Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I'll be back in da Valle over the holidays. I'm looking forward to attending Viva El Valle 5. See some friends, and endure the night.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Deportation Nation: History Repeats

USD Ethnic Studies, Calaca Press and the Red CalacArts Collective present:

Deportation Nation: History Repeats
A cultural series highlighting the issue of deportation in America

Visual Migrations
January 31 – March 8, 2009
Opening reception Saturday, January 31, 2009 7pm FREE
Centro Cultural de la Raza 2125 Park Blvd, SD, CA 92101
Art exhibit addressing the issue of deportation featuring work by Berenice Badillo (SD), Doris Bittar (SD), Chikle (SD), Isaias Crow (SD), Celeste De Luna (Harlingen, TX), Gerardo Quetzatl Garcia (San Antonio, TX), Xochitl Gil-Higuchi (Tucson, AZ), Nuvia Crisol Guerra (SD), Ricardo Islas (SD), Gabriel J. Vélez (Scottsdale, AZ), and other artists tba. Curated by Cal A. Vera of Calaca Press. Opening reception music by Gabriel J. Vélez.

Cinematic Migrations
Thursday, February 5, 2009 6pm FREE
USD Mother Rosalie Hill Hall - Warren Auditorium @ Soles
5998 Alcala Park, SD, CA 92110
Movie and lecture by filmmaker Isaac Artenstein and his work: Break of Dawn. Break of Dawn depicts the story of Los Angeles musician, radio personality and activist Pedro J. Gonzalez and his deportation for speaking out against the mass deportations of Mexicans in the 1930's. Introduction by SD Mesa College Chicano Studies chair Mike Ornelas.

Spoken Migrations
Friday, February 6, 2009 7pm FREE
SD Central Library Auditorium 820 E St., SD, CA 92101
Poetry and Spoken Word related to the experience of deportation and migration. Featuring: Francisco J. Bustos (San Diego), Olga Garcia Echeverria (Los Angeles), Ken10 (San Diego), Viet Mai (San Diego) and Amalia Ortiz (Los Angeles). MC’d by Cal A. Vera of the Red CalacArts Collective. A small collection of poetry and prose called Deportation Nation will be given away free to the first 150 Deportation Nation: Spoken Migrations attendees.

Musical Migrations
Saturday, February 7, 2009 - 8-10pm FREE
USD University Center 5998 Alcala Park, SD, CA 92110
Musical program featuring Los Alacranes, Quino and Son Sin Fronteras playing the songs of Pedro J. Gonzalez and others related to deportation, including a jam session with all musicians playing the Woody Guthrie classic Plane Wreck at Los Gatos (Deportee). MC’d by USD Ethnic Studies professor Jesse Mills.

Organized by USD Ethnic Studies, Calaca Press and the Red CalacArts Collective.

Sponsored by the Centro Cultural de la Raza, SD Central Library, USD AChA and USD MEChA.

Financial support provided by the USD Trans-Border Institute.

Deportation Nation graphic by Chikle.

For more info contact Brent E. Beltran: or (619) 920-1713

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I watched Man on Wire last night and then had dreams of flight. The same age as the Altazor, I want to levitate, too.
Good Tidings

Tonight, a hand-painted and
haloed cherub is watching
over you as you drift off.
It is the same angel that
inhabits the candle's shadows,
the spirit that dwells
in your glass of warm milk.
It is also the protector
of good art and the speaker
of all romance languages,
as well as the guardian of
your dreams and little wishes,
and the keeper of each dark
secret you swore you would
take to the grave, but which
you have given up this time
around--your second and final
chance. So turn away from
the light. Sleep. Let go
of every unknown answer and
explanation. When you wake,
you will own your own life.

-David Trinidad

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


"When will we go, over mountains and shores, to hail the birth of new labor, new wisdom, the flight of tyrants and demons, the end of superstition, to be the first to adore...Christmas on earth!" A.R.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Fight Night

"Woke up, got out of bed, drove a comb across my head(?)..." and now I am writing this. Mahler's blasting in the Ipod-- "Sympony No. 5!" I'll be assembling poem packages to send to editors soon. They will swarm the continental U.S. like bats in the night, and most likely come back to me like dejected, little pajaritos. But that's ok, though. It's the empty mailbox that sux. (slightly paraphrasing bukowski)

Stopped by my favorite newstand in Hillcrest (S.D.) last night and picked up new ZYZZYVA. It's gorgeous! I love this newstand because it's always stocked with a decent variety of lit. mags. Scanning the shelves, however, I realized how much I really miss Long Shot. Man, those issues used to pop. It's a shame that it fell. If it's still in existence, someone please wake me from this nightmare.

I received Dear Jack by Scott Inguito with an intro by Craig Santos Perez yesterday as well (thanks F.A.). The cover art looks great, and I love Inguito's self portrait. I can't wait to read it!

Also in Hillcrest, I picked up Tomaz Salamun's A Ballad For Metka Krasovec and John Yau's My Heart is that Eternal Rose Tattoo. I was really there for some more David Lee books, but hey, you know how it goes.

On our way to our favorite restaurant in Hillcrest, called Mama Testa (great fuckin' name-eh?), my wife and I were stopped during our walk by a couple of hair stylist standing outside of their salon. They offered us two discount coupons for a total hair makeover. "Recessionary tactics," homeboy told us. Wow, I thought, when the stylist has been moved to drop his prices after refusing to shear my dome for no less than 40 bucks in the past, must mean some serious shit in Denmark!

