Saturday, March 31, 2012

César E. Chávez (March 31, 1927 – April 23, 1993)


Oración del campesino en la lucha

Enséñame el sufrimiento de los más desafortunados;
así conoceré el dolor de mi pueblo.
Líbrame a orar por los demás
porque estás presente en cada persona.
Ayúdame a tomar responsabilidad de mi propia vida;
sólo así, seré libre al fin.
Concédeme valentía para servir al prójimo
porque en la entrega hay vida verdadera.
Concédeme honradez y paciencia
para que yo pueda trabajar junto con otros trabajadores.
Alúmbranos con el canto y la celebración
para que se eleve el espíritu entre nosotros.
Que el espíritu florezca y crezca
para que no nos cansemos de la lucha.
Acordémonos de los que han caído por la justicia
porque a nosotros han entregado la vida.
Ayúdanos a amar aun a los que nos odian;
así podremos cambiar el mundo.

------------------------------César E. Chávez

------------------------------Fundador del UFW (1927-1993)

by Robert Lentz

-----Prayer of the Farm Workers' Struggle

Show me the suffering of the most miserable;
thus I will know my people's plight.
Free me to pray for others,
for you are present in every person.
Help me take responsibility for my own life
so that I can be free at last.
Grant me courage to serve my neighbor
for in surrender is there truly life.
Grant me honesty and patience
so that I can work with other workers.
Enlighten us with song and celebration
so that the spirit will be alive among us.
Let the spirit flourish and grow
so that we will never tire of the struggle.
Let us remember those who have died for justice
for they have given us life.
Help us love even those who hate us;
thus we can change the world.

César E. Chávez

UFW Founder (1927-1993)


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Archbishop Óscar A. Romero G. 8/15/1917 - 3/24/1980

32 years ago

Let us remember and honor in our hearts the memory of Archbishop Óscar Arnulfo Romero Galdámez, Archbishop of San Salvador murdered while he said mass in the chapel of a hospital March 24, 1980, El Salvador. He was killed because of his opposition to injustice, to cruelty; he was killed because he loved and tried to protect those he loved. He was killed for being a good shepherd.

------La Consagración Del Cafe
-----------------al monseñor Óscar A. Romero

Un día de dios
en mi patio tomando café
nada es normal —
------ni el alcatraz
------con su pene dorado
------ni el iris
------como lava morada
------que derrama un volcán.
Encuentro en el fondo de la taza
casullas bordadas
de mariposas negras
y guindas manchas —
-----el sol dispara
-----centellas de balas plateadas
-----y de cirios ahogados —
----------hay sangre en su brillar.
Pongo la burda taza en su platillo
con un tierno cuidado
como si fuera cáliz
y digo la letanía:
-------El Salvador.
Y un lado del corazón
me sabe blanco y dulce
como la caña
------y el otro,
-----------como el café,
------------------negro y amargo.

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

(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.)

------The Consecration Of Coffee

----------------------to Archbishop Óscar A. Romero

One day of god
drinking coffee in my patio
nothing is normal —
------not the calla
------with its penis of gold
------nor the iris
------like purple lava
------a volcano spills.
I find in the depths of the cup
chasubles embroidered
with black moths
& red stains —
-----the sun fires
-----a scintillation of silver bullets
-----& of candles drowned —
-----------there is blood in its shine.
I place the cup on its saucer
with a most tender care
as if it were a chalice
& say the litany:
-------El Salvador
& one side of my heart
tastes white & sweet
like cane sugar
-----& the other,
----------like coffee,
---------------bitter & black.

--------© Rafael Jesús González 2012

( Visions-International, no. 44, 1994;
author’s copyrights)

On this day 32 years ago, Oscar Romero, the archbishop of San Salvador, was assassinated, sparking El Salvador's 12-year civil war.
Romero was appointed San Salvador's archbishop three years before, in 1977, at a time when violence in El Salvador was rapidly escalating. The conflict was largely one of class warfare: the landed wealthy — who were aligned with the rightist government and paramilitary death squads — against the impoverished farm workers and other laborers who had begun to ally themselves with leftist guerrilla groups looking to overthrow the government.

