Monday, July 31, 2006

Qana - Beirut Seizures

Sad News Yesterday - Trinidad Sanchez, Jr. - Trino Passes

Poet, Trinidad Sanchez, Jr.

FROM Regina Chavez y Sanchez:

My beloved husband, Trinidad Sánchez, Jr., died today at the Methodist Hospital. He was such a loving man, gentle spirit and leader. His words and laughter will live on forever. The poet, activist and teacher must live on in all of us!

UPDATE: Check this website from Gemini Ink for information on upcoming memorial fundraising events and donations.

Rainbow Line

Woke up this morning to an email box full of blues shining blue light in my dawn blue room. Sad news. I am proud to say that I knew Trino. I was strongly and profoundly influenced by his energy and actions over the past 15 years. Like so many, I saw him as a role model. I loved the beret he wore proudly. (Not many people know that I was recruited for college by the Brown Berets -- who knows what would have become of me without an education.) I loved the Mexicaness of his passion, his passion for life -- even if that sounds like a cliche -- I had my father to show the way in that light; what a "whole man" is like, the literal translation of "macho" just as "hembra" is a woman, like Frida, realized. He was not afraid of sentiment. As one of my favorite musicians and philosophers, Joam Armatrading, once sang: "Show some emotion!" I say that as the first order of advice to developing poets. Emotion, not the end-all, but the kick that gets the wheel turning for turning out the perfect urn. Trino understood this Master/Slave dialect better than Hegel. The only comfort I can muster is knowing that I am not alone, that there is a heart-force of his influence ready to help. Please help. Like so many of our artists, teachers, activists, Trino died without health insurance. At one point there was a fund established in the name of Jose Antonio Burciaga to help in such cases -- I'm not sure what happened, other than the fact that it's funded by out-of-work community workers, and low-paid professionals, like me. (I know Alfred Arteaga could use the help for his heart right now. And raulsalinas was recently hospitalized with a serious condition and faces more surgery.)

Sad to think how many are saddened right now. Maybe this sadness should be oil for the pump.

If you are in Texas, come to San Antonio for a benefit reading and memorial event August 6 at Ruta Maya. Thanks to Tammy, "Sunlit Doorway" for this info in the comment box of the previous message about Trino:

What: Trinidad Sánchez Jr. Celebration and Fundraiser
When: Sunday, August 6, 2006, 2-8pm
Where: Ruta Maya Riverwalk Coffee House
107 East Martin
San Antonio, TX 78205

There will be an opportunity to sign up and share our words, read from his poems, tell stories and make music that celebrates Trino and the spirit he has imparted to us and so many others.

All proceeds (donations as well as a percentage of the sales revenue of that day at Ruta Maya) to help defray health care and rehab expenses for Trino.

For more info, you can click here and here for previous blog entries concerning Trino.

Anyone in Denver who can help with a venue for a fundraiser, let me know. One at Cafe Cultura would be good. I'll be in San Francisco for a reading at the Intersection of the Arts on August 6 (my birthday), but I'll be back around the 14th.

Here's a few of his poems. And, yes, write a poem and right a wrong, and light a light in some child's eyes for Trino. And light a laugh in some friend's face, and light a light in the heart of your lover. Regina, I am so, so saddened for your loss. As my mother often said of my father: "There will never be another man like him."

Rainbow Line


You tell your father "I love you."
It's not easy. For we are taught
to love women....not men.
My father was the one I wanted
to be near, to feel his strength,
to know his passion for life.
The distance between us went unnoticed
until that fateful day of the phone call.
It would be my first airplane ride
from Cincinnati to Detroit,
ironically, to be with him at death.
Funny, for years I saved the ticket stub
not sure whether to remind me
of my first flight or his death.

Standing next to him,
I remember being strong
after all, I was his namesake
and others were expecting me
to be a man.

The day I cried was months later,
when I went to my mailbox
for his weekly letters and poems.
The box was empty no letter, no poems.
I was so alone. Lost. Confused.
I had been taught about sex,
but no one had explained
the overwhelming sensations
that arrive with the death
of the man who for twenty years,
I called "papa".

He lay so still, properly embalmed.
His amigos from the Monterrey Poolroom
paid their final respects.
The priest said some stupid prayers.
I cursed God for the strange feeling
of being a young man without a father.
I wanted to hug him one last time
or would it be our first?
The line from the poem
he wrote to me,
after my leaving home,

"it was papa who took a drink
and wanted to hug you tight".

floated around
like a bad taste in my mouth.

Now the distance between the family
has separated us
to different parts of the country.
Mama, lost her voice,
she quietly waits for your return
at the Nightingale Nursing Home.
She teaches us a lesson how sometimes
death sneaks slowly up on you
weakens you till your last breath.
Now, I struggle to be father
for my beautiful ten year old daughter.
You are not here but I want you to know
I don't blame you anymore.

The poet in me wants to share a poem
with you, make you smile, laugh
but all I can do is tell the children
" . . . my father was a poet."
I feel so proud, at the precise moment
when I express your words with my voice:
but I remember too well
how the first time I told my father
"I love you" . . . was not easy.

* * *


based on a poem by Michele Banks

They ask me to write down my race, and I think and think very seriously
and consider writing down the truth and have my answer read . .

I am the penúltimo of seven “Cepillos” and three seeeesters
–now at 61 I wash my hair with a washcloth!
Mis papas are from the edge of two countries y el Río Bravo
some say divides us while others agree unites us.
The countries I am from are full of languages that I have yet
learned to speak. Inside this body, I can carry four types of spit
Spanish, English, Poetry and Fire.

Jorge Negrete, Lucha Villa, Pedro Infante, Alfredo Jiménez,
legends de un otro tiempo echando gritos los corridos of a historia
never taught to me in school, a history I sometimes do not remember.
Loneliness inside this body has driven me to the sounds of Satchmo,
The Duke, Ella, Lionel pushing me away from the edge of death.

The American hamburgers, Chinese fortune cookies,
which I learned in my old age que no son de la gran China
Italian spaghetti, Arabic Hummus, the Greek salads
Mexican menudo, Puerto Rican tostones, Lebanese Pistachios
mama’s tortillas, frijoles y arroz tastes & flavors
linger in the bowels of a 170 lb. body.

In a poolroom as far as you could get from Monterrey
sounds of billiard balls clicking against each other
chasing after the classic 8 & 9 for a win are inside this body.
The gritos of Mexican men shouting ‘bolas, bolas, bolas’
wanting their balls racked echo in the drums of my orejas,
the smoke smell from papa’s cigars are carried
on the sides of my nostrils.

Mi padrino, tío Fermín y mi madrina tía Odila
the smell of oils, their paintings from visits to
their casita in a big city of iron, steel and cars
remains another world and a strong part of this body.

Ron Allen often threatened in his poems to kill
us with his blackness and he did and I have died
a thousand times inside the poems of people of
color in a city known for the death of her children
only to be given back in resurrection
of brown words others have called poems.

Cerveza y tequila cuentos have invaded
the veins & arteries leaving embarrassing
recuerdos y crudas inside this body.

El dolor y confusión de la muerte
the first death in my life
my best friend my abuela Abigail,
makes me afraid to really love
for in the end only death and loss remain.

The wins and losses of racquetball games,
cribbage games if you stand close enough
to my own embarrassment, I carry the smells
of being skunked.

The mystery of springtime, primavera uncovering
herself in the simple conversations of new friends . . .
how my father died on Good Friday . . .
tiempo de primavera finally connected us
the struggles of becoming a man - respecting other men
accepting them as replicas of my father
whose name and legacy I carry in the initials Jr.

But I stop
and simply
write down

* * *


Valiant/committed to peace
The ones who struggle for dignity
and do not run from the suffering
of their people,
sincere, good gentlemen
who are not afraid to ask for pardon
and who know how to forgive.
Those who in the sacred moments
so human in life
are not afraid to cry
and who with out embarrassment
are not afraid to hug their sons & daughters
trying to be a brother and father
or who are also mother and sister
a companion sharing friendship.

projected to the future—the cosmic race
connected to his roots—his past
forming community, respecting his culture
the ones who love life
and know how to celebrate it.
the ones who respect women
without dominating with their machismo,
those who know how to be persons of faith
and are not afraid to pray.

honest, some-Chicanos/Latinos/Blacks
Americans and those who are Puerto Ricans . . .
these are the men
who have shown me how to love and
who today, we remember
these are my brothers
we salute
on their day of celebration.

