Thursday, December 29, 2005

"Mammatus" - Poem I Wrote For Michael's Clouds

mammatus clouds
Here's Michael's post in its entirety. Visit his blog for active links in this post and and to read more mammatus cloud poems including Michael's fine poem which inspired the voice in this.
Friday, December 23, 2005

Lorna Dee Cervantes, Mammatus

I received an email today from Lorna Dee Cervantes, associate professor of English at the University of Colorado and critically acclaimed poet. It was in response to the challenge to write a poem about the photo of the amazing mammatus clouds that were taken over Hastings, Nebraska in 2004.

Without further adieu, here is Lorna’s submission:

by Lorna Dee Cervantes
* UPDATE: Watch this space for link to poem in upcoming issue of MI POESIAS magazine focusing on women's work. It will include a podcast of me reading the poem. (soon as my voice clears up from this lingering flu) Check out link to current issue and MI PO' Radio. THANKS, DIDI!

Lorna's accomplishments and accolades and awards are numerous. Consider this: Lorna has a PhD in philosophy and aesthetics. She received a Pushcart Prize for Best Poem in 1980; an American Book Award (Before Columbus Foundation) in 1982; Outstanding Chicana Scholar in 1993; two-time National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship Grant for Poetry winner in 1978 and 1993; Lila Wallace/Readers Digest Writer’s Award 1995 - 1998; the Paterson Prize for Best Book of Poetry; the Latino Literature Award, guest poet at the Millennium Poetry Event in the White House in 1999, and just recently was a finalist (along with Reg Saner & Mary Crow) for Poet Laureate of Colorado.

Lorna has authored three books of poetry, two of them award-winning books-- Emplumada and From the Cables of Genocide: Poems on Love and Hunger.  The third book is released this January-- Drive: The First Quartet.

Her poetry has appeared in 200 highly-recognized anthologies and too-numerous-to-count e-zines and magazines. She has performed her poetry twice at the Library of Congress, & also presented at the Walker Arts Center, The Dodge Poetry Festival, New York YMCA, Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Vassar, Wellesley, and numerous other venues, university & college campuses in the US, Mexico, Spain & Colombia.

To read more of her most impressive bio, visit her blog, Lorna Dee Cervantes.

To read more about Lorna Dee Cervantes, please click here, here, and here.

If you are interested in reading some of Lorna’s poetry on the web, I recommend the following:

After the Wake; Poet’s Progress ; Summer Ends Too Soon ; A Blue Wake for New Orleans (which appears in the same publication as my poem "Out of the Lower 9"), and Freeway 280.

11:48:38 PM   | COMMENT [] |

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Tish Hinojosa, Rosana DeSoto & Daniel Valdez in Su Teatro's 'Westside Oratorio'

Friday before last I was steeped in the act of submitting. I was sending out manuscripts of both fiction and poetry: a first for me. I was in a frenzy of meeting postmark deadlines along with package laden holiday mailers. My good friend B called and said she had tickets to Su Teatro's "Westside Oratorio" with Daniel Valdez for that night. I had been meaning to go, but what with the deadlines, and T's mother's accident, I'd forgotten all about it. Since I'd been typing all day, and the night before, I hadn't bathed and was certainly not feeling very social without it. B came by and gave me a ride to the only post office open at the time. Then we came back to my house with not enough time for me to jump in the bath. I was already deciding not to go. It was just too much, and I knew I'd see so many friends I hadn't seen in a while that I would want to talk with -- but without a bath? Besides, we were waiting to hear how T's mother was doing as there was/is a good chance she might be staying with us as she is welcomed to do. I hadn't talked to T yet as he wasn't home from work yet when I'd left. Daniel is an old friend from San Jose. My brother once played with and went on tour with him as he played with Teatro Campesino for several years before that. I really wanted to go but I was exhausted. Then B said: "Tish Hinojosa is going to be there." "TISH? Okay, I'm going." I love Tish Hinojosa. She performed at the Latina Letters Conference a couple of years ago, and I was so thrilled to be on the program that year.

