Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Love Poem to El Tecolote

A Love Poem To El Tecolote On The 39th Anniversary
for Eva Martínez/Juán Gonzáles?/you?/auction?/in honor of Her Honor, Sotomayor?

El Tecolote means death
to some. It's hoot to take you
away. For the people of this land
it brings life, life lessons
from the dead. Messages from
the ancestors within this ground.

For the others
Minerva's owl sits
on the left shoulder
of Justice, Athena
under its gentled heels.
She flies out
in search of the true
and good, truth and beauty,
the twin towers of the law
(while the Angel of History turns away.)

Here, on earth,
on this earth we are blessed
with the presence of El Tecolote:
vision, accuracy, attentiveness,
and a gentled, gentling Spirit.

Under the reddening gardens
of love, on the earth
and under the sun, under
the spread wings of her peace
and feast, una tecolote is
on a mission in The Mission.

And I remember
another time under the trees,
another season when I was in
my summer. I sat
on the hillside, a head
full of Hegel and Kant;
a tenuous thread that stitched
me to my raza loosening
and pulling, snug
and lax as a purled sweater
made strong by my mother's hand.
I pondered my existence, the irony,
alive in an interesting time
researching and documenting
my demise and slaughter:
so many hundreds of millions of native peoples
and chicanada I couldn't count
(the bodies would reach the moon.)

I found a pearl
without a hole, a fossilized
frog egg or roe: opalescent
(many-colored) with the translucent white
color of a single drop of semen.
It was then that I read
it, el tecolote there
in front of me in the field
where I had just found
my tiny treasure. There
on the spot to remind me
of something or someone
there, alive or dead,
living or in another matter.
No matter. El tecolote,
so important to my people,
auspicious and sealed
in waxy plumage. Giant
owl, law of the land,
justice on the wing.

I could have reached out
and stroked it. I put
my arm around it, tried,
so familiar its face,
our long look of recognition,
the turning away
to take in the beauty
of the land
despite the books
of destruction
between us.

You are like this owl.
For 39 years (40 years
of resistance within 517), bearer
of missives from the
true and good, of truth
and beauty, with accuracy,
attentiveness and una visión,
a gentling gentle espíritu
in the community,
ever vigilant for justice,
fierce and relentless
in the hunt, you have been Connector
Between Worlds; Bringer of News
of the living and dead across
a split hemisphere
and the gulf between the many
for whom life
no se vale nada
and the few who own
the world, I am thankful
for your presence. Sigue.

Lorna Dee Cervantes

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My Life According to Pablo Neruda

Thanks to Sesshu Foster for the following meme. Spread it around!

My Life According to Pablo Neruda

Using only POEM titles from ONE POET, answer these questions. Pass it on to 12 (or a million) people you like. You can't use the poet I used. Do not repeat a title. Repost as "My Life According to (POET)."

Are you a male or female?
Brown and Agile Child

Describe yourself:

How do you feel:
I'm Explaining Some Things

Describe where you currently live:
In My Sky At Twilight

If you could go anywhere, where would you go:
The Heights of Macchu Picchu

Your favorite form of transportation:

What's the weather like:
A Song of Despair

Favorite time of day:
Leaning Into The Afternoons

Your relationships:
The Light Wraps You

Your fear:
Nothing But Death

What is the best advice you have to give:

If you could change your name, you would change it to:
(or Magellanic Penguin)

My soul's present condition:
Tonight I Can Write


Monday, August 24, 2009

Acteal Assassins Released From Prison!

This news just in. Some of you know my long "Coffee" poem on this murder.

What is wrong with the world today is that a few own it.



Date: Sun, Aug 23, 2009 at 8:49 PM
Subject: Mexico Week In Review: 08.17-08.23

Mexico Week In Review: 08.17-08.23
Published since 1994, 'Mexico Week In Review' is a service of the
Committee of Indigenous Solidarity (CIS). CIS is a Washington, D.C.
based activist group committed to the ongoing struggles of Indigenous
peoples in the Americas. CIS is actively supporting the struggles
of the Indigenous peoples of Mexico while simultaneously combating
related structures of oppression within our own communities.

To view newsletter archives, visit:

"Para Todos, Todo; Para Nosotros Nada"


In an unprecedented ruling that overturned a lower court on
legalistic rather than constitutional grounds, the Supreme Court
released 20 prisoners serving time for the infamous Acteal massacre
in which paramilitaries gunned down 45 indigenous members of Las
Abejas, a pacifist group, on December 22, 1997. At least 30
additional paramilitary members will be released in coming days as
Justices complete paperwork. In its 4-1 decision, the Supreme Court
ignored eye witness evidence from survivors, focusing instead on
mismanagement of the investigation by the Federal Attorney General
and fabrication of evidence by presiding judges. "This tribunal is
not absolving anyone of guilt," claimed Justice Jose Ramon Cossio.
"We determined that the complainants did not receive due process,
which is not equivalent to a pronouncement of innocence." However,
dozens of paramilitary members, many who confessed to their crimes,
are now free, and some have threatened to return to seek revenge
against survivors of the massacre who testified against them. Human
rights groups universally criticized the decision on three grounds:
confessed assassins were released from prison, eye witnesses are now
in danger, and the intellectual authors of the massacre have never
been brought to justice.

Religious leaders affiliated with both the PRI and PAN organized the
legal defense of the paramilitaries under the Center for Economic
Research and Teaching (CIDE). CIDE is suing the Fray Bartolome Human
Rights Center, community leaders from Mitziton, and Hermann
Bellinghausen, reporter from La Jornada, for defamation of character.
The religious leaders are affiliated with the Eagle's Wings and the
Army of God, evangelical groups who claim as members the
paramilitaries who carried out the Acteal massacre.

Source: Mexico Solidarity Network Weekly News Summary: 08/03-16


The Mexican authorities must begin a new independent investigation
into the Acteal massacre in order to ensure that all those
responsible are brought to justice, said Amnesty International. The
statement follows the Mexican Supreme Court's decision to release 20
of those convicted for the Acteal massacre, in Chiapas state, where
45 Tzotzil Indigenous people were killed in 1997. The prisoners were
released on the grounds of irregularities in the collection of
evidence during the investigation and trial.

"This is yet another example of the serious deficiencies of the
Mexican justice system, which seems to be incapable of investigating,
prosecuting and punishing through a fair trial those responsible for
human rights violations," said Rupert Knox, Mexico researcher at
Amnesty International.

According to information obtained by Amnesty International, the
irregularities in the investigation into the Acteal case and into
many others were apparent from the beginning and led to unsound
convictions that could be quashed, leaving the culprits unpunished.

On several occasions, Amnesty International has denounced the
investigation carried out by the Federal Attorney General's Office
(Procuraduría General de la República, PGR) into the Acteal case as
flawed and continues to urge the authorities to conduct an exhaustive
investigation, with all the guarantees necessary to establish the
truth and responsibilities at all levels, including the role of the
senior officials and members of the army suspected of involvement in
the massacre by failing to prevent it or by acquiescing with the

"It is essential to immediately clarify exactly what happened in
Acteal, to punish those responsible, after a fair trial, and to
provide reparations," said Rupert Knox. "Without justice, the
authorities are condemning the community to the danger of more

Background Information
On 22 December 1997, in Acteal, Chenalhó municipality, Chiapas State,
the authorities armed members of the illegal armed or paramilitary
groups responsible for the killings and failed to prevent the
massacre despite ample opportunity. The investigation into the Acteal
massacre by the PGR resulted in the conviction of approximately 80
indigenous individuals from neighboring communities directly involved
in the attack. Fourteen junior public officials were convicted and
served sentences of between three and eight years for murder and
wounding by omission or for carrying firearms supposedly for the
exclusive use of the army. However, no senior official or member of
the army has ever been held to account for their suspected
involvement in the case.

Source: Amnesty International Press Release: 08/17

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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Getting To Know You/Or, Facing Facebook: Another Meme From Me to You

getting to know you...

