Books & Poetry

Thumbnail image for Geo-Poetic Spaces: Talking To Myself

Geo-Poetic Spaces: Talking To Myself

by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 12.19.2014 Books & Poetry

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

Talking To Myself

I won’t stop talking to myself
while: Money has the last
word
torture is up for debate

I’ll keep shooting propaganda
with poetry
until people kill guns …

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Thumbnail image for Geo-Poetic Spaces: When the Joshua Trees are Gone

Geo-Poetic Spaces: When the Joshua Trees are Gone

by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 12.12.2014 Books & Poetry

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

How will we find our way
out of desert
when the Joshua Trees are gone?

No iconoclastic arms
reaching out of mountain passes no white flower
guiding Yucca Moths
to broken promise of land …

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Thumbnail image for Geo-Poetic Spaces: Before Gathering Dusk

Geo-Poetic Spaces: Before Gathering Dusk

by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 12.05.2014 Books & Poetry

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

See me hovering
above unnecessary spans
diving for petrified fish
in imaginary lakes?

I am older
but not as distant
as the lines of power
drawn between us …

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Thumbnail image for Geo-Poetic Spaces: River’s Reflections

Geo-Poetic Spaces: River’s Reflections

by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 11.28.2014 Books & Poetry

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

River’s Reflections

River
sees me reflecting

Currents
alter its sense of my self

I am held up by water’s memory

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Thumbnail image for Geo-Poetic Spaces: Kristallnacht

Geo-Poetic Spaces: Kristallnacht

by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 11.14.2014 Books & Poetry

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

It’s Kristallnacht
whenever anger picks up a stone
and throws it
through a neighbor’s window
shattering glass
into blades
sparks slashed from rocks
adding fire to eternal flame

Whenever an Israeli settler
builds a house
on land stripped from Gaza
Zionism becomes Lebensraum

Yesterday’s Synagogue
is today’s Mosque
leveled by Sunni shock troops
using the latest wonder-weapons made in Amerika …

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Thumbnail image for I Wanted to Write an Anti-War Poem, But…

I Wanted to Write an Anti-War Poem, But…

by At Large 11.13.2014 Books & Poetry

By Emmanuel Ortiz

Ever since the war started,
One year ago today,
I have wanted to write an anti-war poem.
For each of the last 365 days
I have been trying to write
To voice my opinion
In opposition to this war.

But nothing has come out.

After five days of watching
And not watching
Bombs fall on Iraq
I thought I had it
When some white boy
During a soccer game
Told me to “go back to Baghdad”
And as my fists found his temples
In retaliation for the bombs that were obliterating theirs
I remember thinking to myself
Amidst the slow-motion home-movie haze
“This will make a great poem”
A poem about
How he mistook
Mesoamerica for Mesopotamia
Borinken for Babylon.
And why Baghdad
Instead of Brasilia, Beijing, Beirut, Bogotá, Bombay,
Even Bi-racialville U.S.A.

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War & Peace: In My Classroom

by Lori Saldaña 11.12.2014 Books & Poetry

By Lori Saldaña

My students wear their battle scars
In their brains, on their skin, thru their 10 key dexterity
They enter the computer lab with aching hearts and minds, hand me a
Veterans Affair ID card in exchange for
A textbook, a software program, a few hours on the keyboard
I watch them, marveling at their resiliency …

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Thumbnail image for La Jolla Shores Sundown

La Jolla Shores Sundown

by At Large 11.12.2014 Books & Poetry

By Karen Kenyon

You are rolled up in your blanket now,
perhaps 40 feet feet from my car
olive brown, army-colored,
here by the peaceful Pacific
tree-willow blue,
Paler near us, darker
near the horizon.

It’s almost time for the green flash,
but you don’t care. …

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Thumbnail image for Drill Team (a paean, not to the war machine)

Drill Team (a paean, not to the war machine)

by Jay Powell 11.11.2014 Activism

By Jay Powell

Surrender your free will to the machine.
That is the act performed,
when you enlist or accept a commission
and take the oath to obey,
without reservation.

They don’t tell you that,
when you are 16 or 17 or 18 or 19 years young.
Your brain, no matter how incredibly brilliant,
is not fully formed and hooked together (scientific fact).
You are still a babe,
whether you know it or not. …

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Baghdad Tattoo

by Source 11.10.2014 Books & Poetry

By Janet Parkinson /Poems Against War

Jalal Ahmed 07901 295135
Ali Abbas 07901 567256
Atheer Mohammad 07901 469798
are incised on my thigh.

My wife sees them when we make love.
I see them when I bathe, change clothes.
They are high enough to be covered
at the beach. I do not want
the world to know my fear.

I do not want the world to know
I have reason to fear. …

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Thumbnail image for San Diego Community Speaks Out Against Police Brutality

San Diego Community Speaks Out Against Police Brutality

by At Large 11.07.2014 Activism

Don’t Shoot: Show Love to Take Place in Barrio Logan  

By Nepantla Collective

In light of an ongoing epidemic of police brutality, both locally and around the globe, where targets are predominantly impoverished, marginalized and/or people of color, the Nepantla Collective will be hosting a one-day event in Barrio Logan, entitled “Don’t Shoot: Show Love”. This event will take place on Saturday, November 8, 2014 from 3pm to 10pm in in Barrio Logan’s Barrio Arts District.

