Tuesday, May 20, 2008
State of My Soul Address
I find myself
as I walk
back and forth
and back to work
spying the smack
on the bus stops
the dried shit dripped
to piles in alcoves
& tossing her fists
at the sky as if the sun
itself had cursed her
I find myself
wondering as I weave
within and without
scheduled for so-called
urban renewal—brand new
bricks stacked & set
to re-cover the sidewalks
currently coated by crack
vials & used syringes
I think & wonder
& ask myself
can you revitalize
How do we unite
states hell bent
on long destruction
and self division?
Are there enough
shoulders to carry
the weight of this
and how do we find
if we only ever
preach to our own
My soul is sick
with these questions
and the realization
that souls sicker than mine
continue to spread
Sunday, May 18, 2008
watching locals exploding Judases
near the square. The air is thick
with brimstone & black
powder, and the joyous shouts
of children as the newest Judas
detonates. The children run about
in squealing glee, snatching limbs
from the sky—the biggest purse
the traitor's head, of course.
A young brown boy glows
as the gueros encourage him to pose
for them—head held aloft
or playfully placed
in front of his own face—
as if he understands that we
are all capable of betrayal.
& then the whizzing
starts anew, and attention
shifts to the newest Judas
spinning for his sins—ready
to be obliterated in all his
Friday, May 16, 2008
Hosted By: CityLit
Saturday May 17, 2008
at 3:00 PM
Barnes & Noble Power Plant
601 E. Pratt Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21202
Fernando Quijano III reads
Click Here To See More Info About This Event
Who is Lilith?
Lilith is the rebellious and spiteful daughter of an ultra-conservative Orthodox Jewish clergyman who gets disowned when she escapes to the other end of the country and marries outside of her faith.
Lilith is the once dutiful wife to a celebrity lawyer who hits the breaking point when she discovers her husband's illicit affairs.
Lilith is the once-loving mother driven to the edge by her spoiled, drug-addled children.
Lilith is the savvy internet vixen who cruises the web to enjoy cybersex, seduce young men, and trawl through the darkest databases seeking out images of death and destruction.
Lilith is a dark angel that tempts men with offers to fulfill any fantasy, no matter how sinister, if one of them can commit to torturing and killing her.
Lilith is the woman who willingly dives into a self-destructive spiral that leads her into the arms of the enigmatic SlowHand—SlowHand, who promises to help her carry out any desire she has, including her desire to die in his arms.
Who is Lilith really, and can the love of the one man she respects be enough to save her from herself? Read my novel (You can read the first chapter by clicking on the title), Killing, Lilith and see for yourself. Warning: This novel is strictly for adult minds.
this is the day the universe opens up to me... the day that i throw off the chains of gravity and bound around my old home. earth. california. october 12, 2006. i remember my first, but i will never forget my last. slowhand will kill me while i come, & i will go to god.
..some micro-fiction I originally wrote in 1994 or so... semi-autobiographical... edited a few times ... appeared in "Smile Hon, You're in Baltimore" and heard on "The Signal"
Back in February, when the contest for the Democratic candidat for President was still in question, I received an email from Barack Obama's Campain Manager, David Plouffe (or at least his people) asking for a personal statement relating why I chose to support Obama for President. The idea was to compile the best of these and offer them as part of the conversation seeking the support of superdelegates. Granted, by now this has now become mostly irrelevant, but it's an truthful account of how I feel and have felt about the Democratic Party. Anyway, I wrote it in the form of a letter. Let me know what you think...
I am Fernando Quijano III, born in Jersey City, New Jersey on July 4, 1969. I've been a Democrat for as long as I can remember. My mother taught me from an early age that I needed to be grateful to the party that helped us survive. You see, my mother raised three children on welfare. As one of those children, I learned that the Democratic Party was responsible for creating and protecting the programs that helped to keep families like mine safe from poverty and homelessness. While Republicans tried to sell us "Trickle Down" Economics, the Democrats gave us hope.
My family needed hope. The reason we relied on Social Services was because my mother was a drug addict. She acquired a heroin habit from a man she met when she was only a teenager, and she struggled with it all her life. That struggle made it difficult for her to maintain a job. Government programs made sure that, even during the hardest times, we had a place to live and food to eat. Not only that, but a decent education. I'm also a product of the public school system—one that, for all its flaws, served me well.
Thanks to government programs, I was able to go to colleges. I say colleges because I've been to three over the past twenty years, and I'm still not quite done. I tell folks I'm on a 20-to-Life college plan. Regardless, none of those years would have been possible without help from the federal government. I always imagined the Democrats as the guardians of families like mine who need just a little help to make a good life possible—until recently.
I began to lose faith in politics during that miscarriage of justice posing as an election in 2000. I continued to lose faith as I watched Congress in deadlock while the Executive Branch usurped more and more unchecked power. There have been times when congressmen and senators have reached across the aisle to compromise for the sake of their citizenry, but those times have been few and far between. Just as frustrating was the wheeling and dealing of both parties with lobbyists and corporations, not to mention rampant spending and today's buzzword, earmarks.
