Thursday, September 29, 2016

Day of the Corn


Centli: maíz

(definición al modo nahua)

El maíz dicen los abuelos, las abuelas 
brota en flor modesta y humilde 
luego su borla roja, penacho de plumas
en su madurez la mazorca
es granos de oro, cuentas de piedra verde.
Pulsera, decían, preciosa,
----------nuestra carne, nuestros huesos.

Sabían los ancianos, ancianas;
lo sabemos nosotros
ahora cuando brujos de mala fe
------de visión equivocada
impulsados por la codicia 
envenenan la semilla sagrada 
con esencia de alacranes
y hacen yerma la milpa.

Despertemos, sublevémonos
hijos, hijas del maíz —
basta de brujos y embusteros —
es nuestras vidas que defendemos,
nuestros sustento, nuestro santo maíz.

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

Centli: Corn
(definition in the Nahua mode)

Corn, say the grandfathers, grandmothers
blooms in a modest, humble flower
then its red tassel, headdress of feathers,
in its ripeness the corn cob
is of grains of gold, beads of green stone.
Bracelet, they said, precious,
----------our flesh, our bones.

The ancients knew it;
we know it
now when sorcerers of bad faith,
------of mistaken vision
poison the sacred seed
driven by greed
poison the sacred seed 
with the essence of scorpions
& make waste the corn field.

Let us awake, rebel,
sons, daughters of the corn —
enough of sorcerers & liars —
it is our lives that we defend,
our sustenance, our holy corn.

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


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

After the Presidential Debate 9/26/16


After the Presidential Debate

Monday night I came home from watching the Clinton-Trump debate with friends fully convinced that we must elect Hillary Clinton President of the United States with an overwhelming majority.

I have made no secret of my displeasure with the choices for president that we have been given. But truly, how often in our lives are we given ideal choices? The dilemmas in our lives between two goods may be bitter sweet and the choice between the good and the bad may hardly be a dilemma at all. But the most wrenching dilemmas are between two bads and we have to weigh which of the two is the better, the less harmful, least painful, more open to change. The choices that we are often forced to make must be pragmatic.

I may not like the choices with which I am faced, but truly, what choices can we expect from the empire? The choice is indeed between bad and worse. What the debate clearly showed was how much better one choice is than is the other.

The very demeanors of the two candidates were enough to highlight the superiority of the one over the other. Hillary Clinton was poised, self-possessed, in command of the situation at once alert and at ease, clear and articulate of her positions and facts.

After all, she has been tempered at high heat by her positions as First Lady, as Senator, as Secretary of State. She has trained, as Hillary pointedly said, to be where she stood and to stand as President of the nation. And she stood well, confronting Trump firmly but courteously, even with sly humor at times, always maintaining her ground and her position. And she very clearly stood by those pieces of the Democratic platform which we who supported Bernie Sanders placed.

On the other hand, the debate clearly showed Trump for the immature buffoon, racist, misogynist. misinformed liar that he is. He showed himself petulant, bullying, easily angered, and obstinate in his misinformation and lies even as they were called out by both the moderator and Sec. Clinton. His lack of any poise and dignity, any self-control made me cringe to imagine him as head of the nation, the empire.
Even The Arizona Republic, a newspaper that since its beginning in 1890 has never endorsed a Democrat over a Republican has taken the unprecedented action of endorsing Secretary Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump.
What most terrify me are those for whom he speaks in his belligerent hatred and ignorance, those who identify with a thug distinguished only by his great wealth, much of it arguably ill gained. And they must be many to have brought him to this point. To me the dilemma is hardly one at all. We must elect Hillary Clinton resoundingly in repudiation of the racism, the fear, the hatred, the ignorance that permeates so much of our society.
Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Noam Chomsky, Rachel Maddow, Michael Moore, and many, many others warn us that we cannot afford a protest vote Green or Libertarian or write-in or not to vote altogether. We must vote Hillary Clinton - and a Democratic Senate, a Democratic Congress, and in our local city and state governments those who will uphold and wage Our Revolution for justice, peace, and the well-being of the Earth.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Ayotzinapa — two years later


-----------Alzamos las manos

Alzamos las manos no en súplica
sino desesperación, en rábia, en demanda,
en protesta contra las manos sangrientas
de los criminales y del gobierno
 imposible distinguir los unos del otro.
“Ya estoy cansado de tantos regaños,”
dijo el procurador. Pues cánsese más,
Sr. Procurador que queremos
a nuestros hijos, nuestros del pueblo
que vivos se los llevaron
y vivos los queremos.
Seguiremos alzando las manos
con el “43” ya un lema de la injusticia
que sufrimos y ya no es tolerable
que suframos más.