Romero had a reputation for being bookish, conservative, and even for discouraging priests from getting involved in political activism. But within weeks of becoming bishop, one of his good friends was killed by the death squads. His friend was an activist Jesuit priest named Rutilio Grande, who had been devoted to educating peasants and trying to bring about economic reforms. He was gunned down on his way to a rural church, along with a young boy and elderly man he had been traveling with. It was a clear moment of conversion for the previously apolitical Oscar Romero, who suddenly felt that he needed to take up the work his friend had been interrupted from doing.

Romero canceled Masses all around the country that week, and invited all to attend the funeral Mass on the steps of the National Cathedral, which he presided over along with 100 other priests. One hundred thousand people showed up at the cathedral for the funeral. He also broadcast his sermon over the radio, so that it could be heard throughout the country. He called for government investigation of the murders going on in rural areas, and he spoke of the reforms that needed to happen in El Salvador: an end to human rights violations, to the regime of terror, and to the huge disparity in wealth, with the landed classes getting rich from the labor of the poor. He announced to his congregation that he wanted to be a good pastor, but he needed everyone's help to lead.

He was called to Rome. The Vatican did not approve of his activism. Romero had become a proponent of liberation theology, a way of viewing the teachings of the Christ from the perspective of the poor. Poverty and oppression came from sin, it argued — institutional sin or structural sin, such as an authoritarian regime or unjust government. In liberation theology, the Gospels are not so much a call to peace or social order; instead they are a call to action, even unrest, to eradicate the sin that is causing poverty and widespread suffering.

On March 23, 1980, the day before he was shot, Oscar Romero gave a sermon in which he pleaded with low-level soldiers and policemen carrying out murderous orders to choose God's command over their government's. The very next day, March 24, 1980, Romero was killed by a paid assassin while consecrating bread at the altar during Mass. A single bullet from an M-16 assault rifle was fired down the center aisle of the church, striking him in the heart.

Romero's funeral was attended by a quarter million people from around the world. The events galvanized many previously apolitical poor people, who then supported leftist guerrilla fighters trying to overthrow the Salvadoran regime. The 12-year civil war resulted in more than 75,000 deaths and more than a million displaced people. In 1992, peace accords negotiated by the government and leftist rebels were signed in Mexico, with the United Nations and Catholic Church looking on. It included a 70 percent reduction in armed forces, programs for economic growth and to alleviate poverty, and an outside observing system to monitor elections. The accord included a nine-month cease-fire, which began February 1, 1992. That cease-fire has never since been broken.



Wednesday, March 21, 2012

International Poetry Day


Poesía, del griego 'hacer'. Es el sonido jugando con el significado, sabiendo que el absoluto, eterno silencio del cual viene no tiene significado alguno mas que el juego que intenta cuando crea voces. La poesía es tautología. La poesía es un espejo que pretende reflejar una flor, un paisaje, un rostro, cuando en realidad sólo se refleja a si misma. La poesía es como qualquier otro objeto — un plato, un fruto, una bota — pero sean cuales sean los usos que pretenda, sólo uno está a sus raíces: nuestra justificación.

Rafael Jesús González

(El hacedor de juegos/The Maker of Games;
Casa Editorial, San Francisco, California 1977)

Poetry, from the Greek 'to make', it is sound playing with meaning, knowing that the absolute, eternal silence from which it comes has no meaning except the game it undertakes when it creates voices. Poetry is a tautology. Poetry is a mirror pretending it reflects a flower, a landscape, a face when in reality it reflects only itself. Poetry is like any other object — a plate, a piece of fruit, a boot — except that whatever uses it pretends, only one is at its roots: our vindication.

