Wednesday, May 31, 2006

"My First Sestina" - An Experiment In Form, A Movement in 86 Parts

Magee's Ode to the Mongrel Races: a sestina

Madam L73 L330 L129, lustrous MV multimillionaire
Magee and Diana C. Miller's abstract Queering:
Books are a mongrel medium. They’re not purely
Marble Mansions mailing Magee madam L73 L330 L129
To UK - 5 - Clute, Fayette J. CAMPAIGN OF THE...
The First Period of the.... Walter, "a mongrel,"

The First Period of the.... Walter, "a mongrel,"
Monickers multimedia multimillion multimillionaire.
"Ode to My Three Shirts" plays on the...
Magee and Diana C. Miller's Abstract Queering.
Mansion mailing Magee madam L73 L330 L129:
Books are a mongrel medium. They’re not purely

NN1 2562 3791 pull VVI 2562 3792, purely
Montefiore montecarlo monsun mons mongrel.
Mansion mailing Magee madam L73 L330 L129:
Magenta multimillion multimillionaer multimillionaire
Monicker queer queered queerer queerest queering
Diana C. Miller's abstract Queering the

Mazrui, Global apartheid? Race and Religion in the
J, KRIEGEL GR, et al. Focal Mycobacterial purely
Queens queequeg queer queered queerer queerest queering
Brazilian Nordeste (Northeast) to legal mongrel:
A multimeter, a multimillion, a multimillionaire.
Marbles Mansion mailing Magee madam L73 L330 L129:

Marbles Mansion mailing Magee madam L73 L330 L129
In new ways, in a “Venal Vera,” based on the
Mager magers multilingual multimedia multimillionaire
J, KRIEGEL GR, et al. Focal Mycobacterial purely --
And Lesbian Identity (2001). Abstract Mongrel,
Miller. Lesbian Motherhood in Europe (1997) Queering

Monicker queer queered queerer queerest queering.
Mansion mailing Magee madam L73 L330 L129,
The Cynic and Poet; Ode to the Norther The Mongrel
& made as if to deliver a hefty kick to the
J, KRIEGEL GR, et al. Focal Mycobacterial purely.
Magee madam L73 L330 L129, lustrous myopic MV multimillionaire

(Monickers multimedia multimillion multimillionaire)
J, KRIEGEL GR, et al. Focal Mycobacterial purely
& made as if to deliver a hefty kick to thee.

Compiled 5/31/2006  9:59:59 PM GMT
unedited, minimal repunctuation, one slight change

More poetry in English/Finnish:

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Flarfin' the Friggin' Word: Lorna Dee On Intent, Voice and Who's On First?

Thank you, Lorna. Beautiful work! It's in the Anthology now.


----- Original Message ----
From: Lorna Cervantes
To: leevilehto
Cc: Lorna Cervantes
Sent: Tuesday, May 30, 2006 6:56:13 PM
Subject: "Arise Nigger Savage Wench: A Census"

Just wanted to share this with you -- my answer to the controversy over
Flarf and certain language.

"Arise Nigger Savage Wench: A Census"

I. The Spencerian in English

He has given me a great deal,
"An under," and his superior,
A fine of thirty dollars for the refusal
- - Formerly a poet, singer or

A hag -- that Formerly a Poet, singer or
Ariel aright arise arisen arises arising
On TV. 1415. A Field of Honor
Niggard niggardly nigger niggle niggling

Aridity aright arise arisen, arises arising.
It was important, therefore, that the true
Ariosos arise arisen, arises arising:

S., "An under," and his superior
- - Formerly a poet, singer or...

II. Arise: An Italian Sonnet
(in English Only)

Welsh welts wench, wends wetly, whack nicety.
Obliged to arise and attend to it upon one,
The census act imposes a fine:
Aristocracy's aristocrat niff nifty,

A piece of arid arider aridest aridity.
"Savage conducted experiments with mescaline...".
Census-register and the professione
Niggle/DGRS -- arid aridity

Dies -- they sacrifice a horse. To bear
Nickel knicker nieces nigger niggle
To arise and attend to it upon one;

Wenches wend. He could hear
Niente, niggard niggardly nigger niggle.
"Joyrode" -- the census act imposes a fine.

III. Arise! Nigger Savage Wench: A Just Census
(a sonnet in all languages)

Come from my plantation on Pearl river, where
Nieces nigger niggle nights nimble. One
Weekend (1979) (14,362), the Bare
Nigger with... Just how a Puddinstone

Niggled niggler: "... even thie hovels. One
Wench wends wetly whack nicety niches...

-- Census-register and the professione.
Aril arils arise arisen, arises

Arisen, arises arising aristocracies
Of full-length films: Did not arise
Lend the star wars real tones?
Arider ariel aright aril, arils arise,

The census enumerator a-singing all
Night night's Things You Can Tell.

Last one compiled 5/30/2006 9:24:21 AM MST
by Lorna Dee Cervantes
punctuation & syntax edited minimally

More poetry in English/Finnish:

The Novel, My Spoon In June: Lorna Dee Cervantes Interview w/ Jennie Dorris Last November NaNoWriMo

I've decided to turn June into another private NaNoWriMo and I'll be trying to crank out a big chunk of this novel this month. I was interviewed by Jennie Dorris of the Daily Camera for Dirt magazine here in Boulder on National Novel Writing Month. She used a snippet and the opening paragraph back in December (I think) which was published in The Dirt. (keep clicking, I'll stick a link in here when I find it) So I guess it's okay to post the full responses. In case anyone wants to join me in a case of 50,000 words, I start June 1.

1. So this is your first year -- how did you hear about it? Have you wanted to do it in the past?

I heard about it last year, probably via the net. I thought about doing it then, but was finishing a big book of poetry (5 books in one, really) and teaching creative writing and literature at CU-Boulder. I'm on sabbatical this year. I found out about it via some blog or another, so signed up.

2. You're doing this on sabbatical, which I can imagine affords you a bit more time to write than if you were working full-time. What is your writing schedule currently? How early are you getting up? How long do you stay in your bathrobe?

I work sporadically. I've always been a when-the-Spirit-moves-me kind of writer. And, a vicious procrastinator. This is the procrastinator's dream. I've been staying up late, getting up early (around 7); I lost track of the date at one point. I don't really have a bathrobe, it just sounds funny -- more like the same clothes you throw down by the bed when you crash and pick up and put on the next day. Too many days in a row to tell you about. I have a family, so to procrastinate I bake breads & cakes. I make enchiladas. I convince myself it's time to wash the dishes. I mop the floor at 2 a.m. while I'm waiting for my yerba mate tea to brew. I think I feel guilty when I write. It feels that luxurious, feels like doing it must be doing something wrong.
3. Could you imagine doing this on a full-time work schedule?

In a way, I do. Since I've been blogging, I've been writing a lot everyday. That's helped a lot. I don't think I would have started it otherwise.
4. Did you already have a novel idea going into the process?

I've had the novel for 20 years. My ex-husband used to tell me not to "prostitute my talent by writing a mediocre novel" -- he meant, and included, "when you could be writing great poetry." But, still. I've been hearing it in my head that long, have walked it through the plot; I know the characters (even though they surprise me and act up and out) and what, eventually, happens to them -- so I decided to go back to it. To start there. To finally finish it. I once got 86 pages into it; then decided I needed to deal with "The Sentence" so went back to college & then grad school, studying literary theory & power, and, as you witness, I know no more about "The Sentence" than when I started out. So, figured, I might as well do it. I don't even know where those pages are, I haven't seen them in that long. I've kept only the first sentence. It's a different kind of voice that talks to me than poetry. I think, too, a different timespace; in (traditional) fiction, it ought to be seamless, whereas poetry is more intertextual.
5. What has your book ended up being about? Have there been parts that came up that surprised you?

