culto a la vanidad, su afán por prendas regionales, joyas arqueológicas tan pesadas que le han de haber costado llevar, su alarde de mestiza.

Ahora la encuentro por dondequiera, aun en las películas, y en los bailes de disfraz parece que se multiplica cada vez más; la encuentro en las salas, los comedores, las cocinas, las recámaras, los baños. A veces me causa celos, mi Frida promiscua, ubicua.

© Rafael Jesús González 2010

I first knew Frida the summer of 1950; I was fifteen years old and on a trip to México my father took the family to the National Museum of Modern Art. There I met Frida in double, a large canvas (the largest one I believe she ever painted) in which two Fridas, one dressed in white in the style of the end of the 19th century and the other in the dress of Tehuantepec, seated before a tormented sky, held each others hand, their hearts exposed and bleeding, their gazes locked onto mine. I stood there absorbed and fascinated. My mother had to pull me away dragging me by the hand.

I believe it was then that I fell in love with Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo Calderón. I sought her everywhere; then, her paintings were not as easy to find as her husband Diego’s. Whenever I found them, there she was, always looking at me with fixed and stoic gaze even though in many of them the pain she displayed like a malignant flower or poisonous jewel, was palpable — necklaces of thorns; corsets like medieval instruments of torture; the exposed vertebral spine, a broken column; a few tears like pearl ornaments, drops of blood like ornaments of ruby. Each of these small paintings was like a precious reliquary of suffering, a delicacy of pain, offerings for some perverse miracle, ex votos to a cruel god. What amazed me were the colors, the sensuality, the beauty with which they celebrated her pain. Among the fifty some odd self-portraits, even in the ones in which there appear no images of pain, never, that I know of, did she paint herself smiling.

Little by little, I came to know her history — her precocious rebellion, the polio that attacked her as a child, the terrible trolley accident that left her in pieces young, her obsessive love of Diego (though not so obsessive that it prevented other loves with man or woman), her courage that lent strength to her determination for joy (which at times she must have feigned), her cult of vanity, her zeal for regional costumes, archaeological jewels so heavy that they must have hurt her to wear them, her boasts of being mestiza.

Now I find her everywhere, even in films, and at costume balls she seems to multiply herself more and more; I find her in the salons, the dining rooms, the kitchens, the bedrooms, the bathrooms. She sometimes makes me jealous, my promiscuous, ubiquitous Frida.

© Rafael Jesús González 2010

Sunday, July 4, 2010

4th of July

For my brothers and sisters who on this day may want to wave flags, these thoughts to ponder:

It is not for him to pride himself who loveth his own country, but rather for him who loveth the whole world. The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens.



Our country is not the only thing to which we owe our allegiance. It is also owed to justice and to humanity. Patriotism consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that our country shall be righteous as well as strong.

James Bryce (British politician, diplomat, and historian, 1838-1922)


To him in whom love dwells, the whole world is but one family.



The best way to enhance freedom in other lands is to demonstrate here that our democratic system is worthy of emulation.

Jimmy Carter (39th U.S. President (1977-81). Nobel Prize for Peace in 2002. b.1924)


The love of one's country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border?

Pablo Casals (Spanish Cellist and Conductor, 1876-1973)


It is not easy to see how the more extreme forms of nationalism can long survive when men have seen the Earth in its true perspective as a single small globe against the stars.

Arthur C. Clarke


True patriotism hates injustice in its own land more than anywhere else.

Clarence Darrow


You can protect your liberties in this world only by protecting the other man's freedom. You can be free only if I am free.

Clarence Darrow (U.S. Lawyer, Speaker and Writer, 1857-1938)


I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth, and I am a citizen of the world.

Eugene V. Debs


We do not consider patriotism desirable if it contradicts civilized behavior.

Friedrich Durrenmatt


Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism - how passionately I hate them!

Albert Einstein


He is a poor patriot whose patriotism does not enable him to understand how all men everywhere feel about their altars and their hearthstones, their flag and their fatherland.

