Anna Daniels

Thumbnail image for Gabriel García Márquez in His Own Words

Gabriel García Márquez in His Own Words

by Anna Daniels 04.19.2014 Books & Poetry

By Staff

Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.

Muchos años después, frente al pelotón de fusilamiento, el coronel Aureliano Buendía había de recorder aquella tarde remota en que su padre lo llevó a conocer el hielo.

This is the unforgettable opening line of Gabriel García Márquez literary masterpiece Cien años de soledadOne Hundred Years of Solitude.

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Poems to Saturday by…

by Anna Daniels 04.19.2014 Books & Poetry

Poems by John Wester

By Anna Daniels

Back in the early 70′s Julian was home to an enclave of young writers, intellectuals and politicos. John Wester was part of this group of kindred spirits that also included SDFP contributor Jay Powell and Bud Sonka who recently introduced me to John’s poetry. I hope that we will hear more about what they built and thought about up on the mountain during that time.

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Thumbnail image for Poem of the Day:  “Bluebird” by Charles Bukowski

Poem of the Day: “Bluebird” by Charles Bukowski

by Anna Daniels 04.16.2014 Books & Poetry

The poet’s secret pact

By Anna Daniels

Brent Beltrán is the Wednesday editor du jour, so I gave him a heads up yesterday that Bukowski’s poem would be ready to post today. Brent shot back an email with “In honor of Bukowski I’ll get blindingly drunk and bang my head on the keyboard in hopes that a poem appears on my computer screen.” I sense that the man who wrote “Poetry is what happens when nothing else can” would approve of the homage.

Much of Charles Bukowski’s poetry expresses his contempt of hypocrisy, willful stupidity, gratuitous judgments, posturings of superiority and the easy sell-out.

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Poem of the Day: “Elegy” by Jon Sands

by Anna Daniels 04.15.2014 Books & Poetry

Poet as memorist

By Anna Daniels

It’s National Poetry Month and readers have been sending in their requests for poems and poets. Securing publication rights for the poem of the day has been challenging, which is one of the reasons why I am using videos. Many of you have been sending videos links which means I have enjoyed hours and hours of total immersion in all kinds of poems by all kinds of poets. You have introduced me to poets I never knew about or poems by familiar poets that I had never read before. Don’t stop! Thanks to Anna Prouty for suggesting Elegy.

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Thumbnail image for Poem of the Day:  “Piss Factory” by Patti Smith

Poem of the Day: “Piss Factory” by Patti Smith

by Anna Daniels 04.14.2014 Books & Poetry

“I will never faint I refuse to lose, I refuse to fall down”

By Anna Daniels

Patti Smith, the queen of punk and one of the few women who was even able to make a name for herself in the punk scene, is now in her late 60′s, still writing, singing and politically active. Piss Factory was one of her first recordings, released in 1974.

Sixteen and time to pay off
I got this job in a piss factory inspecting pipe
Forty hours thirty-six dollars a week
But it’s a paycheck, Jack.
It’s so hot in here, hot like Sahara
You could faint in the heat…
The rest of the poem here.

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Thumbnail image for Poem of the Day: “They Feed They Lion” by Philip Levine

Poem of the Day: “They Feed They Lion” by Philip Levine

by Anna Daniels 04.11.2014 Books & Poetry

The Poet as Witness

By Anna Daniels
During the 1950′s Philip Levine was working in Detroit auto plants and writing poetry. In an interview at that time in Detroit Magazine he described how he found his compelling subject material. “I saw that the people that I was working with…were voiceless in a way. In terms of the literature of the United States they weren’t being heard. Nobody was speaking for them. And as young people will, you know, I took this foolish vow that I would speak for them and that’s what my life would be. …I just hope that I have the strength to carry it all the way through.”

They Feed They Lion was written in 1968, when Levine returned to Detroit following the race riots of 1967. It is one of his finest poems, reflecting the degree to which he found “the strength to carry it all the way through.” The poem is merciless in its judgements and propelled by the rhythmic insistence of the language itself.

