Saturday, April 28, 2012

Benjamin Ernest Linder (July 7, 1959 - April 28, 1987)

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.............Sowers of Visions

                                   for Benjamin Ernest Linder


                   Ours is a time to scatter seeds of vision,
                   bring these images, the hues, and cries of
                   people together into that one light.


                                                            John J. Coveney



I ache for what the world could be
         my friend said, a man who can see.
He speaks for us vision sowers
                       us farmers of dreams.
The world is hungry,
        for corn & wheat, yes,
                      but also for rainbows
                      & such signs.
I have a dream
         another man once said
         & his dream feeds us still.
But most walk asleep
to the edge of the cliff
& step on the dark hem of death
but do not honor her.
The dreams of our sleep
are cramped, nightmares of fear
& in our breasts our hearts
shrivel hard like old prunes,
the honey in our blood, dusky vinegar.
      It is time we woke screaming
crying the name of our Mother,
      seeking one another's arms,
            throwing off our betrayal.
Hey there, brother —
                  hey, sister —
Awake!
            There is work to be done
                  to be done in joy
& the time be come for visions
          for new dreams
                 green as new corn,
& and the cold metal of our guns & bayonets
        yearns for cleansing
              in the earth of new fields.






                                                                               © Rafael Jesús González 2012



(Second Coming, Vol. 14 no. 1, 1986; author's copyrights)









                Sembradores de visiones
                                            a Benjamin Ernest Linder

               Ours is a time to scatter seeds of vision,
               bring these images, the hues, and cries of
               people together into that one light.

                                                       John J. Coveney


Me duele por lo que el mundo pudiera ser
        dijo mi amigo, hombre capaz de ver.
Habla por nosotros sembradores de visiones
                 nosotros labradores de sueños.
El mundo sufre hambre,
     por maíz y trigo, sí,
            pero también por arcos iris
            y tales señas.
Tengo un sueño
      otro hombre dijo una vez
      y su sueño nos alimenta aun.
Pero la mayoría andan dormidos
a la orilla del precipicio
y pisan el borde oscuro de la muerte
pero no la honran.
Los sueños de nuestro dormir
están apretados, pesadillas de temor
y en nuestros pechos los corazones
se encogen duros como ciruelas viejas,
la miel en la sangre, oscuro vinagre.
       Es tiempo que despertemos gritando
clamando el nombre de nuestra Madre,
       buscando los brazos del uno al otro,
             arrojando nuestra traición.
¡Oye, hermano! —
                              ¡Oye hermana —
¡Despierta!
        Hay trabajo que hacer
               que hacer con alegría
y el tiempo ha llegado para sueños nuevos
             verdes como el maíz nuevo,
y el metal frío de nuestros rifles y bayonetas
       anhela limpiarse
              en la tierra de campos nuevos.






                                                            © Rafael Jesús González 2012










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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Occupy SF Cinco de Mayo reading Saturday, May 5th

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OCCUPY SF —
 poems from the movement

Cinco de Mayo Celebration of Freedom

RED POPPY ART HOUSE

2698 Folsom St. at 23rd St.

San Francisco, California

Saturday, May 5, 2012

doors at 7:30 PM,
show at 8:00 PM

$5-$10 sliding scale

Contributing poets

Francisco X. Alarcón, Rafael Jesús González,

Gerardo Pacheco, Neeli Cherkovski, 
 Dottie Payne, 

Virginia Barrett & Bobby Coleman (co-editors)

will read selected work from the anthology.

Joining them will be special musical guest

Gerardo Omar Marín on flute.

All proceeds from book sales benefit Occupy.




http://www.occupyanthology.com

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day

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Si no hablamos


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

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


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



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




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



© Rafael Jesús González 2012

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



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





If We Do Not Speak


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

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


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



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



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




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



© Rafael Jesús González 2012

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



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

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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Taurus

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-

-----------Tauro


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



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




----------------Taurus

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




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

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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Sunday

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---En Domingo de Pascuas


Cuentan que en este día
determinado por el baile
de la Luna, el Sol, la Tierra,
---hace pocos siglos
un dios muerto resucitó.

No cosa inaudita
---que un dios hiciera
pero, no como su género
---y superando a su padre,
era a la vez bondadoso y justo.

Murió, dicen, traicionado.

Pero resucitó, dicen sus fieles,
y,
---supongo por lo que veo,
---------sobrevive traicionado.




----------© Rafael Jesús González 2012
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------On Easter Sunday


They tell that on this day
set by the dance
of the Moon, the Sun, the Earth,
a few centuries past
a dead god rose.

Not a thing unheard of
for a god to do,
but unlike his kind
and out-doing his father,
he was both kind and just.

He died, they say, betrayed.

But he rose, his faithful say,
and,
from what I see,
survives betrayed.




