Archive for the ‘Event’ Category

El Razafotografista is back in action. On Sunday October 18, 2015 I made my return to world of art. During the mural creation by Israel Francisco Haros Lopez I can across Sublmnl Rnsons.

Let me introduce you to this bad ass Hip Hop Crew, Sublmnl Rnsons.

Sublmnl Rnsons
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Long time members of the Southwest’s largest hip-hop collective, the Dezert Banditz, Santa Fe members Cas Uno, Mr. UnXnown & AdrenalineTruth formed a trio which emphasizes beatboxing and freestyling as essential elements to their live performances. Since forming this group roughly 3 years ago, SUBLMNL RNSONS has opened for hip-hop legends such as RA the Rugged Man, Inspectah Deck, 2Mex, Awol One, Binary Star, Blueprint, Illogic and Black Milk, amongst many others. As one of the driving forces of the Santa Fe Hip Hop scene, Sublmnl Rnsons has branched out almost as their own brand. With Adrenaline Truth taking on the persona of DJ Shatter and DJing shows throughout the 4 Corners area, and Cas Uno and Mr Unxnown combing their beatbox forces as Iron Lungz, Sublmnl Rnsons has made their presence known in the Southwest Hip Hop scene.

Cas Uno
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A proper emcee should represent all the crucial elements of the hip hop culture: graffiti art, break dancing, turntablism and rhyming. Without those, hip hop doesn‘t exist. Santa Fe-based artist, Cas_Uno, is a veteran emcee with years of experience and a slew of successful shows under his belt who consistently reps every aspect of the coveted culture. In 1993 when Cas was in his sophomore year of high school, the allure of hip hop culture started to take hold. He began to take it seriously once he moved to Arizona and participated in “Freestyle Fridays” in downtown Tempe. The infectious energy he felt was enough to get him hooked. With the proverbial ball rolling, he linked up with other like-minded artists in the area and “got his chops” at a local event called ‘Ancient Chinese Secret Night.’ Eventually, he joined the first of many hip hop collectives, Blowup Co-Op. Their established “Wicka-Wicka Wednesday” nights exploded into an underground scene large enough to attract the attention of promoters. Cas soon found himself and the rest of the crew opening for national acts such as Cypress Hill, The Shapeshifters, De La Soul, Linkin Park, Sole of Anticon Records, Scarub of The Living Legends, CunninLynguists and Abstract Rude. Around the age of 26, Cas was steadily gaining momentum. Showing no signs of slowing down, Cas decided to settle in New Mexico. He thought he could help establish a scene in the thirsty town of Santa Fe. There he collaborated with local DJ/emcee Perish One. Together they formed Mentill State and performed diligently around the area. After just a year and a half, Cas, once again, got restless and escaped to Austin, Texas in 2004. Cas was slapped in the face with an entirely different world of music. Back then, the chopped and screwed style of rap was popular which was a genre he was not trying to develop. However, Cas embraced the challenge. He adapted his production technique and the result was a more soulful sound. In 2007, he returned to New Mexico, this time with child. “Having a child changed my thought process. Now I focus on trying to educate kids through my more mature lyrical content and create more uplifting hip hop, “ he says. Currently on his mission to bring back the roots of hip hop, Cas is focused on new material and performing. Cas is undoubtedly one of the freshest voices to come out of New Mexico in a long time.

Adrenaline Truth aka DJ Shatter
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AdrenalineTruth aka Pablo Paz is an aspiring hip-hop artist out of Santa Fe, NM. He has been rocking the mic on various stages from New Mexico all the way across the Pacific to Hawai’i. He has done shows with Binary Star, RA The Rugged Man, King Magnetic, C-Rayz Walz, Cunninlynguists, Slim Thug, Aceyalone, Opio, Equipto, Z-Man, L’Roneus, & Many More.. AdrenalineTruth also performs with the southwest hip-hop group, Dezert Banditz & Sublmnl Rnsons

Mr Unxnown
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Mr Unxnown is a hidden force in the 505 Hip Hop scene, hence the name. Only as of recent has he re-emerged after years of being on hiatus. Mr. UnXnown is a veteran and master of the 5th Element, having been beatboxing for over 20 years, and writing rhymes for almost as long. He began rocking cyphers at Capital High School in his hometown of Santa Fe, NM with Crown Royalty in 2001, and bounced around with different crews and artists for several years after. In 2011, Mr. Unxnown was asked to become a member of the Dezert Banditz, and shortly thereafter along with fellow Santa Fe Banditz Cas Uno and Adrenaline Truth, formed the trio Sublmnl Rnsons. Since then, Mr. Unxnown has had the honor to share the stage with greats such as Inspectah Deck, Chino XL, Diabolic, Nightwalker, Binary Star, R.A. The Rugged Man, King Magnetic (AOTP), and Mr Serv-On, just to name a few.

The behind the scenes homie capturing the action and documenting the performances.
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Freestyling
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The information below was taken from the flier.
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This play is based on a play by Linda Pedro and Jose Griego, PhD titled “The Apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe”

Cast:
Nuestra Señor de Guadalupe–Anna Raquel Plaza
Doña Lupita/Universal Mother–Guadalupe Aranda
Juan Diego/Cuatitlatoatzin–JoseLuis Ortiz
Cuautemoc/El Arzobispo–Matthew Encinias
La Diosa Tonantzin–Shaun Fisher
El Angel–Beatriz Vigil
Tio Bernardino/El Familiar–Pedro Herrera
Rosa–Mary Ellen Gomez
La Muerte–Samati Rodriguez
La Llorona–Matilda Fernandez
El Diablo–Sam Leyba
The Children–Ryan Campos
Mandy Romero
Monet Lau’Fisher
Sequayiah Fisher

Crew:
Tech Crew/Sound–Monica Watson
Tech Crew/Light–Shaun Fisher
Special Thanks to Maria Martinez and El Museo Cultural

My spiritual journey began when I was about five or six years old. I remember going to the Morada in Cordova with my mom and grandma every Wednesday and Sunday of Lent and participating in all the ceremonies and rituals of Holy Week. I remember wanting to become an Hermano when I was about six years old, but was told I had to wait till I was eleven. Every year that passed I went faithfully to all the scheduled services at the Morada. I as got older an was able to stay alone at home, there were times that I opted to stay home to watch TV. Really the only time was when the movie “Jesus of Nazareth” came out. Usually the week before Holy Week. And of course the Sundays I was visiting with my dad.

