Monday, November 28, 2016

Standing Rock action, San Francisco, Wed. Nov. 20


On Wednesday November 30th, 8:00-11:00 AM PST, Justin Herman Plaza, 1 Market St., San Francisco, California, we gather together to support water protectors on the front-line at STANDING ROCK. This is one of many national actions Nov. 30th to Dec. 2nd to encourage divestment from financial institutions funding the pipeline. 

The morning will begin with prayers for the water led by the women of Idle No More SF Bay. A teach-in will be conducted on why everyone needs to divest from the financial institutions funding the Dakota Access Pipeline. This will be followed by a prayer walk to several banking institutions funding the DAPL. Educational hand-outs will be available to pass out.

We ask that you close your accounts to protect the water and let us know when you do! Financial institutions listed here::'s-banking-dakota-access-pipeline

We are calling on all women to join us and use your voices to either collectively withdraw your money from the banks funding DAPL or support your sisters in action.

While this is a woman-led action, everyone is invited to join us!

Come prepared with signs and artwork (Standing Rock and Wells Fargo Divesting) that will visually spread the message loudly! Here is a link to artwork you can download:

If you can't make it to the SF event, we'll be sharing through Facebook Live via @Farewellsfargo facebook page. Please check back to see how the events are unfolding.


Friday, November 25, 2016

Fidel Castro (August 13, 1926 – November 25, 2016)


---------------------Ay Cuba

-------Los derechos se toman, no se piden;
-----------se arrancan, no se mendigan.
      ----------------------------------------José Martí

---------------a Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz 

Le llegó la muerte al viejo revolucionario
extinguiendo lo que le quedaba del puro
dejándole la cachucha militar
para  que no le pusieran laureles
que le molestaran.
No es cosa chica enfrentarse al imperio
y sobrevivir su furia de perro rabioso
del cual se le quita un hueso.
Ay Cuba de la historia amarga,
de palmas, bailes, canciones,
de los tambores de Alegba y Yemayá,
de la caña hecha dulce por sangre y sudor
enlútate y recuerda, canta, baila, 
obra por la justicia y jamás 
vuelvas a la esclavitud.

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

---------------------Oh Cuba

------Los derechos se toman, no se piden;
----------se arrancan, no se mendigan.
      ----------------------------------------José Martí

-----------------a Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz 

Death came to the old revolutionary
put out what was left of his cigar
leaving him his military cap
so they would not place laurels
that would bother him.
It is no little thing to confront the empire
& survive its rage of a mad dog
from which a bone is taken.
Oh Cuba of the bitter history,
of palms, dances, songs,
of the drums of Alegba & Yamayá,
of the cane made sweet by blood & sweat
mourn & remember, sing, dance, 
work for justice & never 
return to slavery.

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


Thursday, November 24, 2016




Gracias y benditos sean
el Sol y la Tierra
por este pan y este vino,
-----esta fruta, esta carne, esta sal,
----------------este alimento;
gracias y bendiciones
a quienes lo preparan, lo sirven;
gracias y bendiciones
a quienes lo comparten
(y también a los ausentes y a los difuntos.)
Gracias y bendiciones a quienes lo traen
--------(que no les falte),
a quienes lo siembran y cultivan,
lo cosechan y lo recogen
-------(que no les falte);
gracias y bendiciones a los que trabajan
-------y bendiciones a los que no puedan;
que no les falte — su hambre
-----hace agrio el vino
-----------y le roba el gusto a la sal.
Gracias por el sustento y la fuerza
para nuestro bailar y nuestra labor
--------por la justicia y la paz.

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

(The Montserrat Review, no. 6, primavera 2003
[postulado para el Premio de la Poesía por la Paz Hobblestock;
derechos reservados del autor.)

---------------- Grace

Thanks and blessing be
to the Sun and the Earth
for this bread and this wine,

this fruit, this meat, this salt, 
---------------this food;
thanks be
and blessing to them
who prepare it, who serve it;
and blessing to them
who share it
and also the absent and the dead.)
and blessing to them who bring it
--------(may they not want),
to them who plant
and tend it,
and gather it
--------(may they not want);
and blessing to them who work
and blessing to them who cannot;
may they not want — for their hunger
------sours the wine
and robs the salt of its taste.
Thanks be for the sustenance
and strength
for our dance
and the work of justice, of peace.

