November-December 2014 … The Global Online Magazine of Arts, Information & Entertainment … Volume 10, Number 6
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Latin in America

“WE ARE YOU Project” 

in Poetry and Art

 Wilmer Jennings Gallery at Kenkeleba

Editor’s note: The following poems were read at the recent WE ARE YOU Project International reading that took place April 7, 2012, at Wilmer Jennings Gallery (219 E. 2nd Street, NYC), amid a select exhibition of more than 30 artists who each contributed a single piece they felt best addresses the WE ARE YOU Project theme.

We Are You Reading at Wilmer Jennings

 

The theme, as described by Dr. Jose Rodeiro in an essay that appears on the Project’s web site  is this:  “The We Are You Project International represents the first comprehensive 21st Century coast-to-coast exhibition depicting current Latino socio-cultural, political, and economic conditions, reflecting triumphs, achievements, risks and vulnerabilities, confronting and affecting all Latinos “within” as well as “outside” the USA. The primary concerns of this exhibit are: 1). Latino immigration, 2). Latinization, 3). the current Anti-Latino backlash, 4). the rise of Pan-Latino transculturalism, as well as 5). investigating diverse Latino identities in the 21st Century.”

Our thanks to Dr. Rodeiro for helping to collect these poems and secure permissions from the poets for publication in Ragazine.

* * *

 

We Are You Project International

Front row (L to R): Pablo Caviedes; Gabriel Navar; Carlos Chavez; Carmen Valle; Carmen D. Lucca; Duda Penteado, and Raul Villarreal. Back Row (L to R): Raphael Montañez Ortíz, Josephine Barreiro, Alan Britt (aka “El Alambre”), Dr. José Rodeiro, and Nelson Álvarez. On the floor: Dr. George Nelson Preston.

* * *

ALAN BRITT (“El Britto”) (aka: “El Alambre” “the Wire”)

Considered one of America’s most published poets, the Cherokee poet Alan Britt teaches English/Creative Writing at Towson University. His recent books are Alone with the Terrible Universe (2011), Greatest Hits (2010), Hurricane (2010),Vegetable Love (2009),Vermilion (2006), Infinite Days (2003), Amnesia Tango (1998) and Bodies of Lightning (1995). Essays recently in The Cultural Review, Clay Palm Review and Arson. Interviews and poetry (selected) recently in Steaua (Romania), Latino Stuff Review and Poet’s Market. Other poems (selected) in Agni, The Bitter Oleander, Bloomsbury Review, Bolts of Silk (Scotland), Christian Science Monitor, Cider Press Review, Cold Mountain Review, Comstock Review, The Cultural Journal, Darkling Magazine, English Journal, Epoch, Fire (UK), Flint Hills Review, Fox Cry Review, Gallerie International (India), Gradiva (Italy), The Great American Poetry Show, Greensboro Review, Hecale (UK), Kansas Quarterly, Karamu, The Kerf, letras.s5.com (Chile), Magyar Naplo (Hungary), Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, Midwest Quarterly, The Minnesota Review, Pacific Review, Pedrada Zurda (Ecuador), Puerto del Sol, Queen’s Quarterly (Canada), The Recusant (UK), Revista Solar (Mexico), Rosebud, Second Aeon (Wales), Sou’wester, Square Lake, Strangeroad, Sunstone, Tulane Review, Writers’ Journal, plus the anthologies: Emergency Verse: Poetry in Defence of the Welfare State, by Caparison an imprint of The Recusant, United Kingdom: 2011;The Poet’s Cookbook: 33 American Poets with German Translations, Forest Woods Media Productions/Goerthe Institute, Washington, DC: 2010; American Poets Against the War, Metropolitan Arts Press, Chicago/Athens/Dublin: 2009 and Vapor transatlántico (Transatlantic Steamer), bi-lingual anthology of Latin American and North American poets, Hofstra University Press/Fondo de Cultura Económica de Mexico/Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos de Peru, 2008; Fathers: Poems About Fathers,St. Martin’s Press: 1998, and La Adelfa Amarga: Seis Poetas Norteamericanos de Hoy, Ediciones El Santo Oficio, Peru, 2003.

