3/11/09

THE TOWN I LIVE IN




SIMON, DE AQUI SOY. THAT’S WHERE I’M FROM. CITY SKYSCRAPERS IN THE BACKGROUND. THE FREEWAY SYSTEM CRISS-CROSSES OUR LAND. THE RIVER PUENTE SEPARATES OURS FROM THIS SIDE FROM THOSE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE RAIL-ROAD TRACKS.

THE AVENUE, THE MAIN DRAG FULL OF RANFLAS AT ALL HOURS. MURALS OF LA VIRGEN AND ZAPATA COVER OUR BARRIO WALLS. SMALL SHACKS, CRACKED SIDEWALKS AND EMPTY LOTS. LOWRIDERS CRUSIN’ THE BOULEVARD.




MY TOWN, NEXT BY THE RIVER. MY TOWN, SITTING IN THE VALLEY, ON THE HILLSIDE OR BY THE WATERFRONT. TOP OF THE WORLD IS WHAT IT FEELS LIKE. TUCKED-IN SOMEWHERE INSIDE THE CONCRETE JUNGLE. IT'S THERE AT THE OUTSKIRTS, MIGHT AS WELL BE THE RURAL OUTSIDE.

THIS MY TOWN WHERE I’M FROM. AMIDST THE CITY SMOG. DOWN BY THE OCEAN ON A FOGGY SHORELINE. PERCHED ATOP A HILLSIDE WITH THE MOONLITE SHINNING ABOVE,THAT’S WHERE MY TOWN IS AT. OH’ WHAT A MIGHTY SIGHT!

MY TOWN, MY HAPPY SAD TOWN WHERE OLD MEMORIES DIE HARD, WHERE MI GENTE SMILES AND CRIES. HERE ALL THE LAST NAMES WE KNOW, HERE OLD FOLKS DUPLICATE WHERE THEY CAME FROM. AQUI LA RAZA LIVES BROWN AND PROUD!



RIGHT HERE IN THIS TOWN, AQUI LAS RANFLAS BOUNCE UP AND DOWN AND THE LATIN LADIES STEAL YOUR HEART. THE LIL’ HOMIES BAIKAS SPARK CLEAN CHROMED OUT. THIS WHERE THE OLD HOMIES STILL SPORT WITH STILO. THIS WHERE COOL DEDICATIONS FILL THE AIRWAVES NITE AND DAY, ON WEEKENDS AND HOLIDAYS!

IN THE SUMMER, THE WINTER, SPRING OR FALL MESES, AT SUNRISE OR UNDER THE MOONGLAZE, I CAN’T GET ENUFF OF MY TOWN. THIS WHERE I FIRST HIT THE SCHOOLYARD, THIS WHERE I LEARNED TO BE STRAIGHT UP. WHERE I LEARNED TO BE KIND AND WHEN TO PLAY HARD!



HERE IS WHERE HOME COOK AROMAS FILL THE AIR AROUND. WHERE BACKYARDS AND ALLEYWAYS ARE KICK BACK SPOTS. FAMILY GETS TOGETHER FOR CARNE ASADA AT THE PARK. THE LOCAL FAMILY ARE ALL FROM AROUND THESE PARTS, FROM THESE SACRED GROUNDS MOST DEAREST. WHY GO ANYWHERE ELSE, YOU FIND IT ALL IN THIS MY PLACE.

BORLOS, PACHANGAS AND ALL KINDS OF PARTIES. LICORES, MOTA AND EVEN SOME PEYOTE. A DANCEHALL, A POOLHALL AND MAYBE A DRIVE-IN. ZAPATO STORE, A BARBER SHOP AND A SURPLUS STORE TO GO WITH. A CAR WASH, A CHURCH, A KORNER MARKET AND A TACO STAND. SPOOKY STREETS, SHADOW TREES DEFINE THE BLOCK. STRIKE UPS DEFINE WHERE IT SEPARATES OUR BLOCKS!



