Spicaresque:

A Spanglish blog dedicated to the works, ruminations, and mongrel pyrotechnics of Yago S. Cura, an Argentine-American poet, translator, publisher & futbol cretin. Yago publishes Hinchas de Poesia, an online literary journal, & is the sole proprietor of Hinchas Press.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

LOS ANGELES COUNTY JAIL SONNET #7

I bring Rivas Richard Price’s Lush and a novel by Elmore
Leonard. Bickers, I bring Roth’s Human Stain and some Don DeLilo,
White Noise or Underworld, I forget. Escaleras I bring a Jackie Collins’s
novel, Lucky’s Revenge, I happen to find on Amazon for fifty cents.

Turner, Ronald, and Chico, we give copies of Zinn’s A People’s History…,
with which to scale deeper suppositions; I give The Plague to Sal Mahmoud,
praise the patience of a story inside of a story, as prisons of novels or jails of books.
Aguirre, I bequeath, Harold & the Purple Crayon, and a handle of Listerine.

Into the facility, I bring battle-axe dictionaries, primers on Corporate Accounting,
blanched copies of National Geographics on the Silk Road or Nefertiti’s shadow,
the entire series of those blasted Harry Potter novels, and a D.M.V. driver’s manual.

Mostly, I hear, “Mister, bring me a James Patterson or one of those Bourne joints.”
But, I don’t shy away from bringing biographies on Ghandi or Churchill,
pick your own adventure books, or liptick-pirate harlequin jobs,
self-help books on defeating ego terrariums.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY JAIL SONNET #6

In the fall, I bring in a poet that did time
in the 90's for possession, or petty theft?

The poet brings seven mimeographed copies of his hefty
book of poems “in,” in an Amoeba tote to better line

the vomit-beige cinderblocks and municipal spider-
tables of the pods, the innards, per se, of the martial dressing-
down of self to threshold of ser, a severe devolution.

In the winter, I bring in another poet, the World Stage's Leimert-
Neo, but, real talk, I need must drag all the L.A. poets I know through control bubble.

I must inundate the joint with novels and books of poems, primers on the troubles
of living the lessons in the Bhaddekaratta Sutta, or of reinforcing tiers
of xenophobic regimes in dormant dragon barracks.

I must waterlog the nightmare steed, the scribes that breathe the break
from Information Systems to Incarcerated Prisms and invite them to pit.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

JAIL GRADUATION SPEECH

Students of Educational Based Incarceration; Deputies and Correctional Assistants of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, and assorted non-profit administrators, functionaries, and English-teacher groupies:

My name is Yago Cura, and I am the English Language Arts teacher for John Muir Charter School. I would like to say a word or two about the students graduating today—the students obtaining their high school diplomas, the ones joining the millions of other high school graduates the world over. And, hopefully, the ones extending the trajectory of their education past the high school diploma, and into the territory of bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Ladies and Gentlemen, I know there must be professors with doctorate’s that have spent stints in jail, or run afoul of the law once in their lives. I have been the ELA teacher for John Muir Charter School since January of 2013, so I am still completely green. I do know this, though, John Muir Charter Schools is about second chances and new beginnings, but our students have to earn the privilege of being in our program by keeping at least a “C” average and exhibiting traits of mindfulness, self-knowledge, and confidence.

First off, I would like to assure you folks in the bleachers that if they were students in my English class, I made their lives very difficult by having very high expectations and assigning an inordinate amount of essays, quote response sheets, and journal entries. Students in my English class were inundated with at least five weeks of college-level vocabulary, and can rely on about 400 new words to their lexicons. Yes, sirs and ma'ams, just thinking about all the writing I assign to my students makes my Carpel Tunnel flare up. And, imagine, you and I get to use actual pens, not those horrible golf pencils.

Second, every morning from 8:00-8:30 our graduates were at their respective spider tables, reading a literary work in a sustained, silent manner. Our graduates were engaging with research conducted by Emanuele Castano and David Comer Kidd, two psychology researchers at the New School for Social Research in New York City; they found that "after reading literary fiction, as opposed to popular fiction or serious nonfiction, people performed better on tests measuring empathy, social perception and emotional intelligence — skills that come in especially handy when you are trying to read someone’s body language or gauge what they might be thinking."

Third, all the students that have been through the literacy-bootcamp of my class can write a five-paragraph essay using a template that forces them to state a main idea or topic sentence, an example sentence, a sentence of analysis, and a sentence that links one body paragraph to another body paragraph. My students know they must always organize their ideas before putting pen to paper because writing is fundamentally a process, one that involves several steps. More importantly, my students have proved themselves to “readers” employed by the California Department of Education; they have drafted original essays that have served as currency for them to pass their California High School Exit Exam.

Now, maybe, you have a more elaborate idea about why we are so proud of our graduates, and why we are so keen on celebrating them with all the excellent folks of Educational Based Incarceration, and all the service providers that toil under the E.B.I. banner. And, now graduates, I would like to leave you with a couple of words by that sage, old, fatman: Buddha. Now, I am not a Buddhist, but in the Bhaddekaratta Sutta Buddha gives us a pretty good idea about his attitude concerning the past and future.

Buddha says,
“You shouldn’t chase after the past/ or place expectations on the future./ What is past/
is left behind./ The future/ is as yet unreached.”

Please be patient with those things that you have yet to reach, and don't be too harsh about the things you fail to secure. The important thing is that you have the confidence to begin to reach for those things that have been "unreached" by you in the past, and in doing so, change the past you would have written had you lacked the courage to change. You should listen to that fat man and learn the secrets of his breathing.

Congratulations Graduates!


REFORMA TRI CHAPTER DINNER @ DTLA/LAPL COURTYARD

PERSHING SQUARE "POESIA PARA LA GENTE"

Monday, December 2, 2013

LOS ANGELES CO. JAIL SONNET #2

The commissary’s rigged with gouging, the bologna’s inedible,
the shower in F-pod’s been on all day for the last six months
and depending upon which Deputies C.A.R.P. you get your Lump
Card pulled despite your best intentions, despite devious or fallible?

They can pad the pod roster with bunks stacked two high until the pod’s
glass walls are covered in bunks, blankets, and refugee bedding,
newspaper clippings, sign-up sheets for tattoo removal or sick bay.
But, mind says, So much pressure to withstand before the crush drugs

the mind into a Centipede’s Rung, a stirrup you keep mounting
in a hurry, as if your “time” were a beast to domesticate
I got these people in here with acronyms on their lanyards

And lacquered picture badges who are very good at doubting
the extent of my extant, the candor of my hesitation,
but are exceedingly mediocre about the fast forward.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

RIGO: DETECTIVE PROJECTIONIST

El Tio Rigoberto
Veterano del Vietnam;
su sonar bien chingon
su tecnico muy technical
se convierte en D.O.D. contractor
guey del barrio guey que ha triumfado,
veterano de le Era de las Escopetas
en East Los Angeles me dice
que todas las paredes adonde trabajo
estan enlaced con microfonos
so that I should be careful
sumamente cuidadoso unless
I want to oppose los Sheriffs
que todos son gurol (good-old) boys
con Biblias en sus pistoleras
y gran bigotes de Justicia.

