Thursday, April 10, 2014

La Bloga: Crowdfunding? REBOLG- It's a great subject to think about as a writer of color

La Bloga: Crowdfunding?: I'm sharing an article (below) on a recent initiative by one of my favorite publishers, Cinco Punto Press. Founded in 1985 by writers B...

Monday, March 31, 2014

Honoring Las Manos de Abuelita y El movemento de Cesar Chavez y los trabajadores!

Betabel

Betabel Rojo
Sabor de tierra húmeda 
la cual nunca he probado antes de hoy.
Lo curioso es que ya sabía tu sabor
por las manos de mi abuelita que a hace 
mucho tiempo te pizcaba.
Te jalo de la tierra madre
Te pisco en los campos de Nebraska de los fieldes de Wisconsin. 
Tu color mancho sus manos 
tu olor se imprimió en su piel.
Lo se porque hoy te olí betabel 
con el sabor en mi boca de la tierra de mañanas húmedas 
abrazada de mi abuelita. 
Recordé su  olor con el sabor del betabel.





I write this because my political vision would be nothing if not for my grandmother. She taught me about EL UNION, about caring for my neighbor, caring for those who didn't have, and to cherish what we did have.
Mi Abuelita was a maquinadora and made thousands of blue jeans de mesquilla. Then she came here (US) as migrant worker she picked beets, corn and many other vegetables.

This is not her but she did come to the US in 1960's

As a poeta, a writer I can not deny mis racies, they are parte of la tierra madre. My political vision isn't one that I talk about because I am still forming it. I know that honors a native tradition, a collective gathering, and that my vision isn't valued in our current political structure. So I continue underground like a betabel waiting to be pulled up. You will know me by the smell and color red for all the blood that has been spilled I have gathered, for all the anger that been thrown I have gathered it, I encapsulate it and make it into food! How you do like that innovation?-Capitalistas! Just Kidding! Abuelita says it's not about sides its about listening.


I wrote this after eating Beets that were given to a class that I subbing for. The beets were from the Community Garden (CSA) program that gives their harvest to schools with a high percentage of kids on the free/reduced lunch program.

None of them had tasted fresh beets, until that day I thought I hadn't either. The moment the bag opened and we passed out the snack, the entire room filled her--mi abuelita's smell! I held back tears while eating one, I watched the kids inspect them, eat them, and admire their color. I knew then, that it wasn't my first time, eating one. I just never knew I had....

Mi abuelita is still alive 92 years old! I'm sure her longevity has a lot to do with betabels.



Thursday, March 20, 2014

Meeting the cast of Listen to Your Mother is like listening

to all of my deepest fears, thoughts, and joy about all things about Moms, motherhood, and womenhood. As a young mother at the age of 22.

There was many times people would said to me "Oh, that was mistake," or "Yes, accidents happen," I would kindly remind them that he saved my life. My son literarily saved my life. This is hard to share where I was in those days-but lets say they were pretty hazy. In my 20's people were always surprised when I would tell "Hey I have to go, now to pick up my son."

Their answer, "Wow I didn't know you had a kid, you don't look like a mother."



Perhaps, I just didn't feel like my life should be so public, I was an unwed single parent Latina. Pretty much the ultimate reason for economic downfall, the shame of our family, the shame of our culture I carried that aaaallll the way to the trash! EVERYDAY! Because, all I wanted was to hide all the pain from my son, Provide him with outrageous birthday parties, trips, vacations, games, and toys. So I worked my tail off, holding down 3 jobs at a time, just to give him what I thought he needed. In our indulgence of materialism, it didn't take away the river of shame it simply decorated it with a fancy damn. Now in his adolescence that damn is breaking. Slowly, it cracks, and I share with him that I too walked the halls of school with a mother that I was ashamed of, but soon learned the she was the best thing from heaven. I tell him my shame was a stupid teenager reaction to all of the unspeakables. A knee jerk reaction to realizing that no matter what I had it was never going to be him the daddy I wanted...

Dammit now I'm crying again just like when I heard all of these great women's stories of motherhood and life. 

You want more?

Come on down to the Barrymore Theater on May 11, 2014 at 3 PM. Get cha tickets at Little Bambino and other outlets or online. Tickets are $15  on sale at barrymorelive.com, by phone at 608-241-8633 ($1.50 convenience fee), at all Barrymore outlets as well as Happy Bambino, The Century House gift shop, and Dragonfly Hot Yoga Middleton.
The 2014 Cast of LTYM

Friday, March 14, 2014

We are the Guardians!

