Friday, October 07, 2005

Purple My Heart

purple my heart
at nine years old
watching the man I love more
than anyone in the world
sitting in the blue-red light
coming through
the picture window
holding in his strong hands
the case
that held
all he had to show
for all those hundreds
he’d taken
that brought him countless
sleepless nights
or in and out
of the other side
night sweats
the wake up
with violet faces
of his ghost sickness

purple the heart
my father won in Korea
trophy case shattered and split
dried seeds of blood
on still clenched fist
all his medals torn apart
ripped and wrinkled ribbons
resting on splintered glass
meaningless medalions
tossed aside in disgust
repeating over and over
I did this for what?

purple the oath
loyalty my father pledged
his life
to defend his country
from the Reds
but after all was said
the faces who looked up
from the charred field of death
his big guns had buried them in
mirrored back faces of kin
who claimed him more
than the racist white-man did
when he returned from Korea

purple the smoke of
burning cedar and sage
of lavender oil rubbed
deep into head, chest
hands and feet
elders predicted
there was not enough
their medicine could do
no amount of ceremony
could wash away
that much blood
the sickness would have to fade
like the signs
of fire, flood or earthquake
with the years
he’d have to pray
away the madness
await his destiny

purple the sorrow cloth
lining his coffin
covering the mirrors
after his death
rain through
street lamp glow
the sunset
ripple clouds
amaranthine, amethyst
heliotrope, lavender
lilacs, lupines, irises, crocuses
dried flowers on a heroes grave

purple the night light
through my window
candles in the dark

© Odilia Galván Rodríguez

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Dedicated to Warriors and Saints ~ Maferefun Orunmila on his Day October 4

Los Otros

four Cuban medicine men
in a '57 Chevy
smoking up Calle 23
dressed crisp and
spotless in their whites
from Kangol caps to leather shoes

they are knights shining through the
centuries like the Templars or Masons
men with their society intact
secrets sharp as their blue steel edged knives
used in killing to perfection for the sake of mankind
those winged and the four legged creatures
who give their lives so that we might live

in a city teeming with ghosts
host to all sorts of unknowing
folks who come for the rum without the coke, rumba and
places they believe are filled with only the finest tobacco
smoke but are actually haunted rooms where the living and dead coexist
sometimes tryst on the same plane especially before a rainstorm
when Oya's horse's tail whips up the wind and

corpse dust comes flying freely out the gates of Colon cemetery
through Havana streets covering heads of the unsuspecting
with a possible unwanted phantom for company then believe they got
sick from the ice cubes in some club since they wouldn't even think
to drink the water

Baba lou aye had worn torn legs like C's dad
thick tree branches gnarled and scarred
not by disease but by bullets and shrapnel
marks of countless battles fought and won
laughing in deaths' face since before
he could rightly be called a man and
I couldn't keep my eyes off them
as he laid there struggling for one more
of life's breaths
so he could smoke his last one in bed
at the Oakland Veteran's hospital
those last days were the worst
before his warrior-self finally lost
that last offensive
being something beyond his control

©Odilia Galván Rodríguez, Migratory Birds: New and Noted Poems, 2002

photo from

Saturday, October 01, 2005

From The Heart

This is a picture of hurricane Katrina, I don't know who took it but it is awesome. If you did take this picture please let me know so that I can give you credit, you deserve it!

I have been whirling around southern Califas for the past week since Angel left for Havana. Hawk and I dropped him off at the TJ airport last Friday night. I don't know what he found when he arrived, it's been months since he's been home. I imagine everything will be as it should be -- the dogs, Casey, Yon, and Johnny were fine last we heard and the apartment as well.

What I miss most is hearing Angel's voice, his voice steadies me. His morning prayers at 7:30 am before he leaves for English and computer classes every weekday nudge me from sleep. I hear him even now some mornings but this is in my dreams and not him there standing firmly in the shrine praying.

