A writer writes para prestar su voz a todo el mundo

Hey mi gente,  hope you are doing well on your side of the screen. Let's get going straight up with what was and what is new. Hope you are ready. 


HOLY. HELL. So from the last time you saw a blog post from me (check them out, if you are new to my blog!) I was finishing up my blog in relation to my Summer I MFA class - "The Creative Experience", all the travel writing and the intensity of creating +10 poems from that class was a cool trip. On the plus side, I got to hang out with some amazing writers and our profe, Daniel Chacon (not to mention hanging out with some cool undergraduates!!) THEN, I entered the gauntlet of poetry production and film/book relations with two more classes in Summer II - "Advanced Poetry Writing" & "Storytelling in FIlm & Literature. It was a massive summer. ON top of that, I was able to take part in a life changing opportunity - CANTOMUNDO. I can't speak enough about it. It was a beautiful gathering of like minded writers. It was a space to let it all hang out and speak about craft, about performance, about the ins and outs of publishing and the future of Latino Poetics. I am humbled to have been chosen and then grateful for the newest friends I have made. 

As if that wasn't enough, I came back home, hung out with the wifey for a bit, made a quick trip to Anaheim, got some publications out (major thanks to Rosebud Ben-Oni, Glassworks, Luna Luna Magazine and Maggie Galehouse) and had time to put on a reading for Natalia Treviño's new book - "LAVANDO LA DIRTY LAUNDRY". Then after that - made some time to help put on  an amazing WORD AROUND TOWN POETRY TOUR - 2014! (Click on the bold to see links)

OH, and I got three A's from the summer.  What did you do? ( - In truth, I almost feel foolish staring the blog off with this news, for the next details are a bit rough, forgive the harshness)


There is a lot going on today. Next week's blog will focus a bit on what I have been working on these past few weeks, as the fall semester treks on. For now though, I want to shift the focus bit. 

There are moments too valuable to let a matter of truth slip by, unreviewed. This then, is one of them. 


Sad news from the state of Guerrero, México. 
First,  the Official Report as told by UNAM's La Jornada.  

Policías balean a normalistas de Ayotzinapa en Iguala; 5 muertos
Police shoot "Normalistas" from Ayotzinapa in Iguala; 5 dead
(Click on the article title to view)

Headline for La Jornada, September 28th, 2014

Headline for La Jornada, September 28th, 2014


Sergio Ocampo Arista 
La Jornada 
Sunday, 28 September 2014, p. 5 
Iguala, Gro., September 27. 

Armed attacks from municipal police and alleged gunmen were launched Friday night against students of the Normal School Rural Ayotzinapa which left five dead, 25 wounded, one brain dead . 25 others are still missing, the student witnesses reported. 

The attack, which continued the early hours of Saturday, was aimed at anyone who looked like a student. Gunmen fired at a bus filled with  traveling soccer team players, theHornets, the senior professional division soccer team,while on the federal highway Iguala-Chilpancingo . The vehicle fell off a cliff. The bus driver and one player were found dead. 

The students had come to meet Friday afternoon on four buses to engage in a fundraising event, at 6 pm. After the event concluded, the students took three buses to get out of Iguala, which apparently led the chase for more than two hours by municipal, state and federal police. 

At a press conference this afternoon at the school, Normal Ayotzinapa, parents and student leaders reported that several students were executed extra judicially -  students included, Daniel Solis Gallardo, a native of Zihuatanejo, in the first attackw which happened after 8 pm on Friday; then  Yosivani Guerrero, Omeapa village, municipality of Tixtla was also killed; while Aldo Solano Gutiérrez, born in Ayutla de los Libres, has been ruled brain dead. 

Of the 25 injured students, five are by gunfire, including Gutiérrez Solano, 25 others missing and an equal number are arrested. 

Photo taken about an hour after the shootings occurred. 

Photo taken about an hour after the shootings occurred. 

This morning, near where students were killed in Iguala on the downtown corner of Juan Alvarez St. , the body of a young man was found, who showed signs of torture and a skinned face. It is unknown if he was a student of the normal school. The Attorney General of the State (PGJE) counts the fatality as number six. 

