Monday, August 29, 2011

Anniversaries, natal nuptial. Guest columnist: Michael Hogan. On-Line Floricanto August’s Final Tuesday

Click here for a Route66 soundtrack.

Michael Sedano

When I turned 55 I laughed at the odd coincidence that my age matched the speed limit, and didn’t think much beyond driving my age, the “double nickle.” Today, with August 31 around the corner, I'm humming Route 66.

I also celebrate my wedding anniversary on August 31. Barbara and I were married in 1968. My 23d birthday. Two months later I get my draft notice. Four months later I’m on the bus to Ft. Ord. I spend our first anniversary on a mountaintop in central Korea. ¡Talk about high adventure for newlyweds!

Forty-three years later, like clockwork, here is another birthday, another anniversary. Something disquieting about being in a palindrome for 365 days this year, and again next year. The word literally means “there, and back again.” A cynic would say, “Been there, done that.” Neither, of course, accurately accounts for my intentions.

Happy birthday August 31 to cellist Jacqueline du Pré, qepd.

Have a thriving Tuesday, gente, today, August twenty nine twenty-eleven, a Tuesday like any other Tuesday, except we are here.


Guest Columnist: Michael Hogan on Virtual Book Tour

One of the least discussed and least documented wars of the United States was its invasion of Mexico in 1846. Although the U.S.  war and subsequent conquest deprived Mexico of half of its territory, enriched the U.S. by two- fifths of its current land mass, and relegated Mexico to Third World nation status, few students study it in school or can name a single major battle. It also resulted in the formation of the states of California and New Mexico, added all of lower Texas, most of Arizona, parts of Kansas, Colorado, Nevada and Wyoming to the developing United States. Ulysses S. Grant called it “the most unjust war ever waged by a stronger nation against a weaker.” In my book The Irish Soldiers of Mexico, just released on Kindle, I recount this war from the perspective of the Irish soldiers who fought on the Mexican side and were called los San Patricios, the Soldiers of St. Patrick. It is the first study which relies heavily on Mexican documents including previously untranslated records from the Mexican Military Archives and Mexico City newspapers. The book is also available in Spanish, Los Soldados Irlandeses de Mexico published by a university press in Guadalajara.

            Manifest Destiny and a pervasive Anglo-based American ethnocentricism were the powerful impulses prodding mid-19th century American politics, resulting in the nation’s imperialistic designs on Mexico and precipitating the Mexican American War. Critics of the war included, among others, two future presidents, Lincoln and Grant, and author Henry David Thoreau who wrote his famous "Civil Disobedience" in reaction to the U.S. invasion of its southern neighbor. Within the U.S. there were over 9,000 deserters; a larger number than all our other wars combined. Among the latter were Irish-Americans, many of whom, for diverse reasons (including discrimination against the Irish and anti-Catholicism) joined the Mexican military, forming the St. Patrick’s Battalion. In this study I explore the motivation of these Irishmen, their valiant contributions to the Mexican cause, and the consequences when they were captured, including military courts-martial and hangings.

            An MGM film, “One Man’s Hero” starring Tom Berenger, was based loosely on my original history published in 1997, in addition to two award-winning documentaries which were shelved by U.S. distributors but viewed widely by international audiences. Last year, Ry Cooder and the Chieftains released an album called “The San Patricios” commemorating the Irish battalion which demonstrates the on-going attraction of this period of history and these Irish renegades.

            The revised edition of the Irish Soldiers of Mexico has new historical sources, over 400 notes, over 600 references, as well as maps and photographs.

            The second book on this subject won the Ojo del Lago Award for fiction in Guadalajara, Mexico. Molly Malone and the San Patricios has just been released this month in a Kindle Edition in English ($5.99). Hungry, homeless and in trouble with the law after eluding slow death in the Irish Famine, Kevin Dillon enlists in the American Army. When he discovers that the “Army of Observation” in Texas is poised for the invasion of a peaceful Catholic country, Kevin and his friends slip across the Rio Bravo at night. There they join John Riley of the St. Patrick’s (San Patricio) Battalion and fight on the Mexican side.