Tonight is the night. De La Hoya vs Manny Pacquiao. Never thought I'd see this one. New possible titles for the dynamic writing of Kevin Gonzalez: The Night Oscar De La Hoya KO'd Manny Pacquiao, or, The Night Manny Pacquiao KO'd Oscar De La Hoya. Which should it be? A ver, no?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Behind the Twinkie Defense
by Paul Krassner

This month marks the 30th anniversary of the assassination of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone, who wanted to decrimalize marijuana, and Supervisor Harvey Milk, the first openly gay individual to be elected to public office in America. November also marks the release of a film about the case titled Milk. Although a former policeman, homophobic Dan White, had confessed to the murders, he pleaded not guilty. I covered his trial for an alternative weekly, the *Bay Guardian.*
I’m embarrassed to admit that I said “Thank you” to the sheriff’s deputy who frisked me before I could enter the courtroom. However, this was a superfluous ritual, since any journalist who wanted to shoot White was prevented from doing so by wall-to-wall bulletproof glass.
Defense attorney Douglas Schmidt did not want any pro-gay sentiment polluting the verdict, but he wasn’t allowed to ask potential jurors if they were gay, so instead he would ask if they had ever supported controversial causes--“like homosexual rights, for instance.” One juror came from a family of cops--ordinarily, Schmidt would have craved for him to be on this jury--but the man mentioned, “I live with a roommate and lover.”
Schmidt phrased his next question: “Where does he or she work?”
The answer began, “He”--and the ball game was already over--“works at Holiday Inn.”
Through it all, White simply sat there as though he had been mainlining epoxy glue. He just stared directly ahead, his eyes focused on the crack between two adjacent boxes on the clerk’s desk, Olde English type identifiying them as “Deft” and “Pltff” for defendant and plaintiff. He did not testify. Rather, he told his story to several psychiatrists hired by the defense, and they repeated those details in court.
At a press conference, Berkeley psychiatrist Lee Coleman denounced the practice of psychiatric testimony, labeling it as “a disguised form of hearsay.”
* * *
J. I. Rodale, health-food and publishing magnate, once claimed in an editorial in his magazine, *Prevention,* that Lee Harvey Oswald had been seen holding a Coca-Cola bottle only minutes after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He concluded that Oswald was not responsible for the killing because his brain was confused. He was a “sugar drunkard.” Rodale, who died of a heart attack during a taping of *The Dick Cavett Show*--in the midst of explaining how good nutrition guarantees a long life--called for a full-scale investigation of crimes caused by sugar consumption.
In a surprise move, Dan White’s defense team presented a similar bio-chemical explanation of *his* behavior, blaming it on compulsive gobbling down of sugar-filled junk-food snacks. This was a purely accidental attack. Dale Metcalf, a former member of Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters who had become a lawyer, told me how he happened to be playing chess with Steven Scheer, an associate of Dan White’s attorney.
Metcalf had just read *Orthomolecular Nutrition* by Abram Hoffer. He questioned Scherr about White’s diet and learned that, while under stress, White would consume candy bars and soft drinka. Metcalf recommended the book to Scherr, suggesting the author as an expert witness. For, in his book, Hoffer revealed a personal vendetta against doughnuts, and White had once eaten five doughnuts in a row.
During the trial, one psychiatrist stated that, on the night before the murders, while White was “getting depressed about the fact he would not be reappointed [as supervisor], he just sat there in front of the TV set, bingeing on Twinkies.” In my notebook, I immediately scribbled “the Twinkie defense,” and wrote about it in my next report. This was the first time that phrase had been used, and it was picked up by the mainstream media.
In court, White just sat there in a state of complete control bordering on catatonia, as he listened to an assembly line of psychiatrists tell the jury how out of control he had been. One even testified that, “If not for the aggravating fact of junk food, the homicides might not have taken place.”
* * *
The Twinkie was invented in 1930 by James Dewar, who described it as “the best darn-tootin’ idea I ever had.” He got the idea of injecting little cakes with sugary cream-like filling and came up with the name while on a business trip, where he saw a billboard for Twinkle Toe Shoes. “I shortened it to make it a little zippier for the kids,” he said.
In the wake of the Twinkie defense, a representative of the ITT-owned Continental Baking Company asserted that the notion that overdosing on the cream-filled goodies could lead to murderous behavior was “poppycock” and “crap”--apparently two of the artificial ingredients in Twinkies, along with sodium pyrophosphate and yellow dye--while another spokesperson for ITT couldn’t believe “that a rational jury paid serious attention to that issue.”
Nevertheless, some jurors did. One remarked after the trial that “It sounded like Dan White had hypoglycemia.”
Doug Schmidt’s closing argument became almost an apologetic parody of his own defense. Hetold the jury that White did not have to be “slobbering at the mouth” to be subject to diminished campacity. Nor, he said, was this simply a case of “Eat a Twinkie and go crazy.”
When Superior Court Judge Walterl Calcagno presented the jury with his instructions, he assured them access to the evidence, except that they would not be allowed to have possession of White’s .38 special and his ammunition at the same time. After all, these deliberations can get pretty heated. The judge was acting like a concerned schoolteacher offering Twinkies to students but witholding the cream-fillng to avoid any possible mess.
Each juror originally had to swear devotion to the criminal justice system. It was that very system which had allowed for a shrewd defense attorney’s transmutation of a double political execution into the mere White Sugar Murders. On the walls of the city, graffiti cautioned, “Eat a Twinkie--Kill a Cop!”
* * *
On the 50th anniversary of the Twinkie, inventor Dewar said, “Some people say Twinkies are the quintessential junk food, but I believe in the things. I fed them to my four kids,and they feed them to my fifteen grandchildren. Twinkies never hurt them.” A year later, the world’s largest Twinkiewas unveiled in Boston. It was 10 feet long, 3 feet 6 inches high, 3 feet 8 inches wide, and weighed more than a ton.
In January 1984, Dan White was released from prison. He had served a little more than five years. The estimated shelf life of a Twinkie was seven years. That’s two years longer than White spent behind bars. When he was released, that Twinkie in his cupboard was still edible. But perhaps, instead of eating it, he would have it bronzed.
In October 1985, he committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning in his garage. He taped a note to the windshield of his car, reading, “I’m sorry for all the pain and trouble I’ve caused."
I accepted his apology. I had gotten caught in the post-verdict riot and was beaten by a couple of cops. My gait was affected, and ultimately, aa a result I now walk with a cane. At the airport, I have to put the cane on the conveyor belt along with my overnight bag and my shoes, but then I’m handed another cane to go through the metal detector. You just never know what could be hidden inside a cane.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


While visiting family back home over the last few days, I read about a local high school standout who will be taking on an interesting position with Team Obama.

* * *

Over the last few days, I was also able to squeeze in The Porcine Canticles by David Lee. What an amazing ear! I also read Andrei Codrescu's Jealous Witness. I will certainly be revisiting these collections over the next few days.

