Friday, May 27, 2005

"defense rests" by Rosie O'Donnell

defense rests
Originally uploaded by Rosie O'Donnell.
"defense rests"
a mixed media
on wood
a 3x5 portrait
by the artist,
Rosie O'Donnell

All rights reserved for Rosie O'Donnell.

"Michael Jackson: 'defense rests' (a mixed media on wood, a 3x5 Portrait)" (a poem)


Michael Jackson: 'defense rests' (a mixed media on wood, a 3x5 Portrait)

~~~~~(from a portrait by the artist, Rosie O'Donnell)

You, laid out like a crazy
pathwork quilt on a bordered bed, a number
stamped in the left-hand pocket: "to prison,
with love." They got yours
slapped on like brown pigment,
the stain of your famous face
in caricature, a caricature of Am I Blue,
Little Boy? Little bouy, (blue?)
bobbing in the photos, the snap
shot of you, a graffittied plaque against
the Real McCoy. Perpetrator
of a Love Supreme fractured
against the pawl. Against the pale
portraits of a king, recessed
in flame and flourish, hides a checker
board past flaring in the distance
between a father and his dancing
son.... Between the sheets, a child's love
lies. Between the press, the next morning,
of the palate knife, centuries aged,
some duotone of passion and burn, some law
writ in the land and heart, that forgiven
species. And health: the child. What lies

c May 27, 2005 by Lorna Dee Cervantes
All rights reserved between consenting adults in the privacy of your own home.

"The News"


3 crossburnings
3 bodies in a swollen river

3 crossburnings
3 bodies bloating in a river

3 crossburnings
3 little girls naked in the river

3 crossburnings
3 dirty girls terrorizing a river

3 crossburnings
3 barreling boys a-slippin' in the river

3 crossburnings
3 stripped sisters clogging up a river

3 crossburnings
3 barreling brothers a-slippin' in moon river

3 crossburnings
2 brothers, and another

found dead in a frigid river
officials investigate

and the battle

3 crossburnings
2 brothers, and another

3 crossburnings
3 unidentified bodies left drowned in a river

3 crossburnings
officials investigate

and the battle

3 crossburnings
3 dark-haired girls

found dead in a desert
2 brothers, and another

3 forms of Truth
found dead in a frigid river

officials investigate
and the battle


c 2005 by Lorna Dee Cervantes

Support Democracy June 1 - What Do We Really Think?

JUNE 1: Don't forget, gente, make your voice count this Wednesday, June 1. Join a global vote by signing your name to an email, or better, a hand-written letter to the editor (walk it in) to your local & national media. Flood the media with your mind on June 1. Join la gente para la gente por la gente. Let's all speak up and say what we want on June 1, in mass, in a way they can count, in a way we can count. For Truth and Dignity—so Beauty can prevail. Support the US Constitution & The Bill of Rights! Long live the Iroquois Confederacy! Mexica tiahui!


  • * The preceding was a free speech message from PAW (Poets for the American Way) supporting Freedom (an indigenous American concept), Truth, and Justice. Peace with Dignity.

    One body. One vote.
    "We don't need to show you no stinkin' representatives!" ~B. Traven, Democracy


  • PAW: "I Do it for the Dead."

    Wednesday, May 25, 2005

    Repost Repose


    I just had to see this again. On top. Like reading cookbooks & foodie mags, it just relaxes me.

    Time to get my son/sun...

    as Thoreau today throws me a line—
    Wednesday, May 25, 2005

  • Henry David Thoreau Blog
  • Thoreau's Journal: 25-May-1851

    A fine, freshening air, a little hazy, that bathes and washes everything, saving the day from extreme heat. Walked to the hills south of Wayland by the road by Deacon Farrar’s. First vista just beyond Merron’s, looking west down a valley, with a verdant-columned elm at the extremity of the vale and the blue hills and the horizon beyond. These are the resting-places in a walk. We love to see any part of the earth tinged with blue, cerulean, the color of the sky, the celestial color. I wonder that houses are not oftener located mainly that they may command particular rare prospects, every convenience yielding to this. The farmer would never suspect what it was you were buying, and such sites would be the cheapest of any. A site where you might avail yourself of the art of Nature for three thousand years, which could never be materially changed or taken from you, a noble inheritance for your children. The true sites for human dwellings are unimproved. They command no price in the market. Men will pay something to look into a traveling showman’s box, but not to look upon the fairest prospects on the earth. A vista where you have the near green horizon contrasted with the blue one, terrestrial with celestial earth. The prospect of a vast horizon must be accessible in our neighborhood. Where men of enlarged views may be educated. An unchangeable kind of wealth, a real estate.

    posted by Greg at 12:45 AM

    Guru: Stanley Kunitz - Happy Hundreth!

    There's a great article I found this morning on a blog about my last Guru, Stanley Kunitz (after the first, Virginia de Araujo who passed a few years ago, Robert Hass & before that, Marge Piercy, although I never actually studied with her, but you get my drift).

    I'll have to search out that pic I've had next to my writing desk for several layered decades, the one with him in his cap in his garden in Provincetown, that musey smile, those love-ly eyes, that appeared in APR next to his poem, "The Layers." (Where IS that pic? Hmmm, too many moves in Annus Horriblis, 2003...

    I so mourned Elise's passing. That year.

    Happy 100th Poem, Stanley. You know I love you. I wouldn't be here were it not for you.

    P.S. And just in case you ask it: With so much hollerin' & shootin' goin' on, I could use a little quietude among the demon drone of Huey hellicopters.
  • A Poet In Winter Relishes His Spring Garden

  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Here's a question, any answers? Someone was talking about the movie, "'Round Midnight" with saxophonist, Dexter Gordon playing the part of a blues musician in Paris who gets taken in by a fan. I LOVED that movie. I loved my, then husband, who, in the afterglow walking home through the moonlight, turned to me and asked—and I loved him more for asking: "If you had the opportunity to pick up anyone in the world, living or dead, up off the gutter, who would it be?"

    "Easy! Stanley Kunitz"

    What's yours?

    P'ROSE: Book II - On Lurching Out of the Lurk , A Comment On Multiple Hellrosis

    I posted this this morning, feeling out for a fellow blogger, a HellOnWheels in
  • Multiple Hellrosis

  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Lorna Dee Cervantes said...


    All of the above. And it doesn't take a degree to know how depression is but one phase in the hologram of grief. Dear one, "crying's like hating, it won't ever pay". Every grief is layered. Layered upon the last and faceted firm like a crystal; yes: vitrified. It's okay to cry. Best grief counselor I ever had, decades ago, when my mother was murdered, just listened and handed me tissues. My father passed, after a sudden 6-week onset of stomach cancer almost a month ago. I've been reading your blog since early March (I think) when I just started mine and found yours on a blogger list of recently updated blogs one night--or early morning. The sudden, uexpected death of—not a close friend—but a beloved acquaintance in my field from a heart-attack at 40 just has me floored. Whereas I could be strong and dry-eyed through the ceremonies for my father, the passing of this friend, this knowing I'll never see that smile again or hear the wit that preceded it, just tears me up (and I mean that in the long vowel versions although both are intended.) What I try to do is what I learned from a village of survivors of a senseless massacre of mostly women, young men & children in Mexico: "Work is the refuge of sadness." And, as my father, on the last time we ever spoke, said about the incident: "Well, what does it do to take away the sadness?" You won't find that in a pill. But you might find it in yourself.

    Just know you are not alone. Sorry for lurking. I've been trying to deal with my own crystal palaces of passings by cooking pots of beans, roasted a turkey, too much food for too few people, but a reserve for those who remain. And me. I dig holes. I dig wholes. I go to my garden, withered as it is, and pull. I don't care how much it hurts the next morning, how many days it takes to recover. I know I've planted some seeds before the torrent. I've improved the view outside my kitchen window. I think about what stays and what goes. What I can make live. What I create "with my own hands". Those of us who were never handed things on plates. But, make our own.

    And, do.

    Meanwhile, do check out Dr. Gary Null. Maybe And invest in a juicer, even if you have to sell something to get a good, heavy duty one. Dig some holes. I try not to take it personally. But, ya know, some anger is a rational act. And, some anger is the consequence of one of those phases; and is not, rational, that is. "Let it go" was my mantra. (sad about the packing up & selling of effects before the family arriving, the cracking of the foundation of a bond on your blog—all shocks to your system, your body, your heart, the muscle of our, too few, souls.) I try to take out all that sense of the unfairness of it all on the bugs and other critters who get in my furious way. "Take that! Your karma served, Sir Lordly Low Life! I've got things to do." Just kidding.

    Sort of.

    Laugh. Laugh. Laugh!