The years before joining the Morada I would try to mimic the Hermanos at home by pretending have processions. I would gather my cousins and line them up like the Hermanos did. I had a small cross I had received one year at catechism. I would try to pray (sing) the alabados the best I knew how. I we would process around my grandma’s living room and kitchen. At that age I really didn’t understand what all this meant, but for some reason it was calling me.

Finally, I turned eleven and Lent was coming to a close in 1989. Easter was about 10 days before my eleventh birthday. My time was missed to join the Morada. Yet I didn’t get discouraged, I knew that next was going to be the year I would join the Hermanos as one of them. I was exited to turn eleven. I remember Her. Ricardo Lopez telling us year after year that we didn’t join the Morada by choice, that we were called by God and Christ to be members of this Hermandad. We were chosen to carry on the traditions of our ancestors forward teach the life of Christ. Yet, at eleven I had no clue what I was doing. I was there from some reason that I could not figure out. All I knew was that becoming a member was for life and full commitment was a must. I have committed to the Morada fully.

2014 marked 25 years of service to my beloved Morada. In those 25 years I have grown to be a many of deep faith and extremely knowledgeable about the faith given to us by our grandfathers and grandmothers. A faith that was rooted in simplicity and humility. In those same 25 years I was elected as celador and hermano mayor of my morada. Both at a very young age, I was in my teens to yearly twenty’s as celador and mid twenty’s as hermano mayor. I was also a member to the Mesa Directiva. This was the board that is in place to unit all the Moradas of Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado. In my twelve years of service I was the secretario and the hermano mayor secundo. I have about 1000 years of experience that has guided me for the last 25 years in my spirituality. Keep in mind that when first joined the Morada Her. Jorge Lopez and Ricardo Lopez had each been in the Morada over 70 years and both were in their 90’s.

In 2007 I was celebrating my graduation from nursing school from Northern New Mexico College. I had invited co-worker Ana Cisneros to my graduation party, which was on a Friday night. Ana spent a little bit time at my fiesticita and enjoyed some food. Then, she excused herself and on her way out she invited me to the Santuario (de Chimayo) the next day. She told me she and some Aztecs would be dancing. The next day I got up and made my was to the Santuario with camera in hand. I starting shooting a few photos and caught up with Ana. I thanked her for the invitation. Ana then told me that they had been there since the night before praying and singing and today they were dancing and offering there prayers. Ana suggested that I come the following year to the night serve. I told Ana to remind me. The stage was set, my spiritual journey was to take on a new path.

Between 2008 and 2011 I participated in both the velacion and the ceremonia with Ana. In that time I met Jacobo Dimas and his wife Mayahuel Garza and Beatrice and her husband Tomas Vigil. All five of these individuals taught me about the ceremonia and the velacion. Jacobo always made sure that i was able to share an alabado during the night ceremony. This a great honor for me. I was able to represent my ancestors in this sacred ceremony. I was told that the ceremony being observed was in honor of El Senor De Chalma, an image of a dark crucified Christ and the image was in a town in Chalma in Mexico. One of the reasons the group had chosen the Santuario as the site to celebrate this ceremony was to also honor El Senor de Esquilupas, another image of a dark Christ.

By 2011 I had been in a relationship with my girlfriend, Amanda for about three and a half years. 2011 was a bitter sweet year during the time of the Velacion de Nuestro Senor de Chalma. In 2011 Amanda’s mom was getting married that Saturday, we were unable to participate in all of the velacion or the danza. Yet, as faithful as we had become to the velacion we still went to greet our friends and spend a couple of hours with them.

As we were getting ready to leave I had permission to address the group to let them know we had to leave. At that point Jorge Garcia Atilano and his wife Virgina Necochea were about to address the group that their time as padrinos of the cendal has come to an end. They were in the process of choosing the next set of padrinos for the cendal. Being the padrino of the cendal is a three year commitment. As we were getting ready to say our good byes, Jorge stated that after discussions with the elders of the group they were going to ask Amanda and I if we wanted to be the padrinos. I discussed with Amanda and we accepted the honor. ((read story here)).

During this time Amanda and I had a lot of negative energies testing our relationship. Two members of my family were being mean to Amanda and it caused us to fight a lot. The negative energy was strong. I believe that God knows when he needs to add some extra help in peoples lives. The timing of us becoming padrinos of the cendal came at a critical time in our relationship. During those three years we here padrinos,especially in the beginning things were rough. The annual velacion and ceremonia was our saving grace. This was the one time every year we prayed together with the help of our friends. There prayers were our strength. I don’t think they know this, but after reading this they will.

