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15 December, 2012

Animo, gente, but say a prayer too!

Hey Gente,

I want to play catch-up with you, fill you in all the writing, poetry, project stuff happening lately and from the last year, but my heart is a bit heavy. Just read, or watch your news.

I won't get political, nor too sentimental, but what I will do is keep a chin up in honor of those children and those educators who lost their lives in Newtown, CT and anywhere in the world.

I post this poem in Facebook just a few minutes ago, so I thought I would do the same here:

I Teach

I wrote until
the chalkboard
clear and white,


lockers unfolded
out of cabinets,

no tiza dust,
but erasable markers,
shinny boards that I
close my eyes in front of.

I hold my breathe right
before the first bell rings,
and every morning
I run all sorts of thoughts

and I know.

I teach because the money
is a hot meal, nothing more,
I teach because I can see
in their faces,

I teach because they want to be here,
I teach because they hate being here
and there’s no place else.
I teach because I let them feel
at home
and sometimes the kids,
they ask if they can spend
the night in the classroom.

I smile.

I provide cots for the ones
that can’t sleep at home; with
a pillow and matching sheets.
I’m a taxi service when it gets too late.
I’m a social worker when the school nurse
forgets the hearing aid paperwork . . .
I teach because the world
does not provide for an
A,B,C,D bubble life.
I teach because I hated teachers
and I am sick of hating them.

I teach to be humble.

I teach because I want them
to remember their own fathers
and quit slipping and calling me “Apa”.
Sometimes they hug me afterwards.

I teach for the laughter. I see the tears
and I can recognize
the hearts of children,
at least today.

Today is the only thing I control.


I will:

ice a few busted lips,
glue a shoe sole,
fix a spiral notebook,
contain a seizure,

collect twelve love notes
and correct the spelling,

organize three games of
kickball, soccer and
red light/green light,
make the boys shake
after a fair fight,

dig in the closet for extra
clothes after someone’s accident,
make a rainbow and speak of magical
refractions and sunlight,
and the kids, yeah, they
will only hear me say
rainbow, blah, blah, blah
magical blah, blah, blah, light,

use diplomacy while playing UNO,
introduce deodorant,
provide at least four lunches,
repair two sets of  glasses,
burn all the paperwork,

defend a child from a drunk parent,
stop a bus with a single hand,
control the weather with
my imagination,
bridge a nose bleed,

wish, then, shake the shit
out of that hooker/momma
when I need her Gustavo
in my Math tutorials,

make all the kids live to read,
convince eight pairs of parents
from Lantern Village that “camping”
is good for their hijitos


combat a system that wants
to swallow my kids whole.

I save children everyday,
every time I open my door.

So tell me,

just what the hell do you do?

© 2010 Lupe Mendez 

If you have children, hug them tighter. If you talk to your kid's teacher, thank them. If you are friends with a teacher, tell them they are doing a good job. Its an amazing profession. Then call home and talk to your loved ones. 

06 December, 2012

Back with a Bang and a Holiday Blog Tour !!!

Ok Gente, so I KNOW its been a while - (SORRY, but I got into grad school and this one site had to suffer, gonna fix that), but its a great time to get something going!!!

As of now, consider this site back up and running!!!

WHAT A WAY TO START!!  So if you read last year's blog post :
then you know what time it is!!

This year, the lovely Icess Fernandez has done it again, organizing well over 15 to 20 bloggers to present to you written works dealing with Holidays. I am honored to be the first one up to get the party started. She has done a knock out job,  getting things going and its great to have a second chance to share some time and writing.

So sit back, get a cup of chocolate and enjoy this first read.

Last year I did a story about my family for Christmas, so this year, I wanted to get back to basics and do what I do best, poetry. This piece is still my family, but instead of it in Galveston, Its in Jalisco.

The piece should speak for itself.

