Sunday, July 10, 2005

Weird Day

Yesterday, spent the whole day & night taking my son to the Dew Action Sports somethin': extreme skateboard stunts, bmx, freestyle motocross which amounts to men-boys figuring out new ways to land on their heads—which they did. My son had been bugging me for at least a month about it, every day through the completion of the books, and I vaguely remembered saying somethin' like, "I'll think about it." I had to ask up until the day, friday, when I bought tickets. "What is it you want to go to?" And only after swearing he wouldn't be trying any stunts—period, I decided to fork out the dough to the corporate dupes & take him.

I am not very indigenous as a mother. I know that. The native way would be to laugh and make light of a fall—teach her or him to pay attention. My father always let his sons go up the mountain first. Tomasa, Guatemalteca, would let her babies fall off the couch when they were crawling. I couldn't look at my son learning to ride a bicycle. I wouldn't teach him. He owns a skateboard but I won't let him ride it. Not that he wants to; he has assumed my paranoia—he is overly cautious, and could be more athletic, he has a natural grace & talent for it.

So I took him.

I say, when we get there, and are herded through plywood channels into the arena, "This is no place for a poet." He laughs. It's funny to us both. I have just given birth to 5 books, written numerous new poems for it and I don't know how many versions of revisions, I am still in a major state of shock and awe—a numbness, I think it won't set-in (& I'll feel like going dancing, or talking to folk) until San Antonio with my "ole time pals." "A sensitive one." I add, and it adds to our hilarity. Earlier I had told him, as we got off the lightrail in front of the (I won't say it) Center: "OK, I'm going to be a Buddhist about this: I'm here, I'm going to get into it."

He had a "great day". And there was punk rock in the end. 2 bands, somethin'. "Chicanos invented punk rock," I say. "No way!" he says. "Research," I say. "Question Mark & the Mysterians. Sam the Sham & the Pharoahs. 96 Tears, that single organ key, annoying, anti-music. Punk rock." He thinks about it. England lapped it up in the same way blues slithered into Liverpool. It's a class act. "But I thought punk rockers came from England." "Yes," I say, "They listened to Chicano bands in England the way The Beatles listened to Blues." "You don't know punk rock!" He suddenly thinks this can't be true—all the corny music I listen to (sometimes the shmaltzier the better). "Oh yes I do!" I say. "My favorite punk rock song is 'I Want to be Sedated'" and I sing, raunchily as no one can hear me above the din anyway, "I WANna be seDATED!" Later, in the extreme freestyle mx the song comes on, the original Sex Pistols version: "I wanna be sedated...". "See," I said. "Mami knows punk rock."

And how often does anyone get to use that sentence?

It's a class thing. Class lesson for me. too. Not to snub, be above the cake of the masses, settled into my icing bower. All that tatooed flesh. Tight buds in chain-link fashions, golden and dewy mouthed; caked, risen flesh, yeasty in the barrel of jeans. OK. This is me, too. The Chicano family looking too familiar: he, too, looking over at me seated next to them, "Do I know her?" Do they know I'm a Chicana poet. I think I've seen them before, some rally, some funtion. Pretty couple; he, in a burnt, snug, vato loco way; she, just pretty, glasses, could be a teacher, some public service worker; definitely Denver core y corazon; a little girl, cute in twirly pigtails out the side of her face which at 5-6 resembles her mother's. My son shouts out: "Do another flip! Woo HOOO!" and the motocross guys hears, smiles and gives him a fist up salute. The man next to me, the vato loco in jeans & some kind of fine black boot, smiles at me approvingly—for my motherhood, my child, my self there on that bleacher bench in the sun, the daring rider, the undeniable brilliance at the act, that art of defiance of death.

Or brain damge. "$7,000 just isn't worth it." I tell my son as we walk from the public bus to our house a wee ways up the mesa at midnight, knowing he is wary of lions. I think of all the ways those guys, those vato locos de mi barrio dared defy, the brilliance in their actions, the audience-less-ness of it. The lack of audience to their art and life. And today, I think of something I read on a poet's blog, a Dialogics of race (the rider/atheletes were all white), class, gender, sexuality & able-bodiedness as to a defintion of "Feminism," that it is all a matter of "Equal opportunity, value and respect."

