Thursday, August 30, 2007

Where In The World Is Lorna? Dreaming Big in Albuquerque, Well Awarded In Austin, Savoring San Antonio, Speaking For the Dead of Texas, and Home Again

Announcement: Albuquerque Cultural Conference, Labor Day Weekend 2007

The first Albuquerque Cultural Conference, "Dreaming Big: Cultural Activism, Writing, Education and the Arts in the New Century," will be held Labor Day Weekend, September 1-September 3, at the Harwood Art Center. The conference will be preceded by a major poetry reading on Friday night, August 31 and will include panels, workshops, and evening events over the weekend, with a final panel and plenary session Monday morning. There will be a weekend book and arts fair as well.

Sponsor of the conference is West End Press; co-sponsors include the Peace and Justice Center and Acequia Books. The event is supported by a grant from the New Mexico Humanities Council. The conference organizer is Leslie Fishburn Clark.

The Friday reading will begin at 7 p.m. at Harwood Center. The present list of readers includes Anya Achtenberg, Jimmy Santiago Baca, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Renny Golden, Linda Hogan, E. A. Mares, Demetria Martinez, Cherrie Moraga, Sara Ortiz, Margaret Randall, Levi Romero, and a group of slam poets. Recommended donation is $10. The reading will be recorded.

Panels and workshops will include such subjects as teaching and writing for survival; Southwest culture and society; cultural memory; regional activism; alternative journalism, publication, digital communication, and radio; creating a peoples' almanac; and poets and artists for peace and justice. A final panel will take up "Politics, Culture, and the New: New Forms to Meet New Challenges."

Invited guests include Anya Achtenberg, Minnesota author; Lorna Dee Cervantes, California poet; Renny Golden, Chicago author and teacher; Linda Hogan, Colorado author; Cherrie Moraga, California teacher and playwright; and Kimberly Nightingale, editor of the St. Paul Almanac. Writers, teachers and activists from over a dozen states plan to attend.

The Saturday evening event is dedicated to the memory of Terri Anderson, a southwest poet who died prematurely of cancer last year. Many of her friends met with her on Labor Day three years ago in Tulsa, Oklahoma. At this conference, West End Press and Street Sweeper Press will announce co-publication of her selected poems at the end of the year. Friends will read from Terri's poetry.

According to John Crawford, publisher of West End Press, "The conference is intended to open up new perspectives and possibilities: for teaching and writing, for the creation of an Albuquerque Almanac, for consideration of the artistic forms we have at our disposal, for celebration of cultural memory, and for strategic engagement with the future in this most fragile and fraught of centuries-the only one we have to work with."

For more information, contact the Albuquerque cultural conference website at or e-mail us at We will be happy to send you a full description of the event with registration information.

Sept. 13th, I'll be at Austin Community College accepting my award for Outstanding Book of Poetry in 2006 and reading at 4pm. Then, I'm off to San Antonio's Esperanza Center for a reading/performance on the 14th. Then back to Austin to participate in the opening of the new Mexican American Cultural Center where I've been asked to speak for the dead. (always)

Then, I'm back home (without the quotations marks) in the Mission, San Francisco, Aztlan. Come see me! I'll be teaching a Chicana/Latinas On the Borderlands history course at San Francisco State University on mondays and wednesdays - and packing and unpacking. Get ready for a future announcement. Lorna Dee is on the move and the hummingbird has landed!

Dream on. Dream big. Poetry On!

The Last Gringo In Mexico: Hurricane Dean and Its Aftermath - Help the Yucatec Maya

Well, actually, the last gringo on the south east coast of Mexico. Writer, Cliff Evans lives off the grid in Portillas, a small pueblo on the coast near Majajual and Xcalak where Hurricane Dean came down as a Category 5 and destroyed many traditional Mayan homes and villages. There's so much happening these days - near and outside of the personal - but, as anyone who knows me or my blog buddies who read this know: I HATE HURRICANES! (Soy de la gente del mar) And Hurricane Dean, for a time, was headed straight to Isla Mujeres where I have a small plot of land and many friends and favorite trees and critters. So I have been preoccupied y bien ocupada with the hurricane and its aftermath. I started reading Cliff's site years ago, now I'm hooked. Go to Cliff's blogs and MySpace site to read about Dean, his dog and see before and after pictures. Cliff is one heck of a writer, I'd suggest reading his story from the start.

