Saturday, January 31, 2015

riverbabble 26, Winter 2015


Artichoke by Christopher Novak

riverbabble 26


Liz Dolan:
         When a Lovely Flame Dies   

William Doreski:
         Fire Fox
         Moonlight, Fox Skull, and Mountains

Richard Fein:
          Neither Whiff of Cat nor Sight of Wicked Witch
          The Ethics of Fallen Apples

Rafael Jesús González:
           Advertencia al Hombre / Warning to Man
           Luna plena en verano de sequía / Full Moon in a Dry Summer

Tobey Kaplan:
          At Feather River
          Hotel Calcutta

Janell Moon:
          Water Meant for the Body's Care When the Drowned Days Weigh Her Down
          Red Girl

Christopher Mulrooney:
          look at the money

Sheryl L. Nelms:
          Chicken Canning Time in West Texas
          Coyote Hunting in Kansas

Robert Pesich:
          Chinese lanterns in a shadowbox
          Picking fruit along the road

dn simmers:
          When They Ceased

Virginia Barrett:   Falcon

Amy Neill Bebergal:   The Battle of Balls Bluff

Gary Beck:    I.D. Tags

Pamela Brenman:    The Stone Speaks

Suzanne Bruce:    January Pruning

jd daniels:   No Longer Endangered?

Stuart Dodds:   To the Almighty

KJ Hannah Greenberg:   First Showing

Kirk Lumpkin:    Recycling Center in El Cerrito

Justice Morríghan:   Sleeping With the New Resistance

JB Mulligan:   ballade

Anita S. Pulier:   One Poet Too Many

Armando Rendón:   Ode to Billie

Amy Ballard Rich:   Broken Ice

Tom Sheehan:   Evening of the Falcon

B.L.P. Simmons:   Falcon

John Swain:   Spearfish Canyon

David Welper:   Poem

Anne Whitehouse:   Bookends


Aryan Kaganof:   The Necrologist

Larry Lefkowitz:   Six Gun Dalton

Garrett Murphy:   The Stongstress of Saturday Afternoon at the Movies

Garrett Rowlan:   Hoop Schemes

James Shaffer:   The Silent Sentinel

Tom Sheehan:   The Falcon and a Peach Can

Flash Fiction

Tony Press:
           Beneath a December Moon
           Natural Healing

David Spicer:
           Poetry Wall

Lester L. Weil:
           Almost Adam and Eve
           "It Don't Matter"   In the vernacular, a dismissive phrase

Sharon Coleman:  Post-War Circus

Robert Masterson:   Cookie in the Picture

Tom Sheehan:   Once Upon a Timely Moment

Alice Whittenburg:   What the Dogs Knew


Christopher Novak:  Artichoke

Never about the runaway wife coming back, however much devoted to the absentee. The face at the window! Judge of his astonishment when he finally did breast the tape and the awful truth dawned upon him anent his better half, wrecked in his affections. You little expected me but I've come to stay and make a fresh start. There she sits, a grasswidow, at the selfsame fireside. Believes me dead, rocked in the cradle of the deep.

                                                                    JAMES JOYCE, Ulysses, p.510. 16, 428-434.

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2nd printing
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Leila Rae, editor

Saturday, January 24, 2015

March for Real Climate Leadership Feb. 7


------Climate Change, Is it a Poem?

The Arctic ice melts,
the oceans rise,
droughts more intense & prolonged,
hurricanes & floods more terrible
in five-hundred years everywhere
& some blind by misfortune
or through stubbornness will say,
“What changes? There is no change.”
& others say, “We are not responsible.
It is God's fault.”
The leaders bought with the same coin
do little here, less there
& the Earth remains wounded
healing as it can
demolishing perverse humanity.

-------------------------------------© Rafael Jesús González 2015

-----Cambio climático ¿poema es?

Se derrite el hielo del Ártico,
suben los mares,
sequías más intensas y prologadas,
huracanes e inundaciones más terribles
en quinientos años dondequiera
y algunos ciegos por desgracia
o por terca voluntad dicen —
¿Cuáles cambios? No hay cambio alguno.
Y otros dicen — No somos responsables.
Es cosa de Dios.
Los líderes comprados con la misma moneda
hacen poco aquí, menos allá
y sigue herida la Tierra
sanándose como pueda
arrasando con la perversa humanidad.

--------------------------------------------© Rafael Jesús González 2015

Wednesday, January 21, 2015





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 2015



---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 2015

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Martin Luther King Jr. (1/15/29 - 4/4/68)

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 2015

--------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 2015

Martin Luther King Jr.
by Tony Spina

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Friends of the San Francisco Library reading Thurs. Jan. 22


invite you to a reading featuring

Rafael Jesús González

Sarah Menefee

Thursday, January 22, 2015

6:30 P.M.


