I was fortunate to read poems at the wonderful cultural space and gallery called "Corazon del Pueblo" in the heart of Boyle Heights' new Arts Corridor on First Street. The poetry reading was held last Saturday, March 6 as part of the opening reception for "Mujeres de Juarez: Siempre Presente!" Other poets who read were Olivia Chumacero, Gloria E. Alvarez, Felicia Montes, and Xitlalic Guijosa. The artists featured on the walls were, according to the bill, Joanna Aquirre, Lalo Alcaraz, Anna Alvarado, Grace Barraza-Vega, Joe Bravo, Hector Calderon, Yamilette Duarte, Linda Estrada, Emilia Garcia, Claudia Garcia Trejo, Sandra Gonzalez, Mary Nunez Delira, Raul Herrera, Jeanette Iskat, Kristy Lovich, Jose Lozano, Eduardo Moreno, Antonio Sorcini, Gisel Vincent-Osuna, and Arturo Urista. The place was packed, no seating, and despite the rain. This is a good sign in LA, which often shuts down when a few drops fall (sorry about that--I spent fifteen years in Chicago so I know about bad weather). Anyway, I had a great time. My recent visit to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico also included talks with a leader of the fight against the "Femicides," a woman who lost her own 14-year-old daughter. There are now more than 600 young women killed or disappeared since 1993. This exhibit and poetry reading was to affirm our commitment to stop the murders of our women and to continue bringing attention to these deaths that have also been occurring in Chihuahua, Mexico; Guatemala; and other places of poor and abandoned people. I was also honored to present a poem by a new poet on the scene—self named Matriz—who first read at Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural's Open Mic the day before. She is part of a women's writing circle at Tia Chucha's. The women were asked to provide poems for a gathering next Saturday, March 13, 2010, known as the 3rd annual Policy con Pan Dulce. Here community members are invited to engage with local elected officials on key social, economic, and political issues. This event is sponsored by Initiating Change in Our Neighborhoods/Community Development Corporation and is being held in Sylmar, CA. I must also disclose, in full transparency, that Matriz is the pen name of my companera Maria Trinidad Rodriguez—we celebrate 22 years of marriage this month. There is now a complex of poets at my house since both my sons at home, Ruben and Chito, as well as Ruben's girlfriend Katrina, are grand poets (as are my daughter Andrea, my son Ramiro, and at least three of my four grandchildren). As I've said many times before: Poets are Everywhere and Everyone is a Poet. Here’s the poem by Matriz. Enjoy: policy of sweet bread for the hungry heart asked to voice our knots, display our tangles present them in beauty, fit for the public a contradiction, a delicate artful challenge thus this attempt, holding close the interest of we bombarded by so much sensation, news of abuse shooters erupt, thirst blazing, wrinkled with fears uterus empty of mothering, broken warrior gone wild loss felling children, uniformed walls, all distant relatives tired, bones witness the gathering day workers storm weary, business suits fit to neglect needs angry, skeletons fed on promises of better tomorrow self-medicated, sick of bankruptcies, graduation job lies so the marchers emerge, demanding rights to knowledge, to health, to be spectators no more expecting a world to transform, to allow worth in this lifetime together pounding the pavement, lifting spirits to the sky listen to the prayer of a nation humbled by mistakes embrace and brace for changes, expect this once and for all rely on the wealth of the creative, let it flow into every gap reject addictions rooted in usurped authority, robbed power Mother Earth waits for her children to grasp their lesson that there are natural laws greater than the toys of man that a well being is measured by dignity beyond its own that the abundance we seek is already in our midst so be wise, responsive: there's only enough time to align c/s
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