Most important, Cliff "gets" the people there, and is doing something real and in real-time to help. I'd like to help him help, and you can, too. All donations sent to Cliff via his paypal address, cliff at portillas you-know-what, will be distributed directly to the people who need it most, the people you are not likely to hear about or see in the nightly news. A little bit of money goes a long way in Xcalak. If you pay by credit card, include a little extra as he has to pay a fee for credit card transactions. I've been reading the travel boards and Costa Maya sites for many years now, although I don't know him I know that Cliff is a real guy and will really help.

As I wrote after Wilma hit Cancun and Isla Mujeres, this hurricane will show the real face of Mexico to the world. Apocalipto is a bunch of Krapalipto. We have much to learn from this ancient culture.


Saturday, August 18, 2007

"In A Melting Season" (Poem for Liam Rector and Tree Swenson)

I read this sad news yesterday on Greg Rappleye's blog (click on his name on the blog and scroll down to read a poem by Liam - a poet I didn't know except on the page where he was a dear friend. I wrote this today for his memory, and for Tree.

In A Melting Season

for Liam Rector and Tree Swenson

It's the last week of the melting season.
The warmest temperature ever recorded
in the North Pole occurs the day
the shot rang out, silently to the sleeping.
A woman drinks a heavy glass
of water. A man revs the engine
of a shining SUV. The sun cracks
open upon the land and pours
its fine needles of compulsion
into the skin. Poetry puzzles
a flight of birds, the alien starlings
park in the foreign trees, those that displace,
those that move the native stock on. Get off
says something in the shifting
of the spheres. In the wolf's hour
a man weighs the waiting and the pain;
decides. What single line
could ever close this poem? The verses
ooze through the wound. The sky
opens up into sun. If you could
capture this day, like a disabled
duck caught in the muck of our leavings,
how many more calendar pages
would you venture through? The poems
are lost and rediscovered. The woman
coming toward you turns into a red
shadow, a strand of hair floating
down to the floor, a goddess of loss,
becoming. What is to be done
when the body is dying? Even in a child
the great thaw continues. In the last
seed of summer, before the first rays,
a story begins, and ends. The birds
keep arriving, keep reminding. What wakes
eats. What sleeps forever more
keeps a living hunger alive into winter.
How many miles to travel before a setting
is begun? How many slushing marshes now
must you cross? The creaking ice
lets the fisherman fish, lets us in
to begin again - without you.

Lorna Dee Cervantes

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Hurricane Dean Headed to Isla Mujeres - Forced Evacuations Possible

Pacifica - 'It's the Waves...'

"It's the waves," he says, "the closest
I've ever come to eternity
is the ocean."

Quoting, here, from my poem, "Walking Around" and feeling the heartbeat of the sea in my dreams. I love it here, in Pacifica, where the sea foam penetrates every breath and the great clock of the earth unwinds in every wave. Yes, I do love it. I love the solitude here, despite all the other people living around here, the stacked little boxes of houses (a bow to Malvina Reynolds) in their doll house rows. I love the tiny polished pebbles, the daily search for jade:

"every pebble
was a wonder

I could name
only by color
jade vermilion

sandstone buff
or the inexplicable
azure glass"

For me then
"every joy

measures itself
against the brilliance
of that time

Yes. And now, here I am, over that sand dune of age, on the other side of glory, the kind in the sheen of hair, the shining eyes, the unflawed smile - "how there's no climbing the sand cliffs quickly" (a line I left out of that poem, "Shells", but always think about for its inner truth. Now, the crashing, the cymbals of each count-down into eternity, the infinite punctuation of the sea as I am balanced here, to some, precariously, to me, luxuriously. I think of the cleverness of my life that lands me here as I think of the making of a poem by my "poetry guru" Robert Hass, something about the quizzical head of a jay poking out from its hole in a tree. Or maybe a woodpecker, something persistent. The fact of life that I am here to witness, even if just my solitude on this day.

