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Speak The M-Word!

July 9th, 2015 § 1 comment § permalink

DONALD TRUMP, LIKE A BRASSY, BITTER, LEECH, is the spittle-speckled sound stuck to people’s pursing lips. Here he comes again, with his hot air blown-back clown show car horn persona. Here comes the (White) Horse Race, thundering up stink and sour so many are expected to inhale—and cheer on!

A good portion of your timeline says “Ugh, can we stop talking about this idiot,” while many others jeer at him with the joy we feel kicking a schoolyard bully in the virtual nuts. I’m not above joining the latter group, but it’s not so much about his lurch toward the White House. For some of us out here, it’s a very personal attack, to dredge up this anti-Mexican sentiment that—let’s be honest—most Americans generally agree with on a gut level, but know they should not speak in polite company.

42-15856341But we know. We Xicanos, Xicanas, Chicanxs, y Xican@s; we Mexican Americans. Whether we call ourselves “Latino” to escape the sting that has hunted us since birth, or we don’t mention it at all, or we pass as “Italian”–or just don’t bring it up when possible–we know how white America feels about us. Every song or movie involving Mexico in the USA has to do with a few things. Lawlessness (just ask Christopher Cross, whose song Ride Like the Wind I loved as a child simply because he passed the low bar of publicly uttering the word “Mexico” without sneering); Knives; Crime; Disease, or just a general lowness…a taste you spit out fast if you find it on your tongue. A subject to be avoided, and a people to be avoided.

» Jump the border and read on «

The Days That We Longed for in January

June 16th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

rp_mexicantoongirl.gifTHE DAYS THAT WE LONGED FOR IN JANUARY have arrived, spilling all the gold promised at our feet. The wind is warm, the rain and mildew of Winter are gone, at night, the fan sings us lullabies.

One constant remains. I’m not sure where all of next month’s rent is coming from, but I’ve been making it work for a year and a half here, so I imagine I’ll do it a…19th time. You do your best and try to enjoy your moments. Because that’s what life is for. Moments of clarity, and joy. Whenever possible. Even if not, you can’t live in a state of terror, always waiting for a boot back on the street, anxiously counting all the pennies you lack. I used to stress so hard toward the end of the month. Made myself sick. After a while, I burned out my fear. It takes energy to be anxious, and I guess my mind got tired of the work.

Part of staying sane is the occasional rebellion from the electrified confines of an impossible budget. Like yesterday. I impulsively dropped $20 for a plastic bench at Rite Aid. But these little things can add a lot. Give people a place to sit outside. Evenings in June are so very, very fine after all. I’ll recoup the loss from the sunlight I’ll gain. That won’t even take a half hour.

Had a cookout Saturday. I think we are the only ones on our street who do this. It’s an odd street. A very suburban-feeling street in a non-suburban area, where people dutifully tend lawns they never use. It’s always us out there, swimming, or firing up the BBQ, or just sitting with a beer in the evening light on the front stoop. Why doesn’t anyone use their yard, here? Everyone is self contained in their homes; nobody really knows anyone else. What a bizarre way of living.

I reconnected the speakers to the turntable for the cookout. Using the turntable is more work than playing mp3s, but I like to do it regularly. I want my kids to know what vinyl is, what records are. Maybe I’m just holding on to a past I loved. I guess that’s part of being human. I guess the older we get, the more we (are able to) make comparisons between what was and what will be. After long enough, our lifespan itself bridges visible, remarkable, societal progress. Especially in these times, when technology can bolt forward faster than you can say “When I was your age, there was no Internet!” » Jump the border and read on «

Amethyst Awarenesses

January 1st, 2015 § 2 comments § permalink

© patrizio di renzo

© patrizio di renzo

HOW ARE WE TO FEEL SATISFIED in our day, when so many are hanging on by a thread? How do we remain full, in a world starving for peace? How do we find bliss when people are being gunned down in the street under color of law? How is success measured, when so many are being robbed by the very system that serves as society?

