Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Alameda Island Poets reading January 3, 2018


Alameda Island Poets reading, Wednesday, January 3, 2018, 7:00-9:00 PM, Frank Bette Center, 1601 Paru St., Alameda, California:

Feliz Nuevo Año,

We are honored to celebrate the new year with Hispanic culture, featuring Berkeley's first Poet Laureate, Rafael Jesús González and S.F.'s musician/poet, Francisco Herrera.
Our 1st Wednesday monthly reading is Wed., Jan. 3, 7-9pm, at Frank Bette Center, 1601 Paru St., Alameda. After the features is our open mic.  We offer light refreshments and pass the hat.  We are community-run and we appreciate your help setting up.  Come early if you can!
peace, passion, and poetry,
Cathy Dana, Alameda Poet Laureate

bios below:

Rafael Jesús González ( was born (October 10, 1935) and raised in the bicultural/bilingual environment of El Paso, Texas, U.S.A./Cd. Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico with family on both sides of the Río Grande. Just graduated from El Paso High School 1954, he joined the U.S. Navy in the hospital corps and served in the Marine Corps with the rank of Staff Sergeant. After military service, he attended the University of Texas, El Paso (then Texas Western College of the University of Texas) in pre-med taking time to attend the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México where he studied archaeology, Mexican literature, Mexican History, and Mexican philosophy.

 During this time, he published his first poems and academic articles in English and Spanish. On receiving the bachelor’s he decided to dedicate himself to literary studies which he did under a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and a National Education Act Fellowship. He did his graduate studies at the University of Oregon.
As professor of literature and creative writing, he taught at the University of Oregon, Western State Collage of Colorado, Central Washington State University, the University of Texas, El Paso (as Visiting Professor of Philosophy), and at Laney College, Oakland, California where he founded the Department of Mexican and Latin-American Studies. His poetry and academic articles appear in reviews and anthologies in the U. S., Mexico, and abroad; his collection of poems El Hacedor De Juegos/The Maker of Games published by Casa Editorial, San Francisco (1977-78) went through two editions. A selection of his moon poems, La musa lunática/The Lunatic Muse was published by Pandemonium Press, Berkeley, California in 2009. He has been nominated thrice for a Pushcart price.
 Also a visual artist, his work has been exhibited at such venues as the Mexican Museum of San Francisco, Galería de la Raza, the Oakland Museum of California, the Charles Ellis Art Museum, Milwaukee. In 1996, he was named Poet in Residence at the Oakland Museum of California and the Oakland Public Library under a ‘Writers on Site Award’ from Poets & Writers, Inc. and was chosen for the Annual Award for Literary Achievement by Dragonfly Press in 2002. In 2003, he was honored by the National Council of Teachers of English and Annenberg CPB for his writing. He was named featured poet by the San José Poetry Center, San José, California the fall of 2005. In November of 2005, he was invited to read his poetry and present a paper at the World Congress of Poets in Tai’an, Province of Shandong, China. In July 2006 he was named Universal Ambassador of Peace, Universal Ambassador Peace Circle, Geneva, Switzerland. In Spring 2007 he presented a paper and read his poetry at the 8º Encuentro Literario Internacional aBrace in Montevideo, Uruguay and in Winter 2008 in Havana, Cuba. In 2012 he again received the Dragonfly Press Award for Outstanding Literary Achievement and in 2013 the César E. Chávez Lifetime Award. The City of Berkeley honored him with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 13th Annual Berkeley Poetry Festival May 16, 2015. He was named the City of Berkeley's first Poet Laureate in 2017. He sat on the Advisory Board of the Oakland Museum of California from 1995 until its dissolution 2015; he sits on the Advisory Board of Dancing Earth, Contemporary Indigenous Dance Company. He resides in Berkeley, California. 

Theologian, Cultural Worker, Singer-Songwriter, Francisco Herrera brings together different styles of music to promote human rights and Social Justice
Latest album Honor Migrante crosses physical and musical borders

Growing up in the border town of Calexico, Francisco  always straddles two worlds. “My siblings and cousins and I used to sing rancheras and some mariachi at family parties, and when we got a little older we started some garage rock bands,” he recalls of his early musical exploits. But as he became more involved in the church and social issues, in particular with the Latin American  Herrera began exploring ways to use music to further his goals of social justice.

Herrera traveled extensively throughout Latin America working with community organizations even as he finished his four years at seminary school, all the while toting his guitar and whipping it out for events, actions, and church meetings. “Reflection, meditation, prayer, all those things are important. But they’re important so you can play a role here to make social change. De ahí nacen all those misas that have a social message.” He deftly weaves between English and Spanish as he explains the philosophy of Liberation Theology as he sits under portraits of his two heroes, Che Guevara and Monseñor Oscar Romero, the Salvadoran archbishop who was assassinated in 1980.