He says that in order for the Creator to hear us we must pray out loud, from the heart. Prayers must not be rushed or said just to say them. Praying for others must be even more heartfelt. De Akokan - From the Heart.

I think of all the prayers I learned in Catholic school as a child, I remember saying them at mass and during penance after confession. I remember learning how to say the Rosary, though I don't remember it now. But what I do remember is that prayers always were said low in whispers like a low humming or buzzing.

Today one of Angel's godchildren called to say her daughter is in trouble and she wants counsel on how to deal with her. She is a rebellious 20 something year old who is at risk of failing out in her last semester at the University. I tell her that he is not reachable now, the phone is still not connected in the apartment and that while I have sent him e-mail apparently he's been unable to check in. I ask her what I can do she asks that I pray for her and her child and asks me when I think she should talk to her, she is so angry, she tells me. I say not to worry that I will pray for them and that I'll get back to her with more advice as soon as possible.

I pray. I stand at the shrine and pray whispering at first then louder in a clear voice, I pray from my heart. I pray for this mother having a difficult time relating to her angry daughter, asking for help. I think of when I was an angry daughter and wonder if my mother ever asked for prayers, or help with me.

I think of all the prayers we have all said lately for all the people dying in Iraq, for all the people who passed away or survived Katrina and now Rita. I think of all the prayers we say daily and wonder how many we say from the heart instead of from the head. I wonder how many of us know the difference.

I got a wonderful chance to spend time with my nephew from Chicago at my nieces home who lives in LA, on my way back up to the Bay Area. It was a memorable time, from baking with my two youngest nieces to talking music, art, life and politics with their parents and others of the 20 something-year-old people in my famila. As always, they give me hope and lots of love.

I look at this picture of Katrina and think of what someone said today on the radio - that if Katrina had a last name it would be Bush. I think if the aftermath of Katrina had a last name it would be dubbed Bush.

I still call on everyone who happens to read this to continue to pray for the survivors of Katrina and Rita, and if you can do something to help even if you already have, please do so.

I also call on everyone to pray from the heart for an end to war.

War is not healthy for people or other living things...Ase O!

© 2005

Friday, September 16, 2005

La Raza Cosmica Rap

for Tio Americo

we said we're a new race
because we looked
in the mirror and
saw a new face
not the small round
brown one
but the mestizo
who took the ancestors place

we ask
what's in a glass
that we can't identify with
instead of looking aghast
we're aglow
because we know
we survived

in our newly found home
we're back in Aztlan
the place of the North
where we originally came from
Indios brown and proud
we come in all shapes and sizes
for years now we've been rising

though we know all
our names
from los chingados
used to keep us down and
everything in between to
Chicano the name
we claimed as our own

cafe con leche
y leche con cafe
y bronze

we're still here
fulfilling our destiny
proud of our roots
a complex identity
we claim 100 percent and
represent La Raza Cosmica
a cosmic race 
proud people 
in your face

© Odilia Galván Rodríguez, 2002

image from Salvador R. Torres' painting "Viva La Raza"

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

divinatory haiku

winter in Amerika
closed hearts cold and cruel
ancients predicted endings

fall whitened ash butterflies
fluttering souls fly
towards the light of loved ones

raining down terrorism
innocence is lost
call for peace at any cost

wool scarves
wrapping tight
out cold

ice streams
tears frozen

Fall leaves
on fire

ocean waves

Spring perfume
in mind

(c) Havana, 01 Sept. 2001

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Them Bones

bones stolen and stacked
studied by those superior scientists

slopes in the skulls sold them
on the theory that they were right

to rip the bodies out of graves
ground sacred only to those
considered lower than themselves

winds of time tried but failed to right the
wrongs of man's inhumanity to man

(c) 2005

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Mexican Invasion? The Only Illegal Aliens Are US!