* * *

I also learned that I completely suck at Madden '09 (XBox). My horrible performances with the Chargers' musta put a jinx on their ass or something.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I've been enjoying my second day off and listening to "Chente" most of the morning. What a great background, no?

* * *

Oscar Bermeo proposes a wonderful idea here.

* * *
"Energy is the soul of poetry. Explosive active language."
Theodore Roethke
* * *
Calm down Leonardo, calm down! Revolutionary Road trailer with Cat Power.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Just Like Heaven

I've been listening to Perfect As Cats: A Tribute to the Cure.
I'm not sure what I think about it yet, but I sure am glad that they included my favorite "The Exploding Boy." Lemon Sun did a fantastic job, although they didn't deviate too much from the original like some of the other groups did. I love when groups turn covers on their head, interpreting them in fresh and imaginative ways.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


"Esta noche de [Noviembre] con todo mi alma quiero cantar..."
Jose Alfredo Jimenez


"Those thick lashes of his lower themselves deep into that space between her breasts where Jesus hangs from a thin chain. The uniform, it fits these days like a Latex glove, ever since she discovered the Golden Greek at the Ox Burger."
from Peeping Tom Tom Girl by Marisela Norte


My wife and I saw Water and Power by Richard Montoya on Thursday. Plenty of gorgeous scenes. nortesur is awesome!


Bad Brains and Cafe Tacuba will be in town soon. Can't wait. I've seen Cafe Tacuba 3X, the most memorable performance by far, in Mexicali. I've seen Bad Brains OX. I'm ready for HR.


I'll be at the Charger game tomorrow. If you're reading, Marc, I'll shout for you.


"...into our minds
the art of dying
our first wink
uncovered in the Pacific
so long we must
say, so long."

Sunday, November 2, 2008


The reading on Tuesday, October 28th at Chico State University was a great time. I read a few poems from Death and also read some newbies, including my new, long poem, "1984."

I want to thank poet Jeanne E. Clark and her students for hosting me. I really enjoyed our time together.

I also want to thank Beth Spencer of Bear Star Press for organizing the event.


Tonight's event at the Centro Cultural de la Raza should be beautiful. I can't wait.


Halloween is finally over. I saw enough Palins to last me a lifetime.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Spir-To Breathe

Besides my father, who is currently in month 3 of his 35th year in public education, Tomas Rivera is the other whose actions and example continue to inspire me to become a better teacher.

Take a look:
After the Rain: Tomas Rivera the Legacy and Life

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Redz 6th Annual Dia de los Muertos Commeration

The Red CalacArts Collective presents
and the
Centro Cultural de la Raza hosts

The Redz 6th Annual Dia de los Muertos Commemoration

An evening of performance honoring those that have passed

Sunday November 2, 2008 @ 7pm
Centro Cultural de la Raza
2125 Park Blvd.
San Diego, Ca. 92101

$7 general admission
$5 students, seniors and Centro patrons

Featuring Word & Song by:
Francisco J. Bustos
Bill Caballero
Teresa E. Caballero
Esteban Cardoso
Irene Castruita
Elizabeth Cazessús
Sara R. Eslava
Maria Figueroa
Manuel Paul Lopez
Jim Moreno
Gerardo Navarro
Memo Nericcio
Jim Ruland
Pablo Jaime Sáinz
Mariajulia Urias
Manuel J. Vélez
and others…

A living altar performance by endy. With altar design by Chelo.

Organized by the Red CalacArts Collective and hosted by the Centro Cultural de la Raza.

For more info contact:
Red CalacArts Collective: (619) 920-1713 or
Centro Cultural de la Raza: (619) 235-6135 or

The Red CalacArts Collective, a project of Calaca Press, is a multidisciplinary arts and activist organization that focuses on creating, publishing, producing, and presenting Chicano, Latin American and indigenous related art focusing on issues dealing with human rights and social justice.

The Centro Cultural de la Raza’s mission is to create, preserve, promote and educate about Chicano, Mexicano, Latino and Indigenous art and culture.

Visit us on the web:

Mister Lonely

I just finished Harmony Korine's "Mister Lonely." It's a magical, disturbing, beautiful film. Many of the images are going to stay with me for a long time. Here's Harmony talking about the film.

Diego Luna does a fantastic job. Tender, tender button. Has anybody else seen this film?

the Chinese Stars Live @ the Che Cafe October 17th 2008

We were at this show last Friday and had a blast. I like to do my lips like 1:52 while I'm in the shower.

Seriously though, their song "TV Grows Arms" from Listen to Your Left Brain really gets my blood moving. All those cats on Madden Nation should take note of the lyrics.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Check it out! I'll be reading at Cal State, Chico next Tuesday night. It's going to be lots of fun. Come out and come!

Friday, October 17, 2008


Shows, Shows, Shows

My wife and I will be at the Che Cafe tonight at UCSD to check out the Chinese Stars. I also need to return the shitload of overdue books I have from the UCSD library. Those damn return dates are unreasonable. Anyway, I'm really looking forward to the show. Need to get back to this business of revising poems because the spirit doth lead.


This has always reminded me of Gronk's "Tormenta" series.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Montoya and Quintana

I was recently fortunate enough to see Malaquias Montoya's new art opening at Mesa College. The new exhibition is entitled Premeditated: Mediatations on Capital Punishment. The exhibition is an intense look into some of the lives that have been condemned.

Here's a quote from the Mesa College flier:

This project was conceived during the presidential election of 2000; President George W. Bush was then governor of Texas and the media focused its attention on the state’s capital punishment practices. Montoya continued to ponder on this issue while working on a poster design for the Mumia 911 day. These experiences inspired him to express his opinions and objection to the death penalty. Montoya asks: "Why do we kill, what happens to our humanity and to us, as a culture?"

Following the exhibition was a presentation by Montoya. There was a good crowd in the lecture hall that night, but more importantly, one that appeared engaged as Montoya walked us through an amazing, personal history of art, protest and resistance. The night was inspiring, to say the least, and I left the venue that night thinking, thinking and thinking.