    Try Rosie O'Donnell:

    and be there, now

    Love on,
    Write on,


    P.S. Depression most often to be found in the Galapagos stew of Multiple Hellrosis (love that title). It's like the weather: so many variations & factors; they don't know. But there are balances, rests, decisions, phytochemicals and nutritional imbalances, some caused by simple medicines that affect digestion & the body's ability to absorb the necessary nutrients for maximum neurological functions. But a hurricane is still dangerous, no matter how many never reach shore, peter out, or fail to appear. Take care of yourself. Imagine a quickie last minute vacation to Isla Mujeres, an island off of Cancun where a woman I know dives, snorkles & swims in the temperate waters to ease her ms symptoms (staying in the shade, but getting plenty Vit D from the sun under water—not getting too hot to flare symptoms.) Also, try the chaya, an unknown Mexican vegetable (just real good food) like a mild tasting spinach & prepared the same, or blended fresh in a refreshing morning glass of limeade, like a tonic & substitute for coffee (if you drink it, now, stop). Anyway, no one buys or sell it yet, but check my link on my blog if you want. If you do, check out Cynthia Huntington at LoveandSalt. Great poet, truly. And, an ms soldier. And check out At least it's a nice diversion, looking at pictures of beaches & reading people's travel reports. Sometimes last minute travel packs, cheap, from weird inland airports like Oklahoma, or Boise. Peace in the body of Now. Love. (that's an imperative) LD

    12:42 PM

    June 1-Thought for A Day: Giving a Peace of My Mind for My Piece of Mind; Or, Never Ask Mr. President to Translate Your Mind (Into Standard English)

    "waste is a terrible thing to mind" ~something from La Bird beneath the shadow of a Bush

    Thought for the Day:
    "Never ask the President to translate your mind." ~LDC

    Is that seditious? Or merely sedentary? Sedation? Against the sedationary?

    "The mind is a terrible thing to waste."

    "A terrible mind is to waste." ~LDC
    Express yours. Give us a Peace. Email the media on June 1. Vote with a pixel or a pen. Or, as is always better, write a letter by hand now. Sign your name. Have it delivered June 1. Remember. Feel family, however you create it. Remember love. What do you want to create? You can speak. Speak up now. Time to clean House? Time to watch House? Do it Wednesday mourning. June 1.
    P.S. Perhaps a better use of public & private monies is to fund a program to give poetry recitation lessons to acting presidents. Yeah. Poetry for Politicians! They can hold poetry recitation contests ( no slams, puhleeze) under the Dome or from the Senate floor. Raise much needed funding for our schooling of illiterate, test-taking, pill-popping ethically challenged, experience-starved young minds. Better pay for the real educators. Let the kids write their own poems. We don't need another form of the crypt or cripe for the elite & socially ept. Having worked in schools most of my adult life, beginning with Poetry In the Schools in the Bay Area, co-founded by and then directed by poet/doer, John Oliver Simon, I venture to say that a better use of the funds (do we really need another study to know that no one reads—but everyone needs—poetry?) would be to fund National Poetry Hour in all the schools. (My son's class holds a poetry club during lunch, as is logical as poetry=brain food, 1 hour of listening to kids read their own and other people's poetry, but then, his school is enlightened, as is the teacher who I would love to see get as much assistance, salary & perks as a professional politician.)

    National Poetry Hour, daily, in the schools. Just listen. Real poets. Real people who are not poets. Pinsky had the right (write?) idea, scrap the comprehesive Norton of American Poetry of the 20th century, and just listen to people read, and talk or not talk about it, thir favorite poem.

    I'll mourn with all, these—too many—deaths this weekend. I'll feast and set a few plates for Spirit. I'll remember my father who just passed. His lesson passed down to his family:

    "Learn to listen."

    What is said. What was done. Maybe what it looked like, what color the blood was is sometimes relevant to the investigation, especially if it is your own mother who is bludgeoned and burned in the family home. The people have a right to know. The People do not have a Right to interpret; or to be beholden to the Grand Interpreters. What were the exact words spoken?

    "The mind is a terrible thing to say."

    Perhaps only then will we ever uncover Truth. And, under/stand.

    "Don't Mourn. Poeticize." ~LDC
    It's a medically established fact that reading & writing (listening to?) poetry alleviates depression, one of the top 3 killers of youth today (suicide, particularly among Native American children).

    Peace on! Poetry on! "The debonnaire shall inherit the Earth."

    June 1, 2005. For the love of Gaia. "Just do it."
    (never mind)
    Signed, a (formerly?) (formally?) (no Fore-Fatherly?) Shy Kid

  • Remember. "A terrible mind wastes."

    On the Daily Newspapers - Durs Grunbein

    Daily report: This blog down for 12 hours or more yesterday & this morning. Scary to lose one's words. Not one but three mad missives in the midnight air to blogger help geeks, mad as in the Shakespearian sense. But as my hero, the unsung inventor of the electric guitar, Memphis Minnie once sung in 1929: "You can lose all your money/ But, Lord, don't you lose your mind."
  • I love this poem I found today on Venepoetics.
  • As my gramma always said: Learn something everyday.

    Durs Grünbein
    [tr. Michael Hofmann]

    I have breakfasted on ashes, the black
    Dust that comes off newspapers, from the freshly printed columns.
    When a coup makes no stain, and a tornado sticks to half a page.
    And it seemed to me as though the Fates licked their lips

    When war broke out in the sports section, reflected in the falling Dow.
    I have breakfasted on ashes. My daily bread.
    And Clio, as ever, keeps mum...There, just as I folded them up,
    The rustling pages sent a shiver down my spine.

    (Ashes for Breakfast, FSG, 2005)

    Guillermo concludes with:

    I think of my friend J. who wrote in a poem:

    "Our whole lives have been translations."
    read more for stunning words & insights on the translation process, there and on the rest of his blog
  • Venepoetics.

  • *

    Tuesday, May 24, 2005

    Any Room in the World - An Ironic Point of Light


    Fractured Franklin Planner For Today

    May - Monthly Focus: Change—"What can you change to lead your life forward?"

    Daily quote: "An ounce of peace is worth more than a pound of victory." ~St. Robert Bellarmine
    "The cent of peace is worth more than the pound of dynasty." ~Lorna Dee Cervantes
    -dedicated to poet, Paul Muldoon because I won't be able to attend his reading tonight at a local Jewish cultural center, and I would have liked that, alot
    Today set "Canto 38" to alternate music (around 10am)
    poems to do
    Don't let your deadlines
    turn into frownlines.
    (blog sidebar category)

    oops: revision: blog: sidebar: category

    "Don't let your lifelines
    turn into deadlines."
    ~LDC meant to say
    (Rosie O'Donnell funny)
    Today I revised (finally!!) and released permission to the following poems for an anthology on 'Fear of Brown' in the following order:
    "Poem for My Ancestors Adobed In the Walls of the Santa Barbara Mission"
    (I like that better than "submit")
    (around 6am) (stayed up all night working) talked to my publisher - around 11:30 am - sent him poems to send & include in galleys
    Today: wrote half a letter of recommendation for Tressa Yellig (good young poet—poetentially explosive) (the following was a paid-for metaphor) (that one, too; preceding)
    (around 2pm)
    Today: people die in Iraq while the death counter, our cost of the war, blurs off the page in its utter con.motion com.motion
    Today: I spend too many hours of the day searching for a virtual kitchen on the glossy page...
    Today I don't cry yet
    "The cent of peace is worth more
    than the pound of dynasty." ~LDC
    (I like that, alot)

    "Grief is a many splintered thing."


    P'ROSE: Book 1 - Cliff Becker: The Death That Breaks the Poet's Line; Or, On Hobo Cookery

    Charles asks, if I could have an office to write in anywhere in the world, where would it be?
    Somewhere in a stack of recent Bon Apetit's there is a 2-page spread of a kitchen. As in any house, or house related space, it is what is outside which immediately sells me on buying, the rest of the house left sight unseen. My old house I walked into and out of, into the back yard and the arms of a giant blue spruce and an expanse wooded slope over granite in less than a minute before walking back in and saying, I'll take it. Maybe two. I don't notice kitchens. I never notice someone's shoes, unless they are artfully crafted, like tinted leather appliqued Quetzalcoatl boots from (Tony Lamas?) See, not for me. Good for someone else's feet. I don't notice ads at all unless it's for books or a show. Whatever percentage materialist I am as 'Heidegger' (see What Kind of Existentialist Philosopher am I) I am confident it is historical. I could give a good fee fi fo or fum for much, 'cept love and art—in all it's pickled glory.

    It's what's outside that makes me want to stay here, inside. That and the stainless steal magazine rack standing like a right-hand man, pages spread-eagle to whatever you hunger. But, that expanse of sudden blue from the six slabs of window. A Pacific blue. Clearly. The rest is dark (aged?) wood, a trace of black (ebony?) . The rest is white, a punning of milky blue appliances: a pitcher and a bowl, and primary stars laid out as stripes on a bunched towel on the (outside?) deck; and metal, a repetition of bars. The center chair, pushed back before blue scissors & a stainless rack of labeled (categorized?) comestibles laid out on the marble slab ready for the Final Operation (I imagine) is glass. The task of someone's passing now vitrified ash for the work ahead. The eye (ay! I? Hay... ) of that indefatigueable dream played out on the course as blue (beach?) ("fat Frisco seal"?) - the blanched wheat & Indian corn colors of the six magazines - (acrylic?) chair - ridiculously tall vaselike thing (crystal phall...? what I won't spell on the blog) going up where swan-neck pipe of the faucet on the far sink heads down - to the single (white) sling-back chair waiting for a poet in the window.

