Monday, January 30, 2012

riverbabble 20, winter 2012


Cambodia, 2011 by Christopher Novak

riverbabble 20


Antony Adrian Pino:
Take Off Your Shoes!

Elizabeth Weaver:
Dreaming of Gram
In This Dream

Marion Boyer: Glosa On Thin Ice

Deepak Chaswal: The Mountains

j.d. daniels: Untitled

William Doreski: Long Soft Diagonals

Joanne Faries: Room to Grow

Rafael Jesús González: Consejo a José soñador/
Advice to Joseph the Dreamer

Sonia Hendy-Issac: Rescue

George Korolog: 60 Andrassey, Budapest

Miriam Kotzin: Back Silver

Ladan Osman: Parable of the Leaf

Phibby Venable: Hillbilly

Sandy Vrooman: Shifting Shapes of Saintiness

Prose Poetry


Lila Evans: Black Creek Manor

Larry Lefkowitz: Pipe Dream

Dianne McKnight: Winter Story

Ladam Osman Half-Off

Jerry Vilhotti: One Light at a Time


Bev Vines-Haines: A Review of My Zoo World


Christopher Novak: Cambodia, 2011


A last lonely candle wandered up the sky from Mirus bazaar in search of funds for Mercer's hospital and broke, drooping, and shed a cluster of violet but one white stars. They floated, fell; they faded. The shepherd's hour: the hour of folding: hour of tryst.

JAMES JOYCE, Ulysses, p.310., 13, 1166-1169.

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Pandemonium Press

2nd printing

available on

or from

the publisher:


Leila Rae, editor

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

on stamps and other things

Last week, I walked to the post-office near my home to buy stamps and, having been told that postage would increase the following Monday, I asked to see what "forever" stamps were available. I was told that they had only four designs available: the U.S. flag, the Statue of Liberty, the Ronald Reagan centennial, and the Mercury Messenger.

Finding none of them appealing, I thought, for a second, of asking for the Ronald Reagan centennial (I could paste them up-side down on the envelope, I thought, or pen a Hitler mustache on his upper lip, or simply jolt my friends into a response.)

My hatred of Ronald Reagan and all he did and stood for is known to all who know me. It is not, I must say, an abstract hatred, but a personal one: as governor of California he dared to invade my city, Berkeley, terrorize its citizens; tear-gas, beat, and jail us; and kill at least one of us, an innocent by-stander merely watching the action from the roof of a near-by theater near the corner of Telegraph Avenue and Dwight.

The two-bit actor went on to the biggest role in his life to become president of the U.S. and carried on his policy of terrorism on an international scale. What we have seen ever since through the last Bush administration and on into the present one has been the logical outcome of the policies he put into place during his term in office. Those policies have terrorized the world, concentrated its wealth in the hands of the few, violated the Earth, and ruined the economy. The suffering in their wake is beyond measure; many are now awaking to the fact. Let us make sure that Ronny Reagan and his legacy is not forever.

I ended up buying the Mercury Messenger stamp.

R. J. G.

Reader Supported News
Reagan's Hand in Guatemala's Genocide

Robert Parry, Consortium News
Parry writes: "If there is one consensus in the mainstream US news media, it seems to be that not a discouraging word can be spoken about Ronald Reagan. On those rare occasions when major US news outlets do make mention of the Guatemalan genocide of the 1980s, they circumspectly reframe the story to avoid mentioning Reagan's role."


------------En El Salvador

Las balas encuentran sus nidos
en los pechos de monjas y de maestros —

---hay sangre en las manzanas
---hay llanto en los telares.

En la Casa Blanca
el malo actor de vaqueros desempleado
come dulces de goma
y dice:
--- — Los derechos humanos no nos importan.
---No es negocio nuestro lo que
---pasa en esos países. —
Y envía rifles y municiones
a los generales.

---Hay sangre en las manzanas
---hay llanto en los telares.

-----------In El Salvador

Bullets find their nests
in the breasts of nuns & of teachers —

---there is blood in the apples
---there are tears in the looms.

In the White House
the unemployed hack cowboy actor
eats jellybeans
& says:
---Human rights will not be
---our concern. It is not our
---business what happens in
---those countries.
& sends guns & bullets
to the generals.

---There is blood in the apples
---there are tears in the looms.

-------© Rafael Jesús González 2012

(RiverSedge, Vol. IV no. 2; author's copyrights.)


Monday, January 23, 2012

Year of the Dragon 4710


Nine Dragons, Chen Rong, Sung Dynasty, 1244

Tanka for the Year of the Dragon

The sun's sky dragons,
the sea dragons of the moon
each grasps a fire-pearl,
for good fortune, too, is fierce,
to be welcomed with courage.

--------------© Rafael Jesús González 2012

Tanka para el año del dragón

Los dragones celestes del sol,
los dragones marinos de la luna,
cada uno coge una perla de fuego,
pues la buena fortuna también es feroz
con valor ser bienvenida .

