Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Earth Day (50th Anniversary)


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Si no hablamos para alabar a la Tierra,
es mejor que guardemos silencio.


Loa al aire
que llena el fuelle del pulmón
y alimenta la sangre
del corazón;
que lleva la luz,
el olor de las flores
y los mares,
los cantos de las aves
y el aullido del viento;
que conspira con la distancia
------------------------------para hacer azul el monte.


-
Loa al fuego
que alumbra el día
y calienta la noche,
cuece nuestro alimento
y da ímpetu a nuestra voluntad;
que es el corazón de la Tierra,
este fragmento de lucero;
que quema y purifica por bien o por mal.



Loa al agua
que hace a los ríos
y a los mares;
que da sustancia a la nube
y a nosotros;
que hace verde a los bosques
y los campos;
que hincha al fruto
y envientra nuestro nacer.


Loa a la tierra
que es el suelo, la montaña,
y las piedras;
que lleva los bosques
y es la arena del desierto;
que nos forma los huesos
y sala los mares, la sangre;
que es nuestro hogar y sitio.


Si no hablamos en alabanza a la Tierra,
-----si no cantamos en festejo a la vida,
----------es mejor que guardemos silencio.




© Rafael Jesús González 2020

Escrito especialmente para el Congreso Mundial de Poetas,
Tai’an, Provincia de Shandong, China, otoño 2005



(Siete escritores comprometidos: obra y perfil; Fausto Avendaño, director;
Explicación de Textos Literarios vol. 34 anejo 1; diciembre 2007;
Dept. of Foreign Languages; California State University Sacramento;
derechos reservados del autor.)





https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbJTfFcxi48&feature=youtu.be&utm_source=ActiveCampaign&utm_medium=email&utm_content=%5BDailyMeditations%5D+4%2F20%2F20%3A+Music%2C+Mysticism+and+Time+of+Coronavirus&utm_campaign=%5BDailyMeditation%5D+4%2F20%2F20%3A++Music%2C+Mysticism+and+Time+of+Coronavirus





If we do not speak to praise the Earth,
it is best we keep silent.


Praise air
that fills the bellow of the lung
& feeds our heart’s blood;
that carries light,
the smell of flowers
& the seas,
the songs of birds
& the wind’s howl;
that conspires with distance
to make the mountains blue.


Praise fire
that lights the day
& warms the night,
cooks our food
& gives motion to our wills;
that is the heart of Earth,
this fragment of a star;
that burns & purifies
for good or ill.


Praise water
that makes the rivers
& the seas;
that gives substance
to the clouds and us;
that makes green the forests
& the fields;
that swells the fruit
& wombs our birth.


Praise earth
that is the ground,
the mountain, & the stones;
that holds the forests
& is the desert sand;
that builds our bones
& salts the seas, the blood;
that is our home & place.


If we do not speak in praise of the Earth,
-----if we do not sing in celebration of life,
----------it is best we keep silence.




© Rafael Jesús González 2020

Written especially for the World Congress of Poets,
Tai’an, Shandong Province, China, Autumn 2005



(147 Practical Tips for Teaching Sustainability:
Connecting the Environment, the Economy, and Society
;
Timpson, William M. et al, Eds.,
Atwood Publishing Co., Madison, Wisconsin 2006;
author’s copyrights) 






--------------La llamada 


¿Qué puedo decir para incitarte
-------a defender la Tierra?
¿Recordarte como se siente el sol?
¿el sabor de la sal, el olor del laurel?
¿El chirrido de grillo en noche de verano,
el arco iris después de lluvia?
--------¿Lo que es amar?
¿Imploraré a tu goce
-----o a tu pavor?
Puede ser terrible la Tierra
en sus tormentas y sus temblores
pero es la medida de cual paraíso
------imaginemos jamás.
Tú y yo moriremos demasiado pronto
-----pero que no siga la vida
----------es más allá de aceptable.
¿Qué puedo decir para que ames la vida
suficiente para que actúes y alces la voz
-----------en su defensa?





---------------------------------- © Rafael Jesús González 2020



(Berkeley Times, 19 noviembre 2015;
derechos reservados del autor)






--------------The Call 


What can I say to entice you
------to defend the Earth?
Remind you how the sun feels?
The taste of salt, the smell of bay?
a cricket's chirp on a summer night,
the rainbow after rain?
-----What it is to love?
Shall I appeal to your joy
------or to your fear?
Earth can be terrible
in her storms & in her quakes
but she is the measure of any paradise
---------we will ever imagine.
You & I will die all too soon
------but that life will not go on
-----------is beyond accepting.
What can I say to make you love life
enough to act & raise your voice
----------in its defense?





-----------------------------© Rafael Jesús González 2020



(SeedBroadcast agri-Culture Journal #12, March 2019;
author's copyrights.)






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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

May 5 - Reclaiming Cinco de Mayo / Rescate de Cinco de Mayo, Tues., May 5


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Taurus

-
-


-----------Tauro


El toro de la tierra fija
lleva como un diamante
entre los cuernos
la estrella matutina.
---Su corazón de esmeralda
---oculta un valor firme
y al cuello lleva yugo de cobre
que lo une
-------------a la tierra
-------------a la estrella
-------------a lo infinito.





------------© Rafael Jesús González 2020





----------------Taurus

The bull of the fixed earth
carries the morning star
like a diamond
between his horns.
----------his emerald heart
----------hides a firm worth
and at the neck he wears a copper yoke
that joins him
------------------to the earth
------------------to the star
------------------to the infinite.





