one cat ago or maybe two
when I lived in Chicago
and was married to a crazy person
with two crazy children
I used to enjoy sitting outside
reading the trib and drinking local coffee
then Caribou came
followed by Starbucks
and everybody left local
for trendy, with their French bulldogs
on alligator leashes, and their 100 speed
$2500.00 bikes
so local closed
after that I made coffee at home
and sat on my balcony on the fourth floor
and pretended to read the trib
while watching the clouds over the lake
and not listening to the nazi-skinhead-music
that vibrated the walls and windows
after that I moved to Texas

Today I am practicing not teaching
classes and finals are officially over
next week
I am cleaning my kitchen as it gets dirty
not when I run out of dishes
I’m getting my dryer repaired because I am home and can make an appointment
no more trips to the laundromat with a carload of damp clothes
then doing laundry when there is only one load not 12 loads
and I still have clean clothes to wear
I pruned my bamboo this morning
got my mail before the postman took it back to the post office
am still in my pajamas and slippers
drinking fresh coffee instead of one or even two day old and stale (moldy?)
cooked breakfast instead of fast food
(and washed the dishes)
The pile of unread books and magazines
will begin to disappear
and I look forward to day trips
to the bookstores in town
I have read most of NY Times
the day it comes out
not a week late or a month late
and I brushed the cats
fed the raccoons
and watched the stress leave

I know we had an idyllic past
I’ve learned about it in the movies and on TV
Always Sunny days, and after church going home
Sit down family dinners everybody in their Sunday best
For ham with pineapple, and mashed potatoes with brown gravy
And green beans from the garden
And peach cobbler with handmade ice cream for dessert
Or maybe walk into town
to the town square
spreading our picnic blanket on the lawn
in front of the band-shell
waiting for John Philippe Sousa to arrive
stars and stripes forever
before the first war and maybe back further
but TV showed there were cars already
but medicines like vaccinations, and especially hospitals weren’t like today
death is not so idyllic when it comes at 45
when people died from diseases long gone now
and people went hungry
really only white people went to the park
to hear the volunteers play high school instruments
and have their Sunday picnic
the colored still had signs to tell them where to sit
where to stand, where to go
and after all they had their own part of  town
and those brown folks that worked in the fields
well they couldn’t come to town at all
nothing for them but hard work
no schools, no medicine, no anything
and especially nothing that the town had to pay for
Calvinism runs strong through idyllic America
When Cruzie or Rubiota, Randy, Walken Tall, Perry the killer of coyotes
or others of their ilk
want to take back America I’m afraid they believe in the TV illusions
idyllic-ism overly fond reverence for that which never was
in a time when the poor and the needy were scorned
By people talking about Jesus
do not help others they must help themselves
besides they cost money
acting as if Calvin himself was their minister/preacher
“Pull yourself out of sin
Suffer through hard work
hoard money don’t spend you will be rewarded
only if you qualify, only if you’re white, only if you control who votes
Control and domination will be your reward