    Then I see the white bowl of yellowed salad waiting on the black slate of someone's coming dinner, like a Brautigan haiku. Then I see the bowls under the stove situated a leaning arm's length from the flame. Then I notice: this is SO SMART. A world that makes sense, where the primary act (text?) is the wave. A partical of intaglio, a golden triangle tarnished to the color and texture of unfinished concrete points the way: Jenn-Air. Bored with it, the eye ( ... ) leads up to a flowering of titles the color of someone's fall. The caption reads (says?) "For the Love of Cooking." Love, art, the sinless sea, the possibility of a single chair ("...un riconcito del cielo..."

    Yeah. I could live here (hear?) Let's go outside.

    Time to walk up the mesa & pick up my son. My love. Hay, and there in the reddening shadows the old blood color of indigenous eyes.

    Yeah. I could live here (hear?) Let's go outside.
    (to be continued)

    Saturday, May 21, 2005

    A Handful of Rose's - "at least not the ones u expected"

    "first started
    being in
    my body

    Originally uploaded by Rosie O'Donnell.

  • from "still gone u"

  • Posted 5/17 by ro @ 5:35 pm in home

    at least not the ones
    u expected

    it's three years since u left

    the fingers of a hand
    aunt minnies ring
    5 green opals
    me in the middle

    who asked u
    u ruin everything
    y dont u write a novel

    the pinky
    the tiniest little limb
    easiest to break
    in 2

    i missed jackies kids b day
    in the swirl
    of my film
    me me me

    i would tell u today
    that they both called
    birthdays again missed
    god children

    last night jim lipton took me back
    to the beginning
    and u were there
    the night brandon tarnikoff
    saw me at igbys
    the 3 am call
    I GOT SNL!!!!
    2 u

    kaite wrote a poem
    about getting lost
    in key west
    and then
    being found

    it's three years since u left

    my middle finger is dead
    it cannot feel
    a few years back
    we tied the tendon
    of finger #4
    the ring - u
    to the stuck one
    now they both don’t work
    in one last desperate attempt
    to right it

    and joni mitchell sings
    “if you’re happier without me
    i’ll try not to care
    but if u still dream about me
    please listen to my prayer”

    how many flares do u send up
    before u realize
    no one is searching
    4 u

    at least not the ones
    were sure of

    still gone

    c 2005 by Rosie O'Donnell
    (ed. LDC)

    Poets! Rise with Rosie! You have nothing to lose but The Constitution.
  • Rise at r blog
  • Friday, May 20, 2005

    Blog Quote: A Throw of Thoreau (with apologies to John Litzenberg)

    the Radical Druid whose words these were:
    We are not lost in these words, nor are they lost in us.

    ~Lorna Dee Cervantes

    "We are not lost here in these woods,
    nor are they lost to us." ~J.L.
    These words are at the top of his blog in quotation marks. Must have been the day a Thoreau quote was featured & I assumed it was a hank o' Hank. Could be. Great line. I had it on my blog entry for the bio-poem and everytime I misread it as "words" instead of "woods", and it seemed, thusly, the sum of all I have to say about 2 1/2 months of blogging. Thanks, Rad. And, sorry, I couldn't resist not losing the title. My apologies. (check out Radical Druid's link in the comments section.)

    as some incredibly sweet jazzed bird loudly sounds a concert in the breaking wolf's hour right outside my window—a morning cue (mourning queue)—and now it stops, with the light of my thought

    revised: 5/21 @ 4:45 am

    from "Son: Book I" (a decom-poem-sition of "Paterson")

    Thanks to Peter in his
  • Virtual World
  • for this
  • one
  • for my son, age 10, and thinking of our long floating appointment to have "The Talk". (P: Had to do Paterson, my Prufrock) (p.s. can't con-figure the spacing in html, so stuck with underlining) "Work is the refuge of sadness." ~LDC, from "Coffee"


    .................The province of the world
    .................rises. The poem, when it comes down, dark.
    .............................~a poetic deconstruction from a fragment of Paterson, William Carlos Williams

    rigor, beauty, quest.
    "But how will you find beauty?"
    When to make a start
    out of rolling up the sum?
    Defective dog among a lot
    of dogs, rabbits, the lame
    deceive assuredly—since we
    know beyond our own. Yet,
    rolling chaos, nine month wonder,
    the city can't be otherwise. Rolling
    drunk. Sober ignorance. A certain knowledge
    and knowledge undoing. (The seed
    packed sour, lost, off in the same

    Rolling, rolling, heavy with
    the ignorant sun, the slot of never
    in this world save dying—dying,
    yet that is the addition—walking,
    subverted by writing. Stale...
    Like beds made up, unable.
    ...........................Rolling, top
    thrust and recoil, a great
    wash of seas—
    from divided to regathered
    into a river: son.


    Lies in the spent waters,
    lies in the thunder of dreams!
    Asleep, dreams walk the city,
    persist. Incognito butterflies
    settle on stone; immortal and seldom
    the subtleties of his machinations,
    the noise of river automatons who
    because they know the sill of their
    disappointments walk, bodies locked
    in desires—Say it, no
    things—nothing but the blank trees,
    forked preconception, accident—stained
    into body.

    From higher than the oozy abandoned
    beds, dead withered mud thick with dead—
    the river comes. The city crashes—the edge
    of recoil. And rainbow
    language unravels, combed into a rock's
    man, a woman like love. Innumerable.
    only one city.

    ------more woman than poet-----------------------
    ------an investigation........bolted forever--------
    ------hope.......public like

    The waters—the brink, thought—
    cut aside but forever strain,
    strike marked by a seeming to forget
    later replaced—they coalesce now
    quiet or at the close conclusion,
    and fall, fall, split apart, drunk
    with the catastrophe of the unsupported:
    a thunder struck all lightness.

    Lost; regained in the fury, driving
    to rebound, coming—keeping
    to the stream of connotative 'equal'—
    coeval void.

    And there, her head carved by the quiet:
    Colored; the secret temperate him,
    his Valley of the Rocks, asleep.

    c 2005 by Lorna Dee Cervantes

    (from a "Deconstruction" Exercise taking the opening pages of Paterson, a book length poem by William Carlos Williams, and selecting words in order of their appearance, making a 'new' poem)

    Remembering Cliff Becker

    From: lornadee...
    Subject: Re: Remembering Cliff
    Date: May 20, 2005 10:09:26 AM MDT
    To: stollsa AT
    Cc: lornadeecervantes AT


    Thank you so much for this, and for remembering me on this mailing. I am truly saddened and stunned, and grieving. My own father passed about 3 weeks ago. The first, well, second thing I thought of is Sahara. Yes, she was his life. It's one thing to lose a father while facing the other side of adulthood, but to be a child, and one so beloved of such a beloved man. Yes, we loved him. He was a lovely man. Cliff was special. Besides my typical patriotic zeal, I always looked forward to serving on panels under Cliff—anything for Cliff. He was fair, he was funny, he was right, he had integrity, he knew the work. It was always about the work, the quality of the literature. It was always about the artist and the art. He was beyond sensitive to cultural and gender issues, he was learnéd. This is a great personal loss, and a greater loss to the artistic and literary community in the U.S. Who can ever replace him? And so young. He gave his life to the literature he loved.

    Not every man takes a woman's words seriously; most patronize, ignore or sexualize. Cliff always met everybody 'mano a 'mano, mano a mano, brother to brother, hand to hand; but was not above judging people based upon the nature of their character, the same standards I believe he held himself to daily. In Spanish, my grandmother would have referred to him as "bien educado" which defies translation as it means educated, well-mannered, astute, and more. Nice. Like saying, "Cliff was a such nice guy!" Because he was. I will miss his glee at my big ole Chicana abrazos when greeting him—or leaving. I will miss the latest Sahara pictures and sayings. I will miss our stimulating conversations, on and off work. Our after-panel discussions on outreach, etc., before the senators and public were always some of my most intellectually stimulating experiences, thanks to Cliff. He took me seriously. He took us seriously.

    I will miss him. Many tears.


    Lorna Dee

    P.S. I will post this to my blog and will write and send something later, a poem for Sahara remembering her father.

    Lorna Dee Cervantes
    Associate Professor of English
    UCB 226
    University of Colorado
    Boulder, Co 80309-0226
    (303) 492-4620
    (on leave 2005)

    LornaDeeCervantes AT

    (Please note address, phone & email change)

    -----Original Message-----
    From: Amy Stolls
    Sent: Thu, 19 May 2005 19:09:37 -0400
    Subject: Remembering Cliff

    To all of Cliff Becker's loving friends in the field of literature --
    Thank you so very much for your support during this difficult
    time of his passing. Such warmth from so many of you ... James
    and I are touched, and in many ways relieved that we need not
    explain the depths of such a loss, the depths of Cliff's sweetness
    and wisdom and good humor. You know. My Lord, all of you know
    .. what better testament to Cliff's character and influence.

    We have just begun to think of ways to honor our dear friend
    and will keep you posted concerning memorial services and
    readings, but we wanted to share two thoughts for now.

    * Cliff's family is accepting donations for the education of his
    eight-year-old daughter, Sahara. As many of you know, she
    was his world. Contributions can be sent to:

    St. Andrews Episcopal Church
    4512 College Avenue
    College Park, MD 20740

    Please designate your contribution the Sahara Becker College Fund.

