Posted by: benbacsierra | February 8, 2019

The Mission of Dolores

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Ben Banging the Drums

From a new novel I’m working on titled Not Forward but Upward. Pages 90-100, poetry prose story, heart art.

CHAPTER SEVEN: THE MISSION OF DOLORES

Me llamo La San Fran Mision de Dolores

Varrio of peace and pain

Born as a savior
San Francisco
Bald-in-the-middle monk
You taught me to find peace in blood

Dolores
Creek of sorrows
You cursed me the tears of a woman
True torture

I am floating in the ether
I am in every homey’s cup
In every junkie’s needle
In every rat roaming around
The dirty Mision
Not the clean pristine paradise of
Native Ohlones

I was not always Mision Dolores, the mother of pain. I was jungle and woods, water and fire. I was the happy brown dirt that you cannot see covered now by gray sad cement. I was the original, that which has always existed. One day man pulled down the sun, and I became Dolores, the suffering of so much.

Allow me to tell you my sad story, and let me begin from before the beginning, which has no end.

The soul’s goal is creation

If there is an alma
It is beyond us
But we find ourselves here
In this place

Now

So we try to remember and invent this
Blessing and curse
Inside
That we know is not us
But that we believe is after us

Ready to be born
Upon our death
Then will it live
But only when we are gone

The soul’s goal is destruction

In this place were lava and darkness, lightning and thunder. It was loco, the only way it knew to be. Eventually the green grass grew. Colors of lavender, magenta, and turquoise sprung everywhere. There was no name for such beauty. It had not been corrupted by a lie such as beauty.

The people of the dirt, brown just like the ground, they came. They played. They made love. They lived and died and knew the eternal spirit.

Ashes to ashes
Dust to dust
Fantastic faith and
Utter imagination required:

Even the
Nothing
Even the
Suffering
Is a blessing

So, really, I have always been here, but the name, the make-believe, of suffering is new. It came with the pointy helmeted people, the Spaniards. They saw me and loved me, for who does not love water? But they also predicted the pain that would fall from their steel swords. When they first witnessed my creek giving life to the future, they praised la mas firme Nuestra Senora de Dolores, Our Lady of Sorrows, the mother of God, Mary, who is usually depicted with seven swords piercing her sorrowful heart. When they named me, my water turned to blood.

But they soon after needed a new name to hide the truth of pain, Dolores. The holy priest officially named the Mission San Francisco de Asis. I am the most ancient structure in the city. Saint Francis, the peaceful servant who could talk with the animals, hid the truth beautifully. Using the lie of San Francisco, the pointy helmeted people enslaved and killed the native Ohlones.

San Francisco may be a Saint and considered the champion of liberty, the capital of free love and flower power, but I tell you it is a lie. I tell you to look deeply into yourself, into this place. My bloody tears, my painful life, at least, knows its own true story. But I understand

It is not for everyone:
Consciousness
With its
Intellectual acrobatics and
Overly elaborate interrogations of
Existence

Give most people some beer and barbeque
A roof over their heads
Some lies to read
Some laughs to catch
A clean, private restroom and
They are fairly fulfilled and
Happy

People don’t need a cause
Or education or
Enlightenment or
Freedom
Dumb fucks would rather be
Alive than
Free

Consciousness is stuff someone made up and
Damned us with
Because of the vanity of their words
The insecurity of their ego

No, no, no
We must not live for something or
Die for something
It is not true

We live and die simultaneously
We choose our own poison
We choose our own poetry

The poem of San Francisco did not stay in the dreams of the Spaniards or, later, the Mexicans. The 49ers, whites only, eventually came to town, those dirty bearded lice-ridden diseased bums. They came, and with them came the American dream of Manifest Destiny.

Do you understand now that this great city of San Francisco is actually a state?

A State of Emergency

Sirens
Sirens
Sirens

At some point the panic becomes passive
Then you understand
How even the devil can thrive in hell

Every day is an emergency
One day closer to the ultimate riot
Destruction
It lasts a long time
Yet it is really nothing at all
The blink of an eye
The scratch of an ass
Then it is over

A state is not an action
A state is prolonged perpetual torture

Bullshit

You can smile in between the yanking of your fingernails
Everything begins and
Everything ends
Just like the sea
Just like the stars
Just like that time you were crying alone twisted in bed and the whole world was armed against you because you deserved damnation
Just like the fires that burned in Baltimore and Watts and Guatemala and in your barbeque pit

What matters is the Action, not the state of being
You can down a beer while the carne asada cooks
You can raise your fist as you drown
You can pick up a pen and write
Because we all know the story of the pen:
Once upon a time a simple man pulled out his pen against the swords and guns aimed at his heart
And
With full faith he shouted:

“The pen is mightier than the sword!”

They killed him immediately

That is why I am telling you this story, so that it is written, so that you can understand.

The Mission, La Mission, my Dolores, grew to become the most powerful city on planet Earth. Saint Francis preached the dream, not of peace, but of power and greed, lust and liberty. It created millions of converts rushing to glittering gold. La Mision was the stomping ground for bear and bull fights, the lands around my nearly abandoned mission church became a place of death, one for gambling and dueling—for settling your business like a stupid man.