-------------------© Rafael Jesús González 2012


Nine Dragons, Chen Rong, Sung Dynasty, 1244


Saturday, January 21, 2012




A Acuario,
---el airoso,
------fijo en su servicio,
lo vigila Urano desde lejos;
Saturno le pesa como plomo
y su luz como granate ardiente
destella en el cántaro de amatista
que carga Acuario,
----sus tobillos, sus pantorrillas
----bañados en el aire fijo
----de sus ideales luminosos.

---------© Rafael Jesús González 2012


---the graceful,
------at ease in his service,
is watched by Uranus from afar;
Saturn weighs on him like lead
& its light like a burning garnet
bounces sparks on the amethyst jar
that Aquarius carries,
----his ankles, his calves
----bathed in the fixed air
----of his luminous ideals.

----------© Rafael Jesús González 2012

Friday, January 20, 2012

Spillway #17 reading, February 4


Spillway Magazine Reading

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

4:00 pm

Hosted by Editor Susan Terris

Celebration of the publication of Spillway #17,
which features over 25 San Francisco Bay Area Poets

Poets appearing will include:
Joan Baranow, Toby Bielawski,
Barbara Swift Bauer, Catharine Clark-Sayles,
Lucille Lang Day, CB Follett, Rafael Jesús González,
Dave Holt,
Jodi Hottel, Janet Jennings, William Landis,
Gregory Mahrer, Myron Michael,
Shawn Pittard,
Gregory Randall, Melita Schaum,
Jen Siraganian, and Gretchen Stengel


51 Tamal Vista Blvd.

Corte Madera, California 94925


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929–April 4, 1968)

Martin Luther King Jr.
by Yousul Karsh

----------After the Lecture

---------------------------for Martin Luther King Jr.

A woman said I was not polite
to the opposition,
that I was harsh
and did not encourage

Perhaps if I were Christ,
I could say, “Forgive them
----for they know not what they do.”
Or the queen, and apologize
for stubbing my executioner’s toes.

But only if I knew
the executioners
----were mine only.

What courtesy have I the right to give
to them who break the bones,
----the souls of my brothers,
------------------my sisters;
deny bread, books
----to the hungry,
----the children;
--------medicine, healing
--------to the sick;
roofs to the homeless;

who spoil the oceans,
----lay waste the forests
--------and the deserts,
violate the land?

Affability on the lips
of outrage
is a sin and blasphemy
----I’ll not be guilty of.

----------© Rafael Jesús González 2012

--------Después del Discurso

------------------------a Martin Luther King Jr.

Una mujer me dijo que no fui cortés
con la oposición,
que fui duro
y que no animé

Tal vez si fuera Cristo,
pudiera decir — Perdónalos
----que no saben lo que hacen. —
O la reina, y disculparme
por haber pisarle el pie a mi verdugo.

Pero solamente si supiera
que los verdugos
fueran solamente míos.

¿Qué cortesía tengo el derecho a darles
a los que quiebran los huesos
----y las almas de mis hermanos,
--------------------mis hermanas;
les niegan el pan, los libros
----a los hambrientos,
----a los niños;
--------la medicina, el sanar
--------a los enfermos;
techos a los desamparados;

que estropean los mares,
----que destruyen los bosques
--------y los desiertos,
violan la tierra?

Afabilidad en los labios
de la furia justa
es pecado y blasfemia
----de la cual no seré culpable.

---------© Rafael Jesús González 2012

Martin Luther King Jr.
by Tony Spina

Sunday, January 8, 2012

full moon: Full Moon After


-----------Luna llena después

Lanzado el año nuevo,
después de las celebraciones
contando del nacer de un hombre-dios
anunciado por pandillas de ángeles
a toscos hombres entre sus ovejas,
reconocido en una estrella por reyes sabios
---— la luna llena todo ilumina.

---------------------© Rafael Jesús González 2012

---------Full Moon After

The new year launched,
after the celebrations
telling of a man-god's birth
announced by gangs of angels
to uncouth men among their sheep,
recognized in a star by wise kings
---— the full moon illumines all.

------------© Rafael Jesús González 2012

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Epiphany — 12th Night

- -

Adoration of the Magi, Andrea Mantegna 1495-1505

------------------ Magos

Pensar que yo, Baltasar de Caldea,
------tenedor de las cosas sacras,
------dejé los observatorios,
------cargado de incienso,
------para llegar allí.
Aun hasta al punto de encuentro fue largo;
para Melchor de Nubia cargado de oro,
para Gaspar de Tarso cargado de mirra,
fue aun más largo.
-----Y de allí a Judea
-----y más allá condujo el lucero —
-----------a la morada de animales,
-----------lugar natal del infante mendigo.
Si era dios,
---como todo dios,
---------ha de haber llegado a mal fin.
¿Qué significaban los agüeros?
-----Tal vez sería el viaje mismo,
---------oír de los leones de Nubia,
---------de los ríos de Tarso;
y sobre todo,
-----sí, tal vez sobre todo,
---------- el ofrendar.