The students demanded impeachment and dismissal of Mayor Jose Luis Abarca Velázquez and Governor Angel Aguirre Rivero, and the removal of the Secretary of Public Safety Iguala, Felipe Flores Velázquez. 

In a separate attack, gunmen and police fired on the bus of Chilpancingo's Hornets football (soccer) team in the Iguala-Acapulco highway. The vehicle, Castro Tours company, had been run off the road and the driver, Victor Manuel Lugo Ortiz, and one studentand footballer David Evangelista Joshua Garcia, 14 years old  were killed . A taxi driver who was passing by was injured and his passenger, Blanca Sánchez Montiel died. Four people in total have minor injuries. 

Almost simultaneously, a delegation from the Union of Workers of the College of Bachelors was attacked with bullets leaving two people injured, including its leader Alfredo Ramírez García, who later had surgery to remove a bullet from his shoulder. 

Scenes of desperation 

Mr. Jose Ma. Memije Rodriguez reached that point, near the town Santa Teresa." I come to get my son, but I am told that he was taken to the Public Ministry of Iguala", he said distressed aside Castro Tours truck-where his boy was traveling with other athletes - the bus involved has been found in the canyon, still, with broken windows along the left side. 

"My son's name is Christian David Memije Meza, and he came to referee the game against the Hornets, the selection of Iguala. I said (on the phone) I was hurt and that the truck was going all over the place on the road and we do not know why - but I made a call to the authorities see about these as criminal acts against athletes from Chilpancingo.  We are promoting the sport and its not right that this happens to them."

Concentrated police 

Iñaki Cabrera Cabrera, head of the state prosecutor's office, went to meet early today, but refused to make statements to the few details that were in the regional prosecutor's office; by the afternoon, it was announced that six people were killed and 17 were injured; the prosecutor initiated investigations. 

He stressed to clarify the facts, "the Public Ministry concentrated all municipal personnel, security personal, weapons and vehicle units as far as assigned for the performance of their duties in order to practice the respective expertise as warranted." 

The statement explained that "because of the fact that the normal school took three trucks to the bus station to go to school", police fired their weapons on vehicles. Elsewhere in the city, he says, officers located "Three buses -two Coast Line bus line and one of the company Star Oro- five vehicles and a motorcycle, all with laden with gunshot fire, apparently caliber .223 (AR-15). "

The State Coordinator of Education Workers (CETEG) condemned the attack and announced  a plan of action against education reform, and it will include a requirement to punish those responsible for the death of the two normal school students. 

Peter David García López, representative of the Student Executive Committee Ayotzinapa said: "as we were asking for fundraising assistance" as It was, he spoke to the truck drivers and "they agreed to do us a favor, it was not an abduction or threat to a driver, we were going to do, because we are students. We proceeded to the buses from the center to the plaza, here, to move on to the normal school. The bus had already dropped its passengers", he said. 

Family members in Iguala grieving. 

Family members in Iguala grieving. 

"Peers have videos that show that it was the (police) state and federal who were there. At that time the police started shooting at three buses and that's when a classmate got hit and fell. "

On December 12, 2012, along the Autopista del Sol, in Chilpancingo, two students were killed. And on January 7 on Atoyac two other youths were hit, while they were engaged in fundraising activites along the Acapulco-Zihuatanejo highway. 

Reports of wounded 

The state Health Secretary Lazaro Mazon Alonso, reported that 18 people were reported injured in the violence in Iguala, 14 were hospitalized and cared for by health sector personnel in the same locality; two more in the ISSSTE, IMSS Acapulco -one with a bullet in the eye, and another in a private hospital, he said. He said that of the 14 wounded under his responsibility, five were discharged, one died at 5 in the morning and one underwent surgery. One was moved to Mexico City and another remains in intensive care. The rest continue to live in Iguala. 

Meanwhile, state police in coordination with the Army, Federal Police and judicial police took control of the safety of Iguala. This was announced by the State Secretary of Public Security, Leonardo Vazquez. He said that from Saturday take control in Igualan municipality until it is deemed necessary. 