* * *

Trinidad Sánchez, Jr. is a renowned Chicano performer, poet and author of several books of poetry including the best seller Why Am I So Brown?, the venerated Poems by Father and Son, and Compartiendo De La Nada, which addressed politics in Central America. In more than twenty years of teaching and performing he has been featured over 1000 times in various schools and poetry venues. In January 2005, after years of literary performance and activism in Denver and Albuquerque, he and his wife, Regina, returned to live in San Antonio Texas.

Described by the late Ricardo Sánchez as singing “the shaman song of meaning and justice,” Trinidad has been recognized for his activism on behalf of those in the penal system and his commitment to peace and the struggle against racism and other forms of oppression. He was awarded the Martin Luther King “Keep the Dream Alive” Award for serving as an inspiration to students. For promoting the mission of the public school system, he was awarded the Champion of Education award by the San Antonio Independent School District. He has worked as a trainer/counselor with developmentally delayed adults in a group home for Mission Road Development Center, San Antonio, Texas.


Sunday, July 30, 2006

Birthdays, Poetry and Porcine

I missed Rebecca Loudon & Teresa Ballard's birthday yesterday. (Stanley Kunitz's as well, but I don't think he cares.) Here's the poem I wrote for them last year, pieced from images from their poems and blogs. Teresa's Early Hours of Sky is one of the first po' blogs I read, appropriately, in the early hours of sky. The first entry of hers I read was under the title, "A Lonely Bird" or something like that, lamenting the vacuum of single-motherhood for a poet. Needless to say, it resonated, and sold me on blogging. Rebecca is one of my favorite po' bloggers, in fact almost first on this list of 30 exceptionally fine poets I found in my first year of blogging and reading blogs. It's so satisfying to do the "I told you so!" dance to so many of their accomplishments this past year, what with so many on this list winning awards and getting their first books published, such as Rebecca and Paul Guest, just to name a couple. (Congratulations, Paul! Nyah nyah nyah, I told you so!) Check out these poets. They are all excellent. And, a new list is forthcoming. One of these days, soon, I'll be updating my links and calendar. I'm afraid I've totally weirded out my template and I'm afraid to touch it. But I'll be guest-blogging for the Poetry Foundation at the end of August, so I'd like to do it before then.

Sorry, grrls, for missing your birthday. But it's nothing personal. I just messed up on the date of my anniversary. We have plans to go on a long hike today, but it's really tomorrow. Oh well, we planned to only celebrate it once in a blue moon, anyway. That's when we got the state in on our personal lives, on the Blue Moon. Like, I'll marry you "just once in a very blue moon." T laughed when I told him last night. We might just work on our fence today. I know it sounds weird ("I gotta million of 'em) but it's actually very romantic. Very symbolic for us. Something to keep the dog out of the new beds, our garden crafted out of the flat nothingness that was here when we bought the place. An abandoned project for a too long while.

Meanwhile, I've been too busy still filing, accounting, finding documents and letters. Whee! The great -- justify your life and career existence. I don't know what I mean by that, but some of you do.

I wrote 100 hay(na)ku poems for a hundred people buying the special art books edition of DRIVE. Each one a hand-written original. I really like them. They'd make a neat chapbook. Also they hold, and flow, together. Very cool. But, the whole idea is their uniqueness, that whomever buys the book gets a one and only LD poem to do with as they wish. But, here's one for you. This one is one of my favorite, because it makes me laugh.

The freeway,
A single vulture.

I've also been busy in said garden. Everyday, something else grown for me to care for; although, I'm my grandmother's gardener: "Throw it in the ground! Water it! It *likes* to grow." "She's a farmer. She loves/ the land, its ugliness" as I once wrote in a poem when I was about most of y'all's age. "It's a hard life, the life of a farmer," my good friend says to me after the hail last month. "The farmer's life is hard. It's tough to be a farmer." If anybody's been calling me, I'm outside. With the hummingbirds. Counting on a double rainbow.

Well, farmers like fairs. I had to go the other day. I had to go see the "Top Hogs", trained pigs. (Hey! Research!) My Memphis Minnie movie (script) is called "PIGMEAT: The Life & Times of Memphis Minnie" and the movie is framed by some key scenes with a personable porcine. I had to go meet the trainer. I had to see for myself what a pig could do. I LOVE trained pigs. I was a sucker for "Arnold" on Green Acres when I was a kid. And mourned the burning of the Babe pigs who were in the movies, due to the mad cow outbreak in Scotland. Sad, that. I once met a woman at UC Berkeley, much younger than I, who said: "I know a lot of awkward things about a lot of things. It makes for a lot of bad first dates." I know a lot of awkward things about pigs. I once got thrown off a blues list for suggesting that "Frankie Jean" was a racing pig, as Kid (MM) said in a long-lost interview. The guy from "Top Hogs" knew all about racing pigs. He claimed to have a pig who'd win if they held them now. (Actually, there' a festival or fair in some mountain town near here that's holding a pig race.) I was very excited to learn that this guy has a couple of 600 pound hogs, and a razor back. I'll have to find my link to a pic of a HUGE 15 ft long hog that someone caught in a swamp in Miss., or somewhere in the south. The story Kid told was that this pig was "the runninest hog the world had ever seen" and that, as a child riding on its back, she would almost lose the pig, so her father tied a rope around its neck and tied it to a stake so that it was conditioned to think that it was still tied to something when the rope was on, which was always. She said that despite the pig's old age, at that point during the Depression, she entered it into a race when she was back home and her sister's farm was in danger of foreclosure due to unpaid taxes -- and untied the rope. "Go on, Frankie Jean, go on!" The pig not only won the race, and 5,000 dollars (a fortune), it kept running and never came back. She paid for her sister's farm and bought a house for herself with the winnings. Anyway, so I was looking for running hogs (these jumped hoops and sang like Elvis) and a pig who could play dead. My son took some videos. I might ask him to cut me a clip I'll post to U-Tube. There's a great part where the "Einstein of Porcine" does math homework. It's truly amazing. Pigs are so smart!

Speaking of which, upon leaving the fair, my son turns to me: "The older I get (he's 11) the more I turn into Frazier." "Huh?" I said. "I mean, the more I don't feel comfortable hanging around the lower classes."

Sheesh. It was kind of a serious moment. But later, T and I (both dirt-poor kids) laughed.

Well, time to water. I have a east Indian feast for our hike. But we just might be lazy, stay here and work.

Here's to the humminbirds. And hogs. And, if you're in Boulder, make sure you catch the Top Hogs act: Porkchop and Mudslinger, the Einstein of Porcine, and the other pigs in the act, The Castaways, performing at the County Fairgrounds until next week. Tell 'em the Movie Lady sent you.

Rainbow Line

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Update On Trinidad Sanchez, Jr.

* from Regina:

Tuesday, July 18th     Trino had a massive stroke on the left side & a minor stroke on the left side.  He is unconscious.  Strong on the left side, diminished not paralyzed on the right side.  he looks as if he is just sleeping.....  The doctors offer no hope.  We have Do Not Resusictate orders, we have both decided we do not want life by artificial means, especially if it means there is little or no hope for recovery or rehabilitation.  We have requested comfort care and nutrition ONLY.  As most of you know, I have been very ill and we planned for this to me.  I was totally unprepared for this to happen to my beloved.  The danger is for the next 7-14 days, during which he can go one way or the other.  We are people of faith and trust in God's will. 
Trino always said he is ready to go at anytime.  He is at the Methodist Hospital, Medical Center in Intensive Care, room 405.  I leave status reports every day on our home phone number because I cannot possibly call everyone.  I have been in Denver on & off since October of last year due to my Grandma's ill health and subsequent death in January.  Then my Mom had open heart surgery on May 29th.  I returned home on July 10th. Thank God because I am terrified to think of what could have happened if I had not been home when this happened.

Wednesday, July 19th       Uneventful he continues to sleep.  The MRI shows the two strokes in detail.  There are two affected arteries.  I agreed to blood thinners to reduce the risk of further damage by lack of blood flow, howver the possibility of hemorragheic stroke is increased.

Thursday, July 20th   Uneventful he continues to sleep.   Lots of visitors are coming & going.  Reading him poems, taking to him and praying with us.  The S.A. Express News ran an article about him and the stroke, so many of his friends and students are coming and calling.

Friday, July 21st   He woke up!  It was a miracle and he is fighting.  He SAID his name, age, the year, wife and responded to commands by moving limbs on his left side.  He can communicate by shaking his head, yes & no!!!!!!!!!!  I told him if he needed to go home to the Lord, not to stay for me.  He shook his head, NO.  Then I asked if he wanted to fight, he shook his head, YES!