Now its 2014 our commitment has been fulfilled. The negative energy is slowly making its way out our lives. The spiritual powers of the Danza and the Morada have combined in me and helped me be a bit stronger in my faith. In 2013 Amanda, Esperanza, Isabella and I were asked to become Danzantes. We participated in the Danza for the first time as Danzantes not just as members of the community. Jacobo and Mayahuel have been big supporters of us becoming part to this ancient and beautiful tradition. This year we passed on the obligacion of the cendal to David Martinez and Pilar Trujillo. It was a decision that only made sense. The connection between El Senor de Esquipulas and El Senor de Chalma needed to maintained for a least three more years. The bond that was create is now being strengthened.

Amanda and I were given our trajes de la Danza. Amanda got her blouse (not sure the actual name) and I received my tilma. Jacobo stated that he and the Jefa Helga Garza had worked on it. They felt that the symbol on my tilma needed to reflect who i was and were i came from. The symbol they gave was the Sacred Mountain with La Cruz de la Conquista in it’s summit and the Sacred Heart in the Center. Jacobo and Helga stated this represented where i was from, my faith and my commitment to La Cruz de la Conquista. I was deeply humbled by this gift and by the honor of becoming part of an ancient tradition.

In conclusion, my spiritual journey has a new path for me to embark on. I will take to ancient traditions and learn from them the story of my ancestors. I will learn the faith and pass it on to my children and hope they pass it on to their children for generations. Being a Penitente and Danzante are two obligacions that are life commitments. I believe the God has brought this two forms of spirituality in to my life to learn about humility and simplicity in this modern world. What i have learned in 25 years as an Hermano and the last 7 years with and now as a Danzante is the respect is a most, humility is something we need to practice daily and faith will get us through the rough stuff.

Here are some photos of this years Ceremonia.

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Photos used with permission by the Danzantes. Always keeping in mind that Danza is a sacred ceremony and a prayer. Please respect the photos by not downloading if you are not a danzante or do not have their permission. Thank you for understanding and respecting this sacred tradition.

Meet this month’s feature at the Española Poetry Explosion.
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Sheri Lopez is a little lady who was born in Albuquerque on August 22, 1985. That makes her 28 for those of you who hate math. She has a little man named Dominic who is pretty much the radest creature on the face of the earth, at least to her. He is almost two and this makes Sheri very nervouse because he can already run faster than her which is forcing her to get into shape to catch him. Mostly because she does not want to be one of those mother who has her child on a leash. But that is neither here, nor there, since this should be about her writing.

She has been writing her whole life, mainly short stories, but poetry is fun for her too. She does this in her free time or at 3 in the morning for some odd reason. Sheri really likes 3am. And in those tiny moments when the world inspires her she takes phrases and hordes them until they become a piece. This also happens to be the first time she has ever been a featured anything and it makes her nervous. But all in all she hopes you all like what she has to offer and she thanks you for coming.

(By the way, Sheri wrote this, but it is hard for her to talk about herself so she chose the third person format. Sheri hopes you do not mind and possibly think it is funny).
With love,
Sheri

Let us meet this month’s Speak, Poet feature, Rich Boucher. Rich is a contributor the 2nd Anniversary blog post Reflecting on the 2 year anniversary of Speak, Poet and a contributing Poet to my anthology,  “Palabras O Muerte: Vivan Los Escritores”.

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A past member of five national poetry slam teams (Worcester, Mass. (x2), Washington, D.C., Wilmington, Del. and Albuquerque, N.M.), Rich has published four chapbooks of poetry and for seven years hosted an open reading and slam in Newark, Delaware. Since moving to Albuquerque in March of 2008, Rich has been performing and writing steadily in the Duke City, and is a regular contributor/editor at localpoetsguild.wordpress.com. In 2012 Rich was named to the first inaugural Albuquerque Poet Laureate Selection Committee for a two-year term, and his participation helped to select Hakim Bellamy, the City of Albuquerque’s first official Poet Laureate. Rich’s poems have appeared in Artistica, Red Fez, Adobe Walls: An Anthology of New Mexico Poetry, Apeiron Review, Boston Poetry Magazine, Brawler, The Bicycle Review, The Camel Saloon, CARNIVAL, Citizens for Decent Literature, Crack the Spine, Dead Beats, Delaware Poetry Review, Epigraph, Eunoia Review, Extract(s), Fickle Muses, Grey Sparrow Journal, HyperText, The Lake, Leaves of Ink, Lyre Lyre, Neon, The Rag, The Malpais Review, Clutching at Straws, Shot Glass Journal, Missive, Mutant Root, ppigpenn, Poydras Review, quarter after, Sparkbright, The Subterranean Quarterly, The Mas Tequila Review, The Yellow Ham, Visceral Uterus, Borderline, 200NewMexicoPoems,The Legendary and The Nervous Breakdown. In January of 2012, Rich appeared on the album, “Dylan – Philadelphia pays tribute to a Legend”, an album featuring various Philadelphia artists performing covers of Dylan songs to benefit Amnesty International and the End Hunger Network; Rich’s contribution to the album was a spoken-word rendition of Bob Dylan’s “My Back Pages”. Hear some of his poems at richboucher.bandcamp.com. In March of 2013, Rich’s poem, “In Memory of My Neighbor, Carol, Who Has Not Died Yet” was named one of Brawler’s Best Poems of 2012”. 

It is October 1, 2013, “Palabras O Muerte: Vivan Los Escritores” Anthology and Photo Book is now accepting submissions for poems by the poets who have participated at Speak, Poet: Voz, Palabra y Sonido and at Española Poetry Explosion. The submission window will close on January 15, 2014 at midnight cst (Chicano Standard Time). For details on the requirements for submission read here. There will be fundraising efforts taking place. I will be selling framed photos to help raise money to make this project happen. Keep a look out for other things such as raffles, bake sales and whatever crazy things we come up with!!! Thank you in advance for your submission and financial assistance. Let’s make this project happen. Let’s share our poetry with the world and let’s fight for our stories to be shared with the rest of the world. I want this book to make it to the Banned Book list!!!!!