This poem is a reflection of my work as a budding children's book author! I sent this to a poet friend of mine in my program he liked it so I feel like sharing it. I wrote for our audience, as a writer: we write what we like what inspires us.

Today, I was at the National Latino Children's Literature Conference in AL(conference website) and author: Irania Patterson (her goodreads link). She gave us a riddle to ponder:

Why is it that you want to be part of a child's life? Not just why but what is your purpose?

Here is my response!

We are the Guardians of
Warm milk and cookies
Of cubby hole reading
We illuminate fairies and glow in the night tales
We write for those who might not remember us
But will never forget that first feeling
Our audience doesn't write thank you letters,
They might not even know how to read or write
But they listen….

They feel and they fear with terror at the hands of evil
We are the Guardians of magical places, friendships and the good life
The children who hear our stories need our words more than we need them.

They crave for that escape from the cruel reality that faith has dealt them.
We aren’t the police,
we aren’t the teachers,
or the social workers,
we come into their lives unknowingly.
We slip in their tiny hearts something powerful:   hope.

Hope against the rapists,
hope against the molester,
hope against the abuser,
hope against the beater,
hope against the alcoholic
hope against the drugs,
hope against the next slap, the next cuss word
hope for the next time they see the sun light

hope

for the time they live through this moment of pain.
We write for children
we write for hope.

Guardians that’s us.



My little chicanita famer from Wisconsin. She loves her eggs! I write stories for her and kids like her...

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Red Road

(I wrote this by request from a friend of mine in AZ who was writing about the Native Americans and the connection to Mexicans/Latinos. About Red peoples and  Brown peoples. He wanted me to write about that connection. Luckily, I saw this documentary about a Native American woman, so I based this poem on a PBS special aired earlier this year. The woman is from South Dakota and she was going through a lot of issues. Some of the same issues that Chicanas go through, some of the same issues that I have gone through. She was working as a social worker and at the same time she did and didn't find the support she needed from her professional community. I don't know what is harder being a victim and being a woman of color or being a social worker and being a woman of color. I loved this documentary and I hope I captured some of the spirit that I saw in her and her walk.)
the http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/biographies/kind-hearted-woman/setting-off-down-the-red-road/
















Red Road
The Red Road Woman
Red Road is
A scared road of making peace and forgiveness when none is given
A place where health is measured by your forgiveness and joy

The Red Road
Is a tough road

Red Road
Is a scared road
It’s the walk of many but the way of one

Crackling stones,
heel, ball, toe,
            hell, ball, toe
walking, dragging, slipping…

Red Road
The one no one likes to take
The road you could do without

The red road of smoke and sage.
The road of walking the walk and standing in the best way, you can

Walking tall standing, hard against what ale’s you…
Typing in a trance to let go of the bad spirits that come over
like your best friend who only wants to head to a bar,
smoke in the car, and
walk in like it’s all yours.

Tendered, hearted woman your story is mine and hers and theirs
Red road in a dark and starry night of lost memories
Laughing so hard that it changes you into that star…

Hmmm red road,

Hush, for she is sleeping on the side of the road hoping for a meal, for a drink
Red road woman, fear not for your journey comes with fixed navigation

Brown woman, on the red road following her sister, not knowing what she looks like
All she knows is the wail of her song.

That song with a drum beat that encloses her heart
Both criminalized by a system with no face

Sisters with no mother, she died at 30 frozen to death, drunk with the devil’s water
A false father who touched more than he should

Secrets that burn your face with streams that impersonate tears

That red road
A hard stone road
Red smudge

Red
Brown
Woman

You and me

Walking with our heads up high

Monday, December 23, 2013

Shhhhut Down Fat Talk - Special K



Fat Talk? wow this is true and yet I don't know what to say about it... because for me fat talk is all done in my head... I say it like micro messages and move on but what I don't realize that it compounds to self defeat .. I just found out that I elevated sugar levels meaning I'm pre diabetic! yikes! So I got a mini treadmill and i'm on once a day for 30 min. it's not huge but I feel better, sexier and like I doing something. Small steps. and if that doesn't work even smaller steps..