Just a few days ago, a Mexican army convoy of 45 vehicles accompanied by 200 soldiers and around 270 tons of aid - which includes two mobile kitchens that can feed up to 7,000 people a day, water treatment equipment, blankets, food and water, crossed the US - Mexican border at Laredo Texas on their way to bring aid to Hurricane Katrina survivors who have found shelter in that great state.

It made few people uneasy though, to see Mexican troops crossing the border - even if this is a peace mission. The BBC NEWS World Edition reported that "US troops and Texas officials will accompany the Mexican convoy to provide security." That got me thinking, security, for whom and why? Then, later, after I started reading other accounts and opinions on this generous gesture by the Mexican people I figured it out - what the worry must be about - Mexican government troops have not set foot on "US" soil for 159 years, when they advanced north of the Rio Grande into Texas, which at the time was still Mexican territory and set off the US - Mexican War.

Other people, see Prison Planet, got really upset by the whole convoy affair and went as far as categorizing the Mexican presence as, "Armed Mexican Troops Invade US" with a caption stating, "Under cover of aid, combat ready soldiers roll into Texas, Congressman Ron Paul says Mexican troops in US period is "illegal, unconstitutional" and if that weren't enough the authors asked people to, "call the state police to interdict and determine if these forces are indeed armed and if their guns have ammunition or if their weapons are ceremonial (which is doubtful)". Wow! (This, my favorite word lately...)

As another aside, in the same BBC article about the Mexican convoy, Condoleezza Rice was quoted as saying, "... no offer that will ease victims' suffering will be refused." Though today, I read that in yesterday's White House press briefing by Press Secretary, Scott McClellan, when asked the question, "Cuba offered help to the United States. Are you considering taking any of this help? They offered medicines and doctors? What's the situation with that?" among other things McClellan stated, "... When it comes to Cuba, we have one message for Fidel Castro. He needs to offer the people of Cuba their freedom."

I thought that's typical, but definitely not in keeping with what Rice said or what should happen. Aid is aid. If the people of Cuba want to change their political system or leaders they will do it on their own, because they want to, like when they took Fulgencio Batista out of power in 1959. Again, if we stopped being the police force of the whole world and took care of our own, the USA would be a different place to live altogether and the horrible scenarios of the past week would not have had to unfold as they did, bottom line, we are too busy trying to control the whole world. Hands off Cuba! It's a sovereign nation with intelligent people who can make up their own minds if they are free or not!

So back to the supposed Mexican Invasion, and what the fear about seeing Mexican troops rolling into Texas might be about... In 1848 at the conclusion of the US - Mexican War both countries signed the Treaty Of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The treaty stated that Mexico would give up almost half of its territory, which included most of Aztlan - California, Arizona, Nuevo (New) Mexico, Texas and parts of Colorado, Nevada, and Utah. In exchange, the US paid 15 million dollars in war-related damages. (There's that 15 million dollar figure again - see my entry on the Louisiana Purchase.)

The other contents of the treaty outlined where the border would be placed between the two nations - at the Rio Grande, but it's most important provisions provided for the protection and civil rights of Mexican nationals, who chose to stay living on what would now become US soil, many of whom elected to become American citizens. Of course, if we've learned the real history of our great nation we know the track record it has in honoring treaties - just remember what it did with the many treaties signed with Native American Nations.

Keeping true to form, when the US Senate ratified the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo it watered down Article 9 - which dealt with citizens rights and totally eliminated Article 10, the one that guaranteed the protection of Mexican land grants. In Texas, Mexicans were not allowed to vote, and California passed discriminatory laws, some known as the "Greaser Laws".

This government-sanctioned anti-Mexican sentiment made ripe the conditions for serious civil rights violations against the people: violence, torture, rape, murder and yes, the good old land grab. By the end of the 19th century most Mexican-Americans living in the areas supposedly protected by the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo had lost their lands either by force or by fraud...and so it goes.