-------------------------© Rafael Jesús González 2020 



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Sunday, April 19, 2020

Stand Up and Be Counted!, Sun. May 3, 1-4 PM


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Write Now! SF Bay Presents 
“Stand Up and Be Counted”

May 3, 2020, 1-4pm PDT

On Zoom

To get the Zoom link, register by clicking on “Find tickets” at this page:

Write Now! SF Bay's interactive reading on Creativity and Activism in the Era of COVID-19 features 30 writers/activists of color and allies. Presenters include Kim Shuck and Rafael Jesús González, Poets Laureate of San Francisco and Berkeley, as well as dedicated health care providers, educators, and community activists who will share prose and poetry on how they are responding to a time of unprecedented change. Following the reading, the audience can join a guided discussion around how creativity and activism can enrich our lives. 

Your voluntary donation of $10 will support Write Now! SF Bay's programs for writers of color. PayPal to writenowsf (at) gmail (dot) com. More info at www.WriteNowSF.com. Write Now!'s books: “Civil Liberties United,” “Endangered Species, Enduring Values,” “My First Hundred Years” (Pease Press)
Readers:

Rafael Jesús González, Poet Laureate of Berkeley
Kim Shuck, Poet Laureate of San Francisco 
Avotcja, poet, musician, radio DJ, KPFA and KPOO
Josiah Luis Alderete, poet, City Lights Bookstore, Speaking Axolotl literary series
Dennis Bernstein, executive producer, KPFA Flashpoints, poet, “Five Oceans in a Teaspoon” (Paper Crown Press 2019)
Sandra Bass, Associate Dean, UC Berkeley, Director, Public Service Center
Sue Granzella, writer, 3rd grade teacher, San Lorenzo School District Title 1 school
Lisa “Tiny” Gray-Garcia, Poor Magazine
Nicole Henares, high school teacher, SF United School District
Tehmina Khan, poet, faculty, City College of SF, Poetry for the People
Robert Kikuchi-Yngojo and Nancy Wang, Eth-Noh-Tec
Raluca Ioanid, poet, memoirist, nurse practitioner, Hendersonville NC
Jennifer Hasegawa, information architiect, ”La Chica’s Fieldguide to Banzai Living (Ominidawn 2020)
Kevin Madrigal, poet, food equity activist
Tureeda Mikell, poet, storyteller, culture bearer, “Synchronicity: The Oracle of Sun Medicine,” (Nomadic Press 2020)
Cristl Perkins, writer; educator, The Academy High School
Susana Praver-Perez, poet, Physician Assistant, Associate Medical Director, La Clinica de la Raza 
Tony Robles, poet, housing, disability and Filipino community activist
Cassandra Rockwood-Rice Ganem, founder, Eves at the Beat literary series
Dena Rod, writer, LGBTQ activist, chapbook “Swallow A Beginning” (denarod.com)
Shizue Seigel, director Write Now! SF Bay, editor, "Civil Liberties United," Endangered Species; Enduring Values"
Sriram Shamasunder MD, poet, physician, HEAL Initiative
Norma Smith, poet, community scholar-educator “Home Remedy” (Nomadic Press)
Kimi Sugioka, poet, educator, San Lorenzo School District, Wile and Wing”, Manic D 2020)
Kelechi Ubozoh, mental health advocate, poet, editor, “We've Been Too Patient” (North Atlantic Books 2019)
Sandra Wassilie, writer, caregiver
Malcolm Williams, poet, educator, Visitation Valley Middle School
Andre Wilson, writer, performer, small business manager at Ability Now Bay Area, serving adults with disabilities
  
 
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Friday, April 17, 2020

Dreams for Leila Rae (1933 - 2020)

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--------------Sueños

-----------------------------------para Leila Rae


Paz o pandemonio
no significan nada 
no importa lo que se cuente
de José del saco arco-iris
o esas sibilas y tales
o Freud y Jung.

Tú de repente de pie en un puente
sobre un río —
-------el Río Bravo
--------------o el Misisipi
------------------o el Guadalquivir
escuchando y el baluceo del río
sólo disparates y tú sin saber
aun como llegaste allí
solamente como después de darles lustre
a los pomos de todas las puertas de la casa
dejando la de enfrente para el fin
saliste cerrando detrás de ti
vistiendo nada mas que pintura en el cuerpo.



-------------------------------------------© Rafael Jesús González 2020








-------------------Dreams

-------------------------------------------for Leila Rae


Peace or pandemonium,
they mean nothing
no matter what is told
of Joseph of the rainbow coat,
or those sibyls & such,
or Freud & Jung.

You suddenly standing on a bridge
over a river —
------the Rio Grande,
----------or the Mississippi,
-----------------or the Guadalquivir
listening & the river babble 
just nonsense & you not knowing
how you even got there,
only how after polishing 
all the doorknobs in the house,
leaving the front door for last,
you walked out, closing behind you,
wearing nothing but body paint.



-----------------------------© Rafael Jesús González 2020


Marsh Hawk Press Review Spring 2020; author's copyrights





Leila Rae


https://marshhawkpress.org/



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Sunday, April 12, 2020

Easter Sunday

-


------------Ha resucitado


Cuentan que un hombre
tan amoroso y justo 
que muchos lo toman 
por benévolo dios 
fue muerto porque su enseñanza
tan amorosa y justa amenazaba
los meros cimientos del imperio
y que contra toda ley de la vida
tres días después resucitó,
cosa no inaudita en el mito
pero asombrosa aun.


Su enseñanza aun amenaza imperios
y muchos que atreven seguirla
son perseguidos y muertos
y la resurrección de él es nada
menos que revolución.



-----------------------------© Rafael Jesús González 2020





En un mundo gobernado por el odio el amar 
es revolucionario

 
In a world governed by hate, to love is revolutionary 




 
------------He Is Risen


They tell that a man
so loving & just
that many take him
for benevolent god
was killed because his teaching
so loving & just threatened
the very foundations of empire
& that against all law of life
three days later resurrected,
not unheard of in myth
but wondrous still.