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

(The Montserrat Review, Issue 6, Spring 2003
[nominated for the Hobblestock Peace Poetry Award];
author’s copyrights.)

--- ---


Monday, November 21, 2016




El arquero apunta a Júpiter,
----planeta de tantas lunas,
cuya luz se refleja en sus ancas,
y en la punta de topacio de su saeta
brota la llama inconstante del anhelo.
------En cadena de estaño
------lleva pectoral de turquesa
------bruñida de ensueños
---------y apunta
-------------------y apunta
---------y anhela herir al cielo.

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


The archer points at Jupiter,
-----planet of many moons
whose light reflects on his haunches,
and on the topaz point of his arrow
bursts the inconstant flame of his desire.
------On a chain of tin
------he wears a medallion of turquoise
------polished by dreams
---------and he points
----------------------and he points
------and desires to wound the sky. 

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


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Thanksgiving Day — A U. S. Holiday


Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1863-1930)


Preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving, favorite U.S. holiday (for we must always be thankful for blessings), it is well for us to recall the history and myth in which it is clothed and reflect upon it.

If in 1621 "Tisquantum" or "Squanto" of the Wampanoag nation, who as a boy or youth was taken as a slave to England fifteen years before the “Pilgrims” came to America, helped the ill-provided colonists and with his tribe celebrated thanksgiving with Miles Standish and the colonists of Plymouth Plantation, it was because the Algonkian tribes were generous and held six thanks-giving festivals during the year (that one being their 5th one of the year.) They brought most of the food, including four wild turkeys, for the feasting.

But it seems that, as William B. Newell, a Penobscot Indian and former chairman of the Anthropology department at the University of Connecticut, points out, the first officially declared Thanksgiving Day by the Governor of the then Massachusetts Bay Colony was the day following the slaughtering of a Pequot village of 700 men, women, and children who were celebrating their annual Green Corn Dance, in June 1637 executed under the command of one John Underhill and documented by William Branford.

In fact, a proclamation of such a holiday recorded in Charlestown, Massachusetts, thirty-nine years later, June 20, 1676, refers to the indigenous peoples of this land as “the Enemy” in “the present Warr with the Heathen Natives of this land.” And the governing council of Charlestown, Massachusetts set June 29 to thank the god of the Puritan “pilgrims” for “giving us especially of late with many of our Confederates many signal Advantages against them [the indigenous people],” thankful “when our Enemies are in any measure disappointed or destroyed.”

It first became a national holiday declared such by George Washington in 1789 for November 26. Abraham Lincoln revived the custom in 1863, and Congress decreed the holiday should fall on the fourth Thursday of November in 1941. And so it is, a holiday with antecedents in the remotest times of human history and burdened with national myth and fact, piety and villainy more often than not inextricably intertwined.

Since 1969 or 70 on San Francisco Bay, the day is begun at sunrise with American Indian ceremony at the gathering of the tribes on the island of Alcatraz as reminder of the history of this land — and as rededication to changing its course for the better.

Feasting with family and friends in thanks for the blessings of life, Thanksgiving is a holiday of celebration whose joy is marred by a consciousness of our nation in continual war and destruction of the Earth. The government (we, if we tolerate it) not only wages war unjustly, unlawfully, justifying itself through lies and deceit, but violates the U. S. Constitution and Bill of Rights so that our civil rights and liberties are less and less guaranteed. The wealth of the nation is concentrated in the hands of the one per cent rich and powerful, and most of our people will celebrate this day with less wealth, less security, less freedom, less learning, than thirty-four years ago. And the struggle to create a democracy continues. Now under even more difficult conditions.

In the midst of this pain and exasperation, we must give thanks for the gifts of life and the sustenance of the great Mother the Earth. And for each other, and all our relations the other animals, the plants, the minerals. We give thanks mindful that in our gratitude we must also raise our voices in the name of justice and peace resolved to make amends and undertake healing knowing that gratitude for that which we enjoy at the expense and suffering of our brothers and sisters is blasphemous and unacceptable.

