Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Thank You, Mr. President / David Sedaris Doesn't Disappoint

Stonewall Meeting of Sorts at The White House:

Thank you, Mr. President, for taking the time and energy to meet with the GLBT community to reassure folks that you have not forgotten them, nor their drive for equal rights in this country.

It is now clear that Congress needs to do some work. Yes, that would include House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to rally up the Democrats and Others in Congress who truly believe in equality in this country and not lip service.

David Sedaris:

This past Friday I was lucky enough to meet and hear David Sedaris at the Borders (Crossroads).

I have read and heard him on NPR before especially on Fresh Air and laughed so hard it hurt. Certainly this Friday, although he had laryngitis (boy, that's dedication to his fans), he was both charming and entertaining.

I had second thoughts about standing in line to get my copy of When You Are Engulfed in Flames signed by him since standing is quite painful, given that I have 4 screws in my spine, but leaning against the stacks and sitting on the side tables until I got my "time" with him was worth it. And I had no idea he would give me his chair so I could stay and listen to his reading. I explained that I had had enough just waiting for the signature and he jumped from his chair and said: "Here, you can take my chair." In fact, he also ordered the staff to get a chair for my partner as well so we both were able to stay and listen and laugh and laugh.

I don't recall any reading where I have laughed so much or so hard. Certainly, as I told Sedaris, laughter is the best medicine.

His stories amaze and Lord knows he at times doesn't know when to stop. His sharing a story someone told him about a girlfriend who had an embarrassing accident in his car was perhaps a bit over the top. The audience laughed and went "oooo".

So if you want a fun read and many good laughs, I strongly recommend that you read David Sedaris. He does not disappoint, not even when he is truly barely able to speak.

You talk pretty, David, even with the frog in your throat.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Stonewall: Is Congress Stonewalling? / Terrorism Against Hispanics

Stonewall: Is Congress Stonewalling?

Forty years ago today the GLBT community in New York City helped propel the rights of GLBT to the forefront. Yes, this community has come a long way, but oddly the man behind the curtain still hasn't produced all the goods for Dorothy's Friends.

What do I mean? Now that we have a Congress controlled by Democrats and a president who vowed to help the community gain equal protection under the Constitution, the very leaders who claimed they would help this community are stonewalling. If not now, when? Certainly, the Other Party is not going to do anything to help this community, but that doesn't mean that Democrats can count on individuals to sit complacently and simply be ignored and be told figuratively to go to the back of the bus, similar to what Rosa Parks was told in the 1960s. These days have passed. Individuals want action and are fed up with platitudes of empty promises. Dorothy's Friends not only want to send Dorothy back to Kansas, they also want their just rights and the Man Behind the Curtain can no longer hide.

So, Mr. President and Congress, the GLBT community is waiting. If not now, when?

Terrorism Against Hispanics:

I was extremely troubled by the article in the New York Times this morning about the shooting and killing of innocent people in Arizona by terrorists---Yes, that's right, Americans acting on behalf of the Minutemen American Defense entered a home in Arivaca, Arizona and opened fire and killed a father and his daughter in cold blood for the terrorists believed they were in the USA illegally.

Fortunately, a woman by the name of Gina Gonzalez survived the incident but only because she used her dead husband's gun to defend herself. This is truly sad.

Regardless of whether an individual is in the USA legally or illegally does not give anyone the right to enter a home and kill anyone. Americans who do not believe that Hispanics (legal Americans and many here illegally) are being terrorized are not being honest and do not know what is happening in this country.

How is this any different from Nazis entered Jewish homes in Nazi Germany and killing Jews for no other reason than for being Jews?

How is this any different from American terrorists killing gays/lesbians for no other reason than because they are gay/lesbian?

How is this any different from American terrorists who lynched Blacks?

Where is the statement from President Obama or Congress condemning the actions by the Minutemen American Defense and groups who practice such actions?

Mr. President and Congress, Americans (regardless of our ethnicity) are calling upon you to speak out against this kind of American terrorism for no one, be they American citizens, residents/visitors (legal or illegal) should be attacked or killed for simply being who he/she is.

Therefore, I call upon individuals to call the White House (202.456.1111) and their respective Congressional representatives on Monday to ask that they condemn this horrific action.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Michael Jackson: A Legend Has Died

Wow, what can those who grew up with Michael Jackson's music say about his sudden death?

Aside from being shocked and now as many wait to see what may have caused his sudden death, it is his music that still rings strong, for millions of us have danced to his music.

Granted he had a difficult life, but his influence on our culture and reach of his style and efforts will continue long after his death.