His teaching still threatens empires
& many who dare follow it
are persecuted & killed,
& his resurrection is nothing
less than revolution.



---------------------------© Rafael Jesús González 2020



 


--- 

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Holy Saturday

-

In this tine of pestilence, I reread what I wrote twelve years ago. The POTUS 43 was a man of mediocre mind, bumbling in his speech, who had become president through chicanery. His response to the grief caused by the tragedy of the terrorist attack in New York was to tell us to "go shopping." He used the attack to take away many of our rights and liberties, further a police state, get war powers from a Congress willing to give up its constitutional prerogative, and blatantly lying, invaded Iraq from which we have yet not fully extricated. He legalized torture and stripped away the rights of the accused. He was a war criminal. Then came a man in his prime, intelligent, articulate, handsome, and African-American to succeed him as POTUS 44. There was hope. His was the only presidential inauguration at which I wept. He brought dignity and style to the White House if not the changes hoped for; aside from a flawed public health plan, it was business as usual.

Need I tell the unspeakable that followed? We are in the midst of a devastating pandemic such as none living has ever seen before, and the deplorably despicable POTUS 45, profoundly ignorant, pathological liar, disbeliever in truth much less science, arrogant, corrupt, authoritarian, unabashedly fascist belittled the pandemic, responded with too little too late, and the "America" he would "Make Great Again," ineptly and corruptly governed, in the grip of the pandemic is in dire straits to say the least.

The entire world is shaken and changed by the pandemic; as my friend and colleague Deena Metzger has said, "We are suffering a species-threatening disease." (Any apocalyptic pathogen would need to possess a very special combination of two attributes. First, it would have to be so unfamiliar that no existing therapy or vaccine could be applied to it. Second, it would need to have a high and surreptitious transmissibility before symptoms occur.) But the disease is more than a matter of a deadly crowned virus; it is a disease of the soul that has put human life and all life at risk by the very way we have related to the Earth. The hope in this descent into hell is that we learn that our only salvation lies in a fierce love of the Earth, of the life she bears, of one another, and to remake the world that will remain accordingly.

In this time of pestilence, these memories and words of hope from twelve years past:


Holy Saturday


This year, the sun and the moon have ordered their steps such that the Vernal Equinox and the full moon almost perfectly coincide and the liturgical calendar celebrates the ascendancy of the light about as early in the year as it may.

I mark the feast days of the Earth, the Sun, the Moon, and the Christian holy days of my childhood: Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday. It has been Lent, the Sunday of Holy week full of an ominous joy, the days that follow, bitter. Indeed a friend has told me that my words recently have been joyless (I, who have always said that joy is the root of our power.) We live in disempowering times — and Holy Thursday, Good Friday are holy days of betrayal, of pain, of torture.

But Holy Saturday is here, the end of Lent imminent. Since a child, I have always remembered it as a day yellow with sun, and at noon, at that time, the church bells would ring, marking the killed god’s harrowing of hell, the setting free of the souls of our parents Adam and Eve and of the just, the compassionate, there held. A glorious thing, this triumph of good over evil, of the light over the darkness, of hope over despair — and spring is here. A glorious thing, and in the Spanish world, it is known as Saturday of Glory.

The day following is Easter, sunnier yet if that were possible. We woke to the marvel of the eggs we had painstakingly dyed the evening before, to getting into our splendid new clothes we would piously show off in the cathedral at 11:00 o’clock mass brilliant with the rainbow lights that poured though the stained glass windows and colored the smoke of the incense, and, I imagined, the very sound of the choir singing their glorias. Gloria! Gloria! Gloria! The light has triumphed, the god is risen! Gloria! Gloria! Gloria!



And it was a time for gifts as well, clothes and pieces of jewelry, at the very least, eggs. (One Easter I gave my mother a very special gift, a little gold cross with a diamond chip at the center which, as an altar-boy serving High Mass, I had asked the bishop to bless.) Gifts were one of the great joys of Easter, not receiving, but rather making them. (Often, in every meaning of the word.)

That was childhood, young adulthood even, but even yet, this is a time of light, of joy, of hope, even in these dark times. You have listened to, read my words, my dark gifts to you this past week or so, and I would give you on this Easter something more shining, of beauty, of truth, of justice, of compassion, of hope.

Often I wished I could have heard Jesus speaking of justice and compassion and the lilies of the field or advising the well-meaning rich young man, stood rapt among the crowd at the foot of the hill, or followed close in the narrow streets of Jerusalem for the sound of his voice. I imagine having a recording of the Teacher’s voice to give you on this day. But that voice (still winging its way across the universe, science tells us) is now beyond our hearing. Instead, I offer give you another voice, one that echoes the teachings of the Nazarene as I understand them.

When you find, or make, a half hour to give, to take my gift, with a click or two, break the egg shell below. The truth, the commitment to justice, the compassion, the hope expressed are ours — if we choose to make them so.

----------------------------------bless —
----------------------------------------------© Rafael Jesús González 2008



 

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Friday, April 10, 2020

Good Friday

 -




----------------Desviado


La luna asoma  

por entre las ramas de los olivos,
sube sobre la cercana loma
donde los vergonzosos sucesos
ocurrieron hace ya un buen tiempo.
Hablando sin pelos en la lengua,
debía haberse casado, tenido familia,
practicado su honesta artesanía,
haber hecho algo de si mismo.
Un tipo guapo y listo,
prodigio, dicen algunos,
de mero muchachito presumía
discutir con sabios.
Pero aun joven salió
en alguna búsqueda de visiones o se perdió,
vaya a saber, en la anonimia de la ciudad.
Le gustaba la juerga y en una fiesta una vez
logró encontrar vino donde no lo había
causando lenguas contar chismes exagerados.
Recogía gente en alguna colina
y les hablaba — revolvía la plebe, si gusta.
Una vez se metió con los banqueros
y vendedores de palomas y borreguitos
en la casa santa. ¿Para qué?
Las casillas de cambio y puestos de animales
estaban allí al día siguiente.
Nada mas disgustó a las autoridades
y mire como paró  —
--------------------------estirado y colgando.
-------Y las cosas sin cambiar una pepita.