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Thumbnail image for It’s Equal Pay Day!  Republican Incoherence, Executive Orders and How to Get a Raise

It’s Equal Pay Day! Republican Incoherence, Executive Orders and How to Get a Raise

by Anna Daniels 04.08.2014 Activism

By Anna Daniels

Republicans have been having a hard time stringing words together when it comes to explaining why they don’t support pay equity for women. It’s a straightforward concept–equal pay for equal work. Yet it takes women until April 8 to catch up with men’s earnings from the previous year. The median earnings for a woman working a full time job is about 77% of a man’s. That figure drops for women of color and it hasn’t budged in more than a decade.

President Obama’s first action upon assuming office in 2009 was to sign the Lily Ledbetter Fair Wage Act. This act restored protection against wage discrimination that was stripped away by the Supreme Court’s decision in Ledbetter v Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. The act extended the period of time for employees to file claims for wages lost because of discrimination. Yet wage discrimination on the basis of gender continues to exist.

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Thumbnail image for Poem of the Day: Touch/Palpar by Octavio Paz

Poem of the Day: Touch/Palpar by Octavio Paz

by Anna Daniels 04.07.2014 Books & Poetry

By Anna Daniels

During National Poetry Month, San Diego Free Press will be publishing a poem of the day. San Diego has poets, some very familiar and others not so familiar. We will be posting their works on Saturday and Sunday, while you are enjoying late coffee and oranges in a sunny chair.

During the week we will draw upon poetry from other places and times. Thursdays however, are reserved for Ishmael von Heindrick- Barnes video/poem series for SDFP called Geo-Poetic Spaces. We will also keep our eyes open for poems from SDFP contributor Will Falk.

Today we bring you Octavio Paz. The one hundredth anniversary of Octavio Paz’s birth was this past March 31st. The Mexican born poet was a prolific poet and essayist. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1990.

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Thumbnail image for It’s National Poetry Month and San Diego Has Poets

It’s National Poetry Month and San Diego Has Poets

by Anna Daniels 04.05.2014 Books & Poetry

By Anna Daniels

It’s April and the whole month is devoted to reading poetry, writing poetry and listening to poetry. National Poetry Month was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996 in the hopes of keeping this particular art form alive and flourishing. It is not as if poets stopped writing poetry and became successful hedge fund managers instead over the past decades. The obstacle has long been one of connecting audiences to poets.

Those connections began to occur a number of years ago in poetry slams–often informal arrangements set in coffee houses and book stores. These venues have provided an opportunity for both writers and audiences. A number of years ago San Diego buses displayed poetry written by local students above the seats. The series was called “Poetry in Motion” and it was one of the collaborations of poet and educator Quincy Troupe. San Diego is fertile ground for the poetic imagination.

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Can Chris Christie Have It All?

by Anna Daniels 04.01.2014 Culture

Does the 51 year old husband, father of four, lawyer and current Governor of New Jersey have what it takes to be President, too?

By Anna Daniels

“Will he or won’t he?” was on every pundit’s mind when New Jersey Governor Chris Christie arrived in Las Vegas to address the Republican Jewish Coalition. Anonymous sources say that the real reason for the visit was to receive the blessing from billionaire Sheldon Adelson for a 2016 presidential run, with the attendant promise of Adelson’s substantial financial backing. Christie coyly avoided directly answering a question about the purported meeting when asked at his Friday March 21 press conference.

Christie has a great deal riding on this visit to Las Vegas. He has clearly distanced himself from his two hour press conference in December 2013 when the Bridgegate Scandal genie could no longer be stuffed back into the bottle. During that press conference he seemed chastened, confused, vulnerable and according to an unnamed staffer, he looked… old. At one point he choked up, seemingly at the point of tears. His approval ratings plummeted, with some left wondering whether his inability to control his emotions led to questions about his leadership capabilities under stress.

The Republican Jewish Conference attendees seemed palpably relieved that the old Christie was back.

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Thumbnail image for Civil Rights Icon John Lewis at San Diego’s Oak Park Public Library: In This Place, the Beloved Community

Civil Rights Icon John Lewis at San Diego’s Oak Park Public Library: In This Place, the Beloved Community

by Anna Daniels 03.02.2014 Activism

By Anna Daniels

On Saturday March 1, Congressman John Lewis received the National Conflict Resolution Center (NCRC) Peacemaker award for his outstanding work as a civil rights champion and inspiring congressional leader. The reception, dinner and award ceremony were held at the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines. I did not attend, but there is no doubt in my mind that the guests were moved by his powerful oratory as he embraced another opportunity at that event to promote non-violent action as the only democratic remedy and response to injustice in the world.