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Nate Maxson was born last millennium in Cleveland, Ohio. He is occasionally a student of psychology at the University of New Mexico and performs his poems all over Albuquerque on a regular basis. He discovered poetry as a boy many years ago the way other people find religion or drugs and hasn’t looked back since. He has so far published two books and is currently working on getting two more out at the same time.
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Growing up in Cordova reading and writing were far from my mind. I spent my time riding my bike all over the plazita, swimming in the river and playing basketball. When I was old enough to drive, I spent by time cruising Spaña’s main drag. I would spend hours up and down River Side Dr. from one end to the other. These are the things we did for fun and to fit in. During this time reading and writing were only things I did for school, even when I first started college. Reading was what the nerds did, not the cool kids. Because of this mentality I missed out on a lot of great literature as a teenage and young adult.

I returned to college in the Spring Semester of 1999, I took many classes that were sounded interesting because I needed to bring up my GPA. I began to learn about literature written by Chican@s about our history and events that impacted our community and people. Even though the list of Chican@ writers is distinguished, it was also short. I was in search of more. I wanted to learn more about the history for New Mexico, especially Española and Cordova.

In the Summer of 2009 I attended a gathering, the group was called La Resolana. From this I began to write my own poetry. By the end of the summer we had put together a chapbook titled “Declamacion” this was the beginning of a collection of poems by local writers writing about our community and history. The treasure I was searching for was coming together. At our Resolana meetings we would gather and share our poetry and words or wisdom and guidance. This was something I never thought I would be a part of, but I found that it was a part of me that I hadn’t discovered in high school or my early years in college.

In July of 2011, Adán Baca had a poetry reading at the Española Library, the event was nameless for a few readings. I then created a Facebook page and called Poetry at the Española Library. After a few months Adán in a discussion with other poets dubbed the event The Española Poetry Explosion, it was named after an explosive night of poetry.

The Española Poetry Explosion has been a place of safety for many new poets and a place for veteran poets to come together and create a family of poets and writers. We have experienced flute players, musicians, singers and a host of veteran and new poets. The Española Library has been a great host. The staff has opened their arms and hearts to a community of renegade poets and revolutionaries. We have hosted chapbook releases by La Resolana when “Declamacion II” was released and when Luis Peña released his chapbook “The Three-Legged Dog”. We have had artist share their art with the community.

The Española Poetry Explosion is something new and explosive for our community. A safe have for young and old writers alike, newbies to the poetry scene or veterans. We have come together to expose a hidden talent of writers and poets. We gave a voice to many individuals who have been struggling with addiction and they became our teachers. Giving us an inside look in to their world of pain and let us know that they were human and had feeling just the same. The Library was their safe haven and class room to open many eyes in to the world of addiction. This is what community is all about. Every person who has come to a reading has become part of a family were all members are equals and all are respected.

I am honored to have been able to photograph the many great poets and artists who have come to the Española Poetry Explosion. I have collected a great number of photos of many open mic poets and featured poets. In the following blog I have invited Adán Baca, host to Española Poetry Explosion, Amanda Salinas, Adán Trujillo, Pilar Trujillo and Andrea Serrano for their thoughts and reflections regarding the Española Poetry Explosion.

GUEST WRITERS:

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Adán Baca

One of the beautiful and powerful things about poetry and spoken word is freedom, freedom to express what the poet has or wants or needs to say. There are no rules and no expectations. When the poet touches the pencil to paper or fingers to keyboard, voice to text on smart phone….the words are liberated and can also become liberating. These poems spoken from the heart, the mind the imagination, the funny bone; inspired by hope, loss, broken hearts, new loves, lost loves, our children, our elders our acequias our gardens and our plebe.

So for over the past two years the poets and the community have found a home at the Espanola Library. The library has been a great host and partner. The library belongs to the community and Teddie, Sherry and the library staff have been welcoming and supportive.

We’ve seen and heard incredible featured poets from as far away as Denver, many from Albuquerque and still more from right here in mi querido Norte. It’s been a blessing to see and hear people writing and sharing their words for the first time. It’s also been encouraging and powerful to see so many people come out and support the Espanola Poetry Explosion and the poets who share their words.

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Amanda Salinas
Photo used with permission.

Two years flew by for Poetry at the Library I was so excited to learn something like this would be in my hometown Española N.M and  Adan Baca creator of Poetry at the Library brought in Hoy Recovery patients to read their truths and healing that hit my heart and gave me a better understanding of the problems we have in our community.  I featured twice and although I had featured before in Albuquerque something about performing in front of my peers in a town I called my own yet never really fit in made it more nerve racking, but Adan made it fun and laid back making it that much easier. I look forward to coming in and sharing my old and new poems, seeing my community come together positively.  Something different.  Not forgetting its “funner than a sack of wet mice”- Pilar Trujillo. As time flys by and realize that in just two years I have heard the most heartfelt, honest and raw poetry in one room than anywhere else and I’m lucky to have been able to experience it. Happy two year anniversary Poetry at the Library, and many more.

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Pilar Trujillo

I first heard about the Espanola Poetry Explosion through my brother, Adan. He had been going to these monthly poetry readings and always came back excited. I decided to check it out one night, and I was immediately blown away. There was a true sense of community, but more than that, it felt like a really safe place to read a poem out loud in front of people. Everyone was so welcoming and respectful and very encouraging. I had never read any of my poetry out loud before. I decided to give it a try, knowing that I would be supported. 