Saturday, July 22nd    He has slept most of the time since waking up.  The doctors say it is like he ran a marathon and is recovering from Friday.    We have to get through one day at a time.  Moments of hopeful and faith alternate with moments of hopelessness and terror....

Sunday, July 23rd   He was moved out of IntensiveCare to the Neurology 9th floor at the Methodist Hospital, Medical Center, Room 914.  He has showed progress, but is not out of the danger zone yet.   Another quiet day.  After Friday it is frightening.  He can still go either direction.  I have been sleeping at the hospital with him, but now they will not let me sleep with him anymore, so I have to go home, alone.  Only male relatives or friends authorized by me can stay the night.  Any men with a free night available?

Monday, July 24th   Trino is not insured.  The doctors say he will need in-patient rehab begininning as soon as this week, and rehab hospitals have no legal obligation to take him.  The hospital can literally say he is medically stable, take him home, no rehab....several people have offered to organize benefits, please coordinate with each other, I'm afraid I will not be much help, I feel my place is at his side.  Waking up without him was horrible......  Tiday was another quiet day, he contiues to respond and say his name, etc.. But the periods of alertness without being awoken, vary.  Our friend, Ernest Bevans is spending the night at the hospital with him since I cannot.  I showed him how to massage and stretch his limbs when he's awake, to prepare him for physical therapy by keeping his muscle as toned as possible.

Tuesday, July 25th   Today he had minor surgery.  Instead of the NG (feeding tube) from his nose to his stomach for nutrition and meds, I authorized a PEG.  It goes directly into his stomach and the dangers of drowning are eliminated.  I consider this a temporary procedure.  Today is Day 7 of this crisis.  My Type A personality wants to see something, anything since today is the marker.  But, it's one day at a time.......  Ernest spent the night with him.

Wednesday, July 26th   Trino is sleeping very heavily, I believe recovering from the minor surgery yesterday.  I spent the day chasing doctor's for a status letter and waged the battle with Social Security.   They took extensive labs to monitor his blood & GI systems, results tomorrow.  Ernest spent the night with him.

I love you and am grateful for all the prayers, love and poems, it is why he's going to be OK.  Even though I'm not helping with the benefits, please e-mail me updates as possible.

Call for updates at OUR home.....

Friday, July 28, 2006

Learning to Forgive Is A Hard Row to Hoe

This may not be up for long. My MySpace site blog is down for "special maintenance" -- so be it. I can't seem to find Jonathan's workshop site to post this to, also. This was written a little while ago, and I just want to see it. I'm hoping to work it into something for the book, Una poca de gracia/ Bit of Grace, of new and collected love poems. I like to post poems to that site, especially the ones I'm working on, which is why I call it, "The Poems, the Whole Poem and Nothing But the Poem." This is the first poem-poem I've written in a while. (Our anniversary's coming up this weekend.) Enjoy.

Rainbow Line

Realization In The Garden

"The more passions and desires one has,
the more ways one has of being happy."

-- Charlotte-Catherine

You didn't love me in New Mexico.
Somebody else's sapphire hung
in that pair, their stories, untold,
as you fingered the ware of that blue
design. No present for me, those guilty
shining eyes, those earrings for her
in an art shop you had shopped before
with that ghost of a girl, dead then
a handful of years. Who was it?
I asked the crystal, a desire so fine
and unspeakable. What heart on the radio
stalled out on a smile? Your cheating heart,
a better choice of soundtrack. Inexplicable
or else. What shadows on the dimes
of your eyes on that silent drive across the plains,
the dry deserted desires pasted on the barren
landscape; our caught sweaters lingering
in the bins behind us? We were going back
into our futures, I believed. I was
already past. Our past now, a deserted mile.
How many memories does it take
to fill this box? How many tears and
words to chisel and burn
my impression into your life? My thumbs
playing here upon the nestle of your neck.

You didn't love me in New Mexico.
Now, a double rainbow reigns
in Colorado in a cliche you created real
for me from that long-dead lover. All my seeds,
borrowed from her. No small memories shared,
split before the fire and wax. Now my rainbow
(I want to say) splits open the seasons
over this hard-loved plot of soil
with its single albino corn stalk,
beautiful but doomed. Do you love
me now? My hands in the soot and soil.
Good earth, as my grandma would say,
worked, wanted, blessed by sweat,
our desire taking root. That something
in your eyes again, hanging pendulums
of smoking topaz so hard to leave.

Lorna Dee Cervantes
Rainbow Line

Thursday, July 27, 2006

MeMe Meme - 13 More Things On A Thursday. . .

... about me that are weird. I've got a million of 'em:

Rainbow Line

  1. I can't stand typos in a newspaper. It makes me want to go down to the offices and volunteer proofread.

  2. I absolutely have to have a newspaper in the morning. And online won't do. I think I was once tortured in jail when I was serving 10 days in Sybil Brand for a non-violent protest -- they refused to give me my morning paper, me out of all the inmates. And, I was denied pencil and paper. I'm sure they knew and did it deliberately. Sort of kidding, but it was torture.

  3. I used to play the banjo. (Not that that's weird, mind you. Just that I might be the only gang girl to be saved by a banjo.)

  4. I love instruments that most people think are weird: banjo, autoharp, ukelele, penny whistle, accordian. (My ex played all but the accordian. Me, too, though not very well.) I even like yodeling.

  5. I wonder if we can dissipate hurricanes with our mind's intent.

  6. I feel guilty over the last hurricanes because I didn't organize a festival to give Love and Thanks to Water.

  7. I always plan on going places I don't.

  8. I wear bronze-colored bowling shoes. I would like to own red wrestling shoes. Any offers?

  9. I'm insanely sane.

  10. I once moved to a place because it had the highest number of publications per capita than anywhere else in the nation.

  11. I once moved out of a place because it had the highest number of murders per capita than anywhere else in the nation. (same place)

  12. I can do voices. I pick up people's accents, especially if I like them. I could do all the characters' voices in my son's nightly children's books. I can mimic TV character lines and commercials. (Not movies. Who wants to mess with a good movie?) It always gets a laugh from T. I don't worry about retirement (do writers retire? I think they just die) as I plan on moving to Hollywood and making an easy living doing voice for animation. (But, like poetry writing, I can't do it if I'm thinking about it, so don't ask.)

  13. I always peek into people's houses when I'm walking by. And I listen to people's conversations around me. (Hey, it's all material, eh?) I *can't stand* to have any door or window open or in any way "peekable" and the best way to have a conversation with me is at home or on a walk or hike -- as I can't stand the thought of someone listening in on me.

Now, do you. Like any writer, I'm nosey.

"Unconscious Mutterings #181 On 7/27/06"

  1. Requirements :: for the bride:

  2. Pizza :: sticks and pride.

  3. Dating :: is undecidedly an

  4. Issue :: Play it with an F

  5. Sharp :: Stick it on the landing.

  6. Distinguish :: heaven, the lake, the moll --

  7. Remote :: as it is, and hidden. Her sin, a

  8. Felony :: His lips? The kiss, sweet

  9. Exercise :: of the soul. You

  10. Choose :: the dream. And say it so.

Rainbow Line

* Wake from your own distance. Dream with your eyes wide open at Subliminal Luna Nina.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Global Day of Love & Thanks To Water

Rainbow Line

Amazon Water Crystal

Will you join us to say "I love you" and "Thank you" to all the water on Planet Earth and fill it with the highest vibration (HADO) of Love and Thanks that we can possibly experience?

Please join us to send our Love and Thanks to all the water in our physical body that has been sustaining and nurturing our lives on this planet. 70% of our body is made of water. We owe so much our health to the water in our body.
Then, let us send our Love and Thanks to all the water on Planet Earth. 70% of the surface of the Earth is occupied by water. The environment on planet Earth is maintained by the water circulating in various forms. If it had not been for water, life would not have been created on planet Earth.
To make this event a global one, we have determined July 25 as "World Day of Love and Thanks to Water".

We have a vision that on this day, our Earth will be filled with beautiful golden/silver light of Love and Thanks that is flowing from the hearts of each and every one of us. Golden/silver light is the highest vibration in the range of visible light, and it will heal and cleanse all the water on earth, be it water of the ocean or that of our own body.
- Masaru Emoto

Rainbow Line

Monday, July 24, 2006

Precita Eyes Mural Tour with Ami

Precita Eyes Muralists - Ami's fotos

I found these fotos of my father's and Susan Kelk Cervantes's mural group, Precita Eyes mural tour. Very cool -- to see these pieces of home; especially now that he's left.

