Posted by: benbacsierra | March 27, 2019

Alex Nieto, The Truth with Official Evidence

Share for authentic education:

Perhaps my finest work and service: La Pura Neta regarding Alex Nieto.

Watch this slideshow film and listen to the audio to learn the truth about the killing of Alex Nieto. I challenge anyone to argue against the evidence presented in this slideshow film, which is a history of “Amor for Alex Nieto” from 2014 to the present. Audio taken by Uncle Ray Balberan at City Hall, San Francisco, March 2016, after the Alex Nieto trial, where all evidence was presented and officially recorded for posterity.

 

Community Justice Warriors!

Now is the time to prove love, love for community, love for history, love for posterity.

Join us, the entire community, on Thursday, April 4 at 2:00 p.m. at room 416, City Hall, San Francisco for the Parks and Recreation Operations Committee vote for the final step to make the Alex Nieto Memorial a reality. If you must, take the afternoon off so you can join us in solidarity and amor. Bring your loved ones. Click the link and confirm that you will be there to defend our present and future generations:

https://www.facebook.com/events/438605573548435/

 

 

Posted by: benbacsierra | March 15, 2019

Our Culture Cannot Be Killed

 

Share poetry for art and education for our community. We teach our own 🙂

“Our Culture Cannot Be Killed”

Patronize me
Bully me
Oppress me
Mock me
Murder me
Tell me I’m all fucked up
I need that from you
Your manners and etiquette
Your command:

“Be A Good Person”

I better be a
Good boy
And break down each
Word
So I can understand your
Genius

Is this what you mean?

Be:

Not my existence but
Your existence
Your air
Your being is what it means
“To be”—
Hamlet lied—
There is no
“Not to be”
All being is you
What you say it is
Trademarked by your
Flag of force
No other reason to live except for your
Disneyland dreams and
McDonald’s mansions
Those golden arches
Guiding me to
The entrance of pearly gates
Glittering estates
Full of flowers and
Green grass
Green dollars
Fluorescent green glowing from
Nuclear blasts
Lay on the sweet bed of being
Don’t worry
You will not melt

A:

Like the Fonz
“Ayy”
Thumbs up leather jacket milk smile
A
Happy Day
Which is
One
No plural community
Only one alone
Independence in the manner of
Good old fashioned American independence
Selfishness sickness
You can do it without others
This place is yours for the taking
Manifest Destiny, Homes!
A
A
A
A luxurious lie
A horrible hoodwink
A deception to make you believe that simply
Pulling yourself up by your
Bootstraps
Is possible for the majority of you all
When the majority of you all got
Giant red
Bullseye targets
Tattooed on your backs
The day you were born

Good:

Now we get to the
Good
Stuff
Morality ethics principles scruples decency
Purity
Clean
WHITE
Look it up in the dictionary cause it’s right there for all to read:
Of the color of pure
Snow
The opposite of
Black
(Brown, of course, is shit)
Innocent
Without evil intent
Honest
Honest
God is White
Blonde hair blue eyes
Be good
Like God
Who makes the laws and
Breaks the laws yet
Expects you to abide by them nonetheless
Be part of this paradox
Good good good boy
Pat you on the head like a dog or
Massacre you on the street like a bad

Person:

Homo Sapien
Latin for “wise man”
(No stupid shits allowed)
Human being
A worthy vessel of existence
Not some fucking
Hunched over monkey savage animal
Indio
But a real live erect walker
Straight like a hard dick
Sometimes he even holds that name
Like Dick Nixon
AKA
Tricky Dick
AKA
President Richie Nixon
A person like that
Nice and normal
Upright
Walking and talking that game
Commanding you
“Be A Good Person”
And you gotta salute and respond
“Aye, Aye, Sir”
Cause that’s the fucking commander in chief
A good person

Our Culture Cannot Be Killed

Skulls and cholos
Aint got no good people
We got the dregs from the gutter
The mamas from the fields
The papas from the prisons
The kids from the streets
We got color but it aint bright
It’s dark
Gruesome green
Battered blue
Beat down brown
Righteous red
A rainbow of reality aint no good but it’s better
Than a command to what I know is
Worse
Gentrification of the mind
Assault on authentic ideas
An unloving of
Myself
Of my
People

You be a good person
I love my gente too much to betray them

Together in hell is better than your heaven

Posted by: benbacsierra | March 2, 2019

Not Forward but Upward

Share our song, our story:

Fifth book complete: Not Forward but Upward, a 140 page single-spaced novel manuscript. Now to convince for a second publication, besides Barrio Bushido 🙂

Not Forward but Upward ManuscriptSet in the San Francisco Mission varrio from 2012 to 2014, Not Forward but Upward explores the creative struggle of Homeboys and Homegirls fighting against gentrification, police brutality, racism, and economic and educational injustice. Cartoon, a Homeboy who had been banished from the varrio twenty years earlier, has returned from his educational and spiritual odyssey. He finds the hood under attack, and it is no longer the gangs, but the monsters of cafes, cheese schools, and micro-breweries, protected by their own police force, that are destroying the native San Franciscans. In order to strategize a meaningful movement, Cartoon visits his old mentor, El Lobo, a varrio shot caller who is now serving a life prison sentence in San Quentin. Cartoon then recruits the young homies, Lil Santo and Alex Neta, who begin implementing La Movida into amor action in the hood, until the police kill Alex Neta, which ultimately sparks The Revolt of Los Locos.

Written in a style that captures both street realism and poetry, Not Forward but Upward will appeal to a vast audience. With both magical and explicit savagery, Not Forward but Upward utilizes many facets of the urban landscape, including flashbacks of 80’s and 90’s Frisco Mission and Cortland street culture.

I gift you chapter one:

                                    CHAPTER ONE: FINDING BALANCE

This is Take Off.

After Little Cartoon had bowed his head to read those golden words on Santo’s tombstone, he knew he needed to take off—for what kind of idiot or genius would understand the insanity of that wisdom yet stay? The inscription was idiocy because how the fuck is being planted in a grave a Take Off? Genius, too, because compared to all the flying by any bird in the world, no other Take Off was truth.

Now, twenty years later in 2012, strolling through the streets of La Mision, he was no longer little; he was simply Cartoon, a character in a make-believe story full of comedy and violence, absurdity and amor. He returned to the varrio to share with and learn from all the locos: Toro, Santo the spirit, and El Lobo.

“Homeboy,” Lobo had said to Cartoon back in 1992. “I’m gonna be direct. This has all been for you. Times are changing and we need real steel to deal with it. I’m in too deep, but you’re still a runt, 17 years old, just craving for the big time. Well, all right, I’ve chosen you cause you got qualities that I think can be transformed into other avenues of opportunity. Lil Toon.”

“Yeah,” Cartoon said.

“I’m going to ask you to be brave, and show me some strength.”

“Anything,” Cartoon responded. Lobo looked at the wall behind him.

“Forget me. Forget all my bullshit or ignore it or however the fuck you got to psyche yourself out of the game, and get the fuck on. Motherfucker, we’re getting kicked out anyway—accept it now or later.”

“What the fuck you talkin bout, nigga. This is mi varrio, my fuckin hood.” Cartoon did not understand what Lobo was asking him to do. Lobo grinned at him for a brief second, then looked back at the wall behind Cartoon—

“Go and be selfish, homeboy. Go and fuckin have your own mind, cause you can’t help me or any of us any other way. Don’t feel sorry for nothin or no one and don’t cling to shit that is gonna stop you from getting to where you need to go, even if it’s the thing or person you love most,” Lobo clasped his hands together. “Let it go, young Brother. You got to be ruthless, and that means you got to be alone.”

“I know what you’re trying to say, Lobo, like I can’t help anyone else out unless I first help myself. But I’m already down, Low, and I aint your average bear,” Cartoon said.

With the bottom of his fist, Lobo thumped the arm of the chair he was sitting in.

“We already got too many average bear motherfuckers out there ready to die now,” Lobo said. “Think they’re bad cause they can give up the ghost. They’re sellouts to the man up above—traitors to this world, and this is the world we’re living in. I aint asking you to die for shit. I’m asking you for something even harder. Toon—fuck everything you’ve ever known. I got faith that that shit will always stick to your ribs, so I aint worrying about you forgetting the life and the values, but I don’t want you to just walk around here like a fuckin zombie. Sheila’s life has to have been for something.” Lobo’s guilt leaked into his voice. It was because of him that the love of his life was dead. “I want you to sacrifice everything you’ve ever known, yet I know in the end you’ll come back to where you need to be.” Putting his gold ringed fingers on Cartoon’s shoulder, 22 year old Lobo, a smooth varrio shot caller, scooted closer.