-------------------------© Rafael Jesús González 2020






https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre-Paul_Prud'hon
  



-----------Gone Wrong


The moon peers
from among the olive branches,
rises over the nearby hill
where the shameful happenings
took place a good while back.
Bluntly speaking,
he should have married, had a family,
practiced his honest craft,
made something of himself.
A handsome fellow and bright,
a prodigy, some say,
a mere boy he presumed
to discuss with scholars.
But a young man still he went off
on some vision quest or lost himself,
for all we know, in the anonymity of the city.
He liked a good time and at a party once
managed to find wine where there was none
setting some tongues to tell tall tales about it.
He would gather folk on some small hill
and talk to them — rabble rouse, if you will.
Once, he messed with the bankers
and sellers of pigeons and small sheep
in the holy-house. For what?
The exchange booths and animal stalls
were back up the next day.
It just upset the authorities,
and look how he ended up —
---------------------stretched out and hanging.
-----And things not changed a pip.





 -------------------------
© Rafael Jesús González 2020


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Thursday, April 9, 2020

Holy Thursday

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foot_washing
 


---Ritual para Jueves Santo

Llegan como mariposas
de largas distancias,
otros países, otros continentes,
pies cansados, gastados,
heridos, polvorientos 
de cruzar ríos y montes, 
selvas y desiertos 
huyendo hambre y asesinos.
Y nosotros que vivimos
en el imperio que los desplazó 
podemos hacer no menos
que lo que hizo el Maestro:
tiernamente lavarles los pies
y decirles, "Les tenemos lugar
puesto en la mesa.


-------------------© Rafael Jesús González 2020




 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foot_washing



---Ritual for Holy Thursday

They come like butterflies
from long distances,
other countries, other continents,
feet tired, worn, wounded, dusty
from crossing rivers & mountains,
jungles & deserts 
fleeing hunger & murderers.
& we who live in the empire
that displaced them
can do no less
than what the Master did:
to tenderly wash their feet 
& say, "We have a place
set for you at the table."



--------------------------© Rafael Jesús González 2020





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Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Passover


 -

--------------Pascua

Estos días de peste
la sangre de cordero en la puerta
no favorecerá a nadie.
Tas las puertas cerrada reflexionamos;
todos tenemos que liberarnos.


--------------------------------© Rafael Jesús González 2020





----------Passover

In these days of plague 
no lamb's blood on the doorpost
favors anyone. 
Behind closed door we reflect;
all must be liberated.


---------------------© Rafael Jesús González 2020

 


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Words from the Heart, Wednesday, April 15


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Tuesday, April 7, 2020

full moon: To night



-
Esta noche se me antoja 
la luna amable enfermera con su
bálsamo de luz suave y fresca 
para ponerle en la frente febril
de la Tierra enferma y en delirio.


© Rafael Jesús González 2020







Tonight I fancy
the moon a kind nurse with her
balm of soft, cool light 
to place on the fevered brow
of Earth, ill and delirious.


© Rafael Jesús González 2020



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Sunday, April 5, 2020

Palm Sunday

-

Pagano con rama de palma

(descubierto en el último siglo, el evangelio según Alexis el ateniense)

He viajado por las tierras bajo César Augusto y el mundo es tanto lo mismo; los ricos reinan y la justicia es cosa incierta y hay más guerra que paz. Aquí entre esta gente que se llaman Israel, no es nada diferente. He estudiado muchos dioses y lo que se dicen de ellos y este dios de los judíos aparece poco distinto a los demás, excepto por su soledad. Aquí me llaman pagano que significa que creo en muchos dioses. Los judíos creen en solamente uno, un varón del cual se prohíbe hacer ninguna imagen y aun decir su nombre. Pero cuando cuentan de él parece ser mucho como nuestro propio Zeus o Júpiter — celoso, vengativo, justo, arbitrario, sangriento, bondadoso con los suyos, pero no como Zeus con alguna diosa que lo mantenga dulce. En verdad, no como nuestro Zeus, no parece que le plazcan mucho las mujeres. Le llaman Padre a su dios, pero ¿cómo puede ser un padre sin una madre a lo menos que sea bendita Gaea, La Tierra misma? Y en verdad, ella tiene su Sol. Estos judíos ni pintan, ni hacen de barro o madera o piedra ninguna imagen de su dios mas en vez idolatran sus extrañas ideas de él.

Ahora me encuentro en Jerusalén para las celebraciones primaverales de los judíos. Jerusalén es hermoso en esta temporada del año y no puedo mas que estar feliz con esta rama de palma que alguien me ha puesto en la mano. Un buen gentío le dan la bienvenida a un joven profeta que he estado observando por algunos años. Jesua le llaman, Iesus en nuestro griego. Hijo de Josef el carpintero, viene del campo, el pueblo de Nazaret, habiendo dejado su artesanía para enseñar. Es un hombre no usual en ningún sentido y se le adscriben maravillas tales como cambiar el agua a vino, y andar sobre el agua, y resucitar a los muertos, echar fuera a demonios, sanar, darles de comer a multitudes.