Mientras tanto el presidente
visita los EE. UU. para discutir
la seguridad y la economía.
¿Seguridad y economía de quien?
¿Pedir más armas para el crimen
y la represión? ¿Seguridad de los ricos?
¿Asegurarles ganancias a costo nuestro?
¿Entregar la economía a empresas extranjeras
del “libre comercio”? No nos confundan
con banderas ya manchadas, sucias de injuria.
Cansados estamos nosotros y alzamos las manos
clamando como la Llorona por nuestros hijos
que vivos se los llevaron y vivos los queremos.

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

(Socialist Lawyer Nov. 2015, Sociedad Haldane, Londres; 
derechos reservados del autor)

-------------We Raise Our Hands

We raise our hands not in suplication
but desperation, rage, demand,
protest against the bloody hands
of the criminals & the government
 impossible to distinguish the ones from the other.
“I am tired of so many scoldings,”
said the prosecutor. Well, be more tired yet,
Mr. Prosecutor for we want
our children, ours of the people
that alive were taken
& live we want them back.
We will go on raising our hands
with the “43” now a motto of the injustice
that we suffer & is no longer tolerable
that we suffer any longer.

Meanwhile the president
visits the U. S. of A. to discuss
security & the economy.
Whose security & economy?
Ask for more weapons for crime
& repression? The security of the rich?
Assuring them profits at our cost?
Surrender the economy to foreign enterprises
of “Free trade”? Do not confuse us
with flags now stained, dirtied with outrage.
Tired are we & we raise out hands
crying like la Llorona for our children
who alive were taken & alive we want them back.

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

(Socialist Lawyer Nov. 2015, Haldane Society, London; 
author’s copyrights)


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Autumn Equinox — Libra



Alumbran a la balanza del día y la noche,
el zafiro temprano del amanecer
y el ópalo tardío del atardecer.
Se alza en obelisco de jade, de nefrita
al punto cardinal del aire,
el apoyo del viento,
----y en cada platillo de cobre
se miden el arte y las consecuencias
---(el amor pesa en la ijada
----de la indecisión,
----en los lomos del deseo.)
La alzaprima del otoño
sostiene sobre el caos,
trémulos y vacilantes
----el sentir, el pensar —
-----------amor, belleza, verdad —
sueños, siempre sueños, justos sueños.

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



The balance of day and night
is lit by the early sapphire of dawn
-----and the late opal of dusk.
It rises on obelisk of nephrite, of jade
to the cardinal point of the air,
the lever of the wind,
----and on each copper plate
----are measured art and consequences
--------(love weighs on the back
---------of indecision,
---------on the loins of desire.)
The fulcrum of autumn
holds over chaos
tremulous and irresolute
----feeling, thought —
--------love, beauty, truth —
dreams, always dreams, just dreams.

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


Monday, September 19, 2016

Why I am voting for Hillary Clinton; Apologia pro suffragium meum


Why I am voting for Hillary Clinton

Apologia pro suffragium meum

I am in rage and in terror with the mean choices given me in these U. S. presidential elections. Acknowledging that the empire is hardly a democracy, and committed as it is to an unbridled capitalism without regard for justice and suffering and disastrous for the Earth, what kind of choices does one expect it to give us? Certainly between the "lesser of evils", but more accurately between "a better of two choices both terrifying, though let's be honest, not equally so.

Yes, I am terrified at the imminent danger of having a totalitarian fascist government to head the empire under Donald Trump. Perhaps it is because I am old enough to know or have known survivors of Hitler Germany, fascist Italy, fascist Spain, later, survivors of fascist Guatemala, survivors of fascist Uruguay, survivors of fascist Argentina, survivors of fascist Chile, survivors of fascist El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras (all, except the first three, in which the U.S. was directly or indirectly involved; that is the bitter truth) — I could name others and I probably know or have survivors of those. This is as close as I ever want to come to a fascist regime.