I am always in awe of the powerful words that other people share at the readings. I have been moved to tears more than once in that space: hearing recovering addicts come to hard truths about their lives, witnessing someone read a poem out loud for the first time, hearing a new poem by a friend or finding new meaning in poems I’ve heard before. One of my most cherished memories was when my brother and I were asked to be the features for the reading in June 2012.  I will never forget how special it was to stand in the library of my hometown with my oldest brother and pour out my heart for my community. But the thing is, every single monthly reading has been a profound experience because the space allows for people to just be real and raw and true to themselves. It pushes you to be vulnerable in the best way.

The Espanola Poetry Explosion at the Library is evidence that we can truly heal together as a community if we have the space for it, and the right intentions. I am forever grateful for all that I’ve gained by being a part of the readings: the friendships, the shared palabras, the inspiration from some of the fiercest poetas I’ve ever known. Thank you to Adan Baca, Angelo, and all the others who have made it possible! Here’s to many more years!

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Andrea Serrano

For years, I felt out of place in the poetry scene in Albuquerque.  While there are a lot of talented poets in Albuquerque and more venues than anyone can keep track of, I never quite felt like I had a community.  In the summer of 2009, I met a group of people who welcomed me into their circle and gave me friendship and my poetry found a home.  In Española, NM, the sun shines bright and hearts are warmed in the resolana that is created by the poets of the Norte.

The Española Poetry Explosion is a gathering of community and friends.  A place where poets can share words and laughs.  There is comfort in the words that are shared, but beyond that, it’s the feeling of the gente who are there.  New poets, seasoned poets, souls in search of healing, lovers and fighters are mixed in with books and history.  As my comadre Pilar Trujillo once remarked, there is something beautiful about reading poetry at a library she grew up in. 

To be welcomed into this space reminds me that there is safety in community, and that community extends beyond county lines and boundaries.  I often call it Speak, Poet’s Sister Event because it feels like familia.  Even if I haven’t been in a while, knowing I can go to an event where so many people find and share voice is an honor and I’m proud to know the poets and organizers of this beautiful venue.    

Española Poetry Explosion is the light that shines through the darkness, the resolana that warms the bones and the familia that is always on your side.  Thank you for the courage to create community in my own city, and congratulations on two beautiful years!

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Adán Trujillo

When I walked out of the Española Library in June 2011 after randomly going to a poetry reading that I heard about on Facebook, I had rarely felt so inspired. Going that day changed my life and was one of the best decisions I ever made. Going every month after that (and until the wheels fall off) is a close second. This event stretched me outside my comfort zone, helped me find a voice I didn’t know I had and plugged me in to a community of like-minded people that I am grateful to know and call friends. 

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Beata Tsosie-Peña

It has always amazed me, how strongholds of talent, tradition and beauty are so abundant in Northern NM. How the arts scene here has maintained an underground and above ground presence that never tried to fit into mainstream westernization, but has existed more to sustain each other, and echo our multi-versal realities that we have to navigate through daily as Peoples coming from mixed heritage and upbringings. Through art this has been done seamlessly, and I am grateful for its existence within so much breathtaking beauty that also contains so much love of place for the Peoples who live in the Rio Grande Valley.

Española Poetry Explosion is an example of the way we come together as artists to reshape our landscape to hold this space for ourselves. In a time when public spaces are under utilized and scarce, it is so important that we make use of the spaces that do exist to continue to come together. Poetry is a way to share knowledge, shared and individual experience, and tell the collective stories of our time. The oral tradition is strong in this place that anchors our spirit, and it is very clear to me every time I hear blessings of words offered up, in such humble settings, how our poetic intentions are a spiritual bridge.

I am grateful for those in our communities who take the extra time for rural organizing, knowing the importance and equality of hosting any size of circle, and even more so, for making it a consistent one. I am also grateful for the poets who have been willing to travel far, and lend their voice in the uplifting of our Indigenous atmosphere in Española, reinforcing a creative network that I know has more work ahead. I’m thankful for or all the strength through words that is emerging from such beautiful faces, and that I hope can continue to be a vibrational movement of its own in our Valley.

COLLAGES FOR PAST READINGS

Here are some post reading collages of the Española Poetry Explosion. The collages aren’t in any particular order. This is part of the Española Poetry family and community. Thank you to all who have and continue to support this great community event every month.

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If you’re on Facebook please visit the Poetry at the Library (Española Poetry Explosion) fan page. Also, drop by El Razafotografista and Campana de Esperanza Fotography Fan pages. For biographies of many of the poets whom have featured at the Española Poetry Explosion visit the archive of my blog. Like our pages and support great community events and local businesses!

To all of you who have participated in our family and community of the Española Poetry Explosion please share your reflections on the comment section of this post.

Through out my time in school, weather it was high school or collage literature, especially poetry were my least favorite subjects to take. Slowly I began to find poets and poetry that talked about events, people and history that I could identify with, but the list was short. Not many brown poets. The focus in class were on poets such as Robert Frost, Emily Dickenson and Shakespeare to name a few. I wondered where all the Chicano/Mexicano/Indigeno poets were at.

The summer of 2011 I was spending a week in Alburquerque with my new job. I received an invitation by Andrea J. Serrano to a poetry reading, Speak, Poet: Voz, Palabra y Sonido. Amanda and I attended the inaugural reading featuring Cathy Arellano and Ara Cruz. I didn’t know that this reading was going to become a monthly event. Then I received an invitation in July then August and so on an so forth.

