Monday, October 15, 2007

In my father's country

voices rise and fall like gentle waves
on this slender neck of sea,
a melody I’ve always known

like the features I see in faces
crinkled eyes smiling, noses proud,
echoing my aunties, my cousins, my own

But on the streets, the bootblacks,
schoolgirls in uniform, stubbly fishermen on the bridge
ask Nerelisiniz? Where are you from?

And in that moment
my tongue becomes a fish
flopping on the ground

rev. Oct. 23

Sunday, October 14, 2007

2007 election thoughts.

I'm posting here an email I received from Curt Firestone, who, joined by other seasoned local activists I respect, provides suggestions about how to vote in the upcoming elections for Seattle, King County, and Washington State. Regarding the issues below that I know something about, I agree with their positions. Some of them I know very little about, but I generally trust these folks' judgment.


Dear friends,

Here is my list of how I am going to vote. It is a little different this time. First, it is signed jointly by Phil Bereano, Cindy Domingo, Dan Merkle and myself. Second, after much discussion, we have decided to make no suggestions regarding any candidate elections this year. Each of you has been following the candidate campaigns and I am sure that you will use your best judgment.

I hope that you find the following guide helpful.

*I-960 No. ( makes it more difficult to properly set taxes)

*Ref 67 Yes. (Makes insurance firms more accountable)

*SJR 8206 No. (Removes some budgetary flexibility from the legislature)

*SJR 8212 No. (Brings private industry into our prison system--we are not Louisiana)

*HJR 4204 Yes. (Makes school tax levy passage by simple majority instead of 2/3)

*HJR 4215 No. (why would we want to gamble with our education funds in the stock market?)

*KC Initiative 25 No. (Election of Elections Director. This position should be based on professional credentials not on political opportunity)

*KC Prop 1 Yes. (Keep those ambulances running)

*Transportation Prop 1 No. (Roads- no; Mass transit- Yes. Why be bought off to increase global warming; Sound Transit will be back to the ballot with a mass transit measure).

*Seattle 17 Yes. (A nice charter preamble written by Peter Steinbrueck)

*Seattle 18 yes. ( Support Nick Licata in requiring the Mayor to make the State of Seattle presentation February of each year)

Happy voting,
Curt Firestone, Cindy Domingo, Phil Bereano, Dan Merkle

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Un Poquito de Tanta Verdad / A Little Bit of So Much Truth

As mentioned earlier on this blog, a great new documentary has been released by Jill Freidberg/Corrugated Films, and it premieres in Seattle this week, Oct. 3 & 4, at Central Cinema. Shows are at 7 and 9:30, but arrive early -- the last time she premiered a movie there, all four shows sold out.

Monday, October 01, 2007

The Sweet Arab, the Generous Arab

Here's the original poem by Naomi Shihab Nye whose Spanish translation I posted the other day. I hope she doesn't mind that I'm putting her poem online. If you like it, please go buy a book of hers, such as You and Yours, from which this is taken.

The Sweet Arab, the Generous Arab
by Naomi Shihab Nye

Since no one else is mentioning you enough.

The Arab who extends his hand.
The Arab who will not let you pass
his tiny shop without a welcoming word.
The refugee inviting us in for a Coke.
Clean glasses on a table in a ramshackle hut.
Those who don't drink Coke would drink it now.
We drink from the silver flask of hospitality.
We drink and you bow your head.

Please forgive everyone who has not honored your name.

You who would not kill a mouse, a bird.
Who feels sad sometimes even cracking an egg.
Who places two stones on top of one another
for a monument. Who packed the pieces,
carried them to a new corner. For whom the words
rubble and blast are constants. Who never wanted
those words. To be able to say,
this is a day and I live in it safely,
with those I love, was all. Who has been hurt
but never hurt in return. Fathers and grandmothers,
uncles, the little lost cousin who wanted only
to see a Ferris wheel in his lifetime, ride it
high into the air. And all the gaping days
they bought no tickets
for spinning them around.

Bolivia’s Evo Morales Wins Hearts and Minds in US

an article by by Deborah James and Medea Benjamin