-----© Rafael Jesús González 2012



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Friday, April 6, 2012

Full moon: The Moon Knows

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-




----------La luna sabe


Sabe la luna
que nuestros dioses
-----(como nosotros)
suelen gustar de la sangre —
prefieren la sangre del cordero
a la dulzura de la fruta
y les agrada verla
untada en los postes de las puertas
para que los ángeles nos reconozcan.
Tanto les gusta
que hasta la exigen
de sus únicos hijos.


Y lo celebramos, lo cantamos
y la luna sigue brillando.





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



--------The Moon Knows


The moon knows
that our gods
------(like us)
are wont to like blood —
they prefer the blood of the lamb
to the sweetness of the fruit,
& it pleases them to see it
smeared on the door-posts
so that the angels recognize us.
So much does it please them
that they even demand it
of their only children.

& we celebrate it, sing it,
& the moon keeps shining.





--------© Rafael Jesús González 2012







Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Raven Chronicles April 2012



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FROM THE RAVEN'S ROOST, April 2012


UPCOMING EVENTS:

READING: APRIL 20TH, FRIDAY, 7 P.M.
JACK STRAW STUDIO, 4261 Roosevelt Way N.E.
(Corner of Roosevelt & 43rd)
Raven Chronicles Presents: "Matters of the Spirit"
A LIVING MAGAZINE FORMAT
Reading & CD release party
Contact Info: 206.941.2955

Readers include, among others:

CULTURAL GEOGRAPHY/BEYOND BORDERS
Anna Balint: discussing/reading the work of poet, visual artist, social justice and environmental activist Rafael Jesús González.
Jean Musser: poetry

ODES TO PERSONS, PLACES & THINGS
ESTHER ALTSHUL HELFGOTT (along with participants in her "Poeming the Silence" class): Essay, Memorial to poet Crysta Casey
M. ANNE SWEET: poetry

MATTERS OF THE SPIRIT
Elizabeth Alexander: non-fiction
Ginny Banks: artist/essay
Jennifer Berney: non-fiction
Anita Feng: poetry
Thomas Hubbard: poetry
Carol Levin: poetry
Michael Magee: poetry
Tim Sherry: poetry
Ruth Whitney: poetry

RAVEN HOUSEPARTY: MAY 27, 3pm
Elizabeth (Beth) Myhr's house

532-30th Avenue, Seattle.
Print Issue of "Matters of the Spirit available;
Drawing/auction of Artwork
Music

UPCOMING RAVEN WORKSHOPS
JACK STRAW FOUNDATION, Raven Office,
909 NE 43rd Street, Room 205
Seattle

1. Esther Helgott Workshop on May 6, 1-3:30 p.m., $35.
Writing the Alzheimer’s Experience: A Workshop for Caregivers and Friends of People with Alzheimer’s Disease

Write to develop a greater understanding of what caregivers experience. Whether your loved one is at home or in a facility - three thousand miles away or next door - writing will help you counter isolation and erase the stigma associated with Alzheimer’s Disease. Prior writing experience isn’t necessary. We’ll write in any form – memoir, poem, essay, fragments, lists, whatever you discover. We’ll use writing triggers from Beyond Forgetting: Poetry and Prose about Alzheimer’s Disease, edited by Holly J. Hughes, Kent State University Press, 2009.

2. Donna Miscolta, workshop on flash fiction, June 9th.
Details to be announced.


3. Nilki Benitez, from World Writers Alliance, will teach a workshop on Book Reviewing, later in the Summer.
Details to be announced.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Memorial/Celebration dedicated to Jody Aliesan
Details to be announced.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Phoebe Bosche
Raven Chronicles
editors@ravenchronicles.org
www.ravenchronicles.org
Mailing: 12346 Sand Point Way N.E.
Seattle, WA 98125
Office: Jack Straw Building,
909 NE 43rd St, Suite 205
Seattle, WA 98105-5841
Phone: 206-941-2955
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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Palm Sunday

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Pagan Bearing Palm Branch

(discovered in the last century, the Gospel according to Alexias the Athenian)


I have traveled throughout the lands under Caesar Augustus and the world is much the same; the rich rule and justice is an uncertain thing and there is more war than peace. Here among these people who call themselves Israel, it is no different. I have studied many gods and what is said of them and this god of the Jews seems but little different from the rest, except for his aloneness. They call me gentile here which means that I believe in many gods. The Jews believe in one only, a male of whom they are prohibited of making an image, or even saying his name. Yet when they tell of him he seems much like our own Zeus or Jupiter — jealous, vengeful, just, arbitrary, blood-thirsty, kind to his own, but unlike Zeus, without a goddess to keep him sweet. Indeed, unlike our Zeuz, he does not seem to like women much. They call their god Father, but how is there a father without a mother unless it be holy Gaea, the Earth herself? And in truth, she has her Sun. These folk do not paint nor make clay or wood or stone images of their god but idolize instead their strange ideas of him.