TANDOS, GAFAS AND CREASES DENOTE THE CULTURE. ACCENT AND COOL SLANG COMPLIMENT THE ATTITUDE. A TRIBAL CULTURE WITH AN OLDEN HERITAGE WHERE STRIKE UPS AND ROLL-CALLS DECORATE, WHERE CHOTAS RIDE IN 4 PACKS FOR SAFETY PURPOSES. DON’T COME AROUND HERE IF YOU’RE NOT FROM HERE. MISDEMEANORS OR FELONIES IT ALL GOES HERE. REFLECTIONS OF THE TOWN WHERE I’M FROM!



AT NIGHT THE EYE IN THE SKY
LOOMS OVERHEAD AND ILLUMINATES. THE BOYS BELOW NEVER SCARED; LIKE HALF DIABLOS AND HALF SAINTS THEY CONGREGATE. THEIR DRAMA, THEIR STORIES NEVER END. NEVER A DULL MOMENT AROUND HERE. STRANGERS EN LAS CALLES BEWARE! FULL CHECK ON SIGHT, DO NOT TRESSPASS. REFLECTIONS OF THE TOWN I COME FROM!



WHAT TOWN YOU'RE FROM?


LATIN TOWN PLAYBOYZ ~ LONGO
TxTOWN FLATS ~ LONGO
BARRIO SMALL TOWN ~ LONGO
BARRIO VIEJO (OLD TOWN) ~ LONGO
DOG TOWN STONERS ~ GARDENA
DOG TOWN PROJECTS ~ LOS ANGELES
DOG TOWN ~ NORTH EAST L.A.
DOGS TOWN ~ INSANE EMPIRE
DOG TOWN ~ SAN'TANA
GHOST TOWN ~ WILMAS
GHOST TOWN ~ UPLAND
GHOST TOWN ~ SAN MARCOS
VICKYS TOWN ~ EAST LOS
VICKYS TOWN ~ NOR CAL
LIL' TOWN ~ ORANGE COUNTY
SMALL TOWN ~ ANAHEIM
HAPPY TOWN ~ POMONA
WOP TOWN ~ SAN DIEGO
OLD TOWN SAN DIEGO
OLD TOWN NATIONAL CITY
BROWNS TOWN ~ LOWER DESERT
ROOKS TOWN ~ BELL GARDENS
RECKLESS TOWNE ~ SUR CENTRO
TOKERS TOWN ~ FULAS
PACHUCO TOWN ~ SAN JO
FOG TOWN ~ DALY CITY
SUR TOWN ~ CHIQUES
FRUIT TOWN ~ SACRA
JIM TOWN ~ WHITTIER
MORTON TOWN ~ WATTS
VINCENT TOWN ~ 818 VALLEY
UPTOWN ~ SOUTH SIDE WHITTIER
TOWNSMEN ~ LA PUENTE
SHELL TOWN ~ SAN DIEGO
FROG TOWN ~ RIVER SIDE L.A.

1/10/09

SHADOWS OF THE NIGHT

SHADOW OF THE NIGHT
LIKE A NITEOWL I AWAIT FOR THE DARKNESS TO COME
TO COVER THE FACE OF THE EARTH
AND HEAD OUT INTO THE NIGHT

ONCE THE SUN SLEEPS
IT IS TIME
FOR THE CRAZED MOON TO CAST ITS SPELL
ON THE CREATURES AND PREDATORS OF THE NITE

THE BEASTY SENSES OF PLEASURE
COME TO BE AWAKEN AND AROUSED
IN THE ABSENCE OF LIGHT

FOR NOT EVEN THE HEAVENLY STARS ABOVE
CAN RESIST THE MYSTIC BEAUTY
OF THE EARTH BELOW UNDER THE MOONLIGHT

SO LIKE THE STARS ABOVE FALL FROM THE SKY AT NIGHT
LIKE THE SINNERS OF HEAVEN
I FALL INTO PERDITION
NEVER TO RISE AGAIN
TO THAT OLD GLORY WHICH IS ABOVE THE CLOUDS