The last of the recruits, a golden-eyed Doberman dubbed Molly Malone, proves to be a warrior of unquestioned loyalty and courage. She follows Kevin and the Irishmen through the deadliest of battles, even to the gallows where 85 of them are hanged. Praised by critics for its characterization and by the Mexican military for the accuracy of battle descriptions, this recreation brings the history of the era alive with all its violence and nobility, contradictions and ideals.

Other books on the San Patricios, especially  The Shamrock and the Sword (1989) by Robert Ryal Miller, are often compared with my book. The Shamrock and the Sword and all the others drew solely on U.S. military sources and gave the perspective from the American side. I am a permanent resident of Mexico and bilingual so I had opportunities that these authors did not have. I was able to search the Mexican military archives at my leisure, to visit all the battlefields, to translate personal papers and documents of contemporaries of the period, and to interview descendents of the Irish soldiers. I drew largely on Mexican sources and contemporary accounts of anti-Catholicism, racial discrimination against the Irish, and solidarity of Irish and Mexicans. Both books, however, are thoroughly documented with hundred of notes and extensive bibliographies as well as with maps and photographs. Miller tells the story from the perspective of the winners (as most histories do), while I give the perspective of those who fought gallantly and lost.

One of the hopes for my book is that ignorance of the U.S. history with Mexico will be replaced by understanding. And as Mexican immigrants continue to come into the Southwestern United States, a region which a short time ago was theirs, they should be treated with something other than the animosity and contempt usually reserved for illegal aliens. U.S. history books should tell the whole story of the War with Mexico and in doing so replace prejudice, which is still rampant in California, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, with compassion and understanding for the next generation.

1.     Irish Soldiers of Mexico

2.     Molly Malone and the San Patricos

3.     Clip from “One Man’s Hero” starring Tom Berenger .
4.     Review of Irish Soldiers by Hans Vogel of Leiden University (Netherlands) from HNet.
5.     Homepage of author with photos of the filming of the movie, battle scenes, opening events with Berenger and excerpts from both books.

Guest columnist  Michael Hogan lives in Colonia Providencia, Guadalajara, Mexico, with his wife Lucinda Mayo, the internationally known fabric artist. Born in Newport, Rhode Island in 1943, he is the author of sixteen books, including a collection of short stories, six books of poetry, collected essays on teaching in Latin America, a novel, and a history of the Irish battalion in Mexico which formed the basis for an MGM movie starring Tom Berenger. His work has appeared in many journals such as the Paris Review, the Harvard Review, Z-Magazine, Political Affairs and the Monthly Review. 

La Bloga On-Line Floricanto August's Final Tuesday

1. "Love Poem to the Planet" by Sylvia Mzz
2. "Emigro" por Carlos Vázquez Segura
3. "Caught Between the Crosshairs" by Ethriam Brammer
4. "The Jaguar Moon Has Risen" by José Hernández Díaz
5. "Teolol X" by Azul Israel Haros

by Sylvia Mzz

If I could, I would take you in my arms
as a parent does a child
and bathe you squeaky clean
from the excrescence of civilization.
I would wrap you in a fluffy blanket
of fresh, sweet ozone
and powder your tushy with wholesome topsoil.
I would comb your beaches and seas
free of refuse and toxins;
I would tweeze away so much concrete and asphalt
from your precious skin,
planting grasses and trees instead
like a mother gently braiding her child’s hair.
If I could, I would make up for
all the Jubilee years stolen from your meadows and fields;
I would uncage the beasts driven mad, nearly to extinction,
watching them bounding free
in resurrected savannahs, pampas, ice floes;
I would walk through the midst of them
as softly as one did in a certain ancient garden,
and I would touch you as tenderly
as the very hand of God.
If I could, I would.
Maybe I still can….
August 2011

por Carlos Vázquez Segura

Emigro de aquí,
de mí, del hijo que soy
…¡y de los que tengo!.
cual ave hambrienta
del hielo intestinal
del invierno perenne
que me atrofia
Emigro al vacío;
al santo buitre
del moribundo;
al oso del salmón
para desovar la culpa
en la que he nadado
toda posible miseria.
a dónde nadie verá
en mis ojos
La arena del recinto
que derrumbo al irme.
a diluir mi nombre
en la ingrávida masa
que, con karma ilegal
se vuelve inmune a la vista.
Me voy de mí, de aquí
al patio del infierno
que ya me apunta
detrás del río.