We had a good day, sharing something that ordinarily I would not value nor would I have ever given it the respect of my attention—to an undeniable art.


I try to remember the rest of the lyrics. I sing all the way, rushing home through the beautiful night made a little scary for the lions I know are there (although few have ever seen, or noticed them like they scarsely notice the lions of viscious remnants of extreme actions of hatred against what somebody thinks you represent (feel, know, are, do, say, think, write, act. . .). "Hurry, hurry, hurry!/ Again we're late for school!/ I wanna be sedated!//"Come on, come on, come on!/ You'll catch some teacher's rule!/ I wanna be sedated!" I make it up. My son is delirious with pleasure. He wants more, MORE! I can't remember the lyrics (who listens to lyrics when punk rocking? Save by Patti Smith, one of my favorite poets, and currently doing awesome work.) "Make it up, mami! More!" as he tries to sing along, "I WANna be seDATEd!"

And, I wake up this morning, too late to attend a beloved colleague's memorial, Ofelia Miramontes, and I find I have been presented with an IPOD (something I really wanted & could really use & just couldn't afford right now) for my poem, "The Making of Eve" at the poets party at Didi Menéndez's Café Café. Come check it out. I would never have written it, given the subject matter the attention, were it not for the suggestion of the title. My friend calls, too late, too, for the memorial. "Let's organize something for the beginning of the semester," I say. "A Latina memorial and tribute to her life & work with music (she's a musician, composer & ethnomusicologist) and poetry (I had planned to spend yesterday writing a poem for her, for the memorial this morning instead of going to the Action Sports somethin')." So we are. Maybe I'll pod-cast it.

Cheers (somethin')

. . .and dusting off my bike (zoom!)


Blogger didi said...

Send me your address when you get a-round-tuit.

Gracias for getting the poem in.


10/7/05 11:40  
Blogger Tony said...

Don't you mean The Ramones?

12/7/05 12:07  
Blogger Lorna Dee Cervantes said...

Nope. Ramones did a cover, which I like. Song's from the Sex Pistols: Sid Viscious, Johnny Rotten, et al. Somewhere I have a tape of their 1st & only US tour, circa 1977. Yikes, it's about as old as you are. nevermind ;-)

12/7/05 22:50  
Blogger Tony said... Ramones wrote it, performed it. I think some late-90s "punk" band covered it--The Offspring, maybe?

But I've never run across the Sex Pistols version you mention.

This from the Rolling Stone magazine site:

I Wanna Be Sedated
Written by: Ramones
Produced by: Tommy Erdelyi, Ed Stasium
Released: Oct. '78 on Sire
Charts: Did not chart

The greatest God-does-the-road-ever-suck song, "I Wanna Be Sedated" was written by Joey Ramone, who at the time was suffering from severe teakettle burns and had to fly to London for a gig. Plagued by obsessive-compulsive disorder and various other ailments, Joey always had a rough time touring. "Put me in a wheelchair/And get me to the show/Hurry hurry hurry/Before I go loco!" he rants. The sound is equally pissed-off: Johnny's guitar solo -- the same note, sixty-five times in a row -- is the ultimate expression of his anti-artifice philosophy; the bubblegum-pop key change that follows it, though, is pure Joey.

Appears on: Road to Ruin (Rhino) "

13/7/05 11:16  
Blogger Lorna Dee Cervantes said...

Interesting. "Learn something everyday." Now I really wanna search my garage for that tape, if it's still good. Sex Pistols performed the song at their US Rape & Pillage concert (I think that's the one) way before any of it was recorded. This was right after Patti's 1st, so I'd say '76-77. We were putting together the first issues of MANGO then, and it was good printing music; I'd listen to that tape over & over. "Problems" was a good one to listen to when dealing with flak in the MANGO submissions slush pile o' drivel & "God Save the Queen" was a good drinking song, back when I drank, then just beer. And, you know, Joey was a big influence on Jonny Rotten. Sobeit. Cool. Gotta find that tape (recorded off KPFA radio): ebay, here I come!

By the time they actually (SP) recorded an album it was long after their fact, by that time I was into the Clash, & Debbie Harry, and no one is Patti.

hmmmm, maybe my ex has that tape. . .? (great version - imagine it)

13/7/05 13:23  

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