Need for Healthcare Reform / GLBT Poetry Contest Deadline June 27th

National Healthcare:

It's quite strange that one of the richest (never mind our national debt) and most industrialized countries in the world does not have a national healthcare plan.

Fortunately, President Obama is trying to remedy this but Democrats in Congress need get on board. If this fails again (do you remember Clinton's attempt?) this time, a Democratic Congress will have only itself to blame.

On the topic of Poetry:

Poets out there are encouraged to enter the Gival Press Oscar Wilde Award for the best GLBT poem of any length and form. There is a reading fee of $5 for each poem submitted and the prize is $100, plus online publication at www.givalpress.com.

For more details click here: Oscar Wilde Award Guidelines

Monday, June 22, 2009


In Solidarity for Free Elections in Iran

Whereas Americans might want to pitch in with regard to the situation in Iran, it is a very tricky predicament.

Having gotten advice with regard to the situation from one of my Iranian students today who spoke with his mother this weekend who lives in Iran, I yield to my student who suggested that the USA stay out of the situation and he further agreed that President Obama is taking the right position.

The situation in Iran is an internal matter and other countries interfering will only make matters worse.

Republicans who are quick to turn situations to their liking should take note.

Of course, who would not want free elections in any country? But the Iranian situation could quickly get out of hand and as one Iranian police was quoted in the New York Times recently (I paraphrase here): Please, I have a wife and children; I don't want to hurt anyone.

Who in his right mind wants to argue with that or knowingly would want to cause harm to a people and its country?

Elected officials should not try to enhance their own agenda at the cause of other people's lives.

Friday, June 19, 2009


National Days of Prayer / Republican Hypocrisy / Obama Still Has Grace

Native American Sacred Places:
Today begins the national observance of Prayer to Protect Native American Sacred Places.

There will be numerous activities across the country. For more information, click on the link below:
Morning Star Institute

Republican Hypocrisy:
Will men, for rarely have we had an elected official who is female who has confessed to having an extra-marital affair, never learn?

President Clinton, Senator Edwards, and no doubt other Democrats have fallen into this pit. But it seems Republicans take the cake for not only falling into the pit of extra-marital affairs but they also embrace hypocrisy while stumbling.

That is, are these the family values Republicans seem to want to keep sacred by preventing same-sex partners from being able to engage in?

Now, single people are not less inclined to having extra-relationship affairs but GLBT folks at least have done so without the grace of marriage.

Did we forget that Newt Gingrich left his wife for a younger women and that he told his wife so while she was in her hospital bed?

Now we have Senator John Ensign who admits to an affair while in the past he condemned President Clinton for his indiscretion while in the White House.

I think the best philosophy is quite simple: Let he who is without sin throw the first stone.

What gets many quite angry is the hypocrisy of Republicans who purport to be models of virtue and family values while all the long they have sh-t on their shoes.

Oh, well, life continues as does Karma.

Obama Still Has Grace:
Let Republicans, including our ex-President George W. Bush and ex-Vice President Cheney be aware that though folks are not completely happy with everything President Obama has done or will do in the future, we are still strongly behind President Obama and wish him success, for if the USA doesn't succeed, we are all in trouble.

So, President Obama, we hope your administration will listen more carefully to the public and make sure that they read what they submit on your behalf and we especially hope that you will make sure to make everyone aware that what they do represents you via their actions and words and that we do not want anyone to discredit your potential for success.

So as far as I am concerned, President Obama is still walking with grace and I pray that he will succeed in spite of the Rush Limbaughs who want him to fail.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Nurse Jackie

Edie Falco in Nurse Jackie created by Liz Brixius and Linda Wallem on Showtime is truly amazing.

Not only is the writing superb, but the character development is the hook that has gotten this fish hooked. Of course, Falco is a solid actor who works her character under our skin.

As Nurse Jackie, Falco provokes us and scares us while winning us over with her strange sense of justice. Perhaps this is the reason that this series like Dexter works to make the viewer become blinded by the character's actions.

A little bad for the sense of good.

But with all things, this philosophy cannot survive an eternity.


President Obama's Memo on Benefits

Well, on the one hand President Obama vows he will work to make sure same-sex partners get the same benefits, while on the other hand one has to ask: Is President Obama really doing all he can to work on equality rights?

Even the New York Times' editor states today:
"President Obama should also work to allow gay people to serve openly in the military and to persuade Congress to bar discrimination against gay people in employment."

Sadly, his presidential memo simply ends when his term ends.

One must ask: Do folks accept what one can get and hope for more? Or should folks continue to press for more, not only on the presidential level but also on the legislative level--after all Congress must act on The Defense on Marriage Act.

