Books & Poetry

Thumbnail image for The Return of Comic-Con International: Revenge of the Press Release

The Return of Comic-Con International: Revenge of the Press Release

by Brent E. Beltrán 07.23.2014 Arts

SDFP Writer Inundated with Comic-Con Related Emails

By Brent E. Beltrán

Last year I covered Comic-Con for San Diego Free Press. I wrote five articles in a series I called Adventures in Comic-Conlandia: A Nerds-eye View. You can read them here: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV & Part 5. This was my first attempt at writing about something I had loved since I started attending back in 1986. Though grueling I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and will cover the event again this week. I plan on being not so ambitious this year.

Sometimes Comic-Con sneaks up on you. You don’t know it is here until trolley station signs are written in Klingon or you’re standing in line for a happy hour beverage next to a Stormtrooper.

For me that wasn’t the case this year. You see, I’ve been inundated with press releases for the past month and it’s picked up even more within the last week. I’ve been sent hundreds of emails from the various media, toy and comic book companies that want to get the word out about their latest film, action figure or storyline.

Read the full article → 6 comments
Thumbnail image for Creating a Better World with Children in Mind

Creating a Better World with Children in Mind

by Ernie McCray 07.20.2014 Books & Poetry

(Inspired by the Corner of Rhythm and Rhyme)

By Ernie McCray

I just spent a week doing a show at the San Diego International Fringe Festival called “On the Corner of Rhythm and Rhyme” with some of the most fabulous tap dancers anyone could ever find. This spoken word/dance piece was dedicated to the creation of a reality that
“appears to the mind to be of a gentler
more caring and loving kind…”
It was written in honor of children no matter where they reside on the planet. It entertains the idea of creating a world for them that is
“without arms,
worthy of their beauty
and their charm.”
The poem speaks to a society dancing On the Corner of Rhythm and Rhyme
“to the beat of a song,
a love song.”

Read the full article → 2 comments
Thumbnail image for Geo-Poetic Spaces:  Evacuations

Geo-Poetic Spaces: Evacuations

by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 07.18.2014 Books & Poetry

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

When flashing lights
pound on soundly sleeping doors
ordering evacuations five minutes
to gather a few items
from a lifetime of belongings …

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for Geo-Poetic Spaces: The Neue Wache, Germany’s Tomb to the Unknown Victims of War

Geo-Poetic Spaces: The Neue Wache, Germany’s Tomb to the Unknown Victims of War

by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 07.11.2014 Books & Poetry

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

Beneath heaven’s open eye
a mother cradles her dying son

Ashes of sun snow
rain on exposed statue
eroding definition
identity …

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for Geo-Poetic Spaces: Bebelplatz, Berlin

Geo-Poetic Spaces: Bebelplatz, Berlin

by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 06.27.2014 Books & Poetry

Hands frozen together
at midnight in Bebelplatz, Berlin

Ink shadows
spilling
stones worn

Without warning
a window opens
sun is punctuating blind pages
cloud covers

Faces
thumbing through melting sheets of glass
seeing the empty shelves of ourselves

Read the full article → 0 comments

Geo-Poetic Spaces: Meditating Koi

Thumbnail image for Geo-Poetic Spaces: Meditating Koi by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 06.20.2014 Books & Poetry

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

Waterfall of rocks
Slipping into moss rippling
Through sun-clouding koi

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for Geo-Poetic Spaces: Seven Poems Learned As A Stay-At-Home Father

Geo-Poetic Spaces: Seven Poems Learned As A Stay-At-Home Father

by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 06.13.2014 Books & Poetry

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

Eight minutes
for sunlight to kiss earth

An unborn child’s love
reaching her father
before hands touch
the clock face of birth

~

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for What Should the City of San Diego Do With the Old Library?

What Should the City of San Diego Do With the Old Library?

by John Lawrence 06.10.2014 Books & Poetry

By John Lawrence

San Diego has a flashy new Central Library and it’s all paid for without taxpayer funds thanks to local philanthropists. I wrote in another article about the Grand Opening. But that brings up the question: what are we going to do with the old library, a historical landmark, that sits vacant on E Street downtown across from the Post Office.

There have been some suggestions. Interim Mayor Todd Gloria stated: “As soon as we open up that new facility, I want to make sure we have a plan in place for the old facility, and make sure that we put it back into a useful life for the citizens, the taxpayers, and of course the residents of downtown.”

Well, the new library opened September 28, 2013, eight long months ago, and there are no plans at this time for doing anything with the old building which is increasingly turning into an eyesore. We are coming up on the one year anniversary, June 9, of the closure of the old library and still there are no plans for it.

