Sunday, May 9, 2021

Mother's Day

 -



Yo no necesito día especial para honrar y celebrar a mi madre; lo hago todos los días aunque ya por muchos años yacen sus huesos bajo tierra Per ya por costumbre se ha designado día para hacerlo y especialmente recuerdo a las madres llegando de sus país de Centro y Sud América a la frontera de los EE.UU. se les arrebatan sus hij@s de los brazos; madres de Yemen y Palestina y tantos otros países torturados por guerra, sanciones crueles, regímenes tiranos demasiadas veces debidas a política estadoundense, a los estragos del capitalismo. Honoro las madres cuyos hij@s han sido muertos por la policía y el racismo sistémico del país. Y muy en especial honor a nuestra madre de todos, la sagrada Tierra a quien hemos dañado y cuyo dolor somos nosotros mismos.

El Día de madres se celebra en los Estados Unidos el segundo domingo de mayo, y por el mundo entero en distintas fechas. Pero en todas, este día en el cual se le rinde veneración de corazón a la madre es a la vez pretexto para un sentimentalismo empalagoso que el comercio fomenta para vender tarjetas sacarinas, claveles sin aroma, y chucherías para aumentar las ganancias.


Olvidamos el origen de esta fiesta relativamente moderna. El Día de Madres empezó después de la guerra civil de los Estados Unidos como protesta a la mortandad en esa guerra por las mujeres que habían perdido a sus hijos a la guerra. Tal fue el principio del Día de Madres anual propuesto por una madre. Brindemos de todo corazón nuestros homenajes a todas nuestras madres y las madres de todos y no caigamos en el sentimentalismo fácil sino dediquémonos a evitar el sufrimiento de toda madre (y sus hij@s): la pobreza, el hambre, el abandono, el desamparo, falta de educación, violencia, la guerra.


Rafael Jesús González
-


Mothers' Day is celebrated in the United States the second Sunday of May, and throughout the world on various dates. But in them all, this day in which reverence from the heart is rendered to the mother, is at the same time pretext for a cloying sentimentality that commerce foments to sell saccharin cards, odorless carnations, and expensive trinkets to increase profits.

We forget the origins of this relatively modern holiday. Mother's Day was started after the U.S. Civil War as a protest to the carnage of that war by women who had lost their sons to war. Such was the beginning of an annual Mothers' Day proposed by a mother. Let us render with a full heart our homage to our mothers and the mothers of everyone and let us not fall into facile sentimentality but dedicate ourselves to preventing the suffering of all mothers (and their children): poverty, hunger, abandonment, lack of shelter, lack of education, violence, war.

Rafael Jesús González



Here is the original Mother's Day Proclamation from 1870, followed by a a reminder of what the original intent of Mother's Day was from 'A history of Mother's Day' by a UC Davis historian:

Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts, whether our baptism be that of water or of fears! Say firmly: "We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.

We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says "Disarm, Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."

Blood does not wipe our dishonor nor violence indicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.

Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each bearing after their own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.





Mother's Day for Peace - by Ruth Rosen:

Honor Mother with Rallies in the Streets.

The holiday began in activism; it needs rescuing from commercialism and platitudes.

Every year, people snipe at the shallow commercialism of Mother's Day. But to ignore your mother on this holy holiday is unthinkable. And if you are a mother, you're supposed to be devastated if your ingrates fail to honor you at least one day of the year.

Mother's Day wasn't always like this... because Mother's Day began as a holiday that commemorated women's public activism, not as a celebration of a mother's devotion to her family.

The story begins in 1858 when a community activist named Anna Reeves Jarvis organized Mothers' Works Days in West Virginia. Her immediate goal was to improve sanitation in Appalachian communities. During the Civil War, Jarvis pried women from their families to care for the wounded on both sides. Afterward she convened meetings to persuade men to lay aside their hostilities.

In 1872, Julia Ward Howe, author of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic", proposed an annual Mother's Day for Peace. Committed to abolishing war, Howe wrote: "Our husbands shall not come to us reeking with carnage.. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs".

Julia Ward Howe


For the next 30 years, Americans celebrated Mothers' Day for Peace on June 2.

