ISSN 1551-8086
return to home search for a contributing writer

seach for poems by title

archive of previous issues submissions information mailing list online store links to other interesting sites contact us  
  August 2004
volume 2 number 3
-table of contents-
  home   (archived)
  contributing poets
  Charlene M. Ashendorf
  Richard Beban
  Lawrence Berger
  Tom Berman
  Quiana Briggs
  Leah Brown
  Joseph Camhi
  Jim D Babwe
  Francisco Dominguez
  John Feins
  Sesshu Foster
  Daniel Gallik
  J. Alana Hauenschild
  Kari J. Hayes
  Scott C. Kaestner
  Kenny Klein
  Allen McGill
  Patrick Mooney
  Miss Natalie Patterson
  Alice Pero
  Rebecca Pierce
  E.W. Richardson
  Mani Suri
  Alain Marcel Treadaway
  Mariano Zaro
  mailing list
Charlene M. Ashendorf
August 2004



art by Luis Rubio Vargas

    Charlene M. Ashendorf was born when there were less than 10 million TV sets in the U.S., Eisenhower was President, Bill Haley was giving birth to Rock and Roll, Spock was the guru of motherhood, and Salinger shook the literary scene.
    Her parents, having divorced before she entered first grade, resulted in a split upbringing. Charlene had a gypsy upbringing in Chicago, Illinois, attending 14 schools by the time she entered high school.
    She recalls that her parents split on everything: religion, ethnicity and politics. As a child, Charlene found writing a form of escape and an imaginative play with words.
    Residing in Southern California with her husband, Charlene is a successful grant writer for charitable organizations and is paid for stealing from the rich and give to the poor. She considers her community activism her passion and motherhood her greatest gift.
3210 Montana Avenue
Costa Mesa CA 92626



Recuerde?Do Not be Afraid Jovita

When I was born, Jovita Idar had just married
Bartolo Juárez.

By the time I was walking,

Jovita had established a free kindergarten.

By the time I was talking, Jovita was working as interpreter

Helping Spanish-speaking patients in the county hospital.

By the time I was entering school,

Jovita became editor of El Heraldo Christiano.

She would die childless in San Antonio at the age of 61

Leaving her husband and a legacy behind.

By that time I was ready to understand what I would never become

In San Antonio. Our paths would never cross.

Me llama Jovita,

Soy Mexican-American.

Today is my birthday.

I am 85 years old.

I have no secretos.

Honesto, I will be open

About what little is left of my

Feelings and my past life

Any skeletons are here for you to see.

I think about Jovita Idar Juarez and I am ready now.

I want to be very open about muerte.

I am afraid of dying.

I cannot be a guerrera like her.

Vieja, I am afraid of getting old and death.

She would never see old age

She would never have time to fear death.

I am looking for comfort and hope.

I don't want to be afraid

Jovita Idar Juarez.

I wish to know you

querida Jovita.

I hope you are quite pleased with my small life.

I was drawn to you by our similarities

Our names, our Stories. Jovita.

Maestra, I see that you as a teacher,

A journalist

A political activist,

One of eight children. Just like me

Oh, but Jovita, you led a charmed life.

You were able to attend the university.

Teaching in a small school in Ojuelos

You recognized the inadequacies and poor conditions

I stayed with mi hermanos u hermanas to help them

improve their lives.

We were both frustrated.

You knew you were left with the inability to improve conditions

But there was another life for you at your father’s newspaper

Ah, La Cronica, I know it well. I see it with my tired ojos.

Mi padre was a gardener for the wealthy.

No se, maybe your jardinero.

I stayed behind and read everything

I could get my hands on

I know you were so busy vocalizing, criticizing

Certain aspects of Hispanic-Anglo relations.

You were so lucky a break did not come to me

But I lived on.

I read about the many stories

Educational and social discrimination against

Deteriorating economic conditions

Decreasing use of the Spanish language

The loss of cultura Mexicana

Lynching of Hispanics.

Before I was born you were off

Supporting efforts of the revolutionary forces in Mexico.

Before I was born,

Jovita, you were involved in the First Mexican Congress.

I dreamed of changing the world

But you were there to organize a militant
feminist social movement.

One outcome was the formation of the congress.

I know I would have joined; it was out of my league.

I was changing diapers and wounds at home

But you, Jovita, you became president of the League of Mexican Women

You worked for ALL women and children.

You worked for me.

I married and had many babies like mi madre.

You worked for La Cruz Blanca

I was administering Band-Aids to my bebes.

I am afraid, Jovita.

Solamente, Jovita, you are gone now and I am all alone.

Who will remember me?

copyright 2004 Charlene M. Ashendorf