The Poetry of Trauma

Days of Tragedy, in Past and Present Tense
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Sometimes it feels like everything is happening at once. So came the events of the last few days, ricocheting with harrowing efficiency into seemingly every corner of the country, reverberating in the echo of shots fired into dead silence, cries of mourning from Baton Rouge to St. Paul to Dallas and again, to New York City. It's suspended in the tense withheld breaths of panic attack, waiting for the next attack to happen.

Crude Matter

A Poem inspired by the "Take This Hammer!" exhibit


A poem inspired by the works in the "Take This Hammer!" exhibit at the Yerba Buena Cultural Center in San Francisco.


Crude Matter


it begins with

tending to the feeling

below the neck;

the feeling below the neck

is everywhere.

the feeling below the neck

is not everywhere,


A song featured in the "Take this Hammer!" exhibit
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"Revolution" evolved while I was a member of the sound committee of Occupy Oakland. After setting up our sound system for rallies and actions, I found myself doing the routine sound checks with songs and verses I had written. I vividly recall how my voice seemed to travel from 14th and Broadway all the way to Jack London Square on the General Strike sound system. We ensured that our speakers, such as Angela Davis, would be heard.

Strike this Hammer!

Bay Area Writers at the Art-Activism Nexus
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The exhibit Take This Hammer: Art + Media Activism at the Yerba Buena Cultural Center in San Francisco reveals the intersection of art, activism and culture in a light that is by turns brilliant, bleak and critical. Featuring the work of local artists who put their communities and social movements at the foreground of their work, the exhibit uses a variety of media to express ambivalence and aspiration about the massive cultural evolutions that the Bay has undergone.

Two Poems

Two views of motherhood
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Two poems by Maleny Crespo about motherhood and migration.


1. Existence


My mother became a woman at the age of 15. Two days after her quinceanera, she was gifted her first child. Her first born being me. Due to emotional and economic hardship in Mexico, she immigrated to the states. Existence is a poem embracing the beautifully painful reality of the wonder and difficulty my immigrant mother had to endure and how that is rooted at the core of my identity.


The Price of Migration Equals Slave Labor

The Moral Arithmetic of Border Crossing

As more refugee boats pour onto the shores of Europe and more migrants are deported back home, often to face even more dangerous circumstances from whence they came, many authorities in "destination" countries like the US and European Union nations have tried to create policies to supposedly "deter" migrants from making the perilous journey in the first place.

Two Poems

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Mother handed me circles. Carry these. Place them where everyone can see. Where you cannot forget. Draw yourself. Daughter, you’re more than a closed curve.

I carried them over mountains, swam with them in the sea. At night, I dreamt of salamander tails. Limbs regenerating. Awoke to find the circles missing. How could I return home? Daughter who lost everything? 


Texas may not recognize

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Recently, a group of parents filed a federal lawsuit charging that the government of Texas wrongfully denied their children birth certificates due to the immigration status of their mothers, who are, in legal terms, “undocumented.” At issue was the validity of an identification document called the matricula consular, issued by the Mexican consulate to Mexican-born immigrants living in the U.S., which many mothers have used as proof of their U.S.-born children's citizenship and their family ties.


A Message from Favianna Rodriguez

"Art is always a reflection, a testament and a record of our human condition." Donate Now!