Monica Hernandez of the Nepantla Collective breaks down why they decided to organize the events and why Barrio Logan was chosen as the venue:

A few years back, my best friend was severely brutalized and beaten by SDPD. Granted he had been rightfully stopped for a traffic violation & had drank a few beers that evening, but by no means did that warrant the excessive force that left his entire body severely bruised. He could barely walk for days, but what hurt me more than to see him in such physical pain, was the look in his eyes that reflected a loss of dignity, which had been brutally stripped from his soul that day.

It was the same look my brother had when he was released from incarceration after being arrested at a student protest. My brother had been charged with assault and battery of a police officer, when in fact it was them (about 3 – 4 officers) who had kicked and broken one of my brother’s ribs. Fortunately we had video footage of the incident and after over a year in court, the Superior Court of Alameda County not only dismissed all charges but also granted a factual finding of innocence.

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Thumbnail image for Geo-Poetic Spaces:  Sacred Space

Geo-Poetic Spaces: Sacred Space

by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 11.07.2014 Books & Poetry

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

Not angels
that make spaces sacred
nor vaulted ceilings
arching violin bows

It isn’t candles
offering themselves to light
nor fountains of spires
spilling city

Holy
isn’t wholly religious ….

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Thumbnail image for Geo-Poetic Spaces:  The Gods Find Me

Geo-Poetic Spaces: The Gods Find Me

by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 10.31.2014 Books & Poetry

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

If I had a rupee
for every manifestation of the Divine
that has crossed my path
I’d be wearing
the gold embroidered silk
of a wealthy landowner
rather than the cotton thread
of a Brahmin/poet
an untouchable station of life
in a society
squeezing a “few drops of honey” from a thirsty globe
enslaved by suffering …

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Thumbnail image for Two Poems: Sex & Death in the Desert; The Hourglass

Two Poems: Sex & Death in the Desert; The Hourglass

by At Large 10.29.2014 Books & Poetry

By George Howell

Sex & Death in the Desert

The big female snout beetle plays dead
When I prod her with a stick,
Apoininae-like
As the field guide says,
Her smaller mate laying dead
In the debris collected in the plastic water bottle,
His legs and snout curled
In the rigid repose of death.

Life is fragile here
In the high desert …

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Thumbnail image for Geo-Poetic Spaces: Happiness

Geo-Poetic Spaces: Happiness

by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 10.24.2014 Books & Poetry

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

Happiness
doesn’t lie

Inside designer purses
drive luxury vehicles
tell time
by taking stock of inventory sold
doesn’t advertise itself
to invent needs
more addictive than meth …

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Thumbnail image for Learning About Beauty from the Ground and Over the Mountaintops

Learning About Beauty from the Ground and Over the Mountaintops

by Ernie McCray 10.23.2014 Books & Poetry

By Ernie McCray

With all the talk about
race, of late,
I recall lessons learned
a long time ago
that enabled me to alter
my emotional state
when it comes to matters of race.
Growing up
I would occasionally, with tears in my eyes,
ask my mother who was loving and wise,
why some white people were so mean.
What had I done to them,
I wanted so much to have explained, …

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Thumbnail image for Geo-Poetic Spaces: The Ishtar Gate

Geo-Poetic Spaces: The Ishtar Gate

by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 10.17.2014 Books & Poetry
By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 

Sell the car
before it’s repossessed
mortgage the house
before you’re forced into foreclosure

Board the next flight to Berlin
purchase an S-Bahn ticket
back to Babylon’s blue gate
Its oasis of Palms
will make you weep
until the desert sand is washed from your eyes …

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Thumbnail image for Reflections of Love

Reflections of Love

by Ernie McCray 10.16.2014 Books & Poetry

By Ernie McCray

I was asked to write something that rhymes for Steve, a friend of mine, who was celebrating entering his 70’s and these words came to me:

In a spirit of love,
with feather weight ease,
I say to my dear friend, Steve,
who has just turned 70,
that he
has reached an age
where you can truly
do or say pretty
much anything
you damn well please.
Cuz the world doesn’t
give a hoot
about an old-assed coot.

