Monday, October 31, 2016



- - ----------Trick & Treat

Death at the door,
----or lurking among the leaves,
death itself is the inevitable trick;
the only treat worth the having,
----to love fearlessly,
------------------------and well.

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

(The Montserrat Review, Issue 7, Spring 2003;
author’s copyrights)

-----------Chasco y Regalo

La muerte a la puerta,
----o en emboscada entre la hojas,
la muerte misma es el chasco inevitable;
el único regalo que vale la pena,
-----amar sin temor,
------------------------y amar bien.

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


Sunday, October 30, 2016

VOTE as if Your Life Depended on it


VOTE as if Your Life Depended on it

In ancient Europe when the Celtic religion held sway, the end of October, beginning of November by our calendar, was known as Samhain (sah'-win) marking the turning of the year when the veils between the worlds of the living and the dead were thin and permeable. Because the spirits of our dead are not always benevolent, the people accustomed to wear frightening masks then to hide their identities and protect themselves scaring away the evil spirits.

This custom has come down to us in neutered form as Halloween when we like to dress-up and wear scary masks and delight in pretended horror escorting our masked children door-to-door begging for sweets.

But this Halloween season, I admit to you, my terror is very real. The politics of the country have torn away the thin veils of pretense to expose the ugly evil spirits of racism, hatred of women, homophobia, fear of the other, greed that deeply haunt the soul of the culture like a chronic infection direly threatening the body politic.

We must admit that both viable candidates for the presidency are what the empire has permitted (notwithstanding that what democracy survives in it allowed us to carry to the very threshold of the Democratic Party nomination Sen. Bernie Sanders who was our voice for justice, peace, compassion, concern for the Earth and life itself.) As such, each in their own way, represent the interests of the plutocratic, capitalistic, corporate-run empire and that is as things stand.

Having said this, the Republican candidate Donald J. Trump is a hundred fold more terrifying than the Democratic candidate Hillary R. Clinton. Clinton as First Lady, as Senator, as Secretary of State has shown herself to be "centrist" (read capitalistic neo-liberal) in support of the U. S. policy of perpetual war to preserve its hegemony and protect the interests of the corporations and the moneyed one-percent. On the other hand, she has supported civil rights, the causes of women, children, and the GLBT community. Furthermore, being a seasoned politician and highly intelligent, she is also capable of modifying her positions under the continuing pressure of us who supported Sen. Bernie Sanders. Since her nomination, she has based her campaign firmly on the planks that we Sanders supporters hammered on the Democratic Party platform. There is little reason to believe that she will abandon these if she is elected — we must be ready to demand that she be committed to her words.

Mr. Donald Trump, to put it bluntly, is a racist, woman-hating, homophobic sociopath driven by greed and a narcissistic megalomania that makes him arrogant, violent, impulsive, temperamental and is totally ignorant of politics much less foreign affairs. To imagine such a one as head of the most powerful empire in the world, in charge of the mightiest nuclear arsenal on Earth, terrifies not only many of us but the entire world. Terrifying is that he gives voice to and legitimizes the fear, the hatred, the racism, the misogyny, the homophobia, the violence that Nazi Germany of the last century came to typify.

Thus the root of my terror — and it is only intensified by the voices of a goodly number of the disillusioned that I hear, self-destructive voices of nihilism that say that they will vote for Trump because "he is at least up-front in his racism" or insist that they will vote for Jill Stein of the Green Party (without the political structure or the base to make it viable) or write-in Bernie Sanders (against Bernie Sanders' own advice) or not vote at all — all choices that ultimately would result in votes for Trump.

Neither Clinton nor Trump are the choices that I would wish, but let us not delude ourselves that they are no different from each other. Clinton recognizes the threat of climate change; Trump denies that it even exists. Trump and the Republicans would be immeasurably more disastrous than Clinton and the Democrats. With Clinton and the Democrats there is at least a chance for change in favor of the Earth and life, of justice. The race is terrifyingly close; we must do all we can to elect Hillary Clinton as the better, immeasurably better, of the two. We must not chance anything else. 

Indeed the veils between worlds grow thin this season and no mask will protect us from the terror to which our history has brought us. We have no choice but to gird ourselves with our resolve, be the healers that the times call for, fortify ourselves with our love and our joy, VOTE — and, once our vote decides, continue our struggle for justice and peace and the well-being of the Earth and the life she bears.