Ahora, los detalles así comunicados a mi, departe de una compañera ahí en la zona. Lo que se reporta departe de los periodistas no es todo la historia completa - in truth, though some of the details are correct, some parts haven't been reported out- and thanks to Bryan Parras and a mutual friend, we are able to get the whole story. 

The whole picture is this - the "students" in this horrific event are adult students currently attending a teacher college in the rural outskirts of Ayotzinapa, Guerrero (Gro), a small town located about an hour and a half from Iguala. The school is unique a it is dedicated to serving a mostly indigenous population. Originally founded in 1926, La Escuela Normal Rural - Raúl Isidro Burgos, (click the bold words for the school) better known as Escuela Normal Rural de Ayotzinapa, is dedicated to producing creative, honest teachers from - "una institución formada de hombres libres, íntegros, de profesionistas que sean dignos representantes de la carrera magisterial; hombres concretos, desarrollándose en situaciones concretas".  

Students in protest. 

Students in protest. 

Sin duda, estos jovenes son hechos de concreto. There are over 300 students, a majority of them from rural tribus, ranchos, y el mismo pueblo de Ayotzinapa. They are bilingual students who speak Spanish and either Nahuatl or Mixteco. Their only goal? TO BECOME TEACHERS. They want to live some crazy dream of being teachers and get jobs and go back into the very tribes they are from and TEACH THE CHILDREN OF THEIR TRIBES.  

As both Bryan and I got to listen to the frantic revelations from that Friday/Saturday nightmare, our source was able to tell us about these young men and women - they come from high up in the hills and the mountains in the area just to attend school. They travel on foot at least an hour to go to school, a school that up until 30 years ago had been funded by the government. But is no longer the case. But they still come and they still graduate, they are students and fundraisers. They are a thorn in the side of the police and the city officials in Iguala to be sure.

After all, who wants to be reminded that you are overlooking the indigenous populations of your state?  

In truth, the night of Sept. 27th isn't the first time the students have had their run in with police forces in Iguala. 

On December 12th (Día de La Virgen de Guadalupe), 2011, two "Normalistas" - as the students are called, were killed by police forces. Ayotzinapa Normalistas Gabriel Echeverría de Jesus and Jorge Alexis Herrera Pino were shot just outside the capital city of Guerrero, Chilpancingo. The students bodies were found along the Autopista del Sol. 

Two years after the fact, the rest of the "Normalistas" post a message in commemoration to their fallen schoolmates - photo taken in December of 2013. 

Two years after the fact, the rest of the "Normalistas" post a message in commemoration to their fallen schoolmates - photo taken in December of 2013. 

You might wonder why the police would think these students are a threat. Right now, we don't have reasonable answer.  Aside from the fact that the Mexican government has slowly stopped funding "Escuelas Normales Rurales" and that these students keep refusing to end educational pursuits, it could be they don't want any dissenters.   These students are asking for change and reform for their school and their community and for some, this has proven to be a point of combat. But the "Normalistas" press on.  How? 

Let's go back to Friday, Sept. 27th. Several news sources quote the police and make reference to police reports that the students were pursued because they were trying to hijack city buses that night.  The truth of it was that they were trying to head home after a day of organized fundraising - and what were they fundraising for?  An already planned trip to el Distrito Federal (DF), the capitol of México, in order to take part in the 46th anniversary events of el 2 de Octubre.   They were students, planning a field trip to attend a protest, or a rally or a memorial service. The bottom line is they were students being students, doing college student things.  Getting shot was not a part of the experience.  

But sadly, this isn't the end of the issue.  Since the E.N.R. de Ayotiznapa currently has a student body of 300 students, about 200 of them had gone to the fundraising event in Iguala on the night of Sept. 27th. Of the 200, 4 have been killed, 4 have been injured, 1 has been in a vegetative state (if he has not already unplugged from his breathing machines) and another 67 have gone missing. Entirely missing. The students loaded up on three buses - all heading out of town, heading back to Ayotiznapa. But they never got to town. Two of the buses are completely unaccounted for and the last bus was later found on Sunday, full of bullet holes and shredded tires. No students or remains have been found.    

