Monday, October 23, 2017

New poetry chapbook! Poets against War & Racism | Poetas contra la guerra y el racismo

Order your copies of Poets against War & Racism here.

Here's the first in a series of chapbooks that we will be publishing to read and work together to raise our voices and ink (real & virtual) against the calamaties of capitalism: war and racism.

At the core of our words is the belief that we can create the world, small and big, horizontal and communal, where we are safe to be ourselves, free and self-determined.

To get there we have to create and practice the new language.

So here is a small offering by five poets who are against war & racism and for deep community and justice.

Get one for yourself and get two or more for your friends and families.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Ayotzinapa [the place of small turtles]

Ayotzinapa [lugar de las tortuguitas]

Para los 43 normalistas desaparecidos de Ayotzinapa | For the 43 student-teachers disappeared from Ayotzinapa

de 43 heridas
continente dulce
contaminado por
un imperio podrido
de 43 guerras sin fin
imperios destruidos
del mundo
que se juntan
en el rincón
de américa
ombligo lunar ...

| * |

Ayotzinapa [Place of the small turtles]

precious turtle
with 43 wounds
beloved américa
rotting empire
with 43 wars without end
empires to be destroyed
from around the world
in a corner
of América
belly button of the moon...

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Soy del otro lado | I am from the other side

Soy del otro lado
del lado bravo
del lado tuyo
del lado izquierdo
donde tengo el nido
para tus abrazos
Soy del otro lado
donde los muros
son las sombras
que persiguen
a los policías
que defienden
a los tiranos del mercado
Y el sol está
a nuestro lado
el lado de la tierra
el lado de las lágrimas con sus sonrisas
el lado de la luna llena y vacía
el lado que es combustible para las estrellas
el lado donde somos íntegros
el lado que divide a las bestias
adomándolas con nuestra luz
el lado que nos abriga
contra la rabia del dinero
Soy de ese lado
con sus seis direcciones y sus siete espacios
donde los abrazos abren cielos y puertas
donde los llantos espantan a las fronteras
y las mujeres nos dan su espalda
para cargarnos y sobrevivir
Del lado donde nuestros desaparecidos
Soy del otro lado
del lado tuyo...

[Abril 2016]

| * |

I am from the other side

I am from the other side
from the side of the Bravo
from your side
from the left side
where I have a nest
for your arms
I am from the other side
where the walls
are shadows
that chase down
the police
that defend
the tyrants of the markers
And the sun is
on our side
on the side of the earth
on the side of tears with smiles
on the side of the of the full and empty moon
on the side that is fuel for the stars
on the side where we are whole
on the side that divides the beasts
taming them with our light
on the side that holds us
against the rage of money
I am from that side=
with its six directions and seven spaces
where our embrace open up skies and doors
where our cries threaten borders
and the women give us their backs
to carry us and to survive
From the side where our disappeared
I am from the other side
from your side ...

[April 2016]

Sunday, March 12, 2017

The four directions of my border blues

I miss
the four directions

of my blues
the four musics

of my valley
the guitarist

the drummer
the friend
geniuses all
beheaded by whites
loved by Mexicans
Elvira and her sister, too
The tula fog

the cries
for the mother
The music was our music
we knew we would never see each other again
never gave up the blues
never surrendered to the night of our long separation

Tacuache bellowing,
hair down to his hips,
I want pussah, pussah
Homer roaring in laughter
I am in the back seat remembering us all
Where's Cinthia?
She was my outcast, my future woman
I would love and love always
eternity had her names, ours
Johnson was a madman

with a Gibson strapped across his shoulder
Crow the music organism
Tacuache spirit armed with spirit to pound away our fears
Homer the friend we would never give up
Then we left each other

We left each other
and ever since

music is
unfinished tenderness...

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

What remains after us?

Poetry is what remains
after we make love,
after we march for justice,
after we make little revolutions against big injustices,
after we paint and color the canvasses of our skin,
when we make peace with the rage of the system,
when we kiss
... the hands of our elders,
.. the mouth of our lovers,
.. the nose of the new born

Poetry is what remains
after we hold hands or smile or talk and listen to one another,
when our hands glance each other's shadows,
when the moon is full and we are empty.

Poetry is what remains
after we have lived
many suns together.

