Sacred Poetry of Place

I. Indigo

Paint your city indigo
and place it at the heel of the mountains,
at the edge of the rainforest

Name it
for the twin peaks like horns,
or for a saint,
and pave it with cobblestone

Make a quiet
rainfall
and a silky
fog lift
and a sun that will
breakthrough

to reflect
whitewashed indigo
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 — read more

Mélange Poetry of Place

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 read more

Charter School Interrupted

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. read more

California Was Never Kansas Poetry of Place

I can’t tell anymore
where this valley ends and where my body begins

driving the length of california
I am shedding potentialities,
rejecting visions,
brushing off hallucinations from my lips and my waist.
not long until
skin ripping
from the contours of the buttes,
from this canyon like a womb

what they don’t know is that
my body
is malleable, transplantable
and what they don’t know is that
my body
absorbed this landscape,
acorn soup and antibodies,
poison oak immunity —
you would think I am native,
you would think I am what you are read more

Tribute to a Latin American Icon

by Tania Flores

The words and melodies of Facundo Cabral have haunted me for almost a year now, surging and welling up in me on days when I can feel wistfulness in my muscles and the folds of my skin tingle with the touch of fabric or the cool wooden surface of my desk. I could not stop listening to “No soy de aquí, ni soy de allá” after discovering this recording, could not help but sink into the song, the back of my throat prickling. read more

Redistricting to Shift Voting Districts;
Citizen Engagement Limited

Seng Yang

photo by Leslie Layton

Seng Yang, program director for the Hmong Cultural Center, says he’d like to know more about what redistricting might mean for Butte County’s Hmong community.

by Leslie Layton

CHICO, Calif.—For the past 24 years, Republican Congressman Wally Herger has represented a swath of Northern California, seldom facing opponents who have had the financing or support to present a serious challenge. Yet, throughout the Northern Sacramento Valley, residents say they’re eager for competitive campaigns that address high unemployment and poverty rates, immigration reform and health care. read more