Currently, a multitude of family members have gone back into Iguala looking for any clues- literally going door to door inquiring about the whereabouts to their children.  The word on the street is that the cartels in the area were working with the police against the "Normalistas" - (witnesses on the road near the bus full of high school soccer players, said they saw an unmarked car firing into the bus as well as the cops). The fear is that either the police or the cartels have the remaining 67 "Normalistas".  Right now that is the question: Where have the 67 gone?

Press conference in Iguala after parents arrive to search for missing students. 

Press conference in Iguala after parents arrive to search for missing students. 

This hasn't made the news here in the U.S - you won't catch it on CBS or NBC or any of the American news stations. You have to read about it, and even then, some of the details might be a little off. Just read, and read and pray and read. 


If you are connected to news sources or know of media (both corporate and independent), then tell them about the story. This was an event that did away with almost 1/3 of a school population. It is a massive F*CKUP on the part of the governance and the police of the city of Iguala.  Show them this link - Acción Urgente    The global community has to know what is taking place in Guerrero. The Center for Human Rights in the Mountains - Tlachinollan or Centro de derechos humanos de la montaña is one of the groups that is calling for attention to be called forth upon the mayor's office in Iguala, and the governor's office as well. The more international pressure is placed on the adminstradores en Guerrero, es posible que les llame la atención y actuen para encontrar los desaparecidos.  Esperamos que si.  Press on, gente, press on.  

Spread the word. Keep up with the news. Understand that militarized police action against students isn't just an American issue, its a global issue.  I hope that certain detractors (those that name the women and children coming across the "southern border", as a negative event, not a humanitarian crisis), see this as well. If we ask, why is it that some people are willing to risk their lives to cross over, those detractors haven't seen the major issues plaguing people in their own lands. No one who is searching for education should be terrorized.  

* Many thanks to Bryan Parras and our contact in Iguala, Gro, MEX. 

And now, the tease: 


Poetry Comes in All Shapes & Forms.

What is up, MI GENTE!?!!?  

So far, so good. - From last week to this week, its been a great time to be involved in writing and poetry. I discover new stuff all the time and so, I hope to share that with you here. - Thank you, Obrigado, Mil Gracias to A. Raa - for the comment. I replied back. (YEA!!! - at least one person reads this thing!!! :) )

Let's get the things going. 




NOW in its 6th year- the Rio Grande Valley (the RGV) plays host to a spectacular weekend of poetry, literary celebration and homage to the written word. The organizers, Daniel Garcia Ordaz and Brenda Nettles Riojas, the actual founders have done an amazing thing by creating this event. They have worked in as many different facets to include registered poet, the community at large, fans of poetry, professors, college students, teachers and kids - hell, they have even managed to host a poetry reading across the border. This will be my first time at the festival and I am completely giddy in anticipation for this event. I have been given a sort of run down of the events for the weekend- and I am sworn to secrecy until we get closer to the date, so stay tuned. 

These are the details as I know them so far: 

April 25th  - 28th, 2013
All across the RGV

If you want a bit more information, including locations and bios on featured and registered poets, then take a look at the festival site, here.

The organizers have even put together an annual anthology for the event itself - BOUNDLESS. Then, on top of that, they also end the entire event with a Sunday visit to the gravesite of Gloria Anzaldúa, who was a Rio Grande Valley Native  So, if you have time, take a trip to the valley and check it. 


AND NOW... a NEW DISCOVERY!!  (not really that I discovered..but)

So I noticed on a friend's Facebook post, they had a link to an audio recording of Gloria Anzaldúa (Thanks Georgina!!), and so I took a look-see and liked it. I decided to take a further look and you know what, the Univ. of Arizona's Poetry Center has an impressive collection of audio and visual recordings of poetry and poets. You should check it out!

