Friday, September 30, 2011

Escritores del Nuevo Sol reading, Sacramento, California, September 28


Sacramento Press

Rafael Jesús González - activism and poetry amid costumes at La Raza Galería Posada
by Trina Drotar, published on September 29, 2011 at 11:24 PM

Wednesday evening was filled with poetry, music and activism when Rafael Jesús González (poet, professor, artist and bilingual studies innovator) read to a full house at La Raza Galería Posada. He was accompanied by flautist and Rooted in Community co-director Gerardo O. Marín and artist and activist Colin Miller.

The event was hosted by Los Escritores del Nuevo Sol / Writers of the New Sun and opened with local writer JoAnn Anglin. She spoke of the group’s founding in 1993, its monthly writing group, monthly readings and of the group’s anthology, “Voices of the New Sun: Songs and Stories / Voces del Nuevo Sol: Cantos y Cuentos.”

González was introduced by Dr. Fausto Avendaño, a retired Sacramento State foreign language professor, who explained that the evening’s reading would be bilingual. Poems, stories and introductions would be read in Spanish, and English versions, not translations, would follow.

The two men met many years ago, and Avendaño said González’s poetry resembled Federico García Lorca’s, and that “the images struck (him) because it is hard to equal García Lorca.” The idea González put forth that “poetry is just a game with words, images and metaphors” also reminded Avendaño of García Lorca.

González read in front of a backdrop of swirling color, thanks to the current exhibit, “Ballet Folklorico-Lace and Ribbons: The Making of Cultural Affirmation-Costumes from the Instituto Mazatlan Bellas Artes.” He opened by burning a small leaf, a custom he performs before each reading, one that comes from his ancestors.

“We burn a little bit of fragrant smoke to invoke the gods so that what we say does not offend them or the audience,” he said, and suggested that politicians try this custom.

Judging from the full house that remained through nearly three hours, in a room that was often too warm, the sage-burning worked.

He began with a poem honoring Rosh Hashanah, the first day of the Jewish New Year. As with most poems, González provided some background. His third poem was one of his first published poems, and he says the topic is “as pertinent today as it was then.” The poem’s last line is “Señor, how much is this?”

To which he responded, “Too much. Far, far too much. Many of us were asked to give up our culture and our language to assimilate. We lost our names and took on English names to protect us from prejudices.”

Being an activist and a poet, many of the evening’s poems were politically charged. He read several poems about heroes like César Chávez, whose “voice will bear fruit and there will be rejoicing in the furrows, in the ditches.” He reminded the audience that “the battles of the fieldworker are not done,” and he urged people to remember the blood of those who died “when you say grace above your meal.”

Several nerves were touched when he read “To My Students,” with its memorable line of “You who can read, do not take it for granted.” Following the poem, he said that 1968 California “had the best education system in the country,” but that Proposition 13 (1977/78) “undermined the whole infrastructure of the state of California, and (he) quickly saw the literacy rate plummet.”

At the time, he was teaching at Laney Community College in Oakland, where the oldest student was 79 and the youngest was 18, and where “real education was taking place.” Today, he says that it is “to our shame that the wealthiest state cannot afford to teach its children” and called "No Child Left Behind" the most anti-education act.

Poems about the Golden Gate Bridge, houses, and jade hearts preceded more hero poems. One was about Víctor Jara, one of the imprisoned intellectuals in post-Allende Chile. “The Hands” relates the near-myth story of Jara’s hands being severed by guards, and the refrain of “each drop, a note against silence” served as a reminder for each of us not to remain silent.

Perhaps the most touching of González’s poems was “Blankets,” written for “my mother (who) still covers me with rainbows.” This piece, as with a few others, was accompanied by Marín, who played two different native Mexican flutes.

The music served to make González’s voice stronger, and it seemed to work better with the Spanish readings. But Marín, who always watched his maestro, never overpowered the words.

Following a poem written as part of his dissertation about the influence of the gypsy idiom on García Lorca’s work, he spoke about living and writing.

“Everything we do is a game,” he said. “Living is a celestial game that is sometimes peaceful, sometimes difficult. Sometimes words are very volatile. To name a thing can take away its power, (and that) gives us power over nature.” He called naming a “sacred act.”