I've deserted you. I know that. I've been meaning to write. You mean a lot to me. Thank you for being you and for your presence. But, frankly, after the divorce two years ago, it's all become very personal at last. It's harder not to feel someone reading over my shoulder beside the fact that that's the point. You know I love you.

I have to say that I am, by nature, a bloody hermit.

But come and visit me when I'm not at home at (say it) Facebook where I hang out and play. Part work, part fun, part distraction, part practical and a way to keep all those little slips of paper in one place, and most part sound serendipity. It reminds me of the novelist, Frances Jose Farmer, who wrote the Riverworld series about a river along which everyone who ever lived is alive again. And they interact. Begin again. Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) teams up with a neanderthal with psychic powers and meets Cyrano de Bergerac and they build stuff like airplanes across the river.

We will reach the other side. And soon.

Meanwhile, won't you come out and play?

Here's a sample, posted last night/this morning.

Getting to Know You

If you've been tagged or you are reading this, you have the honor of copying all these goofy questions, writing your own response, and tagging 25 other victims. You have to tag me so really you just need 24 more people. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you - but not in a creepy stalker kind of way. And nothing is to be assumed by the order of the tagging.

To do this, go to “notes” under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your title as "Getting to know each other!", tag 25 people including me (tagging is done in the right hand corner of the app) then click publish.

1. What time did you get up this morning?
Around noon. But I went to bed around 7am.

2. How do you like your steak?
On the cow.

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
Oddball films, "strange sinima", everything from "Welcome to LA" from the 50s to a film about Sri Lankan buddhism. I go to Stehen Parr's on Capp Street. I hate seeing movies by myself in a theater, and this is more like hanging out at an eccentric friend's house with a bunch of projectors and 10,000 movies (literally.) Last time I saw a movie in a theater was with my son who's been back in Boulder for months (sob), so maybe one of the Depp pirate movies, or the second to last Harry Potter movie. Sad, huh?

4. What is your favorite TV show?
I don't own or watch tv. But I follow Ugly Betty online, and a handful of others, mostly the ones about very smart people. Or, Hell's Kitchen, going, "I can do that!"

5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
Rollin' in my sweet baby's arms.

6. What did you have for breakfast?
Spinach and egg whites.

7. What is your favorite cuisine?
Crosscultural, with at least 3 different regional or ethnic influences. Organic, of course.

8. What foods do you dislike?
At age 13 I figured my 1984 menu for torture, from apps to dessert: raddish & turnips w/ wasabi dressing & black walnuts, borsht (beet soup) w/ rye bread, brussell sprouts, lima beans, eggplant, fried liver and onions, butterscotch pudding out of the box. The menu still stands. (shudder)

9. Favorite place to eat?
In bed with company. (don't ask). Favorite way to eat? Cross-legged.

10. Favorite dressing?

11. What kind of vehicle do you drive?
Sheer will-power.

12. What are your favorite clothes?
Something black. Currently, my little blue palm tree dress w/ black leggings and my black hoodie that makes me look I joined an Aztec biker clan.

13. Where would you visit if you had the chance?
Macchu Picchu. Haha, Carlos Santana.

14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full?
Full with emptiness after I drank part, gave part to the parched & watered a plant with the rest.

15. Where would you want to retire?
Uh, I think I am retired, home in the Bay Area. Or, a writer never retires. Or, it's a thin line between self-employed and unemployment. Or, give me a gig, please.

16. Favorite time of day?

17. Where were you born?
I left my placenta in San Francisco.

18. What is your favorite sport to watch?
Used to be men's swimming when I was young, hot & horny. (Wait a minute, that's now.) I don't watch much, much less sports. I like the Olympics, though.

19. Who do you think will not tag you back?

20. Person you expect to tag you back first?

21. Who are you most curious about their responses to this?
Everyone. All writers are nosey.

22. Bird watcher?
Haha, with a book like Emplumada? I'd love a bird-watcher as a mate. I could get into it, minus the goofy clothes. Sure, I'm a bird-watcher. They watch me back, too.

23. Are you a morning person or a night person?
Night. But I usually wake up early. "I wake to sleep and take my waking slow." ~ Dylan Thomas

24. Do you have any pets?
A dog & cat in Boulder, who may not be "mine" anymore. A little "terrorer" in Pacifica. All rescued, the dog in Boulder rescued from Isla Mujeres.

25. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share?
"It's none of your business." ~ Grandma. Actually, a new book of poetry from Wings Press in production, a critical work about my poetry from same publisher, and I'm almost done with the young adult book, BEST IN THE WORLD.

26. What did you want to be when you were little?
An herpetologist.

27. What is your best childhood memory?
I'll go with Mine's answer: "good childhood memory? hmm..."

28. Are you a cat or dog person?
I AM a cat. A dog-loving feline.

29. Are you looking for love?
"None of your business!" ~ Grandma. (I'm afraid the answer to that will appear on my literary tombstone, and be the topic of a couple of dissertations. Sigh) One of my favorite quotes from childhood, "Make your heart a nest and love will come." Author unknown. I found the obscure book of Jewish-American fiction in a Goodwill box.

30. Always wear your seat belt?
Yes. But it always makes me think of my Most Beloved Ex who would always remind me, sadly.

31. Been in a car accident?
No. Wait. I was hit from behind while in a taxi, very minor but upsetting.

32. Any pet peeves?
Nazi's & fascists; although, I wouldn't call it a pet or a peeve. Oh, yeah, typos or out-right poor grammar in the newspaper; it's becoming almost unbearable to read anymore.

33. Favorite pizza toppings?
Spinach, feta, garlic, basil, black olive, artichoke hearts & mozzerella on spelt crust. Mmm, now I'm hungry.

34. Favorite flower?
Outside: yellow daffodils (makes me think of Wordsworth); inside cut flower: stargazer lilies.

35. Favorite ice cream?
Balsamic caramel from the place on Harrison & 24th St.

36. Favorite fast food restaurant?
The tamale lady.

37. How many times did you fail your driver's test?
Once and only. Instead I got a D+ in the compulsory driver's ed class because I swore on my mother's body that I had no intention of ever driving a car. I only failed out of creative non-cooperation. I got a perfect score on the written exam.

38. From whom did you get your last email?
Eva Martinez.

39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card?
Some independent bookstore. Haha, bike shop. Maybe the Apple Store. Oops, wait, I don't have a credit card to max.

40. Do anything spontaneous lately?
Always. Daily. The after I do whatever it is I like to keep doing it. At heart, I'm a creature of habit.

41. Like your job?
I'll go with Mine's answer once again: "i do. if i didn't, i'd be jobless :) " And, I am. Got one to spare?

42. Broccolli?

43. What was your favorite vacation?
Chicanas don't do vacations. Best place to travel: Isla Mujeres & the Yucatan in general.

44. Last person you went out to dinner with?
Dave Dike.

45. What are you listening to right now?
Listening to the sounds of silence (rare in The Mission at this hour.) "Hello silence, my old friend...." I was listening to old doo wop girl groups from the early 60s.

46. What is your favorite color?
Pale teal, the universal color of the universe.

47. How many tattoos do you have?
None, I don't like to mess with my symmetry.

48. How many are you tagging for this quiz?
I have no idea. I have almost 2000 from which to bug.

49. What time did you finish this quiz?
1:21 am.

And, speaking of symmetry and because tomorrow's my birthday (Hiroshima Day, newsreels of bomb victims after every party), I'm adding

50. What are you doing for your birthday?"

I have no idea.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Where In The World Is Lorna? Benefit for El Tecolote on 24th St. TONIGHT!

Join us TONIGHT, Aug. 1st, 6-10 pm., for another music & poetry benefit for EL TECOLOTE community newspaper with me, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Avotcja, Alfonso Texidor, and others with music by MANICATO. Help keep the media free for free people: SUPPORT EL TECOLOTE! This is a MAPP event. Come and perceive performance en La Misión!

Get a love poem written for you or yours by Lorna Dee Cervantes, $10+ with half going to El Tecolote. Get in my book: 100 Love Poems To Strangers.

And, catch me, Lorna Dee, at Avotcja's birthday bash at La Peña in Berkeley tomorrow night, Aug. 2.

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