Tuesday, October 30, 2007


WOW! That's all I can say after last night. WOW! One of my long time idols, Jayne Cortez was here in SF - I can't believe after a couple of decades. And, wow! What a performance. I've been listening to and reading Jayne since high school. My students will remember me playing selections of poets and always including Jayne's "Maintain Control." She did that tune last night. WOW! I was stoked. I was astronauting! (Is that a word? 'tis now.) WOW! And the musicians! Including what must be her son with Ornette Coleman. (Yeah, wow!) I SO love jazz - and with Jayne, wow! I can't remember seeing another poet get a standing ovation like that - maybe Stanley Kunitz, but after he was ancient, and before the reading. Jayne did an encore to two standing ovations in the sparsely attended performance. What's up with ya'll? Here, the kids think they invented spoken word. I always say: check out Jayne Cortez; She's been doing it since I was half your age. And, those that came before her. What's happening to all that history? She made me feel proud. I remember once, during a search for a hire, someone asked what I thought of the poet and I said, thinking of people like Jayne, "It was okay. Competent. But you know what, when you think of all the things a poem can do - change your life, raise the hair on your neck, make you cry, laugh, break up with your boyfriend, start a revolution, change the world - I don't know, I didn't hear any of that. What a waste of a poem."

Yes, last night, walking fast through the peed-up streets, hearing ghosts of poems/performances tapping on the windows of my Muse, and singing through the vacant streets with the slumbering shapes in the doorways: "Did you ever have to make up your mind...", and thinking, goofily, some day some critics going say: "Lorna Dee Cervantes once stated in a blog entry that she was a cross between Jayne Cortez and John Sebastian." jaja

My favorite, besides my favorite, "Maintain Control," was a piece she did repeating "She got hot..." and ending with the line, "when he didn't say he'd love her for ever after" and then following with repetitions of "He got cold..." It was hilarious, brilliant, and right in synch with a lot of what I've been thinking about lately in relation to communication and mis-communication between the sexes. She got hot. He got cold.

Off to hear her speak (and maybe give her a copy of DRIVE, just because she helped it to be) at SFSU today at 4:30 in the Richard Oakes lounge of the Cesar Chavez student center.


"and push out your violence/ push out your violence..."


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