Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Livermore Nuclear Laboratory action on Hiroshima Day August 6


You are Invited to Livermore Lab 
on Hiroshima Day

Bay Area groups will jointly mark the 74th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the Livermore Lab, where the Trump Administration is presently spending billions to create new nuclear warheads.

The Tuesday, August 6, 2019 commemoration is titled, “Designing Armageddon at Livermore Lab: Rally, March and Nonviolent Direct Action for Nuclear Disarmament.” Participants will gather at the northwest corner of the Livermore Lab (Vasco Road and Patterson Pass Road). The rally will begin at 8 AM and will feature music, speakers, poetry, art and more. There is free parking at the event site.

Daniel Ellsberg will deliver the keynote address.  Ellsberg is the military analyst and whistleblower who shone a bright light on U.S. policy and helped end the Vietnam War when he released the Pentagon Papers. Ellsberg published an award-winning memoir in 2017, “The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner.” He remains a brilliant analyst, commentator and sought-after speaker.

Nobuaki Hanaoka, an atomic bomb survivor, will be the rally’s special guest speaker. Hanaoka was an infant when the bomb fell on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. His mother and sister died from illnesses linked to radiation poisoning and his brother died at age 39 from premature aging associated with fallout from the bomb. Hanaoka is a retired minister in the United Methodist Church, who came to the U.S. following seminary training in Japan. He has settled in the Bay Area where he speaks, writes and teaches on topics of peace and human rights.

Rafael Jesús González, the first poet-laureate of Berkeley and an organizer of the 1983 International Day of Nuclear Disarment will speak.

and Marylia Kelley of Tri-Valley CAREs will also be featured.

Immediately following the rally program, at approximately 9:15 AM, will be a "call to action," in which participants will be invited to march a short distance to the Livermore Lab West Gate. At the gate, Japanese activists will lead a traditional bon dance. Everyone is invited to participate.

Following the dance will be a commemorative die-in and symbolic chalking of the bodies to mimic the “shadows” left by men, women and children vaporized by the A-bomb blast. 

Those who choose will then peaceably risk arrest. Others will conduct a legal witness and support.


A flyer is available with nonviolence guidelines, vanpool info, and how to RSVP for the August 4th and 5th kid-friendly Peace Camp. 

Promoting environmental cleanup and stopping nuclear weapons where they start — Livermore Lab


Saturday, July 20, 2019



Hoy hace 50 años

“Por esa clase de dinero lo menos que [NASA] podría hacer es descubrir a Dios.”

-----— Kurt Vonnegut, en las noticias de la tarde CBS, 20 julio 2069

El hombre pisó en la luna,
un paso gigane para la humanidad.
¿En camino a qué?
Aquí la Tierra es violada,
hambre, guerra, injusticia rigen.

-----© Rafael Jesús González 2019

Today 50 years ago

“For that kind of money, the least [NASA] can do 
is discover God.”

-----— Kurt Vonnegu,t on the CBS Evening News, July 20, 2019

Man stepped on the moon,
a giant step for mankind.
On the path to what?
Here Earth is violated,
hunger, war, injustice rule.

-----© Rafael Jesús González 2019




El león, ojos de carnalina,
colmillos, garras de sardónice,
lleva en el pecho corazón de rubí
que guarda el fuego fijo del valor.
-----Anhela devorar al sol
-----y mudarlo en oro
que surgiera por sus venas
como río caliente de luz.

----------------© Rafael Jesús González 2019



 The lion, carnelian eyes,
fangs, claws of sardonyx,
carries in his breast a ruby heart
that holds the steadfast fires of courage.
------It desires to devour the sun
------and turn it into gold
that would run in his veins
like a hot river of light.

----------------© Rafael Jesús González 2019


Tuesday, July 16, 2019

full moon: The moon rises full tanka


La luna sale llena.
No hay briza que agite las campanillas de bambú,
sólo la luz las toca.
El silencio nocturno es un canto
en las harmonías de luz.

------------------------------© Rafael Jesús González 2019

Hasui Kawase 川瀬巴水 (1883 – 1957)

The moon rises full.
No breeze stirs the bamboo chimes;
only light plays them.
The night silence is a song
in the harmonics of light.