Another highlight for me that evening was meeting Leroy V. Quintana who was also in attendance. He was amazingly genuine and warm as I shared with him how much his work has meant to me over the years.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


from Wind Powered
for Denis Johnson

The Aztecs
were tripping their balls off.

by Jennifer L. Knox


Malaquias Montoya at Mesa College! Hope to make it.

Monday, October 6, 2008


It appears that this computer of mine is on its last leg.

* * *

Saw Marisela Norte and Jimmy Baca Friday night. Sat next to Brent Beltran of Calaca Press and Lorna Dee Cervantes.

Saw Helena Viramontes, Reyna Grande, and Li-Young Lee on Saturday. Rushed up to say a few words to Li-Young Lee but could only manage: "Man, you're amazing!" "Thanks," he said.

Purchased Falling Angels: cuentos y poemas and asked Lorna Dee to sign my copy of Drive! First time meeting her and it sure was nice.

* * *

Shopenhauer said that we buy/borrow/gather so many books because we think that we're buying the time to read them. I've blasted through several titles, some purchased and some overdue, and it feels good. A standout's been "Dime-Store Alchemy: The Art of Joseph Cornell" by Charles Simic, a book at times reminiscent of his "The World Doesn't End."

* * *

Meant to mention the "Arab on Radar" DVD release party a couple of weeks ago. Several years later and the band still sounds fresh. The ideas, I mean. Completely missed "We Are Wolves" Friday night but I'm only half pissed.

* * *

Can't link anything because I am currently experiencing technical difficulties.

* * *

Was recently asked to write an essay on a cool topic.

* * *

New poem in special double issue of Blue Mesa Review. There's one in there by Lyn Lifshin, the ever prolific.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Locust - AOTKPTA

I can't get enough of this video.


I'm looking forward to the DVD release party and screening for Arab on Radar on the 18th of September. Batwings will be playing live, with dj sets by members of The Locust.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


I'm currently listening to Lila Downs' "La Cama de Piedra," and I must say, reader, it feels like it's raining in my chest.

Today I saw two new editions of Kenneth Patchen's work, both from New Directions. I met a guy once named Patchen. Don't tell me, I said. My mother loved his work, he said. Come here, you, c'mon and gimme a hug, I said.

New Pistola is up and running.
The Chargers got burned today. There were two lousy calls in the afternoon, two lousy calls!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hungry for Hamsun

Politics vs. Aesthetics. I'd take this further and say that [Hamsun's] the father of postmodern literature as well.

All I have to say is that Hunger, Pan and Growth of the Soil are among my favorites. The first two, perfect fits for the back pocket.

Friday, September 5, 2008


R. Crumb to hit museum. I would give anything (I've always hated this expression) to listen to his old record collection for a day.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Currently reading Tao Lin's story collection called Bed.

Here's an excerpt that struck me from a story called "Love is a Thing of Sale for More Money than There Exists"

"For love to work, Garret believed, you had to lie all the time, or you had to never lie at all. 'I don't know,' he said. You had to pick one and then let the other person know which you had picked. You had to be consistent, and sometimes a little stupid."

Friday, August 22, 2008

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Red CalaArts Collective and The Front

The Red CalacArts Collective and The Front present
This Poem Called My Body
Chapbook Release Reading
Saturday, August 30, 2008
7pm @ The Front
147 W. San Ysidro Blvd
San Ysidro, CA

- though donations to The Front will not be refused -

Featuring poetry from the Redz Vuelos Literarios: This Poem Called My Body writing workshop by:

Gladys Bautista (Huntington Park, CA)
Patricia Beltran (San Diego, CA)
Irene Castruita (San Diego, CA)
Sara R. Eslava (San Diego, CA)
Monica Hernandez (San Ysidro, CA)
Fanelly Millan (Ontario, CA)
Clarita E. Morales (Montclair, CA)
Pilar Elizabeth Valdez (Los Angeles, CA)
Plus, East LA’s Olga Garcia Echeverria (Falling Angels: Cuentos y Poemas)

On July 26-27, 2008 the Red CalacArts Collective organized a writing workshop called Vuelos Literarios: This Poem Called My Body at The Front in San Ysidro. The workshop, facilitated by author Olga Garcia Echeverria, featured eight young Latina women in a series of intense writing exercises. The product of those sessions is a small anthology of poetry called This Poem Called My Body (Red CalacArts Publications). Cover art by Nuvia Crisol Ruland.
Copies of the chapbook will be available for sale at the release reading on August 30.
Vuelos Literarios: This Poem Called My Body is supported with the kind financial assistance of

Memo Nericcio
Claudia Aguilar
Nuvia & Jim Ruland
Carlos Velazquez
Bill & Teresa Caballero
Linda Muñoz
Louis Mendoza
Tomas Riley
Ricardo Islas
Olga García Echeverría
Leticia Talavera

The Vuelos Literarios writing workshop was supported by Poets & Writers, Inc. through a grant it has received from the James Irvine Foundation.

For more info on the Red CalacArts Collective, Calaca Press and The Front please visit:

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Tim Dlugos

Here is a piece about Tim Dlugos. I am seriously at the edge of my seat waiting for Dlugos' complete works. As I understand from what I've read, poet, David Trinidad, is currently editing it. The above article mentions "G9" and "Powerless" which remain for me two of the most moving poems I've ever read. 20 early poems are also included in the latest Columbia Poetry Review.

from Powerless

"This is not about religion,/not about belief. I know what happened./I was there; it was there./Nothing can change that."

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Summer Issue

If you haven't done so already, try and order a copy of the new Rattle here.