 

WE ARE YOU

We rise on jaguar wings orbiting

a bronze waist before crossing

the torch of Liberty.

 

We sling ruthless reds, bruised

golds & tropical greens across

hurricanes chewing the Atlantic

coast off Cuba.

 

We surface the Amazon

with webbed toes.

 

Freedom’s eyeglasses fogged we

enter each holy house as though

entering a proverbial hall of mirrors,

aware the moon nursing Manhattan

skyscrapers also splinters the icy peaks

of Peru, ignites Caymans in Columbia,

the Quichua in Ecuador, yucca lightning

in Mexico, plus Bolívar’s bones in Venezuela.

 

We chase amnesia thermals, sometimes,

but mostly we prefer heirloom tomatoes,

lean meats, exotic spices, multigrains

& a dozen-year-old California Syrah

after an exhausting day of painting our

dreams across a canvas called America.

 

 © Alan Britt

 

PABLO CAVIEDES

Born in 1971 in Cotacachi, Ecuador, Caviedes has been exhibiting his work for the past twelve years in Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, Washington DC, New York, Colombia and various cities of Ecuador. He is known primarily as a visual artist; but, his forays into poetry are always brilliant.  He studied at the Art Institute in Paris and at the College of Plastic Arts In Ecuador under Daniel Reyes. He won the 1994 ¨Paris Prize.¨  In 1998, in Paris, France, he was selected for ¨Emergent Artists of Latin American and the Caribbean¨ exhibition: A new generation of Artist.  In 2002, in Barcelona, Spain, he obtained honorable mention at the Second Biennial International of Painting ¨Vilassar del Mar.¨

In 2004, he exhibited in ¨Art in a Bottle¨ at the Agora Gallery, New York City.  In 2008, he was selected in the 31st Small Works Art Competition (NYU).  In 2009, he exhibited in Fusion: American Classics Meets Latin American Art, at the Biggs Museum of American Art, Dover, Delaware.  Also that year, he was selected for the show: ¨Ecuadorian Contemporary Art¨ at United Nations, New York.   Just recently he showed his art at the group exhibition: ¨Ecuadorian Renaissance,” Queens Museum of Art, New York, and also in the Second Bronx Latin American Art Biennial, New York.

 

ON THE MAP   

Por las familias divididas,

por los hijos de los sin papeles,

por los que pagan más por menos derechos,

por los que trabajan mucho y consiguen poco,

por los de pocas oportunidades en el país de las oportunidades,

por los explotados y marginados del ayer, de hoy y de siempre,

por los que vinieron por el sueño americano y encontraron pesadillas,

por los expatriados que aguardan su patria para un mañana,

por los que mueren en el intento, y por los que cruzaron ya la frontera,

por los que viven en las sombras a pesar que el sol es para todos.

Por todos y cada uno de ellos….

Queremos un país con rostro más humano.

We are you!

 

© Pablo Caviedes. New York 2011

 

 

ON THE MAP

For the separated families,

For the children of undocumented workers,

For those who pay taxes yet enjoy no rights,

For those who work hard and get nothing in return,

For those who don’t get a break in the land of opportunity,

Fort the exploited and marginalized of yesteryear, today, and forever,

for those who sought the American dream and encountered many nightmares,

for the expatriates who await to regain their motherland in the near future,

for those who died trying and for those who managed to cross the border,

For those who live in the shadows despite the fact that the sun shines

for everybody.

For each and everyone of them…

We want a nation with a human face.

We are you!