Fort Mason, Building C

2 Marina Blvd. 

San Francisco, California

free to the public

(415) 771-1076, 


Monday, January 5, 2015

Epiphany — 12th Day

- -

------------------ 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 2015

Adoration of the Magi, Andrea Mantegna 1495-1505


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 2015

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

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


Sunday, January 4, 2015

Full moon: Musings on a Night of Full Moon


Reflexiones en noche de luna llena

Esta noche de luna tan grande y brillante que casi opaca el fulgor del lucero nos hospeda suntuosamente el rey. Tan brillante es la luz que mis dos compañeros se han puesto a jugar ajedrez bajo los cielos. Cansado observo sus movidas, sus dedos finos y fuertes tiernamente levantando y poniendo cada figurita delicadamente labrada de hueso, sea torre o peón contra el caballo o alfil del otro. No le entiendo al juego; creo que tal vez se inventó para mentes más ágiles que la mía.

Pienso de nuestro viaje que duro ha sido. Mañana harán once días. Pasamos por zonas de guerra y pueblos tan pobres que abundan los bandidos. Siempre encontramos abrigo que por pobre que fuera rico era en hospitalidad.

Esta noche ávido fue el rey por saber que nos traía de tan lejos y después de contarle todo lo que sabíamos nos retiramos y mis amigos empezaron el juego — manos finas moviendo exquisitas piezas de hueso — reyes y damas, afiles, torres, caballos, peones intentos en la conquista.

Me imagino que se perturba el rey por lo que le contamos. Pienso en el viaje y de lo que vimos — reyes, reinas que con sus obispos, sumisos a pesar de soberbios de sus castillos mandar a sus caballeros y peones a la conquista. El juego no es limpio — el sufrir, la destrucción. Terrible. ¿Qué mano fina mueve a estos reyes y damas, alfiles, torres, caballos, peones a la conquista y la guerra?

Pienso en el viaje que ya se arrima a su meta; nos lo indica la luz. Esta criatura que buscamos ¿cómo gobernará? Su política ¿qué será? Pienso que tal vez en lugar del incienso más bien le hubiera traído un bello juego de ajedrez.

© Rafael Jesús González 2015


Musings on a Night of Full Moon

This night of a moon so big and bright that it almost dims the brilliance of the star, the king sumptuously hosts us. So bright is the light that my two companions have sat to play chess under the heavens. Tired, I observe their moves, their fingers fine and strong tenderly lifting and setting each little figure delicately carved of bone, be it rook or pawn against knight or bishop of the other. I do not understand the game; I believe that perhaps it was invented for minds more agile than mine.

I think of our journey which has been hard. Tomorrow it will be eleven days. We passed through war zones and towns so poor that bandits abounded. We always found shelter that poor though it were it was rich in hospitality.

Tonight the king was keen to know what brought us from so far, and after telling him all that we knew, we retired and my friends began the game — fine hands moving exquisite pieces of bone — kings and queens, bishops, rooks, knights, pawns intent on conquest.

I imagine that the king is perturbed by what we told him. I think of the journey and of what we saw — kings, queens with their bishops submissive though arrogant from their castles send their knights and peons to conquest and war. The game is not clean — the suffering, the destruction. Terrible. What fine hand moves these kings, queens, bishops, rooks, knights, pawns to conquest and war?

I think of the journey that now nears its goal; the light tells us. This child we seek, how will he govern. His politics, what will they be? I think that perhaps instead of the frankincense I would have done better to bring him a beautiful set of chess.

© Rafael Jesús González 2015


Friday, January 2, 2015

Fightin' Words reading, Tuesday, February 10


invites the public to a free reading
from their ground-breaking anthology
Fightin’ Words: 25 Years of Provocative Poetry & Prose from “The Blue-Collar” PEN

Tueday, February 10, 2015

6:30 — 9:00 PM

Berkeley City College Auditorium

2050 Center Street

Berkeley, California 

Award-winning authors Lucille Lang Day, Jack & Adelle Foley, Rafael Jesús González, Kirk Lumpkin, Mary Mackey, devorah major, Kim McMillon, Claire Ortalda, 
Tony Rodríguez, Floyd Salas, & 
Richard Silberg will read.  
Sharon Coleman will emcee this event. 
This is an opportunity to meet many of the diverse cultural voices that are highlighted in this groundbreaking new work edited by Judith Cody, Kim McMillon & Claire Ortalda.
For more information, please call (510) 681-5652.
Advance Praise for Fightin’ Words:

“A tide of swelling voices that dare to speak up 

against the con-fines of official narratives 
and connect with the growing silenced masses.”— 
Genny Lim, author of Paper Gods and Rebels
“Literary artists who otherwise would be below 

the radar of exposure have PEN Oakland to thank 
for relentless cultural activism on our behalf.” — 
Eugene B. Redmond, founding editor, Drumvoices Revue
“Lyrical insight and the arc of human thought 

for a new and possible world 
create this amazing anthology.” — 
Nina Serrano, host of KPFA’s Open Book: Poet to Poet

Publication Date:        October 6, 2014
ISBN:                          978-0-615-96797-4 Paperback:                   
Pages Price:                  6x9, 200          $18.00 
Distributors:                Ingram and Baker & Taylor or direct from the 
Publishers:------------- PEN Oakland Publications & Heyday Books



Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year 2015

- 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 2015

(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, el tiempo encarnado 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 and dance the new count;
ax down the obstacles
to our living,
trample the obstacles
to our loving,
and 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
and from your conch blow
the primordial sound of what is.

----------© Rafael Jesús González 2015

(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.]