Francisco Herrera’s new album, Honor Migrante, is full of songs that reflect his passion for social justice. The themes range from immigrant rights to globalization, and the music itself crosses genre borders from traditional-sounding norteño and corrido tunes to post-modern electro-cumbia and Latin Rock wet with soulful vocals, wailing electric guitars, and a ripping Fender-Rhodes solo. All these sounds are melded smoothly together by veteran super-producer Greg Landau (Maldita Vecindad, Susana Baca) who met Herrera in the late 1980s on the Nueva Cancion circuit.
Francisco Herrera is an extraordinary guitarist and singer. He has performed often at the San Francisco Public Library’s Children’s Center over the past half-dozen years. Francisco is wonderfully capable of adjusting his repertoire of songs and program length to different age groups from the littlest pre-K children and school-aged kids to teens and adults.

"If we could read the secret history of our enemies,
We should find in each man's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Visit my website:

Monday, December 25, 2017


---------A esto

Se dice que
el fulgor de un lucero
y el cantar de ángeles
anunciaron el nacer
del dios hecho hombre,
del niño nacido
entre animales domésticos.

Sea lo que sea el cuento
de la trágica y gloriosa
trayectoria de su vida,
todo se reduce a esto:
------enseñó amar.

----© Rafael Jesús González 2017

-------------To This

It is said
that the brightness of a star
and the singing of angels
announced the birth
of the god made man,
the child born
among domestic animals.

Whatever is the story
of the tragic and glorious
trajectory of his life,
it all comes to this:
------he taught love.

----© Rafael Jesús González 2017



Friday, December 22, 2017

Capricorn - Winter Solstice

Solsticio invernal/Winter Solstice

Deseándoles las bendiciones de la temporada 
hoy y siempre.
Que el nacer de la luz nos ilumine el corazón 
y nos traiga la justicia y la paz,
salud y felicidad 
y un Tierra sana y salva.

Wishing you the season's blessings now & always.
May the birth of the light illumine our hearts 
& bring us justice & peace, 
health & happiness, 
& and Earth whole & safe.

Capricorn — Winter Solstice



La cabra, piel hirsuta,
---cuernos de turquesa,
---ojos de granate,
---pesuñas de plomo,
se arrodilla a Saturno,
planeta de sortijas,
en la noche larga
----y persevera, dura
----en su anhelo de cornear
el punto cardinal de la tierra.

----------© Rafael Jesús González 2017


The goat, hirsute hide,
-----horns of turquoise
-----garnet eyes,
-----hoofs of lead,
kneels to Saturn,
planet of rings,
in the long night
---and perseveres, persists
---in his desire to gore
the cardinal point of the earth.

----------© Rafael Jesús González 2017


Sunday, December 3, 2017

Full moon: Fake News


On the Advent Moon: False News

The moon rises full, round and bright, just as the grandmothers and the scientists told us, the almanacs announced.

"Fake news," tweets the guy in the white house. "The Chinese made the moon all up to dim my own incredible brilliance. Li Po, I think, a really, really bad guy. A drunk, weak and stupid too; he fell in the river and drowned. A loser. And science, I don't believe in science; it's all fake news, politically correct out of control and dangerous, believe me. They're lightweight, any moron will tell you, zero. But we know better; we're a smart, tough, terrific country, this alt white U.S. of A., amazing. Believe me, with a classy president like me, we'll win huge, tremendous."

The moon rises and rolls in these Post-Truth times; hard put to rein in the tides gone crazy with fever, her cool light a consolation still. 

© Rafael Jesús González 2017

En Luna de Advento: Noticias Falsas

La luna sale llena, redonda y brillante tal como nos dijeron las abuelas y los científicos, anunciaron los almanaques.

"Noticias falsas," tuitea el tipo en la casa blanca. "Los chinos la inventaron para opacar mi propia brillantez increíble. Li Bai creo, un tipo muy, muy malo. Un borracho, flaco y estúpido también; se cayó en el río y se ahogó. Un perdedor. Y la ciencia, no creo en la ciencia; es toda noticia falsa, políticamente correcta fuera de control y peligrosa, créanmelo. Son de poco peso, cualquier idiota te lo dirá, cero. Pero nosotros sabemos mejor; somos un pueblo listo, fuerte, tremendo este país de los EE.UU, alt blanco, maravilloso. Créanmelo, con un presidente de tan buen tono como yo tendremos un éxito grandote, estupendo."

La luna se alza y rueda en estos tiempos Post-Verdad, casi incapaz de enfrenar las mareas vueltas locas con fiebre, su luz fresca un consuelo aun.