 

© Pablo Caviedes. New York 2011

 

 

CARMEN D. LUCCA

Born in Puerto Rico, Carmen D. Lucca is a bilingual poet, author-translator  of the first collection of Julia De Burgos’ poetry. Ms. Lucca, whose poetry has been published in Ireland, Latin America, Puerto Rico and the United States, is listed in the Directory of American Poets & Writers. Her awards include the Palma De Burgos, a Silver Medal from the Academie des Arts, Sciences et Lettres, Paris, France, a 108th Wing Essential Piece  for her contribution to the National Hispanic Heritage Month events honoring Julia De Burgos at McGuire Air Base, and a Disney Teacher-Award nomination. Ms. Lucca’s most recent poetry book is The Sunset Watcher, a collection of poetic meditations based on her observations of life.

 

RUMINATIONS ABOUT ARIZONA’S LAW  SB1070

Because Law SB1070 threatens my Fourth Amendment rights,

I won’t  go to Arizona,

I won’t  go to Alabama,

To Utah, I won’t go!

Because I could, with my Latino looks, catch the eyes

Of  despots or state officers with power to harass me,

I won’t go to Alabama,

I won’t go to Arizona,

To Georgia, I won’t go!

 

Because the terrifying Tea Partiers have joined hands

With the rabid Right Wingers to monger fear across this land.

I won’t go to Arizona

I won’t go to Alabama,

To Indiana, I won’t go!

 

Because I dread the re- incarnation of the fetid Jim Crow,

And any law resembling the Black Codes of the South

I will not go to Arizona

I will not go to Alabama

Or to Utah …

I will not go to Georgia

I will not go to Indiana

Or to South Carolina.

To those states , inclined to spit on the Bill of my Rights,

I won’t go. I won’t go!

©Carmen D. Lucca

 

MEDITACIONES SOBRE LA LEY SB1070 EN ARIZONA

Porque la ley SB1070 amenaza mis derechos bajo la Cuarta Enmienda,

No ire a Arizona

No ire a Alabama.

A Arizona no ire!.

Porque  mi presencia Latina podria atraer la atencion

Del despota oficial de policia estatal con poder de hostigar,

No ire a Alabama,

No ire a Arizona,

A Alabama no ire!

Porque los furibundos Festejantes del Te van de la mano

Con los rabiosos de la Extrema Derecha  promoviendo  temor por el pais.

A Alabama no ire,

A Arizona no ire,

No ire. No ire!

Porque me aterra  la re-encarnacion del  fetido Jim Crow,

Y  cualquier ley parecida a los Codigos Negros del Sur,

No ire a Arizona.

A Alabama no ire.

No ire a Utah,

No ire a Georgia,

No ire a Indiana

Ni al Sur de Carolina

A esos estados,  dispuestos a escupir  la Carta de mis Derechos,

No ire. No ire!

© Carmen D. Lucca

 

GABRIEL NAVAR

Gabriel Navar, a California Latino, has always enjoyed making images not only through drawing and painting, but also with words. He has been writing in a sort of “stream of consciousness”, “automatic writing” approach for many, many years. It was not until the late 1980s-early 1990s, however, that he started to write seriously and began organizing his writings into notebooks. Furthermore, while an undergraduate at Alameda College, in California, he considered majoring in writing. Through high school and into college, his initial influences were writers that include literary giants such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Edgar Allan Poe, and Ray Bradbury. When he was encouraged (by his painting instructor, mentor and long-time friend, Mel Ramos) and decided to pursue visual arts (specifically painting) as a major in college at California State University, Hayward (now known as CSU, East Bay), he continued to pursue writing alongside his painting. He went on earn his MFA at San Jose State University (in California) because he had developed a passion for image-making…. It was a great time!

To this day, he continues to create poems that inspire his paintings, and vice versa.

So…  what “triggers” a poem for him? It could be a great number of things including a random word or memory that “pops” into his mind (and resonates, for one reason or another), images from a dream, thoughts that stay with him after having listened to the latest headlines on CNN or public radio, or colors that linger in his mind after having experienced them in the morning or evening sky. Navar has had the great privilege of collaborating with Dr. Paul Basler, Professor of Music, University of Florida, Gainesville, on three sets of song movements (involving Navar’s words, music and choral singing) titled Cantos Alegres, Dias Divinos and Embrace Creation. The poem, song and music collaborations have been published and performed internationally for over 10 years.