Rafael Jesús González

(Peace & Pieces: An Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry;
Custodio Maurice et al, eds., Peace & Pieces Press, San Francisco, California 1973, p. x)


--------------poeta eres tú que lees

-------------------------(grafitti en una pared
--------------------------de La Habana)

El poeta dice sus versos
al deslizarse el lápiz
sobre el blanco —
enigmas de quimeras y dragones
de lirios y de jaras
de nubes pesadas como plomo
peñascos livianos como suspiros.
-----Allí quedan
ni más ni menos encantados
que una mosca prisionera
en una gota de ámbar.
Allí esperan que los rescate
otro poeta —
-----tú, lector
-----que descifras
-----estas letras.

-------© Rafael Jesús González 2012

(10 años de aBrace, Editora aBrace,
Montevideo, Uruguay 2009;
derechos reservados del autor)

La revista literaria Montserrat Review y la editorial Dragonfly Press
confiere el
Premio Dragonfly Press 2012
por Éxito Literario Sobresaliente
a Rafael Jesús González

The Montserrat Review and Dragonfly Press bestow
the 2012 Dragonfly Press Award
for Outstanding Literary Achievement
on Rafael Jesús González

----------------- Poet

-------------- poeta eres tú que lees

---------------------------(graffiti on a wall
----------------------------in Havana)

The poet says his verses
as the pencil glides
over the blank —
enigmas of chimeras & dragons
of lilies & of darts
of clouds heavy as lead
boulders light as sighs.
----There they remain
no more no less enchanted
than a fly imprisoned
in a drop of amber.
There they wait to be rescued
by another poet —
----you, reader
----who deciphers
----these letters.

------© Rafael Jesús González 2012


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring Equinox & Aries


Spring Equinox & Aries



Al morueco de los comienzos
lo impulsa la estrella roja
que relumbra en sus ojos de diamante
y se refleja en sus cuernos de heliotropo,
sus pesuñas de hierro.
-----Guarda el fuego cardinal del anhelo
-----y sobre su cabeza
--------------giran el día y la noche
---------------------la noche y el día
--------------en el baile simétrico
---------------------del tiempo.

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


The ram of beginnings
is driven by the red star
which shines in its diamond eyes,
reflects in its bloodstone horns,
its iron hoofs.
----It guards the cardinal fire
----of ambition
----& above its head
-------turn day & night
-------night & day
----in the symmetrical dance
------------of time.

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

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Phat Beets & Dover St. Neighborhood César Chávez celebration

Join Phat Beets Produce
& the Dover Street Neighborhood Group
for their second annual César Chávez Day!

April 1, Sunday

11 am—3 pm

Healthy Hearts Garden,

Dover Park

57th & Dover

north Oakland, California

FREE event!

Come help us celebrate the life and work of
César Chávez
on Sunday April 1.

We are joined by our friends and sponsors:
Planting Justice, People's Grocery,
Healthy Hearts Clinic, & Children's Hospital Oakland

Free food

Live music by Earth Amplified

Live art by Forest Stearns

Speaker Rafael Jesús González

Cooking demonstrations by OBUGs and People's Grocery

Face Painting, Gardening and more . . .

¡Sí se puede!


Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Patrick's Day

Fiesta de San Patricio

San Patricio echó las culebras
de Irlanda y Santa Brígida
era la diosa de las norias;
hadas residen allí y el trébol
explica la Trinidad;
la isla es siempre verde
y su don del habla
proviene de una piedra.

------© Rafael Jesús González 2012

------St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick drove the snakes
from Ireland & St. Brigid
was the goddess of the wells;
faeries dwell there & the clover
explains the Trinity;
the isle is always green
& its gift for gab
comes from a stone.

-- ----© Rafael Jesús González 2012


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pandemonium Press Presents


Pandemonium Press

the Poets & Writers of

Doorknobs & BodyPaint

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

7-9 pm

Books Inc.

1344 Park St., Alameda, CA.

Featured Readers:

Margo Comstock

Rafael Jesús González

George Korolog

Anthony Adrian Pino

Jon Sindell

Sandy Vrooman

open mic after short break
light refreshments served


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Berkeley Farmers Market César Chávez Commemoration


César Chávez led the historic non-violent movement for farm worker rights and dedicated himself to building a movement of working people that extended beyond the fields into cities and towns across the nation. César inspired millions to commit to social, economic and civil rights activism. Come celebrate his life and legacy!