I don't think I like to tell what it's about; it's a superstition I inherited from other novelists I admire. It's set in California, the Bay Area, in the early 80's, late 70's. I ended up using the NaNoWriMo structure, so the novel takes place in a month, each chapter is a date, although some are titled. I think of it as lyrical fiction, the point of view shifts among characters but follows one in particular, Magdalena Mora, who has one of those Chicano names that switch like a character in a Russian novel: Maggie, Marge, Margaret, Mary, Magda, Lena. . . . There's murder, a suicide, corrupt cops, many rapes, a snuff film ring, a brief history of the San Jose cannery workers strike & union, a true account of a police brutality case and subsequent large march in protest and, I hope, lots of sex. Every word's a surprise. I think I thought I could do this while working on my screenplay last summer; while writing a description of the action my main character started acting on her own -- and created a whole world apart from me. It was neat. It's neat when that happens and it doesn't happen with poetry, not like that.
6. Obviously you're already a writer -- what about this program appealed to you? Did you like the support system, the deadlines?

All of it. This is a great program. I love it. Bravo, Baty! I love how this helps me deal with my own fears of failure. In the middle of it I wrote a book of poetry in a weekend; it spilled over into that. A book of poetry in a week, a novel in a month. This is really fun. This makes it fun, creative play. Though, I'm way behind. Yep, devout procrastinator, that's me.
7. Could you send me the working title (if you have one) of your book, as well as a 100-200 word excerpt? We're going to be including this information on our Web site.

(Here's the opening:)


Day One — November 1

He was the most beautiful man I had ever seen.

Outside the bus the Santa Cruz mountains were still ablaze. Rich smoke crested the fallen pines, the burned bald mounts looked like the black butch-topped heads of grunts bowing for inspection. Highway 17 had just been reopened after remaining closed all week. Rita, her housemate, had likened them all to mice unable to get back to the stove. She couldn't miss that much work. Her boss, Fern, was okay about it, but printshop work required hands and a bent back, not phone calls. She'd be backed up until March if she didn't get to the proofs.

Magdalena saw her face in the flames that still continued to hop the highway lines, running out horses, popular red setters off the clipped lawns, scorching the white pickets into old toothpicks and char. She positioned the red glow over her forehead, in the center between the stare: her fiery third eye in the window. Her gaze looked out over the smoke and backed up stall, a livid Hindu mark of redemption she thought. Fire down the hole.

{the first & last sentence is in italics}


Lorna Dee

On Nov 21, 2005, at 1:17 PM, Jennie Dorris wrote:

Hello there!
Thanks so much for getting back to me, I'd love to do an interview with you. I'll just keep it over email, so if you could type your answers back to me in the next week (think of it as a sanctioned writing break!) -- by Nov. 28 -- that'd be great.
1. So this is your first year -- how did you hear about it? Have you wanted to do it in the past? (... )


Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day -- In My Father's Words -- The Mining of the Santa Barbara Harbor

from this time last year -- in my father's words -- an example of his writings found in his papers after his death and posted here June 2, 2005.

The "first time US soil has been under attack"? My father was a truthful man. Living 160 days under heavy artillery attack will make you that way. He was a war hero who was honored by Belgium. Something I only discovered reading his obituary.

Plant some expired seed today. Play. Love. Thou. Art. Now.


~by Luís Cervantes - San Francisco, 2004

We were just kids, hanging out at the beach like we always did during summers. There was a gang of us from the east side of Santa Barbara that spent most of our days running around the beach playing football in the sand, diving into the surf, riding the waves into the beach, swimming as a group out into deep water, diving down and touching the bottom, or swimming along the bottom with our eyes open through the kelp beds, coming up and floating on our backs. Sometimes we swam out to the anchored fishing boats and sunbathed on the deck. After, we dried out with a good burn, dive in and swim back to the beach.

I was a freshman in high school so most of the guys were older. Three of the guys that hung out at the beach were seniors, and the talk at bonfires was what they were going to do for a living. The Depression was still on and work non-existent for young guys without job skills. The talk was of going in the army. Montez was talking about going to Panama Canal in the army. Kipur, a good football end, wanted to go to the Phillipines and see the wide wide world. Things changed for us Beach Boys, I was now one of the old guys. Montez and Kipur ended up in the Phillipine Islands, at Corregado Island. Jerry Lamb went to Alaska in the army. The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor—we were in a war now. Montez, Kipur and Lamb never made it back alive from The Phillpines or Alaska. That was 1941, I was 15 or 16 years old, going to school at Santa Barbara High. Things changed fast in Santa Barbara. For us in the East Side, we could see before us how our mix played out. By mix, I mean Mexican-American, Mexicans, not-US-citizens, Chumash Indians, Chinese-Japanese, Blacks, with a few Hawaiians, Peruvians, Chileans, Puerto Ricans; whites were in the minority, mostly Italians, Germans, Russians. In schools and in town, the Japanese families, and Chinese, were disrupted disasterously out of the east side of town. There was a Chinatown and a Japanese Town that had been in Santa Barbara for a long time. Jimmy Lee, and Susuki Moto disappeared right away. Japanese Navy submarines kept appearing around the Santa Barbara area for months. The Japanese subs lobbed some shells at the oil fields north of Santa Barbara at Elwood. Some of the guys joined the Navy, Air Force, Marines, paratroopers, and Army. No other work for the pay. I was making 1 dollar a day working out in the fields. I didn't know that one could earn more than that. There was chaos in Santa Barbara. We were not prepared to go to war with anybody: no army, our navy was sunk at Pearl Harbor, hardly any Air Force patrols over our coasts. When the Japanese subs lobbed shells at the oil storage tanks at Elwood we had blackouts in town as a protection. No one informed the towns-people that this was going to happen. I went to a sporting event on a thursday night, to watch some boxing matches, when the lights went out and the sirens wailed. We sat in the dark for half an hour, when a flash light went on in the middle of the ring, with the announcement that the fights were over, to leave and go home. Out we all go in the darkness with our heads going around in circles. Out on the streets police blocked intersections to have cars put their lights out. Everybody out on the street wondering what to do. Newspapers' headlines with pictures: "Japs Shell Elwood Oil Fields", the war had struck Santa Barbara and the U.S., 'Where Will They Strike Next?" The Army sent 4 soldiers, an army truck, and a 30-caliber water-cooled machine gun set up on the end of Sturns Wharf pointed out to sea. The Japanese sub could have come in close and mined the harbour or shelled Santa Barbara without anyone knowing what happened. We were lucky nothing happened, everything died down, life went on, in a war. A lot of the guys enlisted and dropped out of school. I dropped out of school in my junior year, going on 18, 1942, I left for San Francisco to work in the shipyards at Moors dry Dock in Oakland. After working in Santa Barbara for 3 dollars a day, I now started at $1.25 an hour as a sheet metal worker on the outfit docks. I stayed in San Francisco, working at Moors for 1 year. When I turned 19, the Army called me, so I returned to Santa Barbara before I was inducted into the U.S. Army Engineers in Jan., 1943. Before, while I lived in San Francisco, I had bought myself a Brownie box camera to take pictures of San Francisco and send them to my mother, to show her what San Francisco looked like. I happened to bring that camera with me to the army to shoot pictures of my army life. Cameras, guns, knives, liquors were not allowed, they were not permitted. No one saw the camera, and I didn't want to throw it away, it was mine, and I had it mixed with my dirty socks and shorts where nobody looked into, so that became my box camera's hiding place, and it traveled with me to England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, and home again. When ever my duffle bag caught up with me I would do my laundry, and bring my camera out. The guys got used to it, and would pose and fool around. I picked up film and had my pictures developed at local shops where ever I was without any trouble. I ran out of film on the ship home, Dec., 1945.