I have included a few of them:

A 1977 reading from Phillip Levine (it goes into the intro first, then flips to the next audio file) 

A 1993 reading from Benjamin Alire Saenz

A 2011 reading by Kazim Ali

A 1991 reading by Gloria E. Anzaldúa

Really pretty awesome stuff and very easy to sign up for!!  Enjoy!!  here is the link to sign up:
University of Arizona Poetry Center



a dear friend, OUTSPOKEN BEAN - (go to my links and check his site out!!) is up and running with his one man show. Here are the details: 


Outspoken Bean is a tremendously talented spoken word artist and writer. So try to make it to his show!!  I will be there on Sunday, - so hope to see you there.

Here are the details:

Date & Time :  Saturday, April 20th - 8pm
                        Sunday, April 21st - 3pm

Price:  All tickets pre-sale, $12 - at the Door - $15
Where: Freneticore Theatre - 5102 Navigation Blvd. , Houston, TX

See you there!!


If you remember last week, we talked a little bit about the WORD AROUND TOWN POETRY TOUR. If you are just joining the blog, no worries, just click on the title and it will take you to the site. SO, now we are ready and waiting, hoping we get as many poets to participate in the POET DRAFT for the WAT tour. This year, we have selected 9 poets (a hard decision to make, might I add) to rejoin the tour, leaving 7 spots open to be filled by newer poets (new to the tour that is).  Last year, we had the event at Khan's Wine bar in mid-town, but this year, we felt we needed a little more elbow room. - This year, we will bring the POET DRAFT to TAFT STREET COFFEE HOUSE - one of the original venues for the tour!!  Taft St. has always had a long running open mic on Tuesdays, and its gone through its share of hosts (many thanks to Millie Fiori, Joey, and  Jessie for all your hard work in running that open mic in the past!!) and so on April 30th, we will take over the night and run the draft. ALL POETS ARE WELCOME TO COMPETE FOR A SPOT ON THE TOUR!!  (unless you are already selected, you can come and support!!) 

Make sure you bring one poem to read in front of the judges. Make it a good one. 
Here are the details for that night- 
Taft Street Coffee House
2115 Taft St, Houston, TX 77006

8 pm



Bueno, con eso, se acabo la bloga por hoy. But, I will leave you with a tease:


The Writers Speak for Those Who Can Not

Hey Gente,

Its been two weeks. I know. I was doing real well with a weekly blog (more or less appearing between Wednesday & Thursday evenings), but alas, sometimes the world - se te ensima, it just jumps up into your lap, into your face so fast that you need to do something in response. These last two weeks have been tremendous, so bear with me as I bare it all. (I say this and I must also admit, that at this point, I don't even know how many people are reading the blog, it could be 5 people or like 250, hopefully somebody is, right?)

OK so to honor the little tradition of the "tease" I end the previous blog post with - I will address that first and the jump into what derailed me for two weeks. SO. LET'S BEGIN!!

WAT?! DID YOU SAY?!?!!?!


So if you are familiar enough with me and my writing (and don't worry if you aren't, today, you get in on all the info) then you know about what WAT?! is. - It is a labor of love poetry, a poetic celebration, a call to arms and poetry - all of this in the 4th largest city in the nation.  The WORD AROUND TOWN is in its 7th year. It is a tour like none other and it is gaining momentum. 

      In the summer of 2006, just about 10 poets gathered together to celebrate all that works for poetry in Houston: the ability to read at any venue, any given night of the week in front of an unknown audience. It surprised the poets, the venues and the spectators.

         The tour in simplest terms is a 7 day marathon poetry tour, where a selected group of poets go for seven days straight, reading a 7 different venues for the whole week.  - It is what makes Houston unique - this so far, as gente from other major cities have told us - we are the only city that has a poetry spot for every night of the week. 

       Originally, the main message of the tour was to highlight and honor those poets that were dedicated to poetry on the mic; poets who were not afraid to delve past their comfort zone and read in front of unknown crowds, as well as highlight those venues who were dedicated to poetry. - The whole idea has always been to showcase the poets and the venues that make the city special.