© Rafael Jesús González 2016
Alta California


Monday, November 14, 2016

full moon: Two Ominous Views of the Full Moon 

Dos vistas ominosas de la luna llena


La inmensa luna llena
baña de luz blanca y fría
a la Señora de los mares
-----Dama del puerto
que parece en desesperación
alzar su antorcha
que aun despide más humo
que luz y parece
a punto de extinguirse,
lo que representa ahogarse
en las oleadas de luz
indiferentes y frías
para luego caer en la oscuridad.


La luz de la luna inmensa y brillante
parece hacer aun más fría la noche
cubriendo como escarcha luminosa
el campamento de los defensores
del agua sagrada, de la Tierra.
E igual cubre a los destructores,
los guardias, soldados en sus cascos
con sus garrotes y perros.
Y las piedras siguen de pie
cubiertas de escarcha de luz
silenciosas cual centinelas impotentes,
testigos imparciales.

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

---Two Ominous Views of the Moon


The immense full moon
bathes in white, cold light
the Lady of the Seas,
----Dame of the Port
who in desperation seems
to raise her torch
that even now sends more smoke
than light & seems
about to go out,
what it stands for to drown
in the waves of light
Indifferent & cold
to then fall into darkness.


The light of the immense, brilliant moon
seems to make the night even colder
covering with luminous frost
the encampment of the defenders
of the sacred water, of the Earth.
And equally covers the destroyers,
the guards, soldiers in their helmets
with their clubs & their dogs.
And the rocks stand 
covered with hoarfrost of light
silent as powerless sentinels,
impartial witnesses.

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


Friday, November 11, 2016

Veterans Day

When the First World War officially ended June 28, 1919, the actual fighting had already stopped the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month the previous year. Armistice Day, as it was known, later became a national holiday, and in 1954 (the year I graduated from high school), the name was changed to Veterans Day to honor all U.S. veterans of all wars.

The only veteran of that war, “the war to end all wars
,” I ever knew was my father’s step-father Benjamín Armijo, from New Mexico, an old man who seldom spoke and whom I would on occasion see wearing his cap of the American Legion. (He was also Republican.)

“The war to end all wars” was anything but that and when I was not much more than five, three of my uncles on my mother’s side (Roberto, Armando, Enrique) went off to fight another war, the Second World War.

I missed my uncles and remembered them by their photos on my grandmother’s home altar, very handsome in their uniforms; in the endless rosaries and litanies the women in the family regularly met to pray; and in the three blue stars that hanged in the window.

My uncle Roberto, tío Beto, did not last his second year; he came home and ulcers and los nervios, nerves, were mentioned. My uncle Armando, tío Pana, in the Infantry division or the Cavalry Division (though not one horse was ever ridden into battle in that war), served in the Pacific Theater, and Guadalcanal is a name that in some way sticks in his history. My uncle Enrique, tío Kiki, the youngest, in the Airborne Division, the “Screaming Eagles,” served in the European Theater and parachuted into the taking of Germany.

After that war ended, they came home, tío Pana into a hospital, sick with malaria which affected him throughout the rest of his life; tío Kiki with a malady in the soul not so easily diagnosed, hidden in his quiet humor, gentle ways. All my uncles were gentle men, in all senses of the word. And Beto, Pana, Kiki spoke not at all about their experiences of war in spite of my curiosity and questions which they diverted with a little joke or change of subject. What they had seen, felt was apparently not to be spoken and the family sensed this and respected their reticence. Neither of them joined the Veterans of Foreign Wars that I ever knew.

Enrique González Prieto

The Korean War “broke out”, as they say, as if it were acne, not long after. But as for me, I have never fought in any war, though I joined the U. S. Navy upon graduating from El Paso High School to become a Hospital Corpsman and obtain the G.I. Bill with which to enter Pre-Med studies upon my discharge; two of four years in the Navy I spent in the Marine Corps with the rank of Staff Sergeant. The Korean War had already ended. And though I served closely enough to it to be given the Korea Defense Service Medal and am legally a veteran and eligible to join the VFW, I never did nor do I intend to.