The performance was excellent. Outstanding, really. I found it all quite moving as well. The songs were well-written. Daniel played choral conductor. Everybody was sharp. One truly outstanding performer was a 13 year old singer, Victoria Olona who sang with her sister Jessica who was also good. I met her afterwards and was struck by her obvious intelligence and poise. It so good to see such fresh raw talent. I met her father who said he had brought his daughters to try out for the choir and they put him in there, too. Talented family. I also had the pleasure of meeting the new Chicano novelist, Mario Acevedo who had overheard me talking to someone about my new novel. I brought a few books and saw some people I was hoping to see: Chicano poet & former partner in the Floricanto Colorado project, Ramón Del Castillo (I forgot to tell him that the poem I wrote for him on the occasion of achieving his PhD was in the book) and literary critic & historian, Luis Torres. Afterwards I got a ride home with my friend, musician/ singer Ellen Klaver who was playing in the play, so I got to tag along at the cast party that was hosted by artists Maruca and Daniel Salazar in their beautiful Denver home.

Friday's performance was a special one with guest actors Jesse Borrego (dreamy) and Rosana DeSoto along with Tish. Jesse was incredible in that they were all just flown in that day and had little rehearsal time, but Jesse fit in seamlessly and was an excellent actor and singer. At the party, B pulls me over to Rosana saying, "This is the actress I was telling you about who is from San Jose." I'm generally shy and socially inept, so I'm sure I had one of those moments. I don't remember, Rosana kept us laughing too much. I liked that she admired my stone beaded necklace I got in Isla Mujeres from "the Bead Ladies" for five bucks-- I like anyone who likes rocks. Later, towards the end of the party, Tish, Daniel & Rosana went outside (oh yeah, it was bitter bitter cold and icy that night) to the bonfire. I have always loved Rosana's role as the mother in La Bamba: "My grandpa was a full blood Apache!" At some point it gonged on me that my screenplay has a major role for an older Chicana, Mariposa, which I had always imagined for someone like Elizabeth Peña. DOH! After laughing until my sides hurt, literally, with them around the fire, Rosana started for the house alone to gather her things to leave. "It's now or never," I said to myself, and followed her. I told her about my movie, "PIGMEAT: The Life And Times of Memphis Minnie" and that I was a published poet and professor of creative writing. And that I have been writing this script for twenty years. By the time we got to the house, we talked some more. When I told her about the role in more detail, she got really interested and asked Tony Garcia of Su Teatro to give me her email. Then she wrote on the program for me. Jesse Borrego (dreamy) was there and overheard us, so I started telling him about the script, too, remembering as I did so, that there was also a role for a long-haired Chicano-Indio who is the love interest of the Chicana character. "That's what we need, more strong roles for Chicanas," said Rosana. "And maybe a Chicano production company to produce them," said Jesse. "I'm hoping to sell it to Oprah," I blurted out, then added, "as the movie's about a rural black woman born in Mississippi as was Oprah." "It can happen." He says. "It can happen." I say. "You never know," I say. "You never know," he says."

I go home and work on my script some more. I work out a part for Tish, the "Goin' Back to Texas" scene.

You never know.

(Thanks, B!)

"Unconscious Mutterings #151 On 12/28/05"

  1. Virus:: is us not
  2. Poop: in the scoop. We,
  3. Smart:: Alex and secret
  4. Agent:: allies. We
  5. Wrap:: our
  6. Brass:: with bacon fat, a
  7. Waste of time:: in a democratic age.
  8. Suspicious:: to the taste,
  9. 360:: x-boxed out.
  10. Dummy:: that we are:
    One nation:: divided.

Be your own glue, visit the subliminal horse at La Luna Niña

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

'Slam On' WordWoman Patricia Smith & Other Musings

Thanks to Eduardo Corral for the head's up on Patricia Smith's new blog. Click on link to read her long reflections on slam -- within and without. It's the wonder of blogs to have this bit of history and fact and poetry. And, maybe fifty is a good age to start a blog. Worked for me.

And, while you're there, check out the other entries, in particular her poem on the day of Tookie's state murder:

"Tookie Williams II

regarding the tendencies of steel
to falter, we craft our souls with
softer shouts--bitten wood, paper
tinged with touch, muddied water
kept hard and constant with ice.
we nail together the sides of sloped
boxes which shelter dark hearts
and cool our murderer's blood. but
seasons turn, dams burst, questions
of cock and religion go unanswered.
and a soul twists, wrenches free of
what we would have it be, and hurtles
forward, as blind as a blue note.
but i will coax that mad thing home.
even as it hurtles toward my heart,
crying, slamming a thick vein shut."