By 1906 when the great quake destroyed the rest of the city, I, La Mision, was the only structure that stood strong. When downtown crumbled, I became a headquarters, and more people began to discover my beauty. By the 30’s the Italians, the Irish, they had spread all over 22nd Street, Folsom, Capp Street, and my own namesake, Mission. It was a bustling time.

Then during the 1940-1960s, lots of Californios and Mexicanos immigrated into the area—because they had been kicked out from their original varrio on Rincon Hill; the city said they had to hand over their homes for progress, the creation of the western landing of the Bay Bridge. Once the homies came, the white people started leaving, but, unlike the myths that exist, it was never white flight. It was that the whites had promise for something else, The American Dream. The government gave them the sweetest candy, fully subsidized homes in segregated places like Walnut Creek, Danville, Alamo; the Mission Latinos were forbidden to purchase homes in the whites only world, so they were stuck and also blessed to build community, the varrio.

I like these people. Brown like the dirt; they loved the truth, just like the Ohlones had. They danced and partied in their poverty. They laughed through their deaths—Dia de Los Muertos. And I even laughed at myself for being so sad, full of Dolores. They have so much to be sad about, but they carry class,

Grace:
The free and unmerited favor of God
As manifested in
The salvation of sinners and
The bestowal of blessings

I deliver to you
News
Not solutions
But
Torments people go through
Trying to solve problems
Clashing voices
Morbid moral tortures

Their struggles are
What help us with our own
Suffering
No sensationalism
Just gutter truth
Humanism

Some sin
In order to
Enjoy confession
Others do it as an
Exorcism
With a heavy heart
Full of shame and disgrace
Routes, too, to reality

This state of
Confusion and brutality are
Blessings
You know you are
Alive
Full of anxiety
Awake at 3:00 in the morning
Mumbling Hail Marys and
Our Fathers
Knowing they cannot
Help you

Troubled inside
You find
You own your mistakes
Like in chess
When you move the queen
To her death
It cannot be taken back

It is independence
No one understands you
You are beyond understanding or
Pity
Alone
Isolated
Outcast
With the world everywhere around you
Yet you are not in it

It is a state of grace
To figure out
How to get out of
Or
More into
Your own
Shit

La gente did both, figured out reality better than any school textbooks and also got into the depth of their own diarrhea, angel dusted on the streets, lost in space, outer space, beyond my territory, shouting to the stars and screaming at illusions, singing in the middle of the night on Capp Street, taking vacations to the 7th floor of General Hospital or 850 Bryant, the Hall of Justice, the House of Horrors.

The 90’s brought the beginnings of gentrification. First they rounded up all the homies and demonized them, had even their own family and community members asking for the homies’ annihilation, without knowing that they were simply volunteering for their own demise, because the big boys at City Hall would push them out next. Mass incarceration, gang injunctions, and also pride in this place—for when you have nothing else, at least you have the air you breathe, the air you pretend to own

Many
Gente have died
Killed
For my streets
Tattooed my
Mision
All over
Their arms
Chests
Necks
Hearts
Beautiful calligraphy and
Olde English
Cholo script

The cholos made my
Dolores
Feel
Lovely

In the new millennia, the 2000’s, the mass deportations, yes, Deportations, erupted out of the Mission. All of a sudden, these houses that served the poor, that a pobre could purchase back in 1977 for twenty or thirty thousand dollars, became worth one million dollars! It was the same exact house, at the same exact spot; the door knobs were not transformed to gold, yet out of pure imagination and evil, the houses were now forcing segregation all over again. Just like the signs of the past:

Whites Only

Whites only could afford these homes. It was the returning cycle of the people of the dirt to be

Kicked Out

The Homeboy tattoo true:
Smile Now, Cry Later 🙂 😦

It was a boast and compliment to be kicked out—
Of school
Of church
Of civilization
Only the streets were where savages belonged

Even donut holed cops knew the homies owned
Las calles
So that was their goal:
To be joined with streets
Concrete at their feet
Beers mixed with tears
Angeldust til I bust
Laughing at infinity: por vida

With pride and panic
They learned
Even infinity has its limits
Because they had to pay

My treasured gray cement and
Beautiful black tar
No longer loves them

I
Dolores
Break their hearts

Now is later

A new evil emerged by the 2010’s. The Mission became a hunting ground, and the brown people of the dirt were the ones being hunted, hunted by educators that failed them, politicians that poisoned them, police that killed them. Mysterious fires were burning down buildings and blocks. The cholos responded with their art and culture, with their lowriders bouncing. They returned to Smile Now, Cry Later, sang only to

Ahorita

The answer to everything is
Now
Yesterday is gone forever
Tomorrow is impossible
There is only
One answer to
Everything:
Ahorita

Camus understood:

“He imagined a future of
Solitude and suffering
And he took a difficult
Pleasure
In such imaginings
But this is because
He fancied the
Suffering
Noble and harmonious
And in reality
He thus imagined a future without
Suffering
But the moment pain was there
No further life was possible”

The comfort of nostalgia
The imagination of a future
Is not
Now

If you understand or
Feel
Ahorita
There would be
No more
To learn
No more
To accomplish

Now
Makes
Our lives
Complete

I see them there still bouncing! They are planning something. They are doing something to tap the source, not to pretend a solution, but to be part of the eternal struggle. La Gente are accepting their roles in this tragedy, and these pinche cholos y cholas, they are making it a comedy, the way it truly is, which is not a tragedy or a comedy, but simply drama.