------------------------------© Rafael Jesús González 2019


Saturday, July 13, 2019

City of Berkeley rally to protest separated families, tortured, dead children in U.S. Detention Centers, July 13



----------------Se me pide como poeta

Se me pide como poeta laureado de la ciudad
que recite un poema sobre l@s niñ@s,
madres, padres separados, encarcelados,
enjaulados, torturados en centros
de concentración en la frontera del sur.
¿Cómo poner en canto el sufrir, el llanto,
el terror, el espanto de los niños arrebatados
de l@s braz@s de sus madres, sus padres
por manos bruscas, en voces rudas
en lengua que no comprenden?
¿Cómo decir su dormir de pesadillas
exhaustos de llorar, no envueltos
en cobijas de algodón y lana oliendo a consuelo
sino en mantas isotérmicas metálicas y frías
en el suelo de una jaula? ¿Cómo cantar sus muertes?
¿Cómo cantar la angustia de las madres,
los padres por sus hijitos, hijitas?
¿Cómo gritar el dolor y la rabia, protestar
la crueldad de los canallas en la Casa Blanca,
el Congreso, la Corte Suprema del país?
Enmudecen las musas; aquí los límites
de la poesía. Sólo servirá la resistencia,
revolución — esta será nuestro poema.
No hay otro.

---------------------------© Rafael Jesús González 2019


--------------------I am asked as Poet

I am asked as Poet Laureate of the city
to recite a poem on the children,
mothers, fathers separated, jailed,
caged, tortured in concentration camps
on the southern border.
How to put into song the suffering, the cries,
the terror, the fright of the children snatched
from their mothers', their fathers' arms
by rough hands, in harsh voices
in a tongue they do not understand?
How to tell their sleep of nightmares
exhausted by crying, not wrapped
in blankets of cotton & wool smelling of comfort
but in space blankets metallic & cold on the floor
of a cage? How to sing their deaths?
How to sing the anguish of the mothers,
the fathers for their little sons, little daughters?
How cry the pain & rage, protest
the cruelty of the villains in the White House,
the Congress, the Supreme Court of the land?
The muses grow mute; here the limits
of poetry. Only resistance will do,
revolution — that will be our poem.
There is no other.

                © Rafael Jesús González 2019


Saturday, July 6, 2019

Lights for Liberty National Day of Action to close the Federal Migrant Deterntion Centers July 12 & 13


On our border
families are being torn apart,
children are suffering & dying —
join the National (International) Day(s) of Action
to close the detention camps now.

(scroll down the webpage 
to find the action nearest you.)

If you find no event near you, organize one yourself;

perhaps invite family, friends, neighbors 
to meet and talk about it.


In Berkeley, California:

PRESS RELEASE: Berkeley Rally for Children in Federal Migrant Detention Centers, Sat., July 13th, 12-2 p.m., Berkeley Civic Center Park

The Berkeley City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to hold a community rally on Saturday afternoon to protest the mass detention of children and adults in torturous conditions at our southern border.

The event will feature Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín, City of Berkeley Poet Laureate Rafael Jesús González, DREAMers and immigrant rights activists, protest songs by Musicians Action Group and Occupella, faith leaders, and others. The event will also include representatives from immigrant rights organizations, sanctuary congregations, and other groups so protest attendees can learn more about how they can get involved.

The City of Berkeley was the first U.S. city to declare itself a sanctuary nearly 50 years ago—in 1971 in response to the Vietnam War. Then, the Berkeley City Council passed a resolution to provide sanctuary to 1,000 crew members of the U.S.S. Coral Sea who had signed a petition to stop the ship’s journey back to Vietnam from the San Francisco Bay.

Now, the Berkeley community will come together—in solidarity with the Lights for Liberty National Day of Action—to declare that no human being is illegal and demand that all people are treated humanely. 

Please join us to send a message to Close the Camps Now!

Our event will take place from 12 to 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 13th at Berkeley Civic Center Park, accessible from the Downtown Berkeley BART station. Attendees are encouraged to take public transportation, walk, bike, or carpool.


Friday, July 5, 2019

riverbabble 35, summer 2019


Berkeley Marina
by Christopher Novak

riverbabble 35
Summer, Bloomsday Issue

Wayne F. Burke:
           A Better Place

Elizabeth Dolan:
           How to Fix a Second FloorClothes Line
           Great Expectations

Rafael Jesús González:
           Standing Rock / Standing Rock
           Nubes al los límites/Clouds on the threshold

Kathleen McClung:
           The Nine of Doubt: Cento for Michelle Bitting
           Glosa for Those Who Pretend