About writing, González said, “Everybody can write.” He urged the audience to “write for fun. Write for the music of the words. Write to overcome your pain. Write to celebrate your joys.”

He closed with “If We Do Not Speak,” influenced by his invitation to the 20th World Congress of Poets in 2005. While driving home from Santa Fe, N.M., he considered what he wanted to tell his fellow colleagues who spoke in many languages. The opening line is “If we do not speak to praise the Earth / It is best we keep silent.”

He closed with a reminder that “we have never been expelled from paradise. We live in paradise,” and that we “need to care for and love the earth more.”


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, September 29, 1547 – April 23, 1616

by Juan Martínez de Jáurequi y Aguilar (c. 1600)

----------El caballero de la cara triste

------------------¡Y Dios no te dé paz y sí gloria!

-------------------------------------------- Miguel de Unamuno

Tratándose del canto
-----en un llano de arbustos silvestres
infestado de las ramillas girantes
----------de molinos rompe cielos,
una figura consintiendo la edad
-----y una mente cavernosa
alanzó al sol embarrando su lanza de luz.

-----(y una estrella mugrosa
----------encendió un cigarrillo lucero
-----para guiar a un guerrero
----------a su lavadura.)

-----Si sucediera una estrella,
-----naciera un canto
-----en algún año decisivo
prometiendo pan y pescados
de que uno no fuera seguro se multiplicaran
¿pagaría la gloria incierta de una aguda herida
el precio de derramar la paz
en una red de empeño enmarañada?

l alto atrever camina en patas flacas
y demasiadas veces la causa de muerte
--------son las estrellas.

----------© Rafael Jesús González 2011

Don Quixote de la Mancha & Sancho Panza
by Honoré Daumier

----------The Knight of the Sad Face

-----------------¡Y Dios no te dé paz y sí gloria!

-------------------------------------------Miguel de Unamuno

Treating of songs
----------in a wild wood plain
infested with twirling sprigs
---------of sky-tearing mills,
a figure indulging age & a cavern mind
speared the sun smearing his lance with light.

-----(& a soiled star lit a cigarette star
-----to guide a warrior to his washing)

-----If a star were to happen,
-----a song born
-----to some decisive year
promising bread & fishes
one was not sure would multiply,
would the uncertain glory of an acute wound
pay the price of spilling peace
-----into a fouled net of undertaking?

High daring walks on spindly legs
& stars too often are the cause of death.

---------------© Rafael Jesús González 2011

(Mark in Time; Nick Harvey, Ed., Glide Publications,
San Francisco 1971; author’s copyrights.)


Wednesday, September 28, 2011




These are the days of awe —
time of inventory
-----and a new beginning
when harvest of what we sowed
-----comes in.
(What have we sown
------of discord & terror?
Where have we fallen short
------of justice?)

The scales dip & teeter;
there is so much
to discard,
so much to atone.

When our temples stood
we loaded a goat
-----with our transgressions
----------and sent it to the wild.
Now we must search our pockets
for crumbs of our trespasses,
our sins to cast upon the rivers.

The days are upon us
-----to take stock of our hearts.
----------It is time to dust
the images of our household gods,
-----our teraphim,
----------------------our lares.

------------© Rafael Jesús González 2011

(Arabesques Review, vol. 3 no . 3, 2007; author’s copyrights)


Estos son los días de temor —
tiempo del inventario
-----y un nuevo comienzo
cuando la cosecha de lo que sembramos
(¿Qué hemos sembrado
------de discordia y terror?
¿Dónde hemos fallado
-------en la justicia?)

Las balanzas se inclinan y columpian;
hay tanto de que deshacerse,
tanto por lo cual expiar.

Cuando estaban en pie nuestros templos
cargábamos una cabra
-----con nuestros pecados
----------y la echábamos al desierto.
Ahora tenemos que buscar en los bolsillos
las migas de nuestras faltas,
nuestros pecados para echarlos a los ríos.

Están sobre nosotros los días
-----para hacer inventario del corazón.
----------Es tiempo de sacudir
las imagines de nuestros dioses domésticos,
------nuestros térafim,
---------------------------nuestros lares.