It is good literature
If the main characters
Understand
How stupid
They are

It does not need a plucking
Out
Of eyes
Or
A tragic
To be or not to be
Speech

Great stories
Simply
Go on

Time
Oblivion
Crushes us all
It is not special magic

So tell your story
The way it is
Admit your
Idiocy
Your
Humanity
And you are
On your way to
Greatness
Empathy
Honesty
Ultimately
Nothing
That which we all share

One day
One night
The seats will be empty and
The curtain will simply
Fall

Posted by: benbacsierra | June 16, 2018

Death Is The Only Proof You Are An O.G.

Today, it has been a decade, a dime, ten years, time dissolved, melted, some kind of marker, a point for reflection.

It was one of the most traumatic and life-changing moments of my life, both for the worse and the better.

My brother.

He was a man. And I still call him, think of him as, my older brother, even though now I am seven years older than he ever was. A street warrior who fist-fought and actioned the most daring ridiculous feats, he hit his last angel dust maton today, ten years ago. Now he snores with the angels forever. He did not make sense, yet his teachings have gifted me more wisdom and balls than any formal education or pinche political theory. His cause was the streets, the grit and glory of vida loca.

No matter whether he won or lost his battles, he always showed his face.

Death is the only proof you are an O.G.

He showed me the way, and now I am here. He’d be pissed at me for a lot of the shit I’ve wrecked, but he’d be more happy and thrilled about the way I’ve tried to transform vida loca into mas vida loca, which is amor for our gente. I have done what I have done in my life in his honor.

James “N Jeff” Jeffrey Bac Sierra

November 10, 1968 to June 16, 2008

This poem and video are dedicated to him and all those Mission and San Fran souls that lead the way into the beyond.

 

“They Can Take Away Our Lives, but They Can’t Take Away Our Music”
Inspired by War’s firme rola and Roberto Vargas’s “They Blamed it on Reds”

Four O’clock in the dark dawn
A duster drives drunk
Four O’clock in the bitter bright
Sunshine afternoon
An abuelita hobbles hauling bags
Full of unpeeled elote and
Free canned cranberry and queso

Every day
At all times
There is action
Cool colored creativity
Adorned urban alleys
Mountains of majesty
Hallowed grounds
A sanctuary for locos and ladies
La Mision
The womb of genius

Q-VO, Homes
Sup Blood
Silence
A mad dog stare
Welcomes you
To tar and cement
Spirit and soul
Amor
Amor
Amor
The fumes of yesca and
Lowrider exhaust are
Healthy for homeboys and homegirls

Legends lived
Strutted down these sidewalks and streets
Alfonso Texidor
Presente!
Chata Gutierrez
Presente!
Frankie Rivera
Presente!
Jeff Bac Sierra
Presente!
Alex Nieto
Presente!
The list is long and
Always in all ways
They are
Presente!

I am a witness
You are witnesses
To their smiles and songs
That will never be erased

“Though they take my brother’s life,
And deny his given rights

Yes, the message will be heard,
As the four winds spread the word

And our spirit, they can’t break,
Cause we got power to communicate.

No, they can’t, no, they can’t, no, they can’t,
Take away our music.”

Me and Jeff 88.jpg

 

Foto of me and Jeff back in ‘88, the day before he left to San Quentin State Penitentiary.

 

Posted by: benbacsierra | May 28, 2018

Memorial Day

Memorial Day

Share this posting in memory of the dead:

As a Marine Corps combat veteran, I remember the dead, the American dead. Perhaps because of my brown skin and Cholo Indio ways, I have liked to push to “Mehricans” that poor grunts are the ideal Americans— they are who usually go to die, to be killed on the front lines. They don’t ask questions; they just rush machine-gun nests firing straight at them.

But there are other Americans, too, who should be remembered, those who have served this country yet received no honor: Dishwasher Luis Gongora Pat; construction worker Amilcar Perez Lopez; descendant of slaves who built this country Mario Woods; beloved son, brother, and community servant Alex Nieto. They, too, are grunts that have been killed for this country.

On this Memorial Day, I honor the dead by gifting life.

Yesterday we wrapped up the 8th Annual Barrio Bushido Amor for Alex Nieto Carnaval Booth in La San Fran Mision. I used to do the booth with my brother Alex. Now we do it in his honor by spreading love and smiles, by sharing positive spirit and gifting literature, by fundraising together for the first ever memorial dedicated to the victim of a police killing. Once the memorial is established, community members will hike up to that mountain Bernal Heights and pray like Alex did and look out over the beautiful view of San Francisco and be inspired by our community resilience. Students will travel up to that hill for field trips and to learn about the history and creativity of our community; they will write thousands of educational essays. Families will pilgrimage hands together and love each other at the place where Alex breathed his last breath. This will be a place of peace, of inspiration and amor.

In two days at Carnaval, we raised over $1,100 dollars by smiling, approaching perfect strangers and community homeboys and homegirls, the ideal Americans in these pictures. We did it as many wrote down promises of what they will do for their community.

We build this country.