Le tengo miedo a los microfonos
como Gene Hackman en "La Conversacion"
me quiero poner guantes para hablar
pero no me cabe el pulgar en el cogote
de mi basusero, no me digno a respetar
que todo lo que digo tiene consequencia
con tu splendor de boca improvisational.


Sunday, November 3, 2013

DETECTIVE PROJECTIONIST

A canister of film washes ashore
in the Sun, off the coast of the peninsula,
of the Sun, irremediably thick with algae.

Let’s agree this film is called Florida,
1983
. In this film, your best friend
has white, perpetually-barefoot, hair

whereas, before, your friends had names
like Nick, Nicky, last names like Nunciforo
names rife with racketeering connotations.

Your new best friend will teach you how to fish,
to scale fish, to handle a paddleboat, to string
up a floater, to unhook a bass without impaling

Your beer. Sadly, funding for Florida, 1983,
will run out shortly after development, shortly after
a junket tour of investors gets inhaled by Haitian Ghosts.

During the interim, one of the producers will have a coronary
shortly after convincing the mistress of the Cinematographer
to pick up and plop down more than 1,000 miles away.

While the project is sidelined, the real Florida will encounter
hordes of miscreant immigrants, paramilitary pyramid schemers
and masochistic, coke-head, bank slalomers laundering proceeds.

One of the writers at the studio will spring clean across
a dusty copy of a slim volume of poems by that poet that
shogun of imagination, that intrepid interloper, bastard.

And that writer will play tennis with a short, bald executive
that will one day wield some real green-light power,
and is just beginning to stretch out the knuckles

of his talons, and they will get their green light to induce
the budgetary Dobermans to relent, release, and renegotiate
any and all terms relating to Asian & European Distribution.

The marketing harpies will descend on Florida, 1983 as soon
as Basil Edgar Thomas is cast in the role of the narrator; and,
Shiraz Jones will follow suit as the taciturn, eager father.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

CERTAIN BLONDES

I choose to not quit because of certain cigarettes
For example, the cigarette that chases any meal
The cigarette after two pints, or the cigarette after a cigarette

The cigarette after syringeing your checking for Rent
The cigarette during mindless operations, the cigarette after ice-cream
I choose to not quit because of certain cigarettes

A cigarette in case there are Thermo-Nuclear Gangbang Torrents
A cigarette in case we get invaded by Mexico and Canada, simultaneously
The cigarette after two pints, or the cigarette after a cigarette

There is this randy ellipses every time I think of quitting cigarettes
This pile of furious shavings, these pyramids mere rubble, psychotic mechanics
I choose to not quit because of certain cigarettes

The first cigarette, indentured to your palette, I smoked pleasant
Then, as I stood over margins and links, I sought out their brief reliefs
The cigarette after two pints, or the cigarette after a cigarette

Rubia, may I name thee Iniquity? It shall prove your power to deflect
The cigarette that remind me of cigarettes still thrives in me deep
I choose to not quit because of certain cigarettes
The cigarette after two pints, or the cigarette after a cigarette

Monday, October 14, 2013

RUVALCABA'S ADOLESCENT HANGMEN, NAMBY PAMBY MATRICIDERS, & INGENUOUS EXTORTIONISTS

Eusebio Ruvalcaba is a Guadalajaran writer with a knack for the taboo and the verboten—the immoral and pestilent. This is not necessarily a noteworthy feat given Guadalajara’s super-violent, über-gorey, and highly-documented drug trade. An alien type of violence seems to pop-off in Guadalajara like termites in triple-digit heat. In June of this year, The Daily Mail U.K. reported that seven severed human heads were discovered about 25 miles from Guadalajara; in 2011, 26 bodies were found in three abandoned cars right outside the Millenium Arches in Guadalajara’s city center. So, to write something that mirrors that life in any sort of literary-key, does not strike me as innovative. Besides, why add any reverb to that incessant noise? Why use that misery as a canvas, of sorts?

Ruvalcaba’s short stories find a way of talking “around” the violence in Guadalajara. For example, “Mil pesos por un insecto/ “A Thousand Pesos for an Insect” concerns the plot of a mama’s boy to buy a poisonous insect from an unsuspecting gardener so that he can kill his mother and inherit the “mansión de dos mil metros cuadrados en Coyoacán” (a 2 thousand square foot mansion in one of sixteen neighborhoods in Mexico’s D.F.). Ruvalcaba grafts us in right at the moment that the gardener meets with the speaker at a park to buy a “viuda negra” (black widow), but Ruvalcaba also gives us revelatory vittles of dialogue and imagery that adumbrate the inner life of the speaker, regardless of how despicable he actually might be. So, when the speaker of “Mil pesos…” castigates his mother for not giving him the money to buy the insect that he is going to use to actually kill her, the irony is not misplaced, “ Los hombres de treinta y cinco anos,’ le dije ‘necesitamos camisas de vestir, no calquier babosada de prenda. Vengan esos mil pesos” (“Thirty-five year old men’ I told her ‘need dress shirts, not just any type of saliva-encrusted rags. Please fork over those thousand pesos, Ma…”).

His narratives are not about narco violence per se; but, they do indirectly address the inheritance of violence Guadalajara, a city of 1.5 million, struggles with as the demand for drugs in the United States remains constant. Ruvalcaba’s fiction examines the inner life of criminal machination, but his descriptive modes and deranged scenarios are reminiscent of Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London or some of Cortazar’s trippy short-stories in Blow Up or Of All the Fires the Fire. Indeed, the short stories collected in Eusebio Ruvalcaba's Spanish-language short-story collection, Pocos son los elegidos perros del mal/ Few are the Elected Dogs of Scourge (Lectorum/Marea Alta, 2012) are rendered with such rancid artistry that they will make you cringe and scrunch your brow with disdain.  This ain’t a book you want to bring up around polite society (“alta suciedad” and so forth), and that is exactly the reason that it must be read and discussed—its merits illuminated or dispelled. Ruvalcaba is not graphic nor sensational; he ordains the parameters, machinates motivations, impels characters, and sits back to transcribe the results in a seemingly fair and transparent manner.