Earlier in the day, Congressman John Lewis entered the Oak Park Public Library and became Storyteller John Lewis. In the intimacy of this small library, Lewis was clearly in his element. The Oak Park Library has no meeting room. Over eighty people sat and stood in the heart of this library surrounded by computers and book stacks. We sang This Little Light of Mine, lead by Lisa Sanders followed by a brief, heartfelt introduction from 4th district Councilwoman Myrtle Cole, the first African American woman on the city council.

In this place, Congressman Lewis unhurriedly and deftly wove the personal details of his own life, about how he grew up in rural Alabama on a farm in the segregationist south. We were immediately drawn into the storyteller’s enchanted circle.

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Thumbnail image for What Does City Heights Lose when Albertsons Closes?

What Does City Heights Lose when Albertsons Closes?

by Anna Daniels 01.22.2014 Activism

The importance of keeping the public benefit issues alive when redevelopment is dead

By Anna Daniels

On January 15 Councilmember Marti Emerald released a statement about the imminent closure of the Albertsons store and pharmacy in the City Heights Retail Village. This announcement took the community by complete surprise. While it is true that “This planned closure of a major retailer is unfortunately a common story in older, low income neighborhoods…,” this particular Albertsons is part of a unique, extensive redevelopment effort in City Heights.

Albertsons opened in 2001, has a large footprint, carries fresh produce, is clean and well lit and includes the kinds of onsite services within the store that one associates with its more suburban (read successful) counterparts– Starbucks, deli, bakery as well as services tailored to City Heights tastes and needs.

It is frankly difficult to perceive how this particular store fits into the “common story” narrative.

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Thumbnail image for Twenty Years of NAFTA: Capital freely crosses borders while people can’t

Twenty Years of NAFTA: Capital freely crosses borders while people can’t

by Anna Daniels 01.04.2014 Activism

By Anna Daniels On January 1, 1994, a trilateral free trade zone was established in North America.  This treaty between the United States, Mexico and Canada resulted in the mass relocation of factories and capital south of the Mexican border. At the same time as the United States is involved in negotiating a Trans-Pacific Partnership […]

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Thumbnail image for Pass the Dinosaur, Pardon My Turkey and Love the Ones You’re With

Pass the Dinosaur, Pardon My Turkey and Love the Ones You’re With

by Anna Daniels 11.27.2013 Culture

A Thanksgiving Cornucopia of Good Reads and Videos

By Anna Daniels

This year many of us will be thankful to sit around tables laden with wonderful food in the company of friends and family. And for many of us, a dinosaur will be the main dish. Seriously. We accept the fact, with a few stubborn creationist holdouts, that dinosaurs died out millions of years ago before humans were on the evolutionary scene. No more T Rex, Velociraptors or Stegosaurus.

But those were the non-avian dinosaurs. The dinosaurs that didn’t die out are the avian dinosaurs, more commonly known as birds. This is a fun fact for the kids at the Thanksgiving table, but it’s a heavy lift to mentally shift from the lifeless, plucked Butterball on the table, even if it’s a twenty-five pounder, to memories of Jurassic Park. A marauding wild tom turkey however is quite another thing. It may be a much scaled down tyrannosaurus, but admit it- it’s a dinosaur.

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Thumbnail image for Us He Devours: Government by Crisis, a Shutdown in Wartime

Us He Devours: Government by Crisis, a Shutdown in Wartime

by Anna Daniels 10.09.2013 City Heights: Up Close & Personal

By Anna Daniels

It is easy to imagine that the Republican hostage taking in Congress is little more than a great deal of sound and too much fury that signifies nothing to ordinary people living ordinary lives outside of the Beltway. The words “shutdown” and “default” don’t enter into conversations very often here, John Boehner is an unknown and that is perfectly fine with the madmen and madwomen who are much more concerned about being disrespected, waiting for the end time and the perfect photo-op.

The people who live here on 45th Street keep talking about the same things they have been talking about for the past five or six years– they are looking for full time work that pays a livable wage, affordable housing, health care and enough money to get the car fixed and buy school clothes for their kids. There is also an urgency for the children who were brought into this country without documents to receive legal status through the Dream Act.