Fat talk is nothing new, my own daughter says things like "I have to get my belly small" where does she get this info.? 

Women, we are too concerned with image and not concerned with how good do we FEEL?

I'm tried of being tried, I'm tried of not knowing what to eat, I'm tried not know what to make for dinner, breakfast, lunch and dinner again...

I feel like eating healthy is a unicorn that it's only a mirage... Fat talk is a cycle of negativity that imprisons me to hating myself and believing all I deserve to eat is processed foods..


that my worth is only the 5 second view of my body that ppl give me...

So look at me and tell me that I'm more than just fat, more than just tits and ass, more than just wanna be model, tell that I'm beautiful a gift of joy--that my smile is all you see...

Got that me in the mirror? Okay Araceli time for love me talk and no more fat talk!


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Fallen Unicorns AKA Girl Basketball players

Fallen unicorns
Court sliders
Arm twisting ball grabbing
from the front to the back
Pony tails and weaves
throwing
Skills
like insults without words

Blackout blocks
Long ass passes
Tall girls with a shorty or two for good measure

Bored cheerleaders
Pimple band players

Nikes skipping
Body shifting

Shooting camels through a needlehole
With more constraint than most priests

Focus that goes beyond attention

Red blue faces, flushed faces
Flaring arms not to get that last item on sale but grabbing for glory

All girl
All day on the court
Flipping a wrist
Taking a shot
Girls basketball

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Grieving lost friendships

why does it feel like a break up?
Now I put my foot in the direction of new friendships
I learn to breath in and out
again
Mourning a lost friendship is a courageous act,
it puts the blame on no one but it gives you room
to start again
Mourning in the morning driving by and seeing her
happy and being happy for her!

Mourning when you see her because she is checking in doing whats right for her now
today.

I want to learn to love radically to love without fear that this might happen again.

That next time I will state my what I like and what I don't like...
next time I won't let time tell I will tell them how much they mean to me...

I forgive them but can I see them again without all of the baggage and just smile be happy for them 
for me 
that even though we aren't friends we are sister's in the struggle
sisters working
sisters trying to do the best for our kids
sisters being the best at that moment
sisters living
sisters breathing
sisters laughin
sisters talkin
sisters driving
sisters walking

maybe we aren't joined in this moment
but I will work on my heart
for my next sister to be with me
to laugh and when I see my lost friends
I will welcome them home.


Sunday, November 24, 2013

My Polar Express

Wouldn't it be cold you ask

And I say, Don’t you remember when it’s a clear night and the snow falls ever so softly, it's not cold then?
               When each flake has a home
                          And each soft step you take is like entering a foreign land
                                 When only a hot chocolate is the antidote for your cold blood

Now that you are taller than me
and I’m your memory
Of when you where that boy who needed a gift, a friend, a moment to believe

Take my hand son, I say
And let’s get on that train TO THE NORTH POLE!!!!
I hear them bells a callin’ and you say to me,

Mom, I can hear them too!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

On the Journey to something when nothing seems to be supporting you but a dream

A part me just wants to show the world how hard this is... the time and tears, lost moments, and
miles of letters (serious keyboarding-here folks!)
and words
only to have them
 fall on my screen
out of my mind
into a page
one step on the road...
This journey to my education has cost me (will cost me) more than anything in my life.

How the dream began 1998
Cedar Ave on the West Bank of the Minneapolis/St. Paul U of M campus. Standing there pregnant, cold November rain falling over a scared 21 year old Chicanita who only knew that she had to continue.

Despite that C she got on an essay on breast feeding from an assistant whose eyes where big as saucers, when she would look at my belly. Or the look of shock when I presented her my idea of increasing breast feeding among women of color.

Her defense, it wasn't a sociological subject.

First hurtle: my own choice to have my baby.

2003
Fast forward: A new career change to event planning which I paid completely on my own! 

Wonderful teachers and new friends, learned a few things about things.

Second hurtle: Trying something new and finding out it's not the right fit..

2007
Applied to Graduate School, fell in love got pregnant again, could not enroll. I walked away from a full ride.
Married! YES to my Dream Love!

Third hurtle: figuring out my priorities

2012
5 years later, a dozen poetry performances, a couple publications and an embrace of being who I am a writer. Applied and Accepted for MFA in Children's Literature. Hamline a forever experience!

Fourth hurtle: Accepting who I am