I look forward to seeing folks soon on a living journey, next week in the good ole' Bay Area. I'll be there, tempted by tacos de lengua. I hope to see you there, where there's all always good poetry and the sun shines in the hearts of the Mission.

I'm hoping to be in Santa Cruz, crashing the MALCS conference on the 2 - 6th.

Aug. 6, 7:30 pm at the Intersection in San Francisco, I'll be reading with an early influence, poet, Maurice Kenny and (hopefully) Wendy Rose. This reading is in conjunction with the Native American Cultural Center.

Then, my little brother, Luz de Verano is getting married on the 12th.

So, you can schedule a mural walk of your own, maybe catch me at the Mural Arts Center (good place to stock up on supplies and buy early holiday gifts) or on a walk through The Mission with famed "genius grant" award winning performance artist ("event poet" in my book), Guillermo Gomez Peña. Details at Jean Vengua's OKIR.

Or, good time to invite me for a reading or signing. I'm considering Santa Barbara, my native soil, on the 19th -- and considering a month-long train pass.

These are really nice pics of the murals, with good detail panels and comments. Buen provecho!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Trinidad Sanchez, Jr. Update - Trino Suffers Massive Stroke In S.A.

I just found this account on a blog, concerning beloved poet, Trinidad Sanchez, Jr.

Poet, Trinidad Sanchez, Jr.

So when I heard Regina's message yesterday after I got home from work it did not sound hopeful & I cried & called all my friends cause I decided that I had to go down there & see Trino if I didn't when he was so close & I never even got to say goodbye at least I would be mad at myself for a long time maybe forever.

Mr. Andy B. came through & for that I am immensely grateful. He gave me his car & after a hamburger I was on my way through the southbound traffic from Austin on a hot Thursday afternoon. I just kept talkin to the windshield like it was my friend & sayin hold on hold on & every song on the radio was about friends & love & loss & it was killin me

plus I didn't know what hospital he was in, I thought Regina had said "Memorial" but the big hospital in SA is "Methodist" & the only Memorial hospital was a Veterans' place & I'm sure Trinidad never served in the military. There were intermittent storms & I figured I would just stop into the nearest hospital & maybe he was on some Health database I pulled into Methodist & there was a rainbow over the hospital. Sure enough he was there

so I went up to his room & he was laying there, not looking sick at all just asleep, Regina said the doctors don't give him much of a chance, apparently he had two strokes a massive on one side, a smaller on the other & they mapped the brain damage which is extensive. But he didn't look sick, his skin wasn't that pallid color & he didn't have an arm or leg all curled up fetal on one side or anything. Regina said he can hear but not respond, he was moving a few fingers on his left side & she encouraged me to talk loudly into his left ear.

So I said hello, picked on him a little, gently, like we've always done with each other, & I read him the poem that I had read to him all those years ago when he was moving away from Albuquerque, & he squeezed my hand & raised his leg & it was very heartening, I felt like he was still in there fighting. Some others came in & Regina & I sat & talked about things & I let her know how many people were pulling for him. During the conversation he made a couple of efforts to lift his head, & I felt like his eyes were opening little by little, & the whole time I was actually feeling some hope, & Regina & I got chuckling a little bit even with things as they were.

Then a few of their friends showed up, some feisty old ladies that always pick on Trino, & they were telling stories & we were laughing & he started trying to pull himself out of the bed! He would roll over onto one side, reach out & grab the hospital bed rail, & try to pull himself up. The whole time he had his eyes closed & couldn't interact with us, but we could tell he was in there & fighting. The doctors don't seem to think there's any hope, even of a recovery, but what I saw told me otherwise. Regina was exhausted & her friends took her home, I decided to stay a while cause I don't know when the next time I see him will be.

So I told him my story about the hummingbirds & the stars, & sat with him another hour, & by the end of it the nurse & I were astounded to see him open his eyes about halfway, tho it was mostly the whites, & he had a vocalization, a small groan, which was the first thing he's said since his event on Tuesday. I am so glad I went down there it hurt to see my friend in as bad a shape as he is, & it's not a pretty picture, but within the context of what has happened he gave me an enormous amount of hope, when yesterday afternoon I had none. His life has been full of laughter & love & poetry & I believe in the healing power of those things.

So things are as good as they can be I guess, except for one really bad thing, which is that they don't have health insurance & Regina is really worried & doesn't know what to do, so I'm gonna organize a fundraiser here in town full of poetry & laughter & love & friends & maybe even raise a little cash for some beautiful people who could use our help. I'll keep y'all posted.

(more from The Tattooed Quaker)


Anyone in Denver like to organize a benefit?

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Let There Be Peace On Earth...


And let it begin with me.

"Unconscious Mutterings #180 On 7/22/06"

  1. Video :: of the lies in action,

  2. Fantasy :: of the fictive freedom fighters, blood

  3. Homework :: of the masses. They

  4. Crush :: the child, torch the town, rely

  5. Late :: on the caravan to justice.

  6. Husband :: to us all -- bully world -- socking

  7. Soccer :: moms in the making.

  8. Wine :: or the whine of frequent fliers? Bombs

  9. Before :: the bread has risen. A morning

  10. Romantic :: reads: the rage. Revenge.

* Take your own poll and vote for yourself at La Luna Nina's subliminal state.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Happy Birthday, John

wherever you are

Beirut Seizures - What It Sounds Like

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Trinidad Sanchez, Jr Suffers Stroke Tuesday Morning

I just received this email from Regina Chavez y Sanchez, Trino's wife, via my friend, Michael, concerning poet, Trino Sanchez, a man who did more than I have time to outline right now for current and future generations of Chicana/o writers and others. Some of my best experiences at a reading have been with Trino. His presence in Denver brightened the barrios; along with his valuable work with young fathers and counseling parents, he took up where the Xicana/o Writer's Group and Floricanto Colorado left off. And as always, Trino took it further. Regina opened up a sandwich shop which became the heart of the cultural movimiento on the Platte. I know I'm not the only one who has been touched and inspired by Trino. Ay, I can hear that jalapeño love poem now. If anyone would like the email and address of Regina and Trino in San Antonio, just let me know and I'll send it to you.

Lorna Dee

My beloved husband had a stroke this morning. I called EMS when I was unable to wake him up. He is in Intensive care at the Methodist Hospital in the Medical Center. His condition is critical and we will know more in the next 48 hours. I will leave updates on his condition on our answering machine as they ocurr, because I cannot possibly call everyone, sorry. Please pray for Trino.

Regina Chavez y Sanchez

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Where In The World Is Lorna? Lorna Dee's Calendar

One of these days (years) I have to order the GigMaster, cool software for managing reading gigs and other Po'Biz fare/fair / faire but designed for musicians. Novelists get to have booking agents for that. And, agents. And, it's only in this generation, and the current state of whatever institution a poet happens to find herself in these days, that a writer has to account. What will be left for future generations of bibliographers to do? I need a secretary.

Anyway, final moon phase before the new, end of Mercury retrograde in my sign, Mars withdrawing in my sign, and that Jupiter thang squaring it all. Time to finish what I started. Time to deal with all this paper and pixels. Sorry if sometimes this blog seems like an ego-trip -- I started it in order to deal with getting my cv and biblio & biographical information in order and updated. And in order to stop missing reading and lecture opportunities because there's no time to deal with getting back to anyone. Seems to go with the canon, these cannonballs of correspondence, these reams of unfiled missed correspondences, these slips of phone messages (MY OWN BROTHER WAS IN TOWN AND I DIDN'T KNOW IT!!) (I'm a bloody hermit.) I started this in order to count coup, something I never counted as being part of or worthwhile to a writer. I never kept a scrapbook. My mother always did that. From my first poems and articles published in the high school newspaper. They all burned in the fire in '82. I never kept count of my publications. Not like other poets, with their files and fotos and clippings. (One well-known Chicano poet keeps a list of "Garbage" poems he sends out to mags in the "Garbage" file -- mostly Chicano and other independent publications. Sad. And, weird.) And, I started this because people ask. And I don't have time to answer all the questions and emails, and help with your report on a poet that is due tomorrow morning. (I just got one of those last week. I feel guilty, but as Ana says in her blog, it's derailing to get asked to think about explaining what was going on and what you intended in a poem you wrote 30 years ago while working on your first novel, say. Ya know? But, I try.)