It is easy to imagine that these two worlds don’t intersect, but that is not the case at all.

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Travelers on the Street of Dreams

by Anna Daniels 10.02.2013 Activism

“My challenge is to finish high school as a teenage Mom”

By Anna Daniels

Once a year Teresa Gunn, artistic director and founder of Street of Dreams, stands before a full house in the City College Saville Theatre and opens the student performance with these words:

We have the highest prison population that we have ever had in the history of the country. At Street of Dreams we are not willing to put another generation of people in prison because we lack the humanity to produce a creative solution. The solution is education and community collaboration. Street of Dreams is part of the solution.

Street of Dreams has been part of that solution since its founding in 1998, when Teresa Gunn recognized that the power of story telling and arts education could provide a path out of poverty and inter-generational incarceration and addiction for young mothers who had found themselves in the juvenile justice system.

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Thumbnail image for Surviving an Active Shooter Event: Run-Hide-Fight is the New Duck and Cover

Surviving an Active Shooter Event: Run-Hide-Fight is the New Duck and Cover

by Anna Daniels 09.16.2013 Activism

Because we take public safety seriously

By Anna Daniels

Americans have apparently decided that events like those happening today in DC are acts of God like the Colorado floods or hurricanes in the Atlantic. There’s nothing we can do to prevent it. Mass shootings are the American Way. Digby Hullabaloo

Homeland Security provided funds for this Texas Public Service Announcement so that citizens are better prepared to deal with an unhinged shooter in their school, workplace, church/mosque/temple, movie theater or any of the other myriad public places in which they erroneously assume that they should be able to gather without the fear of being murdered.

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King Tut in City Heights

by Anna Daniels 09.11.2013 Business

Egyptian Revival Architecture on Euclid Avenue

By Anna Daniels

It is difficult to imagine the excitement and personal interest in Egyptian antiquities that Howard Carter’s discovery of King Tutankhamen’s 3,000 year old tomb engendered in 1922. A series of sealed chambers were filled with so many funerary objects that it took days to remove them on stretchers. The final chamber which included the nested sarcophagi of the “Boy King” was filled with dazzling gold and blue adornments and objects provided for Tut’s journey into the after life. Carter had hit the archeological mother lode.

The discovery of the tomb was significant for Egyptologists and it also caught the imagination of the European and American public. Travels to Egypt to view the antiquities became even more popular. Jewelers recreated designs found in the tomb. Scarab rings and brooches became fashionable.

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Thumbnail image for City Heights Prepares for Obamacare: How Outreach Will Affect Enrollment

City Heights Prepares for Obamacare: How Outreach Will Affect Enrollment

by Anna Daniels 09.04.2013 Activism

By Anna Daniels

While Republicans are busily obstructing and attempting to de-fund (but not replace) Obamacare, California has been gearing up for the day when a significant number of its 7.1 million uninsured residents under the age of 65 can sign up for health insurance on the State’s health care exchange. That day is October 1, 2013. The insurance itself will go into effect on January 1, 2014. All Americans must be insured by tax time next year or face a penalty – 1 percent of their annual income or $95, whichever is higher.

There is a great deal at stake here in City Heights for making the enrollment period a success. There is a great deal at stake here in City Heights for making the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) a success. There is a higher percentage of uninsured adults and children in City Heights than the county and state averages. There are fewer working adults in City Heights with insurance coverage–only 49% compared with 65% of county residents. This translates into lower levels of preventive and routine health care access– the very things that Obamacare will provide. “All new health plans must cover essential health benefits such as doctor visits, hospitalization, emergency care,maternity, pediatric care for your kids and prescriptions,among other services. “

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Who in the World Lives in City Heights?

by Anna Daniels 09.01.2013 Culture

Karen, Kachin and Shan join South Sudanese, Vietnamese and Mexicans

By Anna Daniels

Over forty percent of City Heights residents are foreign born. La Maestra, which operates health clinics in City Heights, recently provided a memorable introduction to some of our foreign born neighbors when over a dozen residents took to the fashion runway wearing traditional clothing. Their poise belies the fact that many arrived in this country with little more than hope and determination. It is easy to understand why the fashion show is described as the highlight of La Maestra’s gala fundraiser.