Christmas Night, by Candle Light
It is a Basilica night my dear,
so bring your velitas.
Bring your capirotara.
Bring your old iniquities
and your transgressions.
It is a night by the Catedral,
cercas del Teatro Degollado
and the lights are glowing
and the embers are ripe.
I owe you a night.
I tell you about how people
in these pueblitos believe far
beyond what they can not read.
They spit on stones and
wield corn stocks like flag staffs,
pray from some auditory function
of memory with more feeling and
more faith than I could ever embody.
Somos peregrinos today.
And we walk under the stars,
stars so bright in the mountains
and the serros you can imagine
los reyes magos trying to catch up
to you in the moon light.
Wait for them, amor.
Did you bring your gift?
Did you remember what it is
you wanted to pray for?
Did you remember to shake off
that instant wish for your heart.
I know you forgot.
I forget to as well.
But my tatarabuelo didn’t.
He shuffles around and says
that in the morning,
the sun will be so sabroso
when it hits our faces.
Toma el retrato – take the picture
of your primita as you walk
in the moonlight.
She will need your prayers.
Write one on the back of
the photo and pin it to
the wall when you finish
your pilgrimage.
Diosito will wait for you.
He will take away the poison
in her piernita, in her little leg
and she will sing again. And this will be
how you enter the Basilica.
On your knees.
The cobblestone will greet
your piety and the people
assembled will be your warmth.
Until you hear
the chords of the chorus,
you hear the echo of babies
and hearts in the fire,
in the lights on the wreath,
look up then, mijito and see
who is around you.
They have heavy hearts
like you,
ready to release from such a trek.
Don’t fret, amor,
we can walk together
we can see more than a thousand,
thousand lights at the
tips of our corneas,
blur and split,
bend and entrance,
weave and flutter,
like a bewildered heart,
like a overfilled cup,
like a boiling of vaporous flicker,
orange and bronze –
it is a wick or two,
a wax or twenty
lining up outside
the Cathedral halls
in Guadalajara,
assembling inside
the Basilica of San Juan
de Los lagos
and I am a single voice,
a pledging prayer,
a stubborn hope that wants
to see a little face walk around
and meet you, here in a year
and watch you comb her little
hair and sing carols, watching
Los peces en el rio, twinkle on a
Christmas night, by candle light.

By Lupe Mendez

Hope you guys enjoyed the piece! Please share it out and look for the next blogger on Dec. 8th, Gwendolyn Jerris, and her blog site, silence & honeysuckle. I can't wait to see what everyone is planning on posting.

I hope you and your's have an amazing Holiday season and warmest wishes to all of you!!

26 January, 2012

GET on the BUS!!!!

Hello Gente,

So now this is a weekly thing. I admit its fun (granted its only the second time, whatev...). Now lets get on with my two new tid-bits of news. So if you read last weeks post, you probably have seen this video:

If you have seen it, then good, you are in the know and should have already spread this around to friends, donated some money or books or plan to donate some money or books. So far, the planning is on fire and the support is amazing. The coverage is stagering  and the list of authors keeps growing!!  If you want to keep up to date on what is going on, check out the LIBROTRFICANTE website. All the most major details are there. As it stands we are still in need of financial support to make sure we can get warm bodies and the books all the way to Tucson, AZ.  I can not stress enough the need to support this effort - the fact that TUSD has removed texts that analyze and depict the history and stuggle of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans is brutal and unjust. If we can't deny the law, we can sure as hell defy it.  Please read the press release. SUPPORT. DONATE. SPEAD THE WORD. As it stands, we aren't the only one's making a stand. CHECH THIS OUT.
Now to other book/poetry related issues!!!!

Join Outspoken Bean for Subject & Sustenance: A Poetry Conservatory

Houston Poets Outspoken Bean and Nyne(two of my favorite poets!!!) curate an evening of authentic, beautiful poetry. Beginning with a Writer’s Workshop, participating writers feature their creations during Open Mic.

Time: Workshop @ 6p, Open Mic @ 7:30p
Date: Every Saturday Night
Place: The Eat Gallery (4420 Almeda)
Cost: $5 at the Door (Credit/Debit Cards Are Ok!)


Formerly Gs and Zs, The Eat Gallery continues the legacy of Gs and Zs, valuing our community’s entrepreneurs and supporting their decision to live their dreams.

Show your support!!!

for a Grad school update (as if you really wanted to know)...