It's no wonder some gringos got a little nervous seeing Mexican troops coming across the border - armed or not - after all, it's not like Americans are used to having any other nation come into police what their government is doing with its citizens or if they are truly free. So, there you go, it just looked to them like it might be a Mexican invasion dressed up as aid to Katrina survivors.

The last thing, when I asked a friend of ours who lives in Rosarito what his thoughts on Mexican aid to the US were, he said he thought it was great that Mexico was able to help its neighbors and countrymen from the affected areas who have suffered so much in the aftermath of Katrina. And on the subject of the US's fear of a Mexican invasion, he said, "Well, they [the US] promised we could keep our land but they stole it and after all these years we've slowly been getting it back, a little piece at a time," and then just smiled knowingly at me. c/s

See: Web Poster Exhibition - Zapata vive! Mexican Posters for peace in Chiapas.

For more information on the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and Reies Lopez Tijerina's struggle to recover stolen land grants.

(c) 2005

Friday, September 09, 2005

Olly Olly All Out Are Free - Part of the Coming Up Chronicles

I couldn't sleep last night, stayed up until around 3:30 a.m. working on some writing, then finally I tried reading so I could fall asleep but to no avail. I had to take some CA poppy tincture to get to sleep. I can only take a few drops otherwise I wake up the next day foggy and with a headache. But it works well and on pain too. I really mean it when I say that this getting old stuff is not for the weak.

Today I went to the beach to take some offerings to Yemaya that we'd put up in the shrine special for my Ocha birthday and for her feast day which are back to back, the 6th and the 7th. I loved the way the watermelon kept rolling back up on to the shore I told Angel that it was her playing with it. The surf was kind of rough and the place was deserted, not like just a week ago when the last of the summer crowds still filled the beaches. But this week summer is over, it's back to school and vacations are officially over.

I used to love summers as a kid -  I still do, it's my favorite time of the year and even though I worked every one of them after I turned 15 there was something about this time of the year that was thrilling and I never wanted it to be over.

Chicago summer nights were great, I grew up on the southside - moved there when I was 2. When my mom first settled out of the migrant farm worker life, a few years after my dad got home from his tour in Korea we moved from Texas to Chicago and lived in an apartment on Cottage Grove, we then moved to some apartments on 63rd and Dorchester St., then one on Dante, then to a house on 73rd and Woodlawn. When I was 10, after my parents split up, we moved to the projects - my mom and us four kids. I have lots of stories about the southside and maybe someday I will get around to writing my favorites down.

Our time to do some serious playing in the neighborhood was after dinner dishes were washed and our mothers let us go out for a few hours before calling us in for the night. Chicago had a 10 pm curfew for people under 18 so that was usually around the time we all had to go in.

Us neighborhood kids would hang out at the various little play areas that the CHA (Chicago Housing Authority) put up to supposedly keep us busy and out of trouble. Mostly we sat on the benches and shot the breeze or played hide and seek or some similar games. I can't recall the name of the one that is like hide-and-seek but played in big groups - two sides - with equal numbers, and the object is to captureevery onee of the people on one side or the other. To capture someone, you not only had to discover their hiding place but you also had to touch them.

Once you were found by someone on the opposite team they took you to jail. People from your team who were still free, could come and rescue you from jail if they could. There were look outs from each side that kept close enough to the jail to keep those already captured inside while trying not to get captured themselves. Their job was to also capture anyone who tried to come to rescue of the opposite team's members.

Trying to rescue a fellow player on your team was considered a really heroic act because of course it meant that you were giving up your secure hiding place and risking capture. It was not easy to rescue folks either, because those in the jail from the opposite side would always start yelling for their team members to hurry up and come squash the rescue attempt.

I also think there was a rule that you could only rescue one person at a time. There were certain boundaries within which we could hide, and no one was supposed to go outside those boundaries of a few blocks. And it was definitely cheating to, say, go hide in your house just because you lived close to the play area - which was usually the place designated as the jail. That way the captured could sit on benches, swings or monkey bars and wait to be rescued or for the game to end.