For me it comes to the choice between a sane and competent Machiavellian politician and an utterly mad fascist demagogue. The question is which would cause less suffering, allow more hope of immediate survival, and at least a spark of democracy that could be nurtured into a little flame with a chance of spreading? To me the choice is very clear; I am voting for Hillary R. Clinton.

No, I am not thrilled to do so. I have already long told you why (if you have forgotten scroll down my blog With her we can expect that precious little will change. (Though honestly, I do not know that she would be so much worse than our Pres. Barack Obama with his murderous drones, insistence upon the TPP, deportations of immigrants, increasing of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and criminal support of our pal Saudi Arabia's war of aggression on Yemen.) We take our chances, and with her the chances are indubitably better than they would be under the fascist Republican candidate.

Consider a government under the psychopath (not name-calling, but a considered judgment), racist to the core, misogynist, profoundly ignorant, given to rage, impulsive, a willful and arrogant megalomaniac. Imagine his finger on the greatest nuclear arsenal on Earth, the greatest military power in the world. Consider him in control of the CIA, the FBI, Homeland Security. Imagine whom he would appoint to the Supreme Court. Consider him and those that support him, those he has riled up by appealing to the deep-running vein of toxic racism that infects the culture, the love of violence manifested in its passion for guns. He has already endorsed violence, lawlessness, bigotry; imagine, with his encouragement, the U.S. military and policing institutions already transparently racist. Forget about women's rights, immigrant rights, GLBT rights, justice at all. Forget the environment and health of the Earth. Given his madness, even if reigned in a bit by advisers a little more sane, consider who his advisors would be.

Yes, I will vote for Clinton. Some accuse me of having fallen into the politics of fear. Yes, I have already admitted to you that I am terrified. Many of you have said that you would vote for Jill Stein according to your conscience, especially those of you living in California, a "safe state" as you call it, because it is strongly "Clinton" or Democrat and you deem it at little risk that it would go to the madman.

Ah, dear friends, forgive me if your "conscience" sounds a bit like a smug luxury to me, a conscience you may follow only because it seems "safe" for you to do so. Would you be voting for Dr. Stein if you lived in a "swing" state or a "red" state? Even as you turn your backs on Hillary Clinton you know that Trump must be defeated. (A "safe" conscience would be one protected from its consequences.)

A conscience that is free of rational fear (of a real and imminent danger) is either saintly, foolish, or both. I assure you that I am neither. Let us be very honest; the government of the U.S., a plutocracy, is based on a two-party system, currently one neo-liberal, the other neo-conservative, with often little actual differences between them (the Democrats being better in domestic policy and in acknowledging climate change, though admittedly not too willing to do enough about it), both committed to capitalism, the economics of empire which the Earth and humanity cannot sustain.

We cannot change this overnight. Even if Dr. Stein of the Green Party were St. Francis, I would not vote for her (pace Francesco, both of you.) Imagine for an instant that by some miracle of miracles she could be elected president of the empire. It would be worse than throwing her to the lions. The Green Party simply does not have a strong enough political base and it is far too late for it to build one.

As you know, I endorsed and campaigned for Sen. Bernie Sanders whole heartedly because we agreed on almost every point — on justice, on peace, on our reverence for the Earth. We his supporters carried him (our money, our energy, our enthusiasm, our commitment) as far as we could carry him to the very edge of the nomination. The political establishment of course was against him. But he reminded us that it was not about him, or even electing him president, but changing the Democratic party so that it truly represents our interests, ours of the people, not the corporations, not the rich — and that together we could do it.

He came to the very threshold of the nomination, got what concessions he could, and then endorsed Clinton as the only viable alternative to the maniac — after pushing the party platform so much toward justice that it is claimed to be the most progressive platform ever. It is a platform that the Democrats cannot ignore without courting great outcry from within the party and out. Changes have already been made.

Many of us were greatly disappointed, angry, even felt betrayed by Sanders' endorsement of Clinton. Some explained Bernie's endorsement by supposing that he feared for his life. (A possibility in the realm of things.) Many said that they would vote for Dr. Jill Stein, some said that they would write in Bernie Sanders, some said that they would not vote at all - all options dangerous to the utmost.