-----------------------© Rafael Jesús González 2011


Sunday, September 25, 2011

on this day in 1957


--------Spilling the Beans

------------------for Minnijean

If truth be told
it's all about
spilling the beans —
whether it's from a tray let go
in the school lunch room
or telling it like it is
from the podium.
It's speaking truth —
----------------whether to power
or to the powerless;
it's blowing the whistle
when the whistle needs blowing.
More often than not
--------------it's about courage —
a heart grown too big
with outrage
----------------or compassion,
more often than not
a heart grown big
with compassion outraged
until it explodes
------------------- spilling the beans.

-----------© Rafael Jesús González 2011

On this day in 1957, 1,000 troops secured Little Rock Central High, allowing nine black students to enter and attend school. It was a historic day in the Civil Rights movement not because it was the first school to desegregate, but because it was the first time federal intervention was used to do so.

When the Supreme Court struck down the "separate but equal" doctrine in 1954, banning segregated public schools, it left up to individual states and communities the issue of how and when integration would proceed. Little Rock had approved a gradual approach; the high school would integrate first, then the middle schools, then elementary. But when the time came for black students to enroll in Central High, Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus reneged on the deal, surrounding the school with National Guard troops on the first day of the year to protect people, he claimed, from the caravans of protestors on their way to Little Rock. In fact, the Guard denied entrance to the nine black students who attempted to enroll as a crowd of about 300 people gathered. Within days, the spectacle was over, but the Guard remained, napping on the school's lawn and reading newspapers to pass the time. The approach that Southern moderates like William Faulkner had preached was quickly turning from "go slow" into "don't go."

More than two weeks passed before a federal injunction withdrew the National Guard from the school. When Little Rock police officers escorted the nine black students into school on the morning of September 23, crowds of protestors outside became so menacing that administrators had the students slip out a side entrance before noon.

And so two days later, President Eisenhower ordered the Screaming Eagles 101st Airborne Division stationed in Kentucky to escort the nine black students back in — and ensure they were able to stay. By then, the national media attention on Little Rock had become intense, drawing massive crowds — although, as the school newspaper reminded students, the protestors represented less than 1 percent of the town's population.

Of the "Little Rock Nine," as the black students became known, only three graduated from Central High. Five finished their education elsewhere; one was expelled for responding to the constant harassments of her classmates, once by overturning a bowl of chili on a tormentor. (The bullies went largely unpunished.) All nine credited their parents for encouraging them to enroll — and attend class — despite intense scrutiny and racism.

On this day in 1789, the First Federal Congress of the United States proposed 12 amendments to the recently ratified Constitution. Ten of them were ultimately adopted to become what's known as the Bill of Rights.

The amendments were the result of a major compromise between opposing factions, the Federalists — who thought the Constitution was a sound and sufficient document — and the Anti-Federalists, who worried that it gave far too much power to the central government and didn't protect individual freedoms. The two sides were at an impasse, and the Constitution was at risk of being rejected, until an agreement was reached that, if the Constitution was ratified, Congress would add on a bill of rights. The Federalists believed the addition was unnecessary, and the anti-Federalists believed it wasn't enough ... but both sides conceded for the sake of the common good.

The first two amendments, concerning the number of constituents and the payment for Congressmen, were rejected. The other 10, each a single sentence, provided for such rights as the freedom of speech and religion, the right to bear arms, the right to a speedy trial by jury without cruel or unusual punishment, and the right of states to govern themselves in any way not expressly prohibited by the Constitution.

An additional 17 amendments have been added to the Constitution since then. The most recent one, passed in 1992, was that second article proposed and rejected back in 1789, delaying any change to Congress's pay until the following session. The very first article proposed is still pending before state legislatures.

As the anonymous saying goes, "Democracy is cumbersome, slow and inefficient, but in due time, the voice of the people will be heard and their latent wisdom will prevail."

© 2011 American Public Media
480 Cedar Street, Saint Paul, MN 55101

(A devout statement of faith devoutly to be wished —
and worked towards.

— Rafael Jesús González)


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Art in Nature Festival, October 2, 2011


You are especially invited to this extraordinary arts event

Art in Nature/
the Nature of Art Festival

(free of charge)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

11:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Redwood Regional Park
7867 Redwood Rd.

