Short update for friends who are not on my Facebook page or other social networks: I got the master copy of my book just yesterday. I will be doing revisions on it (not many at all really) and send it back out. Then let the selling begin! Stay tuned. Thanks for following. Please sign up for email updates or like my page on Facebook. Address is https://www.facebook.com/fluidchicano . I also have a Google+ page. Twitter user? No problem. Find me on Twitter as well. And finally, if you are on the fringes and like it rough, you can also find me on Tumblr. Check me out there and click to follow. You'll like it. Promise.
A band of Mexican teens is fed up with the dire conditions of insecurity in their land, so they embark on journey into the "beautiful north" to recruit an army of expatriates living in the United States to return with them to Mexico and rid their hometown of the bad guys once and for all.
That is the story of the play "Rumbo al Hermoso Norte," (translation into Spanish of the title of the book Into the Beautiful North, by Luis Alberto Urrea) adapted for the stage by Lucia Macias. The play will be staged Friday, March 26, 2015 at the Edinburg Festiba Community Festival in Edinburg, Texas. (See the flier in the gallery of photos for details.)
Directed by Lucia Macias, founder of Escenikos Art Club, the production is a one-act play which will consist of fast-paced action, light drama, humor, and comedy as the protagonist (Nayeli) and her band of friends submit themselves to the difficult task of traveling into the U.S. through illegal means, and face dangers and hardship that test their resourcefulness, their comradery, and the very fiber of their Mexicaness. When questioned by a border patrol agent, Nayeli states: "I am here at the service of both nations," adding "...I'm not an illegal. I'm on a mission. I'm a patriot!"
I, Gabriel "Benjamins" Sanchez, will have the pleasure of playing the part of narrator/waiter/border patrol agent alongside a talented cast of actors such as Wendy Lara, Erika Garza, Ali Orozco, Judith Luna, Hortencia Castilleja, Daniela Ramos, Heriberto Leal, and Leinad Castle-tillo.
Come join us for a great time. The event is free to the public.
Have you ever wondered how you could begin writing verse and start impressing the ladies (or the dudes)? Have you thought that it just isn't fair how some make it seem easy to crank out enough poems to fill out an entire book of the stuff while you still have to rely on Hallmark for when you want to say something deeper, more touching? I bet you have. That is why I have decided to skip the usual rant and give you something you can use to improve yourself right this instant! So without further ado, here is the list of the top five steps to become a poet on the spot:
5. Find your voice:
Take a minute or two to decide what kind of poet you are by nature. My philosophy is that all people have poetry within them. The only difference is that not all people write down their poetry like I do. So, are you a romantic, a practical thinker, a political voice, a philosophical mind, or something else? Once you narrow it down, things become cake.
4. De-educate your mind:
A lot of times what holds back even the most prolific writers is rules and parameters that our education system instills on us. While these rules are good for the business world, they suck as instruments of good poetics. Dump the rules. You're not writing for a grade. Focus on images like a picture that leaves out all the details of what the subject went through up to that very moment.
3. Describe, don't proscribe:
That is, describe the important details of the image in your mind; don't proscribe it (or prohibit/condemn it) from manifesting itself through your verses. That's what happens in poetry (according to me) when you get too wordy describing how this ties in to that, and then why this other thing happened; and finally you start getting around to a conclusion. In essence, you've written an essay, killing the picture you were painting with words. Poems are just like paintings or pictures, snapshots of an important notion, vision, person, place, or thing.
2. Pen and Paper, don't leave home without 'em:
Make sure to carry a small notepad or notebook and a pen with you AT ALL TIMES! Unlike Edgar Allen Poe's claim that he could use a formula to produce the same quality writing every time he would sit down to write, I believe that inspiration is the primary element behind talent. And it comes unexpectedly, so you must be ready to capture it. Of course, people can write well written stuff all day long. But the truly uplifting stuff comes from moments of inspiration not rote work. If you get shy about others seeing you writing your poetry just say that you're updating your grocery list.
1. Drop it like it's hot:
The number one step is to simply write down whatever idea inspiration brought your way like it's gonna win you a Pulitzer prize. Write it down with a cocky smirk like you just jotted down the illest set of stanzas humanity has ever produced, and it's not even lunch time. Seriously, never pass something over or write it off as irrelevant. If it came to you that means your subconscious is starting to take itself seriously as a poetic mind...you should, too.
If you find yourself overwhelmed by self-doubt, remember this: Poets are not those who write poetry; anybody can do that. True poets are those who write the truth. What is your truth?
Ted Cruz (Republican from Texas) announced that he is jumping in the race toward the presidency in 2016. Never mind that he was born in Canada. Oops, someone forgot his papers. No, it's not like Obama. He was born in Hawaii, that is, on U.S. territory. Have we annexed Canada yet? I need to check my facts because another thing that is odd about that region is our border with Canada. I hear it's porous like crazy. I wonder if Ted Cruz has advocated much about sealing the border up there? Or deporting Canadian citizens trying to make a living here? Jim Carrey? Nah, he's a good guy. Let him stay.
I was intrigued by a passage on an article* that quoted Mr. Cruz saying, "'God's blessing has been on America from the very beginning of this nation, and I believe God isn't done with America yet...'" Every time I read or hear someone saying God is on our side, I wonder if they truly sense the meaning of their statement. If God is on our side, does that mean he is against the entire rest of the world? Last time I checked we don't even make up one fourth of the population of people on this planet. And yet we feel comfortable enough to say that God is blessing only this small section of the world. If we go by our last president's stance of "You are either with us or you are against us," then lucky for God that he is with us. It seems to me that when we are saying God is on our side, that message is loaded with conditional approval. God is okay as long as things keep going as we want them regardless of what that means. But isn't God omnipotent and omnipresent? Isn't He autonomous, too? Should we not instead say "We are on God's side." Wouldn't that make us subservient to his wishes and whims? It seems to me that that statement is much more accommodating of what God wants whether it benefits us or not. I say leave it up to the big guy. He knows what he is doing.
