Seriously. As an efficient blogger, I suck. No, really. In all of 4 years of having this site and the blog, I have done an incredibly crap job of keeping up with the blog. So for those of you that are new to this site and the blog itself, welcome to hearing my voice in your head. I will try to be a bit professional and give you the deets on how I work this blog. SO here goes, mi gente:
THE POET MENDEZ BLOG-
is created with the sole purpose of highlighting as much art, poetry, education and social issue as can described within. Sometimes, this might also include some of the work I am doing, but most times ONLY focus on the work others are doing. I thing supporting other causes and art is important in order to sustain positive change. Call me crazy.
each blog post will highlight 3 events/concepts/movements/issues that are current or upcoming.
(Here is the part I suck at) THIS BLOG WILL SEE A NEW POST EVERY SUNDAY EVENING. There I have said it. I've tried for Monday, I've tried for Wednesday, but its too crazy of a week to try to get that done, so SUNDAYS it is!!
OK, Mi Gente, with that said, consider this the first blog post of the new year!! YAY!! Let's get started. Its nice to see you again. If you were at my house, I would invite you in for posole, or machacado or ham and eggs or criossants and peach jam. Those are some of my favorites. If you drink beer or wine this early, then I would also ask you sip on some tequllita with me (it's 11 am, chill out haters). I will do my best to catch you up to spead on what's been going on since the last post. (**NOTE, I THINK MY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS LOOK AT MY BLOG AS WELL, AF)
APOLOGIES FROM THIS WRITER
So if you look at the last blog post (click here) I have been busy (I know, I know, who the hell isn't, right?) - Its been exactly 1 year, 3 months and 16 days. I have some 'splaining to do. I get it. So let me give you a nice list for you to see why this indio didn't make this blog a priority.
1) I JUST FINISHED MY MFA DEGREE in POETRY!!
2) WIFEY has LUPUS (that shit is no joke- if hospitals had that punch card like Smoothie King does, shiiiiiiiiiit, we'd have a "free room in the ER" as a reward for frequent visits at least like 4 times already). She good though. Some days are good, some days are rough, but she smiles at me and yells and complains and aches and we laugh and we work on it. This is my life. I got no complaints. She a champ. If you are curious about her and what she does, she has two sites (click on the listed items below) :
(b) Chromic Brevity
3) I TEACH. (and if you teach and you got "free time" a lot of the time, then you ain't doing your damn job well)
4) I COACH. Yes, I coach. For real. Ask my soccer boys. I might not be the best coach, but well, we won district (co-champs) last year and so far we have a 10- 0 season. So what if I only am the Asst. Coach? It counts, right?
5) I HAVE ELDERY PARENTS. Seriously - you try keeping up with an 81 (mom) and a 71 (pop) year old. That ain't no joke. Like today. I call my folks today and they don't do long 30 minute to an hour conversations. No most times its like this:
Me: Hi ama
Ama: hi mi'jo, what are you doing?
Me: Nothing much, I just called to see if you are ok and if you or dad needed anything. Esta el viejo por ahi? Pasamelo.
Ama: No, mi'jo we are good. I am watching the Texas game on the T.V. and I got on my computer and played Solitare and looked at the internets. We are good. Tu papa esta fuera haciendo quien sabe que.
Me: Ok, well, we will be by during the week. Is that ok?
Ama: Yes mi'jo that's fine. Have a good day mi'jo. *CLICK
and that's it, short and to the point. So you can imagine my surprise when my mom tells me TODAY, when I call that she tells me she fell down -it was "nothing". She was walking around the house (now that she has a cane, the doctor wants her to walk more often to get her muscles in better motion) and under doctors orders she has to walk sideways and even backwards. Well she fell down walking backwards. (She is fine.) She tells me like it's no big thing and says she tried to get my dad's attention to come and help her, but she couldn't stop laughing to yell for him. She was laughing at the fact that she fell from walking backward and thought it was funny to have to explain to the doctor and my dad that it was not from doing something risky, just walking backwards. "Mi'jo, I felt so silly wiggling on the floor and that was funny, but I am fine. I even got up on my own. Your father got me a chair and I got myself up!" So, to confirm that it was just a fall and nothing serious, I asked my apa and he said, he heard her laughing and want to go see what was so funny and he found her on the floor laughing "como una loca. Mi'jo, parecia como un gusano, moviendose, tratando de levanarse, la hubieras visto!" Sometimes they go fishing. Sometimes, my mom is good and practices Tae Kwon Do at the house. Sometimes they are donating time or materials to the needy or volunteering time for fundraisers to help abused moms and kids. But they busy and since I have no siblings, I am busy looking in on them.