Come make poetry with us
Poetry that swallows the wind to make us rain
Poetry that touches our faces with the hands of the dust
Poetry that makes craters in the soul of your heart
Poetry that defies bullets and the shadows of mourning
Poetry made by the hands and the eyes of rainbow warriors who struggle to make springtime the only season of our dreams

Poetry that buries the war dead with the words and cries of our elders who never gave up
Poetry that makes love to overthrow capitalism and its war machinery of wage labor, mining, fossil fuel and paved over acquifers
Poetry that is the flower and bread of organizing our utopias and seeds
Poetry that is on the lips of the loved ones,
.. the first kiss of humanity,
.. the first kiss of revolutions,
.. the kiss of our ancestors and newborn.

Poetry that says never again to war and hate, extraction and exploitation of our deepest life gestating in the earth herself.
Our dreams do not fit in
voting urns
Our dreams fit
in our hearts and word of peace, sisterhood and justice...

--arnoldo garcía

Friday, July 29, 2016

Electric blind blues

My eyes
have broken
the lightning
the campesino electrocutions
in the fields
of verdant fears
in the footsteps
of indian shadows
the lightning shards
cut up my liver
scrape the sockets
of my eyes
with the darkest threat
of starless nights
the crickets call out her name
over and over
displacing thunder,
dispensing with formalities
on the drum
of my senses
the lightning tremble
slicing open the irises,
bleeding electricity.

I am going blind
because the lightning won't rise up
against the mother
as acrylic clouds
dance upon the rain
inside my skin 
the lightning broken,
lashes at the hat
the farmworker wears
to carry the sun
The lightning 
s broken,
mortally wounded,
inside my eyes
My eyes become
a mudslide of extinction...

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Madre-abuelita (for manuela & josé)

I long for my grandmother's tortillas
her bold hands that seized fevers and captured ghosts
her guidance, her comales, where chiles and tomatoes sang
she nourished us with food and prayer
to plant flowers
to surround us with family, community and hope
she didn’t want anyone to die
she preferred to die first
than see us suffer
she promised to see us after death
she came back twice
once she alone and the last time she was with her husband José.
She smiled sternly, but she was smiling.
Everything works out in the end
Her bones rest
Her footsteps let us know she does not sleep
Until everyone is safe

She loved
black coffee,
fresh jalapeños that made men cry
and talking back to God.

As she lay dying
Her eyes
Her hands
Her wilting heart
showered us with tenderness and compassion
Even when she recovered from the first heart attack
she didn’t stop working
Instead of resting
we would return from work
to find the house swept and mopped
food cooking on the stove
a stack of freshly cooked tortillas
and she on her feet
challenging us, defying her own heart
her whole body
was a prayer
a thunderous prayer
then she decided to die
after she found out some terrible news
she was betrayed
she tried to strangle my grandfather
who did not resist
he knew what he had done and was willing to let her have what she wanted now
Gustavo and I were in a side room playing guitars
when we heard arguing voices crescendo
then bodies crashing against walls and floors
We stuck our heads out the door and slowly came out
She was choking my abuelito
He just lay there, she on top, still
holding him down with her legs over his chest and knees on his arms
Then she flopped down on the floor
Leaning her head against the frayed sofa
Enraged, spit drooling out of her mouth
Her body was still a prayer
Invoking herself against herself
That summer
She continued working in the fields
Until she suffered another stroke at the onset of autumn
Then winter came
And she died
Her body still a prayer
When we buried her it began raining, then the sun broke through
The winter day became springtime
We sent her off with prayers, partying
Time under the open sky
The stars swelling until everyone cried
because we were going to miss her
we miss her prayers, her praying
her backbone
her food, her caldos, tortillas, her ponqui pie, her lipstick
her curses, her defense

She kept her promises, she waits for everyone.

Will we rest alongside her bones
or will we be scattered by the wind
only to be reached by her voice,
rescued by her prayers?

Manuela, arise
sons and daughters
grand-sons and granddaughters
great-grand-sons and great grand-daughters

Our mother
Our grandmother
does not forget anyone
does not leave anyone behind…

[Poem: 2002 | "Manuela Ochoa on her wedding day," 6"x8" oil pastels, 1994]