The following of the Republican presidential candidate is huge and it is aggressively militant drawing the white supremacists, the far Christian right, the nativists, the women-haters, the homophobes, the "Patriots" and other rightwing militias, racists and nationalist bigots of every sort, the Republicans and their huge wealth. If you believe we out-number them, you hold a much more sanguine view of the nation than I. Even in California, there are a great many of these folk. As of now the Republican voter registration much out-numbers the Democratic voter registration. The poles indicate that Clinton and Trump are alarmingly close, neck-to-neck in many states. In fact, as the elections draw toward the end. the race tightens, Trump needs just 15 electoral votes to win. And many of us are in blind denial, for some reason trusting Hillary Clinton will win, perhaps in denial of the racism and violence, bigotry and hate that runs deep (often -  unconsciously) in the nation's psyche.

No state is safe. And even if it were, Hillary Clinton not only has to be elected, but elected with a huge majority as a resounding rejection of Donald Trump, his abhorrent views, the base he represents, and the Republican Party, fascist in essence.

No, I am not happy that I have to vote for Hillary Clinton and not able to vote for Sanders, and I am not at all happy that the U.S. is governed by a plutocratic oligarchy and that I must make do with the better of two bad choices, one a great deal worse than the other. (A friend from New Orleans reminded me of a bumper sticker popular in the 1991 race for governor of Louisiana between Edwin Edwards, a notoriously corrupt politician, and David Duke, a Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan who has endorsed Donald Trump and now is running for the Senate: "hold your nose and vote for the crook.")

I wish that my endorsement of Hillary Clinton were more enthusiastic. For one thing, as journalist Lauren McCauley has observed, the decline of Clinton's campaign has much to do with her failure to articulate a bold, inspiring vision for voters, but she is a seasoned politician, sane, and smart. She is aware of the huge swell that the Sanders campaign caused; will not ignore the party platform we helped form. She will make a "good" president of the U.S., not "good" as we would wish, but as much "good" as we can expect at this juncture. Competent at least. Certainly hugely more "good" than the openly fascist and totally incompetent Trump would be.

I am voting for Clinton following the advice of Sen. Bernie Sanders, Noam Chomsky, Elizabeth Warren, Rachel Maddow, Michael Moore (who knows very well the constituency behind Trump), among other Bernie Sanders partisans whom I respect. She must win by a huge margin. We cannot risk anything less.

And then all us who backed Bernie Sanders in his campaign, especially the young folk on whom our revolution depends, must work at the grass roots, take city governments and offices, county, state, nation, and reform the Democratic Party into the people's party that it once promised to be, a true opposition party. Sanders is right; it will take too long to build the political apparatus of a third party to make much difference in the short time we have. Much more practical to occupy and reform from within the Democratic Party with its already established political apparatus, and make our revolution of hearts and minds to heal a world gone mad and an Earth wounded.

It will be far from easy. We must be prepared to compromise our ideals for what is practical in the immediate situation to continue Our Revolution. And be prepared to be jailed, beaten, have our blood soak the blades of grass in the process, though not as immediately or as greatly as under Donald Trump. I fear it will come to this: first we must overwhelmingly defeat Donald Trump and the fascists.

Ultimately we vote our conscience; Just bear in mind that at this juncture one's highest sense of right must be based on what will cause the least amount of suffering for the greatest number of people — and all our relations.

Rafael Jesús González

Berkeley, California
September 19, 2016 


Friday, September 16, 2016

Full Moon Over the Zócalo


Luna llena sobre El Zócalo

Es necio pensar
que el fulgor de la luna
pudiera blanquear las manchas
de la bandera, del pavimento de la plaza,
las manchas al pie del Retablo de los Reyes,
de los peldaños del Templo Mayor.
Es la historia tan profundamente manchada
de sangre que es necio esperar
tanto de la luna. 
                               ---------------- © Rafael Jesús González 2016


Full Moon Over the Zócalo

It is foolish to think
the brightness of the moon
could bleach the stains
from the flag, from the pavement of the plaza,
the stains at the foot of the Altarpiece of the Kings,
from the steps of the Great Temple.
History is so deeply stained
with blood that it is foolish to hope
so much of the moon.

