Cesar Love Poetry

Black Molasses 
by Cesar Love

Light cannot pass through me
I swallow every spark
I put out each candle I smother the streetlamp
I douse the lighthouse

The moon, the sun, and the day
Down they go in my distillery
Everything bright milled by my night
There I make them black like me
There I make them pure like me

When I am ready, I make the world sweet
Give me flour, I make gingerbread
Give me water, I become rum
Give me an audience, I become music

I am black molasses
I go the speed that I choose
They say I move slow, but really I move free
In this sugar, you meet freedom
In this, sugar, you become four-alarm cool
The bongo of minutes, the gong of the hours,
Simple flickers on the still of your soul

"Black Molasses" was previously published in Birthright by Cesar Love
© Cesar Love. All rights reserved.

Cheekbones 

The handsome Native
His cheekbones are not chiseled
He is not made of granite
He is not made of marble

The handsome Native
His cheekbones are flesh and bone
They have felt hurricanes
They have met tornadoes

The handsome Native
His face fathoms all weather
He has withstood hatred
He has withstood other small winds

© Cesar Love. All rights reserved.

Cesar Love is a Latino poet influenced by the Asian masters. A resident of San Francisco's Mission District, he is also an editor of the Haight Ashbury Literary Journal. His latest book is titled Birthright. His previous book While Bees Sleep was published by CC. Marimbo Press. cesarlovepoetry.yolasite.com

Goodbye Christopher Columbus

by Terra Trevor

In mixed race America all of our individual histories and cultures matter, yet since 1937, on the second Monday in October, the day Congress named Columbus Day, Christopher Columbus was allowed to ride herd. 

My son bounds from his classroom. Eyes filled with brown warmth, he peeks out from under a cap of shiny dark hair, holding a milk carton cutout fashioned into the shape of a boat, with two smaller makeshift vessels trailing behind. Out of the corner of my eye I see children clutching newspaper sailor hats and Columbus’ Ships coloring pages. With his eyebrows curved in question marks my sons tells me that there is also a song about Columbus, sung to the tune of Oh, My Darling Clementine. And then we both laugh at the absurdity. It’s both funny, and not funny. 

We are a mixed-race, mixed-blood, Native American family. My son knows there is controversy surrounding Columbus and his Day of recognition. But at age seven it’s not his job to carry the weight. As his mother that responsibility belongs to me. 

Read more at HuffPost

Back to the Blanket: Recovered Rhetorics and Literacies in American Indian Studies (American Indian Literature and Critical Studies Series) by Kimberly G. Wieser

For thousands of years, American Indian cultures have recorded their truths in the narratives and metaphors of oral tradition. Stories, languages, and artifacts, such as glyphs and drawings, all carry Indigenous knowledge, directly contributing to American Indian rhetorical structures that have proven resistant—and sometimes antithetical—to Western academic discourse. It is this tradition that Kimberly G. Wieser seeks to restore in Back to the Blanket, as she explores the rich possibilities that Native notions of relatedness offer for understanding American Indian knowledge, arguments, and perspectives. 

Back to the Blanket analyzes a wide array of American Indian rhetorical traditions, then applies them in close readings of writings, speeches, and other forms of communication by historical and present-day figures. Wieser turns this pathbreaking approach to modes of thinking found in the oratory of eighteenth-century Mohegan and Presbyterian cleric Samson Occom, visual communication in Laguna Pueblo author Leslie Marmon Silko’s Almanac of the Dead, patterns of honesty and manipulation in the speeches of former president George W. Bush, and rhetorics and relationships in the communication of Indigenous leaders such as Ada-gal’kala, Tsi’yugûnsi’ni, and Inoli. 

Exploring the multimodal rhetorics—oral, written, material, visual, embodied, kinesthetic—that create meaning in historical discourse, Wieser argues for the rediscovery and practice of traditional Native modes of communication—a modern-day “going back to the blanket,” or returning to Native practices. Her work shows how these communication, negotiation, debate, and decision making. 

Back to the Blanket: Recovered Rhetorics and Literacies in American Indian Studies Hardcover, Pre-Order 
American Indian Literature and Critical Studies Series

Embracing Difference: Getting to Know Heewon Azad

by Jiae Azad 

When my mother, Heewon Azad, left Korea for the California coast at the age of 23, she was going against expectations. Unlike all of her friends, she had no interest in marrying, having children, or settling down in a world she felt was patriarchal and in opposition to many of her beliefs. “Studying,” she said, “was my excuse. Grad school was my ticket out.” 

Although she did not know exactly what her path would look like, my mother was determined to dictate its direction. Many Korean women at the time, after attending college and getting their degree, were expected to return home and settle down with an eligible bachelor, as determined by their parents. Instead my mother resolved to stay in America and marry the man she loved: a Muslim immigrant from Bangladesh. 

Read more www.storiedperspectives.com/heewon-azad-tale-interracial-love-marriage

Embracing Difference

by Jiae Azad 

An an interview with author Terra Trevor 


Terra Trevor is a woman with varied roots. With Cherokee, Delaware, Seneca, and German ancestors occupying a place in her tangled family tree, Terra often felt that she fit in everywhere but also nowhere. Self described as a “rough around the edges mixed blood,” she lacked a neatly packaged identity, which eternally relegated her to a class of “outsider.” 

