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Poem: "Retrospect"

Copyright © 1997, 2017 By Diana Washington Valdez

Retrospect
At the transit station People huddle While a drizzle Chills the soul The heart yearns; Through a window A face peers back Past the gray fog, A smile breaks; Doors burst open wide Rushed masses disembark; I stand back frozen, Held back by a thought.

Poem "When Cesar Chavez Died"

Copyright © 1997, 2017 By Diana Washington Valdez

When Cesar Chávez died


Dusty sandaled feet,
Darkened faces seared by sun,
Hands scarred by thorns,
Wounds and overuse;
The arrow of death flung
Stilled Cesar’s soul today,
Stunned farm workers
Arrayed in stony disbelief,
Leave fields with stout hearts crushed,
Gathered, stare at each other,
In unbearable quiet silence;
Their hot tears and mine combine,
A river of grief begins to flow
Watering the soil across the land,
From the grape yards of California,
To the apple groves of Pennsylvania.


[Cesar Chavez died April 23, 1993.
He was a longtime farm worker
advocate and hero to the downtrodden.
He co-founded United Farm Workers 
with Dolores Huerta.This poem
is dedicated to Ms. Huerta.]

International fashion and style over time

My fashion sense over the years ...

Diana Washington Valdez/DZN

If someone asked me if I have a sense of fashion, then I would have to say probably not. If it's a matter of style, which is personal and subjective, then yes, I have that and so does everyone else.

Recently, I read that we ought to determine and let everyone know what our "uniform" consists of, especially in case of becoming accident victim or dying unexpectedly. What could we be known for wearing that would help others to identify us quickly and positively?

After giving it some thought, I decided that blue denim shirts are my favorite thing to wear. My next favorite, for dressier occasions, are Asian-style jackets, like the one in the photo at left. I own two other such jackets that I will be glad to show off in later photos.

Dolce and Gabbana?

I never was the most informed person when it comes to fashion. This was more than evident when friends in Los Angeles told me that Dolce and Gabbana was a major sponsor o…

Border Ghetto 3: J.T. goes on a real date and it's a bust

Border Ghetto, Episode 3: Copyright © 2017
J.T. goes on a real date


J.T. and Way-Pac are friends in El Paso, Texas, a border city opposite Juarez, Mexico. African-Americans make up only about 3 percent of El Paso's population; nevertheless, these two young men who are oblivious to the socio-demographics of the border are leaving their own indelible marks on the community.
[J.T. is waiting to meet Way-Pac to get some tips on where to take his new date, a bank executive he met while conducting an inspection of her home for his fake Acme Security Services business. The two friends rendezvous at the parking lot of a local shopping center. They start off with a greeting and latest elaborate handshake.]
J.T.: About time you showed up, fool. I've got three hours before this hot date with Rhonda. Way-Pac: Who's Rhonda? I've never seen you worry about a date. J.T.: She's this fancy bank official. She agreed to go on a date with me, almost didn't. She kept wondering what kind …

The Border Ghetto and Langston Hughes

About the 2017 Border Ghetto series
Presented by the Digie Zone Network
Dedicated to the late Langston Hughes

Border Ghetto 1

Border Ghetto 2

Check out the adventures of J.T. and his pal Way-Pac, two young black men who live in El Paso, Texas, a community across the border from Juarez, Mexico.

"Border Ghetto" is inspired by true events and real people who live in this border region. It gives voice to a segment of the African-American population, a community you rarely hear about in the daily discourse about the border. Even online discussions about their insights and contributions are practically absent.

Most initial reactions to the use of humor in illustrating a slice of life on the border have been positive. As expected, one of the criticisms is that it plays to negative stereotypes about young black men in America today. Following this logic, the same could be said about the stereotypes of young Hispanic men who live out their daily lives as "cholos." These young men,…