    * We would like to do something else for Sahara, as well, and
    for her mom, Leila (Cliff's wife). We'd like to put together a
    collection of writings about her dad from those who knew him,
    worked with him, laughed with him, loved him. Something she
    can return to into adulthood when she needs to, to know how much
    her dad meant to so many of us. To that end, should you feel so
    inclined ... we welcome any stories, anecdotes, thoughts, feelings
    you would like to share. They can be in any form, of course ... letters
    to Sahara, random musings, poems, prose, drawings--and since these
    are about Cliff, one need not shy away from irreverence, humour, and
    splashes of naughtiness. Please send them to

    It is likely that we mistakenly left someone off this email list, so
    if you'd be so kind ... please forward this on to friends and colleagues
    who might want to be in the loop. Many thanks.


    Amy Stolls and James McNeel,1,5294964.story?ctrack=2&cset=true

    Amy Stolls
    Literature Specialist
    National Endowment for the Arts
    (202) 682-5771

    Cliff Becker (1964-2005), Director of Literature, NEA

     Statement of Dana Gioia, Chairman, National Endowment for the Arts


    "It is with deepest sorrow that I announce that Cliff Becker, Director of Literature at the National Endowment for the Arts, died on May 17, 2005, of a heart attack.

    "We are heartbroken by Cliff's sudden and untimely death. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family. All of us at the NEA grieve with them at this great loss.

    "Cliff was an important part of the fabric and personality of the Arts Endowment. He was beloved by his colleagues. And he loved them. During his 13 years at the Endowment, he nurtured our Literature programs with an understanding of how literature can open the heart and mind to a new and greater understanding of the world. He was widely respected in the field for his regard not only for the written word, but also for those who write and those who read. He will be missed deeply."  -- Dana Gioia, Chairman, NEA

    Cliff Becker began his career at the NEA in 1992 as a program specialist in the Literature Department.  He was named the Director of Literature at the NEA in January 1999, after serving as Acting Director since July 1997. Mr. Becker oversaw the Endowment's grants to literary organizations and individual writers and translators.  He came to the Endowment in 1992 as a literature specialist and managed grants in poetry, publishing, and professional development.  Most recently, he helped develop and launch the NEA's National Poetry Recitation Contest.

    He received his B.A. in English from California State University, Long Beach, and his M.A. in American Literature from the University of Maryland, where he taught contemporary literature and writing for three years.

    When he was named Director of Literature in 1999, Becker said, "I am honored to serve as the National Endowment for the Arts' eighth Director of Literature.  The novels, stories, and poems produced by this nation's writers tell the world what it is like to be American.  My challenge is to ensure that more of our citizens have access to their contemporary literary heritage."

    "Cliff Becker met that challenge and exceeded it," said Chairman Gioia, "We'll miss him - his passion, his humor, and his humanity."

    A funeral service will be held Sunday May 22, 2005 at 2 p.m. at St. Andrews Episcopal Church in College Park, Maryland.                   

    National Endowment for the Arts
    Contact the Web Manager.

    Thursday, May 19, 2005

    "I Was Born; But Not Quite News" (corrected version of 'Biopoem')

    I Was Born; But Not Quite News

    Lost Land of the Deer, loner
    Who lives in words on moss dry rock, lichen quartzite quarry,
    A lover of long vowels & longer sentences, stray milleniums of pleasure,
    Who notices a sunset's fable, the inflection of oak, parched landscapes beyond the potted plant,
    Who feels the thirst inside but goes out into the marsh feeling the blades of loss,
    Who learns folly from the firefly, mumbling from the stoic moose,
    Who dreams....or hopes.....or wishes...... Not!
    Lorna Dee Cervantes,
    A person who picks apart the paper, and is not anewsed.

    c 2005 Lorna Dee Cervantes

    This is the corrected version of a 'Biopoem' I posted on
  • 11 May 2005
  • 11 May 2005
    Based on an exercise from Poetry Sundays... a Biopoem Exercise by Ellen Edwell
    I left out the line about learning. No wonder I was left missing the muse of a mumbling moose.

    Tuesday, May 17, 2005

    "Who Honestly Cares About the Next American Idol Winner?"

    poem from PLAY (Book 3 of 5 in forthcoming hardbound edition, DRIVE: The First Quartet, Wings Press)

    Who Honestly Cares About the Next
    American Idol Winner?

    She was searching
    for the key of F.
    Funk fables furring
    her head, the perfect
    make-up fading under red.
    She was trying to make it.
    hit the big, beat 'em up down
    instead of getting beat up.
    Her mother in the corner
    throwing the first blows,
    fixing the wrist she
    shatters into slivers,
    drips to a heart of lip
    service: Fat. She was striving
    for a dream that was already
    broken, off the cuff,
    in the rough, and off the key
    of Freedom.

    c 2005 Lorna Dee Cervantes

    Monday, May 16, 2005

    What Kind of Existentialist Am I? Or, On Geeks, Greeks & Gee Gees (guiguis?)

    You scored as Martin Heidegger. You are Martin Heidegger. You are a very wordy person that believes we classify objects by their function, and that community is essential. Once we are in a community, then it is possible for us to differentiate ourselves. You also might have sympathetic feelings towards Nazis.

    Martin Heidegger


    Jean-Paul Sartre


    Friedrich Nietzsche


    Albert Camus


    Soren Kierkegaard


    Not An Existentialist


    Which Existentialist Philosopher Are You?
    created with

    I'm sure the only reason I'm not Camus is that I don't like to drive fast (they asked). In fact, I don't drive at all, ever. And the only reason I'm not de Bouvoir is that she's not on the list, or they can't spell her name either. And they also don't include my favorite existential philosopher, Lynda Barry; not to be confused with my favorite philospher, Craig Clairborn, albeit, an epicurian. This from the Rogers Intelligences test which doesn't include spelling:

    You scored as Verbal/Linguistic. You have highly developed auditory skills, enjoy reading and writing and telling stories, and are good at getting your point across. You learn best by saying and hearing words. People like you include poets, authors, speakers, attorneys, politicians, lecturers and teachers.















    Which Existentialist Philosopher Are You?
    created with

    The Nazi part was scary. Actually, I was trained early on to "Know Thine Enemy" which doesn't include tennis lessons & Scotch. I had already fessed up to having the mente of Heidegger when creating this blog, but it was along the lines of demonic possession. Actually, I scored a 78% H over how ever many percentage points Sartre (note: my math intelligence doesn't score a dit on a dot) but I lost the link to post results & had to take the dumb test again. It came down to an extra question, the tie-breaker: "Which statement do you prefer - 1) Existence preceeds essense. 2) Humans are thrown into existence." Duh. Both. That's the Xicanao Way. Not to be confused with the Yellow Brick Road, The Golden Mean or The King's Highway. Amen y con saFoS

    As for Geeks, I scored highest as an Academic Geek: 98% (2% inner chola) & high as a General Geek, Computer Geek, &, cruelly, high as a Wardrobe Geek (86% which was also the percentage of "Mexican Americans" in my junior high & the percentage of my daily existence made miserable and rendered absurd therein). I lost the results to that test, too. And the test itself. (It's that 'itself' tic which makes me the geeky exitentialist that I am. Heidegger, take that. The geeks shall inherit the earth. (Note: the actual translation is that the "debonnair shall inherit the earth" according to the hermeneutical scholars of the Lost Scrolls.) As if you didn't know.

    And as for the Greeks, my academic mentor once stated that as for the destruction of the Alexandria library, "It was just as well. They found just enough." Otherwise, the Greeks are only here for the rhyme. Or, find the work of my all-time favorite Greek-American poet (she would get the irony) Eleni Sikellianos, and I'm hoping I spelled that right. Her poetry is like walking the hog-back, stunning for the view & the earthscapes, primordial & postmodern in the same step, post-Captitalism at its best, especially the California poems. ("California, I'm coming home...") Pity we couldn't have the foresight & good judgement to add both ES & LU to our roster. Along with Pineda & Doubiago, why not? What's a few more awards in the house? Can you spell P=u=l=i=t=z=e=r=?


    Is that a Nazi word? On words: anyone speak gee-gees? Really, anyone ever hear that word as a child? As something that goes in the toilet, what some big N might say about Xicana poetry or Frida or the Pulitzer. One thing surfing has brought me is lists, pre-blog-world. On one list, generated by a fellow Californian Indian, had a list of Chumash vocabulary. Words I found myself muttering to my baby: "Are you my little dondee-dondee?" "Give me kitchie-wichies. Quichi weechies" for kissing. Another word i won't spell as it was secret family word for when ever he should ever get lost or someone besides me should ever have to pick him up from school or home, as "no one else but mami would ever call you _____...". All nearly extinct Chumash words. Some kind of inspiration for the Enlightment. Some kind of Big Bang for Goebbels. Now all that's left is what is uttered mother to mother. Mother! And mierde. Anyone else ever hear the word "gui-guis'? Is this a Chicano word? Some one from California? speak

    I have more visitors to this blog from Belgium than the entire state of Colorado. "California, I am..."