Once, one of the littler kids went home to watch television because he said he thought the game was over, that was really a hoot because we just thought he had hidden really well! The projects I came up in had row houses, so we had lots of great hiding places - one could hide behind or in trees and bushes, in people's yards, behind garbage cans, in gang ways etc.

We had our strategies too, for look outs and fast runners to storm the jail. Sometimes four or five of us would rush the area to try and get out as many of our team members out as possible, which of course would become pandemonium because everyone would start yelling, running, grabbing, and trying to stop the rescue attempt. The other side would of course try to capture new people or recapture anyone who'd managed to escape.

One time the funniest thing happened both sides showed up at the jail at the same time attempting a big rescue and all hell broke loose, it was so crazy and confusing and we ended up arguing as to who had been captured, let out etc. We just decided it was better to start over.

If you were let out of jail and ran fast enough within the boundary area and could get yourself into a hiding place without being seen you could get away without being taken back to jail. I tell you this game could go on for hours, days and sometimes even weeks because we would remember who had been in jail from the night before and start right from there the next night. Sometimes we had up to twenty kids playing at the same time. We all had our favorite hiding places and it was great fun.

Of course this was when we were all pretty young, before people started hormoning out and becoming couples. Those summers were great and I don't imagine there is any place in the US where kids can still play in big groups away from the adults the way we did back then. We were poor but we were happy and summer was the stuff of life!

Yes, we were playing a game where the object was to stay hidden and out of jail - shades of things to come in adulthood for some of us, but the other part, the thrilling part, was to save your team mates and make heroic attempts instead of staying safely hidden in your little niche. The people who did that were the ones who always held up the game because in the end we'd all have to call out "olly olly all in free" or whatever it was that we said, in order to let whoever was still out hiding know that almost all of us were in jail and we wanted to start over or stop the game.

Here is a poem to honor my few, but long years of life in Trumbull Park Homes and my for first love, you know who you are...

We Shadow Boxed
in the indigo
security lights
Projects we called
home while the moon
and stars smiled at
our milktooth love
because they knew
it was forbidding
like red-hot fire
burns we knew too
but were trying
our spotted wings
anyway your lips
were ruby fruit
rolled in zacate
thought our mother's
didn't have a clue
but they could smell
love in grass stained
clothes newly mowed
every radio
was playing our song

and for all you folks still out there - olly, olly, oxen free. olly, olly all out are FREE!

the photo above is courtesy of CHANGE - Chicago Housing Authority

(c) 2005

Thursday, September 08, 2005


Well, it looks like I have to jump on all the things that keep making me angry about this monumental tragedy before I start to cry again. Some of the new debit cards, that are being handed out to the survivors of Katrina, are called of all things "The Louisiana Purchase!" They're blue and have these words emblazoned on them. When I saw that (on the Spanish language news on Telemundo) I thought to myself, isn't that funny, not as in funny ha! ha! but funny as in, do they really think people are that unaware of what's going on and are they just gonna keep rubbing our faces in it? More on this in a minute...

I mean, forget that I am still trying to pick my chin up off the table after reading Barbara Bush's comments, well-meaning as she may have thought they were - they were stone cold racist in many people's minds. Yes, I know, a lot of people in this country hate that word - racist, so what if I said instead that what Ms. Bush said was at best super insensitive - would that feel better?

For those of you who don't know what the heck I am talking about, during a tour of the Astrodome in Houston, TX with her husband George Bush Sr. Barbara Bush had this to say: "What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them." As if living in a cot space in the Texas Astrodome with thousands of strangers, with no privacy and a myriad of serious problems hanging over their heads (like how to rebuild lives, jobs and homes) was better than living their underprivileged lives back in New Orleans, before HK hit, just because of some good old Texas hospitality and now, a 2,000 dollar debit card!