Caught Between the Crosshairs
by Ethriam Cash Brammer

We are caught between the crosshairs
at the intersection of HB 1070 and HB 2281
down, down, down
now taking aim
at the 14th Amendment
we are caught between the crosshairs
two hemispheres colliding at the intersection of SB 1097, 1308 & 9
etched fin-dot reticles locking in
on tiny tot targets
leaving makeshift wooden crosses
blooming in the desert
sin nombre
we are caught between the crosshairs
minutemen militias marching on Miranda
rights, civil rights, human
rights, the collective memory of a people
and their ancestral land
we are caught between the crosshairs
a NAFTA via crucis
of genetically modified corn and artificially constructed homogeneity
economic refugees further and further
into the deserts
of cyclical displacement, dis
empowerment, dis
As Cheney and Palin helicopters fly overhead
buzzing with O’Reilly-Limbaugh-Beck banter and vitriol
their sights set squarely on the backs
of every red, brown, yellow and black
brother and sister
אַח and أخت
hermano y hueltiuhtli
to destroy
any hope of proletarian unity
staring down the double-barrels
of Manifest & Destiny
we would run
like frightened children
run, like wounded buffalo, run
ourselves right off of the cliff
of repatriation and fragmentation
as they turn the clocks back
on the 1960s
turn the clocks back on Affirmative Action
turn the clocks back on the Civil Rights Act
turn the clocks back on Brown vs. the School Board and Equal Protection
turn the clocks back
to Jim Crow and Mexican Schools
to separate and unequal
to blood libels and Manzanar
turn the clocks back
to a simpler time
of Black under White TV
Leav-ing it to Beaver and Andy Griffith
to whistle their way into the new American Millennium
A.K.A. the 18th Century
but we will not let them turn that dial
no, we will not let them turn the channel back
we will not run
like frightened children
we will not run like headless chickens
spineless politicians, cowering before Tea Bag demagoguery
we will not wilt
like wild flowers
under the tractor wheels of Wall Street profit-taking
and the next cycle of genocidal extermination
we will stand strong
red, brown, yellow and black
brothers and sisters
אחים and أخوات
hermanos y hueltiuhtlin
young and old
locking arms
in Tahrir protest
we will stand strong, knowing
“when one man is enslaved,
all are not free”
we will stand strong
knowing our ancestors
predicted the end of this cycle
thousands of years before
we will stand strong, knowing
that they saw this fall
they saw this winter
of human dignity and respect
for all things living
we will stand strong, knowing
that they saw a new spring
on the horizon, a new age
dawning, a new cempasúchil blossom
growing from the calaveras
of white hooded hedge-fund managers
and the blanched bones of beauty school dropout governors
we will stand strong, knowing
that they predicted that this time would come
when the sacred fire
would be passed
from mountaintop to mountaintop
from one teocalli to another
from one generation to the next
we will stand strong, knowing
that the time has come
for our young Facebook freedom fighters
to begin tweeting from the shoulders of giants
the time has come
for that Phoenix to rise
in the deserts of Arizona
from the deserts of our discontent
a phoenix will rise
from the ashes
of Martin & Malcolm
a phoenix will rise, from the ashes
of César & Bobby, a phoenix will rise
from the ashes of Rosa & Harriet, Bolívar y Martí, a phoenix will rise
from the ashes of Cuauhtémoc y Crazy Horse, Ché y Macandal, Shaka Zulu & Ghandi
a phoenix
And the time will come
for the cycle to end
for the sacred circle to close
red, white, black & yellow
then open again
in a brilliant burst
of kachina cosmic light
the flames of mestizaje, universal
justice and peace

The Jaguar Moon Has Risen
by José Hernández Díaz

The ocean echo
Of the Azteca drum
Pulsates the
Concrete streets
Of the Mission District
In the intersection
Of 24th St. and Folsom,
The slender rain
Rhythmically falls
From the turquoise lakes
Of Tenochtitlan—
They are tears
Of Quetzalcoatl;
They are tears
Of La Malinche.
The jaguar moon
Has risen;
The reflection
Illuminates the
Bare feet of the
Serpent dancers:
Allowing them to soar;
They are eagles in the wind.
The ancient incense
Slowly burns
In the middle of
The circle of
The serpent dancers.
We inhale the ancient smoke;
Mountains quake
Inside our minds;
As we exhale
It ascends and
Pierces the flesh
Of the nostalgic clouds:
We are eagles in the wind.
In the intersection of
24th St. and Folsom,
The Azteca drum
Pulsates the
Concrete streets:
The barrio
Has risen;
The jaguar moon
Has risen.
This poem was written at The Food Festival in The Mission, SF. August, 20, 2011.