The self proclaimed Powers of the world suck the rest dry, bury innocent humans under rubble all in a day’s work, all for a dollar or a myth worth half that much. Human existence on this planet is the same now as it was when I first started taking note as a boy of the world around me. And I didn’t learn my lessons from watching, but from being dragged through it, shut in the dark with it, hit in the forehead with it until sparks flew up everywhere. Terrible and bright illumination. » Jump the border and read on «

Erotic Ordinary (A Ghost Story)

December 27th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

A MOVEMENT CAUGHT MY EYE as I approached the (open) bar. A woman was waving to me, smiling.

I knew her…but I could not remember how. She was happy to see me, though; genuinely so. She had the sort of  look I once found irresistible as a young man. Blonde, white, and very cute. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! But I have changed over time, spurred by the suspicion that I had simply been subscribing to a national cultural propaganda; the face shown on so many posters and movie covers.

Of course, humans are more than our race or phenotype, and my current preferences did not stop me from appreciating the softness in her movements, the kindness in her eyes…the brightness of her smile. » Jump the border and read on «

3, 2, 1: Transfer

December 13th, 2014 § 9 comments § permalink

ON ONE SOCIAL MEDIA SITE OR ANOTHER THE OTHER DAY. Doing that thing that is done. Reading, sharing, thinking. Clicking boxes and buttons to show the world who I am, one preference or comment at a time.

Someone finds and follows me. Begins reblogging a lot of my posts. After a week, or so, I imagine we are on a wavelength. Then, one day they add a long comment to a post I’d made.

You know how two people can read one thing and come away with two wholly different ideas of what is in there? The details of the original post are not so important. But at one point in their writing they wrote that they were ‘glad they had no race.’ And that stopped me. I responded to the first part, but to that addendum I didn’t quite know what to type aside from “Err…”

Because honestly I had no idea of what, in this language, I could say to that. I simply did not understand it. What did that mean? To ‘have no race’ when the person in question was descended of one black parent and one white? It confronted just about everything I feel I have come to understand about this bogeyman, ‘race.’ And in no way I could mentally engage. Looking back, perhaps a more coherent and productive comment would have been I’m not understanding what you mean when you say you ‘don’t have a race.’ Do you mind speaking on that at all? So, I’ll own that. I could’ve approached more…articulately.

But truly, I was baffled and sort of just stammered. » Jump the border and read on «

As it is Within, so it is Without

August 27th, 2014 § 1 comment § permalink

The Silver ChairCONSIDER ME A WHISPER. Consider me a tiny voice, as soft as a slow wind running its velvet fingers over pebbled asphalt at 2 a.m. Receive me as you would the first blush of day’s light, reflected from the eager skin of an apple. I’m a minuscule mirrored cinema. A voice that gently suggests they truly are mad, you know. Cast away your doubt, be still, and listen to them. The news barkers sharing world gore and speaking of war as if a football score. The virtual storefronts peddling doubt and self-interest. They who hog the mic, they who sell the mic.

Be still and listen. Be still and watch. Can you see? They hate everything about you, and themselves, too. 

It’s okay that you were convinced and connived into thinking it makes sense to punish the weak, abhor the poor, worship the predatory, elevate the superficial, strangle the truth until it flees your language, and despise the despised. You are a pure soul in a poisoned land. A hostile land. A land and society that wants to exploit you, steal from you, suck at you, chew at you, use you, abuse you, discard you, disgrace you, erase you. You learned what you needed to learn to fit in and survive. Your heart screamed at you before you learned to think about it: THESE ARE HAUNTED SOULS WHO WILL DESTROY YOUR HEART IF YOU HAND IT TO THEM…. » Jump the border and read on «

What Does LATISM Really Stand For? or How to Neutralize a Movement to the Sound of Cheers

June 25th, 2014 § 1 comment § permalink

Regular readers: This post is important, and provides a breakdown longer, perhaps, than the attention span we are trained for; truth deeper than a feel good rant, and tools to help us come to understand some of the forces at work today seeking to divide and dilute our political power and self image. David, a compa I work with, researched and penned it over at Hecho en Aztlán, and aside from the blurb, some minor formatting tweaks I gave it for UMX, and the title, it is David’s work, and we thank him for it. Please take a little time and arm yourself with this info. It is, I submit, foundational in the next shape of our movement, and more will come from various quarters that will build on it.