Oakland, California

for which I have been invited to create and "curate"
a mixed-media installation piece, exhibit, & performance

to the wonder of nature, to the beauty of life,
to the healing of ourselves
& the Earth,
to the world we must dance into being.

Rafael Jesús González

Friday, September 23, 2011




Alumbran a la balanza del día y la noche,
el zafiro temprano del amanecer
y el ópalo tardío del atardecer.
Se alza en obelisco de jade, de nefrita
al punto cardinal del aire,
el apoyo del viento,
----y en cada platillo de cobre
se miden el arte y las consecuencias
---(el amor pesa en la ijada
----de la indecisión,
----en los lomos del deseo.)
La alzaprima del otoño
sostiene sobre el caos,
trémulos y vacilantes
----el sentir, el pensar —
-----------amor, belleza, verdad —
sueños, siempre sueños, justos sueños.

----------------© Rafael Jesús González 2011


The balance of day & night
is lit by the early sapphire of dawn
-----& the late opal of dusk.
It rises on obelisk of nephrite, of jade
to the cardinal point of the air,
the lever of the wind,
----& on each copper plate
----are measured art & consequences
--------(love weighs on the back
---------of indecision,
---------on the loins of desire.)
The fulcrum of autumn
holds over chaos
tremulous & irresolute
----feeling, thought —
--------love, beauty, truth —
dreams, always dreams, just dreams.

-------------© Rafael Jesús González 2011


Sunday, September 18, 2011

reading, Sacramento, Wednesday, September 28

Los Escritores del Nuevo Sol
Writers of the New Sun

Present a reading by:

Rafael Jesús González,
poet, professor, artist

On: Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011,

at 7:30 pm.

At: La Raza Galeria Posada, 1024 - 22nd Street,

Midtown Sacramento, California

with musical interlude

Gerardo Omar Marín
on flute

Donation: $5 or as you are able.
Please: share this information with others.


Rafael Jesús González, poet, professor, artist and bilingual studies innovator, is a life-long writer who lives between Mexico and Berkeley. He has been the elder in a Latino men's ritual group, Xochipilli, which works with the Oakland Museum of California's annual Dia de Los Muertos. He has contributed art installations there and also for the Mexican Museum and the Mission Cultural Center, both in San Francisco.

Prolifically bilingual, he maintains the blog,
For further information about him, contact Ph (916) 428-2191 in Sacramento.

Prof. Gonzalez' formal education took place at the University of Texas, El Paso, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, & the University of Oregon.

He has taught throughout the west, and advises and contributes articles to literary journals. His most recent publication is The Lunatic Muse, which he will have for sale at this reading.


Escritores del Nuevo Sol/Writers of the New Sun was established in 1993, a cooperative group to encourage writers of Latino, Chicano, and Native American backgrounds. For information on our group or activities, contact Graciela Ramirez, Ph: 916-456-5323.
For information on LRGP, see:


Friday, September 16, 2011

Mexico Independence


(201 años después de la independencia de España,
101 años después de la revolución,
491 años después de la invasión española,
como en todas las americas,
sigue el colonialismo.)


--------- --(homenaje a la patria en matices eróticos)

Darte género sería hacer lo que Dios no hizo.
Cuelga la flor de plátano como sexo de caballo
y tus toscas ubres dan beber petróleo —
tienes sin cuenta vientres burladores en tus minas
y los dorados testículos del mango.
-----(Para variar tus orgasmos heterosexuales
-----celebras la homosexual fiesta de los toros.)
Suave no lo eres, patria mía —
-----sino dura como la suerte humana —
----------bola de acero en el fondo de mi entraña,
----------sabor amargo en la lengua de la mente.
Al caer el sol que has emplumado
tienen tus cerros filigrana de venas en sus frentes
y en las junglas de tus costas suelen
volar luciérnagas de ópalo boyante.
Se estremece de pasión tu cuerpo eléctrico y bravío
y piensas en color por tus murales,
sueñas tus sueños táctiles de sones
atados a la tierra por cuerdas de guitarra
-----(y no hay canciones extrañas a tus sueños
-----ni faltan risas en tus tristes pesadillas.)
--------------- Oye, patria mía,
con besos de papel crepé
la buganvilla besa el pene de la torre
y el plúmbago sofocado da besos platónicos al aire.
Muerde el sol los pechos de tus gris colinas
y las manos de tus palmeras acarician la luna.
-----Suave no lo eres, patria mía,
----------sino cruel como el amor humano,
----------exigente como la fe bendita.