    The current incarnation of the tour is bold: there are 16 poets that are selected, along with 1 featured poet per night, per venue. In all, that's just about 23 people for 7 poetry spots. The selected poets are a true representation of the best and brightest Houston has to offer in Spoken Word, Academia, Open Mic and Experimental Poetry. - 9 poets who have been a part of the tour in the last year or two are selected and then the last 7 spots are open to a POET DRAFT (which this year will be held on April 30th @ Taft St. Coffee House). The organizers include myself, and fellow poets Blanca Alanis, Joe B, and Stephen Gros are working like crazy to get this going every year.

        If you have never been to the WAT?! Poetry Tour, you don't know what you are missing. Every night is unique. This year, the tour will happen from August 4th to the 10th, 2013. We are still in the planning phases and just selected the first 9 poets. - The next step is to secure the venues and host the Poetry Draft for the last 7 spots. Do you think you have what it takes? Then come to the draft. If you want more information, then click on the banner above.


Before we continue, I really need you to understand that if you read my bio, I take on three parts: Poet/Educator/ACTIVIST. - I think I follow what Martin Espada eludes to - that sometimes, writers have to be the voice for the voiceless - write about those things, those topics and subjects that deserve the light, else it will never get it. With that said, I hope you can understand that I am not one to speak and not act. Me pongo las botas y le entro - I was a part of the Librotraficante Caravan that last year took a trip to Tucson, AZ to protest their House Bill 2281 - which pretty much took apart the Mexican-American Studies program on the K-12 level. They took books from children's hands. They boxed up books and told them that they were "un-American" - books like Junot Diaz's DROWN, Sandra Cisnero's HOUSE ON MANGO STREET, Carmen Tafolla's CURANDERA and Lorna Dee Cervantes' EMPLUMADA. These books are amazing reads, AMERICAN reads, written about Latinos about Latinos who had no voice, who need a voice. To have taken these books away was criminal.  

        We organized here in Texas. Me and the merry bunch of Latinos, con quien me junto, Tony Diaz, Liana Lopez, Bryan Parras and Laura Acosta - we planned a 6 city caravan, full of books (over 1000 = $20,000) and roughly 30 some odd gente. We packed up a bus and honored the writers and the books and the teachers and the students.  - Sadly, the law won in AZ. The classes are still gone, and they only way the books now get into kids hands are by the underground libraries we organized (currently we have an underground library in Houston, San Antonio, El Paso, Tucson, Phoenix and New York, with more on the way) or in Tucson, under the direction of Curtis Acosta - he teaches a Sunday class at the Venezuela Youth Center. It will take between 2 to 3 years before the Supreme Court can rule that this law is unconstitutional, and by then, the damage will be so apparent. - A whole generation of cabroncitos won't know these writers. So this bitter pill, that as an educator, is hard to swallow - that you can have some kids that want to read books that interest them and can't, its a damn shame. 

     My commitment now, all of our commitments now as Librotraficantes, is to never let that happen in any shape, form or fashion any where else - especially in TEXAS.

BUT GUESS WHAT? - You have some Texas legislators working, in a round about way to try and control what books are being taught, what angles of history can be studied on the college level. - Neta, Neta, - we have TEA PARTIERS who have their eyes on "tightening up" what can be considered a study of "a comprehensive American History or Texas History Survey Course" in Texas colleges.  So if your brain isn't too fried yet, then click on this link here.

      Simple words huh? - If you didn't click on the link, no worries, I will translate for you: the Senate Bill (and it has a twin in the House- HB1938) SB1128 wants to basically filter what counts as the undergrad components for a basic college degree. "Big deal" you might say. So what?  Its two classes in college, who cares? - But here is the implication: if legislators can begin tinkering with what counts as "good" or "bad" history classes, then what's next? How far will this reach? 

      It wouldn't be a scary deal if it were meant to clean up the college courses. But its not. No, see we do our homework - and if you have some time, you should read what Senator Dan Patrick (R-Houston) and Rep. Giovanni Capriglione (R- Southlake) have used to create their respective bills - hint - click here.