It was as if the people I had trusted the most had forgotten all about me. Not me necessarily, because I'm doing well enough now. I mean others like me, others that I know are raising families or growing up under impoverished and sometimes dangerous conditions. I can honestly say that as late as a year ago, my plans were to abandon the Democratic Party altogether and hope that a third party might come along to change things—at least stir them up. After all, Lincoln saved the Union as a third part candidate, didn't he?
And then I learned about Barack Obama. I had heard him speak once at the 2004 Democratic Convention. He was touted as a fresh voice, the future face of the Democratic Party. Little did I realize then that he would be the catalyst that would reignite my hope that government can in fact work for the people. Not just me. After the Iowa Caucuses, what began as a buzz soon became a roar—the roar of an increasingly apathetic electorate regaining its voice. Even friends who had lost hope in politics and politicians long, long ago were discovering possibilities they never imagined.
I admit, if Barack had not decided to run I would have likely voted for Hillary Clinton. I admire Senator Clinton, and I was happy to see that she made some valiant efforts to join Democrats and Republicans in getting things done. However, even if she were electable, I would have always doubted whether she would be willing or capable of cleaning up the stagnation that has all but enveloped Washington. In my heart, I know Barack can and will.
In the end, my family was ravished by drug abuse. My mother died of AIDS in 1991. My uncle, the closest I ever had to a father, died of AIDS a few years later. My little brother, sixteen when my mother died, eventually fell to drug abuse himself. He died of AIDS the day after Christmas in 2006. But thanks to various opportunities supported, if not pioneered by Democrats, I have a sister who made it out okay. She's a successful retail manager. I'm not doing too badly myself. I'm a successful retail manager in my own right, and an aspiring writer hoping to publish one of my novels someday soon. I'm also happily married with two children (I'll take the credit for that!), both of whom attended public schools like their father.
Perhaps most importantly, I understand Barack Obama's message of personal responsibility. I'm truly grateful for the opportunities I've been given, and I've given back by volunteering my time to community programs and organizations. I plan on continuing to give back by teaching once I finally finish that degree. People want to do more for their country when they feel their country is doing for them. That is what has driven the United States of America since it's inception. If you support Obama's candidacy, we can make sure that hope, benevolence and a sense of responsibility for each other continue to move our nation forward rather than allow fear, greed and apathy to continue to hold us back.
Fernando Quijano III
Perhaps it is too soon to draw comparisons between Obama and Lincoln. After all, as of this writing, while it is a given that Barack Obama will capture the Democratic nomination, he is not assured the Presidency. However, the connections between the two are unmistakable, and if Obama does indeed win election to the highest office in the land, I believe it will be the ultimate fulfillment of everything Lincoln fought for.
Before I get pounced on by the history buffs, I do understand that Lincoln did not, at first, set out with the purpose of freeing slaves. If anything, his campaign was a rejection of the status quo—continual compromises with slave owners that threatened to eventually expand slavery nationally—as not just ineffective, but dangerous.
It was the general feeling in the South that every state should be able to choose whether or not to allow slavery, and their hope was that they could expand slavery into territories extending all the way to the Pacific. Meanwhile, pro-slavery forces flooded not-quite-a-state-yet Kansas with slaveholder settlements from the slave state of Missouri and elsewhere.
When the time came to create a constitution, a requirement prior to statehood, slavery proponents imported thugs from outside of Kansas to stuff ballot boxes to assure that Kansas would in fact be admitted as a slave state. The delicate balance between North & South was in jeopardy. Lincoln simply wanted to maintain that balance and hold the Union together.
Of course, things worked out a bit differently than expected. Southern states began seceding almost as soon as election results were announced, and soon after his inauguration, Lincoln and the country were thrust into a war no one really wanted. It was during the Civil War that Lincoln's beliefs evolved. On September 22, 1862, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. While not abolishing slavery outright, it did lay the groundwork for what would ultimately become the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Not bad for someone whose political experience amounted to eight years in the Illinois State Legislature followed by two in Congress.
By this point, I'm sure you can see where I'm going. As a matter of fact, some might dismiss this essay as just another in a line of those I've written to support my candidate. This line of thinking is not entirely off base. However, regardless of whom you support, you can't deny that the parallels between Lincoln and Obama are fascinating. This is not to say that I believe we are a nation on the brink of internal war. Nor am I guaranteeing that Obama, should he ultimately be elected, will be as great a president as Lincoln. I do however believe in Destiny.
It feels a bit like Destiny when the first African American to have a viable shot at the Presidency can virtually tie up his nomination on the anniversary of Lincoln's Inauguration (March 4, 1861 & 1865). It also feels like destiny that 148 years later, another presumably inexperienced, yet eloquent politician rising to prominence after a tenure in the Illinois State Legislature, followed by a short stint in Congress may soon be the one who will finally fulfill Lincoln's Legacy.