all things creative

Winter 2010 Poetry Contest Honorable Mention

I lay supine on Wilshire and Veteran

subtle ground cracks tickle spaces

where my skin collides with concrete

gaze skywards beyond bruatal timbre of recreated blasts

I hear you utter

I can’t marry you because you’re not Jewish

From Westbank to Westwood

2pm on a Saturday

middle of the street

my head on foreign legs

stacks of bodies occupy tire-marked roadway

this is the die-in

demise of silence

my skull caresses asphalt

black dirt on red hair

a melody of two thousand heart beats

rhythm to your little song

no girlfriend of mine will support Palestine

red white green and black insignia of aspiration for harmony

you slip in and out of my consciousness

I’ve never stared at the sky while laying in middle of the street

Lost Angels

later I rise from concrete

plant feet in cement terrain

ear memory of you declare

even though you voted for Obama you can still be my girlfriend

you place index fingers in ear drums

as our hymns form sound paths through urban walkways

from the river to the sea Palestine will be free

We march

intone the enflamed chants of a people

who burn their vocal cords for peace

on the corner of Veteran loud speakers detonate sound bombs

genocidal anthem of Gaza

vicious reverberations shake the ground

I rehear you whisper

how could you support the enemy?

i would leave UCLA and take up arms in Tel Aviv in a heart beat

the hum of pseudo explosions reside

two children entertain crowd with polyrhythmic hand slaps

i unshake the memory

yesterday you say it’s a shame i’m so liberal

an indignity i went to Cal

in one more redundant insult of romantic hatred

you call it a disgrace i come from Berkeley

a land where each inhabitant is so radical

they incapacitate themselves to think critically

if only you had listened to me say

i spend more time in temples than churches

how graceful to produce a bireligious child

i adore your Faith

still you beg i come over

tickle your flesh with my Lusotongue

flesh knows no politics

polar opposites

swear you unwish to reconcile our differences

crave to combine our mouths together

outside a memory of your orison for we

to dazzle the body with colorful friendship

this procession incantates miles down city blocks

a plea for peace

my voice ripples sound waves

floats subtitles to you

one final attempt to profess

you never hear me speak

I won’t marry you since you’re not Christian

shame you’re so conservative

I defriend you for fighting for your country

Winter 2010 Poetry Contest Honorable Mention

I’m coming from where

A bus and a train will get you there

You’re where

No gas in the tank – I’m not going there

Where do we meet?

I’m three hours ahead – The city that never sleeps

You’re three hours behind – Snow you’ll never see

Where do we meet?

Between the Hellas and the Fo Shos

I need my Son, Feel Me, Word to Mutha and

That’s Wassup. You like to hear Coffee, Quarter and

Of Course. I like the sound of Finna and No Worries

It’s always different when we speak

Where do we meet?

I’m coming from where

Jamaica meets Church Ave

You resting where

Mexico meets Home Depot

I’m jumping up and whining to Dance Hall

You twirling and stepping to Salsa

The beat never misleads the feet

So, maybe in the middle of a track

We can meet.

Poetry Contest Winner: 3rd Place

“California” By Ramon Sanchez

Why don’t you run away with me.

We’ll fly away tonight

And live beside the sea

In California.

You’ll love the clean and breezy air,

And flowing traffic ev’rywhere.

Run away with me to California.

I’ll show you where to pan for gold.

Get rich in just one day,

Retire before your old.

In California.

We’ll buy a house, the cheapest pick,

Inflate the price and sell it quick.

Come away with me to California.

The grizzly bears will let you scratch their ears.

The mountain lions will let you take their photograph.

And if you wave at whales they’ll flip their tails.

The movie stars will ask you for your autograph.

And ev’rywhere we go the sun will shine.

‘Cause back in California you’ll be mine.

Just picture us beside a pool.

We’ll have to make the scene

‘Cause ev’ryone is cool

In California.

The summers there are not too dry,

The politicians never lie,

And lovers there say love will never die

‘Cause that’s what life is like in California.

Poetry Contest Winner: 2nd Place

“L.A. State of Mind” By Ashley M. Esprio

Welcome to the land of disingenuous deceit

Where promises are made while promising defeat

Where dreamers of tomorrow arrive with hearts of hope

Then quickly trade their hearts in for ½ an oz. of dope

A city full of “angels” filled with eternal “fear and loathing”

Where wolves cross dress, camouflaged by sheep’s clothing.