I left New York City on board the Queen Elizabeth, the second largest ship in the world, its sister ship, the Queen Mary was 4 foot longer so it was number one. The Queen Mary was lying on its side in Manhattan habour, out of service. These English ships were the only way to cross larger ocean spaces fast. It took the Queen Mary and Elizabeth 3 days to cross from New York to Scotland; large freighters, seventeen days or more. Airline flights were unknown. Something like 80,000 soldiers pile on from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, plus U.S. troops, paratroopers, Air Force, Army infantry, tank troops, artillary, and us, engineers, on this floating hotel. I meet three guys from Santa Barbara that left with me for the army on 3 busses that day, on board the Queen Elizabeth, bumped into them on board in the middle of the ocean going to war.

Copyright c 2005 by Luís Cervantes. May not be copied or reproduced in any form without the expressed permission from the Cervantes family.
c/s con safos

Sunday, May 28, 2006

"The History of Modern Poetry Is the History of Publishing"


Saturday, May 27, 2006

What Day Is It? 6 Mulac (Kin 149) - Red Rhythmic Moon: A Future Portal Day In A Week of Portals

Chicana Poetics: Aesthetics and the Marginalization of the Chicana Poet

Chicana poet, Sheryl Luna posted this on her blog last Sunday, May 21, 2006. One of the things I love about Sheryl's blog, Chicana Poetics, besides her luscious prose is that I constantly hear someone like Tina Turner in the background singing:

What's class/ got to do/ got to do with it?/ What's CLASS/ but a second hand e-MOTION?

Here's a few snips of it:

Mega-Post: Aesthetics and the Marginalization of the Chicana Poet

... For me innovation is not limited to a single narrow aesthetic preference. What is new is that we are able to write and publish thanks to the perseverance of many that came before us. Yet I sense the poetry club is an exclusive one that only allows a trickle of Chicanas in the door. Also, geez, there’s nothing like having a bunch of people tell you who you are or aren’t regarding your own identity.

We are in a conundrum. We’ve been pegged before we’ve been read. (...) But as long as Chicanas are relegated to the back of the bus, we need one another despite our own aesthetic differences.

I have found that Americans with Latino/a heritage seem to be more receptive to my work. So we bind together in a fragmented way since there seems to be so few of us. I mean there are probably hordes, but we often struggle alone and separated from each other. I believe that I personally need to take part in encouraging Chicanas because I received little positive reinforcement and I kept going to school because I was so eager to learn. Yet I always felt out on the perimeter. Our work is often deemed lesser and worse it is often stereotyped as singular rather than multilayered. Honestly can anyone say we are all writing alike? The content is often stereotyped as us writing about abuelitas and this is mocked. How often is one mocked for writing about a father or an abuelito? I have never heard criticism of that. I am particularly thinking about the work of Chicanas such as Emmy Perez, Diana Delgado, and Maria Melendez. There are other strong voices out there including Gina Franco, Veronica Reyes, Alicia Gaspar de Alba, Carolina Monsivais. No two are alike. We are no less innovative than others, but for some reason we struggle with respect, or at least I do ;) People come to our work or right past it with preconceived notions about our material. Seriously, we all have our own unique obsessions we work out via words.

Well, I think innovation can exist in terms of content, musicality and imagery. Similarly, formal innovation and the issue of language matters, but poetry is about more than language. It always has been. It doesn’t matter if we view our poetry as representational or not, audience and purpose matter. I am struggling with issues like this and I woke up at 3 am upset about my perceived impressions about the current poetry climate. (...)

I feel (there it is again the quiet feminine qualifier) that many current movements in poetry are a direct response to multiculturalism. Despite liberal professions that this is not the case, it is a way of marginalizing us. And then there’s the loud booming voice of men I’ve worked with insisting we’ve had it so very, very easy due to affirmative action. And don’t get me started on that immense smug hypocrisy.
(...) (read more)


And I wake up at 3 am upset ...

I stay up. I write a poem, some unconscious mutterings -- something disconnected for the disconnect.

I dig hard holes in the Colorado clay and dream of com-post.

"Unconscious Mutterings #172 On 5/27/06"

  1. Yours :: in faith that this bit of wan

  2. Charcoal :: will draw your face, the sly

  3. Platitude :: of your escape, the dream in your head:

  4. Graduation :: from the wit to love.

  5. Hungry :: ? Give it a chance. Take it

  6. Somewhere :: where the road doesn't flatten out, where your

  7. Nurse :: speaks first, a natal

  8. Freak :: in the making -- healing.

  9. Unbelievable :: ? You ask. You ask the impossible.

  10. Walk :: with me, will you? Do it. Just walk-out.

Write your own rules and cross them out yourself at La Luna Niña's subliminal lair.


*What is this, you ask? Every sunday morning a new list appears at this website of ten words you respond to quickly, without editing. You can copy the text and paste it which gives you the list of words with the strange [::] symbol and numbered lines. I used to play with the final [/ ol] code, trying to make a word or words out of it, but then that got boring: ole', ole, and several postmodern twists in the word martinis (stirred, not shaken). Early on I started responding in lines rather than single words, shaping each one into a ten-line poem weekly. There's several dozen of these now. I think I'm going to take out the numbers and symbols (T can't read them in this form, too distracting) and print them up. Maybe pair some with my "30 Pieces of the Cruelest" manuscript of 7-minute poems from April. I'd like to see them together in the order they were written. I think that only reveals too much of my psychology. But there's some kind of progression.

Won't you play along? Why not? You have nothing to lose but a new poem -- trash it or keep it, I say.

If you want to read 'em just search this blog for ("Un) and it will pull them all up. Want to read more poems? Just search the blog for (") in the titles followed by a letter in caps. All poetry posts have the titles in quotation marks so I can search and pull them up fast. Have fun.

Play. Why is this always so serious? Even when we're bent on saving the world. ;-) y c/s

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Some News Is Bad News: On Closures, Death, Me and Stanley Kunitz

Cody's closing. Antwone's dead -- Pinetop Perkins left to mourn, recently relocated to Austin from Katrina. Híjole. Ya know?

Cliff Becker died last year. My father. I was sick as a dead dog. The chain of deaths goes back: It started when Pedro Pietri died, then I was too sick to go to Jose Montoya's Flor y Canto and read Pedro's poem, "Puerto Rican Obituary," sick with the same symptoms as Pedro, dying on a plane back to NY to die: uncontrollable vomiting. Asco, I think. But no, it's Lalo's death, too sick to attend his memorial at the Guadalupe. But no, it's ronnie burk. No, it was Gloria Anzaldua's unmarked (unremarked by me) passing. No, it's Jose Antonio Burciaga, how good he looked at the Guadalupe Book Fair, the last time I saw him alive, handing me the Death Card from his pack of loteria he was handing out as business cards -- how he took it back when he drew it from the deck and we both saw what it was, La Calavera, then looked at me, grinning that sideways grin of his I loved, "Ah, but you don't mind! Do you?"