TRIBUTE TO VISUAL POETRY David Alpaugh • Ruth Bavetta • Paula Marafino BernettDianne Carroll Burdick • Charlee Brodsky • Nick CarboAmy Sara Carroll • Peter Ciccariello • Jim Daniels • Kip DeedsDenise Duhamel • Ian Finch • Linda Nemec Foster • Krista FranklinDaniel Eric Gibson • David Hage • Kurt Kleidon • Susan Landgraf Manuel Paul López • Gregory Orr • Trisha Orr • Voltaire Q. OyzonEllen Peckham • Louis Phillips • Jessy Randall • Marilyn StableinArlene Tribbia • Patrice Vecchione • Dan Waber • Dinah Worman

POETRYJosé Manuel Arango • J. Stiles Askew • Michael Bazzett • Marvin Bell Bonnie Bolling • Tom Boswell • Jennifer Boyden • Tanya Chernov Kevin Clark • Martha Clarkson • Bruce Cohen • John ColasaccoPaul F. Cummins • James Cushing • Paul Dickey • ellenAlejandro Escudé • Anthony Farrington • Alan FoxJoy Gaines Friedler • Peter Funk • Jeannine Hall GaileyPamela Garvey • Maria Mazziotti Gillan • Jack GranathJonathan Greenhause • Jennifer Gresham • Jared HarelJamey Hecht • Bob Hicok • Richard Jackson • Michael JemalAllan Johnston • Michael Jon Khandelwal • Robert KingLynne Knight • Caryn Lazzuri • Andrew Miller • Joe MillsDave Morrison • Jason Nemec • John Paul O’ConnorSherman Pearl • Rainer Maria Rilke • Hayden SaunierTimothy David Shea • J.R. Solonche • Donna SpectorSarah Pemberton Strong • Chrys Tobey • Tony TrigilioBrian Trimboli • Nathaniel Whittemore • Douglas Woody WoodsumElizabeth Wurz • Meg Yardley • John Yohe • Matt ZambitoJane Zwart

CONVERSATIONS Marvin Bell Bob Hicok

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Carlos Monsiváis and his cat.

* * *
Just returned from Portland. Saw Wolf Parade at the Crystal Ballroom. Hundreds there jumping to the music on a 4th floor with suspension. "Disconcerting" is how someone put it.
After locating a big volume of Karl Shapiro at Powells, I trotted toward the cash register, when lo and behold, the fire alarm went off and the whole place had to be evacuated. I ended up leaving the book there. Luckily, though, it was a false alarm.
Enjoyed some great punk rock at the Shanghai Tunnel. And although I don't have much of a sweet tooth, we enjoyed a doughnut sprinkled with Captain Crunch at Voodoo Doughnuts.
Caught one young lady reading John Ashbery at a coffee shop and some guy indulging himself in Schopenhauer at another. Great ways to start the day, I suppose. Funny to see someone reading A.S., since I'm currently reading his Parega und Paralipomena.
* * *
The Batwings and the Vaginals play the Epicentre tomorrow. I'm sure I'll be there.
* * *
The Silver Jews has been on heavy rotation lately. "Suffering Jukebox" is my favorite song at the moment. Homeboy can write!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Wordy Cathedral

I'm here in Portland, Oregon. Visited Powell's yesterday and left the place with my eyes red and swollen. Picked up Ugh Ugh Ocean by Joanna Fuhrman, Jam Alerts by linh dinh, and Sonnets to Madness and other Misfortunes (gave prev. copy to poetic grandma) by Francisco X. Alarcon (trans. Francisco Aragon). I circled Paul Beatty's new novel Slumberland (beenwaiting4ever) several times, new issue of Hanging Loose, along with four other floors of titles, but had to step back with my hands up to think about justifying another trip back in the next couple of days.

Wolf Parade tonight at the Crystal Ballroom. Maybe tix, maybe not.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Lipstick Terror is an incredible band from Mexicali, B.C., a place I've spent many days and NIGHTS. I hope to see them live. Unfortunately, I won't be able to see their two July dates because I'll be in Portland, Oregon. Lipstick Terror is the real deal.

* * *

For no other reason but to share:

"O let me be nothing but beauty alone! Quickly or slowly I will go, but I will dare what must be dared. I will destroy appearances, the casings will be burnt off and will fall from me, and I will appear there, some evening, on the palm of your hand, calm and pure like a statuette of glass."

from The Thief's Journal

--Jean Genet

* * *

My wife and I and a few friends hope to attend Calaca Press' Tacos for Texas fundraiser. It should be great.

Also hope to see a midnight showing of this at the Ken this Sat. night. Can't get enough of it. "I'm trying to use the phone!"

* * *

So long and have a happy 4th. Lasers, America, lasers.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Monday, June 23, 2008


Reading Milosz as wife in line for heavenly yogurt, i read from his prescription: "Whoever suffers/should be a teller of the truth. Should? How,/with all the disguises, comedy, self-pity?/Falseness of feeling results in a false phrase./I value style too much to take the risk."

* * *
Filled up another little, black journal. There are cheaper ones, but these are just so damn durable and fit perfectly in any of my pockets.
* * *
Amassing a reading list for the summer:
Reinventing Comics by Scott McCloud
I wanna read the new Abraham Rodriguez book. The Buddha Book was cool. Read it a few years ago and passed it along to brother. Gotta kick out of his Jawbreaker reference (epigraph).
* * *
Working on silly collages.
* * *
Still mourning the knowing that Luis Omar Salinas has passed. Whenever I read his work it was/is like putting on some of those silly 3-d movie glasses and really seeing things, really seeing, using "first eyes" like Luis Rodriguez says.
* * *
My students made wonderful chapbooks for last project. I will try and post a few photos soon. Riffs on W.C. Williams, Joe Brainard, Patricia Smith, translations of Neruda, a fifteen-year-old's 7 1/2 minute memorized poem recited before a stunned mama at our reading!
* * *
Speaking of which, I ran into a copy of Columbia Poetry Review today at the bookstore. Something for everybody. Especially liked the healthy dose of early Tim Dlugos poems.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

On Memorial Day

Listen to a moving excerpt of Ted Berrigan and Anne Waldman's "Memorial Day."

Also, if you haven't already, check out this site hosted by PennSound. Besides the Berrigan, there are many, many other scribes included.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

New Work!

I have a new collaboration piece with artist Daniel Gibson in the summer issue of Rattle. Check it out! It's one of several we're currently working on together.

Also, a new poem published in the latest issue of Blue Mesa Review.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Root Tom = Cut

Waits plays the devil! Read a little something about it here. It would be nice to catch his show in What it Means to Say Phoenix, Az.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


In the tradition of nourishing and promoting creative voices of resistance, the Red CalacArts Collective aka the Redz (a project of Calaca Press) is sponsoring its first annual writer’s workshop series, Vuelos Literarios. Recognizing the need to produce, nurture and guide community based writers the Redz hope to create the next generation of Calaca Press authors.