And, this day, I'm off to the Watershed Poetry event in Berkeley, going to hear Bob read in the park. It's been a long time since I've seen him, not since that time at the White House for the Millennium Poetry Event. Then, I'm off to San Francisco, maybe to attend the wedding reception of one of the Mission's most prominent (and nicest) poets, Alfonso Texidor who is marrying a lovely women, in form and spirit. And, I may be deciding the next step in my fate today - I'm off to look at a work/live space in the Mission, about 3 blocks from my step-mother and little brothers.

I am leaning on the net. I am taking what comes to me. "The catch" (of my life) "is the sea." (from "On the Fear of Going Down")

view of my "backyard" from my writing desk

Friday, August 10, 2007

Lorna Dee Cervantes at Pinta Tu Propio Mundo Tonight, 8/10-SF

Join me tonight in San Francisco for an incredible evening of poetry, music, art and performance friday, Aug. 10 at the Galeria de la Raza - reception at 7 pm. I'd love to see you there!

6th annual Pinta tu Propio Mundo

Six years in the running, this evening of women’s art and expression presents accomplished writers, risk taking performers, and cutting edge visual artists in the heart of La Misión.

Hosted by Leticia Hernandez
@ Galeria de la Raza

Lorna Dee Cervantes
Opal Palmer Adisa
Las Manas
Maceo Cabrera Estevez

Featured visual artist: Chamindika
art & tshirts for sale

Friday, August 10th @ 8 pm
2857 24th Street @ Bryant Street
$8 - $15 sliding scale/Galería members FREE

Sponsored by:
Poets & Writers

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples - 8/9, SF

“International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples”

The 13th commemoration of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples will be on Thursday, 9 August 2007 at UN Plaza on Market Street in San Francisco, beginning at 10:30 am with sacred sage and tobacco offerings, honor song and dance organized by the American Indian Movement (AIM West Coast), and non-governmental organizations (NGO’s).

The United Nations General Assembly in 1993 resolution 48/163 of 21 December 1993, proclaimed “The International Decade for the World’s Indigenous People” (1994-2004) with the goal of strengthening international cooperation for the solution of problems faced by Indigenous Peoples in such areas as human rights, the environment, development, education and health. The General Assembly, welcoming the recommendation of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities of the Commission on Human Rights that the International Day be observed every year on 9 August, that date being the anniversary of the first day of the meeting of the Working Group in 1982.

It also considered bearing in mind the internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the United Nations Millennium Declaration and the program of action proclaimed for the Second Decade of the World’s Indigenous People (2005-2014) in resolution 59/174 of December 2004, which are linked and together bring actions to improve the standard of living of Indigenous Peoples. The General Assembly adopted the Second Decade theme of “Agenda for life”.

These are the first steps in mapping the route of human rights achievements in the international arena for Indigenous Peoples, and from where many Indigenous leaders and elders, some who are no longer with us, began to chart a course to navigate western bureaucracy and traditional Indigenous communities for the future of the coming generations. After more than 500 years of persecution on our homelands, disrespected and dislocated, Indigenous peoples have began to dialogue and develop standards toward understanding our cultures and way of life since time immemorial. Although many of our elders are no longer with us their contribution of wisdom and vision for a balanced and harmonious world view challenges us to make reality inclusive of traditional peoples to complete the family of nations. The UN is not complete until the Red Man of the western hemisphere is included.

At the present time leaders of the world’s 370 million Indigenous Peoples are reiterating their calls for the 192-member U.N. General Assembly to recognize their sovereignty over ancestral lands and resources. After nearly three decades of international activism within the halls of the UN, governments and Indigenous peoples carved together forty-six articles to form the draft “Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”. It already was approved by the newly reformed Human Rights Council in June 2006 and the proposed Declaration was due to be adopted by the General Assembly last year, but due to fierce objections from certain countries it was set aside for further negotiations. In addition to the USA, the countries that refused to endorse the Declaration includes Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Columbia, Russia, Surinam, Guyana and a few African nations led by Namibia.