No, I'll take it.

The Guadalupe Center, the closing of the Book Festival, the fade-out of the Latina Letters Conference. The wipe-out of cultural history.

Death and Its eraser.

And all the wicks left guttering with no one left to blow on them.

And, mostly, Stanley. "Stanley" -- that sounds weird. I never referred to him as "Stanley." He was always "Kunitz" to others, that's how I referred to him, but to my friends and family, to myself, he was The Cucumber.

Cucumber, I'm sorry, I had to call you that. It seemed to fit. Not appearance, but the way you grew and grew, the abundance of your harvests; the way you seeded others by your example, how you naturalized us all. Nothing taming about you, a fence was just another thing to climb, another shoulder to lean on. How often you offered yours. How often you cleared the path to let us pass -- no matter our matter of vehicle. Green, always. Verde. Que to quiero verde in Lorca's words. Kindred in a garden. That's how I thought of you. And not without the brambles, the tiny triggered hairs of defense. Yes, my small defense against your literary stature. One small word against reverence. To refer to you as a vegetable -- but lovingly, always lovingly, and with gratitude. But regret. Regret for keeping my distance. Regret for years of silence. Years without an intended trip to your 15th Street, 15th floor apartment. That might not be right but I leave it in for the alliteration as you, Cucumber, would understand how music, sometimes, obliterates the tears, those pesky tears of Tennyson. Idle regret for another season passing without a visit to your Provincetown providence, that heart-filled garden. But you were there, there, with me most of my life, woven into my marriage with the muse, a wedding now 30 years past. How I cried, so long ago, walking quick in my homegirl stride back to Miguel's place in the Lower East Side ("Is a long ride from Spanish Harlem to the Long Island Cemetery..." ~P.P.), silent tears streaming freely from my face as I walked through the Bob and Dylan-ghosted streets of a Greenwich Village that was still alive. I didn't care. I was proud of the moment. The moment when the next 50 years of my life unravels her taffeta and begins to dance. This life I saw in you: you, there, with the many; you, there with Yevtushenkov; you, there with Roethke. The Rothko's on your wall, just an indecernible cloud or mass to some, those still steeped in judgement. You were freedom from the Judge, in Camus' most famous definition. Famous to me, as were you. Stones were for lining the garden paths, for shoring and warming the beds, not to throw. But every time I think of you, woven as you are, as you have been, into this life of poetry where nothing matters because it all does, like the blackberry suckers a poet weaves into garden walls: every day and with a tender hand, you are not in the garden, you are staring into the eye of a Wellfleet whale, you are peering through the shot out hole of a dingy robin's head, you are forever seeing the blue there -- and I am forever there, where ever I am, there -- livid and living amid the layers. How the bramble wanders where it will but gives will to that hand. A little Dewey here, a bit of Bishop there ... what else did we talk about? Gaston Bachelard. You gave me a book by Chana Bloch. And a long list of names for my growing notebook. Like a gardener, I collected these lists then, long lives to read, like collecting stepping stones for the path. My path. It was always my path. But you were always there, a fellow traveler and not the Ranger, the affinity I elected. You understood. And I, literally, once knelt at your feet, holding my video camera I'd brought along for the occasion, thinking how it was the last -- that I would never see you again.

Mortified, in the end. How you grew, in the aging ageless years, to resemble your moniker. The earth you loved pulling you away toward her in the end as if a long invisible line were drawing you down, out from the pond, and into her. Yes, "Cucumber" I whisper into these pixiled images of you on a computer screen that now sprout from my morning sites, old familiar words still holding like a homemade trellis holds to the overgrowth. Your aged nose now looking, unfortunately, like a cucumber. And it's a lightness of being, yes, a smiling now through the silent flow that heals, as on that summer evening so long ago, when I walked fast through the grimey New York streets crying like a madwoman smiling through my tears at the life I had yet to live. Not idle at all. A good work that heals. Even if it is the work of poets. And Lords. And Lorde. And Lourdes. This "being good at doing nothing" as Cesare Pavese wrote in a poem to a whore -- who was a woman, as he saw her. Mortified, but smiling. And crying over your death, over the deaths of strangers for strangers in this strange web we weave with intent and light while typing on a keyboard -- these intimate spaces carved out of the bramble that I find through reading strangers' poetry, these blogs that are like firefly flashings in the dark or in a painting by Rothko where what little light there changes nearly imperceptibly. Cucumber. A bad name to call a good poet, but yes, it's okay because, after all, we all knew it, I was a bad girl.

Who now is this poet in the garden. And thinking of my teacher's line, Bob's, about being pleased to find oneself clever enough to arrange one's life to have the time to watch the woodpecker's comical head come out of the wood. This "sun under wood". Yes. I remember: It was June Jordan's death. It was Audre's.

It was my mother.

And then it's time to water -- before the heat of the day. So what is new doesn't whither. What is old, comes back, and bears another season. I go into these rooms I'm making with my life, these womb rooms in my new garden where the bad memories pull back and snap off like ancient weeds and the excitement of the first unfurling still spells hope without a beat-up dictionary.

And, Cucumber, I say to myself: Yes! These are the halcyon days.


Some news is bad. Some tears are good.

Some things are just the right thing to do.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Good Poem by Rebecca Loudon & My Comment Today On the Radish King

No Tell Books from poet, Reb Livingston is launching with a solicited manuscript from poet # 2 on my list of Excellent Po' Bloggers I've discovered this last year, Rebecca Loudon. Stop by The Radish King and congratulate her on her new chapbook. Here's a comment I left on her blog today, followed by a really good poem of hers.
Hey! That's great! And confirms what I always say: The best poets make the best publishers & editors -- just another example for that essay.

Keep me in mind for a blurb. You know I LOVE your work. I know ranking's rank, but tell me, all, don't ya think she's at least the second of 30 Best Po' Bloggers on my list? You're just good.

I still don't know what I think about all that. Teaching, it must be like music -- some people just don't have the ear or a sense of rhythm no matter what you do or try. Like they know all about how to build a radio, but as soon as they turn it on nothing plays. But, more than that. Some people just don't *see* much less appear below the surface of things. With you, it's a scuba dive every read.

All the colorful flying fish in the air!

btw, Ernesto Priego plucked a comment I made off his blog for a blurb, with my permission. Seems, too, the less I think about it the more lucid I am, like in a dashed off comment. So, case there's anything you like that I've written in the past, consider it. Ask Reb & company if they'd like a blurb and to send the manuscript. And, tell her: Good way to start a reputable press.

And send me whatever. Thanks for your comment the other day. I am so behind on commenting on comments that I don't know where to start. I didn't realize until recently that that was part of the etiquette. DUH. I usually respond to and on other people's blogs. And usually late at that.

I have no social skills. At least not common ones. In another life and age I'd be a certified hermit, the wild woman living in the woods with the birds.

You can write to me at MYNAME at MYNAME dot com, that is, my full name with the Dee in it. That should get to me. Blog email is PoetDee AT mac DOT com, but I've been bombarded by spam. Poetic spam, the worst. The one's with trippy words in the subject line and a post-modern bot-poem in the contents. I click on that and it's all over. Stock tips from there on out.

Send me your snail mail addy. You might get goodies in the mail.

Cheers to the Radish King. We love you (and we think you're funnier than hell -- sometimes.) Be well: Give 'em hell.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

the body's steam rolling out

Oops, forgot I didn't know how to preserve the spacing, so you'll just have to visit her blog and scroll down to May 14 or scroll back up and click the link to her really good poem. It's worth a read. A good example of Olson's "energy" that a good poem contains.