Each year, the Redz will invite a distinct and experienced poet/writer/artist to facilitate the workshop series. This ensures diversity in workshop topics, target groups, and artistic perspective. The overall goal of the series is to create an environment of mentorship and exchange between older and younger generations of community writers.

Vuelos Literarios 2008

We are excited to announce that this year’s workshop, This Poem Called My Body, has been specifically designed for young women writers with the aim of assisting them in three crucial artistic areas: creation of new work, publication, and exposure of work via a public reading. The following is a description of this year’s workshop and a specific breakdown of each of the workshop components.

- Creation of New Work -

This Poem Called My Body
Creative Workshops for Young Women Writers

Facilitator: Olga García Echeverría

Workshop will take place
Saturday, July 26 & Sunday, July 27, 2008
The Front
147 W. San Ysidro Blvd
San Ysidro, Califas 92173

The literary workshops will be comprised of two, intensive (but fun) four-hour sessions. In this year’s workshop, writers will use the metaphor of the body as a springboard into writing about a wide variety of personal and socio-political topics. Through a series of creative and interactive exercises, poets will explore and write about their personal geography, where they've been, what they've lived, and their current relationship(s) to the world around them. The first workshop will focus exclusively on producing new material. The second session will be devoted to the art of re-writing. Using the material developed in the first session, participants will practice giving and receiving constructive feedback, as well as implementing that feedback to revise their work for publication.

- Publication -
All workshop participants will be asked to submit pieces developed during the workshop sessions to be published in a chapbook. The chapbook, This Poem Called My Body, will be edited by the workshop facilitator, Olga García Echeverría, and published by RedCalacArts Publications (an imprint of Calaca Press). Each participant will receive 5 free copies of the completed chapbook.

- Public Reading -
In addition, a book release reading featuring participating poets will take place after publication of the chapbook. To be eligible for participation in the chapbook and reading, writers must have completed both workshop sessions.

This Poem Called My Body
Chapbook Release Reading
Saturday, August 30, 2008 @ 7pm
The Front
147 W. San Ysidro Blvd
San Ysidro, Califas 92173

Eligible Participants
Up to eight female writers between the ages of 18 and 30 who have not graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing. Prospective workshop attendees are required to submit one poem and a one to two page personal statement (please include relevant contact info as part of statement) discussing their relationship to the written or spoken word and their community involvement. Applicants will be selected based on the strength of their writing, their personal statement and their commitment to community activism and social causes.

The Red CalacArts Collective makes every effort to make its events accessible and affordable to the community. We are asking participating writers to make a contribution of $40 (payable the day of the first workshop). All monies will be used toward workshop and publication costs. For those chosen who cannot afford the $40 tuition, scholarships may be made available on a case by case basis.

To apply for Vuelos Literarios: This Poem Called My Body email your poem and personal statement (as separate MS Word files) to:

Deadline: Friday, June 27, 2008.

About the Facilitator/Editor:
Olga García Echeverría first began writing at the edge of the 710 freeway in East Los Angeles, California. For the past 10 years, she has taught English and writing at many institutions and programs, among them the University of Texas at El Paso, Pasadena City College, Los Angeles City College, the East Los Angeles Upward Bound Program, and The East Los Angeles Community Union Veterans Program in Los Angeles. Like a poetic vagabunda, she has traveled and read her work throughout California and the Southwest, in Mexico City, New York, Minnesota, North Carolina, France and Cuba. She has a BA in Ethnic Studies from UC Santa Cruz, an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Texas at El Paso, and an honorary degree in code-switching from La Universidad Autónoma de Lengua Desbordadas. Her book Falling Angels: Cuentos y Poemas will be published this summer by Calaca Press.

About the Red CalacArts Collective, Calaca Press and The Front:
The Red CalacArts Collective, a project of Calaca Press, is a multidisciplinary arts and activist organization that focuses on creating, publishing, producing, and presenting Chicano, Latin American and indigenous related art focusing on issues dealing with human rights and social justice.
Calaca Press is a Chicano family-owned small publishing house dedicated to publishing and producing unknown, emerging, and established progressive Chicano and Latino voices.
The Front: A Collective of Arts, Culture, Design & Urbanism, a project of Casa Familiar, is a inter/multi/trans-disciplinary venue and communal space that promotes the creation, exhibition, distribution, chronicling and archiving of innovative artistic, scholarly and musical projects, particularly from the unique and subaltern voices of the border region.

For more info on the Red CalacArts Collective, Calaca Press and The Front please visit:

Red CalacArts Collective
P.O. Box 2309
National City, Califas 91951
Coming Soon from the Redz:
BOLIVARTES: A Cultural Committee in Solidarity with the Bolivarian Process
The Red CalacArts Collective, a project of Calaca Press,
is a multidisciplinary arts and activist organization
that focuses on creating, publishing, producing, and presenting
Chicano, Latin American and indigenous related art focusing
on issues dealing with human rights and social justice.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Various Items

* * *
While riding my beach cruiser around town this morning, raúlrsalinas' Los Many Mundos suddenly sprung from the Ipod shuffle. Two songs in a row! Listening to this album always manages to excite the horses in my blood.
* * *
I'm currently chiseling away at Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan's Pulitzer Prize winning de Kooning: An American Master. So far, Peggy Guggenheim's hosting the surrealists at her gallery on fifty-seventh street, largely ignoring de Kooning. de Kooning sees much in the physical world, especially when "he always took an instinctively skeptical view of elevated talk about 'myth' and the unconscious." I'm also interested in his wife, Elaine de Kooning, an interesting character who painted the wonderful portrait of Frank Lima for the cover of his collection Inventory, a book I've held onto tightly over the years.
It's going to take some time to get through this fat book, but I'll get there.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Our School

Our school was recently featured on News Hour. The focus here is on math and engineering. Some real cool stuff.

I'm happy to say, though, that William Nericcio will be visiting our class tomorrow morning. I'm sure the kids are going to love his presentation.

And on Wednesday, Brent Beltrán of Calaca Press will be speaking to my students as well. The kids are going to be making chapbooks for their next project, and I can't wait to see what they come up with.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Stand Up and Let Them Have It!