-------------------------------© Rafael Jesús González 2011

(El Grito, vol. III no. 1, otoño 1969;
derechos reservados del autor.)

(201 years after independence from Spain,
101 years after the revolution,
491 years after the Spanish invasion,
as in all the Americas,
colonialism continues.)


-----------------(homage to the country in erotic hues)

To give you gender would be to do as God did not.
The banana bloom hangs like a horse's sex
& your rough breasts give oil to suck —
you have countless wombs in your mines
& the golden testicles of the mango.
-----(To vary your heterosexual orgasms
-----you celebrate the homosexual feast of the bulls.)
Soft you are not, my country —
-----but hard as human fate —
----------ball of steel at the bottom of my gut,
----------bitter taste on the tongue of my mind.
At the fall of the sun you have feathered
your mountains wear filigree of veins on their foreheads
& in the jungles of your coasts
fly dragonflies of buoyant opal.
Your electric & wild body trembles with passion
& you think in color through your murals,
dream your tactile dreams of songs
tied to the earth by the strings of the guitar
-----(& there are no strange songs to your dreams
-----nor is laughter lacking in your sad nightmares.)
---------------Listen, my country,
with crepe paper kisses
the bougainvillea kisses the penis of the tower
& the suffocated plumbago gives platonic kisses to the air.
The sun bites the breasts of your gray hills
& the hands of your palms caress the moon.
-----Soft you are not, my country,
----------but cruel like human love,
----------demanding like the holy faith.

--------------------------------------© Rafael Jesús González 2011

(The Bitter Oleander, Vol. 15 no. 2, Fall 2009;
author's copyrights)

Jesús Helguera-


Monday, September 12, 2011

full moon: Midwife Moon


----------Luna partera

La madrina luna nos mira
con cara impasible
y bendice todo
con su luz prestada.
Nos protege de los meteoritos
y es partera de la vida terrestre
pues sin su jalar de los mares
no hubieran los charcos
de la marisma que nos dieron nacer
a quienes nos arrastramos
---o andamos en tierra.
Nos bendice la luna
con su luz prestada.

------------© Rafael Jesús González 2011

--------Midwife Moon

Godmother moon looks at us
with impassive face
& blesses all
with her lent light.
She protects us from meteorites
& is midwife of terrestrial life
for without her pull of the seas
there would not be the pools
of the tides that birthed us
who crawl or walk on land.
The moon blesses us
with her borrowed light.

--------© Rafael Jesús González 2011


Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11, 2001

Ten years ago in September 2001, I flew to Boston for the wedding of my godson Max Villalva Valdés and decided to stay on to visit friends intending to return from Boston to San Francisco on September 11. However, I changed my return flight a few days earlier to attend another celebration of friends by San Francisco Bay. So it is that on September 11, 2001, I was able to write:

Love & Thoughts to my Friends on a Dark Day

Since early this morning when a friend from New England called with the news of the destruction of the World Trade Center towers in New York, I have been in a daze, too stunned to sort out my feelings, my thoughts except for confirmation of my deep abhorrence of violence. Certainly pain and anger are there — and great fear.

I have not been able to get through to my friends in New York nor to my friends in Washington, D.C.; I do not know if they are well or not.

And despite the images on television, there is disbelief. How could it happen here? How could it happen to us? The mightiest contemporary nation, the current most powerful empire is vulnerable. Seeing the images of the twin towers, symbol of the greatest wealth and power on Earth, flaming, smoking, and finally collapsing against the skyline of monoliths that is New York made me think, in the midst of the horror of it all, of Goliaths falling in the plain. The Earth is shaken by their fall; the death, the pain suffered by so many through their fall wrings the heart. I am stunned by the pain of it.

But who the Davids are we do not know. Certainly not heroes to me nor to any one I know; villains rather. Davids in size only. But still, seeing some televised images of jubilation in parts of Palestine/Israel, they must be heroes to some — and to some in other places of the world as well.