Those unwilling to sign on to the Declaration have expressed strong reservations about parts of the text calling for recognition of the Indigenous Peoples’ right to self-determination and control over their natural resources. Those in opposition describe the draft Declaration as “fundamentally flawed” and thus have refused to accept the Indigenous representatives’ assertion that their people have the right to self-determination. “Nature conservation is at the heart of the cultures and values of traditional societies” according to Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the U.N. Convention on Biodiversity. The link between biodiversity and traditional knowledge is evident.” Indigenous leaders hope that despite opposition from a handful of countries, a vast majority of member states in the U.N. General Assembly would vote for the adoption of the Declaration before the end of the 61st session in mid-September this year.

There will be statements delivered on behalf of the Governments of Bolivia and Venezuela, the San Francisco Human Rights Commission and Indigenous speakers representing the sacred four directions of Mother Earth. There is planned a full day of events commemorating Indigenous Peoples Day. In the afternoon beginning at 2 pm at New College of California, 777 Valencia Street, a film “On the Road with Evo!” and with introductory statements by our guests from Bolivia and Venezuela. At 3 pm a Forum on Indigenous Issues of the Day and “Networking and Protecting the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities”. There will be a Reception at 5p.m. with light food and refreshments in honor of our distinguished guests and hosted by Dennis Banks, co-founder of the AIM, and AIM Minister of Culture and recording artist, actor, Floyd Red Crow Westerman. Cultural performances by Francisco Herrera, and Drummers, Singers, and Dancers. (Bring food to share, a donation of $10 is requested).

Finally, at the Roxie Theater (16th Street between Valencia and Guerrero) starting at 7 pm with M.C. Floyd Red Crow, and film at 7:30 “Cocalero” by Alejandro Landes, about Indigenous peoples rise to power in Bolivia. Winner of the Sundance Film Festival, Social Justice Award, 2007. ($10 donation at the door, limited sits!!).

The Media and Public is invited. For more information call: 818-636-7578 or 415-577-1492.

La Migra Asesina: Immigration Agent On Trial for Murder of Undocumented Worker & Fotos by Francisco Dominguez

Immigration Agent Tried for Murder in Arizona: click link or go here: for the news story.

And, oddly, the man murdered is also named Francisco Dominguez, no relation to the outstanding photographer and poet of the same name from Sacramento. I recently had the chance to see some of Francisco's new work on the Border and immigration rights protests this past weekend and they were truly fantastic. He was just one of the talented folk I've connected and reconnected with since I've been back to my City by the Bay. Check out the galeria on 24th Street in the Mission in SF for his work and others. It's a great art show. (Hey, maybe when you come up, or down, to the Galeria de la Raza to see and hear Pinta tu Propia Mundo (love that name) where I'll be reading/performing along with Opal Adisa Palmer and others this friday night just next door to where they are showing.) Otherwise, you can click this link here for a couple of Francisco's fotos and a brief essay on his experiences. I first met Francisco years ago when I was trawling for grad students for CU at Naropa (where I found Tammy Gomez, and recruited her heavily) and presenting a reading and workshop for their summer writing program. He immediately impressed me with his intelligence, sensitivity and talent. I've seen a few of his pics since, but I'm looking forward to seeing more of his work. I was blown away by the depth and power of the images at the galeria show. Especially now, when media workers at all levels are under attack, here and elsewhere, this work is vitally important to us all. Gracias, Francisco.

Lorna Dee On KPFA Today - 3 PM - And SPAM!!

Tune in to KPFA (94.1) today, wednesday, Aug. 8 at 3 pm for "Cover to Cover"
Lorna Dee Cervantes and Leticia Hernandez read and speak. You can stream it here or go to I'll be reading a couple of brand new poems and being interviewed. It will probably be archived for a while, too, if you miss it.

And catch me at the Galeria de la Raza this friday night, August 10, at 8 pm on 24th Street in La Mission, San Francisco. Scroll down for more info.