Since the first reading in June of 2011 I was standing behind my camera taking photos of all the poets who have come through Speak, Poet. After a few months I realized that I was capturing the faces of poets of all walks of life, from all backgrounds and ethnicities. It was a great thing that was taking shape. At that point I knew I had to make every effort to attend Speak, Poet every month to capture every poet who featured and who stepped up to the Mic-less open mic. Finally, what I was once searching for was becoming a reality. Poets who I could relate too. I knew that this was the beginning of a great thing.

In April of 2012 I started a blog dubbed after the nickname given to me by Andrea Serrano. The nickname was El Razafotografista. I started my blog initially to promote my photography and poetry, but then realized that part of promoting my photography I could promote the poets from New Mexico. I started to take images I had taken at past readings and posting them on my blog and Andrea would allow me to copy and paste biographies of the featured poets. I realized that by creating those blog posts I was creating in cyberspace a corner where youngsters could read about poets who they could identity with. I was beginning to create a collection of faces that were writing words that many of our youth could identify with. My search for Chican@ poets was over. I had found the treasure I had been looking for and now I am sharing this treasure with all of you.

Standing behind the camera waiting for the right moment to push the shutter button, to capture that expression that gives the viewer a glimpse into the emotion the poet was expressing at that moment, as he/she spoke their truth. I has been a honor to have met and photographed many of Nuevo Mexico’s greatest poets and I know there is hidden, talented poets out there I hope to photograph in feature readings at Speak, Poet.

In this blog post I have invited Andrea Serrano, Cathy Arellano, Amanda Salinas, Fernando Lopez, Rich Boucher and Michelle Otero to give a reflection on their thoughts regarding the last two years of Speak, Poet. Here are their reflections and thoughts. I hope you enjoy these heart felt words and the photography that started my endeavor to document and promote as many Nuevo Mexicano Poetas.

GUEST WRITERS

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Logo by: Fernando Lopez

When I was asked to do the logo for Speak Poet I was excited. I wanted to give back to something that meant a lot to me. I remember a friend, and fellow artist of mine and a conversation we had on how the most abundant and significant plant is the corn stalk. At that point I pretty much knew what I wanted to say in the logo. Andrea Serrano our host and founder of Speak Poet mentioned she wanted the Albuquerque’s city’s skyline in the logo. So what I tried to do was make that skyline unmistakable, and giving that our voices are our microphones. I wanted to have the mic bursting out of the corn stalk, representing each of us. Standing strong and radiating behind the city. The task was fun, and it is my hope that I captured a bit of what Speak Poet is.

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Andrea Serrano and Fernando Lopez unveiling the new Speak, Poet Logo.

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Andrea J. Serrano

In June, I canceled Speak, Poet for the first time in two years. My dad had just gotten out of the hospital and we found out that his prognosis wasn’t good. I was exhausted and the thought of hosting an event terrified me. I didn’t think I could handle it and without explanation, I put a simple message on Facebook – and that act alone took a lot of energy. The next month, when I was ordering the cake for the two year celebration, I found myself worrying that no one would show up. What if June’s abrupt cancelation was so offensive that no one would return? What if there was no more Speak, Poet?

I find that I often worry about Speak, Poet. I worry that there won’t be enough food, or that people will be uncomfortable. I worry that the building will be locked and I worry that I will fall down the stairs. I have learned that a small dose of anxiety before an event is normal and when it comes to Speak, Poet, there is no need to worry: the community always shows up
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I never have enough words to describe what a blessing the Speak, Poet family has been in my life. What started out as an experiment has become a cornerstone to my creativity. I know that on the second Thursday of the month, I’ll be doing what I love and I’ll be among friends and family who never cease to amaze me with their words, their courage, their laughter and their presence. I love when someone reads for the first time; I love when Rich Boucher taunts the crowd into shouting “SPEAK, POET!” I love seeing our friends from Northern New Mexico join us each month and I love the sight of looking up and seeing so many genuinely loving faces. The fact that all of this is captured by El Razafotografista means we are capturing a story of community.

We weave stories, create connections and leave with our hearts a little fuller. Speak, poets, and speak loudly.

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Rich Boucher

Together We Will Find the Right Words:
A Reflection on the Second Anniversary
of Speak, Poet: Voz, Palabra y Sonido

I remember that it was a really hot June night, a real slow scorcher. And I remember thinking when I saw the place (El Chante: Casa de Cultura) how many times had I walked right past it and not given it a second look? I remember loving that the reading took place in a HOUSE, a real house with two stories to it and a front porch. It reminded me of the Art House, the little place on Delaware Ave in Newark, Delaware, by the University, where I’d hosted an open mic and slam night for years before I moved to New Mexico. I remember feeling excited to check it out, and very much wanting this night to be a booming success for my friend Andrea Serrano. Andrea and I had grown to be friends and colleagues in the local poetry scene here in Albuquerque, well before the start of this reading, and I was behind her endeavor one hundred percent. I remember my girlfriend Rhiannon and I finding seats and watching the place just fill up. It was obvious from the first night that this place would be packed to the rafters easily and every night. I remember so many strangers’ faces, strangers who through poetry would soon become the friends I’ll be forever grateful for. I remember hearing for the first time a night of poetry where much of it was in Spanish and I remember listening and learning and slowly growing to love the sound of the poetry of New Mexico in the mother tongue of this land.

From that first night, where I debuted my poem “Dark Jade” (my anti-Sushi poem that I was happy to crack Andrea up with) and where I heard the work of Cathy Arellano and Denver’s Ara Cruz, and where I heard and met so many other excellent poets from all over New Mexico, and where I have personally witnessed a poetry reading doing good works for the community (and for individual members of the community), the phenomenon that is Speak, Poet has only grown in strength even as it has had to find a new home. I’m so fortunate to have even been the tiniest cog in this shining wheel. I remember Andrea confiding to me how nervous she was; I remember telling her that I’d been there, that I’d known what it’s like to wonder if anyone will really show up at all. To wonder if this thing has legs, to wonder if it has wings. Well, after tons of excellent features and open readings full of beautiful moments over a span of two years (so far!), there’s no reason to wonder about the future and promise of Speak, Poet anymore; there’s only the next milestone to reach for ahead of us.

