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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I hurried to my son's gravesite

By Sean Cruz

I hurried to my son’s gravesite as the sun was coming up

Today was—would have been—was, and now forever will always be was, nevermore is, his birthday, and I would mark it with a vigil until sunset, with a vigil and a song, with a song and a lament, and with these words:

I hurried to my son’s gravesite as the sun was coming up

I brought him flowers, a glass vase, music and incense, an orange

I hurried to my son’s gravesite as the sun was coming up

I brought him photographs, dried fruit and nuts, and my blind Airedale Rex

I hurried to my son’s gravesite as the sun was coming up

I brought him a painted stone, and sips of tequila to share on his birthday

The sun was coming up

My son lies near the top of the hill

Among strangers he lies near the top of the hill

My son lies near the top of the hill

Among strangers he lies near the top of the hill

In the late afternoon came a grieving father

To a grave nearby came a grieving father

A son forever four lay beneath a marble racecourse

An oval with his fifty favorite cars embedded forever

Selected personally by the grieving father

Maintained personally by the grieving father

He worked in silence with his brushes and oils

The headstone cut racecar shape, a heart broken forever

In the late afternoon came the grieving father

Father of a four years forever child

Like a sailor who lies buried where he washed ashore

On this lonely knoll far from any semblance of home

My son lies near the top of the hill

Among strangers he lies near the top of the hill

My son lies near the top of the hill

Among strangers he lies near the top of the hill


The vigil took place on March 21, 2010, Aaron’s birthday, at a cemetery in El Dorado Hills, California. The four-year-old’s father was one of the few persons to visit the cemetery that day, and no one came to remember my son but me.

I wrote this piece on April 20, 2010.

It was five years ago today, on April 20, 2005 that I received a phone call from the police in Payson, Utah, who told me that my son was found comatose and unresponsive there in his mother’s vacant former home. Aaron had a serious seizure disorder aggravated by years of medical neglect, emotional abuse and abandonment inflicted during his kidnapped years in Utah.

He was pronounced dead on April 25, 2005, and buried near Sacramento on May 3, 2005, a location convenient for his mother and her fifth husband, Aaron’s 3rd stepdad, a man who never knew my son.

There is no closure on a kidnapped child. The death of the child does not create closure.

The death of a kidnapped child only adds another dimension to the tragedy, to the trauma.

A kidnapping is a continuing crime, and so are its consequences.

Aaron’s grave lies no more than twenty miles from Sacramento, from the state Capitol, and it is there that I will seek the introduction of legislation making California the second state in the nation to adopt Aaron’s Law.

Watch me work!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Jim Pepper Live at Raab on cd

PAO Records has issued this live performance of Jim Pepper with the Amina Claudine Myers Trio on cd, titled "Afro Indian Blues"

Recorded May 19, 1991
International Jazz Festival
Raab, Austria

My copy just arrived in the mail.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Portland celebrates Cesar Chavez Day in grand style!

By Sean Cruz

Marching bands! Salsa! Viva Cesar Chavez!

The newly-renamed Cesar Chavez Boulevard was the place to be in Portland on March 31, Cesar Chavez’s birthday, where members of the Committee-Once-Bent-on-Renaming-Interstate led a parade of marchers, floats, drill teams, puppy dogs and candidates for public office before exultant throngs of celebrants who lined the Street Also Named 39th Avenue.

The event went a long ways towards establishing Portland’s reputation as second to none in the honoring of the late Mexican American civil rights leader, and one can only hope that next year’s 2011 Second Annual Cesar Chavez Day Celebration will come close to matching the fervor expressed in this one.

The Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce won the Best Float award with its entry, a block-long bean burrito (which happened to be the only Mexican food available along the entire length of Cesar Chavez Boulevard) on wheels.

The list of speechmakers is too long to be listed here, but let it be said that what was lost in inaccuracy and misinformation was made up for in me-tooing, hiney-smooching and vote-begetting, just like during the campaign to rename a street—any street—no matter what any street—even this one--for the Chicano civil rights leader.

Cesar Chavez Day Grand Marshalls Luis Ornelas and Sean Cruz presided over the parade, riding in a chopped and channeled yellow ’57 Chevy lowrider with California license plates, red flames and Chicano art painted on its sides, giant foam dice hanging from the rear view mirror, bumping up and down just like in the Cheech and Chong movies.

The event’s organizers ran into an unforeseen problem when the parade reached the neighborhoods in NE Portland where Cesar Chavez Boulevard is only five feet wide, but it is hoped that they will figure out a solution before next year’s 2011 Second Annual Cesar Chavez Day Celebration,when it is also hoped that Mexican American comedian George Lopez will accept an invitation to serve as Grand Marshall.


Cesar Chavez was a Mexican-American migrant farmworker, the son of Mexican migrant farmworkers, who became a civil rights leader of national importance, beginning with his work to ban the backbreaking, crippling short hoe then in common use from California to Texas.

He is regarded as a transformational figure in the international struggle for human rights, noted for his Ghandi-like non-violent tactics and self-sacrificing approach.

His many long fasts no doubt shortened his life.