En lucha y amor, Nez


IF YOU HAVE MADE FREQUENT USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN THE LAST FEW YEARS, you have undoubtedly come across the “LATISM” acronym a number of times.

LATISM stands for Latinos in the Social Media and is often used as a hashtag on Twitter: #latism.

Many in social media view LATISM uncritically and embrace it as an all-in-one remedy for bridging the technological divide between Euro-Americans and the so-called “Pan-Latino” community.

This media collective of pan-Latino Hispanics, which largely consists of east coast Puerto Ricans and Cubans, stand to gain much sought after attention and web traffic for their affiliated news organizations.

Truth be told, the Pan-Hispanic/Latino collective is maneuvering itself to stake a claim into what is purported to be almost $1.38 trillion in purchasing power. » Jump the border and read on «

I Would Rather Hand You Your Conscience Than Control Your Hand

April 4th, 2014 § 2 comments § permalink

I WAS THINKING about how we are so many parts. Using words the teachers gave us, ones we invent, some that get created by relationships with others and nobody else understands. Coined words, Slang words, Caló, Cholo, English, Black Vernacular, French, Japanese, Chinese, German. Wearing clothes of various cut, crafted by chafed and worn hands we often never hold. Practicing traditions handed down by our ancestors, different ancestors, from different places. Eating foods from all ends of the Earth. Acting out what our parents have modeled, and at times purposely practicing the opposite. Body postures shaped by exercise, pain, injury, inner strength, inner turmoil, or habit.

We are a hybrid happening. It is a shape taken naturally by humans as we learn and mimic and others mimic what we happen to invent; as we open our minds and lives to new ways. We do draw limits. I suppose if we simply floated aimlessly and amalgamated everything that came into our way, we would soon return to the spattered pattern of the rain, to the whim of the wind. Though to me, this is fine, too. I like that idea, that feel. It is exhausting to exert control all the time.

And then, there are those shapes reified by observance and repetition. Tradition and heritage are about creating a shape that persists, a shape formed by meaning. It is putting our hands in the clay, and shaping, day after day after day. » Jump the border and read on «

Do Not Imagine the Shape of Your Mind as Stone

April 4th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

rp_2814123399_f5969a3e2e.jpg

I AM THE HYBRID METHOD; the shift-cleft breathless and deft fusion of hue, chroma, and death; of the right and the left; of the wailing bliss (I rise like this). A howl of spring spray and rose bloodied mist. Seeker of the dew studded igneous rift.

When the world retreats, I lift.

DO NOT imagine the shape of your mind as stone
a formed at birth bone
bowl meant to hold
all the dusty dreams left by men long grown cold

because

I’VE SEEN YOU before. Posing as disaster and pain. Beauty, pearl-wrapped and clutched by the jagged edges of clam-shaped clouds. Stormlight.

so know

THE MORE VISIBLE and powerful you grow, the harder they will come for ya. Who is “they?” Timeless. Nameless. Forces evoked by change. Entropy.

Go. Be fast, be slow. Be what you are, be what you know.