In “Un minuto” (“One Minute”), Ruvalcaba spins us the tale of a stick-up kid that unwittingly mugs his Uncle Enrique with an ice pick, the same lecherous uncle that is the family’s current skeezoid-landlord, “Si era su tío pero su tío politico, no su tío verdadero, carnal, de carne y hueso”. If the speaker lets his Uncle go, his uncle will use this information to extort him, and the only reason the speaker started mugging people was because, “No importaba la forma, pero el tendria que llevar dinero a su casa” (“It didn’t matter how, but he had to bring money home to help out”). The thought of having to be more subservient to Uncle Enrique brings the speaker to murder, “Hundio el picahielo hasta el tope” (“He sank the icepick to the hilt” ).  And, it brings the reader, to the last five minutes of Uncle’s life seen through the lens of Vengeance, Vitriol, and Premeditation.  These stories are neither edited for television nor politically correct; they are not interested in instilling any sort of moral form or mandate. Ruvalcaba’s enanitos narrativos don’t give a shit whether you fed your goldfish, or aspire to be an Ichthyologist—they’re going to give it to you straight, no chaser, no filler, no sweet, or sparing terms, no recondite terminology. Last, I found considerable intersection between Ruvalcaba’s “Un minuto” and Cortazar’s “Casa Tomada,” and Ruvalcaba’s tale holds as many associations to sovereignty and power of U.S. influence in Latin America.

Ruvalcaba’s diminuitive civic parables don’t pull any punches, nor do they aspire to retain an objective, anthropological bent. In this sense, Ruvalcaba’s short-story collection, Pocos son los elegidos perros del mal/ Few are the Elected Dogs of Scourge (Lectorum/Marea Alta, 2012), is reminiscent of William T. Vollman’s novel, Whores for Gloria, because it forces readers to recalibrate their personal buffer to render between Pornography and Fiction, puerile violence and premeditated Fuckery. Park Chan-wook, the South Korean director responsible for Old Boy, Quentin Tarantino, and John Woo all seem like inspiration for Ruvalcaba’s cuentos petardos, or bottle-rocket, short-stories. And, yet, Ruvalcaba evinces an indifference that is exponentially more callous and proud. Eusebio Ruvalcaba is one of  contemporary Mexico's literary stalwarts. Ruvalcaba is best known for his novel, "A Trickle of Blood"/Un hilito de sangre" (1991), which won the premio Agustin Yañez in 1991 and was made into a movie starring Diego Luna; however, he has been transmitting Poetry since 1977's self-published "Beast Atmosphere/ Atmósfera de fieras", and his repertoire includes turns as a proficient essayist, dramaturgist, and journalist, pedagogically aligned with the Universidad Autonoma University in Guadalajara.

Conservative readers might even feel the urge to browbeat themselves with their mirkins, or recoil at the abject tittilations, moral circumspections, and cul-de-sac circumstances Ruvalcaba utilizes to pit and rouse narrators. Ruvalcaba's short stories teeter on the hairline difference between the unnameable and the willfully ignored. His short stories don't dote on the subject of fetish, they present the things themselves—Ruvalcaba’s stories perhaps are totems of a sort—describes them and yet destroys them. There were several times while reading these tiny tales of great, irrefutable ascos that I was tittilated to the point of Pornography; these tales seem Latin American in character, but utterly French in delivery and the power to repell. Like Gunther Grass' in "The Tin Drum," Ruvalcaba makes you question the sanity of the speaker, which is closely related to the sanity of the lector, because who listens to crazy people except other crazy people? In reading the programmatic notes and succinct diatribes of the malcontent and impotent, we are able to construct a graphic, structured snapshot of what life is like in the depths of that bone-crushing, Riisian poverty.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

GRAN NOPAL

Mi nopalito stands before the Milky Way
barrel-chested, insolente en frente de los astros,
bien, bien en bloom, casi emplumado, adumbrated
past simple premonition.

Mi nopalito shadows constellations disguised
as stars as we are mostly animals made stars with spines
extending from the pads of our flanks, our very stubby
appendages and flippers.

 Mi nopalito mucilaginous in texture, poised to inherit
the procession of jaguars, monkeys, and vultures
effulgent ingénues clustered down the vertebrae
of the trenches of stars

Saturday, August 31, 2013

POESIA POR LA RED LINE: NANCE, DE ANDA, AND HILL

Iris De Anda, Ryan Nance, and Sean Hill doing their thing on the Red Line of the L.A. Metro,


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

CLUB ATLETICO BOCA JRS

ODE TO RIQUELME



Here I am reading "Ode to Riquelme" at the entrance to the Hollywood/Vine Red Line Metro stop to no one in particular and everyone in specific.

Monday, August 26, 2013

MY HAIR IS A FANATICAL QUILL


This is a little video I edited of myself reading a poem, "My Hair is a Fanatical Quill" on the Union Station platform of the Red Line of the Los Angeles Metro. I was reading my poems as Poesia para la Gente, a reading series curated by Jessica Ceballos and funded by Ave 50 Studios in Highland Park.

video

Saturday, August 24, 2013

INDIGENT KIT

If you have no money on your books in jail, the County gives you what they call an Indigent Kit. It has basic toiletries (one half toothbrush, one Maypo-colored hotel-size bar of soap, a tiny tube of nondescript toothpaste, and an overgrown vial of shampoo) and some instructions printed on green county paper in an industrial-size Ziploc.

I had seen the Indigent Kits previous to knowing they were called that; I had thought the Indigent Kits might have been some Standard Issue Hygiene Pittances you might purchase at store. I was learning new things every day teaching in jail, like the phrase, "catching the chain," an colloquial expression that means being transferred to state prison, or better yet a federal facility. I used the phrase on my vocabulary test, except I messed it up and put: taking the chain, which my students rightly imagined was a completely different experience. "Hey mister, can we get extra credit because you were wrong by putting taking the chain instead of catching the chain?," one of my inmates might radio to me from the far reaches of the last spider tables.

Even though I've never been the recipient of an Indigent Kit, I see how several of the inmates approach receiving an Indigent Kit: with the glum, indifferent embarrassment usually reserved for the super poor who frequent the buses and unincorporated jitneys. It must mark some rock bottom watermark, even for inmates in the County. Khrimyan, for example, has never had to receive an Indigent Kit because his Armenian peoples put money on his books. Living off your people, you can stay locked up a pretty long time. I did not know what he had done, or why he was there, but I could trust him a little more, in theory, than the rest of  my inmate-students because he was a trustee. The word trust was literally baked into my relation with the man.