40,008 Visitors Since Last Cinco de Mayo


CU - Write In the Rockies at the Boulder Creek Festival (Dream On)

If I were still directing creative writing at CU I'd have a table at the Boulder Creek Festival featuring Creative Writing Program authors: current & former faculty, students and possibly other CU faculty authors such as poets, Jeffrey Robinson, Vincent Woodard, Daniel Kim, Bruce Kawin, Suzanne Juhazs (now novelist?), Patrick Pritchard, Reiland Rabaca, Arturo Aldama; novelist, Paul Levitt, and any poets in the Spanish Department. I'd have a book table with time slots for signings, an area by the booth for ongoing readings. And, of course, applications for the program and classes (we screen non-creative writing majors, and often students don't realize that they have to submit a manuscript in advance.) We could have a list for a new Friends of Creative Writing organization. (I always liked my invented slogan for the CWP: "CU - Write In the Rockies" -- hey! I was instructed to "market.") We could have videos of readings going on, maybe sell some cds. Give away our free student mags, Walkabout and Square One (formerly Sniper Logic). (Maybe get a program newsletter going and give that away.) Maybe host local lit mags and independent presses. Put up my Stafford style instant publishing Poetry Wall. It'd be a great outreach and recruitment strategy. And, a good way to sell books. And, we'd get off The Hill. Maybe find new readership. Create community larger than our own little literary enclaves and, ahem, harems. But then, I've always been a Trabajadora Cultural. And have a decade of experience organizing book fairs and literary festivals; 30 years experience in the field -- since some were pulling up trainers. Gawd, how I love book fairs! The sound and smell of them. Boxes of fresh ideas. I love having my book to sell now because it reminds me of it, although it's not the same as hawking others I truly admire. Or having a press -- not to mention actually running one humming under my bare hands. How I love talking shop with printers & publishers. Salt of the earth. I spent 90 % of my time in the book fair talkin' to ole buds at the AWP. So it's an old habit to break. Besides, the possibilities for readings and appearances would be exciting; maybe retired faculty would attend: Marilyn Krysl, Linda Hogan, Steve Katz, Reg Saner, and newly retired, Peter Michelson. Maybe my former grad students with books would attend: Luis Urrea, Haas Mroue, Mark Spitzer, Alex Stein, Lisa Anderson and former undergrads, Alan Gilbert, Kristen Prevalett, Simone Muench, Brittany Baldwin. . . . And these just off the top of my pixels. Ah, free Poetry for the People! Oooo, support good writers and better publishers by buying their books! Yeah! Besides, it'd be good experience for the current students. Be a way for graduating and former students to come back and stay in touch. Good for the Boulder Creek Festival. Put the literary arts back in with the visual and aural arts. Making community is making heart -- by taking heart. yeah

A downhome girl can dream. And a down homegirl can write it down.

"We're the kind of people who lost California" ~ my brother

for lack of a pencil

"Well, write it up." ~ my mentor, Hayden White

(still dreaming after all these years)
or did I dream this?
am I still dreaming?

on another note:


lemme know
you know


Re: Blog as Franklin Planner in action.
4:45 A.M.


This weekend, I might just take my blanket and the portable mahogany book table/ display case I built "with my own hands" and hunker down by the creek and pull out some books. But it'd be just my luck to get busted for peddling poetry without a license.

Still. . . might attract a few. Poets, that is.

Care to join me? We could stage a Poetry-In. Throw it down. Pick one up.


Speaking of which:

40,000 hits since last Cinco de Mayo, most looking for me. (Me to T: "Who ARE these people?")






"Hurry up, please. It's time."
"I've got to get
back to the gaaaaaaaaarrden."


Bird's up

Now's the time.

Friday, May 19, 2006

MeMeMe Meme: Thirteen Things On A Thursday

Yeah, I know. It's friday. It's the thought that counts.

Thirteen Things On A Thursday About Me That Are Weird

  1. I have to use the exact same copy of Webster's Collegiate Dictionary I've used since I was 11 years old when I write. I use the OED for galleys -- but I *must* use my old beat up hard-bound dictionary (now missing it's binding) for drafts. I've had it at my side by my desk at all times for forty years. It's the last thing I pack and the first thing I unpack when I move. I like that as the years go by I lose pages of grammar, kinda like real life.

  2. I don't like eggplant.

  3. I'm a skeptic who believes God is a sense of humor.

  4. I'm happiest when the ironic face of the universe reveals herself.

  5. I'm afraid of cows (but you knew that.)

  6. I have a secret phobia about mad ostriches attacking me (or any dumb animal that we eat with a plan for fighting back.) (It can happen!)

  7. I've written poems that I purposely don't remember and thrown them into the ocean as offerings to Yemaya. It has something to do with the power of positive thinking.

  8. I gave birth to my son, alone, in my Houston apartment with just a midwife and no drugs in four and a half hours -- telling a long story about a beaded Huichol mask I had in the room, something about the scorpion and the butterfly and the nine levels of the universe: I was making it up, I guess. Or channeling. My midwife said I was the most coherent woman giving birth she had ever encountered.

  9. I always wanted a Black Racer (a snake).

  10. I graduated from college with super high honors in Creative Arts but I wasn't aware of it: I was all about the work (I wrote a 45 page philosophy paper on "Experience As Art") and ignored all the pomp. (My philosophy prof happened to be the Director of the Honors Program.) I shined on graduation (I couldn't afford a gown anyway) and I never could figure out why they were writing to me for years to pick up some medal.) I didn't figure it out until about 5 years ago when I mentored a student who graduated Summa cum Laude and I thought, "Hey! Isn't that what I got?" DOH.

  11. I came to Boulder to backpack, not teach, and never have in all the 17 years I've been teaching here.

  12. I'm a Leo who's afraid I'll get eaten by a lion. It would be ironic. And that's why it scares me. (It can happen!)

  13. My favorite animal, hands down, is the giraffe.

Now, what's yours? Got thirteen weird things on you for a thursday? How about five for a friday? Anything. Like most writers, I'm nosey.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Friends In High Places - Son House Video

(Sorry if this bumps anyone off -- I had a heck of a time staying and getting back online when people started posting these YouTube videos. I finally had to upgrade, something I didn't want to do; I've been having trouble ever since. But, anyway, couldn't resist this Son House. And it seems a fitting tune after the news about Ward.


"Unconscious Mutterings #171 On 5/17/06"

  1. Immune :: to the utter disgust of it all,

  2. Together :: again, they said in their sly settlings.

  3. Blank :: to a wall, the preponderance of

  4. Professional :: pleasure weaves a mere

  5. Thousand :: minutes of ecstasy, the subtle

  6. Penetration :: of desire, a memory. Tie the

  7. Shutter :: down with law. Assume it,

  8. Upside down :: on an iron claw, naked from the lone

  9. Neck :: up. Parted on the side, He said/She said, an

  10. Unlisted :: drone remembering the score.

Add a little color to your gray matter, mutter unconsciously at La Luna Niña.

"Unconscious Mutterings #170 On 5/17/06"

  1. Represent :: the earth, not the

  2. Mumbling :: hordes upon her.

  3. Meetup :: with your stellar destiny

  4. Tantalizing :: the stars with hunger.

  5. Fake :: a wish and tailgate on a

  6. Dale :: -- the big play, overdue.

  7. Deny :: the oceans their treats, deduct

  8. Calories :: from the reservoirs of dreams

  9. Roll :: up the windows of fate,

  10. 44 :: windows to be exact -- dream on.