"Teolol X"
by Azul Israel Haros

tengo un amor en el viento
adentro de todas estas olas
de lluvia y truenos. como las
luces hacen brillar todo el cielo.
como todo nace de alli. de la
muerte. tanta lluvia que cai ahoy
adentro. y . afuera. que lindo.
es murir con la lluvia. y relampagos.
i want to be born here. over and over.
like eagle and serpant. harvesting.
life. lightning birthing my sun.
birthing my moon. i will echo.
tonantzin. tonatiuh. luz blanca.
que manda. que bendice la tierra.
ehecatl. calmado. y lleno de ollin.
de donde nacen tantas luces. eternas.
sera de tu boca madre quetzalcoatl.
sera de tu boca donde quiero nacer.
de nuevo. sera de tu aguas. de tus
lunas de mariposas y jaguares. de tus
soles azules. de tu vientre llena de luz.
esta lluvia me lleva hasta alli. el mas alla.
buscandote. para murir. de nuevo.

1. "Love Poem to the Planet" by Sylvia Mzz
2. "Emigro" por Carlos Vázquez Segura
3. "Caught Between the Crosshairs" by Ethriam Brammer
4. "The Jaguar Moon Has Risen" by José Hernández Díaz
5. "Teolol X" by Azul Israel Haros

Sylvia Maltzman

Sylvia Maltzman is a poet who has spent most of her life in Miami, Florida among the various Flora, fauna & amazingly varied human beings who have sought out thus place for sanctuary. She is co-hosting one of the Miami events fir 100 Thousand Poets for Change in September.

Ethriam Cash Brammer
Ethriam Cash Brammer is a Chicano writer and scholar from El Centro, California.

He holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University and has translated a number of significant works of early Latino literature, including The Adventures of Don Chipote: When Parrots Breast Feed, by Daniel Venegas (Arte Público Press, 2000); Lucas Guevara, by Alirio Díaz Guerra (Arte Público Press, 2003); and, Under The Texas Sun, by Conrado Espinoza (Arte Público Press, 2007).

His most recent journal article, entitled “‘Keepin’ it Real’ with the Translation of El sol de Texas: The Recovery and Translation of Shared Mexican-American Literary Patrimony,” was published in Volume VII of the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Anthology, edited by Gerald Poyo and Tomás Ybarra-Frausto.

He currently serves as the Associate Director of the Center for Chicano-Boricua Studies at Wayne State University, in Detroit, Michigan, where, in October, he will be defending his doctoral dissertation, entitled, “La patria perdida o Imaginada: Translating Teodoro Torres in ‘el México de Afuera.’”

José Hernández Díaz 
 José Hernández Díaz is a UC Berkeley graduate with a BA in English Literature. He plans on applying to the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics’ MFA Program at Naropa, along with other creative writing schools. Jose’s favorite poets are those of the Chicano Renaissance and the poets of the Beat Generation. José has been published in The Best American Nonrequired Reading Anthology 2011, La Gente Newsmagazine, Bombay Gin Literary Journal, ABCTales, Indigenous Writers and Artists Collective, and has had seven poems in La Bloga, including: 'The Border Within,' 'In My Barrio (An Improvised Tune),' 'I Haver Never Left,' 'We Call It Work,' 'An Ode to Los Jornaleros,' 'Panadería Revolución (I Am Floating Gardens)' and 'The Jaguar Moon Has Risen.' Jose has had poetry readings in Los Angeles, San Francisco and at The Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) in Long Beach, Ca.

1 comment:

Heather said...

It would be a nice celebration, in which commemorates the wedding anniversary.Great thing celebrating this kind once in year experience in which the time goes by we were passing out from this earth.