slideshow by Erik Aguilar
by Leslie Layton
Dec. 1, 2011 update: Escobar said today that his case will be reviewed at some apparently undetermined time, and a Dec. 7 deadline for leaving the country has been lifted.
On May 19, 2009, Victor Escobar completed paperwork for graduation from Chico State and rented the gown that for many years he had dreamt of donning. Then he headed for his family’s home in Redding.
Escobar was a political science major who would graduate as a member of the student honor society. But he would never don the rented gown nor walk the stage with his class; his trip back to Redding would commence a two-and-a-half year ordeal that is now, for better or worse, on the brink of some kind of resolution, even if it’s perhaps tentative.
Under the orange trees,
he turned to me and said,
scratch that, all things are beautiful
could he feel
the kitchen table under my elbows,
the taut muscles of my father’s face
tendons like fists, then ropes
the wince, the rocking motion,
what an ugly thing
fingering the dullness.
leaves of an olive tree,
a skirt that swallows dust,
a lime in a girl’s mouth,
skin stinging under fingernails
in the dives of birds over the orchard,
do I not love the world enough?
she is taking a little break from herself now.
her shadow has left the house now,
standing on a rooftop in Rabat,
she knows her shadow is the fog
fossilizing the city by evening
Paint your city indigo
and place it at the heel of the mountains,
at the edge of the rainforest
for the twin peaks like horns,
or for a saint,
and pave it with cobblestone
Make a quiet
and a silky
and a sun that will
like the freshwater of the lakes in Chiapas
Build a place for prayer
on a hill overlooking the city
a mosque, or a raft
and climb or glide, but do not swim
when you hear the call to prayer —
sometimes a marriage procession,
or the voice of the muezzin,
or a dancing boy and his tambourine
Hind calls me mélange with a smile —
but on a crooked side street she likes my accent
and in the hammam she tells me I scrub like the Moroccans do
Her father and I cannot speak
in this house in the Ocean,
but he taps the table
when the sheep in the loft looks at me
and points to the cages
when the yellow birds sing
Gentle shriveled smile of dried fruit
He asks how many hours
from San Francisco to Rabat?
and how do you say in Spanish? and he points
borrego — borrego
until he gets it right
I think I have been here before,
inhale of ammonia and livestock,
folded hands on stained tablecloth
by Leslie Layton
Sydney Cambra, who spent her sophomore year at the fledgling Chico Green School, scrambled this week to enroll at another school a week after classes had begun in the Chico Unified School District.
Cambra, who chose Chico High School, was forced to make the switch after CUSD revoked the Green School’s charter and reported it in violation of state law. Representatives at the school subsequently announced it was closing its doors to fall-term students.
Chico Unified School District says the charter high school has violated the Brown Act, California’s open-meetings law. The decision to pull the year-old school’s charter was based also on its failure to become a candidate for accreditation after a spring visit by an accreditation committee, but it was the Brown Act allegations that dealt the hardest blow. Violations of state law trigger a cut-off in funding to charter schools that are run independently but financed by public monies.