THUS IS THE LUST
THE SEDUCING PLEASURE OF THE NIGHT

AND LIKEWISE
NO ONE CAN SEE WHO WE REALLY ARE
IN THE DARK OF THE NIGHT

LIKE A MASK I TAKE OFF WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OFF
WHEN NO LONGER IS IT A WORRY TO PLAY NICE
ONCE THE DAY IS DONE

FOR THE GREAT BLACK SHADOW OVER I
COOL, PEACEFUL AND SERENE IT IS
SERVES TO COVER MY FRONT

THRU THE MIDNITE HOURS
I PLAY TILL DAWN

LIKE A SINNER OR NIGHT PRIEST
THE MOVES I MAKE
LOOKING TO CONVINCE THE LADIES UNDER THE MOONGLOW
HUNTING FOR SWEET LOVE

INTOXICATED WITH DRINK, SMOKE AND LUST
LIKE A JOKER I SMILE WHILE I PLAY THE TRICKS
LIKE a CLOWN I HELP OTHERS TO LAFFTER
BEFORE I SHARE IN THEIR CRY

EXCUSED OF ALL GUILT
FOR THE NIGHT MOOD IS TO BLAME
A MOONSPELL TOOK EFFECT
RAPTURED THE MOMENT
AND THAT’S HOW IT WENT

THE DARKNESS OF THE NIGHT
MY SOUL TRANSFORMS
TWISTING MY HEART AND MIND
GOOD TOUGHTS GO AWRY
AND A BLACK ANGEL IS BORN

DECEIVING AS THE NIGHT BE
SOOTHING COMFORT
IS ITS GIFT TO ME

A TIME TO MEDITATE IT BRINGS
TWINKLING STARS IN THE INFINITE EXPANSE
REJUVINATE THE HOPES

THE COOL BREEZE AT NIGHT
FRESH OXYGEN TO MY WEARY LUNGS

THE CRECENT SHAPED MOON ABOVE
SMILES DOWN ON ME
LA LUNA TILTED DOWN AS IF ON A CRUISE

AND THE QUIET, THE SILENCE
ACCOMPANING EACH NIGHT
BRINGS REST TO A WIRED MIND

ITS COOL CRISP AIR
CARESSING MY SLEEP
LIKE A FAITHFUL LOVER IN LOVE

SOMETIMES IT FEELS AS IF THE NIGHT
CAN READ MY MIND
AS IF IT WAS A PART OF ME
AS IF IT KNOWS EXACTLY WHO I AM

INDEED WE’RE MUCH ALIKE
WE’RE BOTH SHADOWS IN A DARK WORLD
THE NIGHT AND I

BOTH GOING THRU THE MOTIONS
DREADING WHEN THE SUN SHOWS UP
AS IF NOSTALGIA WOULD ESCAPE US
AND NEVER COME BACK TO US

THE TIC TOCS GO BY
AND THE CREATURES OF THE NIGHT
AND THE SHADOWS OF THE NIGHT
WITNESS THE SUNRISE

AND THEN WE COME TO REALIZE
THAT THE DAY AS WELL IS FILLED WITH LILLITH’S
AND WAREWOLVES ON THE PROWL
JUST LIKE IT HAPPENS ON A FUCKED UP NIGHT

THE SUNRISE WORLD
PREYING ON WEAK MINDS
PLAYING ON SWEET LIES

WHAT A TRIP
THE TOUGHT CROSSES MY MIND
SUN UP COULD USE A LITTLE NIGHT LIFE

IF MAYBE SIMPLY TO ESCAPE
THE PHANTOMS OF THE LIGHT
WHO STEAL FROM THE DARK
TO CARRY ON IN THEIR CRAFT IN BROAD DAYLIGHT
TURNING A BRIGHT DAY INTO GREY SKIES
LOST ANGELS FROM THE DARK
CREATING THEIR TWILIGHT AT DAWN

AND SO I WAIT FOR THE TRUE OF THE NIGHT
TO ESCAPE FROM THE NIGHT OF DAY
FOR LIKE A ZOMBIE UNDER A MOONSPELL
I TOO AM A CONVERT TO THE NIGHT