"If you call yourself a poet," states Lawrence Ferlinghetti in his Poetry as Insurgent Art, "don't just sit there. Poetry is not a sedentary occupation, not a 'take your seat' practice. Stand up and let them have it."

Before I mention the spectacular In the Grove tribute to Andres Montoya, let me just mention something about a reading last Wednesday at Frutas del Sol in Chula Vista, where kids certainly took the mic and "let them have it." The scene: A group of eighth graders assembled after school to talk, laugh, eat, listen to music, and recite some of their own poetry in a restaurant/gallery. Mr. Medina, their teacher, set up this reading series to offer his students a place to express themselves. He kindly invited me to check it out and read a little of my stuff. As far as expressing themselves, the kids did so and more. The vibe was positive, I say, and I couldn't help but smile by the way they handled themselves as peers/friends/activists of the word. To make a long story short, the night was inspiring; first, because I realized quickly that this reading series was in good hands and should continue for a long time. And second, some of the work I heard already showed the promising signs of a group of young people entering into the great debate about issues as varied as war and immigration; however, after listening to some of their works, they proved that these issues may not be varied at all. To paraphrase a poem five girls wrote together in 'five minutes,' You're afraid of our bilingual tongues, because you've always insisted that we speak only one language--silence.

Despite a couple of brief shouts from the woman behind the counter to remind kids to pick up their orders, or the raspado machine that chewed up ice for what seemed like minutes at a time during a few readings, the event was a success. I will certainly return for the next one.

As for the In Grove Reading, I can't express how wonderful it was to be there. You can read a great post about the event at Oscar Bermeo's blog.
It was nice to finally meet a few people in person, especially people whose poems and stories I've read and enjoyed so much over the last few years. Daniel and Sasha Chacon were great hosts and really made everyone feel comfortable. It was also a pleasure to meet Lee Herrick, editor and poet.

During the raffle, my wife won the Andres Montoya poster with his poem "Letter to Sarah" on it. It was originally posted on the side of a fleet of buses, I think. I won a copy of Craig Santos Perez' constellations gathered along the ecliptic , also in the raffle, a real prize.

I don't want to single out any specific reading(s,) because I think they were all wonderful, everyone working 'the word' like matadors. Look up In the Grove and buy it! You won't be sorry.

Monday, April 7, 2008

In the Grove

My wife and I will be off to Fresno (via Amtrak) this Thursday to attend the In the Grove reading dedicated to Andres Montoya. Although a bit nervous, I'm excited. Montoya's work has meant a lot to me over the years. I've gone through three copies of his Iceworker. The first two fell apart from heavy usage and a relentless back Levi's pocket. The third copy, with most of its pages separated from the spine, but with the magic still intact, I gave to a young man who offered me his own poem in return when I read at a youth facility last September. I bought a fourth copy last month, suggesting it to a current student of fifteen or so, who seems to be taking to it as far as I can tell (he's carrying it in his back pocket, too).

I can't wait to listen to all of the wonderful and talented writers and artists who will be participating in this event, and I can't wait to see Montoya's previously unpublished poem "Páketelas" in print. A ver. Spring is here.

* * *
New issue of Pistola is up and in your face. Check it out.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Don Cherry Italy II

I've been listening to the underrated Don Cherry this morning as I try and write some stuff.
Take a listen. C. 1970s

Thursday, April 3, 2008


Freddie Hubbard (notice Airto Moreira in this video--dynamite! His work on Miles' Bitches Brew is legendary.) will be making his way to San Diego's Anthology this Tuesday (4/8/08) to celebrate his 70th birthday. Freddie Hubbard is one of the great ones, and I'm going to try my hardest to make it. His horn has meant so much to me over the years.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


Read about the very special In the Grove reading here for Andres Montoya. More about this soon.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Really want to try and catch this tonight:

THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTHTHURSDAY, MARCH 27 > 7 PMMCASD LA JOLLA$5 MCASD Members, Students, Seniors / $7 General
Nicolas Roeg continues to explore the outer limits of cinematic surrealism with this hallucinatory, screen adaptation of Walter Tevis' 1963 science-fiction novel about an alien traveling to Earth to find the means to rescue the survivors of his dying planet. In his first acting role, David Bowie portrays Thomas Jerome Newton, a brilliant extraterrestrial walking among us as the ultimate outsider in modern America.

Thanks to señor Nericcio for informing me.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Again, I just realized I missed another show I would've liked to have seen. The Magik Markers just played at the Hemlock Tavern in San Francisco. Funny, but not really funny, because this song's been on heavy rotation lately. Just like me to be attracted to a song like that. "Quit being such a downer," says Mandie. It's a nice one, though.

I won't be in S.F. long enough to see this one, but if you can, check out Batwings on March 27th. It's my brother's band, and they put on a great live show. Trust me! They'll be on a mini-tour. What they have on myspace is just a taste, but what you'll see is something entirely different.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A Time for Celebration

One of our good friend's just had a baby boy: 9 lbs, 5 oz. The kid just missed St. Patrick's Day! His pops couldn't keep his eyes off of him.

Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)--John Lennon
"Close your eyes, Have no fear, The monsters gone, He's on the run and your daddy's here, Beautiful,Beautiful, beautiful, Beautiful Boy"

On our way home, driving through LA and reading Tim Dlugos (I wasn't driving/busted my glasses a couple of days ago), I came across this line "Beside the path, the wren that lights in brush / sounds like a footstep in the gathering day." Sat in silence for several minutes after that.
We'll be in San Francisco for a few days later this week. We have a couple of things scheduled, but if anyone knows of anything interesting going on, please tell.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Just In

The Red CalacArts Collective presents our 4th annual

Home of Chelo y Brent of Calaca Press
502 Rose Dr.
National City, Califas 91950

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Help support Chicano Park's 38th anniversary!
Don't miss out on this once a year gathering to raise funds for our
beloved parque.