“Learn. Cause I’ve been making paper for the last few months, and I realize, even with gold and platinum, I aint got shit. We aint got shit. We’re fuckin laughingstocks. These motherfuckers moving in see gente as jokes. We’re maids and housekeepers, and aint nothing wrong with bustin your ass, but there is something wrong with gettin no respect. There’s somethin wrong when putos treat you like a boy. Cause the establishment thinks they got us all figured out. They think we’re a bunch of dummies who can’t even put up a fight in their world, and their world is where the big lechuga is at. They want to pacify us with talk of peaceful, non-aggressive bullshit and have us happy with crumbs. But, check out, outright revolution won’t work; evolution is what’s needed first. Toon, we need sacrifice like only a vato like you can give.”

Lobo handed Cartoon a Cuban cigar, lit it up for him, and lit one up for himself. He blew O’s out into the air, and Cartoon held in his coughs. “Go get some education, young blood. I don’t want to see you unless you got something positive to give me. If you hang around, I’ll put you down. No fuckin pity, you will sleep with the fishes, cause I aint gonna let you waste our potential. If I see that you do, I’ll take that shit as a personal insult, and I’ll choke you out my damn self, even though it would kill me.” Lobo gave Cartoon an envelope.

“This money’s yours. I won’t baby you. Do what you have to do. You got freedom from this day forward. You belong to no man, no gang; when you’re done, you’ll come back, and I’ll be waiting with arms extended. We’ll toast to the tests of life. Now,” Lobo said rising to his feet, buttoning up his double-breasted cashmere coat, “take off.”  Two suits rushed behind Cartoon.

Cartoon got up trying to smile like if this was all some big joke. Two hefty vatos started scooting him out, and Cartoon turned around to protest. They clipped Cartoon in the back of the neck with blackjacks. He fell to the white and red Persian rug. Lobo walked to him, and Cartoon stared down at his own reflection in Lobo’s glossy black Stacy Adams.

His shoes were the last thing he saw of Lobo.

Cartoon had learned from all the hard knocks of the varrio. Toro had trained him to charge. Lobo had kicked him out and forced him to be independent. Santo had taught him to fly. In that flight, like Icarus, Cartoon had burned from sailing too close to the sun. It was this burn that was the spark.

The beginning of philosophy is
Death
All roads start with and lead to the
Inevitable
There is no secret
Which means
The only choice is
Life
Which is complicated by the reality
That the days are numbered

“What to do with this thing called time?” Back in 1992 Cartoon had contemplated this after Lobo told him he had to leave in order to learn. He respected Lobo and Toro for their animalistic natures; he loved Santo for his wisdom. The day he left the varrio, at the grave of his Saint, El Santo, his carnal, Cartoon had meditated:

“I look at this crazy life
As an animal and
As a thinker
Both matter
I don’t guess about
Equality or priority
They live intertwined with each other

I extract my energy because that’s what animals do
I think because I was both
Blessed and cursed with this mind
I can’t ignore my duty to
Consciousness
Without feeling disgusted with myself

Vida Loca is also important
Cause nothing makes any sense
And that’s ok
Better to accept and be at peace with
The craziness
Than to allow it to
Destroy you”

With this knowledge, Cartoon had left everything he had ever known, La San Fran Mision. His odyssey had been long, yet not even the blink of an eye in the totality of eternity. It had been rough and crazy, exactly as he had wanted it.

Now there was a debt to pay.

Cartoon did not think himself a savior or necessarily even want to go back; how can any of us ever go back? But there was some truth that he could not avoid, a nostalgia.

Let us not romanticize the past
The San Fran streets were death and despair
Muggings, shootings, stompings, and sinning
Singing, too, but the strongest songs were sad.

Soul Oldies, the songs of suffering, rule forever

“It was nice to suffer with a good friend,” Cartoon smiled wide at the junkies and homeless men pushing their carts in the early morning dawn. He looked down at the ground.

“My Solid Cement

On the brink of death
Or crushed from a hangover
I hugged this Earth
My mother Mission Earth
And she always comforted me
With her
Cold kiss

I would be in such love
Inventing such sublime imagination

Yeah
These streets were
Death and despair
Beautiful

The grime and graffiti
In the alleys are as
Gorgeous as the sunrise”

Cartoon sucked in the scent of pan dulce and café permeating through the streets. He was finally home again. In some ways time had stood still. 1992 and 2012 were the same thing. The same things were happening.