Be your own mind's keeper, lock it up with 10 suggestions at The Subliminal Luna Nina.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Stanley Kunitz (July 29, 1906 - May 14, 2006)

The parentheses close -- as he might have said.

Beyond grief. Yes, grief, an ever distant chain of regrets.

Odd, but fitting, I spend these days in the garden. Saturday night, early sunday morning, I woke up, alert from a dream I couldn't recall. I couldn't go back to sleep -- unusual for me, so I got up and engaged in some serendipitous and downright miraculous surfing until way past dawn having to do with my other hero and mentor from afar, Memphis Minnie and this screenplay I'm writing about her. The prior morning, I had posted about Bill Stafford, to whom Kunitz once introduced me. I spent the rest of the time in the garden, not thinking of Stanley, but I had been as I wrote about Bill. Fitting, so fitting, and odd, too, after so long, to return to my garden (or rather, the promise of a garden) with a new found energy.

Yes, he's been here. He was there. He said good-bye.

And now he's in the flowers. My flowers. Fitting. Flor y canto, flowers and a song, the only things we humans can ever hope to leave behind -- besides the love embodied in the ones left.

Adios, Tlamatini


All the earth is a grave and nothing escapes it, nothing is so perfect
that it does not descend to its tomb. Rivers, rivulets, fountains and
waters flow, but never return to their joyful beginnings; anxiously
they hasten on the vast realms of the rain god. As they widen their
banks, they also fashion the sad urn of their burial.

Filled are the bowels of the earth with pestilential dust once flesh and bone, once animate bodies of man who sat upon thrones, decided cases, presided in council, commanded armies, conquered provinces, possessed treasure, destroyed temples, exulted in their pride, majesty, fortune, praise and power. Vanished are these glories, just as the fearful smoke vanishes that belches forth from the infernal fires of Popocatepetl. Nothing recalls them but the written page.

King of Texcoco (1431-72)
Trs. John Curl

Thanks to Anne Haines for the sad news, and for posting the link to this obituary from today's Provincetown newspaper.

I have to type up the rest of the long bio I wrote for my other blog, for LDC scholarship; it has a long section about Stanley and his influence on my career, my avocation, which is to say, my life.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

"Striking Ash" (long poem for my mother, 1927 - 1982)

Striking Ash

If I sleep at all
it is safe past the death's
head of wolves' hour
after the final chink
in the sky closes
when entire worlds shift
predawned and dusked
I dream
if I dream at all
when the utter
silence of you gone
gushes out
when the sentries
of the past ignite
birds into flutterings
of love

love is the standard key to open any lock

how is it that death
should become inconspiculous
how is it that death
is so inconspiculously
a bludgeon
a photo
a report
some words
your hair
where there
was once
your light

'til a mean luck wrenched you from my hands

I walk a brief circle
around out house
slack before the spent
frame where we lived
listless as shells

as if no one else can hear or see in this bright house

as you mother
dreamed of somebody
you could be
frugal not fragile
taking the measure
of handed-down shoes
so when the slay
of the land
taught you to beg
and pray
you laid down
your arms
bit the quick
of nails
and began living
the intricate pass
of the blinding stitches
of those who labor
in waiting
in labor
for love of

til a wicked luck refuses the link

your father's depression
house housed the
pawnshop you hated
the violin he forced you
to play you scraped the horse
strings up and down
the worked spine
cursing that old man
for never knowing
his girls' hands
could settle like birds
whitling ivory

nude islanders stirring surf and ebony from a wooden world

for never letting you
come down hard on the key
that would open your life
your Pandora's box
broken into from birth
you dreamed of knowing
Chopin and harmonizing
wind with a music so welding
it wedded with a lilt
worn with the utter loneliness

of that place you heard you could play

in the backroom where
your father never goes
where the beaten
marimba is stored
you used it clean
a wooden substitute
for humming out
the trapped voices
hammering out the battered
chords of thieved lands
your mother's gift
her hands answering
the questions Chopin
leaves you

love is the common bludgeon to jimmy any window

grief is never civil
it comes to your door
at the thieves hour
like a social worker
from the sixties
it comes crashing
in to yards
of four roses
and checks
through the curtains
to see who's sleeping
in your bed
and do you
the benefits
of the poor

what could I have done with you shaming me past my senses?

you are gone
and still you are
dragging me with you
islanded here
sleepless child
helpless before the tow
past colored treats
past doll's heads
past dripping wrecks
drunks or the kittens
purring in the bush
usher me anywhere
I learn
why we come here
striking ash
off what we've loved

because love was what it was we put out trust in time

between seeming and seance
words and science
this is what lingers
snapped shut in the heart
and fated
all that infant
you waited all your life

as I now wait for you

time doesn't heal
it cuts the cord
we become ourselves
or a final fling
absent from the source
a fish in air
air in a globe
of tears

in a light that boils and burns

did we love our mothers enough
as the air
does the time ever come
when we hand our mothers
the china we are
and say mira

look what you have done with blood and air

did I love you enough
ask the page
this clipping of you
this brief and always gift

hustling grief past its prime

ask the air
this science
where I find
evidence of you
a soot
irrevocably spoken


from DRIVE: The First Quartet

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Remembering William Stafford

I just wrote this comment on a blog I just discovered, The Stone and Plank from writer, Curt Stump, on the poet, William Stafford. I had already seen the reference to his poetry, and his essays in particular, in Burning Patience. Here's my comment:

May 13th, 2006 at 11:32 am

Hi, I just found you via Sheryl. Much good stuff here, I’ll be back for a comment on poetic voice. Right now I have to go outside for the first time this week, and plant some flowers.

Thank you so much for these comments on Bill Stafford. I, too, met him through the Fine Arts Work Center. [Oops, I meant Port Townsend, the Centrum Symposia] I like to think that we “clicked” — we seemed to have the same temperment and inclinations. I had already admired his poetry, that big book of his early selected, one of my favorites (and lent to a student and I never got it back!) Stafford is an antidote for much that is not poetry. It is good to see (read) him remembered. He wrote a poem a day, after or during his daily walk in the canyon through Reed College where he taught. Not all good poems, but most. Imagine what it must be like to be his son and burdened with that legacy, a lifetime’s worth of poetry to edit from someone so prolific — and good. A good Stafford poem is about as good as it gets. We spent a lot of time at FAWC [Port Townsend!] in the late 70s, both in and out of the faculty cabin. Every time I found myself doing anything when he was around, conference, reading, etc., I gravitated toward him, I liked to hang around him; and he was always respectful. We also clicked in our connection and commitment to community arts. (Yes, he would *love* what you are doing and have done.) He always encouraged — and attended — spontaneous open mike readings wherever he was, and what impressed me the most, is that everywhere he was he was a traveling poetry wall, that is, a roll of butcher paper stapled or taped to the wall, and he created an instant Poetry Space. People could post their new poems on the wall, an instant publishing wall, and hang out to see who’s reading and posting. It was always exciting to see new work by new (to us) poets as soon as it was written; what I now love about blogs: a community. Poetry doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Language is both private and personal at the same time it is social and communal. Stafford understood this, which is why his poems were never wholly ahistorical. He was, also, a lovely man. Shy and gentle, with a keen sense of humor when you got to know him. I miss him. A year or so before he died I ran into him at the airport when I was giving a reading at Reed. He was already retired from there. We talked for quite a while, just standing there before heading to and from our gates. He was so gracious, he remembered me very well and surprised me by revealing he had read my latest book and liked it. It’s a very special memory for me now, that chat with the venerable poet in the midst of the all the rushing around us.