Many middle-class women in the 19th century believed that they bore a special responsibility as actual or potential mothers to care for the casualties of society and to turn America into a more civilized nation. They played a leading role in the abolitionist movement to end slavery. In the following decades, they launched successful campaigns against lynching and consumer fraud and battled for improved working conditions for women and protection for children, public health services and social welfare assistance to the poor. To the activists, the connection between motherhood and the fight for social and economic justice seemed self-evident.

In 1913, Congress declared the second Sunday in May to be Mother's Day. By then, the growing consumer culture had successfully redefined women as consumers for their families. Politicians and businessmen eagerly embraced the idea of celebrating the private sacrifices made by individual mothers. As the Florists' Review, the industry's trade journal, bluntly put it, " This was a holiday that could be exploited."... Since then, Mother's Day has ballooned into a billion-dollar industry.

Americans may revere the idea of motherhood and love their own mothers, but not all mothers. Poor, unemployed mothers may enjoy flowers, but they also need child care, job training, health care, a higher minimum wage and paid parental leave. Working mothers may enjoy breakfast in bed, but they also need the kind of governmental assistance provided by every other industrialized society.

With a little imagination, we could restore Mother's Day as a holiday that celebrates women's political engagement in society. During the 1980's, some peace groups gathered at nuclear test sites on Mother's Day to protest the arms race. Today, our greatest threat is not from missiles but from our indifference toward human welfare and the health of our planet.

Imagine, if you can, an annual Million Mother March in the nation's capital. Imagine a Mother's Day filled with voices demanding social and economic justice and a sustainable future,....public activism does not preclude private expressions of love and gratitude. (Nor does it prevent people from expressing their appreciation all year round.)

Ruth Rosen is a professor of history at UC Davis.

El Día de madres se celebra en los Estados Unidos el segundo domingo de mayo, y por el mundo entero en distintas fechas. Pero en todas, este día en el cual se le rinde veneración de corazón a la madre es a la vez pretexto para un sentimentalismo empalagoso que el comercio fomenta para vender tarjetas sacarinas, claveles sin aroma, y chucherías para aumentar las ganancias.

Olvidamos el origen de esta fiesta relativamente moderna. El Día de Madres empezó después de la guerra civil de los Estados Unidos como protesta a la mortandad en esa guerra por las mujeres que habían perdido a sus hijos a la guerra. Tal fue el principio del Día de Madres anual propuesto por una madre. Brindemos de todo corazón nuestros homenajes a todas nuestras madres y las madres de todos y no caigamos en el sentimentalismo fácil sino dediquémonos a evitar el sufrimiento de toda madre (y sus hij@s): la pobreza, el hambre, el abandono, el desamparo, falta de educación, violencia, la guerra.

Rafael Jesús González



 

Aquí la proclamación de 1870:

¡Levantémonos, entonces, mujeres de este día! ¡Levantémonos todas las mujeres que tengamos corazones, sea nuestro bautismo de agua o de temores! Digamos firmemente: “No permitiremos que las grandes cuestiones sean decididas por agencias que no vienen al caso. Nuestros esposos no vendrán hediendo a carnicería a nosotras por caricias y aplauso. No se nos quitarán a nuestros hijos para que desaprendan todo lo que les hemos podido enseñar de la caridad, la piedad y la paciencia.Nosotras las mujeres de un país seremos demasiadas tiernas de las de otro país para permitir que nuestros hijos sean entrenados a dañar a los suyos. Del pecho de la Tierra devastada una voz se alzará con la nuestra. Dice, “¡Desarmad, desarmad! La espada del homicidio no es la balanza de la justicia.”

La sangre no limpia nuestra deshonra ni la violencia indica posesión. Como los hombres han a menudo abandonado el arado y el yunque a la citación de la guerra, que las mujeres ahora dejen todo lo que se pueda dejar del hogar para un gran y fervoroso día de deliberación. Que se encuentren primero, como mujeres, para llorar y conmemorar a los muertos.