I get by with a little help from my friends. And despite being a hermit, I am a Leo. I love seeing my friends of the road on the road. I love all the strangers who are friends I haven't met yet. And, coming up, I'll be in two of my "homes", my native land, California, my natal turf, SF, and Texas soon. Maybe I can meet you? Maybe I can come to your bookstore, your class, your venue, your writing group, their prison, the university, El Centro soon. Just ask. Backtrack me, as they say. Maybe I can work it into my schedule. Better now than later. Now that I'm feeling well enough to travel again. I'm looking forward to it.

And, I'm really looking forward to a reading soon with one of my favorite people and longtime po' buddy I haven't seen in a generation, (sigh), fellow poet/publisher, Maurice Kenny. Rumor has it they're trying to rustle up the esteemed and elusive poet, Wendy Rose, to join us at The Intersection on my birthday, August 6 (Hiroshima Day!) at 7:30 pm in San Francisco. That would be especially poignant to me, as I was on a long, long, long plane-train-bus poets tour with them when I heard (I dreamt) that my mother was killed. I had to fly back home before the big reading for River Styx in Saint Louis, Nov. 6, 1982. They are dear friends whose memories are woven into the incredible autumn colors of the St. Louis Botanical gardens that day, the coy Japanese koi and the wise and gentle poets -- how the leaves fell in shapes and shades of fire that day we walked the zen paths, the curved roads that would lead the devil away, that long day, waiting. I'm really looking forward to this homecoming event sponsored by the Native American Cultural Center -- back in my native land. August 6, San Francisco. See you there.

And, my little brother's getting married. How cool is that? August 12, San Francisco, in The Mission. I'll be there.

Beginning August 28, I'll the the guest blogger for the week for the Poetry Foundation's website. If you're looking for more poetry related posts, catch me there. Some of the topics I plan to blog about are (what else?) po'bloggers and how the best poets make the best publishers. I can't wait. POETRY magazine didn't run the review of DRIVE, as I predicted, but at least I'll be one of their po'bloggers, like one of my favorite poets, C. Dale Young last month.

The month of October's all about Texas and the border. Oct. 5-7, I've been invited to be a featured writer at the 9th Encuentro Internacional de escritores in Nuevo Leon, Monterrey, MEXICO put on by the Consejo para la Cultura y las Artes de Nuevo Leon. Cool. Also, this year's encuentro is dedicated to the memory of Salvador Elizondo and the theme is the "Frontera entre ficcio'n y realidad" / the border between fiction and reality. I hope to be accepting the invitation. I have a lot to talk about and present with this one. Especially challenging given the language barriers (mine) and the frontera entre academia y las clases socio-economicas. ¡Aju'a! ¿Nos vemos?

And speaking of favorite poets and writers, if you go to any, come to the Texas A & M Southwest Book Festival. My former colleague, Linda Hogan, for one, will be there, Oct. 24-26, where I'll be a featured poet. More on this later.

Then join me in Houston, Oct. 27, venue to be announced: rumored to be La Palabra. Could be UH. Any offers?

Then, use up the rest of the rent money buying more books at the Texas Book Festival in Austin the weekend of October 28 - 29 where I'll be a "guest author" which spells out fancy-schmancy hotel with all the perks and percs. Did I forget to say: I LOVE TEXAS!

Then back home, La Realidad, CU Boulder where I'll be teaching tuesdays and thursdays and I'll be performing in conjunction with the music department's ethnomusicology program with a group of traditional musicians from Mexico on Dia de las Muertos. I'll be back to my true roots, the influence of the Declamador tradition in 1974. Rumor has it that I'll be playing the part of "La Katrina" in life's true Passion Play: Death, and I'll be reciting Neruda along with traditional Mexico poetry and my own hurricane hay(na)ku and poems. Date & venue to be announced, Nov. 1 - 3. (Last year I wrote and recited a poem with musicians for Ofelia Viramontes.)

November 9th, I'll be at Purdue University, a guest of Mexican American, and noted Chicana literature scholar, Sonia Gonzalez, formerly of Stanford. (This could take place Sept. 28, which might be better for travel and my schedule, but is the day before my son's birthday -- which also means more money to help pay for all the hi'tech stuff he wants at 11. Sheesh, if it had been me, now, I would have gotten a collage of all the magazine ads for all that stuff he wants with names like "The Revolution" at age 12 instead of the old used copy of East of Eden my mother gave me, with the inscription: "For My Baby, So that you will know that all is not Light.") Look for Sonia in a new collection of critical work on, you guessed it, "Lorna Dee Cervantes" forthcoming from Wings Press which celebrates 30 years of literary publishing this year (along with me, had I done it consecutively -- and gotten my executive act together. Hey, I'm a poet. What do I know?) I know that Purdue is the one institution in the country doing any kind of chaya research at all. So, I'm there, man. I can't wait to talk botany shop. Yep, Purdue. I'll be there. Where there ain't nobody here but us chickens. Hmmm, what was that about "executive act?" Hmmm, maybe hung on another hat-rack or succumbed to another pack-rat. Hmmm. Maybe meet you in Purdue? Delighted!

That's all folks.

For Now.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Beirut Seizures

Now I'm glad I voted for Billy the Blogging Poet to be "Mayor" of Poetry Blogville. Go to Billy's blog for a pic of a small child killed and lying in the dirt from government forces in Lebanon. He posts the url and reposts from Lebanon Heartblogs. Caution: strong fotos of what's really going on. "Beirut Seizures" all over again -- the name of my student's, Haas Mroue's, first book of poetry. How horribly vivid he made that world. How horribly real. And now, a generation after. Read Maya's blog for a real time glimpse into that world now.

I post all of Billy's post from Maya's blog:

"A Cry For Help From Lebanon
For our friends:


OK, here is the plan. I can't stand here, watching doing nothing. The truth is that we are at the mercy of world leaders. However, I think they should know how we feel. Maya, our fellow blogger from About Lebanon, has drafted a short letter to be sent to all the world leaders that you can think of. She has provided some email addresses. Please feel free to add more emails to your list of leaders. Please forward this email to all your friends, and urge them to send this email to world leaders. The idea is to flood world leader's emails with our plea. They must receive thousands of emails from people all over the world. Please circulate this as much as you can. I will transfer it to all my fellow bloggers and email it to all my family and friends. Please do the same! We must do something.

Dear World Leaders,
This letter is a plea from the Lebanese people, and friends of Lebanon . We urge you to exercise any political influence you may have to guide a cease fire between Israel and Hezbollah. Negotiations must take place. The violence that has escalated in Lebanon has gotten out of control, it is insanity! The people of Lebanon are suffering; the Lebanese economy will suffer deeply for years to come. As I am sure you know anger, resentment, and poverty can only lead to further extremism. For the welfare of Lebanese citizens, Israeli citizens, the stability of the Middle East , and indeed the world, we implore you to take action as soon as possible to prevent further violence, destruction, and casualties.

Friends and Citizens of Lebanon

Leaders du monde,
Cette lettre constitue un appel au secours de la part du peuple libanais et des amis du Liban. Nous vous pressons d’exercer votre influence politique afin de faire appliquer un cessez-le-feu entre Israël et le Hezbollah. Des négociations doivent avoir lieu. La violence qui sévit au Liban perd tout contrôle et la situation devient insoutenable. Le peuple libanais souffre. L’économie du Liban sera gravement perturbée pendant des années. Comme vous le savez sûrement, la colère, la rancune et la pauvreté ne peuvent mener qu’à plus d’extrémisme. Pour le bien-être des citoyens libanais et israéliens, pour la stabilité du Moyen-Orient et également du monde, nous vous implorons d’agir aussi vite que possible pour empêcher l’escalade de la violence, de la destruction et des pertes humaines.

Le peuple du Liban et ses amis"

Its your choice, you can send this email to the one, more than one, or all of the following below. Also, please feel free to send this to anyone you deem appropriate and to add your personal touch to the letter. But always try to keep it polite and civilized. Thank you.

The White House:
U.S. VP:

Israeli minister of defense:
Israeli Minister of foreign affairs:

The French President:
Go to this site: Click on Ecrire au President and copy paste this text in the box provided.