Rafael Jesús González

Berkeley, California

Two excellent pertinent articles by Clarence B. Jones, friend and advisor to Dr. Martin Luther king Jr., and my good friend Jonathan D. Greenberg, Scholars in Residence, Daniel Martin Gould Center for Conflict Resolution, Stanford Law School:

Teachers and Mentors: Who made Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton who they are today?


If Dr. King Were Alive Today


Friday, October 21, 2016





El alacrán
---en sus ojos de ópalo
---guarda los secretos
---del agua inmóvil.
Eleva, tenaz, su cola de hierro
y su aguijón de topacio
refleja las luces rojas de Marte,
---las luces obscuras de Plutón.
Se esconde detrás del palo erecto,
------en la cueva húmeda;
y sabe los secretos del alma.

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


The scorpion

-----in its opal eyes 
-----guards the secrets 
-----of the immobile water.
It tenaciously raises its tail of iron
& its topaz sting 

reflects the red lights of Mars, 
----the dark lights of Pluto.
It hides behind the erect pole,

---in the moist cave;
it knows the secrets of the soul.

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

Sunday, October 16, 2016

full moon: The Hunter's Moon


Luna del cazador

La luna grande del cazador
es más de lo suficiente brillante
para seguir al venado azul.
Corre por las lomas de los sueños
a las redes del corazon.

© Rafael Jesús González 2016


The Hunter's Moon

The big hunter's moon
is more than brilliant enough
to track the blue deer.
He runs through the hills of dreams
into the nets of the heart.

© Rafael Jesús González 2016


Friday, October 14, 2016

Spillway 24 reading Saturday, October 22


You are most cordially invited

to a reading to celebrate Spillway 24

Susan Terris, Editor

Saturday, October 22, 2016

4:00 pm

Rebound Books

1611 4th Street

San Rafael, California


David Alpaugh, David Beckman, Francesca Bell,
Barbara Swift Brauer, Peter N. Carroll,  

Ed Coletti, CB Follett, Rafael Jesús González,  

Susan Kelly-Dewitt, Bonnie Wai-Lee Kwong, 

 Jeff Leong, Roy Mash, Gretchen Stengel,

Lynne Thompson, Jeanne Wagner,

David Watts, Kathleen Winter


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Día de la Razs/Columbus Day

El 12 de octubre es fiesta conocida en varias regiones y épocas por muchos nombres: Día de Colón, Día del descubrimiento, Día de la hispanidad, Día de las Américas, Día de la raza, Día de los pueblos indígenas.

En México en 1928 a la insistencia del filósofo José Vasconcelos, entonces Ministro de Educación, se le nombró Día de la Raza, denominación de la Unión Ibero-Americana en 1913 para declarar una nueva identidad formada del encuentro de los Españoles y los indígenas de las Américas. En 1902 el poeta mexicano Amado Nervo había escrito un poema en honor del Presidente Benito Juárez (indio zapoteca) que recitó en la Cámara de Diputados, titulado La Raza de Bronce alabando a la raza indígena, título que más tarde en 1919 el autor boliviano Alcides Arquedas daría a su libro. El bronce (metal noble fundido de varios metales) llegó a ser metáfora del mestizaje. Según el pensar de Vasconcelos una Raza Cósmica, la raza del porvenir, es la raza noble que se forma en las Américas a partir del 12 de octubre de 1492, la raza del mestizaje, un amalgama de las razas indígenas de las Américas, de los Europeos, los Africanos, los Asiáticos, las razas mundiales — en una palabra, la raza humana compuesta de una mezcla de todas las razas que Vasconcelos denominó la Raza Cósmica.

Pero no se puede ignorar que esta raza ideal se forma a gran costo de los pueblos indígenas Americanas (y de la gente africana traídos aquí como esclavos). Desde 2002, en Venezuela se le llama a la fiesta Día de la Resistencia Indígena.

Sea como sea, por cualquier nombre que le demos, de cualquier modo que la cortemos, es la misma torta — la fecha conmemora la llegada de los Europeos a América (que para ellos era un “nuevo mundo”), no una visita sino una invasión, un genocidio, subyugación de las gentes de ese “nuevo mundo” que hoy conocemos por el nombre de un cartógrafo Europeo que apenas pisó el suelo sagrado de los continentes que llevan su nombre. Lo que marca la fecha es una continua colonización, explotación, abuso, ultraje de los pueblos indígenas de las Américas que escasamente ha menguado, que ha persistido estos quinientos años y más.