~ Patricia Smith

Thanks Eduardo, too, for your intimate musings that set off a very interesting flurry of discussions on submitting poetry. I've been meaning to get in on that but for a 48-hour bout of cooking. One of the reasons I started this blog is that my old website maintained by poet/ writer, Tony Thomas, was zapped into ether by aol last year and criticism & bios were predominating on the net that were written by a 15 year old saying, among other things, that I was quoted as saying that I have a "terror of sending out poems." Huh? I recall telling a story about the first book of poetry I ever wrote, a 78 page manuscript I wrote as a project for an high school English class and had intended to submit to Quinto Sol's annual contest for high school student's. I was speaking to a Denver "failing" school, a special class for unwed mothers, etc., and I may have said that it was enough just to have written the book in the first place, that feeling of achievement and completion (Dewey's Art as Experience) that I never sent the manuscript off to the contest. Decades later, I met co-editor of the the contest, Herminio Rios who tells me that if I had sent it in I would have won, as they had no submissions that year and ended the contest soon after. I have grappled for 25 years with the concept of THE BOOK as it pertains to poetry. That, and the bare fact that I am a pigeon and thus, "pigeon-holed" everywhere I walk as a poet, everywhere I talk as a writer; I have been holding on to individual poems for years as I have wanted to release them in context of THE BOOK and, in particular, these five books, this literary pentych and whatever composition it weaves in someone else's experience of it. Not FEAR. Or lack of confidence in my writing. I release nothing (outside of the blog) unless it is as close to my standards of excellence as I can get it. And sometimes, that doesn't take long. Sometimes it does. I love what Charles has to say about it. I serve the Muse. She doesn't serve me. And I hate that the university has morphed into the corporate model and that Charles' list of what constitutes literary "success" is actually reversed and that publication of first drafts in tiny magazines or university publications are ranked higher than inclusion in major anthologies such as Norton or Heath. 'kaaaaaay.

Someday I'll start & finish my essay "On Jockeys" from the standpoint of the mule.

Meanwhile, I hope your holiday was as fine & relaxing as ours. Although, true, I did stay up cooking for days, literally. (yerba mate tea!) I was a one woman tamalada this year. I also cooked a turkey (24-hour apple cider brine with all spice & bay) with all the fixings, stayed up first night just with the gravy stock. Made 3 batches of cookies with variations: plain butter roll for Little Cups of Loving using ghiradelli chocolate this year instead of homemade strawberry jelly (I'll try apricot jam soon), cream cheese cookies which was also used for crust for a caramel apple tart, and Mexican chocolate cookies with almond extract, cocoa and lots of cinnamon made into sandwiches with ghiradelli milk chocolate chips in between hot cookies. Pozole for the morning. And, of course, frijoles, which I'm about to go refry.

I've been thinking of you, Eduardo, all the time. How fun it would be if you were here, taste-testing and testy telling in the kitchen. Thanks so much for blogging again. And, thanks for the best links, serious and silly. Can't wait for the book.

And, thinking of all my new blog buddies; and of passings, yours and mine. And, passion. As "La Chatelaine, Eileen Tabios says: "Garbage? You wanna feel alive? Try Poetry!"

Here's wishing you all alive. Poetry On! Our greatest gift.

I'm off to submit.

"but I will coax that mad thing home" ~ Patricia Smith

Friday, December 23, 2005

Case You Were Wondering

You scored as The Granola Dyke. Your love for the environment
and passion for your beliefs can be a bit overwhelming at times, but
your friends and family know you mean well.