    Wednesday, May 11, 2005

    "I Was Born; But Not Quite News"

    —a "BioPoem" from Poetry Sundays; title is a riff off a line from "Eulogy On A Blank Canvas" by a
  • Radical Druid
  • ~"We are not lost in these woods, nor are they lost in us"
    I Was Born; But Not Quite News

    Lost Land of the Deer, loner
    Who lives in words on moss dry rock, lichen quartzite quarry,
    A lover of long vowels & longer sentences, stray milleniums of pleasure,
    Who notices a sunset's fable, the inflection of oak, parched landscapes beyond the potted plant,
    Who feels the thirst inside but goes out into the marsh, feeling the blades of loss,
    Who dreams....or hopes.....or wishes...... —not.
    Lorna Dee Cervantes,
    A person who picks apart the paper, and is not anewsed.

    c 2005 Lorna Dee Cervantes
    11 May 2005
    Based on an exercise from Poetry Sundays, that stipulates the following:

    Biopoem Exercise by Ellen Edwell

    Here's something to try, if you like. It's called a BIOPOEM. It has a particular format that I use to get students going sometimes.

    line 1: Your first name
    line 2: Four nouns or adjectives that describe you
    line 3: Who lives in______________
    line 4: A lover of.... (list 3-4 specific people, things, ideas)
    line 5: Who notices..... (list 3-4 specific things)
    line 6: Who feels..... (3-4 specific listings)
    line 7: Who learns ________________ from ______________ (2-3 listings)
    line 8: Who dreams....or hopes.....or wishes......
    line 9: Your full name
    line 10: A person who____________________________

    I know it seems silly, but it generates something tangible for most people
    and seems to get some juices flowing.

    Tuesday, May 10, 2005

    Save Cow Pastor - More From Kamau Brathwaite in Barbados

    Thanks to
  • Jordan Stempleman's First Nation
  • here's the latest from poet, Kamau Brathwaite at
  • Cow Pastor
  • thanks to a site set up by Tom Raworth.

    A Flicker of Rose - Rosie O'Donnell Slideshow of Recent Fotos

    Originally uploaded by Rosie O'Donnell.
    I like this painting a-lot, think I'll go plant a Rose. (this is only a test)

  • slideshow

  • from Once Adored, Formerly Rosie, r blog

    posted this this morning on a new-found blog,
  • Out of the Woodwork
  • by a new-found poet I like,
  • Brian Campbell
  • "Work is the refuge of sadness" ~LDC
  • Monday, May 09, 2005


    Found, by chance, this surprising fact here :

    What is the largest known single organism on Earth? A blue whale? A giant redwood? Actually the largest single organism known is a fungus (an individual of Armillaria ostoyae - one of the "honey mushrooms") growing in western Washington state. This organism consists mostly of underground mycelia and covers 2,200 acres. It is estimated to weigh perhaps 4,000 tons ( 8 million pounds) and is thought to be about 2,400 years old. A smaller individual (covering only 40 acres) of a related species, Armillaria bulbosa , which is growing in northern Michigan is thought to be as much as 10,000 years old, which if true, would make it the oldest known living organism on the planet.

    Poetry workshop assignment: Write a sonnet from the point of view of that fungus. Make it an acrostic, so that the first letters spell out HUMONGUSFUNGUS. (Or if you must spell humongous properly, make it GREATBIGFUNGUS.) You have 20 minutes.

    posted by Brian Campbell at 11:10 PM  


    Lorna Dee Cervantes said...


    Honey of the beehive that is earth,
    Upon which the heavens circumscribe,
    Mammoth plain of wheat beneath our dirt,
    One of the feathery few, a fertile fecund scribe.

    New beginnings in your tethered spore,
    Gross acres of weight, tons of semi-shifting spit
    United in a song of musky shore, a sweet load more
    Shimmering up through ages with the mass of it

    Fidgeting beneath our boring feet, our sappy sweat
    Upon its turtle brow, our sheaves of single cells
    Nourishing; our mineral tears & sloughing grow it, yet.
    Gigantic creature of beaded memories lies & swells,

    Union of woven flesh & thread is just—
    Singular & pulsing, bonding & releasing—us.

    5/10/05 11:07-11:22 am
    c 2005 Lorna Dee Cervantes

    Tuesday, May 10, 2005 2:18:35 PM

    "Cultural Creative" - as if I didn't know

    found this test on
  • Barbara Jane Reyes

  • You scored as Cultural Creative. Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.

    Cultural Creative
















    What is Your World View?
    created with

    Friday, May 06, 2005

    Blog You

    Recently Updated

    These are the ten most recently published blogs.

    Lorna Dee Cervantes
    Shredder Resource Center
    hyan & ami's diary
    kristin knits
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    See more...
    "MacPhisto" good one. I want MACaDEE, myself. That's how I found "Multiple Hellrosis," on recently updated blogs. Good one, that. Now she wonders how she gets all the new traffic. How could a poet resist that click? Could somebody help me tell her I read her blog daily & that somebody saw her on the coffee table at my "home" if you did? Don't mean to intrude. There's a poem in here, somewhere ~me

    write, she sd

    Hey all, I just got the ok from my new business manager (hey you knew it had to happen some time) and besides serious inquiries for readings, manuscript consultations & editing, performances w/ music from Cervantes, lectures, school visits, appearances, book signings & Poetry In Paradise (anyone for a poetic retreat on Isla Mujeres?) mr b-manager has agreed to field all personal mail, cards, condolences, poems, pics, checks & journal exchanges. You can reach me so I can put you on my love list—awareness of one's own mortality and flicker makes one want to hug a friend & blood-one. que no? So, until I get the new blog set-up to answer all your many unanswered questions, emails & phone calls regarding commentary on the individual poems so we can get those reports & term papers flowing you can try dropping a line, snail mail, to my GigMaster7 at

    Lorna Dee Cervantes
    c/o Anthony Vasquez
    950 Miami Way
    Boulder, CO 80305

    (don't anyone show up expecting a taco) (tampering with us mail is a federal offense) (This Site Protected by PETA: Poets for the Ethical Treatment of Artists - Our motto is WE BUY. WE PURSUE. Researchers Unite! You have only your truth to spill.) (Have a Heart.) (He sues.)

    as Billie streams on cue: "Buddy, you'd never know it/ but I'm kind of a poet/ And I gotta lotta things to say..."

    Thoreau - Just Another Blog From the Bog, or, Love - Just Another Victorian Interlude

    Friday, May 06, 2005

    Thoreau's Journal: 06-May-1854

    All that a man has to say or do that can possibly concern mankind, is in some shape or other to tell the story of his love,—to sing; and, if he is fortunate and keeps alive, he will be forever in love. This alone is to be alive to the extremities. It is a pity that this divine creature should ever suffer from cold feet; a still greater pity that the coldness so often reaches to his heart. I look over the report of the doings of a scientific association and am surprised that there is so little life to be reported; I am put off with a parcel of dry technical terms. Anything living is easily and naturally expressed in popular language. I cannot help suspecting that the life of these learned professors has been almost as inhuman and wooden as a rain-gauge or self-registering magnetic machine. They communicate no fact which rises to the temperature of blood-heat. It doesn’t amount to one rhyme.

    posted by Greg at 12:50 AM

    I don't care what anyone has to say, Thoreau's my guilty pleasure, that & Brainbuster which no one will play any more. Pity. But ole Henry, sans his Bones, give or take a hundred years ago, was never above the shovel, unless he was using it to muse over manure. (scroll down his blog to find him in the barn).

    btw: fun thing to do while I'm away: CONTEST! Who was the world's first blogger? Any guesses? Keep em coming til tuesday ("For a hamburger today, I'll gladly pay you tuesday" ~the original Whimpy) & first person to guess my guess gets a signed copy of the hardbound first edition of my 5 new books coming out this fall from Wings Press, DRIVE: The First Quartet.

    He's Back! Hijo de La Teresita...

    Just posted this to Luis Urrea's blog, my former student, but who's counting? Yea! Someone new on the blog my own age to play with. And, speaking of which, I plan to be at the Women Bloggers gathering in Santa Clara on June 19th, I think. (info at arse poetica - no time for linking, lacking my Lynx.) It will be after my father, Luis Cervantes's Memorial Ceremony Celebration of his life & love on June 12 at the Precita Valley Community Center - but that's yet to be announced, it's on the track but we don't know if it's a train yet. What we really need is a Save Our Home fund.

    Gotta go. Off to California, which is also a really good ole timey banjo tune. And, if you're up & about in the Mission tomorrow maybe I'll see you at The Precita Eyes Mural Awareness Month celebration of Community Mural Arts in Precita Park at 1pm to when the arts come home. Or, we can dance till the moths get lost after the Mural Arts Awards on the 21st.

    See you there

    posted to La Vista
    La Bird said...

    hey hey hey! Back from the dead is right. I gave up on you, homes/homebird de la Tierra del Condór. Been near dead myself. And moving to & fro without a wooden soul. But sabes qué? We're like those barrio puppies that keep bobbing to the surface & it's ok 'cause nobody wants to see them drown anyway. Don't worry. We swim and we'll get something good to eat. *Pulitzer nomination for Nonfiction* Hijos de la...universidad! Can I pick 'em or what? Too bad for the shutout play. So well. Upward & onward says kemosabe. La Lorna dice....

