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