And the man stood about five foot four, and was maybe 165 lbs, but tattoos encrusted his neck, hands, and slowly crept up the jawline into the mandible's hockey stick canvas. Khrimyan was also real bembon, meaning big-lipped, so all the anomalies competed for dominance on his face and manner. For example, he cocked his index finger to the side, like when he pointed or used his finger for illustrating tenor. Something told me he was a little Hollywood and a little south side, like possibly this person had fired a strafe of bullets into the illicit loam of an illegal target range and overseen various drug retail ventures and security exchanges.  Khrimyan moved like the day room was a monastery of sorts, a laboratory of manners.

But not everybody can be Khrimyan, and so for the people that do have to go that route, there is the choice of getting one and living off that until the next time you go to store. Store is where you use the money on your books to get you the stuff that you need like deodorant, shaving cream, and all your basic ointments and comfort salves. When I come in on Mondays, it's usually after store; so, on the first Mondays of each month, there is no body odor in the module, but imagine what it gets to be by the last, mellifluously musky Monday of the month. "Ripe!, Mister!, Ripe!," one of my inmates might scream out from the last spider table in the known galaxy on the last day of the month toward me like some wayward seal.

"Mister, I was hoping you could bring me a picture of Albert Einstein, sticking his tongue out," Khrimyan said one day completely out of the blue. I had always known him as Sam Jr. because he mirrored the most important trustee on the floor: Sick Sam. Sick Sam was the most trusted trustee on the floor; he knew how to work Excel spreadsheets, and plus he was a native, so he knew a lot about gangs although he was never affiliated, and he spoke the best broken Spanish on the floor; but, he was also mostly shameless, and never forgot to remind you that "gratitude can be shown in many ways, Sir." Then, Sick Sam would proceed to lean in close and tell me you how certain guards let them stay up late and watch DVDs, etc. Now, this was very vorbotten but as long as it was kept All in the Family , it was acceptable.

If Sick Sam was always clammoring for tips like some grubby major domo, then Khrimyan was like some elder statesman of restrain. He walked across the day room with a jump in his step but there was no clamor in his heart; Sick Sam was constantly treading or forcing other's to tread, but  Khrimyan was more accustomed to leading people to their grave. Sick Sam seemed destined to walk himself into his grave on the D.E.R.'s dime. The D.E.R. (Department of Educational Rehabilitation) ran the sickest floor in the jail. And by sick, I mean, free from racial racketeering and racial baiting and simultaneous reverse xenophobia mongers and all the sick shit the jail is famous for fomenting and being a victim of and suffering from, et al.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

DIFUNTA CORREA

My mom, the one they call Negra, lit candles to la Difunta Correa, a popular saint from the province of San Juan in Argentina. La Difunta lost her life to the elements, but her infant son was still able to nourish himself for three days, thus saving his life.

I might wake at night and use the walls to find the kitchen, which would be bathed in this hemoglobin-red, Catholic-red, lugubrious candle light. And, propped on the candle: a devotion circle with the image of Deolinda Correa, leaning on the glass candleholder tenuously.

To be honest, at first, I was probably more titillated by the image of la Difunta Correa. Imagine my adolescent-ass ogling her supple, plump breast, which was exposed to the elements in the midnight of my kitchen. Half-asleep, half-aroused, with the refrigerator's headlights T-boned on the wall, I drank from the bottle of whatever's cold.

I wondered what type of nutrients might be in breasts; obviously, they were for more than show, breasts actually did things: they saved infants, they fed infants, they made my eyeballs feel like quicksand, they possessed super, super secret things like bras, clasps, and silky, skin-colored straps.

The important thing was that the candle not go out, and not burn the house down. I've never understand why religious people mess around with candles so much, or why religion protects the unprepared by making them naïve? But, somehow, I understand why truckers are superstitious, why their rigs are guided by Biblical passages.

While Deolinda's infant son breastfeeds the nutrients from his mother's dead body, a celestial beam of galactic halogen bathes that infant. Is the miracle that Deolinda's infant son is given the intelligence to understand how he can survive off his mother's breast milk until carriers find him? Or, is the miracle that Deolinda was carrying three days of breast milk?

Who was my mother invoking la Difunta for, who was my mother helping with prayer and a candle made of langorous, Catholic blood? I remember being old enough to understand there was something behind the candle, understanding the lit candle was just a pretense, a symbolic gesture, a futile rememberance.



Sunday, August 11, 2013

NEW M.S. TITLE, "DETECTIVE PROJECTIONIST"

So since 2004 I have been seriously peddling my manuscript, which has gone through an countless iteration of titles. I have gone from Spicaresque, which was a finalist for the National Poetry Series and a finalist at the University of Notre Dame, to Slow-Ass Bronze Medalist, which is probably the most frustrated, or cynical, title one might give a manuscript. The important thing is that the work is still not completed and depending on what I read and interact with in the world the title is going to change, and keep changing.

I just finished reading Steve Erickson's Zeroville and that book has lodged loose a piece of the puzzle that I was always carrying. In grad school, I wrote a narrative poem that recounts the harrowing robbery of a movie theater that I worked at in 1992 called Kendall Nine (Kendall is a Miami suburb, nine movie theaters, etc.). Two masked men came into the movie and stole all the night's proceedings and all of the concession money; I've never been able to establish how much they made away with but I it was a summer of blockbusters, so you figure it out (probably pretty close to 100 grand, give or take a thousands). This poem was one of the first poems where I talk about writing, or the writing life, in my writing (I know, I know).

Toward the end of the poem, I also use the phrase "detective projectionist" to suggest that while I write the event, I have to screen, or show or project, the movie of what happened that night in my brain to my writer self. I have to screen it for the "detective projectionist," or something to that effect.
But, after finishing Erickson's book, it triggered this phrase loose from all the phrases that I carry in my head, that you carry in your head, and it has made me wise to the possibilities inherit in this little sliver of title, Detective Projectionist. This title not only leads one to assume a narrative, it literally describes the process of recreating an episode, scene, or actual, personal, historical occurrence. The visual synapse screening the scenes of movies of my life for the cynical, worldly wordsmith, critical of all tricks, and yet reliant on the alchemy of the tricks of literature.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

POEM FOR WHEN I BEGIN TO FEEL LIKE A STRUMPET

REJOICE! The things of little value
people proudly discard.

PRAISE! Impacted molars, most
airborne pathogens, tantrums, doldrums
boss-on-boss sex, putrefecation compounds
like Putrescine and Cadaverine.

REJOICE! Oleanders in the garbage
disposal, processions of the dead;
in fact, the cadence of cadavers Progress
puts in front of Highway Ten, intercourse
slumps and Duck L'Orange in Mushroom
Syrup.

LET US PRAY! The physics of hair
in advertisements is identical to
the improbability of ingredients
in delirious food spots.

