Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Prison Walls and Trembling Voices.

Here is a poem to honor the poetry of the past, present, and future that has inspired my trembling voice to find yours and allows our voices to dance together creating something beautiful. To Our Song, My Song, One Song:

Prison Walls
By Carlos Rodriguez

Spirituality as a process of integration

“You took a half swing at this, take a full swing”

You the great organizer

And the little one too

The ultimate creador

The power-poder

in skies

in trees

in tiny tears

in little country towns seemingly defying some capitalist logic

“Que locura hay en lo pequeño
que existe desafiando a lo infinito”

I said to my sharecropping grandfather on some ranch somewhere in Mexico in a time I wish I could taste when the city seems to eat me.

You the one that sings in prison

Songs that break down their prison walls

May your ancient wisdom seep into the very depths of my biologically powerful cells.

Rippling from my trem-bling voices  into other trem--- bling voices

A song

That one with the most hurting




Kills the comedy

Like the insides of a flame

Of those that can act pretending that they can live

while ignoring the pain of others.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Cities (Written during my time in Chile)

On this morning

I sense that the city
did not sleep

The money machines
marched through the night

even as the twinkle of small stars

ching ching ching

they come after me
with the dreams of their motherboards

They want to claim me for them

And yet they do not know
that I also had a dream

A most powerful of dreams


I woke
to my
and my heartbeat

Dances to my dream

Dreams of life

where skin and soul



and cities instead of diminishing life

amplify it.

Migrants and Pilgrims.

Sometimes there are no words
And yet we find them

The vicar of Christ
Hablando español desde el capitolio en Washington.

The bishop of Rome
crowding New York streets that have seen never-ending dreams begin

Los rosarios de mi abuelita
"Ave Maria, Dios te Salve Maria...."

Prayers prayed tears of troubled hope
for my 16 year old father when he left his home

Another migrant, another story, another never-ending dream

Finally reaching New York
The unforeseen arrivals and goodbyes

The anonymous shadows of yesterday and today and tomorrow
holding the city hostage

City gasping for breath to contain the emotions of encounter

The tired and the poor and those
yearning to breathe free
One and the same stubborn ray of hope-

We are all scaling walls in the night
backpacks wet with tears

Wetbacks wet
in the ancestral waters of tribal hope

Tribes of poor peoples aching for a just Jerusalem

We all step foot off paper planes onto new lands
Migrants and Pilgrims
Pilgrims and Migrants

Ours is a spiritual promise- ready to engulf the world in all sorts of fires of different types of loves

Sometimes there are no words
but there are Fires

cold enough To refresh the World in the aching heat of all that has ever ached for justice
and all that has ever dreamed the fullness of love's full night

You know what I am talking about:
That loving look on the subway when your eyes dance with mine
The tired steps on nights when Mother simply wants to get home
The journey filled hope of the children that live in us all

Come to me my lovers---Popes, and Poor Peoples, Peasants, and Presidents
from every world, from every continent
Together our fires will refresh the earth
And wake it from systematic slumbers
Slowly finally embracing wordless utterly beautiful and wise ways.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

"A Kind of Patriotism" by Russell Lum and "I Pledge" by Carlos Rodriguez

This site will, from time to time, be an original outlet for poetry by Carlos Martín Rodríguez and Russell Lum.  Some of these poems will take as their starting point (or as some sort of prompt or inspiration) a work by the visual artist Malaquias Montoya.  Whether utilizing Montoya or not, these words hope to respond to the reality of—and contribute to the making-sense-of—living in the urban desert.  This is the first pair in the series.

"A Kind of Patriotism" 
By Russell Lum 

There is
that one line in that one Atmosphere song. 

I love this fucking country.

Here’s what pleases me: New York, LA, Chicago. 
What’s more: open space, great plains, national parks.
 If that massive basin of red—Canyonlands—
is a national park, what is a park?
We have enough parking lots
and industrial parks
to belie and shame our fondness for wild parks.
A nation of parks.
(A nation of cars.)

There is
that title of that one book. 

Cadillac Desert.

I like Cadillacs and I love deserts.
Funny how “Cadillac Desert” can be an indictment.

I guess I’m a Californian?
Because I want to drive a Cadillac into the desert, vote to protect National Parks, and fly to Chicago or New York. 

How did I get so typical?
How did I get so patriotic?
(Don’t ask me my inclinations toward ball parks.)

Yes, I love this fucking country—
and my impetus in loving it is not purely environmentalist, nor environmentalistically purist.

So I’ve got an old worry and a new one.
The old: logging, drilling, species loss, parts per million.
The other: I’m accruing too many things in common with the people who not only love the country but love the nation.

Is that the winning distinction? 
between country and nation.

Hard on all of us (literally), it breaks us all up (literally)
that this country is subject to this nation.
Canyonlands deserves better than these United States.
The nobleness of Colorado’s mountains belies and shames that of the State of Colorado.

I want to ask but I know the answer.
My fellow lovers of our cities, of flying, of driving, of parks of several kinds,
will you love the atmosphere? 

'I pledge'
By Carlos M Rodriguez

I pledge allegiance to the tears and to the sweat and to the blood

Of those that united their human limit
And human ache
And human passion
To the mercenaries of the spirit

I pledge my soul

My flesh
My histories and my futures

To the soldiers draped in their mothers wet kisses from the heartland of America 
Valiant enough to connect their mother’s love to the love of tears of the mothers
Of Mesopotamia

Who saw their children’s futures
Destroyed in the palaces and huts and strategic war rooms
Of the powerful

I pledge allegiance to the Republic of those that still believe in a Republic
Brazen enough to walk humbly and reject a check

‘I will not be sold’  

they whisper to themselves in the little light
that still remains

I pledge allegiance to the one nation
of the earliest alarms
precursors of a future
working the land
opening the shop
assembling in the factory

this is my nation
the nation under
And beside God
Inside God
God inside

'I pledge'

God dead with us on a war zone or subway ride
who cannot help but remain
and whose biggest most tenacious obsession 

to continue to pledge allegiance to us all.

"To see the original print this poem draws its inspiration from by Malaquias Montoya please go to this link"