2

SFM Barrio Bushido Amor:
1. I want to help homeless kids in the city.
2. I’m going to help a hungry member in my community.
3. I work at the Bahai Youth Character Development Program.
4. I will help dogs in the community.
5. I will help women and men transition from incarceration to education and freedom.
6. I will help my community by helping homeless people with mental health issues and people struggling with addiction to find employment.
7. I will help the troubled youth in and out of the inner city with my time and knowledge to stay out of trouble and find something positive to do.
8. I’m going to help anyone who needs help financially, spiritually, and emotionally.
9. I will fight against police brutality and mass incarceration by volunteering.
10. Spread love, awareness, action, resistance for the movement for justice for Alex and all lives taken by police.
11. I do yearly fundraisers to help CAMP (College Assist and Migrate Program) in Sacramento.
12. Help raise funds for cancer research.
13. Volunteer for low income kids charity.
14. I wanna go outside in the rain.
15. I will fight to demilitarize our borders and the police on the campaign trail and in Congress.
16. Stay active in the community and give my time where I can.
17. I will stand up and resist to protect our children!

To be part of transformational history, to donate directly now for the International Amor for Alex Nieto Memorial, please visit the gofundme page here: https://www.gofundme.com/amor4alexnieto

 

 

“America, the Poem”

Ahh-Mehr-EEE-Kah
With a Spanish accent
About a lost explorer
Amerigo Vespuchi
Who discovered nothing
But at least got it right that this place was not
China

My country tis of thee
Sweet land of liberty
Treacherous mountains
Soothing snow
Hell heat
Chicago wind
Fog along the Frisco bay
The Tennessee Waltz
New York salsa
Kansas City royalty
Denver tough guys
Oakland jungles

We got it all
McDonalds’ golden arches
Big Mac hamburgers
Full-time obesity and strangling varicose veins
A talented athlete who can stuff down his throat
72 hot dogs in ten minutes
Lowrider cars cruising down pot-holed streets
Hobos hunting through garbage cans for aluminum gold
Iphones and apps and assholes
Brown men washing dishes
Black women strutting down the street
White girls with diamond smiles
Rednecks with red anger
Chinese folks practicing the deadly art of Tai Chi in green parks
Indians with green cards landing top notch jobs in Silicon Valley
Indians on reservations drinking too much smoking too much
Dying too much

The Statue of Liberty
Aint got on any underwear
Underneath that gown
Always ready to fuck
Her torch is lit but it aint for light
It’s for burning shit down

Resist
Conform
It’s the same damn thing
Cook the meth
Eat your broccoli
Snort the Coke
The famous 70’s Coca Cola slogan
It’s the real thing
What the world wants today:

Capitalism
The birth of a nation

And we all eat it up
Our own baby
This shit sandwich
This imperfect existence where
Little old ladies love driving their big old Cadillacs
But they aint gonna take that Middle East machinegun nest
For some gasoline
Which means that
We all are to blame and question in the biggest wars ever fought and
Those biggest wars that we’ve always won
Lest we forget who we are
Lest we play ignorant about what this all means
Humanity goes out the window
Cause we all need more spaceships and
Rocket fuel and more chips and speed

America
You are my bitch
America
You are my reflection in the mirror
America
You are capable of anything
Murder and mayhem
War and destruction
Love and tenderness
I pray that your
Holy hills
Bless us
Keep us
Safeguard us from ourselves
America
You trick me and get me stoned
Supercharging your smoke
Into my cancered lungs
America
You break my heart into 1,776 pieces
Yet
Still
I love you

A true patriot
Looks you in the face
When they lie and tell you
The tragic truth

 

 

 

Posted by: benbacsierra | April 28, 2018

The Revolt of Los Locos, Pages 117-120

City Hall Strike

 

Enjoy and share my latest manuscript of fiction, a novel The Revolt of Los Locos, pages 117-120:

I was working all the time, sleeping, dreaming, nightmaring to what needed to get done, then waking up by five a.m. every day, so I could organize and write and connect people together, and it was me against the world, and I was like fuck it, I can do this, we can do this. I didn’t know what I expected, but I knew that just getting it out there, things were happening. People were walking with dignity. People were loving life. People were standing up against impossible odds, throwing up with passion what almost seemed like gang signs of Alex Nieto—like if he represented the ultimate varrio, one that united us with amor. We were becoming conscious of the poison and corruption that was happening all around us.

Revolution was making us stronger.

The politicians and city lackeys were just doing more of the cliché same, but we were exposing sin. Compared to them, we, the locos y locas, were not, at least, unconscious yet believing we were actually doing the right thing. The suits and pleated skirts gawked at us as if we were stupid, didn’t understand structure, rules, or text-based power. So they pitied us and justified taking advantage of us, rationalized to themselves that it was for our own good, the greater good, that our loved ones had been killed, assassinated on the streets. It was ok to kill a few spics and niggers so that the greater public could benefit from the dollars that the police protected and kept in power. They were not locos. They were the sane, smart ones. The worst ones.