It's the crown of impetuous thoughts
that makes my burnished hair so devious,
so ill.

REJOICE! Learn to thrive in toxic workplaces,
positions where you take on too much or do too
little; beware vindictive memos or thespian ire
of self-important meanies.

LET US PRAY! You can neither bury an email
or erase a letter in the heather. Much like my great
grandfather's (Pedro) Truco-knife, once it became
unsheathed, it had to taste blood.

PITY! The Deans of Discipline, Supra Rectors, and the
mediocre fauna they rustle in the August parking lot
while a lemon of a Ford Explorer misfires pistons.

REJOICE! We are all strumpets in tiny, red rooms
vying for space, strumpets on display in window booths,
strumpets on live feeds, and strumpets on feral physical,
strumpets on cable boxes, strumpets in the White House,
strumpets on webcams and silver screens, strumpets
in the Senate and in the House, strumpets with keys
to unlock all the channels, with frequencies they
ain't even invented yet.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

LIBERATION THEOLOGY IN LATIN AMERICA

I was doing some research on Liberation Theology and I came across this extremely keen pdf on Liberation Theology in Latin America, http://www.ts.mu.edu/readers/content/pdf/34/34.3/34.3.1.pdf

"In Latin America "ideology" has the positive sense of an ideology of struggle in an ethicopolitical sense as well as the negative sense of a legitimation of an oppressive status quo. One of the tasks of liberation theology is seen as that of exposing the ideological use of Christian symbols to mask reality, e.g., invoking Christian unity against the reality of class struggle, identifying bourgeois values as Christian, defending "Western Christian civilization," etc." (page 29)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

REWRITE OF "EL MANDO"

I wrote El Mando a couple of months ago and recently I had the opportunity to read it to some poor unsuspecting riders of the red line of the Los Angeles Metro. On purpose, this version has way more Spanglish and there is a absolute zero point reached where the poem is neither in English nor in Spanish but somewhere in the middle. You be the judge.

EL MANDO
by Yago S. Cura


He who wields el mando es el que manda;
conversely, without mando, uno no manda,
Uno no sostiene su mandate—ni man do, ni man da.

He who wieldeth mando es el que manda?

No, el que no wields mando are the mando-less,
nickel and dimed, hoodwinked and periwinkled
misbegotten and desarriesgados.

Tu y yo somos vics of el mando despite wielding
el mando in our respective jurisdictions, ademas
she who holds the remote control controls
the command console on the programming.

She commands channels of things to come,
strong premonitions and Scooby clues, vapor trails
para que channels reprochen su servidumbre?

She who holds the structure of the relay of el mando
manda astonishing cleavages of anthems, stirs my tine
of all its tenor, embellishes where it importas.

He who wields el mando es el que no contiene el no
o cero subset, which is like a submanda. Entonces: She
holds el mando, manda, holds a turbo just outside threshold
of a prosthetic stylus, holds el task manager for ransom.

He who wield el mando holds silenciosos a index technicians,
holds binary repose. She who has command nears command mas
without possessing el mando. Pity el wielder de submanda.

Para most, el mando es simplemente su arch-enemy.
Solamente, en algunos, el mando son ojos infra-rojos.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

EXPO LINE SPLEEN

At this hour from the Culver City platform
of the light blue Expo line, the Exposition Rider,

the Hollywood Hills are effulgent silhouettes (those bitches!)
the crest of the monster hill at Hahn park: slurry
and fuzzy. You can barely make out the wide stairs

hikers use to resist the stubble of the grade in the
challenging landscape. You can make out the lookout house,
the bare-pane, pomo, a-frame visitor center cum hut.

Then, past the humpback canvases of the ginormous fabricas
production houses, factories, keg distributors, sound lots,
auto body rebel bases, bivouacs and trucking school laboratories.

Past squat orange tire churches and overwatered municipal trees,
city-block long Jetro's Cash and Carry Restaurant Depot, that bazaar
of surly wholesale restaurant associates, past gangs of power lines
and telephone switch centers, past cupcake nuclear homes painted
peach and chained to palm trees with blown-back hair fronds.

Still farther as we come up on La Cienaga, her enormous storage
citadels and parking lots and overhangs and undermergings.
We come up on La Cienaga as she unleashes her metallic overbite,
her undertow of Monoxidemobiles.

Immediately, in the background, the rank and file of Westwood
skyscrapers and the Sandstone Rome of U.C.L.A. and beyond that more
mountains, ranges and if you look through the trees of the houses
you can barely make out a ridiculously tiny Hollywood Sign.

Past the Farmdale stop, past the Freshman Academies, Academic Houses
of Dorsey High, and on to the dilapidated alleyways trash-riddled,
windswept streets that slowly go from industrial to residential,
warehouses to individual homes and residences, personal homesteads.

past Crenshaw, the County Probation Depot, there on the corner,
West Angeles Cathedral, its stained-glass knave, crescent auditorium,
humungous semicircle self and then Jefferson gets very two-lane-ish
and stretches for two miles or so before it hits Vermont.

On Vermont it creeps across the Museum of Natural History, the County
Rose Gardens, and the Institute of California or something or other.
Next up the private bricks de la Universidad de Califas del Sur!

And for a good ten minutes

Saturday, June 15, 2013

COUNTY KITE

Diamonds of papers
cut from the tusk
of an urgent surge
for words, hand-shaked
into confidential loam
of another pound of teeth
transported to all facilities
under the purview of an M-14.
This one urges war. This one
is a minute reckless message.
This one unlocks a mutiny
on an undermanned shift.
This one pencils silence
more heavy than whetstone.

All the County Kites fight
gag order design of Jail.

All the County Kites finger
the air with bastard cursive.




Tuesday, May 7, 2013

LOS ANGELES CO. JAIL SONNET

swastikas and stacks of money, the names of your children drilled in
the forever-face of your first smitten incident among mere simpletons
forehead advertisement, teardrops, neighborhood coordinates in Villainese
old English letters, cryptic, spindly, sanguine alphabet manacles
annoying red lipstick stamp, delicately abandoned on the jugular and neck
your set, your clique, cufflinks of barrio galas, vixens, tributes
Ulna highway signage, Califas in cursive, suspended over dubious flecks
passages of resonance from the good book, Alfred E. Newman's bucktooth
ass, an enormous middle-finger fist pointed at the Erf, a balloon dome
the Misfits logo, bust of my greaser Dad, names of my babies mamas
peckerwood jesters, spider webs in my hairline, or lip trestles blown
full-tilt stupid with earnotes ascending from the sideburn to the canal
and up into the hemispheres of taste, a place where you feel the need
to tattoo kill on your knuckles and punch your way free to an enlarged screed.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

ALBÓNDIGAS

Las albóndigas remedy remorse, and have been known
to erase all vestiges of a shitty day.
Las albóndigas require furious thumbwork and
bloom in briny, tomato-based broth.
What could be more perfect that ground meat meteors
imploded with cumin, shattered with garlic?