Hollywood: the La-La Land chock full of fabled truths

Where the “American Dream” is born

And Sell Outs mass produced.

Where a penny for your thoughts is an unnecessary expense

For your kiss? A thousand dollars. For your soul? Fifty cents.

A city where artificial beauty runs in high demand

where silicone and normalcy go together hand in hand.

Where combat is commercialized like fifteen minute fame

And soldiers run by corrupt politicians, pawns in a chess game.

Skewed perception and deception are the orders of the day

Convoluted youth is bred then shown misguided ways.

Products of a pompous society that’s sadly gone astray

All for an “L.A. state of mind”… what a misconstrued cliché.

Winter 2010 Poetry Contest Winner

“Oh California, bella” By Salvador Ramirez

Oh California,

tierra de los que buscan linda morada,

pues eres bella con tus montanas con nieve y tus suelos planos,

aunque de ahi despierten temblores que hacen la arena agua.

Oh California,

Tu has recibido gente en los cuatro puntos cardenales,

desde el norte te han seguido con los bisontes para poder comer

desde la ancha costa para poder gozar el mar y la brisa,

desde el oriente han fluido por noticias del oro,

y desde el sur por los que buscan solo una mejor vida.

Oh California,

aunque has sido cuna de los que luchan contra la desigualdad,

de ti han salido tratados justos como el de las Naciones Unidas,

en ti han caminado lideres ejemplares como nuestro Cesar Chavez,

y aunque tus dolores no parecen aun terminar,

siempre mantienes esa fortaleza de gente con esperanza

Oh California,

has sido esposada por varios reinos,

primero con la de los nativos, despues de los Espanoles,

por un momento fuiste de Mexico, pero ahora eres el pulmon

de los Estados Unidos de America,

sin embargo, todo paso con mucho sacrificio.

Oh California,

eres tan grande y rugiente mas que muchos estados juntos,

Pues te adornas con las estrellas de Los Angeles,

te conectas al mundo con las industrias tecnologicas,

y acaricias sin cesar con tus bosques nortenos, huertas de naranjas y vinas de uvas.

Oh California,

si algun dia llegare a verte otra vez,

sera dia de alegria, paz, y armonia

pues el corazon de tu gente lo desea y lo necesita

desde San Ysidro hasta mas alla de Redding y tus otros pueblos,

que por muy chicos que sean son parte de tu buena vibra y fresca naturaleza familiar.

El Robo: In Memory of My Mexican Mother

by Alvaro Huerta

Carmen Mejia was the prettiest girl in her rancho, Sajo Grande. Only 13 years old and the little girl with the sparkling, green eyes already had a boyfriend, an admirer and a stalker.

Mexico in the 1950s was not the safest place for unwed girls, especially in rural states like Michoacan, where men routinely abducted teenage girls with the aim of eventually marrying them. Once taken from her home for several nights, an abducted girl had no choice but to marry her abductor to protect her honor and family name.

Carmen rarely spoke to her boyfriend, Alfredo Ramirez. They only met a few times, under the close supervision of Carmen’s mother, who watched their every move from a distance. Carmen and Alfredo never went on a date, kissed or held hands. He was okay with their non-physical relationship since he felt honored that Carmen selected him over others who only dreamed of courting her.

Salomon Huerta also had his eyes on Carmen. Belonging to a large and respected family, this handsome young man could wed any girl that he desired. He had already set his eyes on Carmen and nobody could change his mind. It was only a matter of time when he would make his move.

Alcadio Perez was not so patient. What he lacked in good looks, he compensated with determination. It was no secret that he wanted to make Carmen his wife, at any cost.

While Alfredo played the role of the gentleman and Salomon the confident one, Alcadio behaved like a brute. He never sent Carmen flowers or love notes; he had a simpler plan. He would stalk Carmen until he found an opportunity to abduct her.

Once he crafted his master plan, Alcadio and his hired thugs stationed themselves inside the cornfields, adjacent to Carmen’s home. After hiding for days with only uncooked corn to eat and mescal to drink, Alcadio and his posse made their move.

“The old man left the house for the day,” Alcadio whispered to his accomplices.

“Let’s wait for her to go outside,” one of the thugs responded.

