Thursday, October 21, 2021

Scorpio

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---------Escorpión


El alacrán
---en sus ojos de ópalo
---guarda los secretos
---del agua inmóvil.
Eleva, tenaz, su cola de hierro
y su aguijón de topacio
refleja las luces rojas de Marte,
---las luces obscuras de Plutón.
Se esconde detrás del palo erecto,
------en la cueva húmeda;
y sabe los secretos del alma.




-----------------------© Rafael Jesús González 2021




----------------Scorpio

The scorpion
 

-----in its opal eyes 
-----guards the secrets 
-----of the immobile water.
It tenaciously raises its tail of iron
& its topaz sting 

reflects the red lights of Mars, 
----the dark lights of Pluto.
It hides behind the erect pole,
 

---in the moist cave;
it knows the secrets of the soul. 




-------------------------© Rafael Jesús González 2021




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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

full moon: Luminous Spider Moon

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    Luna luminosa araña


La luna luminosa araña

en la telaraña de la noche

se alimenta de los sueños

que caigan prisioneros

en sus redes.

 

 

        © Rafael Jesús González 2021  

  

                         



 

 

    Luminous Spider Moon


 

The luminous spider moon

in the spiderweb of the night

feeds on the dreams

that might fall prisoners 

in her nets.

 

 

                © Rafael Jesús González 2021




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Wednesday, October 13, 2021

WINGED WONDERMENT, Sunday, October 17

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WINGED WONDERMENT — 

POETRY, STORIES, SONGS 

AND MORE


Flock to the David Brower Center in downtown Berkeley on Sunday, October 17, for a family-friendly afternoon of free bird activities! 12 noon - 4:00 PM.

The David Brower Center is located at 2150 Allston Way in Berkeley, between Shattuck and Oxford, one block from the Downtown Berkeley BART station.

Note: Entry to the indoor spaces at the David Brower Center requires masking and proof of either vaccination or recent negative Covid test. Thank you helping us keep everyone safe!

Winged Wonderment


This four-hour live celebration of our winged friends (both in-person and online) will feature bird poetry, bird stories, bird art, bird photography, and bird sounds from local writers, artists, naturalists and bird enthusiasts. 

Confirmed presenters include: Berkeley's Poet Laureate Rafael Jesús González, former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Haas, poet and peace activist Brenda Hillman, Side Chick Nation author Aya de León, Woman and Nature author Susan Griffin, California bird artist Meyo Marrufo (Eastern Pomo), Heyday Field Guide artist Obi Kauffman, the Nature Sounds Society, and more. 

Join us in person or online via Zoom or Facebook Live. 
This program runs from noon until 4 p.m.

for more information please visit 


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Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Indigenous Peoples Day (Día de la Raza)


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El 12 de octubre es fiesta conocida en varias regiones y épocas por muchos nombres: Día de Colón, Día del descubrimiento, Día de la hispanidad, Día de las Américas, Día de la raza, Día de los pueblos indígenas.

En México en 1928 a la insistencia del filósofo José Vasconcelos, entonces Ministro de Educación, se le nombró Día de la Raza, denominación de la Unión Ibero-Americana en 1913 para declarar una nueva identidad formada del encuentro de los Españoles y los indígenas de las Américas. En 1902 el poeta mexicano Amado Nervo había escrito un poema en honor del Presidente Benito Juárez (indio zapoteca) que recitó en la Cámara de Diputados, titulado La Raza de Bronce alabando a la raza indígena, título que más tarde en 1919 el autor boliviano Alcides Arquedas daría a su libro. El bronce (metal noble fundido de varios metales) llegó a ser metáfora del mestizaje. Según el pensar de 
José Vasconcelos una Raza Cósmica, la raza del porvenir, es la raza noble que se forma en las Américas a partir del 12 de octubre de 1492, la raza del mestizaje, un amalgama de las gentes indígenas de las Américas, de los Europeos, los Africanos, los Asiáticos, las razas mundiales — en una palabra, la raza humana compuesta de una mezcla de todas las razas que Vasconcelos denominó la Raza Cósmica.


