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Sidewalk Cleaning: Alfred’s Plaque

By Javier Huerta

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Here is Alfred, proud and excited, enjoying the honor of having his poem “Corrido Blanco” included in the Berkeley Poetry Walk. I have borrowed the photograph from Lorna Dee Cervantes’s blog. Lorna was there sharing in Alfred’s excitement. Last month as a way to memorialize him, three of Alfred’s students–Robert Reyes, Harold Terezón, and Yo–got together to brighten up his plaque. Here are some photographs from our sidewalk cleaning/reading in memory of Alfred Arteaga.


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This photograph is a “before” picture. That’s Harold looking down at all the crud, grime, and even gum on Alfred’s plaque.
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Harold and I get to work. All three of us took turns scrubbing and reading from Alfred’s works. Robert is taking the photographs; that’s why you haven’t seen him yet.
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Harold starts to put some real muscle into the task.
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Some reading. Some thinking.
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From left to right: Yo; Robert; Harold. A woman going to the 24Hour Fitness down the street was kind enough to take this photo.
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“After”: Here is Alfred’s plaque. Read it.
After the sidewalk cleaning/reading we went to Triple Rock and had some pints. We talked of doing it (the celebrating of Alfred’s plaque) again. There’s his birthday, May 2; there’s the anniversary of his death, July 4; there’s any day we might be walking down Addison St. At the bar we shared our best memories of him. Alfred loved everyone, and everyone loved Alfred.

Comments (2)

  • On November 19, 2008 at 9:58 pm Lorna Dee Cervantes wrote:

    How very wonderful to see this! Not just for your act, but that these pictures are posted here. Alfred was so very pleased when my poem for him, “Shelling the Pecans,” was first published here in my guest blog; a poem which went on to win a Pushcart Prize but he was proudest of having it posted here. He’d absolutely love to see that foto of him I shot at his plaque, “Gee, I feel like a real Chicano, I’ve got my own placa.” (I’m pretty sure he said that.) This makes me very happy. Thank you.
    July 4th. I started my magazine and press, MANGO, on the 4th of July, 1976, just to publish multi-leveled genius poets like Alfred. It’s nice to see him recognized here at the Poetry Foundation.

  • On November 20, 2008 at 6:02 pm Jason Crane wrote:

    Very moving, Javier. Thanks for posting these photos. There’s something particularly touching about the earthiness of the sidewalk installation, and the tactile way in which you honored Alfred and his work.


Posted in Uncategorized on Wednesday, November 19th, 2008 by Javier Huerta.