And ... I just received over 100+ delivery error notification emails in a span of about 15 minutes- and they're still coming! Someone is spoofing my domain, probably from my MySpace account. Bummer. So if you're getting spam from me, it's not me. I rarely email from that account, or give it out anymore since this isn't the first time this has happened. Sigh.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Lorna Dee Cervantes: Pinta Tu Propio Mundo, 8/10, SF and On KPFA 8/8 3 pm

Also, tune into KPFA (94.1) this wednesday, Aug. 8 at 3 pm for "Cover to Cover"
Lorna Dee Cervantes and Leticia Hernandez read and speak. You can stream it here or go to

And, if you're in San Francisco, join us for an incredible evening of poetry, music, art and performance friday, Aug. 10 at the Galeria de la Raza - reception at 7 pm. I'd love to see you there!

6th annual Pinta tu Propio Mundo

Six years in the running, this evening of women’s art and expression presents accomplished writers, risk taking performers, and cutting edge visual artists in the heart of La Misión.

Hosted by Leticia Hernandez
@ Galeria de la Raza

Lorna Dee Cervantes
Opal Palmer Adisa
Las Manas
Maceo Cabrera Estevez

Featured visual artist: Chamindika
art & tshirts for sale

Friday, August 10th @ 8 pm
2857 24th Street @ Bryant Street
$8 - $15 sliding scale/Galería members FREE

Sponsored by:
Poets & Writers

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Feliz Cumpleanos/ Happy Birthday

to me

and, remember Hiroshima - I can never forget: NO NUKES NOW!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Ana Castillo & Naomi Quinonez in San Francisco Today, Tomorrow

I'll be in The City today, looking at a sublet, and hearing and visiting with one of my ole po-pals, Ana Castillo:
On Sat.Aug. 4th at 3pm Ana Castillo will present her
new novel, "The Guardians" at New College,766 Valencia
st. The afternoon will begin with an interview with
poet/author Dr. Naomi Quinonez (20-30 mins. followed
by a reading from The Guardians. Booksigning and
reception at Encantada Gallery 5:30 pm.

There's also a reading with her and Naomi Quinonez AND Bettita Martinez on Sunday, but I'll have to find the info on that one. I'm sure it's at El Tecolote. I'll see y'all there! Nos vemos.

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Friday, August 03, 2007

New Poem (Replaced By One By Stanley Kunitz)

I haven't written anything since the Monterey poems (I hate to move) except for blogging and the workshop poems - but they don't count, as they are gifts from the goddesses and not like a "real" worked on poem. And finally this:

Hey, you weren't quick enough! This poem is being replaced by one of my long time favorites by one of my spirit-mentors, Stanley Kunitz (known affectionately by me as "The Cucumber.") This poem was originally published in the American Poetry Review as a back page spread with the poem and one of my favorite pics of The Cucumber in his captain's hat at a jaunty angle and his soulful eyes standing in his garden in Provincetown among his (what else?) cucumbers. I had this page mounted on cardboard and it hung over my writing desk for nearly a couple of decades, traveling with me to a couple of states (of mind and elsewhere) as one of my "muses" (along with a mujer Zapatista, a Cuban woman cutting cane with a machete, a drawing of Frida's eyebrows and an older grandmotherly looking librarian in Ohio or somewhere saying: "I want to hang glide" and meaning it.) The poem on cardboard is in some portfolio somewhere of unpacked art in Colorado. I place it here - to remind me.

And, if you missed my new poem, email me at PoetDee care of "mac" youknow-youknow (I get enough spam) and I'll try and send it to you. Peace.

The Layers

I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle
not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.
Oh, I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.
Yet I turn, I turn,
exulting somewhat,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.
In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
directed me:
"Live in the layers,
not on the litter."
Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes.

Stanley Kunitz
reprinted in Fooling with Words: A Celebration of Poets and Their Craft by Bill Moyers (New York: Perennial/HarperCollins, 1999)

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Outside the Whole Love Market

It smells like meat. Pork. I'm smiling in the parking lot. Well, not the lot, a table outside in the sun, but that, too, makes me smile. Considering how many healthy Jewish people there are in Berkeley, roast pork smell in the parking lot of the Whole Foods Market makes me all smiley. And hungry. Although I don't eat it any more - I've gone back to my veggie roots.