Pero no se puede ignorar que esta raza ideal se forma a gran costo de los pueblos indígenas Americanos (y de la gente africana traídos aquí como esclavos). Desde 2002, en Venezuela se le llama a la fiesta Día de la Resistencia Indígena.

Sea como sea, por cualquier nombre que le demos, de cualquier modo que la cortemos, es la misma torta — la fecha conmemora la llegada de los Europeos a América (que para ellos era un “nuevo mundo”), no una visita sino una invasión, un genocidio, subyugación de las gentes de ese “nuevo mundo” que hoy conocemos por el nombre de un cartógrafo Europeo que apenas pisó el suelo sagrado de los continentes que llevan su nombre. Lo que marca la fecha es una continua colonización, explotación, abuso, ultraje de los pueblos indígenas de las Américas que escasamente ha menguado, que ha persistido estos quinientos y veinte nueve años.


Bien se le pudiera nombrar Día de la Globalización. A partir de ese día se comprueba concreta y definitivamente que la Tierra verdaderamente es redonda, una esfera, una bola, un globo. Y desde esa fecha se les trata imponer forzosamente a las gentes indígenas del “nuevo mundo” una cosmología, actitud bastante extraña hacia a la vida, hacia a la Tierra, hacia a la economía, hacia a lo sagrado, hacia al ser humano mismo — una sola verdad estrecha e intolerante, un desdén rapaz hacia la Tierra vista solamente como un recurso para explotarse, un concepto del progreso difícil de distinguir de la codicia y el hambre del poder.

La causa de los indígenas clama por justicia: se les sigue robando sus tierras y terrenos, se los destruyen por sus valiosas maderas y minerales; sus creaciones agrícolas, tal como el maíz y la papa, que han salvado del hambre a gran parte del mundo, se modifican al nivel molecular y se controlan por corporaciones rapaces; sus medicinas tradicionales se patentan por esas mismas corporaciones; el agua sagrada misma se privatiza y se les roba; aun no se les respeta el derecho a sus creencias y culturas. Aun poniendo al lado la justicia, todos deberíamos aliarnos a las gentes indígenas de las Américas (y del mundo entero) en su resistencia contra tal abuso porque lo que los amenaza a ellas nos amenaza a todos en el mundo entero — y a la Tierra misma. Tienen muchísimo que enseñarnos acerca de una relación sana del hombre con la Tierra.

En una Tierra, mucho más chica y frágil de lo que imaginábamos, nos encontramos en plena globalización y pugna contra la imposición de un capitalismo desenfrenado y del fascismo, su lógica extensión, que lo acompaña. Sigue la resistencia indígena que jamás ha cesado durante estos cinco y un cuarto de siglos a pesar de una represión brutal y ahora todos nosotros de la raza cósmica de mera necesidad debemos aliarnos a su lucha, pues esa lucha es nuestra de todos si hemos de sobrevivir en la Tierra, bendita madre de nuestra estirpe, la estirpe de la raza humana — y de toda nuestra parentela los otros animales, las plantas, los minerales. En la Tierra redonda y sin costura son ficticias las fronteras y lo que amenaza a unos nos amenaza a todos. Pensar al contrario no es solamente inmoral sino locura.


Berkeley, Alta California

© Rafael Jesús González 2021

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-October 12 is a feast-day known in various regions and times by many names: Columbus Day, Discovery Day, Hispanic Culture Day, Day of the Americas, Day of the Race, Day of the Indigenous Peoples. 

In Mexico in 1928 at the insistence of the philosopher José Vasconcelos, then Minister of Education, it was named Día de la Raza (Day of the Race), denomination of the Iberian-American Union in 1913 to declare a new identity formed by the encounter of the Spaniards with the native peoples of the Americas. In 1902, the Mexican poet Amado Nervo had written a poem in honor of the President Benito Juárez (a Zapoteca Indian), which he read in the House of Representatives, titled La Raza de Bronce (Race of Bronze) praising the indigenous race, title which later in 1919 the Bolivian author Alcides Arquedas would give his book. Bronze (noble metal amalgamated of various metals) came to be metaphor for mestizaje (the mixing of the races.) According to the thinking of José Vasconcelos, a Cosmic Race, the race of the future, is the noble race that is formed in the Americas since October 12, 1492, the race of mestizaje, an amalgam of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, the Europeans, the Africans, the Asians, the world — in a word, the human race made of a mixture of all the races which Vasconcelos called the Cosmic Race.
  