Now I find myself in Yerusalem for the Spring celebration of the Jews. Yerusalem is lovely this time of year and festive and I cannot but be joyful holding a palm branch someone thrust into my hand. A goodly crowd is welcoming a young prophet I have been observing for some odd years. Yeshua they call him, Iesous in our Greek. Son of Yoseph the carpenter, he comes from the countryside, the village of Nazareth, having left behind his craft to teach. He is an unusual man by any count and wonders have been ascribed to him such as changing water into wine, and walking upon water, and raising up the dead, casting out demons, healing, feeding a multitude.

I do not know. I have been present at only one of such purported wonders, a time he is supposed to have fed the crowd. He spoke atop a small hill and people came to hear him from about the countryside, a good sized crowd (though not the myriads that have grown with each telling.) Yes, he spoke long and the folk overstayed their intentions and had to eat. But let us remember, these are country folk, peasants and fishermen, who know well enough to carry food in their knapsacks when they go on an outing, coarse bread, salted or dried fish, fruit. All in all, I dare say there was enough to share. It is said this Iesous multiplied but seven loaves of bread and a few fishes to feed them all. Perhaps; the Earth is full of wonders, but I doubt it. If miracle you can call it, it was enough that he opened the hearts and generosity of the people to share their food with those that had none. I suppose that is miracle enough.

This Iesous, unlike the god of his people, likes women much and frequents their company, consorting with women of even the most lowly and despised among the Jews, like the Samaritans and such. Indeed particularly close to him is one Maryam, a woman of Magdala by some venomous tongues called a prostitute, a social outcast here, not like the holy women in our temples devoted to Divine Aphrodite. I doubt not but there is an amorous tie between Iesous and this Maryam the Magdalene, a woman of prominence who has nothing of the whore and is much respected.

Still, it is apparent that he likes men just as well. He always has about him a small group of favorites that hang upon every word he says, worshiping the ground he walks upon. Of these, his very favorite is a comely youth named Yohanan, for obvious reasons called “the beloved.” It is apparent that they are enamored each of the other. These men are for the most part simple folk, peasants, fishermen, artisans, tradesmen, illiterate, though some I am sure have some learning, certainly at least in the lore of their religion, some like Iesous probably village rabbis.

They do not have much, indeed this Iesous is not much popular among the rich, the polite classes. He consorts too much with women and children, with the despised, the poor, the homeless, the sick, the unlearned, the outcasts. The fact is that to speak for the unfortunate this Jew puts to test the laws of his ancient cult. I have seen him save a poor woman, caught in adultery, from being stoned to death, according to the law of the Hebrews, by shaming the villagers with their own transgressions. He preaches that the homeless must be sheltered, that the sick must be healed, that the ignorant must be taught, that the foreigner and outcast must be embraced, the prisoner visited. The bone of his teaching is love; the meat is justice and peace.

I have spoken with his mother Maryam and his brothers Yacob and Yoses and Shimon and Yehudhah, and his sisters, his family whom he has left for his preaching. Some say that they think him daft, that his kinsmen try to restrain him as mad. I doubt it (indeed, I believe some of his brothers form part of his inner circle.) I have heard him speak and he makes much sense. He speaks well and strongly, but there is a sting in his words to the powerful. Iesous does not hesitate to call them hypocrites, unfaithful stewards, and such. In his eyes, they are not so much the keepers of the law, but abusers of it. And indeed it would appear so. They grow fat on the suffering of others and do not honor our mother Gaea The Earth.

Another thing is that he does not much believe in the virtue of labor, of work to produce what serves no purpose but to produce and produce. I have heard him say that the Earth already holds enough to sustain us pointing out that the flowers of the fields are more beautiful than the luxurious vestments of Shelomon their legendary king. Iesous certainly respects the honest work of the peasants, the fishermen, the artisans, the tradesmen, but he abhors usury, greed. I have seen him in anger upset the counting tables of the money changers in the temple, which caused much outrage among the bankers and such, not to mention the priests. I have heard him tell the young heir of a wealthy family that it is more difficult for a rich man to enter paradise than it is for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. (I believe they call the narrowest gate to the city “The Needle’s Eye.”) No, the rich and the powerful do not much like Iesous.

He is a gentle man this young preacher who is fond of teaching through stories whose principle message is: “you were invited to party but you did not come.” I would not put it past him, if he could, to change water into wine. He can certainly change the hearts of his listeners to something sweeter and more good. Just as he tries to change the image of Jehova (the unspoken name of their harsh god) into the gentler, kinder image of his own. Although there is little effeminate about this Iesous still there is much that is feminine in his nature. I believe he is trying to give his god the one thing Yehova really lacks — a mother, or a sister, or a wife.