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


16 de septiembre / Mexican Independence Day

Poema patriótico

El grito de Dolores, coraje, rebeldía
que lanzó el cura Miguel
y dio nacer a la patria
resuena aun.

el águila devorando la serpiente
todavía no volaba en el pabellón.

Ha corrido el tiempo
y cuando los gobiernos
manchan las banderas de sangre,
de abusos, de mentiras
¿qué es amar a la patria?
¿la tierra misma que crece el maíz?
¿los bosques, los campos, los montes, los ríos?
¿nuestras costumbres, culturas, lenguas? 
¿los cantos, las formas, los colores
con que celebramos la vida?
¿los mitos y el olor de la canela?

Hasta que rija la santa justicia
que viva, que siempre viva
el pueblo en rebeldía.

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

------------Patriotic Poem

----(Mexican Independence Day)

The cry of Dolores, anger, rebellion
sent up by the priest Miguel
that gave birth to the nation
echoes still.

He carried the Guadalupe standard;
the eagle devouring the serpent
did not yet fly upon the flag.

Time has run
& when the governments
besmirch the flags with blood,
with abuse, with lies,
what is it to love one's country?
The land itself that grows the corn?
The forests, fields, mountains, rivers?
Our customs, cultures, tongues?
The songs, the forms, the colors
with which we celebrate life?
The myths & the smell of cinnamon?

Until holy justice rules,
long live, always long live
the people in revolt.

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


Sunday, September 11, 2016

9/11 fifteen years later

The date of September 11 is a day of tragedy for more than one reason.

photo by Marty Lederhandler AP

The eleventh day of the ninth month is a day painful to mark. On this day in 1973 the duly elected government of Chile was overthrown by instigation and with the active support of our government and the CIA, bringing a reign of terror that lasted for almost twenty years. On this day in 1991 my beloved friend and comadre Guillermina Valdés de Villalva, founder of the Colegios de la frontera, was killed in a Continental Airlines plane crash near Houston, Texas. Ten years later on this day in 2001, fifteen years ago, the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York were brought down by terrorists.

With the destruction of the Towers went a great part of our slowly developing democracy, an accomplishment, not of foreign terrorists, but of our own government, a plutocracy* closer to fascism* than to anything else.

Now, fifteen years later, after a series of criminal wars, the world economy depressed by the knavery of the corporations and banks, great abuse of human rights, facing climatic disaster, etc., fascism has never been more real in the nation. We are faced with the terrifying threat of an absolute fascism (backed by the corporations, the wealthy 1%, and hoards of the unsatisfied, resentful, racist, violent) and a moderate fascism with some hope of democracy. The options presented to us by the establishment are real but dismaying - and so many of us in state of denial.

The day of September 11, 2001, I wrote the following words - and, vindicated by the events of the intervening years, I stand by them:

Love and Thoughts to my Friends on a Dark Day

Since early this morning when a friend from New England called with the news of the destruction of the World Trade Center towers in New York, I have been in a daze, too stunned to sort out my feelings, my thoughts except for confirmation of my deep abhorrence of violence. Certainly pain and anger are there — and great fear.

I have not been able to get through to my friends in New York nor to my friends in Washington, D.C.; I do not know if they are well or not.

And despite the images on television, there is disbelief. How could it happen here? How could it happen to us? The mightiest contemporary nation, the current most powerful empire is vulnerable. Seeing the images of the twin towers, symbol of the greatest wealth and power on Earth, flaming, smoking, and finally collapsing against the skyline of monoliths that is New York made me think, in the midst of the horror of it all, of Goliaths falling in the plain. The Earth is shaken by their fall; the death, the pain suffered by so many through their fall wrings the heart. I am stunned by the pain of it.

But who the Davids are we do not know. Certainly not heroes to me nor to any one I know; villains rather. Davids in size only. But still, seeing some televised images of jubilation in parts of Palestine/Israel, they must be heroes to some — and to some in other places of the world as well.