Que entonces solemnemente se aconsejen unas con la otras de modo que la gran familia humana pueda vivir en paz, cada quien llevando a su propio tiempo la empresa sagrada, no la de César, sino la de Dios.

En el nombre de la mujer y de la humanidad, fervorosamente pido que un congreso general de mujeres sin limites de nacionalidad sea designado y convocado en algún lugar determinado más conveniente y en el más cercano periodo consistente con sus objetivos, promover la alianza de las distintas nacionalidades, la resolución amigable de cuestiones internacionales, los grandes y generales intereses de la paz.





-

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Saturday, May 1, 2021

May Day — Day of the Worker

-

-
                            Trabajador(a)

El que trabaja con sus manos es obrero,
el que trabaja con sus manos y su cabeza 
es artesano, el que trabaja con sus manos
y su cabeza y su corazón es artista, 
así dijiste, hermano Francisco.
¿Eras artista entonces, hermano,
reconstruyendo San Damián y la capilla
de Nuestra Señora Reina de los Ángeles?
No conozco hombre o mujer que trabaje
sólo con las manos sin la cabeza
agobiada que sea o sin el corazón
pesado y doliente que esté.
Son la circunstancias injustas que separan
las manos de la cabeza y del corazón. 
Obrer@s, artesan@s, artistas 
somos todos trabajador@s — 
nos ganamos el pan y ponemos
el pan, y el vino, en las mesas.
Si pobreza hay no es culpa nuestra;
es generosa la Tierra cuando no cae 
en las manos de los avaros. 
Si bautizo hay de agua y de sangre
también la hay del sudor.



                                            
                                 © Rafael Jesús González 2021







                                Worker

He who works with his hands is a laborer,
He who works with his hands & his head 
is a craftsman, he who works with his hands
& his head and his heart is an artist, 
so you said, brother Francis.
Were you then an artist, brother,
rebuilding St. Damian & the chapel
of Our Lady Queen of the Angels?
I do not know man or woman who works
only with the hands without the head 
weighed down though it be or without heart
though it be heavy & hurting.
It is unjust circumstances that separate
the hands from the head & the heart. 
Laborers, crafts-folk, artists
we are all workers — 
we earn our bread & put
bread, & wine, on the tables.
If poverty there be it is no fault of ours;
the Earth is generous when it does not fall
into the hands of the greedy.
If there is baptism of water & blood
so also there is of sweat.



                                       © Rafael Jesús González 2021







--

Monday, April 26, 2021

full moon: Full Moon & Coyotes

 -



        Luna llena y coyotes


¿Porqué será que los coyotes 
y los lobos y aun los perros 
le aúllen a la luna llena?
No creo que sea por el conejo 
que le marca la mejilla. 
Mas bien creo que sienten 
su jalar en la sangre que les abre 
los cántaros de dolor y pena 
que guardan en silencio 
dentro el alma y desahogan 
en sus cantos lastimeros. 
Si es así es sanadora la luna.




                       © Rafael Jesús González 2021




           





        Full Moon & Coyotes


Why is it that the coyotes 
& the wolves & even the dogs 
howl at the full moon?
I do not believe it is for the rabbit 
that marks her cheek. 
I think rather that they feel 
her pull in the blood that opens 
the jars of pain & grief 
they keep in silence
in the soul & pour out 
in their plaintive songs. 
If that be so, the moon is healing.




                        © Rafael Jesús González 2021



-

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Earth Day

                 

-
Si no hablamos


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 2021

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.)










If We Do Not Speak


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 2021

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 2021



(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 2021



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



-

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

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 2021





----------------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 2021



-
-

Friday, April 16, 2021

Paul Cooper 5/28/1951 – 3/3/2021

 -



Paul Cooper 2020


Paul Cooper 5/28/1951 – 3/3/2021


On March 3rd, Paul Cooper, long-time resident of Berkeley, died of Covid. Born May 28th, 1951, in Philadelphia, he came to Oakland in 1974 with his high-school sweetheart, Chris Orr, partners since they had attended the Woodstock music festival together in 1969.
 
Very soon after his arrival to San Francisco Bay, he began work at the American Baptist Seminary of the West (now the Berkeley School of Theology) becoming Superintendent of Buildings & Grounds.
 