 

a walk with Carmen 

 

after having completed chores around the house and shutting off the television….

… tired of hearing those news channel talking heads chatter about

Arizona’s then Oklahoma’s then Connecticut’s anti-immigrant rhetoric,

 

she decides to go for a walk and enjoy the gorgeous gray overcast afternoon…

soft patches of violet-blue slowly poking through like widening eyes in the heavens

reawakening to shower sun-mist…. it’s always majestic

 

oh yes, what a beautiful Saturday, she thought, walking through sleepy streets,

lawns trimmed, jasmine bushes poked by hummingbirds, blond children chasing one another

while grown-ups gossip amongst themselves, some frowning, some grinning

 

after having walked for about thirty minutes or so,

she notices screeching sounds emerging from the increasingly darkening sky

now turned into a deafening orange – blinding and hollering…

 

out of the corner of her eye, a middle-aged, self-entitled man with an unjustified ego

swings a blunt object at a green being….

his thoughts, his words resonate and hardly fade:

“go back to where you came from, alien!”

© Gabriel  Navar  2012

 

RAPHAEL MONTAÑEZ ORTÍZ

Raphael Ortiz is Director of Visual Arts (Mason Gross, Rutgers University).  He founded and was the first director of the El Museo Del Barrio in New York City in 1969. His sculptures are included in many museum collections, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, where he has twice been included in the Whitney Biennial. He has created mixed-media ritual performances and installations for museums and galleries in Europe and Canada and throughout the United States. His computer-laser-video works are in numerous museum collections, including the Ludwai Museum in Cologne, Germany, and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. His video Dance Number 22 won the Gran Prix at the 1993 Locarno International Video Festival of Switzerland. He is considered one of the USA’s most creative visual artists, performance artists, and poets.

 

The LIBERTY IN A TEMPEST TEAPOT Poem

(The Emma Lazarus’s “New Colossus” Variation)

 

THE STATUE THAT ONCE WITH ARM HELD HIGH

LIT THE WAY TO LIBERTY NO LONGER SIGNALS THE WAY

THE WHIRLWINDS OF POLITICS

LIKE A FRANKENSTEIN NOW POSSESS HER

WITH LOWERED ARM AND EXTINQUISHED TORCH

SHE WIELDS THE TEABAG SYMBOL OF THE TEMPEST

THAT LIKE THE EVIL GENIE BECKONED FROM THE TEAPOT

NOW DROWNS OUT THE VOICE OF LIBERTY

A LIBERTY WHOSE GOLDEN VOICE  ONCE SHOUTED

“GIVE ME YOUR TIRED YOUR POOR YOUR HUDDLED MASSES

YEARNING TO BREATHE FREE THE WRETCHED REF– USE OF YOUR

TEEMING SHORE SEND THESE THE HOMELESS TEMPEST TOSSED

TO ME”

DRIVEN BY PHOBIC WINDS THE CROWD OF

FRIGHTENED AND HATEFUL VENTRILOQUIST VOICES

NOW SPEAK FOR HER

SHOUTING PUNISH THE ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS

DEPORT THEM PUNISH THEIR FAMILIES

PUNISH THEIR CHILDREN PUNISH THEIR EMPLOYERS

MAKE IT SO HATEFUL FOR THEM

THEY WILL NOT WANT TO COME TO THE LAND OF THE BRAVE

AND HOME OF THE FREE

 

© Mr. and Mrs. Raphael Montañez Ortíz

 