Terrorism is a frightful term; even more horrible is its reality. What does it mean? Webster’s New World Dictionary succinctly defines it as: 1) use of terror and violence to intimidate, subjugate, etc., especially as a political weapon or policy; and 2) intimidation and subjugation produced in this way. Terror.

I see those images of jubilation on the television and I wonder what could induce such elation at such destruction, such death, such suffering. Terror. Terror like that in New York today except on a smaller scale, day to day terror at the hands of Israeli soldiers, and terror in response, and then more terror in retaliation — a story without end.

The day to day terror in Iraq with children ill and no medicine with which to treat them, little food to give them. The day to day terror in Nigeria and other parts of Africa. The day to day terror in so many parts of Latin America, of Asia, of everywhere. A policy, a political weapon to subjugate.

And who has most to gain by it? A hundred images come to mind, but a simple, nagging cipher blinks on and off against them all: we in the United States are six percent (6%) of the world’s people and yet we consume sixty percent (60%) of what the Earth gives. (And, we hold the highest proportion of our people in prison.) These are formulas of terror.

And we are vulnerable. And I think — the only protection is justice. The only protection is to be so just, so fair that none would wish us ill. No, not even the gods are so just, but if only we tried. If only we concerned ourselves with sharing the Earth’s wealth with everyone of our brothers and sisters. If only we honored the Earth and protected her so that she might continue to sustain us. If only we honored each other. If only we honored life.

I would like to think that we could respond to this horror in New York and Washington, D.C. with a commitment to justice for the world. Not merely the primitive, crude vengeance and retaliation I hear demanded, but true justice that would put an end to terror, not only the terror such as that of this day in New York and in the Capital, but the day to day terror of hunger, of lack of medicine, lack of shelter, of education, of freedom and the violence all that brings. Terror.

But what I see does not make me hopeful. I am afraid. I am afraid of our institutionalized terrorism, our policies of terror that hold the world in thrall. I am afraid of the man in the office of President of the United States who was not elected into office, afraid of his associates, afraid of the Supreme Court which has broken its trust as impartial interpreter of the law of the land. I am afraid of this President who would destroy the Earth for the profit of it, who insists upon an insane system of nuclear “defense” to further enforce a policy of terror.

I am afraid for the peoples of the world. I am just as afraid for us citizens of this United States. I am afraid that the tragedy of today will be used to justify the destruction of what freedom, what civil liberties we have, of a democracy for which clearly the President of the United States and his ilk have no respect.

I am afraid of Goliaths and of the Davids they breed.

But still, more deeply rooted than my fear is my love of the Earth and of its people and of all our relations. Because of this, I trust that our work toward justice and peace will go on in joy of life and that, for all the darkness, it will prevail.

Berkeley, September 11, 2001

© Rafael Jesús González 2016

--------------- The Towers

------------September 11, 2001

The towers fall as if,
-----seen through crossed eyes,
a Goliath fell brought down by a David.

Behind the myths
-----who of us is the guilty?
---------Who the innocent?
What is the distance
-----between justice and vengeance?

Death is inevitable, not fair.
And when the innocent are caught
in the webs of violence, it is terrible.

May the Earth hold them in rest.
If we would make a monument
worthy of their deaths,
in honor and memory of them,
let us pledge ourselves
----- to freedom,
----- true justice,
------world peace.

For if death be not just
let just be our lives.

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

(Abalone Moon, Nov. 6, 2oo7; author's copyrights)

photo by Marty Lederhandler AP

------------Las Torres

---------11 septiembre 2001

Se derriban las torres como
-----si visto por ojos cruzados,
cayera un Goliat abatido por un David.

Detrás de los mitos
-----¿quiénes somos los culpables?
----------¿quiénes los inocentes?
¿Cual es la distancia
------entre la justicia y la venganza?

La muerte es inevitable, no justa.
Y cuando los inocentes caen
en las redes de la violencia, es terrible.

Que la Tierra los tenga en descanso.
Si monumento hiciéramos
digno de sus muertes
en honor y memoria de ellos
-----a la libertad,
-----a la justicia verdadera,
-----a la paz mundial.

Que si la muerte no es justa,
justas sean nuestras vidas.