Having discussed the Civil Rights Movement in class today, I simply cannot ignore the similarities between the rights Blacks worked for and what the GLBT community is now working for as well.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


President Obama's Honeymoon Is Over

Having voted and supported President Obama, it pains me to declare that President Obama via those under him, mainly the Department of Defense among others, has turned his back on his own promises "for change we can believe in" and has in effect made numerous Americans quite angry.

The appeal recently submitted to support the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy includes language that is insulting, such that the New York Times editorial today also calls on President Obama to retract the language. That plus President Obama and Congress should stand up and speak up against the violation of civil rights in this country.

Now, we know that The Obama White House is going to also hold to the Bush White House policy of keeping the list of guests to the The White House private. I thought we lived in a democracy and that Obama and all the Democrats who were elected or re-elected were married to the rhetoric they used during the campaign period.

If folks who believed in the promises Obama sold us on don't speak up now, then they only will have themselves to blame if things continue to mirror the Bush era instead of the Obama era we all voted for.

If Obama needs to become more aware of what his administration is doing, then so be it.

If folks who supported Obama and other Democrats with time, talent, and donations don't see a change soon and start a counter-movement, then so be it.

If we can't trust the folks we elected, then who we can we trust?

Monday, June 15, 2009


Literary Recommendations & DC's Latest Restaurant

As the summer approaches, after the April, May, June showers, visit your local bookstore or favorite bookstore website and consider these following books:

1. Exilio-Globo-Ejercito (a grito) (Slack Buddha Press)by Rodrigo Toscano
Toscano delivers a bilingual (English/Spanish) chapbook that will certainly cause you to think and re-read. In short, Toscano engages the reader and that in itself is reason to give it a read.

2. Desayuno en la Cama (Editorial Egales) by Lawrence Schimel
Sorry but this is a Spanish language publication published in Madrid, where Schimel lives. Schimel is a writer who can surpise and charm at the same time.

3. Inkblots (March Street Press) by Don Cellini
and 4. Approximations / Aproximaciones (March Street Press) by Don Cellini
Both of these chapbooks are also bilingual and beautifully crafted with photography. Cellini who does his own translations gives us several poems to contemplate.

5. Strange Seasons (Cross-Cultural Communications) by Stanley H. Barkan
Barkan, a rather prolific writer and publisher of numerous international poets, merits being included in more national journals.

If you don't have these mentioned books under your arms but are in DC and eager to try a new restaurant, I recommend Eatonville Restaurant on 14th Street, NW, across the street from Busboy and Poets.

Named after the first African American incorporated city and home of Zora Neale Hurston, Executive Chef Rusty Holman does wonders with food with a Southern flare. The salmon with asparagus was wonderful as was the arugula and fried goat cheese.

And while you visit, be sure to check out the artwork on the walls created by DC artists at the request of the owner, Andy Shallal who is the patron saint to DC literary scene.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


DC Gay Pride Weekend and Related World Events

This weekend Washington, DC had its Gay Pride Parade and Festival. While having dinner at the Italian Kitchen, a group of friends and I were able to have dinner and drinks and watch the festivities go by on Saturday evening.

The parade was quite amusing and one of the longest to date, with several floats, including one from Southwest Airlines. Perhaps the thinking is that those with no children or fewer are more likely to travel these days.

One interesting reaction did seem to arouse a great deal of talk at the dining table. That is, after DC Mayor Fenty, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, and Arlington County Board Member Jay Fisette, a group of folks with Obama signs went by but some in the crowd booed them. The consensus from the dining table was such that the Gay electorate are a bit turned off (to put it mildly) at the lack of support from President Obama's administration for GLBT rights, starting with the recent confirmation of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy in the military.

Yet Steven Colbert was able to have a debate with himself on the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy as part of this show in Iraq, with the military as his audience. What gives?

How is it that with Congress under control by the Democrats, along with a Democratic president, Congress is not doing more to promote the rights of suppressed individuals in this country? Is that gays are already losing patience with President Obama who has had his hands full before he even entered the White House? Or is that President Obama has not kept his word on a variety of issues? Or is President Obama afraid to touch the GLBT issue?

Does the GLBT community need to rise up and make themselves heard? Or remind elected officials of the impact their support had on the elections across the nation?

Yes, there were also marchers promoting civil rights, which since the ruling in Iowa allowing same-sex marriages, of all places, begs the question of when will the California cases reach the higher courts?

When one adds up all the right-wing abusive rhetoric of late unleashed at Judge Sonia Sotomayor, the recent murder of the doctor in Kansas because he performed abortions, and the attack at the DC Holocaust Memorial Museum, one has to speak up against the vileness that Rush Laumbaugh and gang spew each day on the airwaves and on Fox TV News. This is why the GLBT community and the countless others who voted for President Obama and the numerous Democrats who won in the 2008 November election are asking: Why isn't Congress doing something to show their muscle and commitment to civil rights?