Bien se le pudiera nombrar Día de la Globalización. A partir de ese día se comprueba concreta y definitivamente que la Tierra verdaderamente es redonda, una esfera, una bola, un globo. Y desde esa fecha se les trata imponer forzosamente a las gentes indígenas del “nuevo mundo” una cosmología, actitud bastante extraña hacia a la vida, hacia a la Tierra, hacia a la economía, hacia a lo sagrado, hacia al ser humano mismo — una sola verdad estrecha e intolerante, un desdén rapaz hacia la Tierra vista solamente como un recurso para explotarse, un concepto del progreso difícil de distinguir de la codicia y el hambre del poder.

La causa de los indígenas clama por justicia: se les sigue robando sus tierras y terrenos, se los destruyen por sus valiosas maderas y minerales; sus creaciones agrícolas, tal como el maíz y la papa, que han salvado del hambre a gran parte del mundo, se modifican al nivel molecular y se controlan por corporaciones rapaces; sus medicinas tradicionales se patentan por esas mismas corporaciones; el agua sagrada misma se privatiza y se les roba; aun no se les respeta el derecho a sus creencias y culturas. Aun poniendo al lado la justicia, todos deberíamos aliarnos a las gentes indígenas de las Américas (y del mundo entero) en su resistencia contra tal abuso porque lo que los amenaza a ellas nos amenaza a todos en el mundo entero — y a la Tierra misma. Tienen muchísimo que enseñarnos acerca de una relación sana del hombre con la Tierra.

En una Tierra, mucho más chica y frágil de lo que imaginábamos, nos encontramos en plena globalización y pugna contra la imposición de un capitalismo desenfrenado y del fascismo, su lógica extensión, que lo acompaña. Sigue la resistencia indígena que jamás ha cesado durante estos cinco siglos y algo a pesar de una represión brutal y ahora todos nosotros de la raza cósmica de mera necesidad debemos aliarnos a su lucha, pues esa lucha es nuestra de todos si hemos de sobrevivir en la Tierra, bendita madre de nuestra estirpe, la estirpe de la raza humana — y de toda nuestra parentela los otros animales, las plantas, los minerales. En la Tierra redonda y sin costura son ficticias las fronteras y lo que amenaza a unos nos amenaza a todos. Pensar al contrario no es solamente inmoral sino locura.

Berkeley, California, 12 de octubre 2007

© Rafael Jesús González 2016


-October 12 is a feast-day known in various regions and times by many names: Columbus Day, Discovery Day, Hispanic Culture Day, Day of the Americas, Day of the Race, Day of the Indigenous Peoples.

In Mexico in 1928 at the insistence of the philosopher José Vasconcelos, then Minister of Education, it was named Día de la Raza (Day of the Race), denomination of the Iberian-American Union in 1913 to declare a new identity formed by the encounter of the Spaniards with the native peoples of the Americas. In 1902, the Mexican poet Amado Nervo had written a poem in honor of the President Benito Juárez (a Zapoteca Indian), which he read in the House of Representatives, titled La Raza de Bronce (Race of Bronze) praising the indigenous race, title which later in 1919 the Bolivian author Alcides Arquedas would give his book. Bronze (noble metal amalgamated of various metals) came to be metaphor for mestizaje (the mixing of the races.) According to the thinking of Vasconcelos, a Cosmic Race, the race of the future, is the noble race that is formed in the Americas since October 12, 1492, the race of mestizaje, an amalgam of the indigenous races of the Americas, the Europeans, the Africans, the Asians, the world — in a word, the human race made of a mixture of all the races which Vasconcelos called the Cosmic Race.

But that this race is formed at great cost to the indigenous American peoples (and to the African peoples brought here as slaves) cannot be ignored. Since 2002, in Venezuela the feast-day is called Día de la Resistencia Indígena (Day of Indigenous Resistance.)

Be that as it may, by whatever name we give it, however way we cut it, it is the same cake — the date commemorates the arrival of the Europeans to America (which for them was a “new world”), not a visit but an invasion, a genocide, a subjugation of the peoples of that “new world” which we know today by the name of a European cartographer who scarcely set foot on the sacred ground of the continents that bear his name. What the date marks is a continuous colonization, exploitation, abuse, outrage of the indigenous peoples of the Americas that has scarcely lessened, that has persisted these five-hundred and some years.

It could well be called Day of Globalization. Since that date, the Earth is concretely, definitively proven to be truly round, a sphere, a ball, a globe. And from that date is imposed by force upon the indigenous American peoples a quite strange cosmology, attitude toward life, toward the Earth, toward economics, toward the sacred, toward the human being him/herself — a single truth narrow and intolerant, a rapacious disdain toward the Earth seen only as a resource to be exploited, a concept of progress difficult to distinguish from greed and the lust for power.