Anne Whitehouse:
           Smoke and Fog

Glenn Ingersoll:    Eleven Haiku

William Doreski:    Max and Son

Mark A. Fisher:    taco trucks

Peter D. Goodwin:    Winter Sculptures

Grace Marie Grafton:    Muse and I: Trip

John Grey:    Thin Ice

Mathew Harrison:    The Catchment

Majella Haugh:    Traveler

Raluca Ioanid:    Target, I Love You

James Croal Jackson:    That Summer I Still Believed in Everything

Daniela Kantorová:    The Ship

Miriam N. Kotzin:    Fidgets and Fantods

Kathleen Listman:    The Water Clock

Richard Loranger:    Rain

MJ Moore:    Journey

Edward Mycue:    Seven Days in a Week

Carl "Papa" Palmer:    Waiting

Jay Samuels:    Remember

B.L.P. Simmons:    April on Jupiter

Elizabeth Spencer Spragins:    Cloaked

Miranda Sun:    Fox Magic

Denise Utt:    The Caregiver

Rebecca Watts:    Becoming the Lady of the Lake

Yuan Changming:    Sonneting in Infinitives


Anna Bradley:    Minor Intelicity

David Butler:    Looking-glass

Arthur Carey:    Until Death Us Do Part--A Triptych

KJ Hannah Greenberg:    Jase and the Sister of the Two Blue Dragons

Flash Fiction & Prose Poems

Bear Jack Gebhardt:
          Dangerous Books
          Basic Training

William Cass:    Tit for Tat

Jeannette DesBoine:    Merry Xmas--2018--El Paso, Tx

Robin Wyatt Dunn:    We Shouldn't Care

KJ Hannah Greenberg:    Sea Glass

Jim Ross:    Twizzler


Edward Mycue:    The Tapestry I Wove and I Now Sink Back Into

Timo Parfitt:    Grim Reaper Bong

Tom Sheehan:    A Bit of Correspondence Caused by Place

Photo Essay

Jim Ross: Thursday Market: Villefranche-de-Rouergue

Christopher Novak: Berkeley Marina (cover photo)

She crosses the threshold. He hesitates. She turns and, holding out her hands, draws him over. He hops. On the antlered rack of the hall hang a man’s hat and waterproof. Bloom uncovers himself but, seeing them, frowns, then smiles, preoccupied. A door on the return landing is flung open. A man in purple shirt and grey trousers, brownsocked, passes with an ape’s gait, his bald head and goatee beard upheld, hugging a full waterjugjar, his twotailed black braces dangling at heels.

                                                    JAMES JOYCE, Ulysses, Circe, 22064-22070.


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Thursday, July 4, 2019

U. S. of A. Independence Day

Oh, Say Can You See?

The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate
the growth of private power to a point where it becomes
stronger than their democratic State itself. That, in essence
is Fascism — ownership of government by an individual,
by a group, or by any controlling private power.

---------------------------------President Franklin D. Roosevelt

----A Declaration Revisited
We hold these truths 
to be self-evident, they said,
that all men (provided they be 
of European descent, not women, 
& of a certain wealth
are created equal, 
that they are endowed 
by their Creator 
with certain unalienable rights 
(such as to enslave others, 
take their lands, 
& to trash the Earth), 
that among these are 
life (for the so privileged), 
Liberty (for those who can afford it)
& the pursuit (if they are able
of Happiness (measured 
by how much they consume.

To this pronouncement they pledged
their lives (?), their fortunes (that part 
not stowed away in foreign banks 
& sheltered by tax breaks). 
& their "Sacred Honor"(?) 

-------------------------© Rafael Jesús González 2019

La libertad de una democracia no es salva si el pueblo tolera
el crecimiento del poder privado hasta al punto en que se hace
más fuerte que su estado democrático mismo. Eso en esencia
es el Fascismo — posesión del gobierno por un individuo,
por un grupo, o por un partido privado dominante.

 ---------------------------- Presidente Franklin D. Roosevelt

------------Declaración repasada


Tenemos estas verdades 
de por si evidentes, dijeron, 
que todos hombres (con tal que sean 
de ascendencia Europea, no mujeres, 
y de ciertos bienes
son creados iguales,
que son dotados 
por su Creador 
con ciertos derechos inalienables 
(tales como los de esclavizar a otros, 
quitarles sus terrenos, 
y de destrozar la Tierra), 
que entre ellos son 
la vida (para los tales privilegiados), 
la libertad (para cuales la puedan
y la búsqueda (si pueden
de la felicidad (medida 
por cuanto sonsuman.)

A esta declaración comprometieron 
sus vidas (?), sus fortunas (esa parte 
no metida en bancos extranjeros 
y protegida de impuestos), 
y su "honor Sagrado." (?)

--------------------© Rafael Jesús González 2019