And by the way Babs I wonder what is it that scares you so, is it the sheer numbers of people or their skin color? By the way, that Texas hospitality goes only so far, I know, I was born there. For more on this see Barbara Bush comments on survivors spark outrage.

Now back to the Louisiana Purchase. The Louisiana purchase was a treaty signed between the United States and France wherein the US paid France more than $15 million for approximately 800,000 square miles of land which extended from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains. That was a lot of francs back in 1803 even if the French only received around $11,000,000 in cash for all they handed over - the rest went to pay off debts of the French to American citizens. The thing is, there had been a secret deal back in 1800 wherein Spain receded Louisiana back to France thereby making it part of Napoleon Bonaparte's booty, you remember him - another famous land grabber from back in the day.

Upon learning of this, the Americans got nervous, even President Thomas Jefferson was quoted as saying, "The day that France takes possession of New Orleans ... we must marry ourselves to the British fleet and nation." Control of New Orleans was tantamount to control of the Mississippi River, probably the most important waterway with regard to commerce - getting products to market etc. Yes, Napoleon Bonaparte having control of the Isle of Orleans would not fare well for the American economy should he decide they could not use the river or charge them big bucks to do so. The US had to figure out a way to buy it or get it away from France. So to the bargaining table, they went and in the bargain, the US got all of the old Louisiana, see map above, and for more details about this history see Louisiana Purchase (and I thank them for the loan of the map).

Yesterday I was reading an article by the Black Commentator entitled, New Orleans Population has the Right of Return which is really from the text of Radio BC audio commentary for September 8, 2005. This commentary discusses how the population of New Orleans has the right to return to their city, "... before newcomers benefit from the tragedy of the previous population's displacement." It also states that it is not too early to start discussing this issue - and many agree. The real scary fact is that many survivors may choose to abandon their city and make Houston or other places their home instead of having to face going back to the ruins of New Orleans. That would leave New Orleans wide open for the 21st-century land grabbers, those that would come in after the levees are fixed, and after Halliburton has come in and rebuilt the city in its own vision of a modern port.

This New Louisiana Purchase is going to cost a lot more than the thousands of lives that were already lost, or the two thousand dollar debit card which is supposedly going be given out to over 100,000 folks. Which can't even begin to cover their loss - these people whose lives have been disrupted at best, destroyed at worst.

All of the displaced people of the Gulf Port States should have right of return and should be encouraged to do so, once it is safe. They should also have the right to assist in the planning stages - to map out how their hometowns are going to look now, after this tragedy. A tragedy that probably could have been mitigated but instead, was allowed to unfold in the way that it has.

No I am not blaming George W. Bush for the hurricane, I am not giving him that much power, but call me a conspiracy theorist - that's theorist not terrorist, please - because I do blame him for a lot of things among them, for not allowing New Orleans to have the money to shore up its levees and instead diverting this money to the war in Iraq. I blame him for not allowing New Orleans, the Big Easy, to be strong enough to stand up to a hurricane above a 3.0, and for not wanting or being able to respond as quickly as we did to the Tsunami, which was also a horrific tragedy but one that we were able to respond to within 2 days - not five, six or even seven! And I hope against hope that I won't have to blame him for a 21st-century land grab - for a New Louisiana Purchase.

(c) 2005

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Yemaya's Day

Today the majesty and beauty of my mother Yemaya are celebrated. We ask her, the greatest mother of all, to embrace us - especially her children who are suffering due to another great tragedy that has befallen the people of Turtle Island, of the US of A - to give us her special blessings. We need hope, we need love and above all, we need good character to know how to go on, how to proceed, to help our brothers and sisters who need us.

At 6 p.m. eastern time 3 p.m. pacific time many Orisha priests and priestesses and other followers of African Traditional Religions and ways of life and those with indigenous worldviews will be taking a few moments to make special offerings and prayers for the survivors of hurricane Katrina. We especially pray for those who have yet to be rescued, for those who are afraid to ask for help for fear of being arrested, detained or deported back to their country of origin, and for those who are rescued but are in despair.