Terrorism is a frightful term; even more horrible is its reality. What does it mean? Webster’s New World Dictionary succinctly defines it as: 1) use of terror and violence to intimidate, subjugate, etc., especially as a political weapon or policy; and 2) intimidation and subjugation produced in this way. Terror.

I see those images of jubilation on the television and I wonder what could induce such elation at such destruction, such death, such suffering. Terror. Terror like that in New York today except on a smaller scale, day to day terror at the hands of Israeli soldiers, and terror in response, and then more terror in retaliation — a story without end.

The day to day terror in Iraq with children ill and no medicine with which to treat them, little food to give them. The day to day terror in Nigeria and other parts of Africa. The day to day terror in so many parts of Latin America, of Asia, of everywhere. A policy, a political weapon to subjugate.

And who has most to gain by it? A hundred images come to mind, but a simple, nagging cipher blinks on and off against them all: we in the United States are six percent (6%) of the world’s people and yet we consume sixty percent (60%) of what the Earth gives. (And, we hold the highest proportion of our people in prison.) These are formulas of terror.

And we are vulnerable. And I think — the only protection is justice. The only protection is to be so just, so fair that none would wish us ill. No, not even the gods are so just, but if only we tried. If only we concerned ourselves with sharing the Earth’s wealth with everyone of our brothers and sisters. If only we honored the Earth and protected her so that she might continue to sustain us. If only we honored each other. If only we honored life.

I would like to think that we could respond to this horror in New York and Washington, D.C. with a commitment to justice for the world. Not merely the primitive, crude vengeance and retaliation I hear demanded, but true justice that would put an end to terror, not only the terror such as that of this day in New York and in the Capital, but the day to day terror of hunger, of lack of medicine, lack of shelter, of education, of freedom and the violence all that brings. Terror.

But what I see does not make me hopeful. I am afraid. I am afraid of our institutionalized terrorism, our policies of terror that hold the world in thrall. I am afraid of the man in the office of President of the United States who was not elected into office, afraid of his associates, afraid of the Supreme Court which has broken its trust as impartial interpreter of the law of the land. I am afraid of this President who would destroy the Earth for the profit of it, who insists upon an insane system of nuclear “defense” to further enforce a policy of terror.

I am afraid for the peoples of the world. I am just as afraid for us citizens of this United States. I am afraid that the tragedy of today will be used to justify the destruction of what freedom, what civil liberties we have, of a democracy for which clearly the President of the United States and his ilk have no respect.

I am afraid of Goliaths and of the Davids they breed.

But still, more deeply rooted than my fear is my love of the Earth and of its people and of all our relations. Because of this, I trust that our work toward justice and peace will go on in joy of life and that, for all the darkness, it will prevail.

Berkeley, September 11, 2001

© Rafael Jesús González 2011

photo by Marty Lederhandler AP

--------------- The Towers
------------September 11, 2001

The towers fall as if,
-----seen through crossed eyes,
a Goliath fell brought down by a David.

Behind the myths
-----who of us is the guilty?
---------Who the innocent?
What is the distance
-----between justice and vengeance?

Death is inevitable, not fair.
And when the innocent are caught
in the webs of violence, it is terrible.

May the Earth hold them in rest.
If we would make a monument
worthy of their deaths,
in honor & memory of them,
let us pledge ourselves
----- to freedom,
----- true justice,
------world peace.

For if death be not just
let just be our lives.

----------© Rafael Jesús González 2011

(Abalone Moon, Nov. 6, 2oo7; author's copyrights)

photo by Marty Lederhandler AP

------------Las Torres
---------11 septiembre 2001

Se derriban las torres como
-----si visto por ojos cruzados,
cayera un Goliat abatido por un David.

Detrás de los mitos
-----¿quiénes somos los culpables?
----------¿quiénes los inocentes?
¿Cual es la distancia
------entre la justicia y la venganza?

La muerte es inevitable, no justa.
Y cuando los inocentes caen
en las redes de la violencia, es terrible.

Que la Tierra los tenga en descanso.
Si monumento hiciéramos
digno de sus muertes
en honor y memoria de ellos
-----a la libertad,
-----a la justicia verdadera,
-----a la paz mundial.

Que si la muerte no es justa,
justas sean nuestras vidas.