---------© Rafael Jesús González 2012

Book of Hours, France, ca. 1410-1415
(The Cleveland Museum of Art)


To think that I, Balthazar of Chaldea,
----keeper of the sacred things,
----left the observatories,
----laden with frankincense,
----to come there.
Even to the point of meeting it was long;
for Melchior of Nubia laden with gold,
for Gaspar of Tarshish laden with myrrh,
it was longer.
---And from there to Judea
---and the star led on —
--------to the abode of animals,
--------birthplace of the infant beggar.
If he was a god,
-----like all gods,
-----he must have come to a bad end.
What meant the auguries?
----Perhaps it was the trip itself,
-------to hear of the lions of Nubia,
-------of the rivers of Tarshish;
and above all,
----yes, perhaps above all,
-----------the gifting.

----------© Rafael Jesús González 2012

(Dear Winter: Poems for the Solstice;
Marie Harris, Ed.; Northwood Press, Thomaston, Maine 1984;
Author’s © copyrights)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

for the Year 2012


-----Olor de canela en el año 2012

Dicen los antiguos mayas
esos minuciosos sacerdotes del tiempo
que ahora llegamos al fin de su cuenta.
Se alinean los astros y los planetas
para comenzar un nueva cuenta
o cuento más bien
para nosotros que tanto
nos gusta el mito y el olor de la canela,
el chisme cósmico, el místico runrún.
Hacedores del mito y del tiempo
sujetos que seamos
al cantar de las estrellas,
cambiemos como cambiemos,
despertemos —
-------------------o no —
----------------------------a otro mundo
si dioses necesitemos
hagámoslos de nuestros mejores sueños,
creemos bien nuestros mitos
y plenamente gocemos del olor de la canela.

----------------------© Rafael Jesús González 2012

---Smell of Cinnamon in the Year 2012

The ancient Maya say,
those scrupulous priests of time,
that now we come to the end of their count.
The stars & planets align
to begin a new count
or rather account
for us who so much
like myth & the smell of cinnamon,
the cosmic gossip, the mystical rumor.
Makers of myth & of time
subject as we may be
to the singing of the stars,
change as we may change,
awake as we may —
-------------------or not —
--------------------------to another world,
if gods we need
let us make them from our best dreams,
let us create well our myths
& fully delight in the smell of cinnamon.

-------------------© Rafael Jesús González 2012


New Year 2012

- श्रीगणेश

Invocación a Ganesh

Om Shri Ganeshaaya Namah

Sentado en el centro
(rodeado de calaveras)
donde el lazo de los años se anuda,
goloso señor cabeza de elefante,
levántate y baila la cuenta nueva;
con tu hacha derrumba
los obstáculos
a nuestro vivir,
pisotea los obstáculos
a nuestro amar,
y haz dulce el camino nuevo.
Que tus familiares
el ratón y la rata roen
al almacén de las bendiciones;
que tu serpiente hable.
Con tu colmillo
en el libro de lo que fue
escribe lo que pueda ser
y de tu caracol sopla
el sonido primordial de lo que es.

----------© Rafael Jesús González 2012

(Spillway 17, ontoño 2011,
derechos reservados del autor)

[De los muchos dioses hindú, Ganesh, dios de dharma y del buen agüero, es el más popularmente amado y venerado. Sus características son su cabeza de elefante y su barriga gorda que metafísicamente se dice contiene todo el cosmos. Sus familiares son el ratón y la rata porque roen por los obstáculos y frecuentan los almacenes de abundancia. Generoso donador de beneficios y derribador de obstáculos, él es el patrón de los comienzos, del desarrollo, de la liberación, de las empresas, tanto físicas como espirituales. Como tal, él es el primero de todos los dioses en ser invocado y se le pide su bendición al comienzo de un día, de una carta, de un rito, de cualquier empresa. Amable guía por las alturas y los abismos de la vida, se dice que él es la buena fortuna manifiesta, la sabiduría descubierta y la abundancia desbordante. Hay 1008 nombres para describir sus poderes divinos y su bendición es un verdadero don.]

Invocation to Ganesh

Om Shri Ganeshaaya Namah

Seated in the center
(ringed with skulls)
where the noose of years is tied,
sweet-toothed, elephant-headed lord,
rise & dance the new count;
ax down the obstacles
to our living,
trample the obstacles
to our loving,
& make sweet the new path.
Let your familiars
the mouse & the rat
gnaw through
to the storehouse of blessings;
let your snake speak.
With your tusk,
in your book of what was,
write what may be
& from your conch blow
the primordial sound of what is.

----------© Rafael Jesús González 2012

(Spillway 17, Fall 2011;
author's copyrights)

[Of the many Hindu gods, Ganesh, god of dharma and good portent, is the most widely loved and revered. His distinctive traits are his elephant head and his fat belly metaphysically said to contain the entire cosmos. His familiars are the mouse and the rat because they gnaw through obstacles and frequent larders of plenty. Generous Boon-Giver and Remover of Obstacles, he is patron of beginnings, of growth, of liberation, enterprises, both physical and spiritual. As such, he is the first of all the gods to be invoked and his blessing asked at the start of a day, a letter, a ritual, any undertaking. Gentle guide through the ups and downs of life, he is said to be good fortune manifest, wisdom revealed, time embodied, and abundance over-flowing. There are 1008 names to describe his divine powers and his blessing is a gift indeed.]