A free day of arts performances, speakers, live music, & activism at the Berkeley Farmers' Market


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

3:30 pm-7 pm — farmers’ market hours

Derby St. at Martin Luther King, Jr. Way

Berkeley, California

Convenient public transportation: 5 blocks from the Ashby BART Station,
many buses on MLK and Shattuck, streetparking, wheelchair access

The Berkeley Farmers' Markets proudly accept CalFresh
(Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program/SNAP) food stamp cards
and WIC farmers’ market nutrition program vouchers.

For More Information: (510) 548-3333;

Performances & Presentations:

Cuauhtli Mitotiani Mexica — Aztec Dance

Rafael Jesús González — poet, artist, Professor Emeritus

La Peña ChorusCommunity Chorus for Peace & Justice

Earth Amplified — 'Green Hip Hop' & Conscious 'Roots-Rap-Reggae'

YeYe Latin American Afro-Fusion Band weaving Dance, Music, Poetry

Quenepas — Puerto Rican Bomba & Plena Music & Dance Youth Ensemble

Joy Moore — KPFA host, Founder of Farm Fresh Choice, Edible Educator

Info Booths:
Farm Fresh Choice, SNAG (Seventh Native American Generation),
Label GMOs Campaign, Food First, Planting Justice,
BAHIA (Bay Area Hispano Institute for Advancement)


In collaboration with Berkeley César Chávez Commemoration Committee
Location: Tuesday Berkeley Farmers' Market, Derby Street @ MLK Jr. Way
Wheelchair accessible. 5 blocks from Ashby BART.
Info: visit or call 510-548-33333

Thursday, March 8, 2012

full moon: The Minotaur Gazes at the Moon


El Minotauro contempla la luna

El Minotauro,
rey estelar,
desde su laberinto
contempla la luna llena
prisionero perdido
en cada rincón
y corredor sin salida
de su mundo torcido
por herencia y destino.
Sueña con campos
cubiertos de hierba y de flores
bajo cielos de nubes y soles.
Le pesan los cuernos
y en tristeza y rabia
se roe el corazón.

Indiferente la luna
con luz débil alumbra
los recintos oscuros
de su cárcel y hogar.
Desde su laberinto
el Minotauro
contempla la luna

-----© Rafael Jesús González 2012

The Minotaur Gazes at the Moon

The Minotaur,
starry king,
from his labyrinth
gazes at the full moon,
lost prisoner
in each corner
& dead-end
of his world twisted
by heritage & fate.
He dreams of fields
covered with grass & flowers
under skies of clouds & suns.
The horns weigh on him
& in grief & rage
he gnaws at his heart.

Indifferent the moon
with weak light illumines
the dark precincts
of his jail & home.
From his labyrinth
the Minotaur
gazes at the moon.

-----© Rafael Jesús González 2012


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Gabriel García Márquez - March 6, 1928

----Lunas de los arcángeles

-------------a Gabriel García Márquez

Dice Gabriel el arcángel
que por cada minuto
que uno cierre los ojos
se pierden sesenta segundos
de luz —
por eso vigila de noche
y enciende velitas de azucenas,
las estrellas sin cuenta,
con su lámpara redonda
de la luna plena.

Dice Rafael el arcángel
que por cada minuto
que uno duerma
se escapan sesenta peces
de ensueño —
por eso vaga la playa nocturna
para coger los peces de azogue,
las estrellas sin cuenta,
en redes con el flotador
de la luna plena.

Dice Miguel el arcángel
que por cada minuto
que uno olvide
se marchitan sesenta flores
del recuerdo —
por eso va por la noche
segando con su espada de plata
los jazmines de llama,
las estrellas sin cuenta,
que recoge en su escudo
de la luna plena.

------© Rafael Jesús González 2012

---Moons of the Archangels

-------------for Gabriel García Márquez

Gabriel the archangel says
that for each minute
one closes the eyes
are lost sixty seconds
of light —
that is why he watches at night
and lights votive candles of lilies,
the stars beyond count,
with his round lamp
the full moon.