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 streets

Dukie Dave
Presente!
SFM Jeff
Presente!
Sleepy
Presente!
El Santo
Presente!
The list is long and
Always in all ways
They are
Presente!
Grinning Cartoon stared into the faces of young homeys and old abuelitas. He found himself the same as them.

“I’m a witness
You are witnesses
To dead people’s
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.

Cartoon sang War’s “They Can’t Take Away Our Music” and bounced down the block feeling high, even though he hadn’t smoked a maton in decades. He was laughing out loud to himself, to this crazy world, and he knew he looked like a madman and was happy. It was more than nostalgia. This place was his identity. And could it be? Could it actually have happened? Was he now an O.G., a veterano? If so, he knew it was not simply because of his own effort; he paid homage to those who had led the way:

“I am
Whatever I am
Because
Legends lived
I was there
Witnessed them
With my own eyes
Good and bad
Bravado and tragedy

On 30th and Mission
Casper screeched to a stop
Pulled over and
Challenged
Santo
To a fist fight in
Broad daylight and
When Santo knocked Casper down
Santo knelt down to help Casper back up
So they could duke some more

In the middle of 24th and Mission
Midnight
Samoan savages
Knocked heads with
Brown bulls
Fists flying
Kicks punting
Bats bashing
Toro
Refused to leave
Even as everyone else
Scrammed
Once cop sirens squealed

For his loyalty
Toro was awarded
A broken leg and arm
A concussion

I was there
When Lobo
Shirt off
Scars strutting
Sprinted after cars
Moving vehicles
Down 22nd Street
Down with the sun and
On comes the night

Dominoes and drama
Hustlers
Drugs
Drive bys
Pimps
Penitentiaries
Perdition
War
Funerals

All of who they were
And what they taught me
Makes me
Nostalgic
For a time that can never
Return

I’m much older now
Than they ever were
When all that insanity
Took place
Should know better
Shouldn’t
Romanticize ruin
But
Still I got standards
How can I forget
The stupidest
Most beautiful
Things
I have ever known?

I live my life
Knowing that
Legends
Live
Listo”

Cartoon was ready. Still, he was surprised because the streets, the actual tar and cement, had evolved and devolved. White people were pretending the streets were fancier now. There were not as many homeys, not as much anxiety, but the paranoia was of a different kind. You had to watch out for peach people wearing Pendle-tons, white hipsters walking around looking like old school cholos thinking they owned the joint. Techies who swore to the gente that they were their new saviors, but it was a lie, just like the missionaries preached lies to los indios here when they established La Mision back in 1776. In 2012 there was a new danger: gentrification.

The gentry believe in
The great chain of being
To be is to be
King
Then queen
Next nobles

Peasants are
Pre-destined to be at the
Bottom of the chain

With their refined etiquette and
Elite educations,
The gentry
Invented
The law of
Property

The earth was meant to evolve into
Cubicles
Partitions
Workspaces

Wildflowers must be massacred

To be sure they are exterminated
Their roots must be plucked out
Their spirit smashed
Stripped of
Humanity
Heavenliness
The words human and heaven defined by
Kings and Queens

The wildflowers that have survived
Are lost
Scattered
Searching

They thirst for water
Believing their indigenous spirit
Does not deserve even
Love

The cruelest part of this all
Is the gentry-fuckation of spirit
That attempts to take over
Soul

Wildflowers are forced to forget
But they cannot erase
Colors red purple yellow orange
Dancing on the streets
Lovemaking in the backseat

The spirit can’t shake it away
Feels something wrong
But doesn’t know what it is
Can’t articulate it
In the gentry’s ultra-intellectual manner
So is instructed it is wrong
Searches for answers from
Teachers
Politicians
Geniuses
In the schools
In the factories
In the abyss

It finds only
Lies and inexcusable
Justifications

Their eternal answer:

The wildflowers must be massacred

Yes, Cartoon thought, they must be massacred, but in a funny ass way, it’s an honor that my enemies think so highly of me that they gotta kill me. Cartoon was proud that they could not reason with or explain things to him; the gentry’s only alternative was murder.

Cartoon did not mind. He had already lived ten lives, been killed one hundred times over. It was ok. Cartoon was searching for something else.