Harry Emerson Fosdick


Our country is the world, our countrymen are all mankind. We love the land of our nativity, only as we love all other lands. The interests, rights, and liberties of American citizens are no more dear to us than are those of the whole human race. Hence we can allow no appeal to patriotism, to revenge any national insult or injury.

William Lloyd Garrison (Declaration of Sentiments, Boston Peace Conference, 1838)


I love America. I love the world. Brotherhood and sisterhood have no borders. My heart orbits the Earth, love cannot be measured in longitude or latitude.

Terri Guillemets


Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.

Abraham Lincoln


We are free, truly free, when we don't need to rent our arms to anybody in order to be able to lift a piece of bread to our mouths.

Ricardo Flores Magón, speech, 31 May 1914


Borders are scratched across the hearts of men
By strangers with a calm, judicial pen,
And when the borders bleed we watch with dread
The lines of ink across the map turn red.

Marya Mannes, Subverse: Rhymes for Our Times, 1959


Patriotism is a kind of religion; it is the egg from which wars are hatched.

Guy de Maupassant (French writer of short stories and novels, 1850-1893)


We need a type of patriotism that recognizes the virtues of those who are opposed to us . . . The old "manifest destiny" idea ought to be modified so that each nation has the manifest destiny to do the best it can — and that without cant, without the assumption of self-righteousness and with a desire to learn to the uttermost from other nations.

Francis John McConnell


If I knew something that would serve my country but would harm mankind, I would never reveal it; for I am a citizen of humanity first and by necessity, and a citizen of France second, and only by accident.



Can anything be stupider than that a man has the right to kill me because he lives on the other side of a river and his ruler has a quarrel with mine, though I have not quarreled with him?

Blaise Pascal


If you can't get them to salute when they should salute and wear the clothes you tell them to wear, how are you going to get them to die for their country?

General George S. Patton (U.S. general in World War I and II, 1885-1945)


If patriotism is "the last refuge of a scoundrel," it is not merely because evil deeds may be performed in the name of patriotism, but because patriotic fervor can obliterate moral distinctions altogether.

Ralph B. Perry


I couldn't help but say to [Mr. Gorbachev], just think how easy his task and mine might be in these meetings that we held if suddenly there was a threat to this world from another planet. [We'd] find out once and for all that we really are all human beings here on this earth together.

Ronald Reagan, 1985 [Stupid indeed, and blind, if we cannot see our common humanity without a threat from another planet; what greater threat to humanity, and the Earth, than ourselves? R.J.G.]


Patriots always talk of dying for their country, and never of killing for their country.

Bertrand Russell (English logician and philosopher 1872-1970)


Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons.

Bertrand Russell


To me, it seems a dreadful indignity to have a soul controlled by geography.

George Santayana


Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all others because you were born in it.

George Bernard Shaw


Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.

George Bernard Shaw


I am not an Athenian or a Greek, I am a citizen of the world.

Socrates (469 BC - 399 BC)
also credited to Diogenes of Sinope (412 BC - 323 BC)


I have no sense of nationalism, only a cosmic consciousness of belonging to the human family.

Rosika Schwimmer


The greater the state, the more wrong and cruel its patriotism, and the greater is the sum of suffering upon which its power is founded.

Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy (Russian thinker, novelist and philosopher, 1828-1910)


The time is fast approaching when to call a man a patriot will be the deepest insult you can offer him. Patriotism now means advocating plunder in the interest of the privileged classes of the particular State system into which we have happened to be born.

Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy


The most tragic paradox of our time is to be found in the failure of nation-states to recognize the imperatives of internationalism.

Earl Warren


As Mankind becomes more liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protections of civil government. I hope ever to see America [U.S.] among the foremost nations of justice and liberality.

George Washington (1st US President (1789-97), 1732-1799)


You're not supposed to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who says it.

Malcolm X (U.S. black militant leader the early 1960s, 1925-1965)