LIKE A SHADOW IN THE NIGHT
I'LL BE GONE WHEN THE LIGHT COMES UP

1/9/09

ORANGE COUNTY OLD NEIGHBORHOODS

BARRIOS, COLONIAS AND CAMPOS;

IN SEARCH OF HISTORIC MEXICAN NEIGHBORHOODS


Mexican urban Barrios and Colonias in the early 1900s often formed around a particular place of work where property values were low, or where lots had been subdivided again and again for the profit of a land speculator, whereas outside the city limits, employers and packing houses often supplied company housing in an effort to promote a stable workforce. In the greater area of La Naranja (Orange County), many early century Colonias and Barrios were established as citrus camps, where workers were tied to a single employer or packing plant. Residential patterns ranged from company built housing areas, to communities in which workers laid out the street, built their own homes, developed small businesses, and as was also done in Santa Ana’s Barrios, engaged in the domestic production of clothing and vegetables. By the 1950s, there were some 40 Mexican neighborhoods spread across all of Orange County. Some of these old neighborhoods you can still find, but it’s too late for finding others because they have been done away with by gentrification.

Gentrification projects intended to drive out Mexicans from Orange County are nothing new. In the 1930s, immigration officials deported entire camps in La Habra and Fullerton. During the 1950s, Anaheim officials bulldozed the La Conga Barrio near Glover Stadium to clear space for parking lots. Barrio after Barrio have fallen victim for one gentrification project or another over the last century. And the sinister planning continues to take place even to this day. From San Juan Capistrano to Fullerton, among swap meets and factories and all along the railroad tracks, luxury condos, apartments, homes and other pricey developments are metastasizing in or near neighborhoods and commerce centers that Mexicans have populated since the days when orange groves outnumbered people.

The coming loss of community in these Barrios might not be as dramatic as what happened during the massive Mexican deportations executed by county and federal agents during the Great Depression and the 1950s. But gentrification ultimately proves more insidious and more successful in getting us Brown Raza out. So take a cruise through those remaining Barrios, check out their people and their streets and enjoy their history before yuppie filth ruin them as they did Echo Park.

You and I both know, that there is something very special about those scatterd places were our familas, our kinfolks, and our old neighbors grew up, were we grew up. Something so special that it makes us say with fondness and pride, that we are from Santa Nita, from La Colonia Independencia, from La Jolla, from Los Coyotes or from this or that Olden Barrio or Colonia. Because in spite of the poverty of the places, the richness is in the heritage, in the close-knit nature of the people who live there sharing joys and the tragedies which life has to offer.

What remains of many of those that have disappeared under a never-ending OC developing project are the stories and photographs, intact in the hearts and minds of those viejos who lived the tiempos.

Here's a list of some of those old Mexican neighborhoods.

BARRIO PILAR ARTESIA (WEST SIDE SAN'TANA)
BARRIO LOGAN (EAST SIDE SAN'TANA)
BARRIO DELHI (SOUTH SIDE SAN'TANA)
BARRIO SANTA NITA (WEST SAN'TANA)
COLONIA JUAREZ (FOUNTAIN VALLEY)
COLONIA INDEPENDENCIA - LA COLONIA (ANAHEIM)
COLONIA MANZANILLO (GARDEN GROVE)
COLONIA LA PAZ (GARDEN GROVE)
EL CARGADERO (EAST SIDE SAN'TANA)
LITTLE HOLLYWOOD - LOS RIOS (SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO)
LA CONGA (ANAHEIM)
LA FABRICA (ANAHEIM)
LA JOLLA (PLACENTIA)
LA PALOMA (PLACENTIA)
LA PALMA (ANAHEIM)
COLONIA ALTA VISTA (LA HABRA)
CAMPO VERDE (LA HABRA)
CAMPO CORONA (LA HABRA)
CAMPO COLORADO (LA HABRA)
TRAVELERS CITY (ANAHEIM)
PENGUIN CITY - LITTLE PEOPLE'S PARK (ANAHEIM)
BARRIO TIJUANITA - LITTLE TIJUANA (ANAHEIM)
PLACITA SANTA FE (DOWNTOWN PLACENTIA)
LA PHILADELPHIA (DOWNTOWN ANAHEIM)
BARRIO CYPRESS (ORANGE)
LOS COYOTES (BUENA PARK)
CROW VILLAGE - STANTON VILLAGE(STANTON)
ATWOOD (PLACENTIA)
EL MODENA (PLACENTIA)
LA ESPERANZA (PLACENTIA)
LA BOLSA (HUNTINGTON BEACH)
LA MANZANITA (ANAHEIM)


