Sunday, July 24, 2016

Before the Democratic Convention


On the eve of the Democratic Convention convenes, I trust that it will be very different from what I saw of the Republican convention, a dark circus of buffoons and clowns not in the least amusing, leaving one gravely doubtful of their intelligence and sanity but not at all of their lack of compassion and decency. It was a fest of bigotry, racism, misogyny, homophobia, chauvinism, bellicosity, arrogance, fear, hate, and lies. Not a pretty sight or sound. I forget how long it has been since it was respectable to be Republican.

But, to be truthful, for a politician to call himself or herself a Democrat is no indication of sound values either, so far right has the Democratic party drifted corroded by neo-liberalism, its policies often little different from those of the neo-cons. For that reason we should expect, nay, demand that the Democratic convention be contentious though certainly with more civility and dignity than what we saw in Cleveland, but contentious still; there must be debate.

Sen. Bernie Sanders has called for us to stand behind Sec. Hillary Clinton and so we must. We must stand behind her to back her against the Trump/Pense menace but also to push her to leave off or significantly modify her neo-liberal policies.

Her choice for Vice-Presidential running mate “centrist” (read neo-liberal) Sen. Tim Kaine, who favors Wall Street and supported the TPP and such “Free Trade” treaties, is not encouraging. (Though she could have done worse with Agriculture Sec. Tom Vilsack on her short-list, an advocate for Monsanto who also supported the TPP, reflecting her neo-liberal values.) But we must nevertheless elect her to thwart an outright, brass-knuckled, oppressive fascist regime under Don Trump.

Of this let us be very clear: we must elect her overwhelmingly, not as a mandate to neo-liberal policies, but as an unequivocal rejection of the Trump/Pence threat and to buy us time and space in which to carry on our grassroots revolution we began with Bernie Sanders’ campaignIn campaigning for her election, let us be clear that we are campaigning for the issues that we demand she promote whether they appear on the party platform or not:

Vote for Hillary Clinton & Stop the TPP

Vote for Hillary Clinton 
& a 15$ an Hour Minimum Wage

Vote for Hillary Clinton & Just Immigration Reform

Vote for Hillary Clinton & Fight Climate Change

Vote for Hillary Clinton 
& Free Public Education Through College

Vote for Hillary Clinton & Ban Private Prisons

Vote for Hillary Clinton & Expand Social Security

Vote for Hillary Clinton & Universal Health Care

Vote for Hillary Clinton 
& Control the Banks & Wall Street

Let us make no mistake; it will not be easy. Trump taps into a deep and extensive vein of misogyny in the U.S. psyche that will be leveled against her, and of a racism that made Pres. Barack Obama the target of more threats than any other president in U.S. history. This is why we cannot risk the temptation to vote for a third party candidate, a write-in, or not vote at all — to do so might soothe the conscience but might lose us the struggle. Many of you disagree with me, I know, but consider carefully before casting your vote.

It will not be easy for we come to the struggle in grief and justified rage that what we most love is threatened and at stake. It is about great human suffering here and throughout the world. Black lives do matter; and Latino lives, indigenous lives, Moslem lives, women’s lives; the lives of our homosexual and transgender brothers/sisters matter; as do the lives of those who die for lack of food, shelter, health care; the lives of those who die in our perpetual wars in the interests of the 1% matter. The life of the Earth herself matters. Our joy is compromised and our anger is justified. Let it empower us to take action but not corrupt the action we take that must be firmly rooted in love and compassion.

It will not be easy, but let us not be immobilized by fear or loathing. Let us wear all our pins, be steadfast in our love and compassion and do what we must do with as much joy as we can garner, with as much color and song and dance as we are able, for only light can conquer darkness. Let the gloom, the sneer, the twisted smirk on our opponents’ faces be their undoing. If we make our revolution a celebration of life, who in their right minds could resist? Let us keep in mind the things we love and struggle to defend — and celebrate them.

I will be glad to vote for a woman president; I only wish it were a woman I could support whole-heartedly and with full trust. But, hey, we are forced to what choices we have and must do the best we can with them. Let it be our very best. In our love is our power, in our joy is our strength, in our hope  our endurance, in our determination our victory.

Rafael Jesús González

Berkeley, California



Thursday, July 21, 2016





El león, ojos de carnalina,
colmillos, garras de sardónice,
lleva en el pecho corazón de rubí
que guarda el fuego fijo del valor.
-----Anhela devorar al sol
-----y mudarlo en oro
que surgiera por sus venas
como río caliente de luz.

----------------© Rafael Jesús González 2016



 The lion, carnelian eyes,
fangs, claws of sardonyx,
carries in his breast a ruby heart
that holds the steadfast fires of courage.
------It desires to devour the sun
------and turn it into gold
that would run in his veins
like a hot river of light.

----------------© Rafael Jesús González 2016


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

full moon: Lunar Poem


----------Poema lunar 

No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted 
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart. 

