Category: CY Columns

  • Tearful Awakening, a Poem

    With a chest full of tears for the human condition Reflecting on loss, sin and potential perdition I sit back and hope Am I just wishing? Perhaps, I’d be better off spending my time fishing. Cried till I couldn’t cry any more Thinking mercy is a state of the heart; something to extend from the start I would like to express myself with more specificity Yet, people are endowed with remarkable plasticity A tremendous ability to change we are blessed with Return to school at later age, lose weight, learn to live without rage How many of us follow through though? Too much focus on what we can’t, when what we can should form the plan

  • Create, Why Wait? a Poem

    Fistfuls of arugula, hoping to improve circulation and such. Walking and resting and walking again, a tonic for the heart they say. Day in, day out, the need to eat, at times tedious. The play of life, repeated like a Broadway show, one after another. No special matinee performances, though. Just this and that, over and over and over again. Looking for a secret solution to every challenge, instead of looking to ourselves and our behavior. Sure, sometimes we need help. Yes, it’s true. But what about helping ourselves as well. When the water rises and you are in a swell, swim! Do not simply wait for the lifeguard. Do what you can do. We have to keep telling ourselves that. Do what you can do. Arrival. An imaginary destination that never existed. The path, the journey, the act of travel is what it is all about. Ask Mr. Cervantes. It is about flow. Creative flux moving forward, stopping time and forgetting place. The ideal cure for entropy, atrophy and apathy. Of these I sing. Don’t wing it. Plan it. Make it happen and you will be happy for the effort.

  • Bilingual Reading of Women Poets in Pilsen

    The third day of the third month, year two thousand and seventeen. A café named “La Catrina” in Pilsen, a neighborhood in lower West Chicago. People gather to experience the artistic expression of women as Women’s History Month begins. Xánath Caraza and Irma Pineda Santiago, take the stage capturing the audience with poetry. As it often happens in places where community comes together, ideas come to life in collaboration with others. The confluence of efforts of Contratiempo, Cultura en Pilsen and Café La Catrina, brought Poesía de origen, a reading of bilingual poetry by two poets whose life and writing are deeply connected to the original cultures of this continent, America. One might imagine a bilingual poetry reading in Chicago might involve English and some other language, but that was not the case here. The audience attending Poesía de origen, was delighted listening to the voices of Caraza and Pineda Santiago deliver poetry in Náhuatl, Zapoteco and Spanish. To start off, Caraza asked the crowd if they knew how many languages were spoken in Mexico. Sixty eight is the answer.

  • Noticias desafiantes, buena actitud

    Con frecuencia en la vida, nos enfrentamos con noticias que nos presentan retos. Consideremos por ejemplo ir al doctor y que nos diagnostiquen con una enfermedad que ponga en riesgo nuestra vida. No hay salida, esta sería una noticia desafiante, que nos presenta un reto a vencer. Sin embargo, la forma como nos entendemos con estas noticias tendrá un impacto considerable sobre ponernos al reto que estamos enfrentando. Primero que nada, noten que me refiero en las noticias como desafiantes, no malas. El relato taoísta llamado “Veremos qué” se nos ocurre. En este relato, un anciano en una granja en China, se enfrenta una variedad de circunstancias las cuales podríamos apresurarnos a clasificar como buenas o malas. De hecho, su vecino comenta en cada uno de los sucesos teniendo un impacto en el anciano. El vecino dice que es favorable o desfavorable. El anciano, sin embargo, reacciona a las circunstancias diciendo, “Quizás sea bueno, quizás sea malo, ya veremos. "

  • Challenging News, Good Attitude

    Frequently in life, we are confronted by challenging news. Consider, for example, going to the doctor and getting diagnosed with a life threatening illness. There is no way around it, this is unsettling news. However, how we deal with this news is going to have considerable impact on overcoming the challenge we are facing. First of all, notice that I referred to challenging rather than bad news. The Taoist tale called

      We’ll See
    comes to mind. In it, an old man on a farm in China is met with a variety of circumstances we might be quick to label as good or bad. In fact, his neighbor comments on each event impacting the old man, claiming it to be favorable or unfavorable. The old man, however, reacts to the circumstances by saying, “Maybe good, maybe bad, we’ll see.” This story points out that when we get news, news that we commonly perceive as good or bad, we really only know part of the story. The reason is that an event, in and of itself, may certainly affect our lives yet how we react to that event is equally if not more important.

