Some New Stuff

Voices Cover

1. Voices de la Luna’s special Earth Day 50th anniversary issue, “Earth in Praise / Earth in Peril” is out! Co-editors Mobi Warren and Jim and Lucia LaVilla-Havelin did a freakin’ gorgeous job, and they were kind enough to make space for a chapter of my novel manuscript Luz at Midnight.

You can order a copy here–$8 for digital PDF, $10 for a paper copy. Or perhaps you’d like a subscription? That too can be arranged.

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Bookbinding

In just a couple of weeks I’ll be tabling for the first time at a couple grassroots bookfests: first, on September 28, at the Pachanga de Palabras; then, the following weekend at the San Antonio Zine Fest on October 5.

pachanga flyer

zine fest

I’ve got three DIY books in the works that I’m feverishly trying to get ready, for now pushing from my mind the possibility that none of them may be ready in time: Continue reading

I Never Posted This

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…interview I did a few years back with UC Irvine’s Humanists@Work project. Cuz, I don’t know. My face etc. I do think it’s actually really useful, though, for nepantlerxs—folks who walk between institutional worlds of art and activism and academia—to share stories of how they made the decisions they made, because there’s seldom a roadmap for that kind of thing. So I’m posting it now.

A few things about this interview, tho: Continue reading

Hidden Houses

Demolition of 601 E Mulberry 11-25-89 (2)

Here’s a project I worked on earlier this year for URBAN-15’s Hidden Histories series, an outgrowth of community work I’ve been involved in for the past few years around urban land struggles and the right to the city. With Greg’s assistance, I filmed several video interviews with folks who grew up in San Antonio neighborhoods or communities later removed from the urban landscape by various policy mechanisms. I then drafted a script for the live production and was lucky enough to line up a couple of great guest commentators for the show, which was ultimately filmed live before a studio audience and streamed online via URBAN-15’s space-age livestreaming technology. Continue reading

MMC

Single Goldfish

About a year ago, I lost a pregnancy at 10 weeks and 4 days. It was what they call a “missed miscarriage”–or mmc, in the weird parlance of acronyms used on the online pregnancy message boards I frequently consulted at the time for any little question or symptom. That miscarriage was my first; however, at 38, it has not been my last. It took me by surprise, though, largely because my first pregnancy ten years ago had been entirely uneventful and also unexpected–a single perfect pearl of a surprise pregnancy. But I also assumed that miscarriage was something sudden and undeniable, a gush of blood when you stood up. I don’t know what I expected. I didn’t expect it. I certainly didn’t know that a baby could stop developing in you silently, so silently your body didn’t even seem to register the change. That your first knowledge of miscarriage could be that you’d actually miscarried weeks before when you thought you were still pregnant.

The laws of thermodynamics maintain that matter can neither be created nor destroyed, and the energy of that unnamed, interrputed child turned first into a tree and then into this hybrid visual/poetry piece, which I’m honored to have live on as part of Tammy Melody Gomez’s beautiful guest-edited issue of About Place Journal. Check out the rest of the issue as well, whose theme is “Rewilding: Recovery, Remembrances, and Reconnection with the Ancestral Wild.” As I told Tammy, it’s stunning. I’m grateful.

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In Which I Continue to Write about Cats, But Only Because Bukowski Did It First

Gracias to La Voz for soliciting a poem for their National Poetry Month issue: click here, then check out pages 5-12 to read some fine San Anto poets (my poem’s on pg. 10). Is it okay to say that the pawprint decorations are kinda funny to me? Granted, recurrent miscarriage clipart is much harder to find than cat clipart. A nice pic of dirty ol’ drunken angel Bukowski cuddling his cats like a softie would have been good. Ah, here we go:

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VIDEO: “Visibilizando Victimas: Poetic Action and Analysis Amid Cascading Crises”

Been meaning to post this for awhile and just now getting around to it. Last month, a group of fellow South Texas hybrid writer/educator/activists and I collaborated on a poetry panel for this year’s Tejas Foco of the National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies, held at Texas Lutheran University in Seguín, Tejas.

The impetus for the panel – and for doing it as an “alternative session,” presenting poetry instead of scholarly papers – was in fact to raise questions about where (or whether) poetic forms of analysis and action might comfortably reside alongside traditional forms of scholarship and organizing.

In our panel proposal, for instance, we wrote:

When his son was killed by cartel violence, Mexican poet Javier Sicilia renounced poetry—and yet, as Rubén Martínez writes, poetics remains integral to the Movimiento por la Paz con Justicia y Dignidad now led by Sicilia, who believes that poets have the moral responsibility to tell the stories of crises. As alternative session featuring the creative writing of four hybrid writer/educator/activists, this panel similarly invokes the vital work performed by a tradition of Chicanx poetics in imagining and realizing strategies of resistance on multiple scales—to the hypervisible violence of border wall-building, gentrification, and climate change as well as to the intimate erasures of Chicana mothering practice and domestic violence. Following Sicilia, our session considers the distinctive work that poetic forms of analysis can offer our communities in times of multiple crises—the work of “visibilizando víctimas,” documenting histories that would be otherwise lost in plain sight, as well as contemporary realities that would otherwise go unconsidered.

Click on images below to view each panelist’s presentation, filmed and edited by Greg Harman and originally posted to Deceleration:

 

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Also, not until after I presented did I realize that I was unconsciously and kinesthetically quoting in my performance of “No Poems Allowed” from Carmen Tafolla’s performance of her poem “Both Sides of the Border,” from This River Here. Like “Both Sides,” “No Poems Allowed” staggers text on either side of the page to indicate relationships of both division and connection, irreducibility and intimate intertwining (in this case between ways of knowing–poetry and numbers, writing and organizing, theory and action). I want to acknowledge and reference Tafolla’s influence here, with great love and respect.

 

Poetry Aplenty

Had some poems accepted in a couple interesting journals,

here at the inaugural issue of Metafore Magazine, a “new metamodern transcendental literary magazine from Maharishi University”

(which looks to be a college in Iowa started by the yogi who started the Transcendental Meditation craze in the 1970s–wow)

and then here at Outsider Poetry, “a literary review for those who create with mental illness, are self-trained, or create art and poetry that challenges cultural and academic norms.” Respect!

OMG Cats!

A little over a year ago I started writing a story about all the cats I ever had, based on a bedtime story I told my daughter. Entitled “Día de los Gatos,” I was hoping to finish by Día de los Muertos of 2016, but other projects took over and I didn’t come back to it until about a year later. Maybe I can finish it by Día de los Muertos of 2017, I thought, but then I blew that deadline as the story grew and grew to encompass all of the minute ins and outs of my relationships to the 29+ cats I have loved and lost in the course of my life. Yes, it’s true.

Originally, I had thought to simply write the story and post it to this site. But then a writer friend with far more publication experience told me that anything you put on your site – or even on Facebook – is considered published in the eyes of journals and presses, should one be thinking of submitting for real. I wasn’t – who would possibly publish a 30-page essay about 29 cats? I thought – but it put the thought into my mind that maybe I could at least try first, before self-publishing.

So I sent it off to a few different places seeking creative non-fiction, and here is is! I’m so excited to be featured in the inaugural issue of Cagibi: A Literary Space, which looks spectacular and vital both content-wise and visually. Poke around the issue when you get a chance.

Oh–and remember that Día de los Gatos is a bedtime story, so read it out loud to loved ones. Or maybe to your cats.

Click below to read:

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