On the Death of Raul Salinas
Here's a tribute by Able Salas on Latino USA.
On the death of poet Raul Salinas
March 17, 1934 - Feb 13, 2008
The gift that names itself today
is faith in our capacity for change —
the revolution of one soul, fanning out
like the spokes of the Sun Dance Raul
longed for but didn’t complete because
he said he would do his Sun Dance
when Leonard Peltier was free to
do his, and that didn’t happen
in his lifetime.
You could say the system — neocolonialism,
globalization, the military industrial complex,
the prison industry — is so evil
no one can soften it, and you’d be right.
But change, the revolution of humanity
insisting on justice
will not be silenced, stopped, repressed.
Raul Salinas, a poet, a reformed
convict, a man kicked out in his youth of
his home town, booted to prison, I’ve
been told for ample reason, used his time
behind bars to read, write, finish his education,
start it, formulate an agenda, La Resistencia,
a book store, cultural center, revolutionary hub,
Raul, always a gracious host, welcoming
visitors to the home he’d won back,
layer after layer, taking back his home,
homeland, the community that became
the movement he devoted his life to—
a peacemaker on the streets,
fiercely committed to justice
denied to so many —
Guadalupe torso, fist raised forever
on Vieques — stop dropping bombs here,
He became an Elder —
honed, chiseled, exactly beautiful and wise.
I am sad today.
So many artist/activists have gone
in the last decade —
Ahmos ZuBolton, Lorenzo Thomas,
Susan Lee Solar, Joanie Whitebird,
Ricardo Sanchez, Marsha Gomez,
and now Raul Salinas —
each sang a different part of the song,
spun a different part of the dream.
How to continue without them?
I always think change is possible,
that the ordeals holding us down
today, tomorrow will lessen their grip
on our lives, that the mistakes people
make early on will diminish with time,
that we will each come home, like Raul did
make peace, grow to be elders
embrace the best our souls can glean
from outrageous realities —
Sometimes it happens —
and it gives me hope, the stamina to go on,
when one of us finds his, finds her way home
when la familia opens their hearts
as wounds fall away, or not,
each person healing any way they can.
We can do this.
We can change
©Susan Bright 2008
Susan Bright is the author of nineteen books of poetry. She is the editor of Plain View Press which since 1975 has published one-hundred-and-fifty books. Her work as a poet, publisher, activist and educator has taken her all over the United States and abroad. Her most recent book, The Layers of Our Seeing, is a collection of poetry, photographs and essays about peace done in collaboration with photographer Alan Pogue and Middle Eastern journalist, Muna Hamzeh.
Photo © Alan Pogue, 2000, Vieques, Puerto Rico.
Note: Poets, friends — add your words, poems in our comments section and/or send them to: Rene Valdez, email@example.com. If you are in Austin there is an altar for Raul at La Resistencia, at the corner of W. Annie and South First Street where you can leave notes, poems, etc.
Here is the notice Rene and the bookstore sent out:
“A Tender Warrior fell today…”
Poet and Activist Raúl Salinas, March 17, 1934-February 13, 2008.
It is with profound sadness and heartache that we inform the Austin, Texas and international community of the passing on February 13th, 2008 of raúlrsalinas.
Xicanindio elder, poet, and human rights activist raúlsalinas was the Executive Director of Red Salmon Arts and founder of Resistencia Bookstore—a literary venue and community center for aspiring writers in Austin, Texas. raúl also conducted intensive creative writing clinics locally and throughout the country with disenfranchised youth. These clinics were held in conjunction with a variety of arts organizations, correctional facilities and social service agencies. raúl’s work with various political movements earned him an international reputation as an eloquent spokesperson for justice and advocate for the challenges and struggles of youth. Through SOY (Save Our Youth) raúl reached countless marginalized young people and trained other members of the Red Salmon Arts collective to continue this invaluable work nationally. He worked extensively with the American Indian Movement and the International Indian Treaty Council. raúl was the author of four books of poetry: Viaje/Trip, East of the Freeway, Un Trip Through the Mind Jail, and Indio Trails, as well as three spoken word cds: Los Many Mundos of raulrsalinas, Beyond the BEATen Path, and Red Arc. Most recently the University of Texas Press published raulrsalinas and The Jail Machine: My Weapon is My Pen, a collection of his essays, newspaper articles, and letters. His last published work, an anti-war poem “Loud and Proud”, appeared in the 2007 anthology Telling Tongues: A Latin@ Anthology on Language Experience, a Calaca/Red Salmon Press publication. Since 2001 he was an adjunct professor at St. Edward’s University teaching classes in incarceration and media studies. raúlrsalinas is also the recipient of numerous awards: The Louis Reyes Rivera Lifetime Achievement Award presented by La Causa and The Dark Souls Collective at Amherst College, Massachusetts in 2003; The Martin Luther King Jr./Cesar Chavez/Rosa Parks Visiting Professorship Award given by the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 2003; The Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture in 2004; Con Tinta, a coalition of Chicana/o Latina/o cultural activists and writers honored raúl with the Veterano Writer Award in 2006, and finally the Alfredo Cisneros Del Moral Foundation Award in 2007. He was honored this past year at a pre-opening event, AMORINDIO, held at the Mexican American Cultural Arts Center and “The Road to Austin Concert” held at Auditorium Shores. raúlrsalinas served as a beloved mentor as well to many artists, writers, and scholar-activists whom sought to make a difference beyond the academy. It was fortunate that raul received this recognition in his life and many community memorials are currently being planned in his honor. The work and struggles that raúl was so deeply committed to and was a vital part of will continue after his death.
What it is About
Earthfamilyalpha Content III
Earthfamilyalpha Content II