The crooked police union was on top of the list. Bully businessmen, these corrupt cops expected $150,000 bucks a year for their obedient rookies who barely graduated high school. It didn’t matter if the cops were white or not, although most of them were, they endorsed white supremacy because that’s what was sponsoring them, that’s who they were protecting, regardless of whether San Francisco had the reputation of being the most progressive place on planet Earth. The union was the direct link between the police force and the one percent elite economic class. Their confederacy protected cops’ money, benefits, and pension, so they had the arrogance and intelligence to invent their own constitution. All had to submit to it, that which was above even the United States Constitution! Their dream and our nightmare is shoved down our throat as the Police Officers’ Bill of Rights, I shit you not, a straight up ‘fuck you to what you thought mattered, like freedom of speech, due process, and equality; we, the coppers, are better than all of you.’ With such a stranglehold of political clout, they knew that whatever they wanted they could get, or they would simply threaten to crush you. They were fearless for a good reason: Because the politicians worshipped the law, they thought there was no way to ever defeat or even challenge them, cause, come on, didn’t you learn in elementary school to pay reverence to the Bill of Rights? Founding fathers’ bullshit. The union had the guns in holsters, so no one could fuck with them. A union of ultra-capitalists that make profit off our dead bodies.

The district attorney was the police union’s first line of defense. Gakaka had actually been a cop, the top cop of San Francisco as their chief of police. Intimately, in cahoots with the badges, he had mastered the game, understood that his job was to act innocent, just like nice naïve Lady Justice who holds the scales blindfolded, not knowing she’s about to get fucked. Gakaka knew the standard operating procedure was to lead the stupid ass media on a wild-goose chase called righteousness, aka law. His headquarters was the Hall of Justice, but it was actually a house of horrors that utterly ruined us, stole our time, our lives, our homes, our job opportunities, our hopes. And no one cared about fighting for us cause it was ok what they were doing cause you know already that no one gives a fuck about Brown and Black people, but especially not Brown and Black folks marked forever as criminals. It’s only natural we’re abandoned since everyone’s conditioned to hate criminals (code word for Black and Brown men) by the media, school, and politicians, those sick bastards that think they stand for something holy.

 

“See How It Feels”

If I disgust you
Look into the
Mirror
And
Smash it

I am your
Reflection
Calling you out
On your
Bullshit

Look into my
Brown eyes
Do you see
Yourself?

Are you angry at me
Because
I make you
Face
The Truth?

It is not
My fault
You don’t
Like
Your own
Smile

Instead of
Bashing me
Punch
Your own self
In the
Mouth
Give yourself
A shiner
Walk around
Black and blue
Brown
Like shit

See how it feels
To be the
Best

 


Ben Bac Sierra reading from The Revolt of Los Locos in the San Fran Mision:

 

 

“DON’T LET NO ONE GET YOU DOWN”

Posted by: benbacsierra | August 27, 2017

Frisco Resistance

Share the power of Frisco Resistance!

FRISCO RESISTANCE:

On Saturday, August 26, 2017, Frisco Resistance represented in full force with the power of amor. Joined together with tens of thousands of diverse peoples from all walks of life, we led the celebration victory and rally against racism. In San Francisco we confronted any hate at Alamo Square Park, embraced and kissed each other, and marched through the streets to headquarters, the revolutionary varrio of La San Fran Mision. In less than a week’s time we, Frisco Resistance, organized ourselves and other coalitions to join together against the hate of racists and puppets. We knew that if we led with discipline, creativity, and amor, all would follow, and we would bring unity and love to our city.

At the end of the slideshow, you will see actual video of the thousands marching in unity and amor.

This is the true story of one of the biggest marches in San Francisco history:

We had always planned for this to be a peaceful demonstration full of courage and amor, but once we began meeting at Alamo Square, police stopped letting people in. Thousands were waiting up the block to join us at Steiner and Hayes. One woman jumped the fence but was quickly detained. We, the people inside, walked up to help our loved ones enter. About one hundred people broke through the barriers to join us, but the police in riot gear then reinforced the other police and put up the barricade again.

Things became very tense.

We were shouting “Let the people in!” On the other side, the people were also shouting. Many began chanting obscenities to the police. Hundreds of police began surrounding us, we who remained inside the intersection of Steiner and Hayes. They had tear gas ready to be deployed upon us. Through loudspeakers the police started threatening us with arrest. Many were rightfully agitated because we were there in full amor. Even though we did not have a sound system with speakers, I attempted to calm the crowd, but some people once again walked up the block to help the rest of the people get in. I also joined this to make sure it could be done in a non-violent manner, and a stranger next to me, who had earlier embraced me, began pulling on the steel barricade. A police officer started pushing him with his baton. I emphasized for everyone to calm down; I promised that I would go down and speak to someone and find a solution. Roberto Hernandez and I then coordinated with the police commander on site. Because of our work and movement in the communities, with “Amor for Alex Nieto” and “Our Mission, No Eviction,” the police commander knew we, Frisco Resistance, would be able to handle the crowd better than thousands of police officers. The agreement reached was that the people would be let in for a peaceful rally if they entered in through Fillmore and Hayes, which meant that they would simply have to walk around the block to get in. The police, perhaps, simply did not want to let them in where they were gathered because the police did not want to lose face.

I then took it upon myself to approach the front line of the hundreds of police officers that were blocking the crowd from coming in. I told the captain in charge of these officers that I had just negotiated with the commander that the loved ones would be allowed in, but that they would march to a new entrance on Hayes and Fillmore. She told me that she would relay the message to them. She refused to let me personally relay it. I told her then I would wait where I stood until she delivered that message and until I actually saw the crowd of thousands walking down to Fillmore Street. She looked at the crowd shouting to be let in and then looked at me, and said, “Ok, you go do it then.” So by myself I broke through the police officers and walked up to where the people were.

I began greeting them and through the barricade shaking their hands. Some came to embrace me.