We pray for the dead that their spirits were delivered speedily into the arms of Olodumare. Iba'se...

Oh, mighty mother Yemaya we ask that you deliver our prayers to the highest.

Ire O!

(c) 2005

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Needling

H.R. Giger No. 473b, Debbie III, 1981, acrylic on photograph

to heal
I stick myself

with thin silver
needles threading

into the deep
meridians that travel

long roads of my body

I drink
the bitter teas

of deep roots cottonwood bark
desert brush Ming flowers

dark in my white china cup
I float freely

the ancient locust husk
red scorpions to sting loose

my frozen tight tongue

Copyright © Odilia Galván Rodríguez from 
Migratory Birds: New and Noted Poems, 2002

Monday, September 05, 2005

Who is Bush Kidding?

Our country can and has responded to many emergency situations across the globe in record time so now all of us are asking the same question, why did it take almost a week to respond to our own emergency right here at home?

The feds are pointing fingers at the state and city governments, in turn, they are pointing right back but the bottom line is, that the shameful lack of response was tantamount to NOT CARING. Why didn't the federal government care enough to respond rapidly or even in a timely manner? Could it be because the hurricane of poverty had already hit and held so many of New Orleans' people in its grip? Could it be because as always, poor people (especially people of color) are expendable in the eyes of a government made up of people who have what they need, and those in need can just wait until someone gets around to helping them? This experience is a wake-up call for so many Americans on so many levels and as my fellow writer friend says, ¡Abre los ojos! Open your eyes! If you haven't figured out that this is just the beginning of days like these then you'd better... we'd all better.

Many of us sat glued to the tube trying to figure out what we could do besides praying because it sure looked like no one in the gvmnt was going to ride up in white hats to save the day... others of us headed out for the affected areas to try and make a difference.

There have been many good people around the country who have opened their hearts, wallets, and homes to the survivors of Katrina and in the months to come we are all going to have to do more to help our fellow citizens who by the way, are not refugees!

Go to to see the open letter to Pres. George Bush from the Times-Picayune a mainstream media daily newspaper in New Orleans, even they are fed up with the treatment their city received in their time of greatest need.

(c) 2005

Sunday, August 21, 2005


earth bleeds

deep within her
ice covered summit
boiling magma
swirling incandescent
exploding red

rock and ice
fiery lava flowing
fast as melted wax
fissures split the center
out to earth's skin

red rivers fiery
lava fountains
rain down a curtain
of fire

lakes of molten rock
illuminate clouds
red glow backlighting
the grey skies

incandescent fractures
zigzagging across the black
hardened scabs
crusts over blood

landforms of living lava
calderas sleep quietly
until the next time
mama magma wakes

(c) 1993

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Vigil For Those Who Can't Get On With Their Lives

I started reading Cindy Sheehan's blog from Crawford, TX where she is camped out at Camp Casey - named for her son who died in Iraq in April, 2004, he was only 24 years old. She is camped out in front of the Bush ranch and says she won't leave until he meets with her about the war.

In her blog dated Tuesday, August 16 she relates that on Saturday, when asked why he had time to take a two hour bike ride but not to meet with Sheehan, President Bush was quoted as saying, "I have to go on with my life."

Tonight there are many candlelight vigils going on in support of Cindy Sheehan's efforts and that of so many people who want an end to the war in Iraq.

Anyone who is a parent of a child who is directly involved in this war, who is questioning what is going on over there by reading and finding out just who is profiting from this war has to be devastated. Cindy Sheehan asks the question that all of us, who have young people around the same age as her son, are asking...Why, if this war is so noble and so important, are Mr. Bush's daughters and so many others of their social status, not involved in the war effort -- out there on the front lines willing and able to die for their country?

My vigil is for all the middle, working class and poor young people of this land who feel their only choice to get a higher education these days is to have it paid for by enlisting in the armed forces, only to find themselves in deaths' path later.