DUDA PENTEADO

Duda Penteado was born in São Paulo in 1968, and studied at FIAM – SP.  Throughout the 1990s, he  exhibited in Brazil, then moved to New York City where he obtained a position at Muriel Studio in Soho, NYC, as an assistant to Sheila Marbain, the inventor of a new “silk monotype” technique, which was employed by many leading contemporary artists.  Active in Brazil and the USA, as well as in Europe throughout the late-1990s and the early 21st Century, he showed in The Jersey City Museum, Jersey City, N.J.; Biennale Internazionale Dell’Arte Contemporanea, Florence, Italy, 2009; Monique Goldstrom Gallery, NYC; The Museum of Art and Origins, Harlem, NYC (NY); BACI-The Brazilian American Cultural Institute, Washington, DC; Museo de Las Americas, Denver, CO; CITYarts 272nd Mural, “Nature is Love on Earth”, New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, The St. John’s Recreation Center, Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NYC, 2008, 2009; Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, NY, New Jersey City University, Jersey City, NJ, Kean University, Union, NJ; Monmouth University, West Long Branch, NJ; Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, NJ; Drew University, Madison, NJ; Middlebury College, Vermont; UFES- Universidade Estadual do Espírito Santo, Vitoria, ES; UNESP-Universidade Estadual Paulista, SP, and SESC – SP.

He was President of the Artist Certification Board, Jersey City, NJ, until 2010. His  awards and recognition from various institutions in the United States include: Urban Artist Fellowship Award, Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT; Goldman Sachs Student Art Project Grant, Jersey City, NJ (2006, 2007, 2008); Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation; The Robert Flaherty Film Seminar, Claremont, CA; Special Guest for Artistic Achievement & Commitment to YMCA Greater, NY-Youth, NYC; American Graphic Design Award, Interactive Multimedia Installation, NYC; Humanitarian Award from the Hudson County Chapter of the American Conference on Diversity, Jersey City, NJ, and received a Kappa Pi International Honorary Art Fraternity Award, Eta Rho Chapter, New Jersey City University, Jersey City, NJ.  Along with Mario Tapia and Dr. Carlos Hernandez, he has been at the helm of the We Are You Project since 2005.   For more about Penteado art and career explore this URL: http://www.dudapenteado.com

 

WE ARE YOU poem

America, America…
At the turn of the millennium…
Still cries…
Still fights…
Still ignores…
Still sounds… in the four corners of the earth.


America “MADRE” America.

Not longer, white, blue and red …
A new sound…
A new color…
A new brush stroke…
yellow, mahogany, purple, scarlet, gold…
Latino…

No longer only hands of hard labor…
But !!!!!! Lawyers, Judges, Doctors, Educators…
A Senator…
A Governor…
A voice shaping a new culture…

Latino, North America…
America Latina…
We are you…
We are Americans !!!!!!

 

SOMOS USTEDES

América, América…

En el cambio del milenio…

Todavía llora…

Todavía pelea…

Todavía ignora…

Todavía suena… en las cuatro esquinas de la tierra.

 

América “MADRE” América.

 

Ya no, blanco, azul y rojo…

Un nuevo sonido…

Un nuevo color…

Un nuevo toque de pintura…

amarillo, caoba, púrpura, escarlata, dorado…

Latino…

 

Ya no sólo manos de trabajo duro…

Sino!!!!!! Abogados, Jueces, Médicos, Educadores…

Un Senador…

Un Gobernador…

Una voz moldeando una nueva cultura…

 

Latino, América del Norte…

América Latina…

Somos ustedes…

Somos Estadounidenses!!!!!!

 

©  Duda Penteado  2005

GEORGE NELSON PRESTON

George Nelson Preston was born in NYC on December 14th, 1938, into an art and music family. Preston’s poems have appeared in journals such as Beat Coast East, Black Renaissance Noire, and Dialectical Anthropology. His “Oda a Nelson Mandela” was solicited as the keynote poem at the opening of the Festival Mandela in Santo Domingo 2010.

Dr. Preston earned the Ph. D. in Art History from the Faculty of Pure Science and Philosophy, Columbia University in 1973.   His career in art history and criticism includes installation of the African Hall of the Brooklyn Museum in1968; Curator of the America 500 exhibition for the government of Argentina in 1992, in which he replaced the usual critical catalog essay with Belle Lettre style poems for each work of art. He is a member of the Scientific Committee of the Florence Biennale; and, he has written several books, articles and reviews on contemporary and African Art. Most recently Preston was on the planning committee for The Primero Encontro AfroAtlantico at the Museu AfroAbrasil in São Paulo in 2011.  Preston is a recipient of the prestigious “Editor’s Choice Award for Outstanding Achievement in Poetry.”

