Sunday, November 11, 2007

Lorna Dee's Poem for the Victims of Fires in San Diego, And Some Things On Sunday

I had a great reading and experience in San Diego thursday night - a trip that was all too brief, on purpose, as it gives me a reason to come back soon now that I'm a "Californian" again. And I came with a heavy heart, having been one who has had the experience of cleaning and salvaging after fire. So I wrote this poem for those experiencing the fires, some of which may still be burning - and now, a healing rain.

It was a great honor to be the "Laurie Okuma Memorial Speaker" - representing under-represented women writers on the San Diego State University campus in memory of a wonderful writer and literary scholar. Her husband, Michael Okuma and his sister were there. The room was full and it was very refreshing to see so many talented young Latinas and "people of experience" there. The questions afterwards, were also quite good. It was a really great evening. I hope to come back, especially to interact with the Creative Writing students. I was impressed with the ones I met.

It was also great to reconnect - however too briefly - with a woman, a "scholarship girl", Lizz Huerta, from my workshop in Isla Mujeres. It was great to see her and know she's working on a novel and still writing poetry. She's also a good union carpenter. Another Isla Mujeres, Taller Ixchel "scholarship girl" is Claudia Martinez of Juarez/El Paso and now residing in Chicago. Claudia has a new young adult novel entitled "The Smell of Old Lady Perfume" from Cinco Puntos Press that's bound to be good. I have the manuscript now. But the reason I think of these women, all the attendees of the Taller Ixchel workshops: Diana Delgado, Aida Salazar, Lisa Castellanos, just to name a few "scholarship girls" is that I feel the relationship extends beyond just that week in Mexico. And it is so good to see the fruits of those sown seeds in the these new books from these women. It's very exciting.

Ha! But maybe not nearly as exciting as the report of my most rapt fan in San Diego, this little chihuahua in a lavender suit who sat still and had his eyes on me the entire time as if he were interested in every word of every poem. Odd, this until now undiscovered talent to mesmerize tiny dogs.

I started off the reading with this poem (which may be still in-progress):

Fire On the Mount
Poem For the Fires of San Diego

Catastrophe floating thick in the air,
the heat sucked day, a living night
mare, scorched horses on the ridge
rigid with fear. An escapable ember,
one's own life, as if there were an end to this
world -- world without end. The city
in flames, the city on shut-down.
Even the birds, silent. A new world,
a new red dawn. The generations
brought closer to home -- a global warming.


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