I'm sitting in the Berkeley sun, outside the Whole Foods, smelling meat, writing, and thinking of love. It will be my birthday soon. And, I need a date. If I knew I'd still be in my apartment I'd invite everyone over. I have a larger family here. And, friends. And, wannabe friends, I think. Besides, I don't even know what state I'll be in. "Teehee," I wrote when I wrote that sentence down to a friend who asked to interview me on KPFA that monday evening. "It's my birthday - I forgot." I could be in Colorado. Maybe I'll go to Mexico. Yes, that'd be extreme. But, doable. And, fitting. I like that idea. Mostly, I want to dance. Among other things one could do as a couple.

I look like some strange dark beetle, here, amid the meat scents with my Bose headphones listening to Los Lobos sing "Volver. Also fitting. I ought to go where I've never been. Dance the way I've never done. Maybe. I'm sipping on a "Grasshopper" - 2 shots of wheatgrass in a tall glass of carrot juice. Seal comes on the playlist - sweet sounds for this sweet drink and sweet, I think, listener: "Without your touch/ I've been lost without the things I love ...". Yes. I ought to go to Canada, ought to go to the reggae fest, immerse myself in some other river. Yes. I ought to be saying yes more.

A woman is speaking. And it doesn't look as if her partner is listening. A man in a yarmulke passes and he shoots me a look. Palestinian? I could be. The man at the cafe thinks so (despite my Jewish blood.) He opens his place to a film about peace and resistance. The place fills up with dark veiled women and beautiful men. They smile at me, a fellow Arab. This continent, this Bay, is as wide as the world, as wide as me. "I'm sitting is some dark cafe/ a defector from the petty wars/ until love sucks me back that way."

"I don't like you/ But I love you." I like this playlist. These playlists of tunes I made for the hurt heart are heartening.

The woman who was talking looks like she could be Palestinian. The blond man she's with doesn't look at her. She's expressive. They seem mismatched. And what is a sure match, anyway? Men and women, like Arab and Jew, and the sea between them is saturated with salt and oil from so many viscous fluids, and words.

"And if you want it/ you can get it," Smoky sings. "Let the music take your mind."

"Foreign windows into tomorrow," I write. And I don't know what it means. The end of another summer, another closing door on the younger me. Area 52. My body wants to dance. I'll buy flowers instead. I drink my muddy drink and think of love and begonias, and how "poetry is the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits."

A man at the edge of the lot hits up the patrons for money. And makes it. All the men are too tall here, but plentiful. "Move to Berkeley," I say to D. "Or San Francisco, if you can deal with the fog."

"I don't care what you think about me./ I don't care what you say." But I do. No Smoky on the willing horizon, my horizons stretch into high plains desert and a sea of ash. I have fewer prospects than the 49ers in a blizzard. I've this muddy drink, this head full of hair, this mind that wants to go home, though I still don't know in what state that dwells.

The divisions are not all they're cracked up to be. The maps are crumpled and stained. I attain my will, and swill this saving grace. Some day, I think, I'll land. As John Mayer croons: "Come back to me" and "I think I'll have a home life." Yes. "I'll be around."


I need a date.

What a weird sentence.

Oh well, at least it's pun. (I think I'll go take a walk now ... now, where's the palm ...)

12 More Poems - What Came Out of Workshop - July 28-29

There's something about writing five poems a day ...

Let me know if you're interested in an intensive workshop. I haven't scheduled any for August as I'm not yet sure where I'll be living. Thanks to all the participants, those mujeres fuertes. You make it happen. The following, except for one, are "7-Minute Poems" with given titles.

July 28:

Permanent Save

He said, sleeping with her
was like living next to a toxic
dump site. Her loud color streaked
off the pillows and out of his heart.
He was sensitive to the smell.
His skin would peel off in sheets
of paper, bleed through his shorts.
She was wanting to hold him there,
willing to sit through the slurry
and rolling. Her hair would be a net
that would save. Her bouncing curls
calling attention from her face, the tired
age, the living waste.