6) I HAVE SIX PROJECTS IN THE WORKS.
(1) sending off my manuscript to get it published into a book (I can finally say I have a manuscript, yay!)
(2) researching/ interviewing people about "THE HUELGA SCHOOLS OF HOUSTON" this was once a class for the MFA, but it has taken a life of its own and I think eventually (like in the next 3 years) this will be the follow up book to my first book.
(3) Creating a workshop retreat. That's all I can say, really. Its top secret. Let's just say the wifey and I have big plans for Texas writers.
(4) Creating a teen version of a writer's retreat
(5) Creating a workshop space for Latino writers
(6) sending off poems for poetry prizes and publication opportunities
I say all this as a way to lead into a heartfelt apology. I COULD HAVE DONE BETTER. I didn't have to leave this blog. I should have been around even just a little, to promote the amazing work of the people I know who are doing amazing things. Advocacy is a necessity. If we do not push to promote one another, to support one another, to advocate for one another, we devalue our individual works. I am sorry I wasn't around. I am sorry I didn't help get word out on brilliant issues and current art events. But with a new year, we get more chances, right? So I intend to make the best of it. Tag alone and let's see what happens.
WE LOST A FEW PEOPLE ALONG THE WAY
I am a little sad, as of the beginning of this year. I am a bit heart broken. I lost two idols. We lost two heroes in the poetry community. #QEPD (Que En Paz Descanse) Anthony "ZIN" Mills and Francisco X. Alarcon.
Both of these men were larger than life for me.
ZIN gave me my first taste of a stage and the power of poetry. The very first open mic stage I ever read at was at a venue, the former "Mahogany Cafe". I was 20. I am 39 now. I owe that man alot. For being willing to tell a Mexican poet who walked into a primarily black open mic that he should come back because "your words are important and impressive and this crowd needs to hear you".
FXA though we only had a few emails back and forth - was an inspiration. His poetry has always picked me up when I didn't know if I should keep going. He was a hero for me because his heart for me was Jalisciense. He is a tapatio, a brother from the very state, the very city, Guadalajara, Jalisco that gives me some of my poetics. In every photo, in every video, in every message there is heart. I hope I carry that energy he put out there.
Both of these men are presente. Se vive y se ven entre nosotros. Thank you for all you have been and all you are. We are all better for having known you.
A poem then, from FXA -
from Of Dark Love
TRANSLATED BY FRANCISCO ARAGÓN
once again I look out your window
and the world looks oddly different,
maybe the fields have blossomed,
or perhaps more stars have been born
delirious waves caress my feet,
something new, unknown,
sunsets whisper in my ear as well,
everywhere I find your odor, your shape
you are among old-growth pines,
in the fog along the coastal rocks,
around the most somber of afternoons
impossible to wipe away your job
from my eyes, from my sad mouth—
you are the universe made flesh
A NEW COLLECTION - "THEY SAY"
So you need to get this new anthology!! It is community, it is our youth and it is new.
The four students in the video above are among more than 175 from a total of five Houston public schools and two Harris County juvenile detention centers learning to write poetry in a program called Iconoclast.
The program is supported by nearby St. Paul’s Methodist Church, in partnership with other donors and community members. But Iconoclast, which was launched in October 2014, is a secular poetry program without any religious content or teaching. Its current curator/instructor/founder is fellow poet, and dear hermano, Marlon Lizama (Click on his name to go to his site). Marlon is a beast on this project. He is beast of a B-Boy, a father, a husband and an author of his own collection of poetry. He is the winner of the 2015 John. P McGovern Award for his dedication to arts and humanity and damn good writer.
This collection of poetry is entitled "They Say" and it is the first (of many) poetry collections to come from the very communities Marlon works with. If you can, support the project and get a copy of the book. To my knowledge, all proceeds go to creating a scholarship fund to help the very students from the anthology pursue more writing and academic goals . Get it while its hot! Way to go Iconoclast! En hora buena!
Here is the link for you to get your copy!! (CLICK HERE)
Ok gente, with that, me despido. Thanks for showing up and keep reading. If you can, help spread the word and tell folks to comment. See you next week. And now, I leave you with the teaser for next week...