My vigil is for all those misled and misinformed people who continue to support this war because they think that is the patriotic thing to do, may the light of these candles open and illuminate their minds.

Tonight my vigil is for Casey Sheehan and all the other soldiers who have died in Iraq, who unlike Mr. Bush can't get on with their lives because they were killed in this senseless war.

(c) 2005


you are the blue
floating jadeite
crystal castle
meltwater jettison
ice sheets on bedrock
scrape the earth clean
glacier tongues
lapped at the edges
by aqua

crystal lattice snow fields
form the silent valleys
warmer days bring
the meltings
up toward turquoise sky
only to return the next days
in white petals from on high

sea marigolds remember
when they slept
next to the thaw
lakes icy cold and blue
seen now only in visions
by unsuspecting travelers
on their way through the desert

(c) 1993

Ice Emperors

For the most part I don't like it when poets give disclaimers, explanations, or even comments about their work before they present it. But, I break with my own rule here to say this poem has been in my files long before I thought of publishing it here and has nothing to do with the upcoming film about these incredible birds...

bird brained
bizarre birds
wind burned by

he balancing
embryonic birds
on feet
while she feasts

he standing still
until ice


(c) 1993

Thursday, August 04, 2005


mas caras
more faces
mas cara
more expensive

one must have many faces to
send so many men to
massacre millions

(c) 2005

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

mud boy

when I see you
I double take
you miniature man
resembling the only one
I ever loved
grand canyons deep

in my soft red earth
chamisa and cactus
spotted desert depths
in eight short months
you formed
little mud boy

the greatest diviner
tapped early
into your source
you sprang to my surface
slowly at first then a geyser
gushing and gliding
new life of immense force

with ease you gurgled stories
from where you'd come
with your chubby tree limbs you learned
to crawl then after many spills and falls
balancing on shaky new legs you got up and walked

soon bird coos became words and
in the black whirlpools of your little eyes
I remembered how to love myself again

(c) 1987

photo: Lisa Moon

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


a force to be
reckoned with
a cloudy day
turned hurricane
a 5.4 earthquake
upsetting a ballgame
a wind whipping
fire storm
threatening to burn
to the sea
we can be
all this

This is what comes to me after meeting with our Tuesday night group of women writers. It takes me about 45 minutes to drive home and in that time I think of all we have written in group and all that was shared. The power in our conversations about life, about our partners, our children etc. Its big and then its not. After all it's what women have been doing since time immemorial. In the red tent, in the moon lodges, in the fields, on the assembly lines, sitting together at the kitchen table. The difference is, we as women writers are leaving our words for the people coming up, for the people we don't know personally but who may read our words in a book or on-line.

We span in age from 19 to 50+ and it's awesome the range of emotions that I feel sitting there listening to the magic we make in those lines that come through us. There is safety in writing with people who know how to bleed... With women, who every month lose a part of a possible future and some of us have been doing this for the better part of half a century. We do this because we can, because it's part of our divinity -- the possibility of continuing life on this planet. A force to be reckoned with...

(c) 2005

Moon musings




mined my






(c) 2005

Monday, August 01, 2005


flowers were her favorite people
they woke up when she did
went to bed at the same hour
her mother was a flower
Rosa Rosales Flores
can't get more flowery
each one had their story
from color, to height,
smell, shape, you name it
all individual darlings
always smiling
for you abuela

(c) 2005

getting old is not for the weak!

get with it
you're older
than you think
now you're worried
about the missing
link between you
and your dead
many who died
long before
the age you are
now that's something
to be reckoned with
getting old
death and dying
get in line
you're up next

(c) 2005

photo: Hawk Galvan, 1992

the wild wild west

i live in the wild
wild west
a time line
the border's hot
my car a sauna
to be given
the green
on the other side
red dust
mummified life
waiting to cross

(c) 2005

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