Concerned for the Earth, a tinkerer and inventor, he and his friend Keith Rutledge started the Alternative Energy Collective which, on the first national Sun Day celebration May 1978 in People’s Park, set up an exhibit of various handmade solar devices constructed in the basement of the seminary. The group became a non-profit scientific and educational organization and created the “Steps to Energy Self-Reliance” exhibit for the New Earth Expo festival in San Francisco. It was at that event that a representative of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area asked if the AEC would be interested in setting up an alternative energy center at Fort Cronkhite in the Marin Headlands. Deciding to devote full time to the AEC he left the seminary in 1981, the position to be eventually filled by his brother Gary.
 
After a couple of years at Fort Cronkite, the U.S Department of Energy displaced the AEC’s down-home hands-on approach with large color posters and nicely furnished administrative offices. Needing a new home for the AEC, the collective with a few supporters bought an abandoned Exxon gas station in Oakland at Adeline and 59th. The AEC added to its nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research, the Solar Station contracting division that among other projects, developed the solar water-heating systems for UC Cooperative Student Housing and the largest commercial solar water heating system in California for ABC Diaper Co. in Berkeley. 
 
Under the Jimmy Carter administration the development of alternative, renewal energy, especially solar, was encouraged and impetus was given the industry with incentives, principally in the form of tax credits. Solar panels were installed on the White House and the infant industry was off to a good start. Here, the Solar Station was known for having broken ground. 
 
Come Ronald Reagan, and the tax credits disappeared as did the solar panels from the White House. Solar’s growth was abruptly crippled, and the Solar Station (like many others of its kind) went under; the Solar Station was forced to declare bankruptcy and with it the AEC ceased to exist.
 
Paul Cooper then started a successful plumbing business from the basement of our house, and in 1997 partnered with Heiko Dzierson to form Pipe Spy Sewer Service whose ubiquitous trucks are now a common sight in the S.F. Bay Area. 
 
Paul never stopped being concerned for the Earth, and tinkerer and inventor that he was, took delight in driving his electric-power converted old Porsche in the annual Alameda Fourth of July parade. In his spare time, he and Justin Gray formed Cooper-Gray Robotics focused on big projects like innovative remote-controlled construction vehicles (skid-steers, excavators, and such) with electric drives. The company closed in 2020 as Paul prepared for retirement.
 
In the forty-six years of our friendship, Paul and I played, supported each other, collaborated, partnered in many things, not only in the AEC and Solar Station days, but in the house we shared on Woolsey St., with keys to each other’s homes, a wall between us through which I could hear his guitar strumming, his and his wife Chris’ laughter, and they perhaps could hear my snores. He was always ready to help with setting up my art installations at the Mexican Museum of San Francisco, the Oakland Museum of California; restoring the balcony; remodeling of the kitchen. He was generous in sharing the blooms of his carefully cultivated cannabis. And generous with his gab; if you asked him for the time of day, he was likely to tell you the history of the clock.
 
Generosity and largeness of spirit was Paul, loving and kind. At a recent remembrance of Paul at the headquarters of Pipe Spy, the workers, some with the company from its beginning (apprentices, journeymen, masters of the craft) after silently meditating and remembering him were asked to answer on a large sheet of paper the question: What gift did Paul bring to your life? A few of the answers: ¡Qué regalo trajo Paul! Best example for all of us. Agradecido. Always happy. Presencia. Safety! Paciencia, Gran Amistad. Friendship. Buen maestro. Good guy. Comunicativo. Honestidad. Compasión. ¡Luz!
 
Yes, Light. So many things could be said of Paul, so many virtues named, but light says it all. The pandemic has its heroes, its fallen, and they are not always healers working in the hospitals. Some of our essential workers are modest in accolades, like the plumber who keeps our water, that essence of life, running to quench our thirst and rid us of our waste. And great men (and women) like Paul Cooper fill such roles. A deep, deep hole his absence leaves to be filled only with the light he brought into so many lives.
 
Rafael Jesús González




Paul Cooper 1969


-