No lo sé. He presenciado sólo una de esas dichas maravillas, una vez que había de haber alimentado a la muchedumbre. Predicó en una colina y la gente vino del campo para oírle, una buena muchedumbre (aunque no las miríadas que crecen con cada recuento.) Sí, habló largamente y la gente permanecieron más de lo que intentaban. Pero recordemos, estas son gente del campo, campesinos y pescadores que bien saben llevar comida en sus mochilas cuando salen, pan burdo, pescados en sal o desecados, fruta. Todo en cuenta, me atrevo a decir que había lo suficiente para compartir. Se dice que este Iesus multiplicó sólo siete piezas de pan y algunos pocos pescados para dar de comer a todos. Tal vez; La Tierra es llena de maravillas, pero lo dudo. Si maravilla se le pueda llamar, fue suficiente que haya abierto los corazones y la generosidad de la gente para que compartieran su comida con los que no tenían. Supongo que esa es maravilla suficiente.

A este Iesus, no como al dios de su pueblo, le gustan mucho las mujeres y frecuenta su compañía, asociándose con las mujeres de las más bajas y despreciadas entre los judíos, como las samaritanas y tal. De hecho, particularmente cerca a él es una Mariam, una mujer de Magdala que algunas lenguas venenosas llaman ramera, paria aquí, no como las benditas mujeres en nuestros templos a Divina Afrodita. No lo dudo que haya liga amorosa entre Iesus y esta Mariam la Magdalena que ninguna pinta de puta tiene y es muy respetada.

No obstante, es aparente que igual le gustan los hombres. Siempre tiene a su alrededor un pequeño grupo de favoritos que cuelgan de cada palabra que dice, adorando el suelo en que pisa. De estos su más favorito es un joven guapo llamado Yojanan, por obvias razones llamado “el bien amado.” Es aparente que están enamorados uno del otro. Estos hombres por la mayor parte es gente sencilla, campesinos, pescadores, artesanos, mercaderes, analfabetos, aunque algunos de ellos estoy seguro tienen algún conocimiento, ciertamente a lo menos en las enseñanzas de su religión, algunos de ellos como Iesus probablemente rabíes de pueblo.

No tienen mucho, en verdad este Iesus no es muy popular entre las clases ricas, refinadas. Se asocia demasiado con las mujeres y los niños, con los despreciados, los pobres, los desamparados, los enfermos, los ignorantes, los parias. El hecho es que para hablar por los desafortunados este judío pone a prueba las leyes de su antiguo culto. Lo he visto salvar de ser apedreada según la ley de los hebreos a una pobre mujer prendida en adulterio avergonzando a los aldeanos de sus propias transgresiones. Predica que se debe abrigar a los desamparados, que a los enfermos se les debe curar, que a los ignorantes se les debe enseñar, que a los extranjeros y parias se les debe abrazar, a los prisioneros se les debe visitar. El hueso de su enseñanza es el amor; la carne es la justicia y la paz.

He hablado con su madre Mariam y con sus hermanos Yacob y Yoses y Simón y Yejuda y con sus hermanas, su familia a quien ha dejado para predicar. Unos dicen que lo creen desquiciado, que sus parientes lo han tratado de detener por loco. Lo dudo (de hecho, creo que algunos de sus hermanos forman parte de su círculo íntimo.) Le he escuchado hablar y tiene mucho sentido. Habla bien y con fuerza, pero sus palabras hacia los poderosos tienen piquete. Iesus no se cohíbe en llamarles hipócritas, administradores infieles y tales cosas. En sus ojos no son tanto guardianes de la ley sino abusadores de ella. Y de hecho así parece ser. Se engordan con el sufrimiento de otros y no veneran a nuestra madre Gaea La Tierra.

Otra cosa es que no cree mucho en la virtud del trabajo, trabajar para producir cuando no sirve ningún propósito mas el de producir y producir. Lo he oído decir que La Tierra ya tiene lo suficiente para sostenernos señalando las flores del campo que son más hermosas que las lujosas vestimentas de Salomón el legendario rey de los judíos. Por cierto que Iesus respeta el labor honorable de los campesinos, los pescadores, los artesanos, los mercaderes, pero aborrece la usura, la avaricia. Lo he visto en ira volcar las mesas de los cambistas de dinero en el templo, cosa que causó rabia entre los banqueros y tales, para no mencionar los sacerdotes. Le he oído decirle a un joven heredero de una familia adinerada que es más difícil para un rico entrar al paraíso que para un camello pasar por el ojo de una aguja. (Creo que le llaman “El Ojo de Aguja” a la puerta más estrecha de la ciudad.) No, a los ricos y a los poderosos no les agrada mucho Iesus.

Es un hombre bondadoso este joven predicador que le gusta enseñar a través de cuentos cuyo mensaje principal es: fuiste invitado a festejar y no viniste. No me sorprendiera que si él pudiera cambiaría el agua a vino. Ciertamente puede cambiar los corazones de sus oyentes a algo más dulce y más bueno. Tal como trata de cambiar la imagen de Jehová (el nombre no hablado de su dios severo) a la más gentil, amable imagen suya misma. Aunque poco tiene de afeminado este Iesus sin embargo tiene mucho de lo femenino en su ser. Creo que trata de darle a su dios lo que a Jehová verdaderamente le falta - una madre, una hermana, o una esposa.

Camina un sendero peligroso Iesus, metiéndose con la imagen áspera, de sólo una dimensión del dios de su nación. - No juzgues si no quieres ser juzgado - dice, pero temo que él es ya muy juzgado. - El que esté libre de pecada lance la primera piedra - desafía, y temo que ya hay muchos muy listos para apedrearlo. Es peligroso ensanchar las dimensiones de los dioses, especialmente de esos que existen sólo en las cabezas de la gente, definidos en los libros, sus leyes minuciosamente prescribidas (nuestro propio Sócrates fue matado acusado de desdén hacia los dioses.) Y es lo que justamente hace Iesus. Lo he oído decir que trae un nuevo mandamiento que suspende toda previa ley: ama a dios sobre todas las cosas y ama a tu prójimo como a ti mismo. Y no dijo solamente tu prójimo judío sino que incluyó a todos nosotros los paganos también. En otra ocasión dijo que la ley fue hecha para la humanidad y no la humanidad para la ley. Cosas peligrosas.