--------------------------------~ Billy Collins 

Como guante perdido
que el hijo del guantero
distraído dejó bajo el escritorio
o las últimas gotas de vino
vueltas vinagre en la jarra
del matemático, las migas
de pan comidas por ratones,
el rodar de las lunas llenas
por las noches, los meses, los años
gasta pasiones, sus recuerdos
declaraciones de amor extraviadas
en la oficina de cartas muertas
causando al escriba que prefiera
que no y cayera en la locura

-------------------------© Rafael Jesús González 2016

------------Lunar Poem

No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted 
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart. 

--------------------------------~ Billy Collins

Like a lost glove
the glover's son
distracted left under the desk
or the last drops of wine
turned vinegar in the jug
of the mathematician, the crumbs
of bread eaten by mice,
the rolling of the full moons
through nights, months, years
wears passions, their memories
declarations of love lost
in the dead letters office
causing the scribe to prefer
not to and fall into madness. 

------------------------© Rafael Jesús González 2016


The Democratic Convention Comes Fast Upon Us

The Democratic Convention Comes Fast Upon Us
(and the Republican Convention Is In Full Swing)

Last week Sen. Bernie Sanders endorsed Sec. Hillary Clinton as the Democratic Party candidate for the presidency of the United States of America. And I am afraid that many of my fellow supporters of Sanders have seen this as betrayal of our revolution; our revolution because it was our money, our calls, our canvassing, our rallies, our use of the internet that brought Sanders so close to the nomination; our revolution because it has not been about Bernie or about Hillary but about what most concerns us - justice for all, peace, the very Earth itself.

I applaud Bernie Sanders for endorsing Hillary, not because I am happy about her candidacy (a neo-liberal and a "hawk" whose policies have been difficult to distinguish from a neo-con's) but because the Democratic Party must come together as a united front against the terrifying threat of Donald Trump, an outright fascist of the most virulent kind hardly important in himself but more for what he represents and calls forth in the U.S. psyche: a corrosive and divisive racism that has infected the culture and the nation since its beginning.

I understand those friends and acquaintances who say that they would vote for Jill Stein of the Green Party, or write-in Bernie Sanders, or not vote at all so objectionable to them is Clinton (a neo-liberal the press is fond of calling "centrist," the Democratic Party having drifted, been pushed, dragged so far to the right that center is now damn smack in the middle of right field.) They say that in consciousness they cannot bring themselves to vote for Hillary.

But in conscience we must vote for and elect Hillary Clinton as president, not to do so would be the height of irresponsibility and foolishness. Let us be very clear, democracy has been a national myth from the very inception of this U.S. of A. Slavery (and its attendant racism) is inseparable from Capitalism. Our choices have ever been between the lesser of evils as long as uncontrolled Capitalism rules. And so it is now - absolute, brutish, neo-con fascism under the Trump or a less rigid neo-liberal fascism under Clinton. A third party under the present circumstances is a dream devoutly to be wished. Of course all lives matter just as all men/women are created equal - but, let us face it, some lives in actual practice matter more than others, some men/women are created less equal than others.

Justice under the system, as Cornel West maintains is a mockery. Where he and I part company is in his avoidance of a distasteful choice between neo-con Trump and neo-liberal Clinton in saying that he would vote for admirable but unviable Dr. Jill Stein. I see it as an avoidance of a very hard but clear choice, an extremely dangerous course to take and espouse at this point in the elections. Conscience without prudence can be indulgent, and indulgence at this moment of crisis would be disastrous.

Rafael Jesús González & Cornel West 
Bernie Sanders rally, San Francisco 6/6/16

 That said, let us recognize and be glad that our efforts in supporting Bernie Sanders have given us the leverage to begin the necessary reform of the Democratic Party, to bring Hillary Clinton closer to our positions, to make the Democratic Party platform conform more closely to our democratic ideals and concerns. Supporting Clinton does not put an end to our revolution; electing Clinton is now our best option for carrying it forward, certainly not the ideal option, but the best one we have given how things are.

Let us recognize the past, let us learn from it, but do not let us be burdened and incapacitated by it. Revolution means a belief that things, and people, can change. Hillary Clinton is no different; she has shown that her positions can change and modify at least in what she says. Let us hold her to it. She too can be part of our revolution. Ours is a revolution of consciousness, of hearts and minds. So let us embrace and unify as a party - and change it to become truly democratic.

The Democratic Convention is fast upon us. It must be a family affair to which we bring our revolution. Certainly there will be contention; every family has its differences. It will not exactly be a love-fest of the ideal family of popular culture, but it must not be the dark circus of the dysfunctional family. Let us test and push, but most definitely let us fully support Hillary Clinton as the best path toward our goals and bring to bear all the organizing, the commitment, the unity, the vision that carried Bernie Sanders to the very threshold of a nomination to elect Hillary Clinton - and the most progressive representatives and senators. Let our campaign be not so much for her as for what we would like our government to be. After all, our revolution is not about Bernie or about Hillary or even about the Trump; it is about realizing a democracy in which justice and compassion prevail, a society that respects and cares for the Earth and the life she bears. Our revolution must be waged in love and in joy. Let us celebrate the presidency of a woman, and work hard that her presidency be a good and honorable one. For truly, love trumps hate, and we are stronger together. Let us prove it.

