SAN FRANCISCO POETS

Jorge Argueta

POEMS IN MEMORIAM

FREEDOM RIDE ~ In Memory of John Ross (1938-2011)
POET IN THE HOUSE ~ In memory of my dear friend Victor Martinez (1954-2011)

FREEDOM RIDE In Memory of John Ross
(1938-2011)

I know these words
Will find you

These words know
Where poets go
When they leave
The way you have left

These words
Will find you
Writing notes
For your next book
About the loving monster
Mexico City
About the Mission District
The Middle East
Or your beloved Chiapas

Wherever these words
May find you poet comrade
Wherever you might be
Thank you for your mad endless rebellion
For loving the poor people of the world

They welcomed you in their struggle
And you rode with them to a place of justice and hope

Those who imposed their power
Their oppressors
Hated your guts
And hated the beautiful truth
Of your words demanding change

They ran you out

But you kept on coming
Riding
Rising the storm of your rebellion
You kept on coming

You were not defeated
You rode el metro
With your gangster rebel poet look
You wore your Palestinian scarf with pride
You defended Chiapas as any Zapatista rebel
You kept on coming

And today
We ride with you
Because the struggle is also here
It has been here in the USA

We ride with you
Over rotten towns
Of hunger
Anger and dissolutions

We ride over cities
Where corrupt politicians
Keep on trying to destroy
The hope of the people

We ride with you
Because your cause
Is homeless
Countrylesss
Borderless
Undocumentedless

We ride with you
Because
We are all legal
And illegal

All immigrants
All Indians and non Indians
All white and brown
And yellow and purple
Because we believe in every color

Because like you
We know
America is larger
Than just fifty states

So let’s ride brother
Let’s ride poet
Let’s ride with the farmworkers
Let’s ride with the teachers
Let’s ride with the inmates
Let’s ride with the hopeless

Let’s ride
Let’s surrender our bare bones
The revolution is here
And it belongs to us all

- Jorge Argueta

Argueta's poem for his friend, read at the February 26, 2011
John Ross Memorial reading held at Cafe Boheme in San Francisco.

JOHN ROSS

JOHN ROSS / REBEL JOURNALIST


 

a place Victor loved

POET IN THE HOUSE
In memory of my dear friend Victor Martinez (1954-2011) by Jorge Argueta

A poet is in the house

From where he sings his verses

To the universe

Tender hoarse laugh

Of anger and beauty

 

This morning I laugh with you

Dear friend as I remember

The snow of Yosemite melting over

The mountains

While we were driving back

From Fresno

 

I remember how much you love trees

And the silence of those far away places in the hills

 

We agreed this Mother Earth is wonderful

And we must take care of it


I remember you caring for your writing

In your house on Capp Street

I remember you talking

Of your long hours hunting

For good words

You never complained about the writing struggle

You welcomed it

You embraced it

And at the end

You freed the parrot from the oven

Of the fields

You made sure

We saw the parrot fly free

 

This morning I remember you

Victor Martinez

Friend

Carnal

Chero*

And as I shed these words for you

I am happy

For the caring

Of your words

I am happy for the light

You have left with us all


(on Sunday, February 20, 2011 at 7:44pm)
*chero Salvadoran slang for friend

PARROT IN THE OVEN: MI VIDA by Victor MartinezVictor Martinez was born and raised in Fresno, California, the fourth in a family of twelve children. He attended California State University at Fresno and Stanford University, and worked as a field laborer, welder, truck driver, firefighter, teacher, and office clerk. His poems, short stories, and essays have appeared in journals and anthologies. His first novel, "Parrot in the Oven : Mi Vida" won the 1996 National Book Award for Young People's Literature. It describes life in the barrios and tells the story of a 14-year-old boy dealing with growing up in a world of gangs, violence and poverty.

"I didn't do well in school. I sat in the back of the class and didn't say anything,"
Mr. Martinez said. "Most of my teachers thought I was just waiting to drop out, but my mother kept me in school."

Victor Martinez died after a battle with cancer on Feb. 1, in San Francisco. He was 56.

"Journal Entry, June, 1984"  by Victor Martinez
in which Victor attempts to define the foundation of his present and future poetry.

Victor Martinez"Nothing is breathing between me and a cloud. Yesterday I wrote a poem I believe is about how everything is superimagined by everything else, how a bird's flight in Mexico may very well be written in me, in my soul, or mind, or whatever it is that gets both our wings started. I'm looking for a staring off point, a platform or branch that will be both source and propellant of my poetry. When I address a poem, for instance, when I talk about why I am made up of time ‘and' letters, am I supposed to know if the future is a big hole I'm going to fall into, a place I will never return from, or whether the future has already happened and the past incomplete? When I begin to talk, should I assume there are gods or a God? Should I premise a false one or uncover one? Should I confirm it's death or try to kill it? Achieving a starting off, without dragging out any costumes, or stories about being poor or abused. is what I've been accomplishing lately. Like everyone else, I've been thrown into the world, the same as that bird in Mexico, literally hurled into this house of beauty and horror, and I want to value what I've already done and what has been done to me and others, and write it down. for something. for the bird and for me." 
 
Poet and writer Victor Martinez 02.21.1954-02.18.201
Homage for Victor by Francisco X. Alarcon 
Remembering Author Victor Martinez

Jorge ArquetaJORGE ARQUETA is a native Salvadoran and Pipil Nahua Indian and spent much of his childhood in rural El Salvador.
He feels everybody is capable of writing, especially young children who are natural poets. Jorge Argueta's bilingual
children's books have received numerous awards. Mr. Argueta's poetry and short stories have appeared in acclaimed literary textbooks, including Avenues (Hamptom Brown). Voices in Literature (Heinle & Heinle). Calle de Lectura (Pearson), English to a Beat (Hampton Brown), among others.  Bean Soup/A Cooking Poem and, for my latest book, Rice Pudding, A Cooking Poem, nominations include NCBR, Northern California Book Award, Tejas Star Book Award, among others.
Jorge Arqueta's most recent books are fun learning tools - They are a poem, a story and a flavorful recipe.



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