“Sounds good to me,” stated the other one.

A few hours later, Carmen ventured outside her adobe home with an empty bucket to get water from her neighbor Margarita.

“There she is,” Alcadio whispered to the others. “I don’t see the old lady. She must be cooking inside.”

Oblivious of the pursuing stalkers, Carmen skipped her way to Margarita’s house.

Suddenly, Alcadio ran towards Carmen with the others following right behind him.

“Let me go!” Carmen screamed at the top of her lungs, while Alcadio and his men grabbed her by the arms and legs.

“Shut up!” Alcadio responded. “Your father’s not here to protect you.”

“Somebody help!” Carmen yelled to her neighbors, who began to gather in a semi-circle to witness all of the commotion.

“Let her go, Alcadio,” a young woman said from the crowd.

“Yeah,” stated an older woman. “You can’t take her. She doesn’t belong to you.”

“I’m going to tell your mother that you’re involved,” Carmen’s best friend, Rosa, told one of the thugs, who also happened to be her second cousin.

Fearful of the growing crowd, the hired thugs fled the scene.

“Don’t go,” Alcadio pleaded with them to stay and help. “I’ll throw in an extra 100 pesos.”

Carmen broke free and headed directly for her house.

Not willing to give up just yet, Alcadio grabbed Carmen from her long, braided hair, forcing her to the ground before she could reach the door of her house. Carmen desperately reached for a rock and without looking, hit Alcadio on his forehead, causing him to bleed profusely.

Freed again from his grip, Carmen made her way home. Blinded by the blood, Alcadio couldn’t catch up to Carmen.

Alcadio then reached for his silver revolver.

“If I can’t have you, nobody can,” Alcadio yelled, while aimlessly shooting his gun in her direction.

Carmen miraculously reached her home without a scratch.

Alcadio quickly fled the scene before the local militia arrived. As he retreated to the hills, Alcadio held a lock of Carmen’s long hair in his hand, which brought a smile to his otherwise bloody face.

Once Salomon learned of the incident, he wasted no time in asking Carmen to be his girlfriend, especially since Alfredo, who left to el norte for work, couldn’t protect her from Alcadio and others like him.

Seeking justice, Salomon sought help from his father Martin. As the commander of the local militia, Martin had the authority to arrest Alcadio and his men.

Witnesses told Martin that Alcadio headed north, yet the militia commander decided to head south in pursuit of Alcadio. Carmen later learned that Martin, her future father-in-law, had no intention of capturing Alcadio, since the brute’s father, just happened to be Martin’s first cousin.

Salomon realized that Alcadio paid off his neighbor, Raul, to distract Salomon while Alcadio executed his foiled master plan.

“How could you betray me?” asked Salomon, while pistol-whipping Raul.

“That’s enough!” said Martin, ordering his son to stop.

“Okay,” responded Salomon. “Now, let’s get that bastard, Alcadio.”

“Don’t worry about Alcadio,” said Martin. “He failed. He won’t be coming around the rancho anymore, now that you and Carmen are together.”

Fortunately for my seven siblings and I, my mother, Carmen Mejia, eventually married my father, Salomon Huerta.

Throughout her life in Mexico and the United States, my mother overcame tremendous obstacles to make sure that her children had a better life.

Now, if only she could live one more day so she can tell us, once again, her favorite story of how she prevailed against her would-be abductor in the rancho.

LaGente.org’s Winter 2010 Poetry Contest

Thanks for your submissions!!

Check out the winners in our upcoming Winter 2010 issue of La Gente; they’ll be posted online once the newsmag hits the stands.

Winter 2010 Poetry Contest

La Gente is proud to announce our Winter 2010 Poetry Contest. The theme is California: Dreams, Experiences, and Fears. La Gente is proud to have its roots at the University of California, Los Angeles. California has always been a leading state in new technology, trends, and political reform. What better way to express our feelings about California than in poetry? For the first time the contest will be held online at lagente.org.

Poetry Rules:

Who can enter?

Everyone is welcome.

When can I enter?

The deadline for the contest is February 13, 2010.

Why should I enter?

If you are selected as one of the 3 runners up or the grand prize winner, your poem will be published in lagente.org and the grand prize winner will have their poem published in the print issue of UCLA’s La Gente Newsmagazine.

What do I enter?