Rafael the archangel says
that for each minute
one sleeps
there escape sixty fishes
of illusion —
that is why he roams the night beach
to catch the quicksilver fish,
the stars beyond count,
in nets with their float
the full moon.

Michael the archangel says
that for each minute
one forgets
there wither sixty flowers
of remembrance —
that is why he goes thru the night
reaping with his silver sword
the jasmines of flame,
the stars beyond count,
he gathers on his shield
the full moon.

--------© Rafael Jesús González 2012

Michelangelo Buonarroti, March 6, 1475 – February 18, 1564

Tríptico para Miguel Ángel

I — Pietro Torrigiano

El principio se origina en la quebradura—
un corazón, un himen, una nariz.
El duende mora en las heridas —
la raja en el limón, la fisura en el higo.
El dolor no es necesidad, pero es—
indudable como la piedra, maleable como el oro
para hacer faunos o aretes.
Recordémoslo si por ninguna otra cosa,
el contraste, la sombra en la luz,
la amargura en la miel
en que las abejas encuentran sustento y muerte.
Alabémoslo, lengua en mejilla,
pero correctamente, grave y respetuosos,
porque muchas veces inicia el baile, grave y medido.

II — Vittoria Colonna

La alabanza es muchas veces oblicua —
la luz se sesga para ablandar la piedra,
esconder las marcas del cincel
o sacarlas como los pizzicatos en el violonchelo.
Hay miel en esa luz,
más liviana de que la miel tiene derecho ser.
Alabemos a esa luz —
espejo que suaviza, que enriquece
una esperanza desolada, demasiada llena
de posibilidad, imposibilidad, pavor.
Hay perfección en lo incompleto
que la saciedad jamás podría tener.
¿Qué en el arte no es pretensión?
Pretendemos a la luz, a tronos.

III — Tommaso de’ Cavalieri

¿Y cuando la luz es más allá de nuestro alcance,
la iluminación un amor demasiado anhelado?
El amor llega tarde y templado
aun cuando el deseo guarda su filo.
Los filos le prestan sabor,
el filo del limón, de la espada del necio
que penetra la armadura innecesaria
y esculpe mantequilla.
Que entonces sea, pues forma estrellas
y engendra perlas —
una tontería, un bufón,
cuando uno debería saber mejor que eso.
(¿Debería uno?) ¿Qué es lo mejor?
La comodidad es mezquina cosa.

© Rafael Jesús González 2012

Triptych for Michelangelo

I — Pietro Torrigiano

Beginning originate in breakage —
a heart, a hymen, a nose.
The duende dwells in wounds —
the crack in the lemon, the fissure in the fig.
Pain is not a necessity, but it is —
indubitable as stone, malleable as gold
to fashion fauns or earrings.
Let us remember it if for nothing else
the contrast, the shadow in the light,
the bitterness in the honey
in which bees find sustenance & death.
Let us praise it, tongue in cheek,
but correctly, grave & respectful,
for it often opens the dance, grave & measured.

II — Vittoria Colonna

Praise is often oblique —
the light slants to soften stone,
obscure the chisel marks
or pluck them like pizzicati on a cello.
There is honey in that light,
lighter than honey has a right to be.
Praise that light —
a mirror that softens, that enriches
a stark expectation too fraught
with possibility, impossibility, dread.
There is perfection in unfullness
that satiety can never have.
What in art is not pretension?
We pretend to light, to thrones.

III — Tommaso de’ Cavalieri

And when light is beyond our reach,
enlightenment a too-sought-after love?
Love comes late & softened
even when the desire keeps its edge.
The edges lend it savor,
the lemon edge, the fool’s sword
that pierces unnecessary armor
& chisels butter.
Let it be, then, for it fashions stars
& engenders pearls —
a foolishness, a scaramouche,
when one should know better.
(Should one?) What is better?
Comfort is a paltry thing.

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

(El hacedor de juegos/The Maker of Games by Rafael Jesús González,
Casa Editorial, San Francisco 1977-78; Author’s © copyrights)