Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Raza Womyn, Lorna From the Blog, Can You Spell...?


On the day I enter Blogville everyone's down with the flu. I fought the worst of it off with this homeopathic flu medicine I've been using, but am still sick for almost 2 weeks. Neither me or my son have it as bad a T who misses a week of work, a first for him. I should have force fed him the oscillo at the first sneeze. My first husband's mother died of the flu & I had an instant family at age 19 when I raised his little sister. I had a reading at CU, March 3, for "Semana de La Xicana," a yearly event I've missed out on for the past few years. My department or the program hasn't asked me to read in 15 years. My work with the students goes unnoticed. Unverified. I've never been one to self-promote. But now it's time for promotion, especially with these new books (finally!) in production, and I find myself being demoted—for lack of documentation & a proper filing system. (Isn't that how we lost California? My all-time favorite line is my brother's on the day we were learning the word "equity" in order to deal with my mother's insurance company: "We're the kind of people who lost California.") And we're still losing. For lack of documentation. Losing more than our equity. Our writers are passing with "1,000 masterpieces hanging only from" the mouse-shreds in the garage. Our dissertations Piled Higher & Deeper esconced in cartón. Old fotos shuffled from box to box. Audio tapes decomposing in the basement. The theater where I read in is haunted by a young girl who was brutally raped and murdered in the belfry, a cellist who was there for the acoustics, a student, alone & practicing her art. At least, that's what the papers said. All I know is that the students used to love reading there, a good place for poetry, filled with listening spirits. And P. told them, after taking over the series, "You don't deserve Old Main." Pity. We could all use more pity. And poetry. Open Mikes like the one the Raza Womyn host. (archangels?)

A woman from the audience shouts out, "Maybe you ought to tell us about 'Semana de La Xicana.' What is it? How did it start?" I realize that all are at a loss for words, for local history, for the real Chisme. For the Comadres. For Truth. "Well," says the student organizer, "Gloria Anzaldúa was here." "¡Y presente!" I want to shout out. Maybe I do. But it's enough. "She was here." End of hisstory. Beginning of Borderlands. Her Story. I remember when I first got to this place beneath the shadow of the Flatirons, I found an announcement for the WAC that past spring that Sir Steven Spender was reading. I heard him later, while I was visiting scholar in Houston, an odd swipe around the spiral, a wonderful reading, a refueling of those childhood chants; I was enchanted, down to my grey mater, even with the Sir. It all spelled out, every syllable. Later, after he passed, they had a panel, one of the few featuring poets before Joe Ritchie got involved, entitled simply "He Was Here" and was mostly people assembled remembering or not remembering that "He Was Here." Like that.

I was not there when Gloria Was Here, I was in Houston, being a Colored Girl.

And there, that night, I was refueled. Glad to have my voice back. Glad with that snatched-back-from-grave kinda wellness. Glad with Comadres glad. "I'm So Glad/ I Don't Know What to Do" Memphis Minnie glad. Glad to "Set right here with my ole time pals/ And swap a few words" glad. Memphis Minnie glad listening to poetry. The reading goes on a long time. I'm remembering Ronnie, again, the way I am always remembering Ronnie. Remembering him waiting to read at the Floricanto in 'Burque ('76?), holding his hand & willing my strength into his body that is so much like a mirror of my own. Remembering Ronnie reading real poetry. Remembering Ronnie Burk singing Billie into the icy night to calm him down after being locked out on the balcony all night in his underwear by the FFCL (Founding Fathers of Chicano Literature) for being joto. Remembering Ronnie, the only person I ever sang in front of, singing every Billie Holliday song we knew, which was in the fifties, just to calm him down, just to pass her strength. Just for the word. To be.

