Somos* Compassion, Peace, Respect (CPR)
We are drowning in the hate,
Even if we turn off the TV, turn off the radio,
Pay no attention to the Internet
Prop a gander.
We must turn off the hate, turn off the disrespect for women,
Turn off the fear of the other and go into the street.
The rich cannibals, the wealthy insouciant
Hate it when we go into the streets,
They’re afraid of our will and
Sweat bullets about their investments.
Like when Ferguson happened I said hello
To the first Black man I saw in the street,
I walked up to him and said, “What’s up?”
We needed connection, we needed to fight hate, we had to reject brutality,
How else could we be?
How else could we shout no to police murders of unarmed Black brothers?
How else could we shout no to fascism?
Unarmed Michael Brown was shot dead by police a few heartbeats ago,
His hands were in the air,
This street Brother felt my grief, my outrage and knew
We want to transform hate to respect,
We want to remodel racism to understanding.
We want to revolutionize gap to rap.
We want to reform ignorance with public education.
(Peace Be To you) my name is Muhammad, he quietly said.
Alaikum Salaam (And also with you) I replied, and we shook hands
Defeating the hate canyon that separates hearts,
Closing the divide we didn’t put there.
Coloring the peace hue anointing his skin and mine
We know we light the torch in the cave where all men share equality,
All women share in birth and death.
All children share in sand boxes and on swings,
When we are all drowning in his poisons of hate or his attempts to harness our fears,
This is the perfect Somos CPR (Compassion, Peace, Respect)
The medicine for the imperfect dance of democracy
— Jim Moreno, Fall, 2016
* Somos – Spanish for “We are.”
Written in the San Diego Writers, Ink Workshop “Thich Nhat Hanh: The Voice of the Buddha” with my students.
Jim Moreno is an Artist-in-Residence teaching poetry with Young Audiences of San Diego since 2005. He was an original member and coordinator of San Diego’s Langston Hughes Poetry Circle and a board member of the African American Writers & Artists. Moreno was also the director of the Encanto Boys and Girls Club Children’s Poetry Choir and the Language Arts teacher at the All Tribes American Indian Charter School on Rincon Reservation.
Since August 2005 he has served as the Poet-In-Residence for the Juvenile Court & Community Schools, where he teaches poetry workshops for at-risk youth in lockups and community schools. Sixty-three of his students have been published in the “Inbetween Places” newsletter, a publication for the homeless. Each of those students were awarded $10 for their poetry. Forty-four of Moreno’s students were published in the San Diego Poetry Annual’s 2015 edition. Six of his students have won first place awards in a countywide Poetry for Peace contest sponsored by the San Diego Peace Resource Center. Each student was awarded $100. Publishing and award monies for his students have added up to over $1,200. Another student won first place in a statewide playwright contest. She wrote the play in her cell in Juvenile Hall. The award-winnng one-act play was performed in a local theater. She had never seen a play before in her life.
Moreno has been a guest poetry teacher at St. Elmo’s Village in Los Angeles, the Heman B. Stark Branch of the California Youth Authority, Los Coyotes Reservation, Chula Vista High School, Crawford High School, The Grauer School in Encinitas, The Vista Buddhist Temple, Southwestern College, the Magee Park Poets in Carlsbad, California, the Point Loma Arts Academy, Explorer Charter School, and the CalSAC Statewide Conference. He has been published in City Works, The Langston Hughes Poetry Anthology, The Magee Park Poets Anthology, the poetry conspiracy, Tidepools, The San Diego Poetry Annual, and others.
Moreno has performed with The Three Deuces, a three-art ensemble with jazz trumpeter Mitch Manker and dancer Michael Tompkins. Moreno authored Dancing in Dissent: Poetry For Activism (Dolphin Calling Press, 2007). As Jim Hornsby, he serves on the advisory board of the Poetic Medicine Institute. He is the host of 2nd Tuesday – Jihmye Poetry, an open mic poetry gathering at the Cafe Cabaret in Normal Heights. He has read his original verse at poetry venues from Seattle to Orlando. Moreno is a Regional Editor for the 2014-2015 San Diego Poetry Annual. He won first place at The People’s Choice poetry competition at the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park reciting his original poem “Strange Fruit & Other Public Executions.”
Moreno is proud to be an adopted member of the Barbareno Chumash tribe. He was adopted by his brother John Moreno, a Chumash elder, painter, storyteller, and singer in a ceremony in the spring of 1995 in Lomita, CA. His mother, Rosie (Nani) Moreno was a Tohono O’dham, Pima, Mexican, Irish elder who inspired those around her to sing with life.