© Rafael Jesús González 2017



Saturday, December 2, 2017

Resilience Fair, Berkeley, Dec. 2



Es lo que el carrizo, la caña,
el zacate muestran ante la tormenta —
se doblan pero no se quiebran.
Es lo que hacemos cuando el huracán
se ha llevado la casa, o el incendio
la ha dejado en cenizas,
es lo que hace el migrante
cuando en su tierra ya no pueda vivir.
Tiene que ver con la esperanza
y la fuerza y ante todo el amor a la vida.
Es la capacidad de reír después de llorar,
cantar al sudar la gota gorda, bailar
en la protesta ante la injuria. Es más
que todo el amar, romper las puertas,
derribar los muros entre nosotros,
tomarnos de la mano y crear un mundo
nuevo que sea justo y se ajuste a la Tierra.
Es vivir con y del corazón.

------------------© Rafael Jesús González 2017


It is what the reed, the cane,
the grass show before the storm—
they bend but do not break.
It is what we do when the hurricane
has taken the house or the fire
has left it in ashes,
it is what the migrant does
when he can no longer live in his land.
It has to do with hope
& strength & above all love of life.
It is the ability to laugh after crying,
to sing as we sweat the fat drop, to dance
in the protest against outrage. It is more
than anything loving, to break the doors,
bring down the walls between us,
take each other by hand & create a new
world that is just & adjusts to the Earth.
It is to live with & from the heart.

------------------© Rafael Jesús González 2017


Thursday, November 23, 2017




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 2017

(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 2017

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

--- ---


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thanksgiving Day — a U.S.A. 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 2017
Alta California


Saturday, November 11, 2017

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 2017

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 2017

bandera uiversal de la justicia y la paz

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Overthrowing Capidtalism reading Saturday, Nov. 11


Book launch & Reading of

Saturday, November 11, 2017 

5:00 - 7:00 PM 

The Beat Museum 

540 Broadway 

San Francisco, California


Bob Azbian, Jorge Argueta, Lisbit Bailey, 
Elizabeth Ball, Judith Ayn Bernhard, 
Kristina Brown, Neeli Cherkovski, 
Pauline Craig, Romeo A. Cruz, John Curl (M.C.), 
Diego de Leo, Mauro Fortissimo, Arnoldo García, 
Rafael Jesús González, Stephen Gray, 
Lupe Gazzini, Jack Hirschman (M.C.), 
Rosemary Manno, Karen Melander Magoon, 
Jim Normington, Barbara Paschke, Jenne Powell, 
Doreen Stock, A. D. Winans, Chun Yu 



Friday, November 3, 2017

full moon: Moon of the Mystery


Luna del misterio

La luna yerma piedra compañera de la Tierra que jala los humores terrestres nos recuerda que sólo hay el gran misterio. Lo más grande del misterio esta bendita Tierra que da vida de la cual somos nosotros su más grande misterio. Lo que percibimos, imaginamos, creemos saber sólo abre a un cada vez más profundo recinto del misterio.

¿De donde la consciencia? Nos aterroriza el asombro y de la imaginación espantada creamos los dioses/diosas en nuestra propia imagen, ilusiones de espejos que proyectamos allá en los vastos espacios de las estrellas y en nuestros mitos inventamos reglas como sustituyo a los instintos que hemos perdido.

Sólo hay el misterio eternamente creándose a si mismo; es el todo y nosotros solamente minuta parte de este todo.

Olvidando esto creemos que no sólo somos aparte de los dioses/diosas que imaginamos sino de nuestros hermanos/hermanas los otros animales; los árboles, arbustos, hierbas; piedras, guijas, arenas; la Tierra madre misma y en nuestro pavor la dañamos a ella misma de quien somos parte.

Es breve la vida y eterna la muerte y el percibir, imaginar, saber una chispa fugaz en el universo. Preciosa y deslumbrante chispita esta que todo alumbra y en esa luz todo esconde. La luna nos recuerda que esta es una forma de locura maravillosa y fatal que hasta a las estrellas nos lleva y la única esperanza de sanarla es el amar.

© Rafael Jesús González 2017

Moon of the Mystery

The moon, barren rock companion of the Earth that pulls the terrestrial humors reminds us that there is only the great mystery. The greatest of the mystery this holy Earth that gives life of which we are its greatest mystery. What we perceive, imagine, think to know only open to an ever greater precinct of the mystery.

Where from consciousness? Wonder terrorizes us and from the frightened imagination we create gods/goddesses in our own image, illusions of mirrors that we project there in the vast spaces of the stars and in our myths invent rules as substitute for the instincts we have lost.

There is only the mystery eternally creating itself; it is all and we only a minute part of this all.

Forgetting this, we think not only that we are apart from the gods/goddesses we imagine but from our brothers/sisters the other animals; the trees, shrubs, grasses; rock, pebbles, sand; the mother Earth herself and in our fear we harm her of whom we are a part.

Life is brief and death eternal and to perceive, imagine, know a fleeting spark in the universe. Precious and dazzling spark this that lights everything and in that light everything hides. The moon reminds us that this is a form of madness marvelous and deadly that takes us even to the stars and the only hope for its cure is love.

© Rafael Jesús González 2017