The British government:
The British Prime Minister:

And might I remind you the world economy as well as the safety and security of the world will also suffer if this is allowed to continue. -Billy Jones

Link via: Arch.memory"


The way I see the world, humankind is rapidly devolving into a barbaric, alienated, imbecile species. I still think that only art could save us from absolute catastrophe.
~ Ernesto Priego


Saturday, July 15, 2006

100 Hay(na)ku Poems For 100 Readers

I just finished signing 100 beautiful signature pages for the special artbook edition of my book, DRIVE: The First Quartet for the collectors. This edition has a shiny black leather cover with raised ribs on the spine like the old books I used to love. It comes in a handcrafted wooden box. Each one comes with its own unique hand-written poem. If you, or your library, buys this edition, no one will read this poem but you.

Since it's hard for me to envision who will actually buy this edition, here's the last, the 100th poem:

Just beginning
From this end.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Blue Men, And Other Thoughts

Last week I was going to go to the health food store, but then didn't make it. Outside the store, at the time I was planning to go, a man was reported painting the inside and outside of his car blue -- along with himself. Blue. I've been thinking of it all week long. What does it symbolize? What kind of performance art could it have been? What would I have done, had it been me in audience instead of the woman who called the police out of concern -- concern for the man painting himself blue, his car, his own baked horizon line?

Last week I was in the local store and a young couple was talking. I just caught what he had to say: "She doesn't deserve to have kids, she's too stupid to live." It rings blue notes into the smashed horizon, the pale jade of jazz ringing the homophones off the meat hooks of civilization on a song by Euthanasia. Why is this slaughter so subdued? It permeates the hemispheres from Columbine to Palestine, from the Perla de las islas, Cuba to the new deserts of Iraq. This is what bothers me about the post-avants: too often one joins to be smarter than thou. How much like the humanities; how different?

Some don't have to bother with difference that comes with a twisted fist.

Two young men, high on acid, brandish golf clubs on the Boulder Creek Path, playing troll and aiming for bikers. Another day I didn't go out biking with my son.

There's a scene in the beginning of the first video I posted on the recent police brutality against pro-immigrant observers where the officer comes upon a peaceful couple who are walking, not loitering, and rams his bicycle into them full force. It causes me shivers. The same thing once happened to me while "on the line" -- out of over a thousand people, almost all of them white and of varying ages, this guy picked me to ram his bike, full-force, into -- and right between the legs. What did that symbolize? What sort of communication was taking place at that moment?

It's incredibly hot here today. The desert has come visiting.

I've been away from blogging this week. Crunching under paper, documenting my Brownie points for a post-tenure review. I go to the store wearing my housekeeper's face. I inhabit another body, another being, when I am out of the file.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

More On Police Brutality Hollywood Style - Peaceful Observers Beaten For ... ? Being Brown & White? Our Taxes At Work

*Reposting this from bulletins on my MySpace site.

Update on police brutality at Hollywood anti-Minuteman counterdemonstration

Hello everybody:

A couple of days ago, I sent out an email containing a
link to a video posted online by a Minuteman supporter
which contained footage showing two persons at an
anti-Minuteman counterdemonstration in Hollywood being
pushed, shoved, and beaten by several Los Angeles
police officers for no reason whatsoever:

Well, a new video of the exact same incident, but shot
much closer, and from a completely different angle,
has recently been posted online. It can be seen at the
following link:

The National Lawyer's Guild and LA Answer held a joint
press conference yesterday announcing their intention
to file "multiple lawsuits" against the Los Angeles
Police Department over this incident and other related
matters. Several people abused by police at the
counterdemonstration (including the two persons that
were videotaped being beaten) also spoke.

An audio of the press conference can be found at the
following link:

For more details about the press conference, video
footage, and other pertinent issues, please see the
following websites:

Any further inquiries regarding this matter should be
directed toward the National Lawyer's Guild or LA
Answer. They can be reached at or respectively.


Duane J. Roberts

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Attack On Peaceful Citizens In California -- Your Tax Dollars At Work

Why are these people being beaten?

Something about the Germanization of the Americas?


(*note to myself)

Video of Destruction of South Central Farm

Bull-dozing of community gardens. Growing food illegal? Why couldn't they wait until the end of the harvest, at least? Caution: heart-breaking.

"Unconscious Mutterings #179 On 7/12/06"

  1. Face it :: and smooth it. Carve

  2. Healthy :: teeth in time's pumpkin, a wan

  3. Cartoon :: head you keep in a closet. Radar

  4. Device :: between your legs, a new

  5. Raider :: raiding the lit kitchen of your desires,

  6. Closer :: than God to the river, the steep

  7. Admission :: to the banks of life, your

  8. Culture :: exploded, impacted into tortured

  9. Stakes :: Be the heart of the matter,

  10. Heartbroken :: in time, but smooth.

* Gather your own shells from your own shore and store them at La Luna Niña's lair.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Something Else I Could Have Told You

This from my astrologer, Kramer Wetzel out in Xenon. Hmmm, this is too much like my Jungian personality test: "The Logical Architect."

You scored as Artist. You are an Artist Empath, one who creates their own reality and infuses the realities of others with your energy & emotions. You are poetic and sensitive. You turn your feelings into creations and share them with the world. Everything you touch turns to song and is freed by the color of your eyes. Your spirit dances with the winds and paints delight in the evening sky. (from the "Book of Storms" by Jad Alexander)















Fallen Angel


What Kind of Empath Are You?
created with

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Discrimination at Giordano's - From Ana Castillo's Blog - & Some Thoughts On Aging & The Ageless

Reposting this for ronnie, who is sometime's here

Friday, July 07, 2006

(Gay men asked to leave a pizza joint in Chicago...)

Hey again, everyone... Thank you for all your outstanding support so far. We are NOT going to let them get away with this. For the time being, I ask that everyone who reads this, and has anyone in their life who is gay, or who just believes in gay rights in general, please repost this as often as possible... I want the world to know that Giordano's Pizza flat out refused my friends and I service based on the fact we are gay men. Here's the post...

"Hey everyone... So a bunch of us (Jamie *me*, Joe, Adam, Matt, Kyle, Sebastian, Charlie, Cale, and three others) went down to The Taste tonight to see the fireworks display, and had our hearts set on eating at Giordano's pizza at the Prudential building...

We were seated, drink and food orders were placed, and we were waiting for our food, and talking amongst ourselves. Two of the people in our group, who are dating, had their arms around each other, and gave each other one simple kiss. Not but a minute later, the manager, Peter, was at our table telling us we needed to leave, because he did not want to see that in the resturant. He refused to serve our food, and essentially kicked us out for being gay men.

After a while, we realized he was most definately not going to serve our food, so we stood outside Giordano's, all of us with cell phones in hands, calling every media outlet in Chicago. I was only able to get a hold of Kiss FM, and I recorded a sound byte about the situation that I was told they would play it some time tonight. I think some of them got through to FOX, CBS, NBC, ABC, and CLTV, the Tribune, and The Sun Times. We also called two lawyers, and plan on calling the corporate office in mass this morning... I'm asking you as all my friends, please don't let them get away with this. We are in the 21st century, and we are still dealing with discrimination. PLEASE READ THIS BULLETIN, and repost it to get as much support on our side as we can... Thank you all! God bless!

You CAN make a difference! Help us get our word out... Repost this as much as possible, so that everyone can see it. The corporate office was closed this morning, but you can contact them using the following information...

Giordanza Pizza
Chicago, Illinois 60606
Phone: 312-201-1441
Fax: 312-201-9216

Corporate Office:
Questions Regarding Orders - 1-800-982-1756
Consumer Questions and Concerns -

posted by Ana on 7/07/2006

And while you're there, don't forget to read the rest, particularly Ana Castillo's account of a conference in Lisbon which she attended along with Amiri and Amina Baraka (beautiful pictures!) She doesn't take comments, but I'd love to see what anyone has to say about this. It's why I didn't go to Germany -- and Spain, several times after McDreary Madrid. It takes a lot of energy to get so derailed by someone else's porquerri'a, ya know? Reminds me of Barbara in NY, and myself, everywhere.

And read about Ana in her "Fabulous Fifties." Gracias, oh Ana de Aire (sorry I missed your birthday), for giving name. Yes, Fabulous Fifties. In this, T's birthday week retreat, I've been wanting to say to him: "Relax. Fifty is the new thirty. So there." Instead, I chime incessantly. "Hahahaha ha! I'm still younger than you! So there."

I relax. I do. I'm on The Cucumber's timeline. So there.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

"He Was Far More Complicated Than That" (Poem for Sgt. Raymond Plouhar)

Sgt. Raymond Plouhar

Staff Sgt. Raymond J. Plouhar, 30, of Lake Orion, Mich.