Lo que verdaderamente temen los poderosos es que un Sócrates, un Iesus, y otros de su tipo puedan incitar a la gente a cuestionar, a pensar. El pensar conduce al juzgar, el juzgar a reclamar. Y demandas conducen tal vez a la acción. Ante un pueblo despierto aun César debe temblar. Los mansos justamente puedan heredar La Tierra como dice Iesus, pero los mansos tendrán primero que encontrar su voz y hablar. Acaba de decir que si estos se mantuviesen callados, las piedras mismas gritarían.

El día es hermoso y en verdad no me molesta llevar esta rama de palma. Creo que yo también estoy un tanto enamorado de este bello hombre. Hay tanta ternura y regocijo en él - y verdaderamente tanto valor. La muchedumbre grita sus hosannas, hosannas jubilosamente cuando entra a la ciudad para celebrar su antigua celebración primaveral de los judíos, el banquete ritual en memoria de su liberación de la esclavitud. Es un tiempo jubiloso y la gente son todos alegres que sea la primavera. Hay flores entre las ramas de palma regadas ante las pesuñas del burrito gris que Iesus monta por la calle. Por Kore, es un día glorioso para estar vivo. Nos sonreímos unos a los otros y nos damos las manos y nos abrazamos - judíos y los griegos, egipcios, siríacos, árabes, romanos entre ellos, representativos de todos nosotros los paganos. Muchos llevan ramas de palma sólo porque alguien se las puso en las manos y desean compartir en el festejo. Es un día glorioso en el cual batir ramas de palma.

Pero me preocupo por él. Dice su verdad libremente y los sacerdotes, los ricos, los poderosos no están nada contentos. ¿Qué si más gente le escuchara, verdaderamente le escuchara? ¿Qué si la gente verdaderamente deseara la justicia y la paz? ¿Qué si? Luego, por las Gracias, sería verdaderamente glorioso y me contentaría batir una rama de palma todos los días que yo viva. Pero no soy sacerdote idólatra, ni soy rico, ni poderoso - la avaricia y el hambre por el poder son aflicciones terribles. Y hay los temerosos, los supersticiosos, los insensatos. La gente son de opiniones divididas; algunos morirían por él, algunos lo apedrearían por blasfemo, algunos vacilan, cambian de opinión de un momento al otro. Uno oye rumores y hay muchos que no están gustosos. Este Iesus, no creo que vivirá mucho. Camina un sendero peligroso. Yo, el heleno, el pagano, temo por él. Los ricos y los poderosos no lo aman mucho.

Pero es por nosotros, la gente que me pregunto. Nuestros gobernantes de hecho son hipócritas - embusteros y estafadores, ladrones y canallas, fomentadores de la guerra que tienen por poco a La Tierra y tuercen la ley que protegiera al bien común a sus propias ventajas haciéndose cada vez más ricos y poderosos a nuestro costo. Y aun así, varias veces ya la multitud misma hubiera matado a Iesus. Esto no es bueno por ninguna medida.

Hoy nos juntamos y batimos ramas de palma y gritamos - ¡Hosanna! !Hosanna! - en regocijo de la primavera y de Iesus y de uno al otro, pero este regocijo que debería ser la raíz de nuestro poder mañana se disipará y nuestras cargas no se harán un grano de trigo más livianas. A menos, a menos que encontrando nuestra voz reclamemos por justicia y paz y veneración por la bendita Tierra.

Esta gente dice que la humanidad fue echada fuera de un paraíso terrestre y que debemos buscar un paraíso al otro lado de la muerte. Pero es aquí, en esta vida que sufrimos hambre y sed, que sufrimos el frío y el calor, que sufrimos los resultados de la ignorancia y el temor, que hacemos guerra y nos matamos unos a los otros - y sobre todo, es aquí en esta vida donde amamos, gozamos del sol y las aguas, y el sabor del pan y del vino, y el éxtasis del baile y de la música y del arte. Es aquí donde se vive y si sufrimiento hay, es solamente aquí donde conocemos lo que hay de conocer de la alegría y felicidad.

No, nunca fuimos echados del paraíso. Sólo lo hemos echado a perder con nuestra falta de cuidado y nuestra codicia por riqueza y hambre por el poder, y guerra. Iesus habla del reino de su Padre-Dios pero la justicia y la piedad y el amor que prescribe son de La Tierra y de ninguna otra parte.

¿Por cuanto más toleraremos ser gobernados por ladrones y mentirosos, hipócritas y fomentadores de guerra? El heleno, el ateneo en mí me lo pregunta impaciente de la sumisión nuestra de la gente. Los mansos tendrán que hablar porque nuestro silencio es una gran traición. Me preocupo por nosotros. ¿Escucharemos y crearemos su reino apacible de los justos y los bondadosos? Si suficientes de nosotros lo deseáramos ¿quién nos lo podría impedir? Depende de nosotros.

No creo que Iesus viva mucho. Los ricos y los poderosos no lo aman bien.



© Rafael Jesús González 2020


(Del sermón predicado por el autor el Domingo de Palmas 2002 en La Iglesia por la hermandad de todos los pueblos fundada por el Dr. Howard Thurman, San Francisco, California a invitación de su pastor el Dr. Dorsey Blake. Derechos reservados del autor.)