        This report by Republican Think Tank group - the National Assoc. of Scholars, (and if you are a Red, don't make a carita, I respect your fire and practicality, just not the craziness the Tea Party brings) only looks for, reports, dissects and nitpicks the books and assigned reading that deal with RACE, CLASS and GENDER - and the report itself recommends that there be less of it. - Esto es lo que da rabia.

       WE as a people, don't get to read alot a history that isn't "broad" or "over arching". I mean in college, I got half of it. - I took the standard two history classes - to 1865/ from 1865 and it was the second half that interested me the most. WHY?

            Well, the prof. was the just retired PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ST. THOMAS - DR. JOSEPH McFADDEN. (this was right around 1998 or so) -  It was one of the few classes I didn't have to look at my watch to see how long we had before class ended. He has us in the palm of his hand - and what did he talk about?  The F**kin history of BARBED WIRE!!!  - Yep. MikeyFad taught us U.S. history under the lens of the creation, need and evolution of Barbed Wire Fences. It made sense. It was practical. We read about industry, western expansion, etc, but all from the context of why this invention made sense - but if you left it to mis queridos compadres in TX legislature - I would have never been able to read about this. McFadden wouldn't have been able to let us read about the dust bowl, about MLK's Letters from a Birmingham Jail, or about how the vaqueros pre-dating the cowboy...

         I want this younger generation to read the US history as comprehensively as possible - one in which includes every aspect of our nation - the race, the class and the gender. You can not deny these parts of history - you can not tell history without them. 

     So for now, as a Librotraficante, I will fight on. We already went to Austin in fact. We even tried to meet with Sen. Patrick, but he was too busy to meet with us, so instead, he wrote about us (incorrectly on Facebook, I might add). We were even invited to speak to Rep. Capriglione - but all we got was alot of nothing - he's not ready to talk, to concede that what will happen will be a limitation and a disenfranchisement of the very people they claim they want to help. Here is the link to our conversation with the dear (sinvergüenza) Rep. from North Dallas. 

Let me set that up for you. - He tells us that he can convince us that the bill isn't a problem. He says that once he is done, we will understand why he wrote it. - Our meeting didn't do anything, but help make our point - your not ready to acknowledge "Minority" relevance in education, in history or in politics. Your loss. - I will let you know this: from the minute we got a hold of the bill and the report - it took us less than 48 hours to grab 20 something people from three separate cities: Baytown, Houston and  San Antonio- to converge on the Capitol.

If both of these gentlemen think that was impressive - they have not seen anything yet. We are in the media. We are political. We are moving fast, and hot. ¡Aguas!, ¡Aguas! Ahi les llegamos...

And now, for the Tease:


The Words, Las Palabras, They Flow Past the City Walls.

Hey Gente,

First off, I must apologize that this blog post comes a day late. Yesterday was filled with so much work that I needed to get around that first. A lot can happen in seven days!!  So, let's get started.  

First with the tease:

       From a first hand account, the TEXAS SALSA CONGRESS is an amazing event. My dear friend and fellow artist, Ruby Rivera, knocks it out of the park with this masterful celebration of dance and music. The salsa congress is made up of dance workshops, presentations and special guest performances from salsa dances of all ages and backgrounds from all over the U.S. It is truly a spectacle and sight to see. You can see the schedule for the 4 day event here


          The most important aspect of this event is how damn good a job Ruby does to include young, growing dancers. They attend in droves from both coasts and eat up all the workshop opportunities and celebrations. The TEXAS SALSA CONGRESS also serves a second purpose (well two actually) (1) to raise scholarship funds for students as they pursue dreams of a college education and (2) a well deserved "hell yeah, I did it" kind of party, is the ONLY FEMALE organizer of a SALSA CONGRESS. It happens no place else, making Houston home to someone very special. If you can make it to the event, please do. You won't regret it!! (PLUS, you might get to see and the wifey perform on Friday night - yep, Ruby and the CONGRESS are fans of poetry!