Normalcy is Hella Expensive in Deathstar Village

February 28th, 2014 § 5 comments § permalink

OBVIOUSLY, there are a few newsy items we might discuss when it comes to Latinidad, México, Xicanism@, and so on. The arrest of El Chapo, head of the Sinaloa Cartel, is one, for sure. (I smirk wide enough that my head falls off and I have to pick it up and screw it back on my neck. Yesterday’s US partner in crime is always tomorrow’s headline villain, eh? It’s telling that some people are even using the specter of Osama Bin Laden to galvanize public thought and feeling on the issue. Not that in doing so, such writers will underline the fact that Bin Laden was another old friend. And why on Earth would most media discussion avoid the topic of the “violation of public international law …and of due process and of human rights” that was the DEA/Sinaloa alliance for over ten years? Now, the DEA is filling the web with seeds about how they’ve wanted to capture El Chapo for all that time, and that THEY have evidence that HE was selling drugs on Chicago streets. But yanno. Of course they are telling the whole truth. Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.)

Anyway. I’ll admit that I’ve had a lot more on my mind and on my plate lately than these motions in society. Not to minimize world events. Good ole Maslow’d know.

Close friends and readers (in the right spaces) have been aware that I spent the last couple weeks in a motel off the side of the highway after having to leave my last place with little warning. That’s been an adventure. And when I say “adventure,” I kinda mean ‘a test of my sanity.’ I kid. Wasn’t so bad. In fact, feeling my entire life hovering a few inches off the wet pavement was a blast. It made me feel like Neo. Especially when Neo runs wild with the pent up kids to keep them exercised, and loses his iPhone in the wet, charcoal, night. Now you’re stuck in the Matrix, kid, with a motel key and a bowl of cornflakes. The milk just ran out and there is no spoon. » Jump the border and read on «

the vague, rainy, town of eilanwurl

February 13th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

FROM MY VANTAGE POINT here on the outskirts of town, the world has quieted. I feel a bit of an escapee, after all. An escapee from the popular plot line. A fugitive from the prescribed Proper. An exile of a once glimmering arc.

Does it validate us morally, as Americans, when we succeed in the ways prescribed by every droning voice that narrates American culture between the lines; when we have two bank accounts, three credit cards and 10K in savings? Doesn’t it justify our every quirk when we drive it around in a well working car, wrapped in a smart wardrobe, on top of a gleaming credit score, and snugly seated in our own home? Does it not mean that we are superior in quality, or in the ability to harness our own power, or at the very least, that we are the quite special recipient of some unnamed golden wink of GODD-LUCH?

What can it mean when we fail at the American Dream? When we are not liquid, solvent, affluent, climbing ever upward and forward that oh-so-linear path toward American Worth? What else can it mean but that we are criminal? Guilty of desecrating the holy aura of the Dream. We are deviant. We do not disprove the Capitalist mantra, oh no no, we are, of course, simply a glitch in the matrix. We have spiraled into our own egregious arc, and the system is punishing us for our violations.

I am a once-famous personality submerged in the vague, rainy town of eilanwurl. That’s not a real name, but neither am I a real personality. Just a vagabond; a bard of sorts. An artist, which means I’m nearly useless in Babylon. And out here where the rushing of cars is the only music, I am but a ghost. » Jump the border and read on «

Is the DEA Dealing Drugs in Your Neighborhood?

January 15th, 2014 § 1 comment § permalink

The DEA is not dealing drugs in your neighborhood! Silly. That would be like Colonel Sanders working behind the counter of KFC, handing out change and greasy chicken wrapped in wax paper. No, like the CEOs of KFC, the DEA outsources the labor. In the case of the DEA, to one of the largest cartels in Mexico. The Sinoloa Cartel, to be specific.

sinaloa-drug-cartel-deal-dea.si

In the 12 year alliance with one of Mexico’s largest drug cartels, we have to ask ‘how much drugs has the DEA helped import into the USA?’

 

But let’s back up a moment.

It’s important to keep your eye on the horizon. Learning to drive, you will be taught that staring at the road right in front of your car’s hood will leave you with no reaction time, and increase your chances of having an accident. You learn to watch the road at the horizon. This will keep you informed of everything headed your way. This is a simple concept that will aid your critical understanding of everything in your life. Keeping a broad overview of your terrain will best prepare you to navigate it.