Very Gratefully Yours,

Rich Boucher

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Cathy Arellano

Speak, Poet: Voz, Palabra, y Sonido…Y qué ?!

Andrea Serrano had a dream, and every month poets, spokenword performers, filmmakers and photographers, singers and dancers, painters and sculptors, gardeners and farmers, activists, students and teachers, queers, Chicanos with Xs and without, African, Native, and Asian Americans, and more—we gather. Every month our voices, words, and sounds bathe dreams and pierce nightmares.

Many times I’ve craved Speak, Poet. My livingroom, your livingroom, our kitchen, our front porch, our stoop, our circle with the mic-less open mic. Live, up close, in person, and in color. I’ve driven my car holding my breath until poetry–in and out all of its forms–washed over me. Each month community reveals themselves, introduces their families, and brings back their dead. I’ve wanted, needed to share my poetry, my concrete homeland, my queer body, me. And, I—visitor, outsider—have been heard, seen.

Speak, Poet where community says, Y qué to the crooked boss! Y qué to the derelict law! Y qué to the unjust jail! Y qué to the jail-like school! Y qué to the language police! Y qué to all the people that would keep us out, alone, separated, unheard, unseen. The community of Speak, Poet; the community that is Speak, Poet: Incredible. Truly.

Speak, Poet touched me so deeply that I wanted my students to have their minds blown, their consciousness cracked, and their souls soothed. This fall marks the first year anniversary at Central New Mexico Community College of CNM Speaks: Poetry and Spoken Word Open Mic. Yes, I copied. Do you blame me? Each time poets conjure their worlds on campus or a student speaks her or his poetic fact or fiction, or someone says, “I needed that” or “I’m going home to write”—or, they pull out paper and pen and write something on the spot and read it (!), I know the rite is right.

I humbly offer sincere gratitude to Andrea for having the vision and the ovaries for birthing Speak, Poet. And thank you to every member of the Speak, Poet community who sustains it with each breath.

Finally, won’t the poems that have bounced off the mic-less open mic make one helluva anthology?

Y qué! Y punto final!

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Amanda Salinas
Photo used with permission.

Looking back 2yrs at Speak Poet, I think about hearing all the poets and seeing how they stood up there with such confidence. I remember when it was my turn to get up and read my poem, my very first poem writen and performed I was so nervous I’m not sure I read my poem out loud instead I whispered it quickly and promptly got sick outside! Andrea Serrano the creator of Speak Poet encouraged me to write, keep writing, and believed in me enough to have me as a feature for “Voices to listen for” A proud night for me and I still thank Andrea today for the encouragement. Speak Poet has been wonderful and I look forward to driving from Chimayo/Cordova just to see everyone and hear their poetry. Speak Poet has become a place where I feel comfortable enough to share my truth knowing everyone there always has nice things to say a hug or smile to give just when you need it, even if they don’t know it. Andrea Serrano gave me a second chance at featuring a long side JoseLuis Ortiz and all though yet again I was nervous and didn’t quite use my time wisely I didn’t get sick again! It has been an honor to be a part of the Speak Poet family and hope 2yrs leads to many more come!

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Fernando Lopez

I moved to New Mexico in 2009 with a stack of bad break up poems and a mound of past regrets. I was an artist and poetry was just something kind of new to me. Never, would I have considered myself to be a poet or a writer. I couldn’t imagine myself being the type, writing for the sake of writing. How I grew up, such things were unheard of and pointless. The first time I heard anyone speak in that way was in fifth grade when my teacher Ms. Kelly showed us a video of Martin Luther King Jr in his famous “I have a dream speech”. It was then that something sparked in me. His speech would resonate with me, not only for what it meant but for the ferocity in his voice when he said it. I never realized such power existed, that simple words could mean and change so much. The first time I read at Speak Poet I remember a feeling just like that, it was infinite. I felt that I was a part of a revolution of artist and freethinkers standing in the company of one another sharing, peeling themselves to the very core with their words. For the first time, I heard my own voice and even though my hands shook and my voice quivered with every word. I got that same feeling I did when I heard that speech. What I love about Speak Poet is its mixture of seasoned poets (like those in this blog) and we, the people not so seasoned, yet equal, in our love of the word. A thanks to our host Andrea Serrano for giving us a gift, a safe place, a place of camaraderie and community, a place we all can call our home, a home for our words. Even my two younger sisters (teenagers) read for the first time there, I was so proud. Not long ago I got stopped by someone whom I never met before, asking me “hey you’re that poet from Speak Poet right”? And I was like, yeah I’m that poet.

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Michelle Otero

Speak, Poet is Nana’s kitchen after a big meal when your sisters and tíos and cousins and their kids and the neighbors and your niece and the nice güero boyfriend she brought home from college linger around the table and tell stories. Your tío who lost hearing in one ear during the war tells that one you love about the night he and your dad were walking home along the acequia after the dance and came face to face with La Llorona. Mama remembers the mean priest who used to shout, “You did what?!” from the confessional. He once gave her ten rosaries for penance. Your boy cousins take turns telling the time they were wrestling in Nana’s shower and broke her door, and she chased their naked bodies through the hallway and out into the yard.