Read the full article → 9 comments
Thumbnail image for Geo-Poetic Spaces:  Amerika

Geo-Poetic Spaces: Amerika

by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 06.06.2014 Books & Poetry

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

Amerika
is a good idea
that can’t live up to itself
looks better on the page
than in streets

Amerika
promises what it can’t deliver
takes from many
gives to few
is more muscle
than grey matter…

Read the full article → 1 comment
Thumbnail image for Remembering Maya Angelou

Remembering Maya Angelou

by Anna Daniels 05.31.2014 Activism

By Anna Daniels

SDFP contributor Ernie McCray wrote a moving tribute to Maya Angelou following the news of her death on May 28th. His poem makes reference to her 1969 autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

You said, of a caged bird,
that it “stands on the grave of dreams,”
singing of what’s unknown
but still singing of someday
being free -
and you’ve helped me believe
that we can, …

For many of us, that autobiography was our first introduction to the works of Angelou. It provided a glimpse into the circumstances which would shape her life as an intellectual, civil rights activist and writer.

Read the full article → 5 comments

Geo-Poetic Spaces: Flags

by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 05.30.2014 Books & Poetry

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

Flags

Up here
earth is one body

Then comes the declaration
slashing breath

Sound of shells
splitting
flesh
spilling
blood
scratching imaginary lines
between grains of sand

Read the full article → 1 comment
Thumbnail image for Many Thanks, Maya

Many Thanks, Maya

by Ernie McCray 05.29.2014 Activism

By Ernie McCray

Many Thanks, Maya

I miss you, Maya,
but you will forever reside
in the breezes of
the breaths of fresh air
you gifted us with
when you were here,
ever so lovely and dear,
so wise beyond any years,
captivating us with your smile
and your wit
and your humor, all the while,
teaching us the ways of “We,”
you, him, her, them, me -
all of humanity. …

Read the full article → 7 comments
Thumbnail image for San Diego City Works Press Calls for Submissions for Sunshine/Noir II: Writing from San Diego and Tijuana

San Diego City Works Press Calls for Submissions for Sunshine/Noir II: Writing from San Diego and Tijuana

by Jim Miller 05.26.2014 Books & Poetry

By Jim Miller

San Diego City Works Press is soon approaching its 10-year anniversary. 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 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.

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for Poem: White Like Us

Poem: White Like Us

by Source 05.25.2014 Books & Poetry

All the salons in the city couldn’t perm that culture out of her hair

By Raymond R. Beltran

When I was young, I thought I was white,
my skin being much lighter
when I stood next to a black boy,
and we all spoke English
unable to grasp culture.
English, Spanglish, Caló, Spanish,
The transition has been devastating.
Pocho! They used to scream.
Standing there, speechless,
I thought I would cut out my tongue.

Read the full article → 2 comments
Thumbnail image for San Diego Free Press Contributor Update: Recognition and the Continued Pursuit of Justice

San Diego Free Press Contributor Update: Recognition and the Continued Pursuit of Justice

by Staff 05.24.2014 Activism

Karen Kenyon, Richard Juarez, Will Falk, Sam Ollinger, Ishmael von Heindrick-Barnes, Frank Gormlie and Brent Beltrán

By staff

San Diego Free Press contributors and editors are involved in myriad activities beyond writing articles for this site. We would be remiss if we don’t mention some of those activities that have occurred this month.

Read the full article → 3 comments
Thumbnail image for Lady Annabelle

Lady Annabelle

by Source 05.23.2014 Books & Poetry

By Tokoni Uti

She has a will, she has a choice.
Now too loud to hear the noise.
All those who never wanted to be.
And all the voices that we see.

Read the full article → 1 comment
Thumbnail image for Another Look at Thomas Piketty’s “Law of Inequality”

Another Look at Thomas Piketty’s “Law of Inequality”

by Source 05.23.2014 Activism

By Frank Thomas

This is a follow-up to the article Capitalism: A Comparison of Marx and Piketty by John Lawrence.

Utilizing massive historical documentation, Thomas Piketty argues that as returns to invested capital outstrip the rate of economic growth, income from wealth grows faster than the economy – concentrating more and more money and power in the hands of a few. As these returns are reinvested, inherited wealth will grow faster – concentrating even more money in fewer hands.

When incomes from capital become more concentrated than incomes from labor – e.g., today, the wealthiest 10% earn almost the same amount of income as the rest of the country – personal income distribution will also become more unequal. So far, this is not an earth-shaking economic revelation.

Read the full article → 2 comments

Geo-Poetic Spaces: Burn Area

by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 05.23.2014 Books & Poetry

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

Burn Area

Why does it take fire
to knock down flames?
Peeling back undergrowth
exposing artifacts
tossed from windows
on reckless drives off roads?