----------© Rafael Jesús González 2013

(Abalone Moon, noviembre 6, 2007;
derechos reservados del autor)

On a more personal level, it was on September 11, 1991 that my beloved friend and comadre, scholar, organizer, activist, founder of the Colegios de la Frontera Guillermina Valdés de Villalva was killed when a Continental Airlines airplane crashed near Houston, Texas. Sick with pain and rage, I wrote:

Huehuecóyotl, © Rafael Jesús González 2013

---Advertencia De Coyote

-----------------------para Guille

Siempre lucharé por lo bueno,
corazón en el hocico,
un grito en el corazón
y el corazón en el grito.
Por eso anoche bailé,
-----tiré la chancla,
---------wriggled my butt,
--------------meneé el culo
hasta las horas escuincles
de la madrugada
porque tal como a algunos nos toca
hacer penitencia por otros
a otros nos toca hacer
la gracia por los demás
y por eso les prometo
que seguiré meneando el culo
hasta que ya no lo pueda
y mantendré verde el rabo
hasta que me lo tape la tierra.

---------© Rafael Jesús González 2016

Guillermina Valdés

---------Coyote’s Notice

--------------------------for Guille

I will always struggle for the good,
heart in the snout,
a cry in the heart
and the heart in the shout.
Thus I danced last night,
-----tiré la chancla,
---------wriggled my butt,
--------------meneé el culo
until the puppy hours
of the morning
because such as it is for some
to do penance for others
for others it is up to us
to make grace for the rest
and so I promise
I will continue to wriggle my butt
until I cannot
and I will keep my tail green
until it is covered by dust.

---------© Rafael Jesús González 2016

It was on September 11, 1973 that the U. S. C.I.A.-instigated military coup in Chile overthrew the legally elected and popular government of Salvador Allende initiating an era of brutal dictatorship and bloodshed. President Allende was murdered as was the poet-composer Víctor Jara among thousands of others. The aging poet Pablo Neruda was held under house arrest where he died soon after.

--------Rastro de la gota
----------------------a Pablo Neruda


Te recuerdo en Holanda
donde las rosas carecen de olor
y el alma que le diste a la máquina
no conoce a la gente.
Tu vicio es vicio de amar
y en tu lengua hasta el cardo
-----sabe dar miel —
hay sangre como la de Federico
-----que sabe doler.
Pero aquí las pupilas son de vidrio
y la desesperación es una gota de agua
que se escurre por los canales dorados,
no de limones sino de hojas muertas.


Hace nueve años que en Holanda
te compuse un verso —
----lleno de agua, hojas secas
----y visión de limones.

Era noviembre —
--------------------es ahora octubre —
el diez cuento mis treinta y ocho
y te has muerto.

Te pienso amapolas y geranios —
el cuero de España y Chile ensangrentado —
hambre, sed,
---------------uvas y luceros.
Hay inventarios en mis huesos
y ortigas en los surcos de mis dedos.

Poeta — me faltan azucenas de consuelo.
------Poeta — me duele Chile
-----------como una punzada en el cerebro.
------Poeta — estoy entumido;
lo único que siento es que has muerto.

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

------(El hacedor de juegos/The maker of Games;
-------Casa Editorial, San Francisco 1977;
-------derechos reservados del autor.)

---------Track of the Drop

---------------------------to Pablo Neruda


I remember you in Holland
where the roses lack color
and the soul you gave the machine
does not know the people.
Yours is the vice of loving
and on your tongue even the thistle
----knows how to give honey —
there is blood like that of Federico
----that knows how to hurt.
But here the pupils are of glass
and despair is a drop of water
that runs through the canals golden,
not with lemons but dead leaves.


It has been nine years that in Holland,
I wrote you a poem —
------full of water, dry leaves
------and a vision of lemons.

It was November —
--------------------now it is October —
on the tenth I count my thirty-eighth
and you have died.

I think you poppies and geraniums —
the skin of Spain and bloodied Chile —
hunger, thirst,
----------------grapes and stars.
There are inventories in my bones
and nettles in the furrows of my fingers.

Poet — I lack lilies of consolation.
-----Poet — Chile pains me
--------------like a sting in the brain.
-----Poet — I am numb;
the only thing I feel is that you are dead.