“Mic check!” I shouted.

They started repeating, the entire crowd together: “Mic check!”

“Amor!” I sang.

“Amor!” They repeated.

“This is…”

“This is…”

“A victory…”

“A victory…”

Hoots and hollers rose from the crowd.

“Now…”

“Now…”

“We will be…”

“We will be…”

“Allowed in…”

“Allowed in…”

“If you walk down…”

“If you walk down…”

“To Fillmore and Hayes…”

“To Fillmore and Hayes…”

“All Amor!”

“All Amor!”

The thousands of people started walking peacefully down the block to the new entrance. We scrambled to get the sound system up and working, and then the chanters chanted and came to the top of the hill, the danzantes finished their dancing, drumming, and spiritual blessing. I greeted the crowd with love and victory. I spoke of Frisco grassroots and love and then asked everyone to look next to them for a stranger and to embrace that person, to kiss that person, that today was a day of puro amor against hate and racism.

After inviting everyone to sit down, we then coordinated approximately ten speakers, all with beautiful, powerful messages of wisdom and amor, unity. Clergy, the SF public defender, students, poets, activists, union workers, school teachers, the grassroots! Once the people had spoken, we, Frisco Resistance, decided we would take the tens of thousands of loved ones to our headquarters, the revolutionary varrio of La Mision. This was a strategic and powerful statement to make because along the route we would stop at various locations and announce the issues of the gente—issues such as gentrification, racism, police killings, and, how even in the face of this attempted oppression, we have music, art, culture, creativity and, most importantly, amor.

As we, Frisco Resistance, marched at the front, I told my comrades that I was going to thank the people and embrace them. Four or five different times I walked into the crowd and simply began embracing people, kissing them, thanking them, blessing them, loving them, telling them to share the love and to share water. Then I would run back to the front of the march and give our leadership the love they deserved. Impromptu I began coordinating an event for once we reached our ultimate destination, 24th Street and Mission. I called Equipto, the famous infamous Frisco rapper, rallied a few poets, and Gina Madrid, a beautiful singer and rapper. A live Salsa band performed for us afterwards. At the end of our rally, I invited everyone to physically embrace each other, and we end with the United Farm Workers clap and a powerful “Si Se Puede!”

I then coordinated with the police so that we could have Mission Street blocked off for an hour. The people danced, burned a Trump puppet, and loved each other.

Frisco Resistance is amor. Frisco Resistance is family. Frisco Resistance is forever.

Inspired by the historical San Francisco grassroots movements of “Amor for Alex Nieto” and “The Frisco Five,” we, Frisco Resistance, joined to not only defeat an insidious enemy but to liberate ourselves and future generations from the shackles of systemic racist oppression. We represent the Frisco values of creativity, genius, tolerance, and sincerity: puro amor.

Special thanks to Frank Lara and Roberto Hernandez.

Con Safos.

Benjamin Bac Sierra

 

Posted by: benbacsierra | August 14, 2017

A Response to Racism

Overall this “neo”-racism is triviality. People, gente, who know and understand vida loca know racism has always been the reality: there is no old racism or new racism. Racism has been a perpetual state of being here in this place. Anyone who thinks they can school a vida loca homeboy or homegirl is speaking gibberish and blasphemy. It seems like only the vatos locos y locas know essential truths:

There is only one life: vida loca.

There is only one goal: death.

Now, what has changed, but is not entirely new, is the boldness of white racists; however, let’s not believe their rhetoric is a product of spontaneous combustion. This shit has always been there, sometimes outright, sometimes undercover. We, the gente, our existence, are proof of racism in the United States. Impoverished, imprisoned, uneducated, yet at the same time resilient, honorable, and creative. We pick peaches and construct skyscrapers better than any of these neo-nazis or hipsters, and after work we party ten times hardier than they ever can. We understand truth because we understand dirt. Without our hands, there is no beautiful, colorful fruit salad on any plate in any ritzy restaurant. There is no gourmet coffee in any hipster hangout without our fingers picking the beans, without our paws working the mud and shit, under not a neo-nazi’s tiki torch, but under the torch of the sun, our biggest torch of truth: Huitzilopochtli, the Aztec sun god, the god of war and sacrifice.

Sun God

So, we know the truth; however, this does not mean we should dismiss the racist momentum that is occurring throughout the nation. Overt racist politics and mass media propaganda distortions are fueling an antagonistic hate we have not seen in fifty years.

Our vato loco cockroaches can be inspirations. Our imprisoned brothers can be role models, for under the worst conditions, they have become physically fit and formulated power. I am not advocating imprisonment because as we know, unfortunately, once these imprisoned brothers are released, they cannot help but many times take on subservient roles or be caught in the terrible cycle of recidivism. But their creativity and resilience can be uplifting for us who have more opportunity and freedom than them, yet we do nothing as transformational as they do. Every single day in prisons across the United States, they challenge violence, fight boredom, and become more physically fit than most crossfit athletes.

Brown people, we are the majority.

We have succeeded in the jungles, the concrete, the prisons, and the abyss. We are strong and effective and have proven ourselves beyond anyone’s expectation:

Barrio Bushido: Street Honor, Family Honor, Community Honor.

Brutal Truth.

Today is a shock and panic only for those who believed that politicians or police officers could and would save us. Many had been comforted by “manufactured consent,” but in reality, it was false. This social media shit is a lie. The greater mass media is an even bigger lie.