Maybe some of you know exactly where they are located. maybe some of you still live there. Maybe you have something to say or add with respects for your sacred grounds.

SPORTS AND BARRIO RIVALRY

During the 1930s and 1940s community-based baseball clubs sprung up in many Southern Califas Barrios and Colonias, introducing Chicano youngsters to America’s national pastime at a time when Mexican-American sports heroes were few and far apart. But unlike the baseball clubs sponsored by employers and Anglo social reformers who sought to use baseball clubs to Americanize and socially control the Mexican population, the Barrio baseball clubs turned things around, and in the face of racial discrimination and limited opportunities that afflicted the Mexican-American population in the agricultural-industrial cities and towns, baseball took on a symbolic and real social significance. Chicanos used baseball to proclaim their equality through athletic competition, without fear of reprisal, and to publicly demonstrate community solidarity and strength. Mexican-American peloteros took to the diamond fields every weekend afternoon to play independent sandlot. Barrio baseball teams would travel to other Barrios and play other Barrio teams. Just about every large Raza Barrio had a baseball team. These Barrios adopted names for themselves and they played on dirt fields. They played on fields adjacent to rail road tracks, on factory yards, on empty open tracts of land or wherever they could find room to play ball. In Orange County, the Barrios from San ‘Tana, Plasencia, Anaheim, La Habra, Westminster and Stanton would meet regularly. Sometimes even far away teams from Corona, Temecula or Carlos Malo (Carlsbad) would come down to play the local teams from La Naranja.

Mexican-Americans used baseball clubs to promote ethnic consciousness, build community solidarity, display masculine behavior, and sharpen their organizing and leadership skills. In this regard, Chicanos transformed baseball clubs into a political forum to launch wider forms of collective action. But the youngsters, the peewee generations of players from the different Barrios, turned the diamond field brawls and rumbles into long lasting rivalries that eventually turned deadly when they substituted gloves and balls with guns and bullets.

A Classic example would be the rivalry between La Colonia and Big Stanton..


A group of Homies in Barrio La Colonia Independencia sought refuge from the afternoon heat in the shade of a Garza Avenue porch in Anaheim. “You talk to those vatos in Stanton, they act all bad, but they’re all talk.” Said one of the vatos who had VLCR—an acronym for Varrio La Colonia Rifa—etched on his knuckles.

A mile west on Katella Avenue on a Rose Street porch, a similar group of youths who call themselves Big Stanton echoed their rivals from VLCR. “La Colonia think they're bad, but they only know how to flash guns,” a vato from Big Stanton said.

Since the 1930s, the Varrio Homeboys of La Colonia and Big Stanton have been trying to outdo one another. The rivalry was forged on baseball fields, moved to fashionable cars and clothes, and for the past decades has focused on drugs, guns and killings. And despite all the grieving, and all the efforts of Barrio residents, police and community programs, no one has been able to answer the question. When will it all end?

Those growing up in La Colonia and Big Stanton today have more in common —their Mexican heritage, previous generations who labored together in the fields of Orange County and a common lifestyle— than most other young people growing up in Orange County neighborhoods.

But instead of sparking kinship and camaraderie, those similarities have fueled bitter fighting and bloodshed.

How do you take a youngster and tell him to not do what his older peers, their uncles and cousins have committed?

How do you tell them to stop the gang violence?

“It’s almost impossible!”


“Two households, both alike in dignity, from an ancient grudge break to a new mutiny, where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.”