  I would classify what I was a part of last night as "educational advocacy". In simplest terms, a few local Houston Latino leaders and I got together to being planning H.O.M.B.R.E.S. - Helping Our Men thru Brotherhood, Respect, & Education for Success.
The idea is this: 


3 mentors will share 5 steps they took up the pyramid. They will share the challenges and obstacles they overcame. This will be followed by our youth tellling tell us what they need from us to help them succeed. If we do not tell our young men how to be adult men, then videos, rappers, and movies will.  Every one is welcome who wants to help our men and young men fulfill their great destinies. - Last night's meeting was a solid step forward. I served as scribe and as everyone talked about either their definitions of the issues our young men are facing or their own backgrounds, I was able to translate that into viable topics for discussion for future meetings. We are still in the planning stages, so stay tuned. A major thank you to TONY DIAZ for spearheading the idea!!


and sometimes, you will get some info of what happens outside of H-TOWN. Peep this: 


Yes, you read the flyer right, not in H-TOWN, but in El Paso ("el Chuco"), T!!  A buddy of mine, Roberto Santos, MFA graduate from UTEP, college professor, host and damn good poet has served as the organizer for the BARBED WIRE OPEN MIC SERIES (BWOMS) for over 5 years. That show and that art, shows no signs of slowing down. Its a golden night, that last Saturday of the month. The crowd is appreciative, supportive and on point to hear some poetry and music. The artists are humble and dedicated and Roberto, along with his crew are the people that make it happen. I had the pleasure of being a feature a few months back and it was a grand experience. If you want to get more info about this Saturday's event, then log onto your FB account and get more info here. - and straight from Roberto himself: 

"For this month's edition of the BWOMS we are featuring published poet Robin Scofield, and the poems from her latest book, 'Sunflower Cantos' (Her book will be on sale at the event; see below for author bio). 

We will also have a freestyle cypher at 6:30 and the open mic starting at 7. Anyone can perform any type of creative expression. Vendors are welcome and encouraged to join us at no cost. 

**Author Bio: Robin Scofield** - 

A native Texan, Robin Scofield is the author of Sunflower Cantos, from Mouthfeel Press in El Paso, and has written poetry, memoir, and fiction for 44 years. She was awarded an M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Texas at Austin in 1986. She has had poems appear in Paris Review, Western Humanities Review, Theology Today, Poetry Motel, Center: A Journal of the Literary Arts, and Texas Observer. As an experienced editor, she offers manuscript consultations and creative workshops.

She has been a featured reader in several venues, including the El Paso Arts Museum, and she regularly attends The Tumblewords Project, a community-based writing group and is active in regional as well as international literary events, such as the juried San Miguel Poetry Week."


So I will forever sing the praises from that town! Aside from being an MFA candidate at UTEP (online, too!!), I am totally impressed with the people and places within "El Chuco". There is so much going on that had to make sure to get into it. Here are two examples: 

1) Words On a Wire (yes, click the title) - a radio show hosted by Benjamin Alire Saenz and Daniel Chacón (both MFA -Creative Writing professors at UTEP) that focuses on poetry, fiction, creative writing, memoir writing and more. They conduct interviews with other writers and discuss all things written. Make sure you take a listen. Like their page too. DO THAT HERE


and 2) THE READER -  an online magazine out of El Paso, Texas. The Literary Muses (8th grade student writers) host various Chicano & Latino guests: poets, novelists, essay, short story, fiction and nonfiction authors, digital and print-media reporters, world-renowned educators and more... Guests visit in person as and via Skype.
Hosted by a prima-hermana Librotraficante there in El Paso, Georgina Cecilia Perez teaches Chicano and Latino Literature to her 8th grade students AND gets them right.
She is doing amazing work, instilling the want of literature and the want of writing to her students. In March, I get to be a part of the program. Truly a blessing!!

So now we bring it back to H-Town!!

If you can make it to no other show, then please join me here:


CULTURAL LADRONES will take place on Feb. 24th from 8 to 1am. 
The event is for fans of art, music and poetry who are 21 & up. 
Where: - House of Blues ( 1204 Caroline St. 77002 -Foundation Rm.)

If you are interested in tickets for the event, click here.

Please, support the local art scene!! This should be an amazing event.

And now, to close out this blog post, a small teaser... its something I am about to start reading and give you a little review: