MemorialThank you for visiting Itzolin García's memorial website. Please feel free to celebrate and remember him by sharing your own stories.
I met Itzolin at the very beginning of my 4th grade year at Longfellow Elementary School. We were both part of a very small group of gifted students who all spent a lot of time together studying. Because of this, I had the luck and opportunity to spend all of 4th and 5th grade getting to be friends with one of the most amazing minds I have ever encountered in all my travels. His brilliance was astonishing and enough to make me quite insecure about what I thought were my "great" intellectual gifts. It was needless anxiety, as Itzolin proved to be a wonderful friend and classmate. He was gifted academically, but I recall how impressed how I was with his amazing artistic talents. I recall him having a book of poetry in Spanish being published when he was even younger than when we met! I never spoke or saw him again after my final day at Longfellow. I was unaware of his tragic death until now 8 1/2 years later. I say that as to my shame for not having known sooner. Nevertheless, I think it is best to close this by saying that while I only knew him for a brief window of our childhoods, my life was forever enriched by the privelege of his friendship and company. Rest in peace, thank you for the friendship and the laughs during our association.
Vince Aragon, October 5, 2011
The other night I was in my parents' garden and saw where my dad wrote your name in concrete. I wonder if you would remember the sailing ship treeless treehouse where we used to write so many poems while drinking grandma's tummy mint tea. I miss you everyday and hope your star has found a place to light.
Nikko Harada, email@example.com
I don't know how, or why, but I thought of you this morning. I attended school with you for such a short time, at Rio Grande, our Junior year, do you remember? You touched me deeply. I remember being your close friend, and finally telling you that I liked you as more. You were so great about how you dealt with it, that it didn't hurt me or our friendship. I have read your comment in my yearbook (the one that took up the entire inside front cover) several times. Your comments were so uplifting to me, as high school can be such a difficult time.
I decided to "Google" you, as I felt quite sure you would do something special, and that perhaps I could contact you to say hello and that you were in my thoughts. I was so saddened to read of your passing, especially that you had taken your own life. It brought me to tears, and I haven't seen or spoken to you in over 15 years! My thoughts are with your family, as though it has been almost five years since your passing, I'm quite sure they still feel the void your loss has brought to their lives.
I was so proud to read of all your accomplishments, and to see how many you touched in your too-short life. I felt pain for you at reading of the loss of your father, to whom I know you were close.
I am regretful and ashamed that I waited this long to "look you up" only to find I was too late, but it would be worse to continue on without saying anything. I consider myself lucky to have known you and to have been counted among your many friends, if only for a short time. This has been said often, I'm sure, but you will be missed. All my Love.
Angela McGuire-Pike, Albuquerque, NM angela.nospam@@walkinwills.com
Please accept my belated but sincere addition to the collection of memories of Itzolin from all those he touched.
I knew Itzolin at Yale-- he was a student in an English class for which I was a teaching assistant, back in the fall of 1996, when I was a graduate student in comparative literature. He was in my section for only one session, but left an indelible impression. Over the rest of the year, I made a point of getting to know him, as much as I could, enjoying every opportunity I had to talk to him-- after class, or just around campus or the streets of New Haven. And, after every conversation, I would leave thinking "What an extraordinary young man." I envied those who had the privilege of having him as a student and was always impressed by his swift intellect and his good, decent heart.
Even now, more than ten years later, having left behind my own academic pursuits long since, I have thought of him often and wondered what became of all the promise he showed. Tonight (30 June 2007) it occurred to me to Google him.
To learn that someone so much finer than so many people I have known ultimately took his own life has left me shaken and saddened.
Antonio Romero, firstname.lastname@example.org
I fell in love with Itzolin the moment i saw him. A beautiful man, as cool as he was sensitive and deep. I remember he was in love with a long haired-guerita. He told me that one day they were having problems and he was losing hope. Then he sat at a phone booth in an airport and saw her name: I love ---. And he knew it was a sign to keep that love alive. After graduation i found his phone number and thought of calling him to say what's up. but i never did. sorry i never called, itzolin. you are the most poetic vato i ever met. you will be missed. QEPD.
Diana Mendez, Inglewood, CA email@example.com
Itzolin was an early enthusiast of e-mail, and he used it avidly. I've found a piece of paper from 1998 where I noted that he said, "Think of it. You have an address that is neither concrete nor real. What we have here is a specialization of concepts, ideas, electronic noise, or perhaps a digitalization of space, the pixillating of our thoughts, our breath, our soulmoons. I am delivering an electronic breath to an untouchable, lunar mailbox where you will receive it with a few touches at the skin of a grey keyboard."
I think that Itzolin would get a kick out of the viral intrusion below. Serendipitous poetry of despair, utopia, and America.
brooklyn, NY United States -
Las-Ires, Livados Peru -
Livados, Livados Chili -
I knew Itzolin during his martial arts era. I studied Kung Fu with him and as a senior student became one of his instructors. Never in my life have I met a child with more promise, fire and enthusiasm for life than Tiko. His compassion for others, inquisitive mind, determination, energy and love of artistry (regardless of it's origin) knew no bounds. He gave as much or more than he received; challenging me, as an instructor to find other avenues of instruction and inspiration. I always knew he would do great things in life and the memorials on this page are testimony of that. He accomplished at a very young age what so few of us manage to do in a life time. He made a difference. He showed us what is possible if we live in the moment and follow our heart. Mia, my condolences and love to you and your familia.
Jerry Towle <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Albuquerque, NM USA -
I thought about you this morning when I woke up to the sounds of a hummingbird chirping on my window-pane. I can't believe it's already been two years since you left us in physical presence. I wanted to visit your site to share this song by Lila Downs with you and your loved ones.
ICNOCUICCATL (The literal translation is “sad lament” in Nahuatl, but it was written as an orphanage chant)
Lyrics: Natalio Hernandez
Queman nehuatl nionmiquis
Amo queman xinocueso
Ocsepa nican nionhualas
Queman ticonitas tonatiu
Ica moyolo xionpaqui
Ompa niyetos ihuan totahtzin
Tomorrow when I die
I do not want you to be sad;
To this place
To this place I will return
I will come in the form of a hummingbird
When you look to the sun
Smile with happiness
There I will be with our father
A good light I will send to you
Manana que yo me muera
No quiero que estes triste;
Aqui yo volvere
Convertido en colibri
Cuando mires hacia el sol
Sonrie con alegria;
Ahi estare con nuestro padre;
Buena luz yo te enviare
I will remember you always.
Gaby Erandi (Sunrise)
Gaby Erandi <email@example.com>
Berkeley, CA USA -
I knew Itzolin in high school. We were in a band together at Valley High in Albuquerque, we went on a few camping trips together, and although I only knew him for a year, and lost touch over 13 years ago, his soaring mind, amazing guitar skills, and boundless energy made a strong enough impression on me that I would think of him from time to time. To my great sadness I found his memorial website, and I offer his family my condolences. He was truly one of the most interesting and creative people I have ever met.
Matthew Williams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sarasota, FL USA -
I am a cousin who never met Itzolin but remember his mother from trips to Minnesota. I share your grief and pain over this tragic loss. Cynthia
Cynthia Rowberg <Divadiva16.email@example.com>
Ridgewood, NJ USA -
Every time I would meet up with Itzolin it was completely spontaneous. We ran into each other once outside Atticus Books on Chapel Street in New Haven, once at the entrance to Calhoun College. Every time we met we would have amazing conversations, about literature, philosophy, spirit - anything we were reading or thinking about at the time. We lost touch after he graduated and then a year later we ran into each other on Valencia Street in San Francisco. He told me he was studying literature at Stanford and was writing a play. I told him I looked forward to seeing it performed and wished him well. We only spoke for a few minutes and then he was gone. Every time I would run into Itzolin I would come away refreshed, inspired, full of new life and thought. From what I knew of him that's the sort of person he was. A true thinker - someone who saw, felt, perceived things on a very deep level. Rest in peace, my friend in serendipity.
Noah Enelow <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Amherst, MA USA -
It's getting warm here in Burque again, 'manito. Remember one year after the Ice Cream social at Longfellow when everyone broke up cardboard by the playground and brought them up to Anthony's room so that you could breakdance. That night you taught me how to poplock my tongue. I still do it.
The wysteria in my parent's front yard hasn't blossomed yet, but its branches almost shade the whole koi pond (Dad still hasn't put any koi into it). My feet still kick and wander in dreaming. I wake with covers at the foot of the bed and my cheeks wet.
We went to Carraro's Pizza last night and played pool, kept running out of quarters and scratching on the eight-ball. It was the same table we played on when you visited Burque. Played "Summertime" and "Oye Como Va" on the jukebox. The moon outside was a sliver but you could still see the outline of its whole.
Nikko Harada <email@example.com>
Albuquerque, NM USA -
Homie, I just had suffered another sleepless night...I couldn't sleep, having some family drama and found myself with very little friends who were awake that I could talk to. And I remembered how I always felt I could call you whether it was 1 or 4 in the morning and how you'd just sit there and listen--and offer comhere and listen--and offer comfort, support or a shoulder to cry on. And I glanced over to your picture and it made me feel less lonely and a little bit better about the world. I still thank the Creator for putting you in my path, even if it was for a very short time. And it is ironic that I am following your similar paths from the Mission to Adams Morgan in DC to 'Burque, New Mexico next month. I'm finally going to see those turquoise caves you told me about! And the red Navajo earth you said you missed...
I miss you, Itzolin. I pray for your spirit whenever I enter the sweatlodge. Your heart deserved much more than what this material world could offer you...I hope the spirit world is nourishing you. Save me a seat next to you. I want to see the beauty of your spirit and the spark of friendship (of mutual understanding and acknowledgement of connection) reflected de tus ojos a los mios otra vez.
Gaby Erandi Rico <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Washington, DC USA -
Today I celebrate Ali your cousin's birthday Itso. Things are great in Laredo where Ali shares the presidents week
May the Lord be watching over you guys
Laredo, USA -
Having just recently learned of Itzolin's passing, many early memories come back to mind. Although the last time I saw him was while I was in high school in Albuquerque, it is the early experiences we shared that touch me. I first met him in second grade and we became good friends - something we stayed for a long time. We both went to middle school together - writing stories and learning together in "gifted" class in the library. We both attended Space Camp together in Alabama. In order to raise money, we worked with Itzolin's late father in designing a poster to sell. Naturally, Itzolin was the primary artist, incredibly bright! He touched not only myself, but my family as well. We all will never forget him and his passion for life, even though it has been many years, still plays a part in our lives.
Nathaniel Goetz <email@example.com>
San Diego, CA USA -
Xilo, Itzo may your presence be with my Domi and Ali in internal life, happy 2004.
Love and happiness,
Tio Chiqui y tu prima Monica
Saludes de Laredo. Feliz Ano 2004
Tio Alex Chiqui Quintanilla <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Laredo, tx USA -
I was a friend of Itzolins for 20 years or so. He gave me many wonderful memories that I will always cherish. I remember sleeping on his garage roof at his fathers house, knocking down bambo with wooden swords to save the princess (his sister)in his mothers back yard, when his mother lived in ABQ. I remember playing role playing games with our friend Yusuf and teaching him martial arts by having him do various outlandish feats. Even through high school's usual drama about women and rebellion and collage's version of reality, I remember his goofy smile always waiting for me. We would drive to the mountians at night, and talk for hours. The thing I remember most was the light that surronded him, from the first time I met him to the last time I saw him. For being my friend, I am in his debt.
Greg Jackson <Daquili.email@example.com>
Albuquerque, NM USA -
itzolin: fuiste uno de los primeros trovadores que conocí. You taught me not to wear other people’s faces, and were intensely human during a year in which I doubted the humanity of the work that I was doing and the people that surrounded me. Al hacernos cómplices de la palabra, creamos un rincón de solidaridad entre tanta maquinaria. Amigo, hermano, compañero: presente estás.
Tania Alfonso <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Washington , DC USA -
I find myself in complete disbelief.
I knew Itzolin at Yale. He was the dear love of my best friend in college, Jasmine Koushki. Jazzie & I had an intense friendship centered around shared creative ideals. We met in a "Feminist Perspectives on Literature" class, and she and I stayed up all night working on a project for that class, breaking down notions of traditional authorship. Itzolin was there the whole night -- I think I remember him bringing us coffee. He was so supportive, and so excited about what we were trying to do with literature. His own poetry was amazing. Jazzie told me he read all her work and commented on it.
I remember one night Jazzie and I got involved in a project, sewing costumes for a production of Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead. Itzolin came to pick her up and walk her home safely (he always did that -- he was so patient and attentive, without being macho). We talked about how we three should do a joint writing project. I said, "we should hook up with the New Haven avante garde", and Itzolin quipped, looking around at the people in the room, "I think we ARE the New Haven avante garde."
He was indeed a member of the avante garde, and his death is a tremendous loss. Thank you, Itzolin, for giving as much as you could.
I've enclosed a picture of him from his Yale graduation.
[Please download this image to the site and resize as desired]
Francesca Myman <Frrancesca.email@example.com>
CA USA -
Both my wife Liz and I knew Itzolin at Yale as a friend and a participant in the Trumbull College writers' group. Another participant in that group who knew Itzolin, Patrick Flynn Eckenrode,--another prolific poet and winner of the best senior essay prize--also took his life, two months earlier, on March 5, 2003. Flynn was my best friend; Itzolin was a friend I had lost touch with, but the similarities in their lives and deaths are weirdly beautiful. Itzolin liked a little poem I wrote called "don't Fly." He was one of the first to make me feel welcome and respected at Yale. He was a wonderful person and I grieve for his family and loved ones.
Carl Ehrhardt, September 23, 2003
Carl Ehrhardt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Baltimore, MD USA -
I can't even begin to relate all the connections I see here on this site to the lives of wonderful people in many directions...It is moving that Itzolin graced so many lives, and found life in connection with other remarkable people such as those above. It is a testament to the power of connection and meaning that you, his family, have chosen to continue his memory by recognizing the art of the youth. I'm just so sad, still, that there's one less of us to help.
San Francisco, CA USA -
The first time I met Itzolin was about 4 months ago, and I could not believe it when I herad what happened. It was the first, and last time I met him. his smile and warmth from that day has stayed with me ever since. When my chior was touring the west coast I met my relatives in San Francisco for a day. Mia, Shifra, Carina, a Tito. the whole day I spent with them Tito kept saying; "I can't believe we are related!", my blond hair and blue eyes versus his dark hair and deep beautiful eyes, who could believe that we were? I will never forget when he took out his guitar , played it, and we sang in Mia's kitchen in San Francisco. We also got a big laugh out of his saying when we got a bit lost driving around in San Francisco, Tito kept saying "just keep going Sraight", and we found our way. Just keep following the road, and that's exactly what I'm going to do, just keep going forward, but always remember him, because i can't forget him, he truly tutched my heart. "Hvil i fred Itzolin, jeg vil alltid huske deg og ditt smil, til vi møtes igjen!"
Mari Ravndal <email@example.com>
Stavanger, Norway -
When Itzolin was a little kid -- pre-pre-adolescent let's say, he got into martial arts for a while, and grew himself a little braid that lay on the back of his neck, like a baby snake. Mia tells me they were called "duck tails" back then. That was in the early to middle 1980's.
At that time, Mia also told me that Itzolin was spending his recess at school sitting off by himself in meditation. The image of Itzolin sitting in the Albuquerque dirt in some variation of the lotus position, while all the other kids went skidding around the playground in noisy clouds of dust, possibly teasing him or possibly ostracizing him for his eccentric behavior, must have burned itself onto my retinas because I still see that image today, twenty years later.
Now, a greying Zazen practitioner myself, I have a tremendous respect for the difficult practice of meditation. It's hard enough in the sanctity of the Zendo, it would be doubly hard to do anywhere else. That Itzolin could attempt such a thing at such a young age is truly amazing, and inspiring.
Gassho, Tiko. You are a shining light in the midnight sky.
Zim Emig <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Albuquerque, NM USA -
I remember the great conversations we would have outside of the dances while at Yale. He was a remarkable person, a spirited poet, and a sensitive human being. Like his name, I shall never forget him.
Alfonso Urquidi, Jr. <email@example.com>
El Paso, TX USA -
I met Itzolin while an undergrad at Yale and I just can't believe he is no longer with us....I remember meeting him and thinking, "wow, this cat is really DOWN with la causa." I only shared a couple of brief moments with him, but I remember feeling a deep sense of loneliness emanating from him. Perhaps it was the place where we were, totally disconnected from our gente and surrounded by the thick gothic walls of our ivy prison....all I know now is that he is gone, and that is the strangest, strangest feeling....
Que descanses en paz....
los angeles, ca USA -
I met Itzolin at Channel 5 in Albuquerque in the 1995-- we were both extras for an art show that they were filming and we spent several hours talking together and laughing over the cheese and wine (which we were both too young to drink legally). I was exhilarated by our conversation, which was about books and politics (Trotsky almost certainly, and maybe Charles Olsen too)-- and was totally unlikely any conversation I had had before. Despite his hatred for Yale at the time (maybe always would be more truthful)-- his personality was so appealing that I applied. We met again at Yale, where I recall strange conversations in the laundry-room, and breaking into the yet incomplete chaplain's office in the basement of-- whatever building I lived in. Two years later, we shared a last strange year in New Haven with Mayang and Megan (he told great Albuquerque stories over Malaysian food cadged by Mayang from some fellow Penang exiles in New Haven and at our very odd thanksgiving dinner) and took our GREs together in Albuquerque.
I'm so sorry to hear about his death. I had hoped that we would go on meeting in random locations for many more years.
Lauren Ristvet <firstname.lastname@example.org>
San Francisco, CA USA -
I met him at Yale and it took a long time for us to really meet but when we did he changed my life. I had been trying to get in touch with him for a long time and today I found this site. My heart is broken. I love you, Itzolin. I always have.
Your little star
Brighton, UK -
It was always so fun for me when I was hanging out at Mia's place and he would come over. He was unique in the way that he was so gifted and also so good at appreciating other people.
My favorite particular memory is when Itzolin, Mia, Shifra, and I got together for dinner with Karina before she went to Albuquerque, sometime in '01 I think. We met up at a Chinese restaurant that Karina really likes and had great fun talking and joking around. Somehow (I wish I remembered exactly), a riff got started where Itzolin told Karina "I like your style, kid," in a pseudo-Bogart kind of voice, and then gave her a friendly little punch on the shoulder. We then all started imagining what other kinds of actions one might follow "I like your style, kid" with, each of us trying to out-do the other by suggesting increasingly ridiculous and cartoonishly violent things, before we ended up with the idea that you could tell somebody "I like your style, kid" and then hurl them through a giant plate-glass window. We all got tremendous laughs out of this and I remember in particular how much Itzolin enjoyed it, each of us pushing one another to more absurd flights of imagination. The way he just laughed so hard and unguardedly is my very favorite memory of him.
Berkeley, CA USA -
I was shocked and saddened by the news of Itzolin's death.
After hearing some of the facts of the event, I concluded that although the act itself was impulsive, Itzolin's preparation for it was not.
Although I don't think he was acting out of a sense of honor or a duty to sacrifice himself, Itzolin's death reminds me of seppuku, the samurai act of ritual suicide.
I'll always miss him.
Jim Sorrentino <Jim_Sorrentino_nospam.email@example.com>
Washington, DC USA -
I remember back in January of 2002 when I last saw Itz-olin and the expression on his face when he heard Keka and me talking about the stories from back home, hearing about grandma, aunts, uncles, and cousins that he hadn't seen in years. Through his eyes you could see that he knew he had a very loving family. I know that someday we will see each other again.
laredo, tx USA -
The last time I saw Itzolin was in Albuquerque when Tio Cecilio passed away. We had not seen each other since we were kids. There was so many things I wanted to know about him, his life experiences, but I know that it was not the right time or place. We talked alot durning my stay in NM. I was just so fascinated with him. He was so handsome, smart and intresting. We kept in touch through e-mail and sometimes we talked on the phone. I would always tell him to come and visit the family in Texas. I wanted him get to know the rest of the family and for them to get to know our primo Itzolin. I am so fortunate that I had the oppotunity to get to spend those few days with him. I just wish I had more time.
Jessica E. Alvarado <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Laredo, TX USA -
When we were little, Papi would make atole de arroz. He never used very much honey but the raisins made it so sweet. My mouth watered at the sight of those plump raisins floating around in hot milk and rice. We had to split it between the three of us, so I would watch carefully as Papi seperated the atole into three small bowls. I always prayed that I would get a bunch of raisins in my bowl. Somehow, Itzolin always got the most. He would inhale his atole in about 10 seconds, then eye my bowl and the raisins that I spooned off to the side. I wanted to save the best for last. But everytime, I just saw him looking over and I could never say "no" to my big brother. I guess I always felt like he needed more than me. So, I would spoon every single one of my raisins into his bowl. He would just laugh and eat them all in one joyful bite. Itzolin's laugh was like music in my heart. I don't have a lot, but I feel like I would give everything and anything to touch my brother again. I want to feel that place in his chest where my head fit perfectly when we hugged.
one year ago at the stroke of midnite on his 27th, i saw Itzolin on the Steps of Rome! yea, i didn't think you would leave that bbq to say what's up to a sista. i got to be the first one to say happy bday to you! i've got lots of memories of you, and i'd like to play it all back for your family one of these days, like an old favorite movie.
thank you for bein' the filipin@s 4 global justice community's biggest 'n tallest phan! i miss being able to talk to you 'bout anything 'n everything!
i'm making my way back to my homeland in a few weeks. i know u always wanted to go to the pilipinas. yea, homie, we had more in common than what u saw in those books of al robles poems 'n PI culture. holla at all the manongs and manangs there in NM, we have roots there too (even have a filipino day).
thanks for blessing us.
bay area, ca US out of the pilipinas/everywhere -
I will always remeber Itzolin as a person with a big heart for everyone. We worked side by side at the network and shared a lot of good times together. He was always full of positive energy. I will miss him.
Rosa Samudio <email@example.com>
Albuquerque, NM USA -
Itxolin, We went to Mexico for danza together and I promised your dad that I would take care of you. I enjoyed the dinner we had at Yale, when I presented there. You were in love and full of life. I have watched you dance and I have watched you love. I will keep believing in love Itxolin. I pray that you are in peace. Elena Avila
Elena Avila <EAvila9234.firstname.lastname@example.org>
Albuquerque,, NM USA -
I remember when Tiko moved into the apartment below me with his mother - a bright, engaging boy navigating the Mission district with radiance and spirit. And then he became a young man, soaring to heights I would never have expected, inspiring us all. I miss him and his hopeful message.
John Reamer <email@example.com >
San Francisco , California USA -
cruisin down el camino in fonso's ride, bumping rancheras ans staring down bougie white people every monday and wednesday afternoon on our way to El Grullense in Redwood or Mt View, or Pizza Chicago.
making itzo cry, or him making me cry. itzo singing me tigres del norte songs from the bathroom, dancing with him in fonso's one room palace in EV.
having a fat ass crush in Itzo the first time I saw him in moragas's class. He was wearing a pendelton and he smelled like tres flores, I was in love! Our paltero goals: Paletas Estanfor. Sharing our fathers' stories. getting lost in San Jose. Itzo made me feel beautiful.
te quiero un chorro homie.
laurita changuita <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I share the grief and sorry we could not be there for you. I remember Itzo very well when Tila and myself went to New Mexico. I have picture of your family in my album.
Tio Alex Chiqui Quintanilla <email@example.com>
Laredo, Tx USA -
Itzolin was like a brother. He was huge, larger than life, and without a doubt the most brilliant and fascinating person I will ever know. I loved that man, and there is no way I could get down everything I remember in a couple of paragraphs.
On the day of the memorial service, Itzolin's roommates from Yale (the ones who could make it to San Francisco) sat around my laptop and read over a bunch of the e-mails he had sent us over the past five years. They were this incredible, hilarious mix of crazy stories (things that could only happen to him), joyous vulgarity, made-up words, pop culture commentary (often with his trademark malapropisms), reminiscences (he was our chronicler at Las Vegas for New Year's 2000) and his own brand of philosophy. He even left us with instructions on how to grieve.
That's what I'm thinking about for now. I'll miss him forever.
Ben Carp <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Charlottesville, VA USA -
Back in the 80s, when I was a bike messenger in DC, on Friday evenings, after hanging with my buddies, I would often go to Mama's apartment on 16th street, across the street from malcolm x park, bringing a pizza. Those evenings gave me some of my most treasured memories. Itzolin and I had this groove we developed where we would sit around the dinner table and sing Beatles songs. The idea was to go as over the top as possible, and imitate not only the vocals but the instrumental parts as well. This was especially fun with Hey Jude and A Day in the Life (with all the dissonant orchestral parts at the end). Itzo was always ready to goad me to the next level of absurdity, in the service of course of cracking up ourselves, Mama and Cielo and Karina.
One time, after a bone chilling and unreal snowy day (snow is surreal south of the mason-dixon line) I came over, needing more than my usual share of family warmth. Somehow, I don't remember why, we (Mama, Cielo, Itzolin and me) went outside together, Mama toting her camera, and Itzo barefoot. I don't think I will ever laugh harder than to see Itzolin prancing around in the snow, making a joyful spectacle, raising his naked foot covered with snow ridiculously high in the air so Mama could get the shot. I have that picture framed on my kitchen wall, and will cherish the moment always with all my heart for its inspired and crazy sanity.
The summer before, I'd had a serious accident on the bike in which I injured my head. Itzolin gave me 3 of his most prized belongings, 2 comic novels and Tolkien's Lord of the rings, to ease the boredom of recovery.
Itzolin could speak the many languages of love and understanding with such clarity. Every fiber of my being tells me that his departure from life was a tragic mistake, and that though his road was intentionally dangerous and difficult, the mature, reflective happiness that lay before him would have helped make whole many others besides himself. For me, Itzo was above all things a fearsome warrior against the fallacy that violence is more interesting and meaningful than kind engagement.
Stefan Armstrong <email@example.com>
Brooklyn, NY -
when i met him briefly many years ago at his mother's reading, his young face left an impression in my mind and i knew, without really knowing, that he has a poetic soul.
moazzam sheikh <firstname.lastname@example.org>
sf, ca USA -
You who never veiled your love for us once wrote this - "clustered like rays moving from her heart." This is how I remember you, in multiplying motion to people, never afraid of when they might start moving toward you. You always gave. Enthusiastically. A grin, a cheese sandwich for a starving friend, an enormous welcoming hug, a New Year's Eve spent volunteering in a pile of coats. I remember you distributing a stack of photos documenting late night goofiness, pieces of previous laughter you needed to give to us. And I remember the giddiness of coming into contact with your words, your heart with two careful eyes and hopeful ears and an honest tongue.
annie koh <email@example.com>
seoul, korea -
My favorite memory of Itzo is when I was hanging out with him at a house party one day in San Francisco. He was admiring a torquoise necklace I was wearing (he loved torquoise and always wore his own earrings, which had pieces of torquoise from New MX) and was telling me about the sanctity of the stone and why he wore it. I can clearly hear him saying, "La turquesa es claridad y harmonia." ("Torquoise is clarity and harmony.") He said torquoise brings one positive energy and strength...what he seemed to be looking for when he talked about trying to be 'spiritually centered.' I still wear torquoise on a daily basis (I now have flower torquoise earrings), I wore it to say goodbye to him at his service in SF and also when we held a sweat lodge ceremony for him. I know his path was full of torquoise and when he looks back, it is the color that continues to reflect his spirit.
Gabby Erandi Rico <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Oakland, CA USA -
Itzolin used to walk around Yale with a huge poncho! He always had an upbeat gait, a smile on his face and kind sentiments to share. He was the only person I knew who used words like 'chale' and 'orale' in New Haven, and that made me feel so welcome at Yale as a Chicana frosh from L.A. I never got to become best of friends with Itzolin, but I only knew really positive things about him and others only had similar thoughts to share. You could tell he had a good heart just by looking in his direction--his aura was that large! I'll remember him as one of the coolest people I've ever met.
Araceli Campos <email@example.com>
Los Angeles, CA USA -
I remember many conversations with Itzolin - making jokes, observations about our surroundings, interspersed with calo. Sometimes we had long philosophic ramblings about culture and history and art, being xicano.
My wife and I remember the great honor of hosting his mother and father at our home during Itzolin's graduation from Yale. We were all so proud of Itzolin.
He has such an incredible spirit, that will continue to move us.
rick chavolla <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Washington, DC USA -
It was Winter Break during our freshman year at Yale. Fall had passed in a flickering of brilliant trees and dark New Haven rain, and we were all getting ready to return from our strange new homes to the more familiar haunts of our youth. Itzolin and I were living in the same dorm-- he in the basement, I on the fourth floor-- and enrolled in the same intense humanities course, Directed Studies, when he asked me what I thought was the best way to get to New York, where he was visiting a family member for the holidays. My mother was coming to pick me up and drive me home to New York City, where I grew up, and so I suggested that the best way might be in our car.
Itzolin was happy to accept the favor, and it was during that two-hour ride that I first learned Itzolin's personal history. I learned that his name was Itzolin (we had been calling him Olin up until that part); that his father was Chicano and his mother was Norwegian; that they were both writers and that Itzolin aspired to be a writer too. I don't remember what else we talked about, but I remember coming away from that car ride thinking that Itzolin was a much deeper pool than I had ever realized, much deeper than most of the rest of my classmates.
As we got closer to the city, my mother asked Itzolin where he needed to be dropped off. He looked in his book and read off an address in Brooklyn-- one that was in our neighborhood, only 6 blocks from our house-- but then insisted that we didn't need to drive him all the way there. He didn't want to be any trouble, he said; he could make his way there on his own. No, he wasn't quite sure how, but, he said, we had already helped him out by driving him back from New Haven; he could do the rest on his own. We argued back and forth, a battle to decide who could be the more polite, until finally we got to Itzolin's destination: a fait accompli. As my mother let him out, we directed him to our house and gave him our phone number.
A few days after Christmas, he called, and came over to visit. I don't remember what he and I did-- ate leftovers, I'm sure, and talked about school and our studies and our friends and the universe, in the manner of college students everywhere. He impressed me, I'm sure, as he always did, with his erudition, his indepence of view, his off-beat humor. It was the first time I ever spent any long period of time with him, and the first time I really began to think of him as my friend.
I remember the sincerity of Itzolin's voice and how he has been one of the few people that I have had the good fortune to meet and feel that every time that I would talk to him that he was being true to his words. He was unflinching and open with his emotions and thoughts. I respected him greatly for that.
Michael Cheng <email@example.com>
San Francisco, CA USA -
The jug of water mirrored
My tear, as I reached for
The picture of you
And Laurita to say adios, when
I realized I only meant "hay
I recalled tus manitas, dedos
De jazmin, y palmas de sol
Posing for your jefitos painting.
"I'd know those bony hands anywhere
Son de Itzo: corazon de trabajador
Y guerillero, porcelain hands from writing poetry at Yale.
The place you called "Jail"
The first time we met in
A Stanford butchering seminar
"Vamos a conocernos" was camouflaged
with lets get some tacos and a twelve
Pack in EPA
"Orale", me dejiste, knowing all along
You were a vegetarian, as we washed the blood
Off our hands with Zap and Roger's "More bounce to
"That's firme", you laughed after I showed
You my favorite trick, playing Los Originales de San Juan's
"Ando Buscando un carbon"
Down University Avenue as the gabas ran
And like a brother you showed me
How to put my heart on
The table and say quien eres tu?
You taught me that there
Could be humility and gentleness
Among the jackals that patrol
The gates of the Ivory plantation
No wonder you helped me find those books…
You couldn't see a brother’s
Soul be frozen by a place
Where if the walls could speak
They would call you spick
My mom felt El Sol in you
the day she met you at my graduation.
Cuando te fuiste,
Lloro por ti,
"Hay no! Era buen muchacho mijo, hay no!"
I climbed the nearest mountain
To see if I could catch a glimpse of your smile
I saw the clouds come down to block
Your jefito's feathered hands embrace you as
You both cruzed away into Xabalba,
singing carnations and mandando blue-jays to wipe and drink our tears,
all from a dropped down ramfla that only poets could drive
I now your happy now
So just cruz on ese
I'll catch up later.
Pa mi querido homie Itzo C/S Fonzo
Alfonso Gonzales <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Riverside , CA USA -
From the time of his birth, Itzolin was full of wonder. His strong little feet ran so swiftly I could hardly keep up, as he exclaimed over birds, red flowers, hurtling clouds, palm trees and pillbugs, "Mira Mami!"/Look, Mami. He cherished the stories and struggles of everyone around him, and loved people's quirks. If you knew my son, you have seen compassion at work. Remember his sonrisa, his smile of joy? For Itzolin, life was about passion and creativity. And he practiced spiritual generosity. I love a shadow puppet he made me out of black construction paper, that can change its shape to be either a reindeer or a woman with antlered arms... Over the past year or two, he and I would read our most recent writing to each other almost every weekend at my circular white kitchen table. He liked me to make him a cup of green tea. He almost never gave feedback, but he listened deeply and it was refreshing. Itzolin could take and give so much inspiration. I am never going to let go of it.
Mia Kirsi Stageberg
San Francisco, CA USA -
I've been thinking about the way he laughed, almost a squeaky breaking of the voice sometimes as if he couldn't help the giggle. He loved to make everyone laugh. Que descanses en paz/ Rest in Peace/ Fred med dit støv.
Berkeley, CA USA -
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