Fear of Death

Marta had a fear of death, she wouldn't
sleep for the child still caught in her throat,
the insomniac who counted stars and crumbs
of cake. She couldn't let go. It followed
her to school. It drank from her glass
of milk in the morning. It soiled her
shoes. Marta had a fear of falling
asleep and never waking up, of discovering
that the migra of the waking world had just asked
for her papers and that she'd be hauled into
the cell of the earth for processing. Marta
had a fear of certain things: the sharp end
of the knife, the hissing gas. But mostly
of sleep and pain, that final composition
of the heart: "I I I will will will not not
not fear fear fear my my my life."


There are some who braid and some
who unravel. There are some who shave
and some who blossom into moss and
string. There are some who are brave
and some who run across tomorrow.
There are some who lie awake listening
and some who waken with a bell.
There are some who pry apart billfolds
and some who reel in the fish. There are
some who rely on the few doors of the seasons
and some who live by colored calendars and pens.
There are some for whom starlight
is a beacon for travel, and others
who want to lock it away. Summer chose
the old ones. Today we, we could save
a way of life and pay -- dollars for difference.

A Hard Drive

Esa chica was hard to drive, Reyes spoke,
mumbling into his mug. She wouldn't lay
4 on the floor, wouldn't squeal on a dime
or do donuts in the parking lot. "Maybe it's time
to trade her in," he repeated. "Get at least
something for my money." Yes, this little
chica's always been the one to walk -- late
at night between the 7-11 and the stars,
she'd come to, some somnabulist gymnist
in the night when the shift came off in his
hand, and there she was -- all chrome
and shine and oiled. Pero esa chica was
hard to drive. She wouldn't do it all.
She balked on the turn and wouldn't
speed up on the entry way. One free
way over nine, a sunny equation on her
face. You could do with her as you
will, but her will was filled up, and was
making her go.

Hips Hitting the Floor

She was a mariposa and the sweet
vines of men on the sidewalk were her
bounty. She wore the shackles of mascara
under a thick veil of a Chanel knock-off. She let her
hands talk, the rhythm of her walk, a serenata
to nada and a way of letting go. "Come
with me," she would call out to the boys.
And one by one the constitution of
America would fall. All of them, amendments
vetoed in the spring, were kicked off
the table as it was, hips hitting the floor;
flung glasses of rage between the sudden kiss
and miss.

Social Responsibility (Community)

Before this light, the shadow in the hair.
Before this circle, a stick in the dirt.
Before this breath, a hundred wings, unfurling.
Before this flag, a hundred thousand hands,
and they are hurting. All the world, an emblem,
entire strands of genes in the soup and
spelling our names. Another shot in the
dark corner. Another word stuck in the slot.
After this shadow, another strand of night.
After this crevice, another clod coming unstuck.
After this feather, a thousand lungs giving up.
After this responsibility, an entire community
getting lost. All the world is final
in your loving way. All the words
come to and gather at the river. All
the nests become this bird, this hand,
this right.

7/28/07 (after workshop)


Many worlds are possible
but we're stuck in just this
one. Everywhere I am you are
too, a click behind you, a page
away. Away from you I'm a bent
cable, a loose wire, a chunk
of solder -- wrong place, wrong time, wrong
word. Exceptional lenses into a future
advertise in the socket of their square,
the few and the many lives written there,
a blaring, a jangle for spare change:
the storefront Santa, the baked clay
in Hayward, the mispelling Jones in his
covey of coterie, me in my unused
lingerie. The slip is just there for the rub,
my infatuation and an ink that wears off
in the handling. Your slips of tongue
in the swearing-in, the swearing. Those eyes
I am wearing to bed (by all accounts
on account of you)
while all around -- an explosion
of worth, of asking. My hand in mine.

July 29, 2007:

[to be continued]

[see previous blog entry for first 6 poems from workshop] (these are all "7-Minute poems" - spontaneous unedited poems with given titles. Enjoy!)