Pagan Bearing Palm Branch

(discovered in the last century, Gospel according to Alexis the Athenian)


I have traveled throughout the lands under Caesar Augustus and the world is much the same; the rich rule and justice is an uncertain thing and there is more war than peace. Here among these people who call themselves Israel, it is no different. I have studied many gods and what is said of them and this god of the Jews seems but little different from the rest, except for his aloneness. They call me gentile here which means that I believe in many gods. The Jews believe in one only, a male of whom they are prohibited of making an image, or even saying his name. Yet when they tell of him he seems much like our own Zeus or Jupiter — jealous, vengeful, just, arbitrary, blood-thirsty, kind to his own, but unlike Zeus, without a goddess to keep him sweet. Indeed, unlike our Zeuz, he does not seem to like women much. They call their god Father, but how is there a father without a mother unless it be holy Gaea, the Earth herself? And in truth, she has her Sun. These Jews do not paint nor make clay or wood or stone images of their god but idolize instead their strange ideas of him.

Now I find myself in Yerusalem for the Spring celebrations of the Jews. Yerusalem is lovely this time of year and festive and I cannot but be joyful holding a palm branch someone thrust into my hand. A goodly crowd is welcoming a young prophet I have been observing for some odd years. Yeshua they call him, Iesous in our Greek. Son of Yoseph the carpenter, he comes from the countryside, the village of Nazaret, having left behind his craft to teach. He is an unusual man by any count and wonders have been ascribed to him such as changing water into wine, and walking upon water, and raising up the dead, casting out demons, healing, feeding a multitude.

I do not know. I have been present at only one of such purported wonders, a time he is supposed to have fed the crowd. He spoke atop a small hill and people came to hear him from about the countryside, a good sized crowd (though not the myriads that have grown with each telling.) Yes, he spoke long and the folk overstayed their intentions and had to eat. But let us remember, these are country folk, peasants and fishermen, who know well enough to carry food in their knapsacks when they go on an outing, coarse bread, salted or dried fish, fruit. All in all, I dare say there was enough to share. It is said this Iesous multiplied but seven loaves of bread and a few fishes to feed them all. Perhaps; the Earth is full of wonders, but I doubt it. If miracle you can call it, it was enough that he opened the hearts and generosity of the people to share their food with those that had none. I suppose that is miracle enough.

This Iesous, unlike the god of his people, likes women much and frequents their company, consorting with women of even the most lowly and despised among the Jews, like the Samaritans and such. Indeed particularly close to him is one Maryam, a woman of Magdala by some venomous tongues called a prostitute, a social outcast here, not like the holy women in our temples devoted to Divine Aphrodite. I doubt not but there is an amorous tie between Iesous and this Maryam the Magdalene who has nothing of the whore and is much respected.

Still, it is apparent that he likes men just as well. He always has about him a small group of favorites that hang upon every word he says, worshipping the ground he walks upon. Of these, his very favorite is a comely youth named Yohanan, for obvious reasons called “the beloved.” It is apparent that they are enamored each of the other. These men are for the most part simple folk, peasants, fishermen, artisans, tradesmen, illiterate, though some I am sure have some learning, certainly at least in the lore of their religion, some like Iesous probably village rabbis.

They do not have much, indeed this Iesous is not much popular among the rich, the polite classes. He consorts too much with women and children, with the despised, the poor, the homeless, the sick, the unlearned, the outcasts. The fact is that to speak for the unfortunate this Jew puts to test the laws of his ancient cult. I have seen him save a poor woman, caught in adultery, from being stoned to death, according to the law of the Hebrews, by shaming the villagers with their own transgressions. He preaches that the homeless must be sheltered, that the sick must be healed, that the ignorant must be taught, that the foreigner and outcast must be embraced, the prisoner visited. The bone of his teaching is love; the meat is justice and peace.

I have spoken with his mother Maryam and his brothers Yacob and Yoses and Shimon and Yehudhah, and his sisters, his family whom he has left for his preaching. Some say that they think him daft, that his kinsmen try to restrain him as mad. I doubt it (indeed, I believe some of his brothers form part of his inner circle.) I have heard him speak and he makes much sense. He speaks well and strongly, but there is a sting in his words to the powerful. Iesous does not hesitate to call them hypocrites, unfaithful stewards, and such. In his eyes, they are not so much the keepers of the law, but abusers of it. And indeed it would appear so. They grow fat on the suffering of others and do not honor our mother Gaea The Earth.

Another thing is that he does not much believe in the virtue of labor, of work to produce what serves no purpose but to produce and produce. I have heard him say that the Earth already holds enough to sustain us pointing out that the flowers of the fields are more beautiful than the luxurious vestments of Shelomon the legendary king of the Jews. Iesous certainly respects the honest work of the peasants, the fishermen, the artisans, the tradesmen, but he abhors usury, greed. I have seen him in anger upset the counting tables of the money changers in the temple, which caused much outrage among the bankers and such, not to mention the priests. I have heard him tell the young heir of a wealthy family that it is more difficult for a rich man to enter paradise than it is for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. (I believe they call the narrowest gate to the city “The Needle's Eye.”) No, the rich and the powerful do not much like Iesous.

He is a gentle man this young preacher who is fond of teaching through stories whose principle message is: “you were invited to party but you did not come.” I would not put it past him, if he could, to change water into wine. He can certainly change the hearts of his listeners to something sweeter and more good. Just as he tries to change the image of Jehova (the unspoken name of their harsh god) into the gentler, kinder image of his own. Although there is little effeminate about this Iesous still there is much that is feminine in his nature. I believe he is trying to give his god the one thing Yehova really lacks — a mother, or a sister, or a wife.