    Good mangos all around. Love you, but you know that. Just missed you in LA but my father passed away on the 27th after a sudden 6 week bout with stomach cancer. We bid his Spirit along on his journey with our love and remembrances on May Day, a spectacularly sunny day in the Mission. Time to do something. Time to yield to the pull of the land. I hope our book tour paths cross. I still gotta do that research in ChiTown - hey, do you know a Chicago native cabbie I hired to drive me around Memphis Minnies old neighborhoods told me that Chicago was actually named after Chicano, that it was the end of the line for Mexican workers in the slaughterhouses so it was known in the 1880s as the Chicano place both there & in México. Makes a good story. As do you.

    "California/ I'm coming home...". Got Joni on the head as the stream plays my favorite low down blues: "Before I'll be your dog/ I'll get you way down here/ Make you walk that log/ Baby please don't go. You know I love you so..." yeah

    yeah yeah

    I'm on sick leave now after almost 4 years of intermitent chronic vomiting. Poetic, eh? How's that for a metafour? Been relaxing, yoga, learning Navaho weaving, digging holes, bloggin' it up with buds, buggin' bugs as I get to know this stamp of land we bought on a boulder a nickle ago. Back to the land: my own backyard. Married on a Blue Moon - used to be an ironic thing the crystal-crusted classes muttered to their concubines. We did. On Green Mountain, other side of the ladybugs. On rock. A silent vow and sign. The trees officiating for they have memories longer than our own. A warm wind carrying it out to the masses as our intent. We want to celebrate everyone's love on every once on a Blue Moon. You know my house is always open to you. And now, you can find me! I can find me. I know what address to put on the envelope. Gimme an addy, I'll put you on my holiday love list. (and anyone else, if I know you. Do I know you? I've lost all those little scraps of paper, each attached to a laugh. But my 2nd NY's revolution is to stop procrastinating—as I wipe out "was" in a field of blue).

    I can't believe it. Baby please don't go streaming again from this field of blue (c-coat: 3 gold stag in a field of blue). Blues therapy. This time the downhome version: just a geetar, piano & a tap. Priceless. Even through the nicks & snaps. Got traveling on my mind & it's not the Billie kind. Hey, what a whata if mi casa really IS tu casa? Swell. And surf.

    Did I tell you I'm planning a course, at any level, called "The Celtic Lyric Then & Now?" And a seminar on The Four Quartets. Its really what's charging my cards these days at the theatre. & speaking of the shake stage: my 5 books are due for a coup on Columbus, my pentic pentyc. One of the last things my father wrote was the number 5. But it doesn't stand without the mandala at the end.

    You know, been staring so long at that pop-up bison, Ferdinand the Buffalo, I had to write a "Poem for the Trundling Buffalo of Maryland". And as for buffs, write on cue blues sings it, soulfully: "Have you ever loved a woman?/ Have you ever loved a woman?/ Then caught her runnin round? .... Well, you might as well pack your one bag/ Cause he's draggin your Roll-It home."


    final line of song: "you know we could live so easy/ Turn up ALL THE LOVE!"

    Much love to you and yours & back at ya & what goes around can go get lost. And when you can come out & play y'all come on out to my place, hear? Bring the brood.

    "When you lose your money/ Please don't you lose your mind/.... I'm gonna buy me a bulldog/ just to watch my woman sleep/ ... Cause that woman's so crooked/ Make a pretty good creek...."

    "I'm gonna bring it on home..."

    2:14 PM
    "just as sure as Amtrak..." yeah

    "On Why I Boycotted Cinco de Mayo"


    C 2005 Lorna Dee Cervantes C/S

    Thursday, May 05, 2005

    Luis Cervantes: "All I Know Is That I'm an Artist & I'm an Indian"

    Lorna dice: Don't believe everything you read in the newspapers. He would not want to be remembered as a muralist, although he painted murals, and though he was the other eye in the co-founding of Precita Eyes Muralists, he considered Susan to be the Master Muralist. He was a fine arts artist, and probably one of the first postmodern artists, having come to it under siege in Antwerp, and in the sense that his art by it's very nature resists classifications, hierarchies & hegemonies. He would have spoken up, right away, interrupted the speaker had she or he called him a "Chicano" artist. "Call it what it is," as he put it the last time I spoke with him, "I'm Mexican and I'm an American (a certified WWII war hero) so I guess that makes me a 'Mexican American', and that other guy over there, well, you'll just have to ask him where he comes from and where he's at." (hearty laughter) "Yeah." That's pretty Chicano, if you ask me. And since I'm telling, if he wasn't a Chicano artist, in our original self-defining sense of the term, then I would say he was "pert'near" as my maternal gramma always put it. But then, she was pretty postmodern herself, and possibly, the original Chicana post-flapper.

    I remember our long debates of the late 70s, not 'identity politics' discussions but a creative act by the Creative Class; he said: "I've been called a hepster, a hepcat, a cool cat, hip, hep & hipster, a Beatnik, a Beat & a Beatster, a hippie, a (dippie?), a chippie...what they call it keeps changing but the thing remains the same. All I know is that I'm an Artist and I'm an Indian."

    I'd say, "So I guess that makes you an Indian Artist?" But the worth of his art would skyscraper, and the Federal Government might have something to say about that designation since they seem to hold the registered trademark on the brand. So I'll keep it to myself.

    The other day, while walking to my deposit, I thought of the absence his arms make—the ghost pain of their missing abrazos ('hugs' does not translate in this particular case) which was the first thing I thought of when seeing Susan for the time after his passing: Who can give her that Master Hug so many times of day & We will all have to practice daily, as he did lifting barbells until 100 pounds didn't lever his outstretched hand. (I'm sorry Susan, it will make you cry to read this as I well to write it: but it is a healing tearing, like a good poem pouncing on the truth.) "My father was an 'abrazo artist' and he was a Master." And I teared & walked & laughed, simultaneously & syncretic, all the way to the banks saying: "Luís Cervantes, Abrazo Artist."


    PRECITA VALLEY VISION - Memorial Ceremony Celebration of the Life of "Visionary" Visual Artist, Luis Cervantes (Nov. 1, 1929-April 27, 2005), June 12

    at The Precita Valley Center
    *note: All time in life is subject to change.

    Project Title: Precita Valley Vision
    Recipient Organization: Mission Neighborhood Centers
    Lead Artist: Susan Cervantes
    Genre and Date Awarded: Visual Arts, May 1996
    Dedicated: March 23, 1997

    Muralist Susan Cervantes collaborated with Mission Neighborhood Centers to create a new community mural on the façade of Precita Valley Community Center. Alongside images reflecting the Center’s recreation programs and nearby Precita Park, the mural features the faces of Carlos Hernandez and Sylvia Menendez, teenagers who were slain while picnicking in Precita Park in 1996. The mural was dedicated at a community celebration on March 23, 1997 which featured speeches by the teenagers’ parents as well as music, dancing, poetry, an exhibit of low rider bicycles, and food. Approximately 400 community members attended the event.

    The artist facilitated community participation in designing the mural through workshops held at Precita Valley Center. The process involved the Center’s youth and provided individuals from the Center and the surrounding neighborhood with opportunities to submit their ideas and drawings for the mural’s theme. Through this process, the community’s need to mourn the loss of Hernandez and Menendez, emerged. A March 1997 San Francisco Examiner cover story about the mural’s dedication noted, “Today, the teens are immortalized on the double doors of the community center at 534 Precita Avenue, where the mural vibrates with color, history, and intricate symbols of faith and nonviolence suggested by young people who play at the Center.”

    Susan Cervantes was drawn to paint the façade of Precita Valley Community Center because it had been important to her early artistic career; and she and her family had lived on nearby Precita Avenue for 26 years. In 1974, Cervantes was one of the muralists who directed and designed one of the Mission District’s first community murals on the lower wall of the Precita Valley Center. (This 9’ by 30’ portable mural was removed in 1993.) From 1975 through 1980, she was the arts and crafts supervisor for Precita Valley Community Center. During this period, in 1977, she created her first monumental community mural on the south wall of nearby Leonard R. Flynn Elementary School; and, in that same year, founded the non-profit community-based Precita Eyes Mural Arts Center. Further, over the years, her three sons participated in various youth programs at the Center.

    Mission Neighborhood Centers is a nonprofit community-based organization that provides social programs to low-income children, youth, and seniors of San Francisco’s Mission District. Precita Valley Center, one of four operating branches of Mission Neighborhood Centers, houses the youth component of its programming. Year round, approximately 700 low-income minority children and youth participate in the various social, educational, and recreational programs at Precita Valley Center. The Center sought to collaborate with Susan Cervantes on this project as a means of increasing neighborhood pride and of heightening awareness of its programs. The artist and organization had worked together on two previous murals, one in 1974 and the other in 1975.