She grew up in Southeast Los Angeles, near the rough areas of Paramount and South Downey, where mixed-race working class families surrounded her. And like many of mixed descent but light skin, she was encouraged to “wear the face of a woman with light-skin privilege,” and blend in as best she could. However, Terra Trevor is not most people. Instead of complacently relying on her “light-skin privilege,” she embraced her outsider status. And with it, she discovered a gift – her ability to diffuse through cultural barriers. That gift informed her career as an author – she seeks out deep connections with other people and explores race, ethnicity, and culture in many of her works. 

Read more www.storiedperspectives.com/terra-trevor

Tending the Fire: Native Voices and Portraits


Tending the Fire by photographer Christopher Felver with an Introduction by Linda Hogan and a foreword by Simon J. Ortiz, celebrates the poets and writers who represent the wide range of Native American voices in literature today. In these commanding portraits, Felver’s distinctive visual signature and unobtrusive presence capture each artist’s strength, integrity, and character. Accompanying each portrait is a handwritten poem or prose piece that helps reveal the origin of the poet’s language and legends.

As the individuals share their unique voices, Tending the Fire introduces us to the diversity and complexity of Native culture through the authors’ generous and passionate stories, reminding us that “Native Americans today are as modern as the Space Age, and each in their own way carries forth the cultural heritage ‘from whence they came.’ Their abiding legacy as the first people of this continent has found its voice in the hard-won wisdom of their art and activism.

University of New Mexico Press

Featured authors include: Francisco X. Alarcón; Sherman Alexie; Indira Allegra; Paula Gunn Allen; Crisosto Apache; Annette Arkeketa; Jimmy Santiago Baca; Dennis Banks; Jim Barnes; Kimberly L. Becker; Duane Big Eagle; Sherwin Bitsui; Julian Talamantez Brolaski; Lauralee Brown; Joseph Bruchac; Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle; Elizabeth Cook-Lynn; Jonny Cournoyer; Alice Crow; Lucille Lang Day; Susan Deer Cloud; Ramona Emerson; Heid E. Erdrich; Louise Erdrich ; Pura Fé; Jennifer Elise Foerster; Eric Gansworth; Diane Glancy; Jewelle Gomez; Rain Gomez; Sequoyah Guess; Q.R. Hand, Jr.; Joy Harjo; Allison Hedge Coke; Travis Hedge Coke; Lance Henson; Trace Lara Hentz; Inés Hernández-Avila; Charlie Hill; Roberta Hill; Geary Hobson; Linda Hogan; LeAnne Howe; Andrew Jolivétte; em jollie; Joan Naviyuk Kane; Maurice Kenny; Bruce King; Sharmagne Leland-St.John; Chip Livingston; Charly Lowry; James Luna; Lee Marmon; Molly McGlennen; Russell Means; Deborah Miranda; Gail Mitchell; N. Scott Momaday; Catherine Nelson-Rodriguez; Linda Noel; dg nanouk okpik; Simon J. Ortiz; Laura Ortman; A. Kay Oxendine; Juanita Pahdopony; Evan Pritchard; Mary Grace Pewewardy; Ishmael Reed; Martha Redbone; Bobby J. Richardson; Ladonna Evans Richardson; Barbara Robidoux; Linda Rodriguez; Wendy Rose; Kurt Schweigman; Kim Shuck; Cedar Sigo; Leslie Marmon Silko; Arigon Starr; James Thomas Stevens; Inés Talamantez; Luci Tapahanso; Nazbah Tom; Cecil Taylor; Rebecca Hatcher Travis; David Treuer; Terra Trevor; Quincy Troupe; John Trudell; Gerald Vizenor; Elissa Washuta; Floyd Redcrow Westerman; Orlando White; Kim Wieser; Diane Wilson; Elizabeth A. Woody

Trouble Song

by Kim Shuck

Take hold of your stubborn
Twine fingers in your defiant
Dig in
Breathe deep into your
Creative 
Make space for your heartbreak but let it start healing
We were walked from the east
We were packed into ships
We were sold by our families
We were illegal
We were hunted
We are here
We are always
We are
Aways
Sing that restless patience
Our inheritance
Take hold of hands
Take hold of your stubborn
Take hold
Take care
Take caring
Self brightly
Group with care
Hold tight and sing

© Kim Shuck. All rights reserved. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kim Shuck is feeling very scattered these days among the Executive Orders and banishments. She teaches 2nd graders most Thursdays, 4th graders some Wednesdays and college undergrads on Fridays. At other times she tries to reweave the fraying webs of communities that she loves. As for poetic qualifications… magazines, anthologies, solo books awards… degrees… years of working in the poetry mine. In 2017 Shuck was appointed to serve as San Francisco's next Poet Laureate. www.kimshuck.com



"We have stories / as old as the great seas / breaking through the chest / flying out the mouth, / noisy tongues that once were silenced, /all the oceans we contain / coming to light." —Linda Hogan

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