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

(Laughing Unicorn, Fall 1980; author’s copyrights)

Pablo Neruda

The death of poet musician Víctor Jara has become a legend, almost a popular myth. It is told that being held in the Stadium of Santiago de Chile among the multitude of political prisoners, he took his guitar and began to sing. His songs being so popular, the other prisoners accompanied him. The guards then grabbed his guitar and stomped it to pieces under their boots. Then with their bayonets they cut off Victor’s hands. According to the story, Victor continued singing until, his blood draining into the sand, he died.

jacket of one of Víctor Jara's albums

-----------Las manos

-----------------------a Víctor Jara

Cada cuerda rota
una de seis flechas pintadas
que el arco de tu voz lanza
contra la injuria —
cada dedo un punzón
en la conciencia

---cada gota una nota contra el silencio.

Caen las aves negras,
sus plumas nieve enlutada,
en la memoria
donde la sangre hierve

---cada gota una nota contra el silencio.

Las manos caen en la arena,
cada una una fuente roja
que corre hacia un mar sin islas

---cada gota una nota contra el silencio.

Hermano, los gorriones se espichan;
se han roto los cántaros del tiempo
y tu canto corre por el mundo entero

---cada gota una nota contra el silencio:

---cuando la sangre crece alas
---se le llama libertad

---cada gota una nota contra el silencio.

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

Víctor Jara

----------The Hands

----------------------to Víctor Jara

Each broken string
one of six painted arrows
the bow of your voice sends
against outrage —
each finger a lance
in the conscience

---each drop a note against silence.

The black birds fall,
their feathers snow in mourning,
upon memory
where the blood boils

---each drop a note against silence.

The hands fall on the sand,
each a red fountain
that runs toward a sea without islands

---each drop a note against silence.

Brother, the sparrows grow shy;
the jars of time have broken
and your song runs through the world

---each drop a note against silence:

---when the blood grows wings
---it is called freedom

---each drop a note against silence.

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

(Second Coming, Vol. 14 no. 1, 1986;
The Montserrat Review #4, 2002;
nominated for Pushcart Prize;
author’s copyrights)

* * *

Now September 11 is to be celebrated as a day of pain and infamy which only our work toward justice and peace may redeem.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Celebrate Mexican Independence Sept. 15 & 16 at La Peña in Berkeley


Join us in two sessions of poetry & son jarocho to celebrate 

Las Fiestas Patrias 

at La Peña in Berkeley, Sept. 15 & 16, 2016 
(Vease la foto anexa para la versión en español)
At La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley - 
3105 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, California

Fiestas Patrias Mexicanas | Mexican Independence Day 

Son-makers with poetry of the community commemorate 

 El Grito de Dolores [The Cry of Dolores] 

September 15, 8-9 pm | Open Mic for Poetry 

Poets with soneros of the community commemorate 

The Anniversary of Mexican Independence 

During the monthly son jarocho fandango 
[jarocho-style music & dance jam session] 

Friday, September 16, 7-11 p.m. 

No charge, family-friendly, everyone in the community is invited. 

Your donations are appreciated; food will be sold. 

Invited poets: 

Muteado Silencio - Maricarmen Arjona - Nina Serrano 

Rafael Jesús González - Amira Ali - Isidro Jiménez 

Francisco Zamudio Martínez - Jorge Beltrán - María de la Rosa 

Arnoldo García - Harold Terezón - Juan Martínez 

Y otr@s /And others

Monday, September 5, 2016

End note for Labor Day U.S.A.


End note for Labor Day U.S.A.
Nota final al Día del Trabajo EE.UU.

Migrant à Monsieur T.

                        Yes, I came poor 
                        to & from where it may be,
                        like everyone poor & hungry,
                        some much more than others;
                        some were born
                        with a silver spoon
                        in their mouth.
                        But as for me,
                                I much prefer
                                        the teat.

© Rafael Jesús González 2016

Migrante al Sr. T.

                        Sí vine pobre
                        a y de donde fuera,
                        como tod@s pobre y con hambre,
                        algun@s más que otr@s;
                        algun@s nacimos
                        con cuchara de plata
                        en la boca.
                        Pero en cuanto a mí
                                mucho más prefiero
                                        la teta.

             © Rafael Jesús González 2016

(Dios nos vende todo a precio del trabajo)