Preston is co-founder of the Museum of Art and Origins, an affiliate of AMAFRO, Salvador da Bahia and Museu Céu Aberto, São Paulo. His career in poetry started with his founding of The Artist’s Studio.  In the book Kerouac and Friends, the photo journalist Fred W. Mc Darrah wrote the following:

“George Nelson Preston had a storefront “Artist’s Studio” at 48 East 3rd Street where he orchestrated the most important poetry readings ever held in New York. One historic program on Sunday February 15, 1959, included Kerouac, Ginsberg, Corso, Orlovsky, LeRoi Jones, Garcia Villa, [and] Ted Joans.”

Norman Mailer, Paddy Cheyevsky, Seymour Krim, Larry Rivers and Frank O’Hara were also frequent readers at the Artist’s Studio.

 

It Was 1965, Summer and Hot

 

flashes kinky-curled-up our hair

and Diana just out of London,

lissome –  as in taught – lycurve

dandauburn hair guilded in tremolo sunlight

our newly whet ardor quaking our clothes.

She was touring and heading for the Alamo

with no more moments to linger in Manhattan

 

where weʼd met on Broadway

right in front of College Walk and I said

“letʼs meet, go down to Mexico.”

And she took off her panties right there,

“Give these to me

when we get down

south of the Border, George.”

 

So! You think this is cool?

 

And before the sun was under

the cliffs across Broadway

over Henrik Hudsonʼs River

I was gone from my job

at the embroidery design factory

wayupintheBronx under the L

 

! And why, I donʼt know why,

! but I thought about this movie I saw in 1966,

! and who the hell was Porfirio Diaz? But anyway…

 

So! You think this is cool, huh?

So did I —until we saw a statue

of Lord Tlaloc. He had telescopic eyes,

behind them lurked a million lacrimal glands

presumed to turn prayers to abundant rain

and a coronary problem fed by sacrifices

of conch shells, whole jaguars, jade celts, sting ray spines

and woe made of palpitating ripped out human hearts.

 

The campesinos ….uh, the line when the hancendero

 asks, “what did you say your name…” and he says,

“Zapata. Emiliano Zapata.” Alright. So the campesinos…

 

they were the bleakest clothed trees I could imagine.

Sleeves turned inside-out by humanityʼs void

 

and so we read the ancient way of writing

on the battered parapets of Quetzalcoatlʼs temple at Teotihuacán

and in the chiseled embroidery of Lord Chaacʼs stony poncho

further South at Chihén Itzá and the campesinos

being suitors of bare lives,

they chased the currents of Godʼs tears….

(gun shots) No, the horse!

! Get the horse! Kill the horse,

! donʼt let the horse escape,

no dejalo escabillerse ….kill his horse…

_________________________

©George Nelson Preston, Atzcapotzalcualco, Mexico and NYC. August, 1965   

 

CARMEN VALLE

Carmen Valle is the author of nine books of poetry, among them Trashumante, Haiku de Nueva York and Esta Casa Flotante y Abierta. She also published a book of short stories Diarios Robados and a novel Tu Version de las Cosas. She has a doctorate in Latin American Literature and teaches at City Tech (CUNY).

 

MAPA PARA ENCONTRAR UN ESPEJO*

 

Anémona, pulpo, dulce tortuga,

desértico lagartijo, taladro en busca de agua

escorpión militante de las dunas,

brizna de hierba, maguey.

Amapola de las carreteras,

gardenia del jardín oculto,

gomera hecho de leche,

árbol de lilas, limonero.

Guayabas, guanábanas goteadas,

liana aviadora en la jungla,

cebra en la planicie,

flamingo y águila suntuosa,

nube ballena antes del aguacero,

cometa escurridizo en tránsito

al planeta inexplorado.

*De “Esta casa flotante y abierta”, Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, 2004.

© Carmen Valle 2012