Cristian calls, says, I have my mother’s recipe for albóndigas.
He tells us this as if we are sixteen and taking the recipe
for a joyride. He says it as if the recipe is a state secret cloistered
by amnesiatic librarians, as if carrying the recipe in your brain
automatically imparts short-term memory loss.

Las albóndigas are Mexican soul food, they bulwark your anima,
they prop up your resilience and defenses; let us say that albóndigas
buoy the whine so that it does not weigh or make the coolie overtired.

Las albóndigas say to us as they replace our double A’s: You, you are
besieged on the daily, the slings and arrows of tolerance weigh heavy
in your quiver, but there is respite, and it has been marinating, wordlessly
like some underwater volcano spigot, broiling broth eminence.

Las albóndigas are meant to dry the more waterlogged parts
of your day, so if Cristian tells you to be there at 7, to bring Panda
comma Criatura & co., you cancel all your grand Netflix plans,
all your machinations to the God of Paja, and you clear the calendar
for the evening.

You make sure you are there a little after 7
with a 6 pack of chelas.

Friday, April 26, 2013

ODE TO DRACULA SUÁREZ

We love you because you will do whatever to win
even if that means demeaning yourself from means.

We love you because you are the horse that bucks
and debrains an heiresses that’s escaped
with blueprints for the Star-blowing-up-stars.

We love you because you are our father’s
Mother, mother’s father, a decoy in the blind
that doesn’t know when to shut up,
stop quacking, relent, callate la puta boca.

Suárez: te amamos por que you are a Dark Vader
of Incisors, viejo! We love you as Periodontal Peronists!

Like, quien te manda darle un jab a Gonzalo Jara
en el pinche World Cup, in the penalty box,
only to be detected on Closed-Circuit Host?
Who has sent you to elude the linemen and
referees? Quien le puede detonar some equanimity
a este Uruguayan Thug Euclidian?

And what about those ridiculous things you were alleged
to have muttered to Evra? And what about what drove you
to bite Bakkal in the shoulder while you stormtrooped
for Ajax in the Eredivisie? Loco, don’t they have Law & Order
reruns in your neck of the woods to learn you some Forensics?
A salubrious bite on the skin of another can funaticize your aura.

Luisito, por fi, dejate de morder a tus oponientes
don’t you see that Passion has no mandible like that of Colossus
that droves of goals for Liverpool make you hungry like the wolf
terse like the Vindictive Futbol Pharaoh, recondite like a subcutaneous gopher
a joker of a spoiled sport, a Uruguayanillionaire dreaming of grinding
the shoulder out of existence, the overbite into a sort of circulation only the infirm
can respond to. But, what might you take for uncontrollable gnashing, gnawing,
gnarlying? What side effects are conjured by the manic carnivore overstepping his reach
with ends all about the ends and not the manner of play, the honor of an eloquence technique.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

BASE PARKING SPOT

We moved in to a one bedroom on Venice Blvd. The same Venice Blvd. you take in to downtown Los Angeles. The same Venice that takes you to the beach and kind of Santa Monica. The apt's front door was mere feet from the street, and you could never tell what might be dragged out of the Ocean and on to Venice. One morning I went for crullers and found a snow leopard doll dozing in the crux of a maroon babyseat. Who knew you could put out such sculptures for los basureros?

The parking space for the apartment was right off of the street, so you had no choice but to park head-in. Upon leaving though, you found yourself at the mercy of Venice's current. Tremulously, we backed-out on to Venice several times a day. We started doing it so much that we could time the lights, and egress like derelict wombats if we so desired. We got good at being super paranoid about not cracking a bicyclist or driver.

Therefore, at all costs, the parking space had to be defended; but, possession of the parking space in front of the apartment proved a spurious entre temps that brought little honor outside preventing dullards-on-wheels from making our exits even more dangerous than they already needed to be. In this respect, we did not suffer fools; we had the Department of Parking Enformcement on speed-dial; openly, I fantasized nailing signage to the tree threatening repercussions for inappropriate parking.

One of many downsides is waves of Eastbound cars. That sound of car upon car is proving to be the apartment's largest amenity, outside of the public library one block away and minor commercial centers in the immediate vicinity (Centinela Ave). Other downside is our driveway could be blocked by an impertinent parker. The curb outside our residence, in front of a leafy tree, can easily fit two cars, but a neighbor running in to fetch something, or the inconsiderate early-afternoon visitor could put you terribly out.

I used to park my beat up Volvo right in front of the apartment, prohibiting anyone from blocking the driveway, or parking in an idiscriminate manner, messing up the whole vibe. And that's worked for a while now. And people don't ask too many questions if they see my car in front of my place, and most of my neighbors shoot sparklers of accord while uttering my names and the names of my forebearers. This is a daily occurence, like a programmed show at a theme park, or the dance of traffic of myriad boulevards during rush hour.

Other downside is the owner of a jet black Cadillac tank likes to park wily nily and take up two spots just because. I can't imagine anyone would be cool with letting a monolith with a shoving problem take over their base parking spot and not say shit. I can't imagine you reading this now would not have been incensed by their derelict of space and time, knowing full well the stark parking decrees that are issued inside the confines of the city. I like to think you might want to act as accessory to battering the enemies of my state, or at least act in an unfavorable manner towards them.

I could tell what the owner of the jet black Cadillac tank really had a problem with was the state of my beat-up Volvo. The owner of the jet black Cadillac tank could not believe that a man might not care about the make of his ride, or the species of his whip. The fact of the matter is that this man was an abberation of laughter in your face, a cretin of fiberglass shiny fenders, fixtures, and lustrous chrome. There was not a court of public opinion in which I could not get the backing to seriously demolish this lode of man fool, child boy, silly smatter.

Friday, March 22, 2013

"GRINGOS AT THE GATE" BY ARROYO SECO FILMS & WHALEN FILMS, DIR BY PABLO MORALES, MICHAEL WHALEN, AND ROBERTO DONATI



Gringos at the Gate, Arroyo Seco Films & Whalen Films, 2013
Written, Produced, and Directed by Pablo Miralles, Michael Whalen, and Roberto Donati


Despite a robust youth soccer apparatus, fútbol in the U.S. has always been relegated to an activity solely conducted by immigrants, derelicts, and contrarians. The U.S. sports pantheon doesn't have room on the mantle for another sport that's not basketball, baseball, or football (and sometimes hockey), especially one as flamboyant as soccer, which allows its players to writhe on the ground like injured seals, and bark for red or yellow cards from doting referees.