----------© Rafael Jesús González 2011

(Abalone Moon, noviembre 6, 2007;
derechos reservados del autor)

It was on this day in 2001 that the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York were destroyed launching the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and bringing in a renewed era of fascism in the United States.

[I do not call names, but I do name and and try to name as accurately as possible. I use the word fascism in its classical definition as it appears in Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language, College Edition, 1968 edition:

*fas.cism (fash´iz’m), n. [It. fascismo
<fascio, political group, organization, club fascis; see FASCES], 1. [F-], The doctrines, methods, or movement of the Fascisti. 2. [sometimes F-], a system of government characterized by rigid one-party dictatorship, forcible suppression of the opposition (unions, other, especially leftist, parties, minority groups, etc.), the retention of private ownership of the means of production under centralized governmental control, belligerent nationalism and racism, glorification of war, etc.: first instituted in Italy in 1922. 3. a) the political philosophy and movement based on such doctrines and policies. b) fascist behavior.]

Now, the nation is deep in an illegal, immoral occupation of Iraq, and an untenable war in Afghanistan making the world infinitely more vulnerable to terrorism by nations (such as the U. S.) and organizations (such as al-Qaeda.) Those same fascist forces, bankrupt morally, have bankrupt the nation (and the world) economically.

But the date of September 11 is a day of tragedy for more than one reason.

On a more personal level, it was on September 11, 1991 that my beloved friend and comadre, scholar, organizer, activist Guillermina Valdés de Villalva was killed when a Continental Airlines airplane crashed near Houston, Texas. Sick with pain and rage, I wrote

Huehuecóyotl, © Rafael Jesús González 2011

---Advertencia de Coyote

-----------------------para Guille

Siempre lucharé por lo bueno,
corazón en el hocico,
un grito en el corazón
y el corazón en el grito.
Por eso anoche bailé,
-----tiré la chancla,
---------wriggled my butt,
--------------meneé el culo
hasta las horas escuincles
de la madrugada
porque tal como a algunos nos toca
hacer penitencia por otros
a otros nos toca hacer
la gracia por los demás
y por eso les prometo
que seguiré meneando el culo
hasta que ya no lo pueda
y mantendré verde el rabo
hasta que me lo tape la tierra.

---------© Rafael Jesús González 2011

(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)

Guillermina Valdés

---------Coyote’s Notice

--------------------------for Guille

I will always struggle for the good,
heart in the snout,
a cry in the heart
& the heart in the shout.
Thus I danced last night,
-----tiré la chancla,
---------wriggled my butt,
--------------meneé el culo
until the puppy hours
of the morning
because such as it is for some
to do penance for others
for others it is up to us
to make grace for the rest
& so I promise
I will continue to wriggle my butt
until I cannot
& I will keep my tail green
until it is covered by dust.

---------© Rafael Jesús González 2011

It was on September 11, 1973 that the U. S. C.I.A. instigated military coup in Chile overthrew the legally elected and popular government of Salvador Allende initiating an era of brutal dictatorship and bloodshed. President Allende was murdered as was the poet-compose Víctor Jara among thousands of others. The aging poet Pablo Neruda was held under house arrest where he died soon after.

--------Rastro de la gota

----------------------a Pablo Neruda


Te recuerdo en Holanda
donde las rosas carecen de olor
y el alma que le diste a la máquina
no conoce a la gente.
Tu vicio es vicio de amar
y en tu lengua hasta el cardo
-----sabe dar miel —
hay sangre como la de Federico
-----que sabe doler.
Pero aquí las pupilas son de vidrio
y la desesperación es una gota de agua
que se escurre por los canales dorados,
no de limones sino de hojas muertas.


Hace nueve años que en Holanda
te compuse un verso —
----lleno de agua, hojas secas
----y visión de limones.

Era noviembre —
--------------------es ahora octubre —
el diez cuento mis treinta y ocho
y te has muerto.

Te pienso amapolas y geranios —
el cuero de España y Chile ensangrentado —
hambre, sed,
---------------uvas y luceros.
Hay inventarios en mis huesos
y ortigas en los surcos de mis dedos.

Poeta — me faltan azucenas de consuelo.
------Poeta — me duele Chile
-----------como una punzada en el cerebro.
------Poeta — estoy entumido;
lo único que siento es que has muerto.

