Indian Dice Poetry of Place

I rigged the stars
to defy
the rolls of men,
l i g h t p o l l u t i o n,
smoke
rolling with
fog
in the hills of los angeles.

so much is on the side of the solid blues:
freeways crisscrossing a landscape
that we cannot walk
an earth that will shake massively
any day now, we are told
roar at the millions of dead-
end carbon footprint trails
traversing its skin

now these solid blue men
look down at their scarred city
from the observatory in the hills
build skies
sculpt planets into airy
arching ums,
dome-shaped spaces of forgetting,
rooms of amnesia read more

Young Cajón Player Wins Hearts

ChicoSol contributing editor Lindajoy Fenley is traveling through Mexico, exploring influences on traditional music. She files this report from Mexico City after visiting with the well-known group Yolotecuani that plays the music of Tixtla, a small mountain town in central Guerrero state on the Pacific coast.


by Lindajoy Fenley

Years ago, 2-year-old Osvaldo Peñaloza captured my heart as he adeptly beat syncopated Tixtleco rhythms on a small wooden box — one open palm delivering solid sounds, while the other, gripping a wood block, created sharper accents. On this return trip to Mexico, I watched him play again. At 13, he’s an integral part of his parents’ band, Yolotecuani (Heart of the Tiger). read more

HopPo Fuses Andean Sounds

A modern vision of songs from a past that remains current.

Ruben Albarran, aka “Juan, the one that acts as if he is singing,” and sometimes known as “Sizu Yantra” — it all depends if he is singing in one of the CDs of Café Tacuba (one of the greatest rock mestizo groups from the United Mexican States), or if he is electrified in one of his soloist projects. He is somehow the brains behind this interesting project that combines Andean sounds with the musical restlessness of Ruben “Elfego Buendia” and his musical partners, Rodrigo “Chino” Aros and Juan Pablo Villanueva from Chile and Alejandro Flores from Mexico. read more

Crossroads

photo by Leslie Layton

photo by Leslie Layton

Manteca, 148 miles south of Chico on Highway 99, is on the route motorists have traveled for years from the Bay Area to Yosemite National Park.

by Lindajoy Fenley

Dave Gordon’s mural in downtown Manteca harks back to the early 1900s, when trains steamed through fields of bright yellow sunflowers, and watermelon and pumpkin crops made this San Joaquin Valley farm town prosperous. A huge watermelon rides in a small child’s wheelbarrow, tall gray canisters fill the milkman’s truck, a mother with kids in tow holds a couple of sunflowers, and wispy white clouds hover in a clear blue sky. read more

Undocumented Students: Illegal but not Criminal

Gubernatorial candidates Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown
Gubernatorial candidates Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown

by Dave Waddell

Given the nauseating, demoralizing politics that overshadow the complex family issues of illegal immigration, I was heartened to read of the Obama administration’s intentionally laissez-faire treatment of students who were brought to the United States unlawfully as children.

To me, the best way to counter the demonization of all illegal immigrants, including these students, is to put a human face to their plight. So I’d like you to meet “Alicia,” my student.

I put quotation marks around the name because it is an alias. I would prefer to use her real name, but she fears being identified, despite the fact that students like her are increasingly stepping up and speaking out. Alicia was conditioned by her family to not “rock the boat.” That’s understandable when a wrong move could result in detention and deportation. read more

The Grove

photo by Mike Donnelly

by Mike Donnelly and Leslie Layton

The nine-unit Grove Motel north of Willows on the old Highway 99 has been in the family of Gene Del Pape since 1957. Its sign is a rusting relic with peeling, powder-blue paint and unlit neon.

“They don’t make signs like that anymore,” says Del Pape, noting that it was featured in a historical book. When his father bought the motel on what is now called County Road 99W, it was a four-unit building, a motor court where cars parked between units on a well-traveled highway. read more