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Thumbnail image for Geo-Poetic Spaces: Cities Have Scars

Geo-Poetic Spaces: Cities Have Scars

by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 10.10.2014 Books & Poetry

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

Cities have scars
war wounds
that maim walls of viscera
neighborhoods live with
long after
the instruments of infliction
are dust

Cities have scars
decapitated domes
cauterized arteries
bearing witness to gain’s loss …

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Thumbnail image for Geo-Poetic Spaces:  Buddha’s Head

Geo-Poetic Spaces: Buddha’s Head

by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 10.03.2014 Books & Poetry

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

Buddha’s head
lying broken
spilling roadway

For 4 days I passed
the noble prince
stuck in the spokes of dharma’s spinning wheel …

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Thumbnail image for San Diego City Works Press, Sunshine/Noir II: Writing from San Diego and Tijuana

San Diego City Works Press, Sunshine/Noir II: Writing from San Diego and Tijuana

by Jim Miller 09.29.2014 Books & Poetry

November 1st Deadline Approaching

By Jim Miller

San Diego City Works Press is still accepting submissions for Sunshine/Noir II until November 1st. In particular we are looking for creative non-fiction pieces about underrepresented communities in San Diego and generally uncovered topics with regard to life in our region. We are also looking for good fiction, poetry, and artwork that runs against the grain of San Diego’s official story.

SDCWP is run by a 100% non-profit collective and is the only small literary press in San Diego that focuses primarily on the publication of local writers with an emphasis on our region that moves beyond the postcard version of our reality. In an era where commercial forces and hegemonic instrumentality are drowning out what remains of literary culture, we have persisted against the odds. We invite all interested parties to be a part of our beautifully useless endeavor.

To celebrate our tenth anniversary, we are putting together a second edition of our first anthology, Sunshine/Noir II. All local writers are encouraged to submit work for consideration.

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Thumbnail image for Librotraficantes: Smuggling Banned Books back into Public Schools and Communities

Librotraficantes: Smuggling Banned Books back into Public Schools and Communities

by Anna Daniels 09.24.2014 Activism

“Arizona banned our history. We decided to make more.”

By Anna Daniels

If you can ban one book, why not ban a whole bunch of them? Back in 2012 the Tucson Arizona public school system embraced the more is better approach when it eliminated the Mexican American Studies Program from the K-12 curriculum.

The LA Times reported that “The Tucson school board voted to end the program after Arizona’s education chief had ruled the district in violation of a controversial state law banning classes designed for a particular ethnic group or that “promote the overthrow of the U.S. government.” The Tuscon school district stood to lose $14 million in state education funds, which no doubt squelched a more robust debate on the topic of intellectual freedom and education.

The grassroots Librotraficante (book trafficker) movement arose as a full-throated denunciation of Arizona Law HB 2281, which banned Mexican American Studies in the state. It didn’t matter to the lawmakers that Mexican American students account for more than 40% of the enrollment in Arizona schools, or that this curriculum was popular, or that it was successful in promoting literacy and critical thought–you know, educating students. It did matter to the people affected by the decision.

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Thumbnail image for America’s First Banned Book and the Battle for the Soul of the Country

America’s First Banned Book and the Battle for the Soul of the Country

by Jim Miller 09.22.2014 Books & Poetry

By Jim Miller

It’s Banned Books Week and what better way to kick it off than with a salute to America’s first banned book: Thomas Morton’s New English Canaan published in 1637? New English Canaan is a three-volume affair containing Morton’s sympathetic observations about Native Americans along with a celebration of the beauty of the natural world and a fierce satire of the Puritans.

While some scholars point to other books such as John Eliot’s The Christian Commonwealth (written in the late 1640s) or William Pynchon’s The Meritorious Price of Our Redemption (1650) as the first books to be banned by the Puritans for theological or historical reasons, Morton’s New English Canaan precedes both of these texts and the conflict surrounding it is far more important and illustrative with regard to the political and cultural history of the United States.

Indeed, Morton’s book was banned because it told his side in one of the pivotal battles for the cultural soul of the New World. Morton, a perpetual thorn in the side of the great Puritan patriarch William Bradford, represented the untamable “other” of colonial America. When Morton set up his rival colony of Merry Mount in close proximity to Bradford’s Plymouth Plantation and invited the Indians and escaped indentured servants to join him, all hell broke loose.

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Thumbnail image for “Not Far From Normal”: Book Release and Party, Friday September 19th

“Not Far From Normal”: Book Release and Party, Friday September 19th

by Jim Miller 09.17.2014 Books & Poetry

A compelling history of everyday life on the wild side of San Diego

By Jim Miller

This year’s San Diego City Works Press release is Tamara Johnson’s Not Far From Normal, a book that takes a unique look at our city. Just steps away from sponsored fun runs, endurance challenges, and ultra-marathons, in Johnson’s book San Diego’s hidden residents play games of survival side-by-side with official city events. However one feels about the rise of dark tourism, it has never been necessary to travel far to experience either the dangerous or the exotic.

Part poetry, part photo essay by Rachael Wenban, part field guide, Not Far From Normal relates the secret history of San Diego’s parks and missions as told by their current inhabitants. From the crash of PSA Flight#182 to the “I don’t like Mondays” school shooting and other dark episodes that don’t make it into San Diego’s official story, this book is a compelling history of everyday life on the wild side of Southern California.

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Geo-Poetic Spaces: Dresden

by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 09.12.2014 Books & Poetry

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

If you believe in the god of war
go to Dresden
where charred faces
still look anxiously up at clouds

If you can wash your hands in fountains
where women and children
sought refuge from the firestorm of incendiary bombs
only to boil in water …

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