But that this race is formed at great cost to the indigenous American peoples (and to the African peoples brought here as slaves) cannot be ignored. Since 2002, in Venezuela the feast-day is called Día de la Resistencia Indígena (Day of Indigenous Resistance.)

Be that as it may, by whatever name we give it, however way we cut it, it is the same cake — the date commemorates the arrival of the Europeans to America (which for them was a “new world”), not a visit but an invasion, a genocide, a subjugation of the peoples of that “new world” which we know today by the name of a European cartographer who barely set foot on the sacred ground of the continents that bear his name. What the date marks is a continuous colonization, exploitation, abuse, outrage of the indigenous peoples of the Americas that has scarcely lessened, that has persisted these five-hundred and twenty-nine years.


It could well be called Day of Globalization. Since that date, the Earth is concretely, definitively proven to be truly round, a sphere, a ball, a globe. And from that date is imposed by force upon the indigenous American peoples a quite strange cosmology, attitude toward life, toward the Earth, toward economics, toward the sacred, toward the human being him/herself — a single truth narrow and intolerant, a rapacious disdain toward the Earth seen only as a resource to be exploited, a concept of progress difficult to distinguish from greed and the lust for power. 

The cause of the indigenous peoples screams for justice: their lands, their fields continue to be stolen from them, destroyed for their valuable woods and minerals; their agricultural creations, such as maize and the potato, which have saved a great part of the world from famine, are modified at the molecular level and controlled by rapacious corporations; their traditional medicines are patented by those same corporations; sacred water is privatized and stolen from them; even their right to their own beliefs and cultures is not respected. Even putting justice aside, we should all ally ourselves with the indigenous peoples of the Americas (and of the entire world) in their resistance against such abuse because what threatens them threatens us all throughout the whole world — and the Earth itself. They have a very much to teach us about a healthy relationship of humankind with the Earth. 

In an Earth much smaller and more fragile than we imagined, we find ourselves in full globalization and struggle against the imposition of an unbridled capitalism and the fascism, its logical extension, that accompanies it. The indigenous resistance that has never ceased these five and a quarter centuries and some continues in spite of a brutal repression and now all of us of the cosmic race, of pure necessity, must align ourselves with their struggle, for that struggle is ours if we are to survive on the Earth, holy mother of our race, the human race — and of all our relations, the other animals, the plants, the minerals. On the round, seamless Earth all borders are fictitious and what threatens one threatens all. To think otherwise is not only immoral but insane. 


Berkeley, California

© Rafael Jesús González 2021






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Monday, October 11, 2021

Carmen Rezendes (d. October 10, 2021)

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Carmela querida —  you chose to leave us on the very day of my 86th birthday; a birthday gift of sorts, I guess, to embark on your last adventure on that day. I loved you from the moment we met 54 years ago when I came to interview to teach at Laney College. You leave a deep hole filled only by the memories we made together in our long and rich friendship. I hold you in my heart, my thoughts, my prayers. Here is the poem that I wrote for you many years ago as you embarked on one of your many adventures. Carry the wind-song in your forever and to nowhere final journey. 


Wind-Song for Prince Henry’s Daughter

                        Cuatro cosas tiene el hombre
                        que no sirven en la mar:
                        ancla, gobernalle y remos,
                        y miedo de naufragar.
                                                                     
                                        Antonio Machado
 
                            for Carmen
 
Take a sextant to watch the stars by
         & cut the firmament in sixths;
take an astrolabe
         (because it has a lovely name),
& bees’ wax,
         not against the sirens’ song
         you wouldn’t want to miss,
but because you might want
         the smell of flowers
just for one moment on the wine-dark sea.
 
Take one secret word you’ll want to roll
         & knead within your mind,
a few friends’ names
         (to invoke the angels by),
& a small mirror
                  scratched with this charm:
 
         there is one center to the universe
         & it moves to wherever you are.

 
 
                         ~ Rafael Jesús González

(Hawaii Review; Vol. 3 no. 2, Fall 1973; author’s copyrights.)




Carmen & Rafael, early 70s


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