Plouhar died June 26 from wounds received while conducting combat
operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th
Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp
Pendleton, Calif.

"He Was Far More Complicated Than That"

He was the hugest heart
in a helmet, grinning into his future,
a purple sunset over Michigan's former
majesty. A full boy. A hunter
and a camper. Good thoughts all around.
On his father's Harley, with a grandfather's
Bible tucked in his war shirt.
Heaven on his sleeve, a sleek passage
into duty. Choice, an inheritance
in the hours of ironing and polishing
the buttons. Poetry on the lips of the survivors,
lines about sacrifice and the selfless, believing
conditions were improving, an expedition
into history. He was indestructible.
A winning force. A signature on the passing
of time. A camouflage and ramrod
boy. A fighter. He preferred peace,
a lakefront home. The walls of collages
introducing the chapters. Posing Dragons.
Wrestling circles. A wedding day.
The sun busting through the senseless
trees. Something like an animal huddled
beyond the field. A trained sniper.
"This is who I am." Love. A misfire.
"A Marine to the very end." Endlessly.

~ Lorna Dee Cervantes
July 8, 2006

Happy Birthday to the Dalai Lama


(haha, sorry, I just wanted to say that to the Dalai Lama)

"The real human condition is joy." ~ Dalai Lama

"Unconscious Mutterings #178 On 7/8/06"

  1. That :: little thing called love,

  2. Fishbowl :: in a trailer, abandoned

  3. Church :: on a block of bars.

  4. All about :: evenings under the light bulb, a red

  5. Fist :: in the heart of an ape. Get your own

  6. Tagline :: -- thread it with a single fish.

  7. Agree :: to be agreeable, taking a

  8. Leak :: in the lit lavatory of God.

  9. Jessica :: is a simpleton. Love, being the light.

  10. Superman :: or Bumsville? You be the choice.

* Make your own matter up, along with your mind. Save it all at La Luna Niña.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

MeMe Meme: Thirteen More Things On A Thursday About Me That Are Weird

I've got a million of 'em:

  1. I sing best when I'm yawning. Ask T. It always gets a laugh. It's the only time I have perfect pitch.

  2. I burst into spontaneous song when confronted by opera. I hate opera. (Sorry, Rebecca, I know you wrote a truly great opera by how much I can't listen to it and how much I want to bust out in soprano.) But before you start planning to take me to Carmen (why is it always Camen?) I have a good excuse. I was conditioned early on when in 7th grade and Alfonse Lewis took some of us "disadvantaged" kids to the SF Opera House. I was overwhelmed by the extreme precision of the opening strings (of, you guessed it, Carmen) and my friends and I started laughing nervously. The opera had just begun, and I wasn't being that loud, when a woman in fur and wearing big cocktail rings slammed me upside the head so hard I saw stars on the ceiling. It hurt so bad, and there wasn't even a warning. Nor was I the loudest kid. But I was the darkest. I was mortified. It was like the conditioning scene in Clockwork Orange. I just can't listen to opera. Ever. It just represents too damned much. So I sing, loud and goofy. I'm pretty good, too. But not as good as when I'm yawning. My son still remembers opera singing when he was a toddler. Him and Mami singing goofy opera real loud in the bath.

  3. I like to read cookbooks for relaxation. Bon Apetit is my favorite foodie magazine because it seems less class bound. I honor good food writers and consider them to be the true philosophers of the age.

  4. I write about birds so much because they insist upon bursting into my life in the oddest ways; more so when I was young, that adolescent portal to other realms. Anyone who knew me in high school, for example, knows I had a weird thing going with birds. I've only owned one bird for one day because I placed it on the mantel over the heater -- which went on in the middle of the night. I prefer my birds in the wild. And, they probably prefer to be way away from my house.

  5. I know how to catch a bird. I knew of a man, a curandero, who could catch them with his hands. I know how to catch a wild salmon in the river with my bare hands but I've never tried it.

  6. I've had reoccurring prophetic dreams which have saved my life.

  7. I was a sickly child and secretly identified with the aristocratic Robert Louis Stevenson.

  8. I secretly believe I am Dylan Thomas's reincarnation. (but you knew that) It would serve him right.

  9. I'm a bloody hermit.

  10. I always end up being the one to tend to "crazy people" whether it was talking people down from bad trips or taking care of psychotics at the big peace action.

  11. I love cooking for 400 people. I have a near pathological need to cook too much food. Maybe that's why I don't have dinner parties anymore. Besides the fact, I married a fellow hermit.

  12. I can't keep my dishes washed or my checkbook balanced. (but you knew that)

  13. I love sour cream herring and pickled onions on a blue corn chip with salsa and a cilantro leaf,

Now, do you. Like any writer, I'm nosey.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

"The Unknown Service" (My Operation: Poem Poem)

Go to my favorite hang-out, Cafe Cafe to read my first poem for Operation: Poem, Michelle Buchanan's venture to collect poems for everyone of the dead killed in service in Iraq. And, don't forget to write your own. And, go to Mark Young for a great poem on casualties.

P.S. Operation: CHIMPEACHMENT! Declare your independence from the war and the economics of death.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

MANGO Publications - 30 Years Ago Today

Thirty years ago today I started my publishing venture with the inauguration of my new press, MANGO. I was the original "kitchen table" press which inspired writers such as Gloria Anzaldua, Cherrie Moraga, Patricia Smith and others back east. "Freedom of the press belongs to the one who owns one," I was fond of saying. How I loved my little R2D2, my mailbox sized Multilith. I bought it from a guy who used it to make extra money printing pizza menus after cutting leads (the little wires on the back of stuffed pc boards) six hours a day with a group of women who didn't know whether or not Canada was a state in order to afford her. To afford my freedom and independence. I considered it in the tradition of one of my idols, Henry D., wandering off into the woods at Walden ("born too late/ for you to cling to..."), the publication of Walt's "Leaves of Grass", the signing of the Declaration of Independence and other such literary and spiritual ventures conducted on July 4th. Wiping off the kitchen table, opening all the windows, no matter how stubbornly painted shut, opening my doors to the world as I watched the first poems of Alberto Rios, Orlando Ramirez, Jimmy Santiago Baca, Ray Gonzalez ("I want to feel the rotting wood I walk upon..."), Wendy Rose, Bernice Zamora, Luis Omar Salinas, Ricardo Sanchez, Sandra Cisneros. . . . Tony Burciaga's pen and ink wit arise off the page in my tired hallucinations. How I loved my inky kitchen, my printing clothes with their split-fountain splotches and flowered fingerprints. How I loved the odor of chemicals, even the worst. The lilting momentos of Billie making the mockingbirds sing, the "no woman no cry" all night long to the train-chugging of that motor and cylinder proclaiming, proclaiming, world without end. Creating a mini chapbook sensation before there were even such things other than chapters from some scholarly tomes, before there were expensive contests to apply for or foetry foes to fight with, virtually. There was just a gal with her press who wasn't afraid to get dirty or lose a finger. Who didn't care how the house smelled in the morning or if the dishes were washed. Who only cared about getting it right, getting it inked up good, getting the lines straight because they were some of the best lines she had ever read. Lines that still hold up. Even if it wasn't always inked up good or the paper feed jammed up. "We're jammin'/ we're jammin'/ we're jammin'/ we're jammin'/ And I hope you like jammin' too" keeping us alert another hour, another cup of coffee, another ream, another poem. "Hard work!" declared the movement out my kitchen window. "Hard work" sang a man who wasn't doing it, who was free at at last, on stage and gettin' paid, "Hard work" kept the gauge going, the wheels on the gears throwing its luck to the pall; the ticking frets -- evident. Another Chicano manifesto, another Chicana manifest, Xicanao music all night long in the weave of words and flight. Fright, a thing of the past, Joy's horses finally let loose, loose women dancing on tables in poetry for thirty years, loose tickets hidden under sofas for just that long -- as the train advances.

Been gone to the freeway and back.

Happy Independence where ever you hold it, whomever you hold.

(Gracias Orlando Ramirez, Adrian Rocha and Jose Antonio Burciaga, for all the thereafter -- but, you knew that)


Sunday, July 02, 2006

My Hero, Billy Bragg Wins On MySpace

I'd stopped posting poems at MySpace after one of my favorite singer/songwriter's, Dougie MacLean zapped his site following a disclosure and the pulling of his free songs by Billy Bragg, another of my longtime poetic influences and musical heroes. Come visit me and check out Billy & all my friends: poets, artists, thinkers, tinkers & plinkers at my place at MySpace -- but careful, it's addictive.