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Thumbnail image for Summertime City Heights: Variations on a Planetary Theme

Summertime City Heights: Variations on a Planetary Theme

by Anna Daniels 08.21.2013 City Heights: Up Close & Personal

Perfumed Nights, Skunks, Spiders, Clouds, Bird Calls and Kittens

By Anna Daniels

Spring is all about sex and sugar. The birds, skunks, opossums and cats were doing “it” while the vegetative world turned green, tendrilled and flowering. Summer on the other hand is about flight and foraging, storing up and going to seed, with more sex thrown in just because that’s how it works for spiders. And that’s how it works for cats, to my great dismay.

All this happens here in City Heights, in this flat, densely populated, concrete covered place. This summer has held surprises, variations on the planetary theme of long warm sunshine filled days. Even here in the city we live within a natural world that is shaped by the cycle of seasons.

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Thumbnail image for City Heights, Where the Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round

City Heights, Where the Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round

by Anna Daniels 08.14.2013 Activism

Transit Dependent Communities, Social Equity and Environmental Justice

By Anna Daniels

There is no trolley route through City Heights. This deficiency is not for a lack of trying. In the early 1990′s residents were advocating for significant mitigation to the construction of I-15 through the community. The proposed mitigation included the construction of a trolley line in the center of the freeway that would efficiently carry City Heights residents north and south to their jobs and concentrated employment centers.

The short story is that the steep freeway incline/grade made a trolley route infeasible. So while the heavily transit dependent community of City Heights does not have a trolley, it does have buses and will continue to rely upon buses. If you can get past trolley envy, buses become the workable solution to transit needs.

For decades, the highest bus rider ship in the whole Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) has been on the Number 7 bus. This one bus route carries a whopping 3,903,109 passengers annually. To put this in perspective, the Green and Orange trolley lines each record around seven million passengers annually. The Number 7 bus is a plodding workhorse, definitely not a racehorse.

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Thumbnail image for Welcome to City Heights!

Welcome to City Heights!

by Anna Daniels 08.07.2013 Activism

By Anna Daniels

It is hard to make generalizations about a community with over 75,000 residents. It is even harder to make generalizations about a community in which 41% of the residents are foreign born and those residents were born in over thirty different countries. City Heights must be understood in bits and shape shifting pieces.

To understand City Heights, it must be rolled across the tongue and savored in the local markets and restaurants. It must be heard in the cacophony of buses, street vendors, garbage trucks, music from quinceañeras and children’s voices. It must be felt on an early morning canyon walk.

The San Diego Free Press focus on City Heights will be delivered up over the next month as a fragmented incomplete narrative. Twenty-one percent of the residents here speak no or little English. It is a daunting challenge to provide a way for myriad disparate voices to be heard. In the upcoming weeks we’ll be covering a variety of topics and people.

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Thumbnail image for Mayor Bob Filner and the Shame that Has No Name

Mayor Bob Filner and the Shame that Has No Name

by Anna Daniels 07.24.2013 City Heights: Up Close & Personal

By Anna Daniels

When Bob Filner was campaigning for mayor last year, he was a visible presence in City Heights. He showed up to support public transit initiatives; he attended the rally calling for George Zimmerman to be charged with murder in the death of Trayvon Martin.

Filner listened to mid-city youth advocating for a skate board park and free bus passes for low income students to get to school and work. He listened to taxi drivers advocating for livable wages and safe working conditions and called for additional library hours. He recognized the importance of streetlights and supported the needs of vets and the homeless.

These are all tangible meaningful issues in City Heights. For the first time in my memory, a mayoral candidate acknowledged not only the importance of our government in addressing these needs, but our government’s ability to do so–right here in City Heights.

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“Dad, Are You Happy?”

by Anna Daniels 06.16.2013 Culture

A Baby Boomer Daughter’s Conversation with Her Depression Era Father

By Anna Daniels

I am sitting with my eighty-two year old father in the back yard of the house I had grown up in. It is summertime and we are sitting in lawn chairs talking and drinking sweet tea.

“Dad, are you happy?” I ask. He sits silently for a while, as if he were carefully pondering something he had never considered before.

“Well, yes, I’m happy,” he finally responds. “I put a roof over my family’s head and food on the table. You are all educated and have your own homes and families. You bet I’m a happy man.”

It was now my turn to fall silent.

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