Sunday, October 14, 2007

LitQuake Poem - "A Mission Moment"

You can't do it all. Especially when one is a bloody hermit. But I tried to do some. I went to the LitQuake crawl through the Mission last night: 200 poets in about a dozen venues over three or four hours. Although, most were on Valencia which, as most locals know, is about a half a world away from the Mission. But, still. Also, the events could have used more (some?) actual Mission poets. Maybe next year, as the Mission Poetry Center gains momentum. Still, very nice event. I started up Valencia, around the 700 block then worked my way down. The readings were packed and hot, very tropical if not suitably "tropicál". I'm not the type to bar crawl on a Saturday night, but it was very strange to roam around at night with herds of people looking like they just got off the tour bus. It was kind of cool, though, with all the women, kinda like a Take-Back-The-Night-March. Besides, some of the best bookstores in town are on Valencia; here, near where I was born on 19th near the corner of Valencia. And, I went especially to see certain poets: my old Poets-In-The-Schools fearless leader, John Oliver Simon reading translations at my favorite Valencia gallery & artesanias shop, Encantada. I also especially wanted to hear my blog buddy and hay(na)ku queen, Eileen Tabios read/perform along with Joseph Lease, a poet I've admired for a while now but had never met. They were both great and well worth the venture out. (Although, Eileen tore a page out of her book at the end of a poem, "the editing, the editing, the editing," which still disturbs the old book maker in me. "She tore a page out of her book!") I missed Oscar Bermeo, though. And Antonio Hernandez. Oh well, next time. Next time.

At Eileen's event, Small Press Distribution, the sponsor, had a cool angle. For writing and leaving of a poem, you could take a free book. The first book in my hand at random was the new Neruda anthology edited by Mark Eisner of Red Poppy here in the Mission/Valencia. Long in the making and much anticipated, I was originally asked to contribute, but flaked out some where along the line of moves and changes - regretfully. (Next time) But I loved having a copy right there in my hand. Next book I saw was Joseph Lease's book with the great title, "Broken World," so I immediately snatched that up, took my little slip of paper and a sheet of yellow ledger and sat down and wrote this poem. Then, I couldn't resist, I copied it into my notebook, and went up to exchange it for the anthology. I tried to buy Lease's book, but no exchange of money that night, so I got both for one poem. Can't beat that. Besides, I got a new poem out of the night. What more can you expect from a lot of good readings?

Poetry On!

A Mission Moment

(A LitQuake Poem)

Words exude
from the lips of jasmine.
Mission moon
hidden in an avenue
of stars, the shine
left alive in the street --
a map to vision and
a loaf of breath,
an easy drift of song,
the tight squeeze
between love and vowels.
An aroma of growth
in the opalled puddles.
Your dream or mine?
Your poem or the fine
wine of tomorrow
and sage, winter
and age.

Lorna Dee Cervantes

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