Is it possible that the Democratic Congress is afraid of the Republicans?

Thank God for Rachel Maddow Show and Countdown with Keith Olbermann. Both Olbermann and Maddow are my heroes because they spoke up against the stupidity of the Bush administration and the vileness of the Cheney-mindset.

And by the way, how is that Elizabeth Cheney knows what is in the top-secret memos that one needs a clearance to read? Did former Vice-President Cheney tell his daughter? If so, isn't that a crime?

We wait and see what is going to happen in Iran. Odd how the world is waiting when in 2000 we in the USA also waited until the Supreme Court handed Bush the presidency. No one is perfect, but the hypocrisy in this country and others, is enough to make one ill.

In the meantime, we also wait to see what will transpire in North Korea. God help us because we might be waiting for a very rough time. Could the Maya who predicted the end in 2012 possible be on target? I certainly hope not.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


What Is Going on in Washignton, DC? A Gunman Walks about Freely

What on Earth is going on in Washington, DC that a crazy man is able to walk about near The Mall (where numerous museums are located as well the institution that prints money) and no one seemed to spy this man with a rifle?

What also bothers me is that countless older white men seem to be inciting others to action from the most insane to the troubling, for example: the Texas governor talked about seceding from the USA because he was upset about the Democrats being in power now with President Obama, Rush Laumbaugh spews hatred on a daily basis--of late he and Newt Gingrich have attacked Judge Sonia Sotomayor as being a racist, to the point that one needs to ask: Does Rush know what a racist is? Has he looked in the mirror of late?

Is it no wonder that James von Brunn, an 88 year old Marylander, opened fire and killed an African-American guard at the Holocaust Museum? People who listen to talk radio and such that advocate hatred are being incited in this country to spew their hatred yet because the people who are promoted such talk/action are white no one seems to do anything about it. Is not James von Brunn a terrorist? And are not those who are advocating insane action partly responsible for inciting hostility?

It begs the question to ask: If Rush Laumbaugh and gang were Black or from the Middle East, would they not be already off the air or their program canceled? Are they allowed to create anger and hostility because they are white? Or are these groups being watched by the FBI and other such organizations? If not, they should be.

It's time to hold individuals accountable who incite hostility towards Jews, Arabs, judges who know what racism truly is--simply ask Judge Sonia Sotomayor or go out and see West Side Story, or gays in the military---and, yes, President Obama should also be held accountable to his campaign promises.

Politicians who make claims during their campaigns need to be true to their talk.
President Obama, you stated you were for the rights of all Americans during your campaign. Are you backing down because the gay issue is a hot potato?

This past Tuesday (VA Democratic primary) Terry R. McAuliffe who went off at the mouth against Obama after it was obvious that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton lost the Democratic campaign for the presidency learned that Virginians truly have a memory and most of us do not like hate speech nor folks who assume they can buy their way into the governing system.

Sunday, June 07, 2009


Joy Harjo's Latest CD "Winding Through the Milky Way" Soars

One of my favorite poets is Joy Harjo, whom I first met in 1976 or 1977 in El Paso, when she came to give a reading at the invitation of Leroy V. Quintana. Quintana and I both taught at El Paso Community College around that time, if I have the years correct.

Anyway, Harjo struck my fancy because up to that point I had not met someone who identified herself as an American Indian and a poet. Obviously living in El Paso, one can't avoid knowing or meeting American Indians and in fact many El Pasoans and Southwesterners either know or simply don't know or have forgotten that perhaps an ancestor was an American Indian or partly American Indian. I mention this because I knew my maternal great-grandmother was Comanche but I had never met someone who identified herself as an Indian poet--to me at this time Harjo was a novel concept. After meeting Harjo, I began to ask my mother and maternal grandmother more about my great-grandmother, whom I had met but who died in the 1960s. There was always a mystery about her and she insisted on living in her own home nearby a younger daughter. What many people might not know is that many Americans of Mexican descent actually have Indian ancestry though they have adopted the Spanish-language culture of Mexico long before it became the United States.