Someone gets hungry again, and there are burritos and buñuelos and punch in rainbow colors. And it seems there are more people than when you started, and there’s no room to sit, and it’s hot, but everyone wants to be in the kitchen because that is where we are fed.

You remember those who have passed, those who were wounded. Someone pulls out a guitar. And you don’t know how it happens, but before the night ends, your niece, the shy one with the güero boyfriend, is reading something she wrote, and it’s the story of her and all of us, how we come together, how we are fed.

COLLAGES FROM PAST READINGS

Here are some post reading collages of Speak, Poet. The collages aren’t in any particular order. This is part of the Speak, Poet family and community. Thank you to all who have and continue to support this great community event every month.

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If you’re on Facebook please visit the Speak, Poet: Voz, Palabra y Sonido fan page. Also, drop by El Razafotografista and Campana de Esperanza Fotography Fan pages. For biographies of many of the poets whom have featured at Speak, Poet visit the archive of my blog. Like our pages and support great community events and local businesses!

To all of you who have participated in our family and community of Speak, Poet please share your reflections on the comment section of this post.

On Tuesday June 18, 2013 we gathered at El Rincon de Los Trujillo’s, the residence of Pilar Trujillo, Adán Trujillo y familia. In a place and space where ancient wisdom has been passed down for generations. Wisdom that has sustained the people from Chimayo and many other mountain desert communities.

On this 18th day of June 2013 we gathered as community to learn ancient wisdom and knowledge of the people of Central Mexico. We learned about the hidden knowledge within the Aztec Sun Stone/Calendar. Our cosmetic identity and mission on this earth was brought to light by Maestro Mazatzin.

In this post photos of the evening are being shared. I have asked several community members to share a short reflection about the evening’s platica. It was an honor to have been able to document these great gathering.

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This image of the Aztec Sun Stone was taken in 2005. The Stone is at the Museum of Anthropology and History in Mexico City.

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Reflection by Pilar Trujillo:

It’s been quite some time that I’ve taken a deeper interest in learning more about who I am as a spirit in this sometimes ailing and painful body that can be wracked with emotions. I find myself yearning for the wisdom of my ancestros, knowing that for centuries they knew how to live in harmony with the tierra and each other. The Aztec calendar has long been something I’ve wanted to know more about. So when I heard that Maestro Mazatzin Aztekayolokalli was going to give a presentation in Albuquerque about it, I decided to go. But on the morning of the presentation, I didn’t feel well. I wanted to see him, but did not want my chronic health issues to flare up.

I really believe that if we open ourselves up to what Creator wants for us, things fall into place without strain. This was evidenced with how seamlessly the gathering was organized. It started when compadre Jorge García made a comment on compadre Luis Peña’s Facebook post saying that he wanted to bring Mazatzin up to the norte so that all of us could make a connection with him. I immediately offered our land and home for the following evening as a space for a plática. Then Luis offered to help with outreach. Our comadres Annette and Beata offered food. And just like that, the gathering was set. Several other people helped with food, drinks, documentation, setting up, etc. That’s the power of focusing your intentions and actions on a common cause: things get done!

The plática by Mazatzin was amazing. I keep reflecting on what it means to be an instrument of harmony, which is what an Azteca really is. I also learned a lot about myself in a very short amount of time, like how my day sign is Dog/Izkuintli, which gives me a lot of admirable traits, but must be balanced with rest and restoration or else I’m of no use to anyone.

As we wrapped up the evening with Maestro, I couldn’t help but feel like I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. I mentioned this to him as we chatted after the plática. And he agreed. Yes- we have all been waiting for this for a long time: to be re-introduced to who we really are, to our most sacred selves, our cosmic identities. El es Dios!

Reflection by Annette Rodriguez:

Earlier I’d been reading about the trials in Guatemala, where former President Efraín Ríos Montt was convicted of genocide against 1,771 indigenous Mayans. His scorched-earth attacks in the 1980s displaced at least 29,000 Mayans, and were meant to destroy the Ixil communities completely. When the verdict against him was read, the assembled Ixil men, women and children stood and called out to the judges, “¡Tantiuxh!” (“Gracis!/Thank you!”). My spirit was in mourning as I walked toward the gathering with Maestro Mazatlin. I thought of the centuries of loss, of pain, of displacement of our indigenous communities throughout what we now call the Americas. I thought of the distance between us all.

Yet, once across the field, as those I hold dear and those I am destined to hold dear assembled, I found strength as Maestro Mazatlin re-introduced us to our undeniable relationship to one another, and our responsibility to one another. The evening was an invitation to deeper and lasting alliance and affiliation. Rather than a romantic connection to an imagined Aztec past, we were invited to act in our real present. Reminded to recall, in each sacred day, our connection as colonized peoples and to continue the struggle to practice, to understand, and to connect as we always have, as our elders and our people have maintained since time immemorial. I am a daughter of Zacatecas, whose family was displaced to the Arizona and Southern New Mexico copper mines. Across a state-imposed distance, we retain our love of and connection to Juchilipa. I have often felt a cultural divide from Northern New Mexico, but I was deeply moved to be in a space with and created by hermanos y hermanas from Califas, Central México, the Norté, Sandia, Santa Clara, and Zuni Pueblos, and beyond.

As we gathered, Jorge Alberto Garcia Atilano discussed anti-Mexican state policies and social structures, like those we see in Arizona, Texas, and even in our local Whole Foods Markets. And in that moment, I saw that our action of assembling, learning and teaching was an act of resistance—on this evening, this was our shared responsibility. Maestro Mazatlin’s unfolding of histories of conquest and resistance, and his invitation for us all to reflect and act in relation to one another, to our responsibilities granted us by the creator, opened up rich potential for continued dialogue across borders, in the space and time we share.

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