I am very pleased to see that MySpace have changed their terms of agreement
from a declaration of their rights into a declaration of our rights as artists,
making it clear that, as creators, we retain ownership of our material. Having
been adopted by the biggest social networking site on the block, I hope their
recognition of the right of the artist to be sole exploiter of their own material
now becomes an industry standard because there is much more at stake here
than just the terms and conditions of a website.

In the past, songwriters and performers needed a record company to
manufacture, market and distribute their work, and in exchange for that, the
company expected to own the rights to exploit the recordings for as long as the
material was capable of earning royalties - life of copyright in legalese which
currently means 50 years.

Ive always had a problem with that arrangement, arguing that the recordings
Ive made should provide my pension not that of some record company
executive. In order to achieve this, I have held on to my rights, signing licensing
deals in which ownership of the records reverts to me after a stipulated period,
usually ten years. I figure that if a company cant make their money back after
that time, they dont deserve to put out my records anyway.

Every few years, the reversion clause kicks in, my back catalogue returns to my
ownership and I begin the licensing process all over again. Not only does this
strengthen my hand in contract negotiations, it also allows me to take account
of new technologies in a rapidly changing industry.

Now that the popularity of downloading has made physical manufacturing and
distribution no longer necessary, the next generation of artists will not need to
surrender all of their rights in order to get their music into the marketplace. It is
therefore crucial that they understand, from the moment that they first post
music on the internet, the importance of retaining their long term right to
exploit the material that they create. This is doubly important on a networking
site where many of the songs posted will be by unsigned artists. Ownership of
the rights to such material is somewhat ambiguous. Thats why I hope that the
groundbreaking decision of MySpace to come down on the side of the artists
rights will be followed throughout the industry.

I also welcome the new wording of the terms and conditions in which MySpace
clarify exactly why they require specific rights and how they intend to use them.
Again, I hope more sites follow the lead of MySpace in ensuring the use of clear
and transparent language in contracts. The last thing any of us wants to see is a
situation in which everyone posting a song on the site has to have a lawyer
sitting next to them.

Im glad my music is available to the community again and Im glad that
MySpace chose to act on my concerns. In order that we might avoid any such
confusion in future, can I suggest that MySpace notify its members of any
changes in the terms and conditions whenever they take place.

Billy Bragg

Proprietary Rights in Content on does not claim any ownership rights in the text, files, images, photos, video, sounds, musical works, works of authorship, or any other materials (collectively, "Content") that you post to the MySpace Services. After posting your Content to the MySpace Services, you continue to retain all ownership rights in such Content, and you continue to have the right to use your Content in any way you choose. By displaying or publishing ("posting") any Content on or through the MySpace Services, you hereby grant to a limited license to use, modify, publicly perform, publicly display, reproduce, and distribute such Content solely on and through the MySpace Services.
Without this license, would be unable to provide the MySpace Services. For example, without the right to modify Member Content, would not be able to digitally compress music files that Members submit or otherwise format Content to satisfy technical requirements, and without the right to publicly perform Member Content, could not allow Users to listen to music posted by Members. The license you grant to is non-exclusive (meaning you are free to license your Content to anyone else in addition to, fully-paid and royalty-free (meaning that is not required to pay you for the use on the MySpace Services of the Content that you post), sublicensable (so that is able to use its affiliates and subcontractors such as Internet content delivery networks to provide the MySpace Services), and worldwide (because the Internet and the MySpace Services are global in reach). This license will terminate at the time you remove your Content from the MySpace Services. The license does not grant the right to sell your Content, nor does the license grant the right to distribute your Content outside of the MySpace Services."

Read more at Billy's blog at MySpace/BillyBragg

Youth Speaks Needs Our Help

*from Tomas Riley, good poet and Myspace buddy

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Youth Speaks Needs Your Help

Dear members of the Youth Speaks community, family, and friends,

It is with great hope that we write you during a critical phase in the life of Youth Speaks.After 10 years of creating spaces for young people to thrive, we need to ask for your help as we enter our 11th. While we've maintained continuous growth in our programs and the number of youth served, we have recently experienced significant financial setbacks. Some funding promises have been broken (due to circumstances beyond our control), and we've incurred unexpected moving costs (our building is being sold). As we are a small - but growing - organization, these costs are tough to absorb. In order to continue our innovative programming in the new school year, we still need to raise at least $100,000 in gifts and pledges by August 1.

If you have ever been inspired by the courage, intelligence, creativity, and passion the youth bring to the microphone, then we ask you to please join with us now at this critical time by making the most generous gift that you can to Youth Speaks.

Founded in 1996, Youth Speaks has led a national Spoken Word performance, education, and youth development movement that is helping to transform the cultural landscape of the Bay Area and the country at large. As an organization, we have been proud to carry much of this growing movement on our back during these early stages. New programs are beginning to flourish nationwide, and here in the Bay, Spoken Word and poetry among youth have become a mainstay. But in order for us to be able to pay the people who do this work everyday, we need you to be a part of the solution.

Here are 4 ways you can help Youth Speaks now:

1) Make a donation or pledge (cash, stock, etc).A pledge form is attached for your convenience, which can be sent to We ask that you please consider a multi-year commitment.

2) Get 3 of your friends to donate or make a pledge as well. Please forward this appeal to all who you think might be interested in being a part of the movement by supporting this organization.

3) Host a fundraising event on our behalf. We'll provide poets and Dj's and other forms of entertainment.

4) Give some time to help raise funds. If you've got the background, or the desire, to lend a hand during this fundraising drive, please let us know.

If 4,000 people each give $25 or 2,000 each give $50, a few give $1,000, $10,000 or more, we will make our goal.

Youth Speaks works with over 40,000 teens per year in the Bay Area alone, and has helped create partner programs in 35 cities across the United States. This year, we published 6 books, gave free long-term Spoken Word residencies to 17 public high schools in San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley, held almost 500 hours of free after-school workshops, and produced over 50 events, which included the sold-out San Francisco Opera House for the Grand Slam Finals of the 10th annual Youth Speaks Teen Poetry Slam, and the sold-out Apollo Theater for the Brave New Voices Festival finale in NYC. (As part of that festival, we housed and fed over 400 youth from 40 parts of the country.) We also subsidized over $75,000 worth of tickets for youth throughout the year so they could take part in these events in these extraordinary places.

We are extremely proud of our many accomplishments, and are asking for strong partnership right now from all who have been impacted by our work. Our board and staff have strategically mapped out ways to prepare our organization for the future. Intentionally focussing on much needed capacity building, we hope to never turn away a young person who wants to be involved.

If you would like more information or want to get involved, please feel free to contact us at: James (; 415.902.5637) or Tony ( We'd like to thank you in advance for your time and consideration and look forward to hearing from you. Also, check out the video on the site at to remind yourself of just how powerful the experience can be.

in peace & poetry

James Kass, Founder & Executive Director
Tony Rodriguez, President of the Board

For the entire Youth Speaks Staff & Board
Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Jason Mateo, Chinaka Hodge, Ise Lyfe, Joan Osato, Rafael Casal, Adriel Luis, Elz Cuya, Tomás Riley, Khalil Anthony Peebles, Michelle Lee, Hodari Davis, Aya de Leon, Paul Flores, LaShawn Route-Chatmon, Leighanne Daley Sanchez, Miles Smith, Sara Jane Philips, Lauren Wingate, Leah Joy Turnbull, Josh T. Klipp, Cathy Garza, Vivian Chavez, Dalia Yedidia.

* Checks should be made payable to Youth Speaks, and can be mailed to 2169 Folsom Street, S-100 San Francisco, CA 94110.Credit Card donations can be made directly on our secure website at by following the Donate to Youth Speaks link. Please contact James at 415-902-5637 if you would like to make a stock or other property donation.

Operation: Poem

* from Michelle Buchanan, a MySpace buddy

Operation: Poem

"For every brave soldier that
lost life in the war in Iraq,
we will write a poem.

We will not call you a casualty.
We will not number you. You are
our mothers and fathers, our aunts
and uncles, brothers and sisters,
husbands and wives, friends, lovers
and neighbors, our cousins
and grandparents.

We will write for you.

We will remember you.

GUIDELINES: See sidebar. Also,
do not dedicate poem to a specific
person (if you have a family
member or friend you knew
personally email me first).
Write knowing that someday a
family member of a lost soldier
could read your poem - be
considerate of that in your

posted by Michelle at 10:07 PM 2 comments
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