Border Ghetto: J.T. and Way-Pac hit the streets again

Border Ghetto, Episode 2: Copyright © 2017
Art of the Handshake Learn handshakes video
J.T. and Way-Pac hit the streets again
[It’s been four days since the Border Patrol released J.T. and Way-Pac from the detention center after they were able to prove that they were U.S. citizens. J.T. was warned not to climb the border fence again. Today, the two friends are getting together at Way-Pac’s house in East El Paso.] J.T. greets Way-Pac’s teenage brother Zol-Kool
J.T.: Hey my man Zol, is Way-Pac home?
Zol-Kool: Yeah, he’s in the livin room chillin.
[J.T. and Zol-Kool do a fly handshake before J.T. enters the house.]
Zol-Kool: You need practice, J.T., you missed a step. It's not the Macarena or some Sh*t like that, man.
J.T.: You're the man, you're the man, Zol.
Way-Pac: J.T., why didn’t you say you was coming over, you fool?
J.T.: I didn’t plan on it man. Don’t get up. I’ll get me a soda from the frige.
Way-Pac: Always keep some Dr. Peppers here for you, man. You’re the only one that dri…

Border Ghetto: Love on the Border

Border Ghetto, Episode 1

[From © Amar en la Frontera/Love on the Border, 2017 ]

The adventures of J.T. and Way-Pac on the U.S.-Mexico border

… 2017 at the border fence between El Paso, Texas and Juarez, Mexico

[J.T., a young black American, is leaning on his car hood with a 16-oz. container of Dr. Pepper and IPOD earphones hanging around his neck. Way-Pac, his friend, in a brand new BMW SUV, just drove up to meet him.]

Way-Pac: How’s my man J.T. doing?
J.T.: I’m waiting on the senyorita I told you about. She’s supposed to meet me at the fence, here.
Way-Pac: I never knew you had a girlfriend in Mexico …
J.T.: There’s a lot of SH*T you don’t know about me MF’er.
Way-Pac: What makes her so special. How do you know she even digs you?
J.T.: She’s hot. I met her yesterday. She was on the other side of the fence. She said “Hola.”
Way-Pac: She said “Hola” – that’s it? What were you doing here anyway?
J.T.: No man, she said “O-LA,” you know, “O-LA,” with her cute smile and all. Never mind what the F*k I …

Essay: A spiritual crisis can paralyze everything

A spiritual crisis can paralyze everything

F. Scott Fitzgerald: In a real dark night of the soul it is always three o'clock in the morning.

A dark night every day

By Diana Washington Valdez

It is difficult to get back on track with this "memoir" because I am not always sure of whether the past is gone or still present. Our memory records what has already happened, that is certain. But there is another dynamic at work whenever you look back, the effects that the past have on the present and the future.

The term 'dark night of the soul' is described by some as a painful spiritual journey and by others as a spiritual or existential crisis. The best-known expositions of this state can be found in the works of mystics like St. John of the Cross (a 16th Century and to an extent in the writings of Aristotle. In his book "Siddhartha," German author Herman Hesse deftly and beautifully summarizes spiritual conflict through the lives of his protagonist, Siddhartha, and…

A spiritual crisis can paralyze everything

A spiritual crisis can paralyze everything

Quote: F. Scott Fitzgerald: In a real dark night of the soul it is always three o'clock in the morning.

A dark night every day
Diana Washington Valdez
It is difficult to get back on track with this "memoir" because I am not always sure of whether the past is gone or still present. Our memory records what has already happened, that is certain. But there is another dynamic at work whenever you look back, the effects that the past have on the present and the future.

The term 'dark night of the soul' is described by some as a painful spiritual journey and by others as a spiritual or existential crisis. The best-known expositions of this state can be found in the works of mystics like St. John of the Cross (circa16th Century) and to an extent in the writings of Aristotle. In his book "Siddhartha," German author Herman Hesse deftly and beautifully summarizes spiritual conflict through the lives of his protagonist, Siddhar…

The real UFO scare

My UFO scare, Part I
I met an interesting resident of El Paso, Texas, who wanted to share her experiences with me about alleged unidentified flying objects and alien abduction. After hearing some preliminary details about her encounters of the third kind dating back to childhood, I hesitated.
I’ve personally never seen any evidence of the existence of aliens from outer space. I’ve read plenty of articles and books, and like countless others, viewed numerous documentaries and movies about the phenomenon.
One of my favorite Hollywood movies centered on the topic is “Encounters of the Third Kind,” a 1977 release starring Richard Dreyfuss. The scene with him and the mashed potatoes is hilarious. I’m also a huge fan of “The X-Files” movies and television series with David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, a made for TV match if there ever was one.
My reluctance to meet with this woman did not stem from my desire to scoff at these things. Friends and I have kicked around the UFO question for years…