But back to Ted. I wrote a short story some time ago called "Don't Mess With Ted," That's not relevant, but it sounds funny. In the article from which I got the quote above, Mr. Cruz is said to be raising an army of "Christian conservatives" for his race to the White House to go to the polls and "vote their values." These values, however, are the type of values that exclude certain people like gays and lesbians, Dreamers, refugees, Affordable Healthcare Act recipients, women seeking abortions, the list goes on. Seems to me they are a pretty narrow set of values. Wasn't America founded so that groups could escape religious persecution or the jamming down the throat of one groups' religious values on the others? This small tent vision of America is scary.
This brings me to my poem plug-in (the last of the 5 in the challenge!):
...We close the door to growth when this growth
involves applying the same level of fairness and honesty to the lives of others
who are different than us.
That is death.
That is stagnation.
That is the dry bearing in the wheel
that eventually brings the whole contraption to a screeching halt
then paralyzes it until it is obsolete...
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Ted Cruz is running for the Executive Office of the President. This makes me happy, because like he, I was also born abroad to an American parent. The only difference between us is that I actually have some experience in that capacity: when I played the role of President Lyndon Baines Johnson in a theatre performance. I was actually pretty good at it. That's it, move over because I'm jumping in the race tomorrow! Nah, I'm just messing with you, Ted...
*Check out the article quoted here on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A wrestler died in the ring in Mexico in front of some of his fans. This guy was popular. More than just for being the son of a wrestling legend of the same name: El Perro Aguayo. Of course, as is costumary in Mexico, he wore the Jr. abbreviation prominently because he shared his father's name, and I'm sure also because it must have helped his career to distinguish himself as the son of the legend in order to make his own name.
I am not an expert in Lucha Libre, but by what I have read, El Perro Aguayo, Jr. had established himself through his own skills. So as a luchador, I know he will be mourned and missed. But he was also more than that. He was a son. I know that without having to research anything but by simply reading his name. I haven't seen his father come out and comment on this tragedy but I imagine he must be in pain. I am a father. I never thought of death with such apprehension as I do now that I have two sons. I ask God to let me see them grow up to an age that they can depend on themselves entirely at the very least. But the reality is that I would like to see them grow up and start growing old, too. I see this story unfold. The images of El Perro Jr. in his last moments available to the world. El Perro Sr.'s pain visible to all. How he must feel. In the video you can see a tear of blood falling from El Perro Jr.'s right eye. It reminded me of a passage in one of nine stanzas in one of my poems:
...To God we are not like grains of sand but rain clouds upon the desert
Our tears of blood have summoned life stronger
We were never meant to extinguish
Our clay bodies absorbed the spear of annihilation!
Rest in peace Perro Aguayo, Jr., a Gladiator of Lucha Libre Mexicana.
Click here to see some footage of the fight.
The world can be a sick place full of mad people. Nothing disgusts me more than to know of some twisted lowlife taking the life of a child, the symbol of purity, sacredness, and hope. I read a story of a monster that ripped out an unborn child from her mother's womb when the mother had gone to a house to inquire about items she had seen on Craigslist. I believe the items were children's clothes. You can imagine the mother anticipating her baby's arrival, preparing the things she was going to need to welcome another vessel of hope for humanity. And now, instead of receiving her baby, she wakes up in the cold, sterile detachment of a hospital where her baby isn't being delivered; the space that baby filled is simply being sown back together because the baby is no more. A small sample of a poem I wrote follows. What can I say, this is a f'd up situation.
She lay in her sweat
As death choked her life
Taking the promise of tomorrow
In her womb now cold
Babies still unborn
Laid down to dream...
The story of the woman and her unborn baby is tragic beyond words. I won't go further but to say that I hope she can find peace and happiness after such a horrendously unspeakable experience. God bless her and her family.
(That was about 1/4 of the poem also in my book "The Fluid Chicano." I think from now on I will pretend you already know that.)
Want to read more about the Colorado baby ripper? Check out the story here.
I'm going to make this easy for everyone including myself. Since I have accepted this 5 poems in 5 days challenge (by the way, who ever started this challenge--I hate you, your reign of terror ends here! ;p) I will do it relating my poems to events going on.
Starting this blog page off with the story of some real douchebags out of Austin, Texas who bulldozed a piñata store out of existence in order to build a parking lot in time for a SXSW party they were going to put on. Never mind that the rent was paid and up-to-date. Oh, and yeah there was also that little nugget about how those responsible for the demo referred to the little shop as a possible drug-dealing front, and also comparing the owners, who are of Mexican descent, to roaches.
That got me thinking right away about a poem I wrote some time ago which is in my book "The Fluid Chicano" (plug-in!). I'll insert a sample here 'cuz I know you are busy and this is a teaser anyway:
Brushstrokes (OF the End of the World)
Paint brushes dripping blood
The picture of the world
Formed and nurtured by war
The flood gates of distortion
Of lies and half-truths have opened
Attack! Attack! Attack!
Preemtive priviledge is the right!
Stomp those cockroaches coming under...the door
We cannot accept the brown paint
Creeping on the souther canvas...
I'll leave it there because the point was that I first thought that I was being overly dramatic with my wording of some of these poems. But then you read about f***ed up things like that and it hits you like a kick in the face and a knee to the nads at the same time. To read more about it check out this link to an article in Latin Times.
Well, there is contribution numero uno. We'll see if I can come up with something else tomorrow.
Sponsor Fluid Chicano Films
Gabriel H. Sanchez
Fueled by RPM