If I consider myself veteran of any war, it would be of the Viet-Nam War, not because I fought in it, far from it, but because I struggled against it. (I counseled conscientious objectors, picketed recruiting offices, marched in the streets.) The war veterans I have most intimately known are from that war, many, if not most, wounded and ill in body (from bullets, shrapnel, agent-orange), wounded and ill in the soul (terror, guilt, shame, hatred putrefying their dreams, tainting their loves.)

I am leery of being asked to honor veterans of almost any war, except as I honor the suffering, the being of every man or woman who ever lived. I am sick of “patriotism” behind which so many scoundrels hide. I am sick of war that has stained almost every year of my life. Given that almost every war the U.S. has waged and wages are invasions of other countries justified with thin pretensions of "defense," I am impatient with fools who ask whether I “support our troops.”

What does it mean to “support our troops”? What is a troop but a herd, a flock, a band? What is a troop but a group of actors whose duty it is not to reason why, but to do and die? In the years I served in the Navy and Marine Corps as a medic, I never took care of a troop; I took care of men who had been wounded and hurt, who cut themselves and bled, who suffered terrible blisters on their feet from long marches, who fell ill sick with high fevers. If to support means to carry the weight of, keep from falling, slipping, or sinking, give courage, faith, help, comfort, strengthen, provide for, bear, endure, tolerate, yes, I did, and do support all men and women unfortunate enough to go to war.

Troops, I do not. If to support means to give approval to, be in favor of, subscribe to, sanction, uphold, then I do not. The decision to make war was/is not theirs to make; troops are what those who make the decisions to war use (to kill and to be killed, to be brutalized into torturers) for their own ends, not for ours, certainly not for the sake of the men and women who constitute the “troops.”

Indeed, I find the question whether I "support our troops" offensive, cynical, hypocritical given that we care so little for our veterans: so many are homeless; find no work; have little care for their wounds, physical and psychological; little for their addictions; many are in prison; a great many commit suicide. This acknowledged, the "patriotism" the question pretends is hollow and blind.

I honor veterans of war the only way in which I know how to honor: with compassion; with respect; with understanding for how they were/are used, misled, indoctrinated, coerced, wasted, hurt, abandoned; with tolerance for their beliefs and justifications; with efforts to see that their wounds, of body and of soul, are treated and healed, their suffering and sacrifice compensated. I never refuse requests for donations to any veterans’ organization that seeks benefits and services for veterans. I honor veterans, men and women; not bands, not troops.

If you look to my window on this day, the flag you will see hanging there will be the rainbow flag of peace. It hangs there in honor of every veteran of any war of any time or place. Indoors, I will light a candle and burn sage, recommit myself to the struggle for justice and for peace. Such is the only way I know in which to honor the veterans (and victims
military or civilian) of war.

Berkeley, November 11, 2007

© Rafael Jesús González 2016

Universal Justice & Peace Flag
  Universal Justice & Peace Flag is licensed under a  
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Día del Veterano

Cuando la Primera Guerra Mundial oficialmente acabó el 28 de junio 1919, la lucha actual ya había cesado en la oncena hora del onceno día del onceno mes del año anterior. Día del Armisticio, como fue conocida, más tarde se hizo fiesta nacional, y en 1954 (el año en que me gradué de la secundaria), el nombre se le cambió a Día del Veterano para honrar a todo veterano estadounidense de todas las guerras.

El único veterano de esa guerra, “la guerra para acabar con toda guerra,” que jamás conocí era el padrastro de mi padre, Benjamín Armijo, de Nuevo México, un hombre anciano que raras veces hablaba y a quien en ocasión veía llevar la gorra de La legión Americana. (Era también republicano.)

“La guerra para acabar con toda guerra” fue todo menos eso y cuando yo tenía no mucho más de cinco, tres de mis tíos maternos (Roberto, Armando, Enrique) salieron a pelear en otra guerra, la Segunda Guerra Mundial.

Echaba de menos a mis tíos y los recordaba por sus fotos en el altar hogareño de mi abuela, muy guapos en sus uniformes; en los rosarios y letanías sin fin que las mujeres de la familia a menudo se juntaban a rezar; y en las tres estrellas azules que colgaban en la ventana.

Mi tío Roberto, tío Beto, no duró su segundo año; regresó a casa y se mencionaban las úlceras y los nervios. Mi tío Armado, tío Pana, en la División de infantería o la División de caballería (aunque ni un solo caballo jamás fue montado en ninguna batalla de esa guerra) sirvió en el Teatro del Pacífico y el nombre de Guadalcanal de algún modo se pega a su historía. Mi tío Enrique, tío Kiki, el menor, en la División Aérea, “las águilas chillantes,” sirvió en el Teatro Europeo y se lanzó en paracaídas en la toma de Alemania.

Después de que acabó esa guerra regresaron a casa, tío Pana a un hospital enfermo de malaria que le afectó por el resto de la vida; tío Kiki con dolencia del alma no tan fácil de diagnosticar ocultada en su humor suave, modos amables. Todos mis tíos fueron hombres gentiles en todo sentido de la palabra. Y Beto, Pana, Kiki no hablaban nada acerca sus experiencias de la guerra a pesar de mi curiosidad y preguntas que distraían con una pequeña broma o cambio de tema. Lo que habían visto, sentido aparentemente no era para decirse y la familia lo percibía y respetaba su reticencia. Ninguno de ellos se juntó a los Veteranos de Guerras Extranjeras de que yo sepa.

La Guerra Coreana reventó, como dicen, como si fuera el acne, no mucho después. En cuanto a mí, yo nunca he peleado en ninguna guerra aunque me ingresé a la Marina estadounidense graduando de la Escuela secundaria de El Paso para hacerme enfermero y conseguir la beca militar con que empezar mis estudios de medicina cuando acabara mi servicio; dos de los cuatro años en la marina los pasé en la Infantería de marina con el rango de Sargento del personal. La Guerra Coreana ya había acabado. Y aunque serví lo suficientemente aproximado a ella para ser otorgado la Medalla de defensa de Corea y soy legalmente veterano y elegible a juntarme a los VFW [Veteranos de Guerras Extranjeras] nunca lo hice y jamás lo intentaré.

Si me consideraría veterano de ninguna guerra sería de la Guerra de Vietnam, no porque haya peleado en ella sino porque luché en contra de ella. (Aconsejé a objetores de conciencia, puse piquetes a oficinas de recluta, marché en las calles.) Los veteranos de guerra a quien he conocido más íntimamente son los de esa guerra, muchos de ellos, si no la mayor parte, heridos y enfermos de cuerpo (de balas, de metralla, de productos químicos), heridos y enfermos del alma (terror, culpa, vergüenza, odio pudriéndoles los sueños, envenenándoles los cariños.)

Soy sospechoso de que se me pida que honre a veteranos de casi cualquier guerra, excepto como honro el sufrir, el ser de todo hombre o mujer que jamás ha vivido. Estoy harto del “patriotismo” detrás del cual tantos canallas se esconden. Estoy harto de la guerra que ha manchado casi todos los años de mi vida. Especialmente ahora en medio de una guerra más sin justificación, inmoral, ilegal, insoportable, cínica, cruel que la nación hace en Irak, en Afganistán. Soy impaciente de los bobos que me preguntan si no “apoyo a nuestras tropas.”

¿Qué significa “apoyar a nuestras tropas”? ¿Qué cosa es una tropa sino un rebaño, una manada, una banda? ¿Qué es una tropa sino un grupo de actores cuyo deber no es razonar el porque sino cumplir y morir? En los años que serví en la marina y en la infantería de marina como enfermero, nunca cuidé de una tropa; cuidé de hombres heridos y dañados, que se habían herido y sangraban, que sufrían ampollas terribles en los pies debidas a largas marchas, que enfermaban con fiebres altas. Si apoyar significa llevar el peso, impedir caer, resbalar o hundir, dar valor, fe, auxilio, consuelo, fuerza, abastecer, cargar, tolerar, sí, lo hice y apoyo a todos hombres y mujeres tan infelices como para ir a la guerra.

A las tropas, no. Si apoyar significa aprobar, estar en favor, suscribirse, sancionar, entonces no. La decisión de hacer la guerra no es de ellos para hacer; las tropas son lo que esos que hacen las decisiones de guerra usan (para matar y ser matados, para ser brutalizados en torturadores) para sus propios fines, no los nuestros y ni mucho menos los de los hombres y mujeres que constituyen las “tropas.”

En efecto, encuentro la pregunta si "apoyo a nuestras tropas" ofensiva, cínica, hipócrita dado que tan poco cuidamos de nuestros veteranos: muchos están sin techo; no encuentran trabajo; tienen poca atención a sus heridas, físicas y psicológicas; poca a sus adicciones; muchos están en cárcel; muchísimos se suicidan. Reconociendo esto, el "patriotismo" que la pregunta pretende es hueco y ciego.

Honro a los veteranos de la guerra solamente del modo en que sé honrar: con compasión; con respeto; con comprensión de cómo fueron/son usados, engañados, indoctrinados, obligados, desperdiciados, dañados, abandonados; con tolerancia de sus creencias y justificaciones; con esfuerzo para que sus heridas, de cuerpo y alma, se traten y se sanen, su sufrir y sacrificio se recompensen. Nunca me niego a las peticiones por donación a las organizaciones de veteranos que buscan beneficios y servicios para los veteranos. Honro a los veteranos, hombres y mujeres; no a bandas ni a tropas.

Si buscas a mi ventana este día, la bandera que encontrarás allí colgando será la bandera arco iris de la paz. Allí cuelga en honor de todo veterano de cualquier guerra en cualquier época o lugar. Dentro, encenderé una vela y quemaré artemisa y me dedicaré de nuevo a luchar por la justicia y la paz. Tal es el único modo en que sé honrar a los veteranos (y víctimas militares o civiles) de la guerra.

Berkeley, November 11, 2007

© Rafael Jesús González 2016

bandera uiversal de la justicia y la paz

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Election of Donald Trump 45th President of the United States of America


The Election of Donald Trump 
45th President of the United States of America

Last night I came home very late from watching the election results with friends in shock if not disbelief. The country had just elected as President of the United States of American a sociopath openly barbarian. True, we have had criminals for presidents before, but never one so uncouth, so ignorant, so vocal in his hatred, so arrogant in his barbarism, his xenophobia, his racism, his misogyny, his homophobia, his disregard for the very Earth. 

In a word, just elected as president of the United States of America, the greatest contemporary empire in the world, is a man whom we must not dare let ever visit the Court of St. James's or Buckingham Palace lest he goose the queen — to the horror of the world to be sure, though most likely to the delight of his supporters.

It is these many supporters that elected Trump that must be most feared. In them, Trump has exposed what is most sick, most pernicious in the U.S. psyche. What we have most to fear is the resonance Trump's hatred, xenophobia, racism, misogyny, homophobia finds in so many of our countrymen, countrywomen.

Going to bed at that late hour, it was this that brought me nightmares and made uneasy my sleep. I woke early this morning and went to a class in "Growing Justice" at the Emiliano Zapata Street Academy, a charter school in Oakland, California, at the invitation of its teacher Colin Miller, to conduct the Talking-Stick Ceremony and allow the twenty young students, ages 13 to 18 years, to express what they felt.

Some were articulate in expressing their fear, their confusion, their grief, their anger. Others were equally eloquent in their silence, their bowed heads, their sad or scared expressions, their cowed postures — even the inattentiveness of some was tainted with nervousness.

What could I say to comfort them when my own spirits were dark, burdened with grief, fear, anger? I said what I could about the need to love now more than ever, the necessity of hope, the importance of focusing our anger to confront the menace of the fascist state with meaningful action, of undermining our fear by cultivating our joy, of expressing our grief and comforting each other. I told them that the Age of the Warrior must come to an end and that we must bring in the Age of the Healer, no less courageous and committed, fired by a fierce love.