Been living by the calendar these days. Been sick. I think of that cartoon character, who was it? says, "Ugh, I bin sick." Bin Sic. Bin Spik. Ad metonomy. Ad nauseum. (note to HotLynx: insert vomiting smiley-face emoticon here) Been living off my Franklin Planner. Reconstructing my days on the move in 2003, 4 moves in one year, four separate home offices (where I work, besides when I'm under the trees or before the bounty of the sea) not counting my Office that was moved that summer unbeknownst to me. Jeez. All the unopened boxes. All the silly stones & shells & what-nots dusted & redusted. I have to get organized. I have to document my "activities" for a year I wish would die a natural death. That fall, Bin Spik is down to 82 lbs. I have small, undernourished bones. More like a foto of someone from the Camp than Twiggy. People look away. It's scary. That spring I imagine seeing Ronnie again in SF after José Montoya's Floricanto. I'm too sick to do anything but kneel at the foot of the White Goddess (which in my house is an early 70s 'Sun Harvest' yellow, an appropriate color), too sick for the phone, too sick to cancel, not wanting to cancel, wanting to show up after all and read "Puerto Rican Obituary" for Pedro who had died, for me. Too sick to cancel class, figuring all would read about it in the obituary. Too sick to want to risk flying alone after spending a night in ER in NYC while doing the Online Poetry Classroom. Not good. But getting released next morning in time to hear Eleni. Very good. Getting healed by a poem. Oughta be in the phonebook, between 'plumbing' and 'poultry.' In the belfry? Beats being beaten in a belfry, though. Every time.

Everytime I open my Franklin planner (note to Lynx: insert F-C link) the Goddesses speak: "We see things as we are not as they are." ~Jennifer Stone. Thus spake VeriTrustUs, Poetry, on March 9 when I open it to scribble my vital links design for my new website. And this blog. My copy of this year's filler is missing the meditations, that is, the guiding principles, the Monthly Focus, so I write them down in my hand every month. January begins with "Roles-Your key relationships & responsibilities are where you spend your time, energy & resources." I make a note in my planner to reconnect. I've been repelled & recoiled, reserved & withdrawn ever since that fall of '82. Time to stop procrastinating. Time to answer mail. Time to tell stories that need to be told before they die a natural death, or not. Time to talk. Time to set down with my ole time pals & swap a few words. Magically people call. K. R. calls. I open a new email account. Get a new computer. Something besides a 14.4 mule of a modem. Get on the freeway with Freeway (which is a registered trademark except that this tech(no-mensa) doesn't know how to find the character) (Lynx?) February's focus is on relationships, just in time for Saint Amor's Day. Talked to my brother. Did puzzles with T. Answered the phone. And March is the month to choose, "Choices-The power to choose always gives you the final say." I have to finish my fac report from '03, do '04. It's all less tedious now on the new burro, I just look me up on the net, copyright 2003 for a list of pubs: Po'Biz...after a long time, I click on my website. Y nada. Poof! Not even a pixel. I knew it was coming. But, sheesh! Not even in cache (!?) I choose. This month I decide to launch the website. And, not a moment too soon. I do a search on just me. What comes up under "bio & criticism" was written by a 15 year old "at risk" student from North High, a trace (documentation) from a visit for OPC. It bothers me that the words "hate," "violence" and "anger" punctuate that and all the resulting rewrites of this official looking bio & crit. It bothers me a lot. But not enough, evidently, to do something about it. This explains why so many students have been writing to my old addy asking for information, so many of the previous sites have vanished into virtual extinction. I see a site that calls us the "Floricanto Generation." At least they get that right.

"A man who onced loved me told me..." "You're a genius (unpunctuated pause) at whatever you're interested in. And, everything else? You're just a big flake!" Only one you love knows the truth. Interest? Naw. Love. I'd dare call it love. "Love the words" as Dylan said. Loving what you do for others.

Some stories need to be told. Some poems need to be heard, breathed into seed, into water which is sometimes, not always, healing tears. Some tears are tears of glad-to-be.

I decide. Yup. When I get home tonight, I'm gonna start my site.

And, I do.

Remembering Ronnie. A poet.

For love. Because it *matters* A mater. A mend.


Blogger RC said...

A toast to Ronnie.Here's to you Ronnie.

15/3/05 15:20  

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