Thursday, APR 23
7 TO 9 P.M.
Mission Historical Museum (900 E. Doherty, Mission)
 Note: Bus. 83 in Mission splits into one-way streets.
 Book sales are limited to the anthology. All other events are open for book sales.
 Outdoor event (weather permitting).
 Donations welcome: $$$, cookies, chocolate.
 8 A.M. TO 4 P.M.
 Progreso High School
 Poets: Laura Peña, Danielle Hernández, Lucinda Zamora-Wiley, Eddie Vega
 Amalia Ortiz, Featued Poet, Eddie Vega, Jeannette Moreno, Odilia Galván Rodríguez
 San Benito High School
 Poets: Beto Conde, Gene Novogrodsky, Jim Griswold, Bryan Nichols, Alejandro Sanchez, Meliton Hinojosa
Weslaco East High School
 810 S Pleasantview Dr, Weslaco, TX 78596
Poets: Trevor Wainwright, Alonzo Spiceman Acosta , Daniel García Ordaz
UT-Pan American
1201 W. University Dr., Edinburg, TX
 Room: ARHU 256 (upstairs)
 2 p.m.
 Poets: PW Covington (Featured Poet), Shirley A. Rickett (Featured Poet), Katie Hoerth, Mary Ann Escamilla, Amy Becker-Chambless, Charles McGregor, Jeannette Moreno McNeill, and César De León
 Contact: Katie Hoerth and Marianita Escamilla
 Note: Pre-event lunch is planned, and there will be cookies! Student Open Mic after.
 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
The Flying Walrus (downtown McAllen)
 204 S 17th St, McAllen, TX 78501
(956) 627-0211
 Note: Downtown Parking Garage (221 S. 15th St. McAllen)
 7—8 p.m. STC and UTPA Student Readings
 8—8:40 p.m. Featured Poet not competing in Slam
 8:40—9:30 Adult Poetry Slam Contest
 Note: Only Registered Poets may compete.
SATURDAY, APR. 25: Concurrent Readings Across the RGV
 GROUP ONE: LOS AQUI NOMAS! McAllen/Mission (scroll down for GROUP TWO)
 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Three Concurrent Workshops and Readings
 McAllen Creative Incubator
 601 N. Main St., McAllen
Workshop #1: “Poem as Planet”
 9* to 10 a.m.
 Shirley Rickett, Featured Poet, author of Transplant
 Note: Room is in 2nd Floor; max: 30. Public welcome, but Registered Poets get priority.
Workshop #2: “Postcard Poetry”
 10 to 11 a.m.
 Laura Peña, member, Academy of American Poets
 Note: Room is in 2nd Floor; max: 30.  Public welcome, but Registered Poets get priority.
 Workshop #3: “Arrivals: A Look at the Endings of William Stafford Poems”
 9* to 11 a.m.
 Featured Poet Cindy Williams Gutiérrez, finalist for the 2015 International Latino Book Awards
 Note: This will be a two-hour workshop (with a break and time to share.)
 Room is in 2nd Floor; max: 30. Public welcome, but Registered Poets get priority.
Quickie Readings: 11 to 12 p.m. (strict end time)
 Featured and Registered Poets Only will read; No open-mic.
 12—2:00 p.m. (Lunch—on your own)
 2—4:30 p.m.: Afternoon Delight Readings
 Mission Historical Museum (900 E. Doherty, Mission)
  Featured Poets: Amalia Ortiz, Edward Vidaurre, Erika Garza Johnson, Shirley A. Rickett, Cindy Williams Gutiérrez
 Registered Poets: Daniel García Ordaz, Nianna Gustovich, Marianita Escamilla, Laura Peña, Jeannette Moreno McNeill, Harold Rodinsky, Eddie Vega, Danielle Hernández, Charles McGregor, César De León, Amy Becker-Chambless
* * * *
10—11 a.m.: Workshop
 Paragraphs On Padre, South Padre Island (Bay side)
 “Mobility in Poetry; Continuing Beat Travelogues,” by Featured Poet PW Covington
 11:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.: Just A Quickie Readings
 Paragraphs On Padre, South Padre Island (Bay side: 505 Padre Blvd. SPI)
 Featured Poet (about 10 min.): PW Covington
 Registered Poets (about 7 min.): Emily J. Foltz, Katie Hoerth, Trevor Wainwright, Odilia Galván Rodríguez, Meliton Hinojosa Jr., Lucinda Zamora-Wiley, James Griswold, Arturo Saldaña, Julieta Corpus, Alonzo Acosta
 Note: It’s possible books may be considered for purchase by the store—at a discount. Check books in upon arrival.
 Lunchtime Readings: 11:15—12:15
 Rio Grande Grill
 417 W Van Buren Ave, Harlingen, opens at 11 a.m.
(956) 423-1817
 Registered Poets: Eugene Novogrodsky, Chip Dameron, Beto Conde, Brenda Nettles Riojas, Alejandro Sánchez, John R. Meza
 Afternoon Delight Readings: 1 to 2:45 p.m.
 Galeria 409
 409 E. 13th Street, Brownsville
 Readings by Registered Poets: Eugene Novogrodsky, Chip Dameron, Emily J. Foltz, Beto Conde, Brenda Nettles Riojas, Alejandro Sánchez, John R. Meza
 Lunchtime Readings: Afternoon Delight
 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.
 Rio Grande Grill
 417 W Van Buren Ave, Harlingen, opens at 11 a.m.
(956) 423-1817
 Featured Poet PW Covington
Registered Poets: Katie Hoerth, Trevor Wainwright, Odilia Galván Rodríguez, Meliton Hinojosa Jr., Lucinda Zamora-Wiley, Linda Romero, James Griswold
McAllen Chamber of Commerce
 (1200 Ash Ave., McAllen)
 6 to 7 p.m.: Private Dinner
 Note: For Featured & Registered Poets & Pre-Paid Guests Only
 Doors open to the public at 6:45 p.m. Books, t-shirts, CDs, available for sale.
 7—8:30 Featured Poets Readings:
 Amalia Ortiz
 Cindy Williams Gutiérrez
 Edward Vidaurre
 Erika Garza Johnson
 PW Covington
 Shirley A. Rickett
 8:30—9 p.m.: Registered Poets: Haiku or 1-Minute Poems Only!
Alejandro Sánchez, Alonzo Acosta, Amy Becker-Chambless, Arturo Saldaña, Beto Conde, Brenda Nettles Riojas, Bryan Nichols, César De León, Charles McGregor, Chip Dameron, Daniel García Ordaz, Danielle Hernández, Eddie Vega, Emily J. Foltz, Eugene Novogrodsky, Harold Rodinsky, James Griswold, Jeannette Moreno McNeill, John R. Meza, Julieta Corpus, Kathy Raines, Katie Hoerth, Laura Peña, Linda Romero, Lucinda Zamora-Wiley, Marianita Escamilla, Mark Vasquez, Meliton Hinojosa Jr., Nianna Gustovich, Odilia Galván Rodríguez, Trevor Wainwright
 9 p.m. to 9:45 p.m.: Open Mic (one poem—3 min. Registered Poets Only)
 10 a.m. Dr. Gloria E. Anzaldúa Panteón visit
 Note: Must RSVP so we know to expect you, since directions take too long.
 Meet @ Starbucks at Hwy. 107/University Drive in Edinburg. Leave at 10:05 a.m.
 Lunch at Treviño’s in Edinburg for anyone interested.