He hunted for his old mentor Toro.

How was the bull? What had he done with his time?

That crazy motherfucker should be killed, Cartoon thought.

He looked for Toro at the old bull ring on 25th and Capp, and there he was, shirt off, showing off muscles and madness.

Toro was an old man of 41, and like all good old men, he told war stories to an audience of youngsters who did not know any better but to believe him. Beefed up Toro saw lanky Cartoon, all 5 foot ten inches of him, knew it was Cartoon, but continued with his charge in the middle of the ring:

“This is
La Mision
Where
It was tradition
To take off your shirt and
Parade your
Bubbled scars
Green tattoos and
Famous stupidity

You chase cars
You get snapped!
You expect prison and proof
You won’t ever change

Death is the only option

The art is in the funeral
Full of flowers
Ladies crying
Homies drinking
You
Just on display
In your finest
Suit or
49ers Jersey
Knowing or
Not knowing
You made it to the goal:

It aint no sad story
This is a glad story
A bad story
What people with words would call
Uplifting
The day of reckoning
The day of dreams
My grand dreams
My soul beams

Forget about hitting homeruns
I don’t know about winnin an Oscar or
Being president
I got no clue about scoo and
All the small smiles and
Firm handshakes that come with that

I got now and
This is what I call high—
What I think of when I hear of
Success
Accomplishment
Happiness

I’m free”

Toro knew what was supposed to happen next; he was supposed to get stabbed straight in the heart. You could not and should not speak such things and expect to live. Prepared, Toro maddogged the up and coming young matador’s eyes, felt the youngster’s fear. The homey’s hand was trembling. The knife was slipping away from his grip. Toro knew what he could and should do, and sometimes it be that way, Homes. Sometimes, the bull, after getting his ass kicked all day, all night long, and most of the time getting slaughtered like Sunday dinner, sometimes, the bull gets lucky. Cartoon was there. Today was a blessed day.

Toro dug his hooves into the dirt:

“Young matador
This is
The Price of the Fight

In the middle of this
Blood and guts battlefield
This life
We sense we are here
Without knowing what it means
We imagine many things but
Cannot erase our end

It will happen
Now.”

Toro charged. His morillo muscles lifted like las lomas, his horns pointed straight at the objective. The young man flew up high into the sky in his fancy green and yellow matador’s make-up. His red cape went flying, then parachuted down.

Afterwards, after the audience left shocked and disappointed, Cartoon pulled Toro to the side, outside of the stadium gates, where all the hobos hunted for aluminum gold out of rusted garbage bins.

Como estamos, mi carnal, my flesh and blood,” Cartoon jumped on Toro and rode him for only a few seconds because Toro bucked him off on his head. The crude comedy of the lower classes. Cartoon shook out his head that was spinning.

Toro, the five foot six monster of a Chapin, looked down at him then helped him back up.

“I am grateful for this day,” Toro lasered into Cartoon’s big bug eyes.

“We are alive
While others are
Dead

That may not
Sound
Like a lot
But
Life
Is all
We have

Our
Breath
Is a
Blessing.

Yes, it’s a blessing to see you, brother.” Toro was no longer a bull; he was a big fluffy teddy bear. These moments were seldom seen, two men being more than men together. Amor. That taboo concept amongst the macho. They proved they could be more than they were destined to be.

“You looked good in there, Viejo,” Cartoon said as Toro nodded his head. “Still fighting the good fight, eh?”

“Every day is a good day to die.” Toro blew smoke out of his ringed nose.

“Yeah, and it is a beautiful day, huh? Look at that sun!” Cartoon tried to cheer up the fatalistic talk. Toro checked him.

“Have you learned anything on your journey, funny Cartoon?

Real macho men
Don’t love the sun
They love the rain so they
Can hide their tears
Such simple pettiness
Such elaborate betrayal
For honor

While others attempt to avoid
The soaking
Macho men run into
Cold downpours
Sprint into showers
Shadowbox
In the rain.”
Toro, hoping, looked up at the sunny sky.
“I guess I’m crazy but
They look so tough
So sincere
So ready for death

Nobody knows when
A man’s heart is broken.”

Cartoon realized that something was seriously wrong. He had been gone for too long.

“How is your heart, Toro? How is your heart?” With his own fist, Cartoon hit his heart hard.