U.S children play soccer as a form of physical development, but once they move past the threshold of adolescence, fútbol loses steam as a worthwhile athletic endeavor. Of course, this puts the U.S. at a huge disadvantage since fútbol is the world's most popular sport, and most populous state of Play. But, that is slowly changing, and the fútbol sea change that was destined to hit the U.S. is finally roiling with the sustained intent of Major League Soccer, and our promising display in the last two World Cups.

It is no secret the U.S. has zero World Cup titles; in fact, even the idea of the U.S. winning the World Cup seems primitively outlandish. In 2012, for example, "NBC Sports Network’s first MLS telecast, a game between FC Dallas and the New York Red Bulls…drew a whopping '0.07 national household rating...That’s equivalent to about 82,000 viewers." ("NBC Sports...") In Contrast, the final of the Champions League between Bayern Munich and London's Chelsea drew a viewership of 10.6 million. ("Champions League...") In terms of numbers, there really is no comparison between Europe's predilections for fútbol, and our tepid viewership. The difference is clearly one of ordinance: the U.S. tabulates their viewership to be in the thousands; viewership in Europe is typically in the millions, and generates that in kind through advertising.

In short, the U.S. just hasn't yet earned the right to brag, boast, or speak in a particularly bombast way when it compares itself to European teams, but might it have enough mojo to make the Mexican national team anxious? Moreover, what political, linguistic, and historical overtures can we infer from the history of wins and losses each team notches into their belt—given their long history of wars, surreptitious treaties, and outright land theft. What compromises in allegiance might have to be made by U.S. Latinos who become fast fútbol fans or seek to unravel the gauze of that relationship?

Gringos at the Gate (Arroyo Seco Films, 2013) is a complex, multi-layered optical exposition that asks several uncomfortable questions about U.S/Mexico fútbol relations. That relationship has always been dominated by Mexico, but on June 17, 2002, in a final of the World Cup in South Korea, the U.S. defeated Mexico, 2-0, and managed to mindfuck millions of Mexico fans. Also, in 2011, Mexico and the United States played at the Rose Bowl for the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Mexico came out victorious, 4-2, which is not an anomaly, but it did not escape unscathed. The game was telecast in Spanish, even though it was played on American soil (where supposedly the official language is English). Everyone seemed to be on board with the program except for Tim Howard, U.S. goalie, who was quoted in The Sporting News as saying, "You can bet your ass if we were in Mexico City it wouldn’t be all in English."

Howard's comment might have emanated from a place of deep annoyance at having been spanked, yet again, by the Mexican National Team, but it also underscores an interesting phenomenon: U.S.-born Latinos rooting for the country of their parent's heritage instead of for their national team. But, can you really blame U.S.-born Latinos when the U.S. has never dominated any international fútbol competitions. Moreover, aside from clearly not understanding the demographic that drives ticket sales in Los Angeles, might Howard have a point? Do Latinos of Mexican heritage get it all wrong when they booster for la Tri instead of yawping for the Stars and Stripes? Soccer is proving to be a litmus of loyalty for Mexican-Americans, but loving fútbol anchors them to family in Mexico. For example, if you were born in the states and your parents were born in Mexico, do you booster Mexico? Do you booster the U.S.? In this sense Gringos at the Gate is more than just a documentary on the history of interaction, fútbolistically, in many ways it is also an ethnographic dialogue, a suggestive prompt from which to proceed, and a digital vignette on the rivalry that spills over from the global promontory of geopolitical decisions.

Despite its growing negative connotations, Globalization has also ensured that a player like Hérculez Gómez fields the pitch. Gómez is an American-born fútbol player whose parents are Mexican immigrants to the U.S.; he plays for the American National Team when it comes time to play the World Cup, but he plays for one of the biggest clubs in Mexico, Santos, to make rent and bring home the bacon. Gómez has a vantage point that very few people could share, but it is exactly that space that titillates the documentarians, and it is exactly that genetics of adjacent allegiances that is addressed and brought to the forefront. The documentarians do a keen job of keeping the concepts roiling and churning, revealing themselves as they stir up nationalistic and emotive sediment (from Mexico and the U.S.).

The film makers toggle between jingoistic fútbol fans (from both the U.S. and Mexico), ex-players and coaches, like Steve Sampson, USA National Coach, 1995-1998, to cultural critics, like Gustavo Arellano, journalists/fiction-writers, like Hector Tobar, and historians, like Juliette Levy. The film makers use a lean, investigative narration style reminiscent of a mixture of “Frontline,” and the hand-held camerawork so in vogue with war correspondents, and Vice Magazine. The film makers explicate a huge chunk of Mexican fútbol lore, spieling about Pachuca and taking the viewers to a museum where the first fútbol game in Mexico was played. In this respect, Gringos at the Gate is comprehensive and didactic in the best possible way—that is, unobtrusively.

This title is highly recommended for any programs or curriculum that center on U.S./ Mexico relations or Latin American History; however, this title would be equally as useful at an institute, center, or museum with a high Latino demographic. I imagine that a documentary of this nature would go over well even in the student lounge of the International Relations Department, or movie-night at the local branch of your public library system. Moreover, the trio that have written, produced, and directed Gringos are mavens in their own right, and so that verve and complicity is faithfully displayed as well.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

TIM Z HERNANDEZ'S "TAKEOVER OF SMALL THINGS" (UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA, 2013)

Tim Z. Hernandez's Natural Takeover of Small Things (University of Arizona, 2013)

Poems are tied to the land in instances where the language used in those poems speaks to the land in the people. These poems of place should be issued passports; their words establish an embassy of sorts, in the mind. Darwish's poems are the first that come to mind, but also those of Nazim Hikmet, although his land and home are the poems he writes to sustain himself throughout his years of incarceration.

In the poem "Flying Parallel" from Tim Z. Hernandez's Natural Takeover of Small Things, the author freeze-dries a moment of lower-order struggle, and relates it with animal fidelity. In that poem, a hawk has caught "a baby squirrel" in its "talons" and is deterred from scarfing on the baby squirrel by "another bird, smaller in size...pecking the head/ and back of the hawk, parallel to my window" (54). The poet captures "Three lives/mid-flight, each of them arguing about their differences," each of them on "parallel" lifelines. Maybe a state of constant struggle might lay the groundwork for an aesthetic infrastructure predicated on the thereness of place-permanence?