Politicians and police officers are predators and puppets.

The only ones you can count on are your own. The only way to truly come up is with you, your familia, and your community. We must make ourselves even stronger and smarter than ever.

This moment is opportunity.

Spirit matters most:

Education, our own education: What book you reading, homes? What poetry you writing, love? What you teaching your children?

Physical fitness: You eating broccoli? You hitting your pushups? You dancing on the streets?

Discipline: What time you waking up? What goals you got?

Creation: What you working on right now? When you going to deliver?

Amor: Have I told you today how much you mean to me, how much I love you now and forever? Do you know how much I love to embrace you?

Unless we have lost our minds and spirits, nothing has really changed. It is a new day to breathe. It is a new day to triumph.

Every day is both an apocalypse and a resurrection.

What this means is that every single day we must accept the inevitability of our own mortality, our own frailty, yet we cannot allow this to overwhelm us because in the absurd there is hope. There is a next day. Not even a nuclear missile can prevent the sun from rising. The next day will come, and it is very likely that we, loco y loca cockroaches, will survive because as you know the smartest scientists say that we are the only ones durable enough to make it through the nuclear blast and radiation fallout. That means we have duty. That means we are the ones who will create a new world.

Our world. It is up to us.

Posted by: benbacsierra | August 8, 2017

Poetry Against the Police in the San Fran Mission

From August 7ths beautiful Lunada Literary Lounge: Poetry Against the Police!

Share with urgent amor!

 

 

Poetry Against the Police

At La Mision’s monthly Lunada Poetry Reading on Monday, August 7, 2017, in the heart of La Mision, during an evening of love and celebration, a packed crowd witnessed the unreasonable logic and entitled arrogance of the San Francisco Police Department.

After singing a poem and during intermission, I saw a clearly distressed frail white homeless man fearing for his life. He was almost crying. He then stopped in front of me and the people I was speaking with, and he threw himself on the ground and completely submitted himself in front of us. A buffed out San Francisco police officer with his shotgun in port arms position was aggressively running down the street towards the crowd and then he and his partner arrested this distressed man. There was absolutely no reason for the police officer to have pulled out a shotgun to apprehend this frail man. There was absolutely no reason for this police officer with a loaded shotgun to endanger and terrorize the community. The police officer could have easily gotten nervous and started pulling the trigger. This is not an isolated incident. The San Francisco Police Department has unlawfully killed many Mission community members, including Alex Nieto, Amilcar Perez-Lopez, and Luis Gongora.

The senior police officer at the scene tried to justify his partner’s actions, but he was either lying or ignorant about what a “less than lethal” shotgun can do. Note the language of the firearm’s name: it is less than lethal, but not totally non-lethal. We, the crowd, were at point blank range, and if any one of us would have reacted justifiably apprehensive because of this buffed out police officer’s demeanor and actions, then he could have started shooting at us in the crowd. If you think this is hyperbole, please investigate the case of Alex Nieto, who was shot at 59 times by the SFPD for eating a burrito in a gentrified neighborhood.

After I educated them about why we would be reasonably in fear of our lives, the senior police officer dismissed us and then started leaving. The buffed out police officer, before getting back into the squad car, stated “They’re ignorant.” When I rebutted this snide comment, the police then began to try to intimidate me and the crowd, even though all I was doing was practicing my guaranteed First Amendment right to freedom of speech. The senior police officer got out of his car and stated: “You’re not going to stand out here in the middle of the street and walk up to me.” I was totally unarmed. He was going to try to arrest me or worse! I rebutted him with clear and concise arguments, and he did not seem to know how to respond, so they left. Note that no matter how nice the senior police officer may have seemed to be to some people watching this video, he was going to exert beyond his full force once someone questioned his arrogant authority. We, brown people, must experience this type of brutal, condescending, and dismissive attitude on a daily basis.

Yet we rise! We fight! Our culture cannot be killed.

Amor for Alex Nieto and La San Fran Mision!

Benjamin Bac Sierra, M.A., J.D., USMC, SFM

 

Love and credit to Luis Gutierrez, a reporter with KBBF, for filming the encounter.

 

Posted by: benbacsierra | July 28, 2017

“The Man Who Wrote Nothing but Poetry” Historical Video

“The Man Who Wrote Nothing but Poetry” Historical Video

A posting to share with lots of love 🙂

Poetry and history combined. Listen to stylistic words and jazz and watch the creative community history of the San Fran Mission! Always in all ways, love and blessings to you and your families and friends.