“They don’t know me anymore,” Toro lamented and limped as they walked the streets. “They see me,” Toro pointed at all the yuppies walking down the street lined by expensive cafes and white-bro micro-breweries, “but they think something else.

I am a bull.

But they don’t see me as that majestic animal. They see only a Mad Dog. To them, all of us are only Mad Dogs that disgust them. They clear out all the old vatos, the homeless homies, from their tents.

Tonight, I wish it would rain.” Toro gazed again at the cloudless heavens.

“Then I would remember and
Feel
The wise homeless men
I used to drink with at old
Union Square
24th Street
Rat infested
Fisherman’s Wharf

Bearded, stinking good men
Good drinkers of
Cisco
Night Train
Mad Dog 20/20

Winos
We shared something in common

The streets

Sitting on cement stairs in
Broad daylight or
Pitch blackness
We talked about life and
Passed around a bottle
We did not care about cooties
We cared about life
Independence

I left for four years
From 87-91
Went to war
Came back
And they were still there
But they were no longer the same
We were no longer the same
Time had changed us

I was a bullet

They were mad
Talking to the sky
Shouting at the stars
Frustrated at their very own faces

They did not remember me and
It was I who was sad to be forsaken
I envied them
Their strength for the streets

When the homeless love you
They also know
How to break your heart
You look at them and you know
That is me
That is me

Who has the right to be mad
When they yell at you?
They bark because
They know you
They remember you

I wish I could be remembered
By them
It is a miracle
To be cherished
To be shouted at by a
Good
Drunk
Crazy
Homeless man
In the middle of the street

You are special
Someone
Not forgotten.”

Toro was no longer talking to Cartoon. He was talking to someone, something else. “Who’s The Mad Dog, Homes?” Toro barked like a gruffy Marine Drill Instructor, straightened up, looked around at these new streets that did not want him. “Cause it aint me.”

“No,” Cartoon massaged his hand on Toro’s solid shoulders. “You were always a straight up killer, but only cause they were trying to kill you. You weren’t a rabid dog. That’s why I’ve come back, to see you, out of respect.” Cartoon did not even know what these words meant, only that they were leading him to where he always needed to be, where he was destined to go from the moment he accepted Santo’s golden inscription.

“How is our Lobo?” Cartoon asked.

“You been gone. You don’t know, huh?”

“Know what? Is he dead?”

“Lobo got busted a dozen years ago. Coca, gun smuggling, suicide missions—they gave him life, homes. Quilmas, San Quentin, right across the Bay. Big Time,” Toro answered.

Cartoon dropped his head. He should have realized even slick Lobo would not have made it. “I got to see him,” Cartoon declared. “You know I’m back to start some good shit, but I got to look in Lobo’s face first, share our journey together, and listen to some of his wolf wisdom. I’m going to visit him at Quentin.”

Toro smiled, lifted up his heavy head, did not seem sad anymore. “You have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” He embraced Cartoon, smothered him in his strong muscles. “You and Lobo together, plotting shit, executing genius ideas, and this world is ours. A long time ago, we had lost balance. You are here to bring it back.” Toro knew that things were about to change for the varrio. Cartoon knew it, too.

“Before the sword, I got to see the spirit: Santo at La Raza Park Cemetery. Should have gone to see him before lookin for you, but I figured it was more important to visit the living instead of the dead.”

“We are stuck in this world,” Toro muttered. “Santo is not.”

Cartoon agreed.

“Oh, shit!” Toro scratched his crewcut head. “That aint completely right, though, that Santo is just a spirit.” Toro grinned, jumped a little.

“What you mean, Toro?” Cartoon asked.

“You really have been gone,” Toro paused, coughed. “You left and never found out that our brother Santo had gotten La Loca Maricela pregnant before he died. She was still in jail when she had the baby, and you were already gone. Lil Santo’s 20 years old runnin around these streets. He helps paint the murals.”

“Fuck you.” Cartoon’s mouth dropped. He did not know what else to say. The brother Santo that had taught him to sail in the sky was somewhat still there to guide their spirits. Cartoon also felt a respect and responsibility to share amor and hard knocks with Lil Santo, his dead mentor’s son.

No matter that it had been twenty years, this was still Take Off.

 

 

 

 

Posted by: benbacsierra | February 8, 2019

The Mission of Dolores

Share something new 🙂

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.

 

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