The cause of the indigenous peoples screams for justice: their lands, their fields continue to be stolen from them, destroyed for their valuable woods and minerals; their agricultural creations, such as maize and the potato, which have saved a great part of the world from famine, are modified at the molecular level and controlled by rapacious corporations; their traditional medicines are patented by those same corporations; sacred water is privatized and stolen from them; even their right to their own beliefs and cultures is not respected. Even putting justice aside, we should all ally ourselves with the indigenous peoples of the Americas (and of the entire world) in their resistance against such abuse because what threatens them threatens us all throughout the whole world — and the Earth itself. They have a very much to teach us about a healthy relationship of humankind with the Earth.

In an Earth much smaller and more fragile than we imagined, we find ourselves in full globalization and struggle against the imposition of an unbridled capitalism and the fascism, its logical extension, that accompanies it. The indigenous resistance that has never ceased these five centuries and some continues in spite of a brutal repression and now all of us of the cosmic race, of pure necessity, must align ourselves with their struggle, for that struggle is ours if we are to survive on the Earth, holy mother of our race, the human race — and of all our relations, the other animals, the plants, the minerals. On the round, seamless Earth all borders are fictitious and what threatens one threatens all. To think otherwise is not only immoral but insane.

Berkeley, California, October 12, 2007

© Rafael Jesús González 2016


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Feast of St. Francis of Assisi

-------Hermano Francisco

-----He pecado contra mi hermano asno.

--------------------------- Francisco de Asís

Hermano Francisco,
muchos te han de haber visto
como un simple
hablando con los pájaros,
haciendo amigos con el lobo,
compadeciendo al conejo y al pez.
De tales bobos hacemos gloria
----------en la Tierra.
Ahora tonto es el que no vea
nuestra hermandad
con los otros animales
-----con los árboles y las hierbas
----------con las piedras y guijas.
Sólo reconociendo esto nos salvamos
-------no digo el alma
-----------mas nuestro querido asno.

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


---------Brother Francis

-----I have sinned against my brother ass.

--------------------------- Francis of Assisi

Brother Francis,
many must have seen you
as a simpleton
talking to the birds,
befriending the wolf,
pitying the rabbit and the fish.
Of such fools do we make glory
----------on the Earth.
Now fool is he who does not see
our brotherhood
with the other animals,
------with the trees and grasses,
------------with the rocks and pebbles.
Only by knowing this will we save
-------I do not say our soul
-------------but our dear ass.

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


Monday, October 3, 2016

Rosh Hashanah - Tashlich - L'shonah Tovah

May we learn justice without which there is no peace;
May we learn justice 
without which there is no peace;
may we learn compassion 
without which there is no justice.



These are the days of awe —
time of inventory
-----and a new beginning
when harvest of what we sowed
----- comes in.
(What have we sown
------of discord and terror?
Where have we fallen short
------of justice?)

The scales dip and teeter;
there is so much
to discard,
so much to atone.

When our temples stood
we loaded a goat

 -----with our transgressions
 ----------and sent it to the wild.
Now we must search our pockets
for crumbs of our trespasses,
our sins to cast upon the rivers.

The days are upon us

 -----to take stock of our hearts.
 ----------It is time to dust
the images of our household gods,
-----our teraphim,-
---------------------our lares.

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

(Arabesques Review, vol. 3 no . 3, 2007; author’s copyrights) 

Que aprendamos justicia 
sin la cual no hay paz;
que aprendamos compasión 
sin la cual no hay justicia.




Estos son los días de temor —
tiempo del inventario

 -----y un nuevo comienzo
cuando la cosecha de lo que sembramos

(¿Qué hemos sembrado
------de discordia y terror?
¿Dónde hemos fallado

 -------en la justicia?)

Las balanzas se inclinan y columpian;
hay tanto de que deshacerse,
tanto por lo cual expiar.

Cuando estaban en pie nuestros templos
cargábamos a una cabra

 -----con nuestros pecados 
----------y la echábamos al desierto.
Ahora tenemos que buscar en los bolsillos
las migas de nuestras faltas,
nuestros pecados para echarlos a los ríos.

Están sobre nosotros los días

 -----para hacer inventario del corazón. 
----------Es tiempo de sacudir
las imagines de nuestros dioses domésticos,
------nuestros térafines,
 ---------------------------nuestros lares.

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