 

“The Man Who Wrote Nothing but Poetry”
Inspired by Leopoldo Maria Panero’s “El Hombre Que Solo Comia Zanahorias”

The man who wrote nothing but poetry
Could not tie his shoes
Nor take apart an engine
He understood the abyss
Believing it was separate from his own destruction
Trusting he could outwit the omnipotent
With the power of word

The man who wrote nothing but poetry
Sacrificed pussy and petty pleasure
Abandoned his own potential
For days and weeks he would not speak
Refusing conversation and chit-chat
Repudiating whispers so
He could save up might
For the magic of
Just
One
Word

A whirlwind
A damnation
A heaven
Then the man who wrote nothing but poetry
Would dance in the dead-end alleys
On the rooftops
Alone he would bop
Strangers would think he was shadowboxing
But he was actually in bliss
The sublime
The goal that cannot be got

The man who wrote nothing but poetry
Did lots of drugs
Was dangerous
He wanted his life to be just like a poem
With fire and stone
Water and wood
Diamonds and uranium
A fake forever

He would wake and write
Hunched in his hole hammering away
His family thought he was a fool
For relying on rhymes that writhe
Images that fade
Metaphors that make no sense
That no one would even read
Worthless words
Lost life

The man who wrote nothing but poetry
Wandered the streets mumbling
Sometimes screaming
He refused to squander his precious words
On those who could not understand
Would never understand
He felt poems were friends
That would never betray
But the man who wrote nothing but poetry
Deluded himself

The words cried
The words lied
The words died

Sometimes the man who wrote nothing but poetry
Could not write a line
It crushed him
He eventually gave up family and
Love and people and pets and style

The man who wrote nothing but poetry
Ate only poultry
Wore nothing but rags
Would walk around barefoot on crushed glass
His teeth fell out of his face and
He would venture out only at midnight
Which is the witching hour
The hour of poetry
Then he would pray his poems
Sweating blood
Enchanting spirits

And that was enough
To be his own God
The man who wrote nothing but poetry

 

 

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Posted by: benbacsierra | July 7, 2017

“O.G.”

For the brother who was too much for this world, my carnal: James “N Jeff” Bac Sierra, R.I.P

OG N JEFF

“O.G.”

Full force fast forward
Beyond the speed of light
Original Gangster
Original Genius

Who cracked the code that revealed
The schoolbooks
Streets
Prisons
Educational institutions
Television sets and
Mickey Mouse (ABC) news programs
Were all a hoax

With their mild mannered Midwestern voices
They programmed people into believing that there was truth
And that they knew what it was
That they had the market on the motherfucker
They knew what was good for you
Good for sheep

Original Genius
Todo Bodo Down
Everyone else played the fool
Buying into weasel words
And far out fantasies like
Justice
But you played it cool
Experimenting
Hustling
Inventing on your own
Your own identity
Beyond the theory of relativity

When they look back at this time
100 years from now
They will see it was you who was
Smarter than Shakespeare
And like his plays and poems
You will be recreated thousands of times over
Your graffiti on the wall
Your prison letters
Your poetry of life
Of lowrider locura
Were the purest mutinies of the mind
The Original Genius
Revolutionary of cockroach class

Posted by: benbacsierra | July 5, 2017

“America, the Poem”

 

Share with faith in our force:

 

My gift to you all: some words, music, and art. This video is our history, our American history, and more of this type of history will be coming once the “Amor for Alex Nieto Memorial” is established on top of Bernal Heights. I guarantee you this historical artistic educational political poetic slideshow is more scholarly than school and more entertaining than film. Watch closely and connect the words with the images. We create authentic curriculum and share it for fulfillment and empowerment.

Enjoy!

 

“America, the Poem”

Ahh-Mehr-EEE-Kah
With a Spanish accent
About a lost explorer
Amerigo Vespuchi
Who discovered nothing
But at least got it right that this place was not
China

My country tis of thee
Sweet land of liberty
Treacherous mountains
Soothing snow
Hell heat
Chicago wind
Fog along the Frisco bay
The Tennessee Waltz
New York salsa
Kansas City royalty
Denver tough guys
Oakland jungles

We got it all
McDonalds’ golden arches
Big Mac hamburgers
Full-time obesity and strangling varicose veins
A talented athlete who can stuff down his throat
72 hot dogs in ten minutes
Lowrider cars cruising down pot-holed streets
Hobos hunting through garbage cans for aluminum gold
Iphones and apps and assholes
Brown men washing dishes
Black women strutting down the street
White girls with diamond smiles
Rednecks with red anger
Chinese folks practicing the deadly art of Tai Chi in green parks
Indians with green cards landing top notch jobs in Silicon Valley
Indians on reservations drinking too much smoking too much
Dying too much

The Statue of Liberty
Aint got on any panties
Underneath that gown
Always ready to fuck
Her torch is lit but it aint for light
It’s for burning shit down

Resist
Conform
It’s the same damn thing
Cook the meth
Eat your broccoli
Snort the Coke
The famous 70’s Coca Cola slogan
It’s the real thing
What the world wants today:

Capitalism
The birth of a nation

And we all eat it up
Our own baby
This shit sandwich
This imperfect existence where
Little old ladies love driving their big old Cadillacs
But they aint gonna take that Middle East machinegun nest
For some gasoline
Which means that
We all are to blame and question in the biggest wars ever fought and
Those biggest wars that we’ve always won
Lest we forget who we are
Lest we play ignorant about what this all means
Humanity goes out the window
Cause we all need more spaceships and
Rocket fuel and more chips and speed

America
You are my bitch
America
You are my reflection in the mirror
America
You are capable of anything
Murder and mayhem
War and destruction
Love and tenderness
I pray that your
Holy hills
Bless us
Keep us
Safeguard us from ourselves
America
You trick me and get me stoned
Supercharging your smoke
Into my cancered lungs
America
You break my heart into 1,776 pieces
Yet
Still
I love you

A true patriot
Looks you in the face
When they lie and tell you
The tragic truth

 

 

Video and music are for non-profit educational and cultural teaching and pedagogy.

 

“Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.”

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