Didn’t he write, “Writing the Australian Crawl” in that early Poets on Poetry Series. As that’s what writing about writing poetry is, like trying to teach someone how to swim through words. As Stanley Kunitz used to say, “Poetry is only half words.”

Stafford had so many words, I’m sure that’s the only reason he’s not better recognized today.

Thank you for remembering, and for allowing me to remember.


*Oops! I forgot to write: If William Stafford were alive today he'd be a Po' Blogger.

Funny, it was when I returned from Reed last month that I read the post on Stafford in Burning Patience. I had been thinking of him so hard, and mourning the fact that all of my Stafford had disappeared from the shelves as I routinely give my books to students to read then and there, and I don't always get them back. (If you're a former student of mine reading this, and guilty, you can always get them back to my box at the university or mail them there -- heck, right now, there's a box on my porch for collecting manuscripts, you could sneak them in the box and I'll never remember who had what when.) I loved being at Reed. I loved the students: so bright and aware, such a breath of fresh reasoning, and active in the world. It occurred to me that the life I would really love right now would be to be hired at Reed, and just take up Bill's legacy, or try. I would try so hard to live up to it. Hike up and down those same trails in the Portland mist. Come back down with a poem everyday. Bring really good writers. Recruit really good writers as students (they're so diverse there already!) Less petty personal politics and power-tripping (I imagine) and fewer ego clashes as with an MFA investd in a School of ... Mush. Heck, I'm already relegated to just teaching undergraduates. Do it for a private college for more money. Get them while they're young and blow on those embers. Yeah. Sounds good. The life of Bill. I'm ready. Old age, here I come. . .

At least I'd finally get support for a poetry wall. (My last attempt was torn down and all the poems and paper disappeared.)

Time to plant flowers.

For all those graduating -- CONGRATULATIONS!

"The journey has just begun."

~ LDC in poem for Ramon del Castillo in honor of his Ph.D in DRIVE: The First Quartet

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Still Grading. . . And Single Motherhood (More of Interview w/ LDC)

In a strange round of synchronicity, one of my favorite new poetsSuzanne Frischkorn, posts a bit from Diane Middlebrook's (another fine poet) biography of Anne Sexton about Adrienne Rich (Diving Into the Wreck) & Sylvia Plath on motherhood for the writer. I just had to answer this question yesterday. I've been thinking of it ever since -- a bit of guilt for not going on and on about how great my kid is, and instead going off in this direction. The thought of Anne, Sylvia & Adrienne discussing it -- boggles my mind a bit, in a reassuring kinda a way. I hope all you M. . . (well, you know what you are) take a bit of reassurance from these answers. This is for you. Thanks, Suzanne.

10. There are some poems written to a son in this book. How does motherhood affect your craft?

It was listening to a lecture given by the fiction writer, Helena Maria Viramontes, at UC Irvine years ago, that got me to thinking how so often a woman's Muse takes the form of her children; whereas for a man, the Muse typically takes the form of a young and strikingly beautiful woman, usually with long flowing hair. (silent laughter) For me, it is the awareness of my own mortality which affects my craft -- certainly supplies the big waves that rock my boat. Motherhood will put you there, especially single motherhood: My Greatest Fear -- realized.

"Oh my little secret weapon, self
made slayer. . ."

Single motherhood, to me, meant poverty and no less than the death of the self. I thought I would never write again, at least, not well. But I had already given her up once before, my Muse. What I wasn't prepared for was that overwhelming ever-present fear for my child, a paper in the throat that never goes away. It rubs off in a concern for my own physical well-being, especially as I embarked upon this journey at 40, much older than most moms. The sense that there is no one to care for my child if something should happen to me -- this rubs off in my attitude about my writing and the books. I have to write them now. I have to finish them. I have to get the poems on and off the page -- as there is no one to care for them should something happen to me.

Of course, none of this was said by Helena, but what she said was right, that for many women, our children are our Muses, embodied. I think we do some of our best writing after motherhood, those of us who can, because we can and we have to; just look at Cherrie Moraga, Ana Castillo, Helena, Alma Villanueva, and others. For different reasons. But there is a need to leave something solid and lasting, and worthy of the time it takes in the creation.

And, motherhood makes me organized. I don't know how that affects my craft, particularly since for me, in a traditional role, my working day is fragmented into scheduled and unscheduled interruptions. Like now. My son just came home from school. I have a form to sign and homework to go over. I have a snack to prepare, and dinner to plan. I also have five other books of poetry I'm patting into balls in my head. I'm more organized about finding a time to type, to organize and put them out. And I know where the stamps are.

Interview With Lorna Dee Cervantes by Celeste Guzman

Still grading . . . here's some more of that interview:

3. What makes a strong poem?

To quote myself in an old editorial statement: Strong poetry is "rooted in the earth and rendered in blood." No matter, ni modo, the style or taste of that particular moment -- as the strong poem *is* the particular moment, made over, and executed on the page.

4. What is the role of poetry?

French philosopher, Gaston Bachelard in his ground-breaking, paradigm shifting book, The Poetics of Space, was recorded as saying that "Poetry is the soul inaugurating a form." I'll go with that. What do I know? For me, poetry is the original all-purpose tool. It's all a matter of strategy and the play (or melodrama) of desire. Nezahualcoatl's question: "What do you want to leave behind?" Poetry can model some answers to that question. Poetry can be a kind of blueprint. A solution. As well as, the blues.

5. What are your hopes for poetry in the 21st century?

There's an old torch song, one of my favorite genres, that goes: "It's not for me to say." What are one's hopes for any relationship? Any marriage that vows, in the words of Rilke, to honor, protect, and hold one's self the "guardian" of the other's solitude?

I would hope that it would be written and spoken.

I would hope that it will be recognized as value, and a value-giving method of production -- and valued as the rare and valuable process that it is. Rare, not in the elitist sense or the collector's mentality of inventory, but in the face of the fact that any activity which allows you the leisure and pleasure to take total control over any process from beginning, middle to end is a rarity in this day and age when we are stuck making parts of things; we serve on the side in a side role, or we sit and suffer in our cubicles, our souls stuffed quietly into cubbies, and make possible the machinations of an invisible empire, seemingly; as was pointed out by one of my early mentors (in head and heart if not in actuality in any timespace) Stanley Kunitz in his prose book, A Kind of Order, A Kind of Folly.

You are asking the wrong person this question. I'm a homegirl, not a hoper. I don't hope or wish for anything. I do. And I do believe. I believe there are forces and the forces of elements we can not know, not as a human being. I believe in history. And in the force of truth. I believe in the power of language -- to do; to make belief; the power of hope. Granted. I see it more as intent. And the sacred intent of Gaia, which is all of us, everything, this very earth, and more. I believe in the power of good poetry to, in the words of Carlos Santana about music, rearrange your molecules. For the better -- I would hope.

Okay. Okay. You got me.

As for the 21st Century, I would hope that poetry will save it.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Still Grading. . .

and I wrote a long email interview for the Texas Observer -- here's a part of it:

"As for writing, and writing well, the more the better. It takes a lot of tending of crocus bulbs to produce enough saffron for the paella."

The problem with writing so much is that you have to have the time to type it up.

And the problem with assigning so much writing is that you have to have the time to read it.

Mañana. . .