Certain memories hide in dusty corners
unseen unheard until
they suddenly materialize
returning unbidden
summoned by a silent voice or unseen hand
embellished and improved over  time
tailored to our present desires, our needs
A long line of guys
    a mixer/date evening
    pre-paired by  two dorms
expectancy running high
in the lobby of the girls dorm
leaning across the reception desk
  mischievous smile, green eyes, blue button down,
  khaki shorts , penny loafers
“Who are you meeting?”
“…just a sec I’ll call her
and let her know you are waiting.”
Did 30-seconds pass?  did 45?
instantaneous and timeless impossibly together
this briefest of moments lasting more than 50 years
this chance meeting
tempered my excitement
and could not see,  nor remember with clarity
the girl who announced
“I’m here, who is the lucky guy?”
but have often remembered with great detail
and embedded feelings
the girl at the desk

The clown car is loading, like stuffing a pork chop,
the clowns keep arriving one at a time, pushy-clowns
trying to outdo each other with their self-righteous smugness,
holier than thou, holier than each other,  authoritarians  
before the 1950’s there were no clown cars
in back, behind the driver sits an un-declared wannabe
who diminished  the unions and defunded the universities
thus establishing an a priori claim of the fitness needed
to conduct international war against America’s enemies
war is good for coke
the passenger seat is filled by the man who talks to G-d
and relates that he was  told that he alone is anointed—by G-d
to restore this Christian country?  
to a perception of imagination, that never was
the founding fathers separated church and state: On purpose
another  in back, a declared isolationist,
publisher or author of racist material,  he claims he didn’t write
but maybe his predecessor clown wrote it,  oh well
it was long ago at a different circus
or the same circus at a different time
imagine no circus, no need for clowns no rings or tents no donkeys or elephants
just a return to logic and reason
not relative or opportunistic or situationally appropriate based on who’s buying tickets
paying for the music, the food, the wine
The car is filling fast and more clowns are coming
4 declared, 1 pending, 9 with formal interest, 9 with public interest 

Existing on both sides of the main street
small shops competing for those
who buy porcelain seagulls
and frozen tiny starfish encased in Lucite
on their weekend at the coast, their vacations by the ocean
at the coast, walking up and down both sides of the street,
going in each shop looking for different seagulls
shoes never touching the sand,  “look at the waves honey”
up the street passing the fascinating money game,
a shuttered movie house and bowling alley, and the arcade
men’s clothes, shooting galleries, and more small seagulls ready to sit on a desk or mantle
but not the real seagulls fishing in the tide, standing in the sand
but close enough to eat Caramel Corn,
fudge, salt water taffy, sea foam,
pronto pups slathered with mustard
watching the bumper cars, or other people, dripping  yellow mustard on their shirts
as a kid I wondered where all the tchotchke came from
who collected the baby star fish, the sand-dollars,
where did all those bermuda shorts and sensible shoes come from,
as an adult I wondered seagull stores were laundering money
as I aged and became cynical the baby starfish never changed their outlook,
forever of one purpose, the ceramic seagulls never shifting,
sand-dollars constant in their value
no renewal, the storefronts constant with different contents
the shooting gallery became a kite shop
Seaside Pharmacy a tee–shirt and schamata shop,
when I go to Seaside I still head for the  pronto pups
before I walk to the beach