He treads a dangerous path, does Iesous, tampering with the stern, one-dimensional image of his nation’s god. Judge not lest thou be judged, he says, but I fear he is much judged already. You without sin cast the first stone, he challenges, and I fear there are already many all too willing to stone him. It is dangerous to broaden the dimensions of the gods, especially those that exist only in people’s heads, defined in books, their laws minutely prescribed (our own Socrates was killed accused of contempt for the gods.) And Iesous does just that. I have heard him say that one commandment supersedes all law: love god above all else and your neighbor as you do yourself. And he did not specify only your Jewish neighbor, but included all us gentiles too. Another time, he said that the law was made for humankind and not humankind for the law. Dangerous stuff.

What the powerful really fear is that a Socrates, a Iesous, and others of their kind may incite the people to question, to think. Thought leads to judgment, judgment to demand. And demands perhaps to action. Before a people aroused, even Caesar must quake. The meek just may inherit the Earth, as Iesous says, but first the meek must find their voice and speak. He has just said that if these should remain silent, the stones themselves would cry out.

The day is beautiful and indeed I do not mind holding this palm branch. I think I too am a bit in love with this beautiful man. There is so much kindness and joy in him — and truly so much courage. The crowd cries its hosannas, hosannas jubilantly as he enters the city to celebrate their ancient Spring celebration, the ritual feast marking their freedom from slavery. It is a joyous time and the people are all glad that it is Spring. There are flowers among the palm fronds strewn before the hoofs of the little gray ass Iesous rides through the street. By Kore, it is a glorious day to be alive. We smile at one another and shake hands and hug — Jews and the Greeks, Egyptians, Syrians, Arabs, Romans, among them, representative of all us gentiles. Many carry palm fronds only because someone pressed them into their hands and they only want to join in the festivity. It is a glorious day on which to wave palm branches.

Still, I worry for him. He speaks his truth freely and the priests, the rich, the powerful are far from pleased. What if more people listened to him, truly listened? What if they bespoke and followed what he teaches? What if truly the people desired justice and peace? What if? Then, by the Graces, truly it would be glorious and I would be content to wave a palm frond every day I live. But I am not an idolatrous priest, nor am I rich, nor powerful — greed and lust for power is a terrible disease. And there are the fearful, the superstitious, the stupid. The people are of divided opinion; some would die for him, some would stone him for blasphemy, some teeter, change opinion one moment to the next. One hears rumors and many are not pleased. This Iesous, I do not think he will live long. He treads a dangerous path. I, the Hellene, the gentile, the pagan, fear for him. The rich and the powerful, they do not love him much.

But it is about us, the people that I wonder. Our rulers indeed are hypocrites — liars and cheats, thieves and scoundrels, war-mongers, that hold the Earth for little and twist the law that would protect the common good to their own advantage, growing evermore more rich and powerful at our expense. And yet, several times already the crowd itself would have killed Iesous. It is not good by any measure.

Today we gather and wave palm branches and yell, “Hosanna! Hosanna!” in joy of Spring, and Iesous, and each other, but this joy that should be the root of our empowerment tomorrow will dissipate and our burdens will not be a grain of wheat more light. Unless, unless finding our voice we demand justice and peace and veneration of holy mother Earth.

These people say humankind was expelled from an earthly paradise and that we must look for a paradise on the other side of death. But it is here, in this life that we hunger and thirst, that we bear the cold and the heat, that we suffer the results of ignorance and fear, that we war and kill one another — and above all, it is here that we love, enjoy the sun and the waters, and the taste of bread and of wine, and the ecstasy of the dance and of music and of art. It is here that we live and if suffering there is, so is it only here that we know what there is to know of joy and happiness.

No, we were never exiled from paradise. We have only mucked it up with our carelessness and greed for wealth and lust for power, and war. Iesous speaks of the kingdom of his Father-God, but the justice and mercy and love he prescribes are of the Earth and no where else.

How long will we tolerate to be ruled by thieves and liars, hypocrites and warmongers? The Hellene, the Athenian in me asks this, impatient with the acquiescence of us, the people. The meek must speak, for our silence is a great betrayal. I worry for us. Will we listen and create his peaceable kingdom of the just and the kind? If enough of us want it, who can stop us? It is up to us.

I do not think Iesous will live long. The rich and the powerful, they do not love him much.


© Rafael Jesús González 2012


(from a sermon given by the author, Palm Sunday 2002,
at The Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples founded by Dr. Howard Thurman,
San Francisco, California, at the invitation of its Pastor Dr. Dorsey Blake;
Author’s copyrights.)


April fool

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


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

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

con eso basta.



-----© Rafael Jesús González 2012





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


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

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

it is enough.



------© Rafael Jesús González 2012


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


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