Hernandez adroitly enhances the ecology of the scene the Universe has gifted by pushing a place-based (Fresno, Ca.: the city) but equal parts dog-eat-dog (Fresno: the Darwinian chopping block) and ethnographically accurate (Fresno's cultural admixture, etc.) canvassing of Fresno. This does not an Ecopoet make per se, but all four animals (three plus speaker) seem equally tenacious about not being "prepared to let go," (54). That same tenacity pervades the poems in Hernandez's book, and provides a legend for the ensuing dread, debauchery, and auto-extirpation vis-a-vis Fresno.

According to the Poetry Foundation, Ecopoetics is "human activity—-specifically the making of poems—-and the environment that produces it" ("Ecopoetics," 2013). Even though it grew out of the ethos of Ecologists (not just scientists) of the late 70's, it has become an Inter-Disciplinary View Master. Jack Skinner, the editor of Ecopoetics, and Ecopoetic's most prominent booster says that Ecopoetics publishes work that explores "creative-critical edges between making and writing" ("Ecopoetics," 2013). I am not saying that Hernandez is an Ecopoet, but I am saying that it might prove useful to explore his new book utilizing that intersection between place and poem.

Hernandez writes, "Fresno is the inexhaustible nerve/ in the twitching leg of a dog/ three hours after being smashed/ beneath the retread wheel," and begins to visualize the "dead heat" and "a packing house...raided/by the feds just days before the harvest." Fresno County leads the nation's counties in agricultural products sold; it is a very real place which grows over 200 crops ("Fresno," 2013). I imagine a city guided by work and industry will naturally understand our country's most pressing concerns regarding immigration, the privilege of being able to work (even writing poetry), and evolution of a people, and communities, much differently than a more affluent, less working-class city.

Hernandez's first poem, "Home," serves as astringent foothold to the dusky poems that follow. The city of Fresno becomes the largest narrative knot in which Hernandez has equity, literally, emotionally, figuratively. Fresno is undoubtedly Hernandez's home, but it is greater than or equal to that as well; maybe, Fresno is a humongous rest area without a security guard, and Hernandez is methodically rattling all the vending machines, "muttering lines from an old movie/ starring Steve McQueen." Fresno just might be that mythological place that you can always visit (through verse) but can never come home to.

Whereas the first section in is invested with Ecopoetics, the second section, "San Joaquin Sutra," is a sinuous poem, in sections, and invokes saints that bear on the San Joaquin Valley, a place of back-breaking toil, exploitation, and profit. The San Joaquin Valley is also a place where millions of dollars are made by produce growers, but also a place where "The farmers buy their vegetables in supermarkets, you know" (66). Indeed, the second section smashes the syntax of the sacred, "Erasmo!...Saint Gabriel" (33), with "escapularios blessed in DDT showers" and exclamations of "Internment everywhere!" (36). As an organic mechanism "San Joaquin Sutra," is a something that vibrates when read, and so begs to be read, implores to be unfurled like slow music.

"San Joaquin Sutra," threads its way through a visceral inventory of Fresno’s sense of "where." It's outlier high and low, "--everything here sacred, you see/ the ditch banks and mass choirs alike/ pious families and albino-eyed field mice/ snarling at the sky" (30). Even the word "sutra," which means "thread" in Sanskrit, is more than an "exposition of ritual procedures" employed by Buddhists ("Sutra," 2013); in Hernandez's hand, a sutra becomes a venerable cascade of toner to the "Valley of Saints;/where holy preachers and Night Train drunk vagrants/ hobble their limbs in Oval Park" (29). In "San Joaquin Sutra," Hernandez invokes the stark nihilism of Denis Johnson in The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations Millennium General Assembly: Poems Collected and New (1995) and even Underground with the Oriole (1971) by Frank Lima.

Hernandez even invokes saints which are tied to the land. For example, Hernandez calls to Gabriel, "patron saint of discarded dreams, / hear the cry of new voices suffering/ in methamphetamine fields/ where crouch the stillborn" (34). There's a feeling that Hernandez can summon the image of "the campos where dirty-faced infants/ crawl among swept gravel and jump rope" and "the Southside Wives Club/ into misshaped injections and unnatural jawlines/ --noses in the china cabinet" (34). Fresno is a place to be tolerated, despite its primordial influence.

One thing is certain: Hernandez has got an eye for detail that is dingy, dirty, half-caked with lodo. In his collection, there are "campesinos," "undelivered postcards," "trailer parks," and "foreclosure blues." Natural Takeover of Small Things concerns itself with "spent condoms" (31) and quotidian things, things the fathers of Fresno typically don't care about but should because it somehow represents that limbo, that precarious habitat the working-class must make a perch from. These poems are part and parcel of the San Joaquin Valley, so that in the end, they also explicate how the sense of home in the person changes after they’ve expanded past the original parameters of place.



Ecopoetics. In Poetry Foundation's Learning Lab Glossary. Retrieved from
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/learning/glossary-term/Ecopoetics

Glossary of People: Ra. In The Nazim Hikmet Ran Archive. Retrieved from
http://www.marxists.org/subject/art/literature/nazim/

Phelps, R. (2013). Fresno. In World Book Student. Retrieved from
http://www.worldbookonline.com.ezproxy.lapl.org/student/article?id=ar211420&st=san+joaquin+valley






Sunday, March 3, 2013

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

THIS IS NOT ABOUT AN AMERICAN JOURNALIST THAT HAS BEEN DETAINED IN SYRIA FOR MORE THAN 90 DAYS!

This is about someone you don't know. This person pens accounts
of boredom under duress, when good people go deaf.

They lay tracks in a country where they don't speak the language
and are memorizing the customs. They correspond on the luck
of the draw when commoners start wielding golf pencils.

This person is no Sandburg, no newspaper muscle to flex.
No Richard Engel, with the full faith and backing of the
National Broadcasting Company. No, this person does not
even exist, they are beyond the reproach of existing.

They certainly have no teaching experience, don't know
third world normal schools in the first world, or pregnant
Puerto Rican pupils in Holyoke with no GED
baby daddy's thinking he can eat the world
with a brick certificate from the jail.

Again, this person has never lived next to you,
you have never asked to borrow their teal Accord
so that you can make more scratch than the U trickles.

This person has never written a novel about inmates
manning ginormous oil derricks in the Gulf of Mexico,
they are not adulants of George Saunders or Saramago
and they were not personally saddened by the fantastic
suicide lesson of the Lobsterman.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

PARALAPANDA

mi Pandita
pienso el gamble
we took, absconding
from the penitentiary
of Manhattancito.

mi Pandita
my heart is a turnstile
millions of people
fighting each for other
a seat in your train
of inmates with color scrubs.

Pandicita, esto es lo gorgeous-
ness no hand to win no pot, no barrage
except your wildest fears made flesh
by the zangano in the crib.