Honoring Jose Montoya (& a phone conversation with Phil Goldvarg)

A great phone coversation today with poet Phil Goldvarg (PFAs #304, 320, 361-370) who called to let me know how excited people were to receive copies of his little books at an event last night at CSU, Sacramento to honor poet Jose Montoya (PFAs #109, 110) who co-founded the Royal Chicano Air Force and just finished serving as Sacramamento's Poet Laureate.

Phil was also excited to talk about an amazing connection made as the writing group Los Escritores del Nuevo Sol was meeting at La Galleria Posada last weekend. That morning's writing theme was determined by a group of children there at the gallery making pinatas. As both groups finished, the children shared their finished pinatas with the poets and asked the poets to read their poems about pinatas.

Here is Phil Goldvarg's tribute poem to Jose Montoya:

by Phil Goldvarg
Jose, sus cantos
a chile to the gente,
a river of fire to the heart,
a burst of light
that takes us
behind los ojos Louie
where his pain lives.
You keep him alive
in his death,
close to the gente
so he won't live alone
with the worms
y los huesos de Columbus
and his children.
You took us into
la alma dulce
de su Jefita
and her nonstop loving.
She becomes immortal
in the garden of your words,
she becomes immortal
con sus hijos,
who wind thru the snow,
a beautiful brown spring.

Cuando el jues has no mercy,
no respect,
no justicia,
sus cantos son estrellas
y sus brazos
are filled with signs
de las huelgas
como gritos
you carry them thru the fields
and the parking lots of Safeway
filled con ubas
coated with poison
y la sangre de su gente.
Jose tu voz
lives en mi alma

y en la noche
pensando de las familias
victimas of the
brutal marrano.
En la noche
miro su cada
con sonrisas
y sus antiojos claro
como tu corazon.

One day
the federal government
indicted you
for belonging to a foreign army,
the RCAF,
they thought it was
the Royal Canadian Air Force
or some other subversive group,
when they found out
it was the Royal Chicano Air Force
they still indicted you
for belonging to a foreign country.

I hear you cry
we will not be bound
to the circle of conformity,
we shake our heads,
stamp in rebellion,
our backs unchained
free of dictators,
we move across the sky
creating miracles
in the darkness of space,
we are generations of movement,
waves of freedom
that will suffer no death
as we lay against eachother
en las luchas.

Music bends us like the willow,
we are the winds
and dance la historia
where the three times come together
and circle the earth floor.

Your song
a dark braid,
water winding thru forest
across the four faces of sky,
voice of Grandfather,
living in soft silk wind
braid moving
connecting all life.

You cry for your carnal
who does not move,
eyes closed,
lays before you,
gray box,
quiet air
screams within you,
come back,
soft whisper

Your pen lives
en sus ojos
con los homeboys,
waiting to be men,
Kings of the boulevard,
telling the world
the sky is 24 inches high,
fighting to be the homegirl,
the Chicana,
firme mujer de manana,

the veterano
holding las calles
con chingasos,
using the system that used him
by being it,
holding la calle con sangre.
You move with them,
decisions so hard
they tear you apart
como dos brancos.

Ricardo Favela said
"We're still here
aqi estamos."
You say
we are still here
rooted in the earth,
we will stay,
si se puede.
Louie The Foot asked
"Que ha pasado importancia
the last 15 years?"
You answer,
Nosotros passed
Chicanos passed
y passed
y passed,
don't forget
la Movida
has moved us to where we are,
it will not stop
unless there are no recuerdos
and we turn the shorthoe
on ourselves.

Born in El Gallego
in the dusty streets of Puebla,
con las lagrimas de su gente
you came from La Tierra Madre,
saw the pain of Aztlan
caught in the claws
of a foreign invader.

You painted rage y resistance
on the air
con su mano
the brush,
su sangre
the paint,
su alma
the eye,
the blank wall lives
un grito para su gente,
dead cement
becomes reason for hope
as you restir gravel and sand
to life.

You know the field
is filled with pain,
blistered hands
that claw the earth,
spray that steals the years,
bending that curves the spin,
hunger that butchers the mind
and melts flesh to bone.

Tu corazon
es lleno con dolor
for the hands
for the years
for the spines
for the minds
for the flesh,
your gritos
como la llorona
bounce against the clouds
and rain protest
on this injustice.

This is the beginning,
otra vez
en esta noche,
the past - future - continuation,
a gathering to affirm power,
defy oppression,
keeping Puebla
a living
claiming life,
ripping the sheet from espantos,
leaving nothing but harmless air
the shattered bones of myth,
this is the ceremony
that connects the circle
and proclaims
that there will be and not be
Twenty Years De Joda,
Ya estuvo.

Phil Goldvarg

Para Jose Montoya
La Raza/Galeria Posada
Sacras, Califas, Aztlan
April 23, 1993

y despues. May 4,2004 CSUS
Honoring Jose Montoya
night by MECHA CSUS