    Susan Kelk Cervantes


    Professional Experience/Educator and Advocate

    Founder and Director, Precita Eyes Muralists, Precita Eyes Mural Arts Center (1977-present)

    San Francisco Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) Arts program, Precita Valley Community Center, San Francisco Arts Commission (1975-79)

    Founder, Annual San Francisco Bay Area Mural Awareness Month, sponsored by Precita Eyes Mural Arts Center (1991-present)

    Selected Public and Private Mural Commissions

    Si Se Puede, Cesar Chavez Elementary School, San Francisco, California (1995)
    Keep Our Ancient Roots Alive, diptych mural, Cleveland School, San Francisco, California (1993-95)
    Maestrapeace, designed and painted with M. Bergman, J. Alicia. E. Boone, Y. Littleton, M. Desai, and I. Perez, The Women’s Building, San Francisco, California (1993-94)
    SF, Keep on Movin’, designed and painted with Precita Eyes Mural Arts Center members and students, Embarcadero Municipal Railway Metro Turnaround Barricade, (1994)
    Fear and Hope, designed with M. Ayala, C. Lombardo, K. Ruddle, and others of the Precita Eyes Mural Workshop, Clarion Alley Mural Project, San Francisco, California (1994)
    Love will Come Your Way, designed and planned with New College of California’s Arts and Social Change Mural Class, Family and Children’s Services, San Francisco Department of Social Services, San Francisco, California (1993)
    Your Eyes Embrace My World, designed with Sixth Street residents, community organizations, children, and youth, assisted by Precita Eyes Muralists, Mural on Rose and Sunnyside Hotels, San Francisco, California (1993)
    The Great Cloud of Witnesses, four interior walls of gymnasium, Ingleside Community Center, San Francisco, California (1992)
    The Five Sacred Colors of Corn, Balmy Alley, San Francisco, California (1991)
    Inner City Garden, Hearst Building Rooftop Garden, San Francisco, California (1991)
    The Silent Language of the Soul, collaboration with muralist Juana Alicia, Cesar Chavez Elementary School, San Francisco, California (1988-90)
    Stop Pollution and Make Solutions, exterior north wall, designed with Kim Anno and the San Francisco Conservation Corps Youth in Action Program (1990)

    Water is Life, first community mural painted in the Soviet Union, sponsored by Alga, a scientific productive complex in Leningrad and the International Program of the Foundation for Social Innovations, in collaboration with Luis Cervantes and Carlos Lorca of San Francisco and Nikolai Bogomolov of Leningrad, with fifteen other Soviet artists, Vasilievsky Island, Leningrad, USSR (1990)

    Spirit of the Water, portable mural, collaboration with Soviet and American Artists, “Nothing is Being Done in Neva Neva Land,” site specific multi-media installation with mural for “Artists and Ecologists – All for One Earth,” South of Market Cultural Center, portable mural permanently installed in a Leningrad elementary school (1990)

    Indigenous Eyes, Balmy Alley, San Francisco, California (1990)
    The Spirit of Raoul Wallenberg, Wallenburg High School, San Francisco, California (1989)
    Food for the People, Community Food Resource Center, San Francisco, California (1989)
    New World Tree, Mission Pool, collaboration with J. Alicia and R. Martinez, San Francisco, California (1987)
    Balance of Power, collaboration with J. Alicia, R. Martinez, and youth, Mission Pool, San Francisco, California (1987)
    Celestial Cycles, portable mural, Las Americas Children’s Center, designed with L. Cervantes, San Francisco, California (1982-83)
    The Primal Sea, designed with Precita Eyes Muralists, Garfield Square and Pool, San Francisco, California (1979-80)
    A Bountiful Harvest, designed with Denise Meehan, assisted by Precita Eyes Muralists, China Books & Periodicals Company, San Francisco, California (1978)
    Family Life and Spirit of Mankind, Leonard R. Flynn Elementary School, San Francisco, California (19767-77)


    Precita Eyes Mural Arts Center, San Francisco, California (1979-present)
    New College of California Arts and Social Change program, San Francisco, California (1993)
    Buena Vista School, San Francisco, California (1991)
    Wallenberg Alternative High School, San Francisco, California (1990)
    Precita Valley Community Center, San Francisco, California (1974-79)
    San Jose State University, San Jose, California (1975)
    San Francisco State University (1974)
    California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, California (1974)

    Selected Exhibitions

    “San Francisco Muralists,” “Lumieres de California: 20 Artistes Autour de San Francisco,” Centre d’animation et de Loisirs Valeyre, Paris, France, (1993)
    “The Fourth R,” Euphrates Gallery, Cupertino, California (1992)
    Pushkin Skaya Gallery, Leningrad, USSR (1990)
    “All for One Earth,” SOMAR Gallery, San Francisco, California (1990)
    Beef Gallery, San Francisco, California (1987)
    La Peña Cultural Center, Berkeley, California (1986)
    “Harvest,” The Farm, San Francisco, California (1985)
    “Balmy Alley Murals,” Casa Gallery, San Francisco, California (1984)
    Cervantes Family Show, Galeria Museo, Mission Cultural Center, San Francisco, California (1980)
    Oakland Museum, United States State Department, Fourth Triennale India, Asia, Mideast, Japan (1978-79)
    Galería de la Raza, San Francisco, California (1978, 1979)
    Nanny Goat Hill Gallery, San Francisco, California (1977)
    Civic Arts Gallery, Walnut Creek, California (1976)
    Ringling Museum, Sarasota, Florida (1974)
    Capricorn Asunder Gallery, San Francisco Arts Commission (1973)
    San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, California (1971)

  • Creative Work Fund, org

  • Precita Eyes
  • Monday, May 02, 2005

    Luís Cervantes Memorial: Donations, Art Auction, Art-Loving Lenders Desperately Needed—Precita Eyes Mural Ctr. About to Lose Its Body

    Precita Eyes Mural Center About to Lose Its Body
    Luis & Susan Kelk Cervantes, Co-Founders of Landmark Mural Center About to Lose Home of 35 Years

    Thank you to all who have offered us your spirtual blessings and condolences during this time of deep mourning for my father, Luis Cervantes. The family is grieving. But we are guided along by the many souls who loved my father as we do. We recognize the hundreds of people who wish to participate in a memorial ceremony. We are overwhelmed at this time, and with Mural Awareness Month activities and events planned throughout this month, the prospect of finding a location suitable to hold such a large gathering of all who have been touched by his mind, art, humor, and twinkling grace at such short notice is, well, overwhelming. And, Susan and the family are about to lose their home of 35 years through a family/ownership dispute which began in November. (One of Luis Cervantes's early sculptures valued at $20,000 decades ago may have been damaged in their destroyed garden by painters hired by one of the disputed owners of the building, a storefront residential studio rented from fellow artists & close friends of 40 years located on Precita Street across from Precita Park.) The ownership dispute is curently in suspense in probate court and Susan was in the process of establishing residential status in order to buy into the building which was up for sale until recently. At the same time, Susan & Luís Cervantes were recently honored and recognized by Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco for their lifetime of contributions to the city's culture and character, and April 6 was declared "Susan and Luis Cervantes Day" in San Francisco. My father, on that day was scheduled to begin a series of 25 radiation treatments which would have weakened his already frail condition and which may not have extended his life. He decided to, once again, forego the treatments and he and Susan went off to "go to a party instead" unaware of the honor awaiting them at their opening of the Precita Eyes Community Mural Arts Exhibition held in the lobby at City Hall that evening. Fotos forthcoming.

    Susan and the Cervantes Family are CONSIDERING holding a memorial ceremony on May 27. Meanwhile, you are all invited to send in your remembrances, stories, poems, songs, condolences to this blog or email with "Luis" in the subject title. I'll transfer them to a memorial website as soon as I return to Boulder. You may also join me in San Franciso at the opening celebration of Mural Awareness Month in Precita Park in the Mission District this weekend, Saturday, May 7th.

    Help us help Susan keep the Cervantes home, the "body" of Precita Eyes, for without a home for the heart there is no vision. All help fundraising is needed at this time as the building had an offer of $990,000 made at the time shortly before my father's sudden death. My father & Susan's artwork and art collection has never been appraised as, as my father would say: "That's not what it's about." And, "Art is Time. Time is Art." Their decades of paying low rent to friends allowed them the time to do what they do, and what he did. At what price, art and light in one's life, in so many ways as there are colors and their myriad descriptions? Community arts. Community artists for all. Susan is considering holding an art auction to raise funds on May 27, but needs help. We are asking all interested collectors (community artists generally don't run in those monied halls) donors, artists willing to donate work or bid on particular pieces, and in particularly, residential mortgage lenders willing to invest in a future San Francisco landmark. Please visit the Precita Eyes Mural Center link or read the following obituary which appeared in today's SF Chronicle for the address of the Precita Eyes Mural Center where donations, however small, may be sent c/o Susan Kelk Cervantes.

    Luis Cervantes's earthly body was cremated today. An altar and memorial list, as well as friends of Luis Cervantes, can be found at the Cafe Boheme at 24th & Mission.

    Those who know know: His Spirit is strong and his Journey is long. He has been blessed, and he blessed. He was spared suffering, he died in peace and lay in state with family and close loved ones surrounding. His last words were "I love you, too." He was released, and we ask that our grief may not sustain and hold him to this earth in that intent. Share your tears, share your work. "Work is the refuge of sadness." ~LDC

    Luís Cervantes - He walked in Beauty. He worked in Heart. He brought a Light.

    Lorna Dee Cervantes, San Franciso, May 2, 2005

    Luis Cervantes Painting On The Children's Friendship Art School Mural in St. Petersburg, Russia, July, 2003

    Luz de Verano Cervantes's Original Obituary Submitted to the SF Chronicle


    Luis M. Cervantes, a San Francisco fine arts painter, sculptor, and master craftsman passed away peacefully on Wednesday, April 27th, 2005, at his home in San Francisco, CA after a brief battle with cancer. He was age 81, having been born to Francis Reyes Martinez and Luis Gutierres Cervantes in Santa Barbara, CA on November 1, 1923. After his birth he moved to South San Francisco with his parents and lived there with his four younger siblings until his fathers death in 1936. Much of his youth was then spent in Santa Barbara, CA where he graduated from High School.