July 29, 2007:

Crystal Clear Or Gibberish

After I said, "I love you,"
you could have hammered me over
the head with the silence. The flacid
heart, the only music in our sphere.
I held you there, suspended in suspense
before rolling off and curling into a sticky
snail. It was all the blossoms falling
off the cherry tree in the hail. It was
all the kittens in the litter dying at once.
It was more than our favorite restaurant
locked up on a sunday and we were really
really hungry. It was walking up and down
your street looking for you for the first time
on a too hot day. It was the stone in my shoe
I can't take out. After I said I was going
to "multiply the conditions of possibility"
and you said, "Okay. Good," I knew
it was the wrong answer to the wrong
question. And afterwards, every
hummingbird was you. A murder
of crows on the elm tree became
you finally calling my number, a slumber
of vultures circling my apartment,
a single red fox in my neighborhood,
beat up, but there; a left-over
garden in a place someone is leaving:
hard red pots left over in the move.


Hunger heals the hardened heart
in an ideal world. The hunger of mares
filling up the field. The hunger of rare
fish kissing every bit they see, the wild
hunger of those who fly and dive, a hunger
of the hole and the whole world giving
up. The hunger of a racing mouth, the hunger
of parchment for the pen. A hunger of
music to the violin, hunger redeems
her book of blank food stamps, holds
the hot pot to the breath. Hunger stamps
around and displays in the kitchen. Whomever
marries hunger growls into traffic
at the forced stop, lunges at hunger
as the knives play out. Sing to hunger
in order to appease her. Or, hunger
heals the wound it opens. hunger quenches
the thirst of whales. Hunger opens her
eyes in the kiss, her hair falling down
masking your eyes. Hunger flies
out fast and all alone, back to the
reunion. Hunger, who's fast on her feet,
hunger who can't stand still for the fast.

Honoring Past, Present, Future

I woke to a dream of wild horses
but they were there, just woken up
on the plain. Their burr-ridden manes,
brushless and matted, the sensitive muzzles
nuzzling their loves. The bolt-upright colts
charging the wire of the fence that separates
the class and phyla, the elegant four-leggeds
from the two-footed beasts. The unshod shone
there, the black stallions and the paints, long
past their Indian riders or the metallic helmets
and spurs, long past the whip and the spit
of the bit, ridden past the memory of horses
going into the gate, the hobbled run, the unsteady
gait no longer a reason to die. I could have tied
one to this train, or lassoed a mare
or snapped a picture of that remembered
friskiness in the autumn. I could have
drawn them, the sensitive eyes. I could
have honored them, there, the wealth
of a nation stamping over gopher holes.
I could have given them my apple,
my free reins, my heart. My past,
present and future, just a bare-backed
dream of passing, the hidden saddle,
the forgotten lure of history.

Blue Bride

Blue Beard never did get his meat.
Another hurricane hit and he had to get
off the island or sink. But he never did
lose the savor or the scent. Scraping over
the New World and back, he searched for
the scorch and the rack. He smelled his way
into other continents of exact coordinates and
tracts. He teethed on the dream gristle
in his sleep. Every time some wench turned
down the bed his mouth exploded into the savory
memory of meat. He went about the hunt
and kill. He called off his quest
for gold and an Ionic empire of feat.
He lost his soul in the underbrush,
smelling of scat and skunk. He sunk his
fortune deep in the sand and wished
for a sentiment of salt and chew,
the still-living flesh of legend. Blue Beard's
phantom gristle would sing through his teeth,
and the blue bride expired, her long
continent of hair on the platter: the birth of
a nation.


Grandma told a story of want and can't.
There was never such a word, she insisted,
so when I pointed to her twisted spine
and the coin on the floor, she slapped me.
"Where there's a will there's a way," I say
to remind me. And think of you, asleep
in your heart, that house of cards.
The silence of worms fasting and fusing,
the crime of their slime, brilliant
and fulfilling. The order of their days,
their ambiguous mating - all seems
a syntax of sense and decision. In the final
episode of you, you're a bad cliche
I can't resist. You're the other shoe
falling, the last note of Taps. You're
the bugle to the fox, and I am exhausting.
You're the story I never found the end
to write. You're the last act and all the under-
studies, sick. I think of you when I want to close
my purse, the parched lips, the fast
hands. Grandma held us in a tale of want
and I can't let go. I can't let him
become you, or the shatter -- the will
that just can't find its way.

Copyright 2007
Lorna Dee Cervantes

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