But I must say that I found more comfort from them, than they must have had from me, though many came to me after class to thank me for what I had said. The beauty of their faces, of all hues and forms, exuberant with youth in spite of it all, gladdened me and strengthened my resolve to do what I could in the struggle for justice and peace, and the wholeness of the Earth. For ultimately it is for them that the struggle must be carried on with even greater determination.

I came home afterward to a great many e-mails from friends throughout the country and throughout the world expressing sympathy, and grief, and fear, and anger, alarm and disbelief. So many that I must apologize for not answering each individually, Instead I offer this and would say essentially what I said to the young students this morning.

Let us commit ourselves to the struggle for justice, for peace, for a real democracy, a world of love, and an Earth whole and capable of sustaining life. Let us continue the struggle together as fierce healers joyful for life and each other and the challenge of the times painful as they are and even more painful as they promise to be. Let us make joy together even as we go.

Rafael Jesús González 

Berkeley/Oakland, California 

November 9, 2016


Sunday, November 6, 2016

Premier of New Works, Friction Quartet, Sunday, December 4

Friction Quartet teams up with a group of vocalist for the premiere of new works by composers Nick Benavides, Danny Clay, Noah Luna, and Mark Winges*. Each of these new works draws inspiration from an artist that died young: the great Hank Williams, charismatic cellist Jacqueline du Pré, bebop legend Charlie Parker, and the American poet Joe Bolton. 

This project is made possible by the generosity of George Hopkins, Russ Irwin, San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music, and the Zellerbach Foundation.

When: Sunday, December 4 @ 7:30 PM 

Where: The Women's Building

3543 18th St.

San Francisco, California


Trying to play clean - Nick Benavides

no more darkness, no more night  
 - Danny Clay

On this coast without a shore  - Noah Luna

The Moon Dreams of Jacqueline* 
- Mark Winges



At the door: $20 general / $10 under 30
Advance: $18/ $9 via BPT


Vocal Quartet:

Amy Foote, soprano
Molly Mahoney, mezzo soprano
Michael Desnoyers, tenor
Sidney Chen, bass

* Lyrics "A veces la luna plena/Sometimes the Full Moon" 
poem by Rafael Jesús González

----A veces la luna plena

---------------a Elena

A veces la luna plena
es tan fría que no parece
merecer ser tan bella.

Pero hay noches
en que la datura amarilla
con su perfume espeso
e presta a la luna color y calor.
Esas noches es testigo la luna
de que lo que hemos bailado
ni la muerte nos puede quitar.

A veces la luna plena
es tan bella que no parece
merecer ser tan fría.


----Sometimes the Full Moon

------------------for Elena

Sometimes the full moon
Is so cold that it seems
not to deserve being so beautiful.

But some nights
the yellow datura
with its dense perfume
lends color & warmth to the moon.

The moon is witness, those nights,
that what we have danced
not even death can take from us.

Sometimes the full moon
is so beautiful that it seems
not to deserve being so cold.


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

(La musa lunática/The Lunatic Muse
Pandemonium Press, Berkeley 2009) 


Saturday, November 5, 2016

Standing Rock


-------------------------Standing Rock

Por el camino rojo y el amarillo,
el camino negro y el blanco
venimos, nos reunimos
porque el agua es la vida y sagrada
tal como es la tierra que nos da nacer
y guarda los huesos de nuestros ancestros.
Nos reunimos con rezos y resolución,
con flores y cantos;
los que las tenemos llevamos plumas,
nuestros aretes de oro, collares de jade
para enfrentar los perros, los garrotes,
el gas lacrimógeno, prisión.
Aquí estamos para defender a la Tierra.

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


----------Standing Rock

By the red road & the yellow,
the black road & the white
we come, we gather
because water is life & sacred
as is the land that births us
& holds the bones of our forebears.
We gather with prayers & resolve,
with flowers & songs;
we who have them wear feathers,
our gold earrings, our collars of jade
to face the dogs & the clubs,
the tear gas & bullets, prison.
We are here to defend the Earth.

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