Sorry to get off topic, but perhaps this is why Judge Sonia Sotomayor is still causing such a stir in the news. She is a Latina but we don't know what her ancestry is. Though few Puerto Ricans have American Indian ancestry, many have other ancestries. And as with some Spanish of Spain, perhaps many have forgot or simply don't know that their fore bearers were either Moors and/or Jewish but after the Spanish Inquisition they simply became Catholic. In fact, growing up in Nebraska and then moving to El Paso at a young age, I still remember telling people I was Catholic when I was asked what I was--they wanted to know my lineage but for me only my religion was important. In truth, it would be many years later that I would discover the multi-ethnic background of my fore bearers: French, Spanish, Mexican, Bavarian, Comanche and only God knows what else. I only know that when I heard the Kaddish the first time I was touched to the core in the same manner as when I hear ancient Arabic love music. Perhaps that is why I love the Gypsy Kings so much, I don't know--it's in my blood.

This brings me back to Harjo. Harjo is getting back to her roots and when she does, her music soars. Though I have no clear idea why the songs No Huli and Witchi Tai To speak to me, I feel lifted. In fact, I have listened to the CD numerous times now and have gone back to her previous CD Native Joy For Real to hear the difference between the two; the Fear Song is one of my favorites from this CD--there is something Buddhist about it that speaks to me as a spiritual person.

Sadly, Harjo informs us that folks don't seem to buy her music as much as her poetry. Her interview speaks to this issue of the spoken word via music and its relationship between the word. Whatever is going on is truly amusing in a way, for Bob Dylan is doing something similar with his music and the lyrics. I suppose the purists aren't able to see the beauty in the mixture. The culmination of this rich fabric comes through in the song Goin' Home and her saxophone is that unusual instrument that brings all the ancient forms home.

I encourage you to visit Joy Harjo by listening to her interview via the link below and her webpage also listed below:
Joy Harjo's Interview on You Tube

  • Joy Harjo.com

  • Joy Harjo doesn't disappoint in her latest CD. There are many tunes that I simply found myself going back to listen to because of the mixture of music and the lyrics.

    For those of you out there who only read poetry, I encourage you to give Harjo's music a listening to and to those of your out there who only listen to music, I encourage you to read Harjo's poetry. Perhaps one day, you will realize the link between them; it's up to you.

    Wednesday, June 03, 2009


    ArLiJo Features Joseph Grant, Consuelo Hernandez, & John S. Williams

    Fiction writer Joseph Grant, poet Consuelo Hernandez, & poet John S. Williams are featured on ArLiJo.com.

    These authors are quite good but I would like to particularly point out Consuelo Hernandez's poetry which is focused on aspects of India and the Middle East. These poems intrigue and instruct at the same time.

    Please visit ArLiJo.com which I edit.

    To read the works published online, click on the link below:

    ArLiJo.com Issue 27

    Joseph Grant's short stories have been published in 140 literary reviews and e-zines, such as Byline, New Authors Journal, Underground Voices, Nite-Writer's International Literary Arts Journal, Howling Moon Press, Hack Writers, New Online Review, Literary Tonic, six sentences, NexGenPulp, three UK literary reviews, Bottom of the World and Cupboard Gloom, Darkest Before Dawn, strangeroad, Heroin Love Songs and Bottom of the World #2, a story in the anthology of horror, Northern Haunts and upcoming stories in Six Sentences, Volume II.

    Originally from Colombia, Consuelo Hernandez has had the following poetry collections published: Poemas de escombros y ceniza / Poems from Debris and Ashes (2006), Manual de peregrina (2003), Solo de violín. Poemario para músicos y pintores (1997), y Voces de la soledad (1982). Books: Alvaro Mutis: Una estética del deterioro (1996), with a prologue by Álvaro Mutis. Distinctions: Finalist at the International poetry contest of "Ciudad Melilla " en España. Finalist at the concurso “Letras de Oro” de la Universidad de Miami . Distinguished by the Salvadoran Consulate in New York for her poetic work. Declared Honor Guest in El Salvador 2006. Her poetry has been included in numerous anthologies in Latin America, Spain , Canada and United States . Manual de peregrina was the first book in Spanish language to be included in the Special Library’s collection at American University .

    Hernandez's poetry is translated into English by Maureen Contreni who was born in Indiana and who has lived in Venezuela and Brazil. She received her J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law in May 2009 and looks forward to practicing immigration law.

    John Sibley Williams has an MA in Writing and resides in Boston, where he frequently performs his poetry, though relocating to Portland, Oregon to study Book Publishing at Portland State University. He is presently compiling manuscripts composed from the last two years of traveling and living abroad. Some of his over fifty previous or upcoming publications include: The Evansville Review, Flint Hills Review, Cadillac Cicatrix, Juked, The Journal, Barnwood International Poetry, Paradigm, The Alembic, Phantasmagoria, Clapboard House, River Oak Review, Southern Ocean Review, Miranda, Language and Culture, and Raving Dove.

    This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?