- Rafael Jesús González


Saturday, July 9, 2016

riverbabble 29, summer 2016


Old Railroad Bridge, Great Cacapon, West Virginia by Jim Ross

riverbabble 29


Andrew R. Crow:
         The Author Finds a Home

J. C. Elkin:
          Bryce Canyon: Three Views
          In la Cueva del Indio

Rafael Jesús González:
         Augurio / Augury
         Razón para el divorcio / Grounds for Devorce

Dane Hamann:
         This Was Home

d. n. simmers:
          A Dark Red Dream

Pat Phillips West:
          Last Trip to the Island
          Thin Places

Anne Whitehouse:
          On Mackinac Bridge
          Earthly Paradise

Felice Aull:   Mill Town

Lana Bella:   Poetry Skating Through the Keyhole

Dennis Bernstein:   Night Readings

Suzanne Bruce:   Rural Ways

Barbara P. Campbell:   Poem as Anagram

jd daniels:   The Path Taken

Alexander Devon:   Flossing a Crocodile's Mouth

Raluca Ioanid :   Potatoes!

Larry Lefkowitz:   Paris of Memory

Eileen Malone:   The Muralist

Megan Merchant:   Relief

Edward Mycue:   Great Matters That Re-Acc the Bridge Hope and Re-Make the Rainbow

James B. Nicola:   Causeways

Barbara Ruth:   Croudsourced Projections A Stanford Bop

John Swain:   Indian River

Julene Tripp Weaver:   Traveling Together

Mercedes Webb-Pullman:   Ophelia

Paul Wiegel:   Ascend

Gareth Writer-Davies:   The Bridge at Sonning


Anna Bálint:   The Vicar's Visit

Valerie Brundage:   The Tour of Bridges

Sophie Friis:   The Practical Life

Christopher James:   Her Father's Daughter

Larry Lefkowitz:   Sitting the Cat

Robert Masterson:   The Distance Between Here and There

Fernando Meisenhalter:   Gringo Face

Flash Fiction

jd daniels:   Lifting the Lean

R. A. Duffy:   The Grove

KJ Hannah Greenberg:   Knive-Edge

JB Mulligan:   Yaga

Jon Sindell:   Letter to My Screwtop Friends


Jim Ross:   Connecticut Avenue Bridge


Brian Green:   Review: All Visions of Blind Love by Cynthia Benson  


Jim Ross:  Old Railroad Bridge, Great Cacapon, West Virginia (cover)

Mr Bloom watched curiously, kindly, the lithe black form. Clean to see: the gloss of her sleek hide, the white button under the butt of her tail, the green flashing eyes. He bent down to her, his hands on his knees.
-- Milk for the pussens, he said.
-- Mrkgnao! the cat cried.
They call them stupid. They understand what we say better than we understand them. She understands all she wants to. Vindictive too. Wonder what I look like to her. Height of a tower? No, she can jump me.

                                                             JAMES JOYCE, Ulysses, Episode 4, Calypso, 2465-2476.

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Monday, July 4, 2016

U. S. Independence Day

------------Oh, Say Can You See?

The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate
the growth of private power to a point where it becomes
stronger than their democratic State itself. That, in essence
is Fascism — ownership of government by an individual,
by a group, or by any controlling private power.

---------------------------------President Franklin D. Roosevelt

----A Declaration Revisited

We hold these truths

to be self-evident, they said,

that all men (provided they be

of European descent, not women,

& of a certain wealth)

are created equal,

that they are endowed

by their Creator

with certain unalienable rights

(such as to enslave others, 
take their lands,
& to trash the Earth),

that among these are

Life (for the so privileged),

Liberty (for those who can afford it)

& the pursuit (if they are able)

of Happiness (measured

by how much they consume.)

To this pronouncement they pledged

their lives (?), their fortunes (that part

not stowed away in foreign banks 
& sheltered by tax breaks),

& their Sacred Honor.

-----------------------------------------------© Rafael Jesús González 2016

La libertad de una democracia no es salva si el pueblo tolera
el crecimiento del poder privado hasta al punto en que se hace
más fuerte que su estado democrático mismo. Eso en esencia
es el Fascismo — posesión del gobierno por un individuo,
por un grupo, o por un partido privado dominante.

 ---------------------------- Presidente Franklin D. Roosevelt

------------Declaración repasada


Tenemos estas verdades

de por si evidentes, dijeron,

que todos hombres (con tal que sean

de ascendencia Europea, no mujeres,

y de ciertos bienes)

son creados iguales,

que son dotados

por su Creador

con ciertos derechos inalienables

(tales como los de esclavizar a otros, 
quitarles sus terrenos,
y de destrozar la Tierra),

que entre ellos son

la vida (para los tales privilegiados),

la libertad (para cuales la puedan)

y la búsqueda (si pueden)

de la felicidad (medida

por cuanto consuman.)

A esta declaración comprometieron

sus vidas (?), sus fortunas (esa parte

no metida en bancos extranjeros 
y protegida de impuestos),

y su Honor Sagrado.

----------------------------------© Rafael Jesús González 2016