  • Soft Lights, Soothing Music

    We often think of soft lights and soothing music, particularly when paired together, as things pertaining to romance. How often, however, do we consider the sound and lighting of our workplaces and homes? In fact, how much do we really pay attention to what kind of ambience is being maintained there at all? Consider stores you enjoy shopping in. Consider restaurants you like going to. Do you think the experiences you have there are impacted by the ambience? I believe the answer is an emphatic yes. Whenever we go to an establishment, we are impacted, positively or negatively by the environment we find ourselves in. The ambience of a workplace affects workers and customers alike. Customers are likely drawn to places that are clean, well designed and comfortable. Workers, no doubt, are likewise affected by their environs. And at home, the more soothing an environment we can construct for ourselves the happier we are likely to be.

  • Tiny the Giraffe, a Tale

    [*Author’s Note: This is a work of fiction. Any similarities between the characters in this tale and any giraffe, owl, llama, lion, dolphin or other animal or person, living or dead, are merely coincidental.] Giraffes are tall. We all know this. But Tiny was the tallest giraffe in his tower. Tower, it is said, is what you call a group of giraffes. A herd of hippos, a gaggle of geese, a tower of giraffes – interesting. Anyway, being a particularly tall giraffe carries with it pros and cons. certainly, it can make you the pride of your tower. At the same time, it can make it difficult to speak with your other friends in the jungle. Tiny was a fine, friendly giraffe and he had many friends in the animal kingdom. He was good friends with hippos and hermit crabs, rhinos and rabbits, monkeys and mules, lions and llamas, etc. This meant a lot of bending his neck to speak with his friends. And over time, Tiny’s neck and back began to ache. So, he did what any reasonable, particularly tall giraffe would do. He decided to consult a neckologist.

  • New Year’s Resolutions: Are We Keeping Them?

    How many of us are keeping our New Year’s resolutions? I wonder. I suspect the number is not as large as it could be. That leads to the next question. Why? Why do many of us make resolutions at the beginning of the year only to break them a short time later? No doubt, there are a bunch of reasons for this. For one thing, we might become frustrated early on while pursuing our new goal. Perhaps we have resolved to lose weight. Maybe we started on a diet that was unrealistic and so we gave up because it was too hard. Maybe we got on the scale after a week of dieting and saw we lost precious little weight, so we quit.

  • Sometimes; a Poem

    Sometimes, and I want to emphasize sometimes There is this hollow feeling inside And we look to fill it Perhaps a nice meal? For a while, the meal fills us Then the hollowness returns or it does not Depending on what we are doing If we are engrossed in something, we forget the hollowness Sometimes, and I want to emphasize sometimes We feel all alone At times we even feel alone in the company of others In fact, for some of us, we feel most alone when with others

  • Computing 2017, Computers 2017

    Computer Aided versus Computer Addled

    Are you computer aided or are you computer addled, that is the question. Is your smartphone, laptop or PC actually helping make your life better or are those things, in some way, helping to deteriorate a variety of your abilities? Or, perhaps, you are being helped and hurt at the same time. Before we continue, it might be good to think of technology like medicine. Used in the right amount, the right dosage, it can work to make us better. However, too much medicine often proves to be poisonous and it can hurt us and even kill us. Can you go a day without using some form of computer – this includes your smartphone? When traveling somewhere by car, can you navigate using a map or do you need GPS?