Bueno, esto al punto de terminar mi solicitud para La Unviersidad de Tejas en El Paso ( I am just about finished with my application to UTEP) y no creo que puderia hacerlo sin el apoyo de Icess Fernandez, Tammy Gomez y Radames Ortiz - these guys rock!!  They were able to help out by creating recommendation letters for this little ole' poet... I am forever in there debt!! Mil Gracias!!!!  So with that almost done, I am now working on applying for the next three schools: Warren Wilson, Queens Univ. of Charlotte and Pacific Univ. Each of these schools has a Low -Residency MFA in poetry that meets my needs and would an amazing experience!! 

WARREN WILSON is the #1 School in the U.S. and from what I have read up on, its a program that would challange me in thought and practice. It holds two 10 day workshops twice a year until the MFA is completed and in-depth as well.

Press Release
Press Release
PACIFIC UNIVERISTY is located in Oregan and from what I have been able to read up on, it is a serious program. Their program focuses on developing the writer and it appriciates the diversity the writer brings to the program.

The Last school (of the three) is QUEENS UNIVERSITY OF CHARLOTTE - This program is intense in that it requires the student to take a double amount of seminar classes as well as the standard coursework. Of the three programs, the facutly of this school seems to be the most culturally diverse.  That's a plus. So, up until March 1st, that's what I will be working on. SO wish me luck. After these schools, all I have left is Goddard College and then Naropa University!!! 

18 January, 2012

New YEAR, New start (sort of . . .)

Hey Gente,   So there is lots to talk about and as I type this, I realize I should be using this thing alot more often. SO with that said, this space will be a WEEKLY (or as close to weekly as I can get) POSTING for more than just happenings of a poetic life, but rather a place I can also set up some ideas and talk about literary movements (and stagnation).

WITH THAT SAID, lets move on to some news.
1) ITS OFFICIAL!!!! I AM APPLYING FOR GRAD SCHOOL - and you get to see where I am trying to get in. The first two schools on my list (not necessarily in order of importance, but probably by due dates) are Bard College and The University of Texas @ El Paso .  In truth, I never, ever thought about advancing past my bachelors degree from The University of St. Thomas, and maybe that was foolish. I probably should have done this sooner, but then again, maybe I needed the time to build up my writing, my experience and the connections. By the time you read this, I have already turned in my application to Bard College and am currently working on the one for UTEP. Wish me luck!!!

Don't worry, I am not quitting my day job. I don't think I would be a productive writer if I had all that time on my hands. In addition, I have a whole life that I just can't and wouldn't uproot. So, it looks like low-residency programs are what I will be looking at!!

Bard College attracts me because of the fact that the program is set up to build up artists, by having each candidate mix it up with artists in other fields. That is an amazing feat I would love to undertake- being able to work with other artists and learn a little about what an artistic process is for them.  The program takes place 2 months in NY state (Annandale on Hudson) and then I come back to H-town and keep working from here on what I started there.

UTEP looks to be the program that might also fit because it is takes place all on-line!!  Its a pace I think I can work with (just me and a professor I can bug with questions). The challenge here is figuring the pace and energy to work with, since I will only have my work and my thoughts to inspire what I create.

Let's see what happens . . .



You want to be one to?  First watch this Video and then I can explain:
(click on the link) Libro -Traficantes 

Did you like the Video? Good -So if you want to know what's up? here is the deal in a nut shell - Arizona State Senate Bill - HB2281 basically bands ethnic studies in the state. Its already in place and there are people working to fight it already. But for now, is a blow to Latinos and basically any minority.   And it can only get worse. IT has gotten worse: as of yesterday, the Tucson Unified School District did away with Mexican-American Studies as a program in the district and by doing so has also declared that the texts used in the courses are now BANNED BOOKS. Yes. You read that right. If you want to know what books are out, let me give you a short run down - basically anything by Jimmy Santiago Baca, Sandra Cisneros, Dagoberto Gilb, Paulo Freire, and Shakespeare. Yep. HERE IS THE FULL LIST 

As of now, I think I am going to work on buying me some books and lend them out to some "friends" in another state. Care to join me?  At the very least I am going to work on an extensive list of the next set of books they can ban. Hell, TUSD administrators informed Mexican-American studies teachers to stay away from any units where “race, ethnicity and oppression are central themes" - and I know they didn't get every book, what about the Diary of Ann Frank? What about The Help? What about Dr. Seuss' the LORAX?  So, let me get to work on that... BE READY, we might be taking a trip...