He treads a dangerous path, does Iesous, tampering with the stern, one-dimensional image of his nation's god. Judge not lest thou be judged, he says, but I fear he is much judged already. You without sin cast the first stone, he challenges, and I fear there are already many all too willing to stone him. It is dangerous to broaden the dimensions of the gods, especially those that exist only in people's heads, defined in books, their laws minutely prescribed (our own Socrates was killed accused of contempt for the gods.) And Iesous does just that. I have heard him say that he brings a new commandment to supersede all previous law: love god above all else and your neighbor as you do yourself. And he did not specify only your Jewish neighbor, but included all us gentiles too. Another time, he said that the law was made for humankind and not humankind for the law. Dangerous stuff.

What the powerful really fear is that a Socrates, a Iesous, and others of their kind may incite the people to question, to think. Thought leads to judgement, judgement to demand. And demands perhaps to action. Before a people aroused, even Caesar must quake. The meek just may inherit the Earth, as Iesous says, but first the meek must find their voice and speak. He has just said that if these should remain silent, the stones themselves would cry out.

The day is beautiful and indeed I do not mind holding this palm branch. I think I too am a bit in love with this beautiful man. There is so much kindness and joy in him - and truly so much courage. The crowd cries its hosannas, hosannas jubilantly as he enters the city to celebrate their ancient Spring celebration, the ritual feast marking their freedom from slavery. It is a joyous time and the people are all glad that it is Spring. There are flowers among the palm fronds strewn before the hoofs of the little gray ass Iesous rides through the street. By Kore, it is a glorious day to be alive. We smile at one another and shake hands and hug — Jews and the Greeks, Egyptians, Syrians, Arabs, Romans, among them, representative of all us gentiles. Many carry palm fronds only because someone pressed them into their hands and they only want to join in the festivity. It is a glorious day on which to wave palm branches.

Still, I worry for him. He speaks his truth freely and the priests, the rich, the powerful are far from pleased. What if more people listened to him, truly listened? What if they bespoke and followed what he teaches? What if truly the people desired justice and peace? What if? Then, by the Graces, truly it would be glorious and I would be content to wave a palm frond every day I live. But I am not an idolatrous priest, nor am I rich, nor powerful — greed and lust for power is a terrible disease. And there are the fearful, the superstitious, the stupid. The people are of divided opinion; some would die for him, some would stone him for blasphemy, some teeter, change opinion one moment to the next. One hears rumors and many are not pleased. This Iesous, I do not think he will live long. He treads a dangerous path. I, the Hellene, the gentile, the pagan, fear for him. The rich and the powerful, they do not love him much.

But it is about us, the people that I wonder. Our rulers indeed are hypocrites — liars and cheats, thieves and scoundrels, war-mongers, that hold the Earth for little and twist the law that would protect the common good to their own advantage, growing evermore more rich and powerful at our expense. And yet, several times already the crowd itself would have killed Iesous. It is not good by any measure.

Today we gather and wave palm branches and yell, “Hosanna! Hosanna!” in joy of Spring, and Iesous, and each other, but this joy that should be the root of our empowerment tomorrow will dissipate and our burdens will not be a grain of wheat more light. Unless, unless finding our voice we demand justice and peace and veneration of holy mother Earth.

These people say humankind was expelled from an earthly paradise and that we must look for a paradise on the other side of death. But it is here, in this life that we hunger and thirst, that we bear the cold and the heat, that we suffer the results of ignorance and fear, that we war and kill one another — and above all, it is here that we love, enjoy the sun and the waters, and the taste of bread and of wine, and the ecstasy of the dance and of music and of art. It is here that we live and if suffering there is, so is it only here that we know what there is to know of joy and happiness.

No, we were never exiled from paradise. We have only spoiled it with our carelessness and greed for wealth and lust for power, and war. Iesous speaks of the kingdom of his Father-God, but the justice and mercy and love he prescribes are of the Earth and no where else.

How long will we tolerate to be ruled by thieves and liars, hypocrites and warmongers? The Hellene, the Athenian in me asks this, impatient with the acquiescence of us, the people. The meek must speak, for our silence is a great betrayal. I worry for us. Will we listen and create his peaceable kingdom of the just and the kind? If enough of us want it, who can stop us? It is up to us.

I do not think Iesous will live long. The rich and the powerful, they do not love him much.



© Rafael Jesús González 2020



(From a sermon given by the author, Palm Sunday 2002, at The Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples founded by Dr. Howard Thurman, San Francisco, California at the invitation of its Pastor Dr. Dorsey Blake. Author's copyrights.)





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Wednesday, April 1, 2020

April, National Poetry Month

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-----------Loco Poeta


El poeta, loco que es
camina a la orilla
del precipicio del significado
buscando una verdad más elevada
esperando que las palabras
como abejas rumbo a la colmena
lo guié a ella. 
El cosal que lleva en una vara
está lleno de palabras y trucos
más de lo que jamás usará. 
La rosa no es sólo una rosa
sino metáfora de ¿qué?
Lilas a la puerta son abril.
Soñador, visionario, loco
el perro del hecho mundano
le muerde los talones,
le desgarra los calzones, 
le expone el culo al aire
recordándole de que para lo que
busca no hay palabra que le cuadre. 


--------------------------© Rafael Jesús González 2020







---------Fool Poet


The poet, fool that he is
walks the edge
of the precipice of meaning 
looking for a higher truth
hoping that words
like homing bees 
will lead him to it. 
The bag he carries on a stick
is full of words & tricks
more than he will ever use.
The rose is not just a rose
but a metaphor for what?
Lilacs by the door is April. 
Dreamer, visionary, fool,
the dog of mundane fact
snaps at his heels,
tears his pants,
exposes his butt to the air
reminding him that for what
he seeks no word can fit.


--------------© Rafael Jesús González 2020






 
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