$20.00 per adult
Kids 12-17 $5
Kids under 12 free

Antonieta's Famous Menudo AND Posole
(Vegitarian available upon request)
Live Music

Firme sounds by:

Plus a fandanguito with SD area Jarocho musicians

Organized by the Red CalacArts Collective.
For more info call (619) 434-9036
or visit and

All funds raised, after expenses, go to the Chicano Park Steering
For more info on the CPSC visit

Directions to Calacalandia:
I-5 to Mile of Cars Way.
Go East.
Right on D Ave.
Left (after 2nd house) on Rose Dr.
End of block on right. 502 Rose Dr.

Rose is a dead end and parking is minimal.
Please park on D Ave and walk to Calacalandia.

And don't forget!
Chicano Park Day is Saturday April 19, 2008 from 10am-5pm.

Red CalacArts Collective
P.O. Box 2309
National City, Califas 91951
Coming Soon from the Redz:
BOLIVARTES: A Cultural Committee in Solidarity with the Bolivarian
The Red CalacArts Collective, a project of Calaca Press,
is a multidisciplinary arts and activist organization
that focuses on creating, publishing, producing, and presenting
Chicano, Latin American and indigenous related art focusing
on issues dealing with human rights and social justice.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Cancer Bullet

I've never seen them, but check it out: Cancer Bullet from Mexicali. Their show tonight is at La Cienega. My homeboys and I used to spend rivers of time there. Boom!

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Nearly finished with this beautiful memoir. Listen to an interview with Ron Padgett.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Daniel Gibson Featured

Read an interview with L.A.-based artist Daniel Gibson. We just finished our second poem-painting collaboration, and we're on our way to completing several more. If you look at one of the photos closely, you'll see the cover art for Death of a Mexican and other Poems and the skull painting that adorns the inside of the book.

Check it.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Palabras de Poder

Last night I had the pleasure of attending Palabras de Poder: Rebel Writers from the New Latin@ America at the San Diego Central Library. This event was a partnership between Calaca Press/Red CalacaArts Collective, UCSD's Chicano/ a Latino/ a Arts & Humanities Minor, the UCSD Center for the Humanities, and the San Diego Central Library. The reading and lecture was held on the third floor in a relatively small theater. I arrived 15 minutes late (because of parking) and got what I deserved--my back to a pared along the very back of the theater, because the place was packed, people. Packed, packed, packed for Poetry! Luckily, when I arrived, Brent Beltran of Calaca Press was just finishing up his introduction of Jorge Mariscal, UCSD Prof, and one of the organizers of this event. Mariscal, in his own introduction to the reading, talked about our current state of affairs, referring to the reign of the current administration over the last seven years as the "Dark Ages." I wish I had taken some notes, because I don't want to misrepresent his presentation, but some of the topics of the night included the war that has been waged not only against the innocent people of Iraq, but against the latino community as military recruiters and judges and wardens continue to welcome these young people with open arms. Other topics included the warped messages of the media, education, lesbian love, misguided, pseudo-activists, machismo, among others. Cesar Cruz recited a wonderful poem (from memory) about factions of the the hip hop generation whose main motivation is to acquire large mounds of bling, which consequently, sets up a twisted paradigm for the kids.

There were several poets. Here's the list: Irene Castruita, Cesar A. Cruz, tatiana de la tierra, Sara R. Eslava, Paul S. Flores, Olga Garcia Echeverria, and Leticia Hernandez-Linares

I'm not going to reflect on each of their readings, but I will say that I left the reading inspired and proud to know that these individuals have taken on the responsibility, with the greatest courage, I must add, (truth-seekers sacrifice self and are in constant danger--just think of Roque Dalton!) to carry the torch for our people through these "Dark Ages."

Saturday, February 2, 2008

The Mae Shi - Run to Your Grave

I heard a few Mae Shi songs playing on the sound system while Batwings was setting up for their show last night at Chasers. Mae Shi is one of those bands that is capable of making your hips move and ripping your ears off within five minutes time. Batwings played a wonderful set last night, by the way, displaying their own brand of "deep song."

Sunday, January 27, 2008



Read a review of Death of a Mexican and other Poems here.


Unfortunately, my favorite track "Old Fools" isn't on this page, but it is on their new album.


Once again, I lagged, and will most likely be missing these guys. Maybe they'll kick down a couple of tix for a fellow Lopez.


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

No Country for Old Vatos

"What's the most you ever lost in a coin toss?"

I recently saw this and f----- up everything when I started reliving a car crash I was involved in many years ago and ended up missing most of Tommy Lee Jones' final monologue that I assume tied everything together. Just like that--Fin.

Other than that, I've been chewing on this movie over the last few days. Any thoughts?

Sunday, January 6, 2008

New Year

Just returned from Vancouver. Such a beautiful city, but shhh, very quiet over there, relatively speaking that is. Even when my wife and I stepped off the beaten trail and found ourselves parting the clavicles and femurs of the addicted on east Hastings, there wasn't much sound. People passing little plastic pouches to one another, some talking to themselves, other selling their goods, but all with the quietude of a monk. I'm exaggerating, of course, but this is how it seemed. Sad to see people sleeping on sidewalks beneath a mound of dirty blankets in that weather. Any weather, for that matter. What gives?

The new year was kinder to us: jazz, Italian food, and beverages. Secretly prayed to the god of "clear paths" that the drunken masses on Granville would make it home safely. Very crowded. Very fun. Stanley Park was nice, the aquarium, one of the best I've seen. I love jellyfish. Spent some time at the Vancouver Art Gallery and saw Georgia O'keefe's work, along with a few by Kurt Schwitters, Raushenberg, Kline and others, including one by Goya.

I think my favorite O'Keeffe would have to be "Pelvis with the Distance."

I guess it has always fulfilled my own interests in anatomy. I grew up fascinated by the illustrations and descriptions in Gray's Anatomy.

It cracked me up to read about the Freudians going crazy with her work, and how much she detested the fact. Sometimes a cigar's just a cigar, kid. And photos of her, at least in my opinion, how photogenic O'Keeffe was. Her famous husband's photos of her were interestingly beautiful.

Thought about heading for Whistler, but I'm not into snow sports. Besides, how much is it for a lift ticket? Let alone the costume one must assume in order to participate.

Overall, the trip was great. Took a few books and a notebook to occupy some of the spare moments alone. But mostly it was time spent exploring the city with my wife.