1. Poems must be revelate to the theme: California- Dreams, Experiences, and Fears. The writer does not have to be a native of California.

2. Poems can be either in English, Spanish, or Portuguese. If the poem is written in Spanish or Portuguese, we will translate it in English, if writer does not provide a translation.

3. Poems have to be accompanied with the following information: Author’s first and last name, Age, Occuption and Address (the address will not be publish either online or print, the information will be use to send you copies of the print issue if you are selected as the prize winner).

4. You are limited to one entry.

5. We do not support plagiarism.

How do I enter?

Submit your poem to [email protected] by February 13, 2009 by 5pm Pacific Time.

Good luck and we wish you the best.

My Imagined Rendezvous With Julian Casablancas

Jan 8, 2009

So he said to me before the end, “well what can I say, unlocking life’s mysteries is the responsibility of the dissatisfied”

I have this thing for rugged guys with leather jackets who have hair that teases the eye, barely touching what is the contour of a shoulder, that wear shiny black boots that turn themselves to spears at their front end, existing for the purpose of piercing out the eyeballs of careless children here and there (as in the left and the right eye sockets respectively or interchangeably). From New York City preferably, signs of alcoholism maybe, it’s the worthless bonus that comes with the ultra package, like the worthless wipe samples we get ALWAYS poorly attached. (Make sure this reference to always pads is made more obvious somehow). They sing passionately and smoke although I wish they didn’t. Deep, raspy yet smooth voices: First box checked. They sing, they weren’t thought to sing though. No lessons. Naturals. Some propose these guys were singing in the womb to the beat of the pulsating viscera. They don’t have soul they are soul and they are creators of soul and fuel soul into the soul of the world. Please don’t be shy, trust that this world is loosing its soul as you read. Whatever you’re thinking is exactly right, no doubt, hang in there. They sing all the way to hell in purple baskets they just go go go go go go go go leaving their words behind for soul searching fiends to follow, leaving their Phrazes For The Young behind for soul searching fiends to swallow, leaving their Phrazes For The Young behind because the young are the future and the world is shallow and hallow (whichever rhymes better I guess is good).

Jan 4, 2009

Note: Alas my thoughts found the words I sought. Time 12:51. Thanks Julian

Verses in gratitude to Casablancas: for ALL your Phrazes

I thought I thought I could not stand but I do

Sit in the tree and hang from the branch and the bar and I could

Go you know go to the movie grab some grub at the burger place

Chewing once and twice choo choo choo chewing away and I will always

Go go go go go go go go like the strokes

They re my favorite band of

Gypsies that steel your soul away I wish

I could but I thought I could and I can’t

Or I couldn’t? Maybe if I try again

Ill win?

But I tried and that time showed me I can’t win

Like the strokes they’re my favorite band of gypsies

Cus they’re jingles are sweet and long they go on they just

Go go go go go go go go like the strokes because it feels good to keep going sometimes when the song’s

really good and

it gots lots of soul away I wish I could steel yours

But I tried one more time and I didn’t get it

You see

I said I can’t win like the strokes

And I should probably stop trying my luck like the strokes cus I talk way too much like the strokes and that’s why maybe last night like the strokes you asked me is this it? Like the strokes and I told you to be patient with me Cus it’s hard to explain like the strokes but I guess that in this age, in the modern age like the strokes you just have to deal with life as it comes, just take it or leave it like the strokes just take it or leave and go go go go go go go go go

Morning Glory

Nonchalantly resting in one hand,

A quarter and two dimes.

The other in full demand—

A warm breakfast in no time.

Soft music aims to woo,

Newspaper at a perfect angle,

A bite mark or two,

Deforms the once impeccable bagel.

Delicately dabbing his lips,

Trades the paper for the phone.

Beaming, takes another sip,

Connected, he’s never alone.

With a grin, pauses to admire

His suit—crumb and wrinkle free.

Without hesitation or tire,

Uses the window to preen.

Preening, he does not see,

The litter overwhelming the street.

Preoccupied, he does not feel,

The wind ravaging the trees.

Looks at the window,

Without looking out,

Everything down below,

Taints his route.

Struggling to light a cigarette,

On the outside looking in.

The only meal he could get,

Homelessness his sin.

A history wrinkled on his face,

Sputtered gray in his hair,

Forgotten by the human race,

Not worthy of a prayer.