    In 1942 he was drafted into the US Army Corp of Engineers and served honorably through 1945 in WWII. His tour of duty with company "E" 358th Engineer General Service Regiment included England; D-day and the Normandy Invasion; Antwerp, Belgium; and Paris, France. In 1945 he was given an official certificate of gratitude from the City of Antwerp for his service during one hundred and seventy five days of continuous air and V weapon attacks between October 7, 1944 and March 30, 1945. Luis was honorably discharged as a Technician Fifth Grade in December 1945 at Fort MacArthur, CA.

    After his service in WWII he permanently moved to San Francisco. In July 1946 he found employment at McRroskey Airflex Mattress Company as a custom mattress maker. His employment earned him membership in the Upholsters Union of San Francisco where he learned to master all aspects of furniture making. He served as President of the San Francisco Furniture Workers Union for two years. He was a very respected and valuable employee of McRoskey Airflex for his mastery of hand tied box string mattresses. He had even made a mattress for Joe Montana the legendary San Francisco 49ers quarterback. He retired after 46 years of employment in 1992.

    In the 1950’s he used his GI Bill to study sketching and sculpture at SF State. This led him to pursue the art of ceramic sculpture at the College of Marin. His work and shows earned him entry into the San Francisco Potters Association, and the San Francisco Art Association. He had several exhibits of his ceramic sculptures including ones in 1960 at the M.H. De Young Museum of Art and the SF Museum of Modern Art. At this time he stopped attending the College of Marin and started to attend the San Francisco Art Institute in the ceramics department. In1961 he met Susan Kelk, a painting student at the San Francisco Art Institute, who would become his wife and lifelong partner. In 1962-64 Luis and Susan founded and directed the New Mission Gallery, a storefront at 1083 Valencia and 22nd, one of the most important contemporary avant-garde galleries of the time. During this time he was influenced by the abstract expressionists, visionary artists and psychedelic art of the times. They resided there until 1970 when the rising rents forced them to move to a storefront at Precita and Harrison in front of Precita Park with their first son Luz De Verano. Luis abandoned his ceramic sculpture to pursue his painting and began to create optically vivid and geometric paintings with Politec acrylic paint, some of the first acrylic paintings exhibited in the San Francisco area at the time. These works were in shows at the Oakland Museum of Art, the Unicorn Galllery, and the Galeria de La Raza among others. During the 1970’s he started to teach painting, drawing and art at the Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco State, the Galeria De La Raza,, the Mission Cultural Center and Precita Eyes Muralists. He loved to teach and spent many hours discussing art with his students and friends.

    In 1977 he co-founded, with Susan, the Precita Eyes Muralists, a non-profit, San Francisco community-based mural arts organization and served on its Board of Directors until 1999. The Precita Eyes Muralists were so named because the artists all resided near Precita Park and would meet and paint together regularly. The mission of Precita Eyes Muralists has been to create murals in a collaborative process with artists to produce visionary urban public community art. The acrylic paint he had used for his award winning gallery art found its way onto the walls for the murals they were all painting. This type of painting is a standard for mural painting today. Luis directed many mural projects including "The Cross of Quetzalcoatl" , installed in the San Francisco State University Student Union. He worked on many monumental mural projects with his wife Susan throughout the years including the recently painted mural at the Mexican Heritage Plaza in San Jose, the "Precita Valley Vision" at the Precita Valley Community Center, "Millineum Mural" at the On Lok 30th Street Senior Center, "Si Se Puede" at the Cesar Chavez Elementary School, "Family Life and Spirit of Mankind" at the Leonard Flynn School.

    In 1990 Luis and Susan were invited to participate in an Ecological Arts Collaboration. It was a cultural exchange between Russian and American artists. This exchange resulted in three visits to Russia and three murals there. "Garden of Friendship", St Petersburg, 2003, "All People, One Heart", Moscow (1997), and "Water is Life" St. Petersburg, 1990. His work on community murals in Russia were highlights of his artistic experience and continuous collaborations.

    After retiring from Airflex he dedicated himself to his art and produced many sculptures, wood carvings and paintings until his cancer developed. He continued to attend Precita Eyes functions even having his hallmark 80th Birthday party in 2003 at the organization. Luis’s last exhibited work was shown at the Mission Cultural Center’s 30 year retrospective of Latino Arts in 2004. Luis and his wife, Susan, were given a mayoral proclamation by Gavin Newsom on April 6th, 2005, which he attended while declining radiation therapy, as "Luis and Susan Cervantes Day" at the reception for the exhibit of Precita Eyes’ monumental murals at San Francisco City Hall.

    Outside of his avocations Luis often fraternized with friends weekly at Cafe La Boheme’ on 24th St. and Mission. At the Cafe, Precita Park or the Mural Arts Center he could often be heard describing his artwork, adventures, and philosophies. He truly captured the sprit and imagination of many of his friends who regarded him as an artist/ teacher, and modern shaman.

    Luis is survived by his loving wife Susan Kelk Cervantes, Sons; Luz de Verano,; Suaro, and Monte Cervantes, of San Francisco; his grandsons Teo and Cielo , and Javier; granddaughters Sequioa, and Maricruz,. His brothers Angelo, Las Vegas, NV; Juan, Crawfordville, Fl, Frank, Lompoc, CA; and sister Aurora, Santa Barbara, CA. After the war and through the 50’s he had married and divorced Rosie Castro and has a surviving son, Stephen Cervantes, Corralitos, CA; and daughter Lorna Dee Cervantes, Boulder, CO.

    Luis will be cremated at the Pacific Interment Service, Inc. In Luis’s honor and memory contributions and donations can be sent to Precita Eyes Muralists at 2981 24th St., San Francisco, CA, 94110. Acknowledgements, gifts, cards and flowers for Luis can be sent to the Cervantes residence at 398 Precita Ave., San Francisco, CA 94110.

    This poem written on the mural "Family Life and Spirit of Mankind" that he worked on at the Leonard Flynn school is a fitting and eloquent tribute to his memory.



    Luis Cervantes (Nov.1, 1923-April 27, 2005), Painter, Sculptor, Community Treasure - Obituary in Today's SF Chronicle

    San Francisco Chronicle - May 2, 2005
  • Luis Cervantes -- Muralist Who Inspired Generations of Artists

  • Cicero A. Estrella, Chronicle Staff Writer
    Monday, May 2, 2005

    Renowned muralist Luis Cervantes died at his San Francisco home Wednesday after a brief battle with cancer.

    He was 81.

    Mr. Cervantes, co-founder of Precita Eyes Muralists, a Mission District nonprofit that promotes the mural art form, inspired generations of artists.

    "He influenced a lot of Chicano and La Raza artists, and they influenced his work," said his son Luz De Verano Cervantes. "He was passionate about creating a message about one's roots. His murals were often about community, the universal themes of life and transformation and the spirit of family and friends."

    Luis Cervantes and his wife, Susan Kelk Cervantes, opened the New Mission Gallery in the 1960s, and in 1977, they started Precita Eyes Muralists, whose mission is to produce urban community art through collaborations. Mr. Cervantes directed many of the nonprofit's projects, including "The Cross of Quetzalcoatl" at San Francisco State's student union, "The Precita Valley Vision" at the Precita Valley Community Center and "Si Se Puede" at Cesar Chavez Elementary School in San Francisco.

    Mr. Cervantes was born in Santa Barbara. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1942 and served in England, Belgium and France with the 358th Engineer General Service Regiment. Mr. Cervantes was among the invasion forces at Normandy on D-Day.

    After World War II, Mr. Cervantes moved to San Francisco and found work as a custom mattress maker with the McRoskey Airflex Mattress Company, his employer until his retirement in 1992. He served as president of the San Francisco Furniture Workers Union for two years.

    Mr. Cervantes used his G.I. Bill scholarship to study sketching and sculpture at San Francisco State College and ceramic sculpture at the College of Marin and the San Francisco Art Institute. His sculptures have been shown at the M.H. de Young Museum and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

    Mr. Cervantes, who abandoned ceramic sculptures in the 1970s to concentrate on painting with acrylics, taught at the Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco State, the Galeria De La Raza and other venues.

    In 1990, he and his wife participated in the Ecological Arts Collaboration, a cultural exchange between American and Russian artists. The couple visited Russia three times and produced two murals in St. Petersburg and one in Moscow.

    Mayor Gavin Newsom proclaimed April 6 "Luis and Susan Cervantes Day," and May is Mural Awareness Month in the Bay Area.

    In addition to Kelk Cervantes and Luz De Verano Cervantes, Mr. Cervantes is survived by sons Suaro and Monte of San Francisco and Stephen of Corralitos (Santa Cruz County); daughter Lorna Dee Cervantes of Boulder, Colo.; brothers Angelo of Las Vegas, Juan of Crawfordville, Fla., and Frank of Lompoc; sister Aurora Cervantes of Santa Barbara; and five grandchildren.

    The family requests that donations and contributions be sent in Mr. Cervantes' memory to Precita Eyes Muralists, 2981 24th St., San Francisco, 94110.

    A public memorial is planned this month.

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