In the case of gangs like the DEA, they are not here to keep you informed. Like most gangs, they are about consolidating their own power. In public, their spokespersons will throw out all kinds of disinformation and PR chaos-control. Running back and forth trying to decipher the boilerplate from the reality will leave you slamming your brakes, wasting gas, swerving left and right, and eventually, slamming your mental filters into each and every piece of detritus coming down the parkway. You will end up confused and distracted and unsure—exactly how modern media empires and plutocrats want you.

So lift the eyes and suss out the patterns over time. Form your picture of people and things from a more detached and thoughtful place. Factor in all the info that comes your way from various sources and readings. The lens that includes context and experience and history is a more reliable one. The lens that trusts the eye behind it is unshakable. Trust your inner eye. » Jump the border and read on «

Your Heart is a Nuclear Force

January 13th, 2014 § 2 comments § permalink

YOUR ENTHUSIASM for a new day, a fresh start, and all the possibility there.

YOUR REFUSAL to drag yesterday’s angst and mental clutter forward into this new time.

YOUR UNDERSTANDING of the joy born from simple moments and experiences.

YOUR AWARENESS of the mental traps your mind designs.

YOUR EMBRACE of beauty in the most mundane of situations because

YOU KNOW the gift that is life.

YOU SAY THANK YOU to creation in the way you use this life, this awareness, this moment.

YOU RADIATE gratitude.

YOUR HEART IS A NUCLEAR FORCE. You handle it with reverence.

Return of the Neon Cornfighter, Chapter Two

January 12th, 2014 § 2 comments § permalink

A WRITER APPROACHED ME, WITH AN INTERESTING PROPOSAL. Hmmm. Perhaps I could describe him as a “blogger,” or…a friend. Whatever words I choose, the point is—years had passed since last we spoke. And many projects since undertaken. And very little conversation between us.

storytimeCU

Not to be overly dramatic. After all, there was no need for conversation. We didn’t do any hanging out. We were not in each other’s city, or even country. We were two known names in our niche, when we met three or four years ago. I suppose that was the only common link. Aside from that we both are of Mexican descent and by nature, stand up and try to help in some way, or just to spit fire for la comunidad—as various and varying as that community may be!

We found each other—or he found me—because, truth is, there really aren’t a lot of writers either swinging the verbal blade or staying alert in the flower-made shade…in the name of Raza. » Jump the border and read on «

The Freedom is Thick

January 8th, 2014 § 12 comments § permalink

OFTEN, BEING SILENT IS THE SMARTEST POSSIBLE MOVE. And then, other times, you better open your mouth and speak your heart! Like so many other things in life, each one of us has to suss the distinction out for her or himself. I needed to be quiet for a while. But like Ole Ben Kenobi, I sensed a million fireflies crying out at once, and, yanno, undulating to the beat of a wooden silkworm or something, so here I am.

Not a lot has changed online since the last time I turned off the lights in this joint, eh? Vendid@s spring up like whack a moles hungry for the sour sting of selling out to stereotypes (Devious Maids, really? That hurts like having a spy stick you in the ribs when you go to clap hands, yo. Let white folks slather on the wicked and reductive stereotypes! Why you wanna do that to y’own people?). People of Color (especially Black) people are held to ridiculous standards in entertainment and media, and white folks can blurt out any ole thang and expect a mob of approval in any comment thread downwind of Pluto.

Joe Arpaio is still in office, yeah? Although some very irritated teen wants to remove his cojones with a cleaver, wow. (Such ambition really does seem more American, than Canadian, though. I must say.)

Democrats have come no closer to protecting Mexicans and immigrants from exploitation and harm at the hands of the paranoid and repulsed reflexes of a nation terrified of Otherly influence and forgetting its debts and origins. But why would they? » Jump the border and read on «