-----------------© Rafael Jesús González 2011

------(El hacedor de juegos/The maker of Games;
-------Casa Editorial, San Francisco 1977;
-------derechos reservados del autor.)

---------Track of the Drop

---------------------------to Pablo Neruda


I remember you in Holland
where the roses lack color
& the soul you gave the machine
does not know the people.
Yours is the vice of loving
& on your tongue even the thistle
----knows how to give honey —
there is blood like that of Federico
----that knows how to hurt.
But here the pupils are of glass
& despair is a drop of water
that runs through the canals golden,
not with lemons but dead leaves.


It has been nine years that in Holland,
I wrote you a poem —
------full of water, dry leaves
------& a vision of lemons.

It was November —
--------------------now it is October —
on the tenth I count my thirty-eighth
& you have died.

I think you poppies & geraniums —
the skin of Spain & bloodied Chile —
hunger, thirst,
----------------grapes & stars.
There are inventories in my bones
& nettles in the furrows of my fingers.

Poet — I lack lilies of consolation.
-----Poet — Chile pains me
--------------like a sting in the brain.
-----Poet — I am numb;
the only thing I feel is that you are dead.

--------------© Rafael Jesús González 2011

(Laughing Unicorn, Fall 1980; author’s copyrights)

Pablo Neruda

The death of poet musician Víctor Jara has become a legend, almost a popular myth. It is told that being held in the Stadium of Santiago de Chile among the multitude of political prisoners, he took his guitar and began to sing. His songs being so popular, the other prisoners accompanied him. The guards then grabbed his guitar and stomped it to pieces under their boots. Then with their bayonets they cut off Victor’s hands. According to the story, Victor continued singing until, his blood draining into the sand, he died.

jacket of one of Víctor Jara's albums

-----------Las manos

-----------------------a Víctor Jara

Cada cuerda rota
una de seis flechas pintadas
que el arco de tu voz lanza
contra la injuria —
cada dedo un punzón
en la conciencia

---cada gota una nota contra el silencio.

Caen las aves negras,
sus plumas nieve enlutada,
en la memoria
donde la sangre hierve

---cada gota una nota contra el silencio.

Las manos caen en la arena,
cada una una fuente roja
que corre hacia un mar sin islas

---cada gota una nota contra el silencio.

Hermano, los gorriones se espichan;
se han roto los cántaros del tiempo
y tu canto corre por el mundo entero

---cada gota una nota contra el silencio:

---cuando la sangre crece alas
---se le llama libertad

---cada gota una nota contra el silencio.

--------------© Rafael Jesús González 2011

(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)

Víctor Jara

----------The Hands

----------------------to Víctor Jara

Each broken string
one of six painted arrows
the bow of your voice sends
against outrage —
each finger a lance
in the conscience

---each drop a note against silence.

The black birds fall,
their feathers snow in mourning,
upon memory
where the blood boils

---each drop a note against silence.

The hands fall on the sand,
each a red fountain
that runs toward a sea without islands

---each drop a note against silence.

Brother, the sparrows grow shy;
the jars of time have broken
& your song runs through the world

---each drop a note against silence:

---when the blood grows wings
---it is called freedom

---each drop a note against silence.


------------© Rafael Jesús González 2011

(Second Coming, Vol. 14 no. 1, 1986;
The Montserrat Review #4, 2002;
nominated for Pushcart Prize;
author’s copyrights)

* * *

Now September 11 is to be celebrated as a day of pain and infamy which only our work toward justice and peace may redeem.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Spillway #16 reading, September 17



Saturday, September 17th, 2011

4:00 pm

Join us for a reading, refreshments,
& a celebration of the publication of
Spillway #16 / 'My First Time'

Host: Editor Susan Terris

Readers will include:

Francesca Bell, Rose Black, Kat Crawford,
Jennifer Dannenberg, Gail Russ Entrekin,
CB Follett, Rafael Jesús González, Laura Horn,
Kristen E. D. Kapfer, Bonnie Long, Roy Mash,
Gerardo Pacheco Matus, Lauren Peck,
David Scronce, Joan Stepp Smith, Joe Zaccardi

Rebound Bookstore

1611 4th Street

San Rafael, CA 94901-2714

(415) 482-0550