Read the full article → 1 comment
Thumbnail image for Poem: From Imperial, Up Euclid

Poem: From Imperial, Up Euclid

by Source 05.18.2014 Books & Poetry

By Raymond R. Beltran

Give me the streets, the concrete streets
any day. I’ve paid high prices to be in touch,
in touch with curls, black curls and
brown heads gleaming at the rising sun,
gleaming through housing projects in The Dip.

Black-fisted murals, black eagles encircled in red flags,
give me the streets, the poor contrast,
colorless streets, where green outshines the gloom.
The green of bling bling, big bodies
rollin on twenty inch chrome blades, making
that hustle through Little Africa.

Read the full article → 5 comments

Geo-Poetic Spaces: Touch

by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 05.16.2014 Books & Poetry

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

Non-indigenously
falling out of trunks

Climbing onto windows
swimming with dolphins

Crossing sidewalks
knocking on garage doors

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for Capitalism: A Comparison of Marx and Piketty

Capitalism: A Comparison of Marx and Piketty

by John Lawrence 05.13.2014 Activism

By John Lawrence

Thomas Piketty’s new book Capital in the Twenty-First Century begs comparison with Karl Marx’ Das Kapital written in 1867. The two books are alike in the sense that they both point out the incredible centralization and concentration of wealth in fewer and fewer hands. They are unlike in the sense that Marx’ book is more exhortatory while Piketty’s is more of a massive collection of historical data presented in the form of numerous graphs and charts.

While Marx was more of a “workers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains” kind of guy, Piketty is a Dragnet’s Sergeant Joe Friday’s “The facts, ma’am, just the facts” kind of guy. While Marx’s solution to the dilemma of inegalitarianism was revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat, Piketty’s is a global tax on wealth, something that even he concedes is unlikely to happen.

Read the full article → 13 comments

Geo-Poetic Spaces: The Legend of Hodgee

by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 05.09.2014 Books & Poetry

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

Look for me
where mountains are rising
stone circle sun

Dammed river
running beneath burned Lake

The legendary monster
Hodgee
snaking through thirsty trees trunks:

Read the full article → 1 comment
Thumbnail image for Desert Prognosis

Desert Prognosis

by Will Falk 05.07.2014 Books & Poetry

By Will Falk

wrapped in the dark blanket of night
huddled
and feverish with cosmic infections

either I’m shaking
or the sky is

Read the full article → 2 comments
Thumbnail image for A Look at a “Dangerous Friendship”

A Look at a “Dangerous Friendship”

by Ernie McCray 05.06.2014 Books & Poetry

By Ernie McCray

A couple of years ago at a showing of “Sing Your Song,” a documentary that highlights Harry Belafonte’s role in pursuits for human and civil rights, I met Ben Kamin, a scholar who has written much about the social struggles of those times. I just finished reading, with delight, his latest book, “Dangerous Friendship.”

The book puts the spotlight on Stanley Levison, a little known figure in the civil rights movement, who fully dedicated his life to helping Martin Luther King.

Regarding this man, Clarence Jones, another prominent aide to Martin, says “I am extremely upset, and I get angry, 24/7, and have been for many years about the glaring omission of the name and history of Stanley Levison in the civil rights chronicle.”

Read the full article → 8 comments
Thumbnail image for Video Pick:  The-Dream’s “Black” and Saturday Poem: “The Great Pax Whitie (Peace be Still)” by Nikki Giovanni

Video Pick: The-Dream’s “Black” and Saturday Poem: “The Great Pax Whitie (Peace be Still)” by Nikki Giovanni

by Anna Daniels 05.03.2014 Activism

“The Condemnation of Racism Must Make Itself Manifest Now”

By Anna Daniels

Vigilante rancher welfare queen Cliven Bundy’s recent musings on “Negro” history, the Supreme Court decision on affirmative action, and NBA Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s racist “etiquette” pointers for his girlfriend are the past week’s dismal trifecta of old white male willful ignorance.

Yes, Meat with Eyes Sean Hannity quickly distanced himself from Bundy’s “maybe slavery was better” ravings. There was an immediate outcry over everything that was in the Sterling tape and I’m not willing to stick my hand into that particular septic tank to fish out an example. The good news being peddled is that as a society we know an old white male racist when we see him and we won’t stand for it.

But before we get all self-congratulatory, the Supreme Court decision upholding Michigan’s affirmative action ban shows how little we are willing to deal with institutional racism, which is quite different than recognizing your garden variety racist.

Read the full article → 1 comment