Friday, May 05, 2006

"On Why I Boycotted Cinco de Mayo"

On Why I Boycotted Cinco de Mayo


from DRIVE: The First Quartet

Thursday, May 04, 2006

"Live In the Moment" (7-Minute NaPoWriMo Poem for April 30)

Live In the Moment

Or is it useless to say?
The squandered sense of it, to render
it said. All the stolen minutes
are found in a policeman's trunk,
in the Hit 'n' Run of tomorrow,
that cash-poor bank where I spend
you, love, the big time. Out of sight
and out of rind, the great orange
of a savored life sours on the fingertips,
the storied threads unwoven in the peel,
in the getting it off. I'll take the download
over the base unloading, the missed of friends
avoiding the saga. Here it is again, that common
judgment, thy kingdom come where I pronounce
you loved and certain. And us? Our fortune?
We are borrowed and saved. The sensuous
guess, poignant and apropos: Choose
me. Choose me! And I'll go.

written in 7 minutes for National Poetry Writing Month for April 30

Get your daily NaPoWriMo poem topic/ title here, then scroll down.

"Candy Bar" (7-Minute NaPoWriMo Poem for April 29)

Candy Bar

Every night he ate a candy bar,
a peanut butter hope, the muscular
spread in the middle, the acid sweet
nougat. He ate for the aid
of something larger than himself,
that filling to fill, that fullness
in the heart that never comes. All the repetition,
the attention to latinate names for
the flexing, all those stubborn gluts
and max, all the careful measuring of aminos,
the building blocks of a new tomorrow
in a new physique -- anything to lay
it on. Every night, that wrinkling of the wrapper,
a calling to God to come on over and get him.
He was getting larger and no longer
the stiff face in a morning mirror. Every night
that gnawing into shame, that fighting
with the self for the room to move,
for the single soul, full-grown, with a view.

written in 7 minutes for National Poetry Writing Month for April 29

Get your daily NaPoWriMo poem topic/ title here, then scroll down.

"How Good Sleep Sounds" (7-Minute NaPoWriMo Poem for April 28)

How Good Sleep Sounds

to the unimpaired. Those little tics
that punctuate the day, those minor faces
of despair wearing away the cement
of our care. The sound of breakers
in one stomach. The tuba of nightmares
blaring through the chorus. The fine aria
of children spinning away into meadows
of bones, the spattered remains of their
fields. A parent's midnight striking
the finite hours, hoping for a dream,
the miracle mile of the sudden rested.
How good sleeps sounds, the waves of nostalgia
rocking the most distant heart. Have
a pillow. Halve it into pleasure and pain,
the dual mask of the dead. All voices
now coming into shadow. A part of the giant
mystery, the sexual coming --
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I remember you
how you loved in that moment, glad-hearted
to be bedded, the sleep in your sip,
the wine in your eyes, that glossy effect,
the post of your arms around me. How good
that sleep now sounds.

written in 7 minutes for National Poetry Writing Month for April 28

Get your daily NaPoWriMo poem topic/ title here, then scroll down.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

"Polygamy" (7-Minute NaPoWriMo Poem for April 27)


They practiced in the west
and by Moslem women, refused.
And the Great White Way
proliferated across the plains
in the furrows of one man's escape
and a woman's willing air. Who claims
this heir? Of woman born, and named
by no man, that no man's way
of being invisible in this land. Here,
the broad hips of the breadbasket
girdle around envy. The starved eyes
of silent America play on the jukebox.
Everything empties down the sinks in Little America.
Here, in the middle, everything grows, whole
forests of change wait your burn.
Would you give it a match?
To get by? Over the edge, I prefer
the wedge of the poverty I skirt. Here, am I,
contiguous at last.

written in 7 minutes for National Poetry Writing Month for April 27

Get your daily NaPoWriMo poem topic/ title here, then scroll down.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

"Unconscious Mutterings #169 On 5/2/06"

  1. Out of place :: in the face of destiny, the grand

  2. Helicopter :: in my head stalls above the Hotel

  3. Francis :: Arlene on a Mexican beach, no

  4. Ryan :: Seacrest in your face, just a wry

  5. Wedding :: of inebriates, the subtly

  6. Apalled :: in their marriage best. While I, the sly

  7. Historian :: of a race, believe the heart of the unknown

  8. Powerful :: and wrecked looms above the lost

  9. Sex symbol :: of the waste. And me, I'm here,

  10. Uncomfortable :: and past.

Tune your own cords, chord your own chart the subliminal way with La Luna Niña.

"Sandwiches" (7-Minute NaPoWriMo Poem for April 26)


Fortune tells its spread,
the lay of the hand, the second
check, the clear smear of future
cast in fate. I pretend to care,
to share my rare and tenuous thread,
the shred of substance in the guessing.

All I know is a certain air, an invisible
longing towards the flame of flare, how
everything crumbles past the touch. I feel
my way, the web of possibility. The last
step, secure in the knowing I don't know.
All in there, that hollow of alone--is shared.

The crisp husk of morning leaves
off her battle, the new won day
brilliant with bursting through. I rule
another mile of minutes, these shoes.
I choose another opening to be
sandwiched in--all resonance and light.

written in 7 minutes for National Poetry Writing Month for April 26

Get your daily NaPoWriMo poem topic/ title here, then scroll down.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Have A Heart, Give to A Heart: Alfred Arteaga Needs Us Now!

I just received this note from Chicano poet, professor & critical theorist, Alfred Arteaga, or rather, from his daughter. He needs us now -- to raise $50,000 to pay for treatment that may save his life. We need Alfred Arteaga in this life. Please, give what you can and find creative ways to raise more. At one point there was a plan to have various people record some of his poems for a cd to sell -- but he needs us now. His treatment can not wait. He needs a new heart, and is looking to a new procedure to grow his own stem cells to help his heart. They have scheduled the surgery for June. Please read the message below and do what you can, and spread the word. Alfred is a dear heart and a much-loved poet and cultural critic.

Subject: Alfred Arteaga in need
Date: May 1, 2006 3:12:51 PM MDT
To: PoetDee AT

Dear Lorna,

My name is Xóchitl Arteaga, and together with my sisters Marisol and Mireya,
we write to ask you for assistance with our father, Alfred Arteaga, who is
in need due to failing health.
In 1999 our father suffered a massive heart attack and spent six weeks in a
coma. He survived but spent a year in recovery, learning to walk again. He
improved greatly and went back to full time teaching at Berkeley. Then in
2005 he suffered a second heart attact and has been in and out of the
hospital. He continues to teach full time but is in need of treatment,
perhaps a heart transplant. We are looking for alternative treatments.
There is a new program of stem cell treatment that is successful in cases
like his. By cultivating his own stem cells, doctors can now infuse the
heart to create new and stronger muscle. His American cardiologists are
The most effective procedure of this kind was developed by a US
cardiologist and is done by US doctors in Thailand. This is because US
hospitals are in trials now, as the procedure is not yet FDA approved. We
cannot wait years for the approval process to run its course. We have
scheduled his stem cell operation for June 2006, and we are doing everything
in our power to fund our father's treatment.
Please help us by donating money to this cause. We need to raise $50,000 for
the procedure, follow-up treatment and associated expenses. We hope you will
help us.

Thank you

Xóchitl, Marisol, Mireya Arteaga

Please feel free to contact us:
Or contact our father directly:

For more information, links, and an explanation about giving, go to: alt.html

If you wish to donate now, you can mail a check directly to him:

Alfred Arteaga
11 Perry Avenue
Menlo Park, CA 94025

Or you may make an electronic donaton via paypal by going to following e

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