The Granola Dyke


The Stud


The Student Dyke


The Sprightly Elfin Femme


The Pretty-Boi Dyke


The Femme Fatale


The Surprise! Dyke


The Vaginal-Reference-Making Dyke


The Bohemian Dyke


The Quasi-Gothic Femme


The Magic Earring Ken Dyke


The Little-Boy Dyke


The Hipster Dyke


What Type of Lesbian Are You? (Inspired by Curve Mag.)
created with

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Brokedown Blog

I want to say I've had server & email problems these past week, but the truth is nothing a paid bill wouldn't solve. I forgot that all my net stuff came due at the end of the year. I could get it all deducted from my grand "research" account at the U for all of $1,000 per year, but all the hoops and incompatible net forms are just too much for me to spend my limited time on, especially when I'd rather save it for Isla Mujeres travel to finish my book of translations of Mexican poet, Rafael Burgos Rios. Ditto sending in travel receipts for reimbursement for recent travel. D Dale put a call out on his blog a while back for a personal assistant; I think the Muse of my recent journey into novelling has everything to do with needing to be able to afford one. Heck, La Sandra, at one point, employed a whole village. Poets don't get booking agents and I'm a mess at the sort of stuff -- when it pertains to me. And, being a former editor and publisher, I've generated and accumulated several forests of paper over the past 30-35 years. And no filing to speak of other than bouts of hyper-Virgo organization which was probably coordinated with certain phases of Venus and the sun.

And right now I'd just rather write.

Well, with no access to blogs & multimedia & minimum access to several email accounts, it was a good time to try and clean my house. I'm making tamales. Real ones. With taboo meat. Sent out holiday cards -- only second time in a lifetime. Didn't get to layout and print up my holiday hay(na)ku card, maybe next year. Send me your address and I'll put you on my LD holiday card list. So spent the time getting my addresses together, thinking of family and friends, sending out submissions ("invitations to consider"), printing and typing up manuscripts, and, most important, cleaning my office studio which resembles nothing as much as Francis Bacon's studio now catalogued and archived by archeologists and reproduced down to the pizza boxes in its own gallery (fotos to follow).
Bacon's studio looks like mine
I spent yesterday wrapping presents and returning some extra relief items I bought for Isla -- too expensive to mail and I don't know when I'll be able to get there myself; I'd been hoping to spend this month there and in California. Spent one day wrapping presents. Used part of the time to figure out how I made such a mess of my template, I can't read my own blog on my other computers and servers. I'm afraid to change it for fear of losing comments; but I have a new & improved rainbow version of it, with everybody hanging out in different rooms. I could never get organized until I hit on the rainbow -- it's all one big Mundo to me. Pagan 'til the Dead do me dance.

"We're not poor, we're just broke," my son reminds me. T leaves me a check this morning with a nice T-note: "Hey Sweetie, A bit of cash so you can have your light to write on again. Get a tree too maybe. I love you, Your T" written all in cholo T caps: the "E"s are two horizontal lines and a check.

Buy my book. Maybe even buy from it from me. More are in the mail for your holiday cheer.

And, thanks for 24,000 hits since Cinco de Mayo. (Me to T: Who ARE these people?) Send me your address. Don't think I already have it because I've probably lost it. Help me get organized! You'll be filed under blue for friend and yellow for poet, red if you're a former student, faculty or educator, and violet if you represent an org. See how cool that is? I've got a double rainbow going. Help me keep blogging, get in my green file and buy a book. You can send an email to me at my new domain:



Ms. Billie Blake AKA Barbara Jane Reyes

Just had to steal this bit of Intuitive Intertextuality from poet/ poetry impresario supreme: Oscar Bermeo of too cool poetry Academy Award Winner, Ms. Barbara Jane "Lipstick Looper" Reyes AKA "William Blake" reincarnated doing what I hope y'all are doing for the holidays: Buying and reading a good book. Now, you know, for an excellent one-two punch pairing I'd go with Gravities of Center & a gift certificate for Poeta en San Francisco along with a brand new book which is five books in one from this poeta de San Francisco, Lorna Dee Cervantes, DRIVE, for the perfect Kwaansa gift for someone on your list (Love & Communication). Throw in anything by Martín Espada and a reading light & you have a great basket of Three Kings on my favorite holiday, Dia de los Tres Reyes (after payday!) Throw in a book by poets Yusef Komunyaaka and Joy Harjo & include her new cd of songs and your favorite goodies and you have an excellent family basket for anytime at all. Hey, to make it seasonal and cross-cultural to boot, add Beach Boy Brian Wilson's new Christmas CD and Scottish poet/ songwriter, Dougie MacLean (I'd suggest Craigi Hu but I don't know how to spell it so the LIVE CD will do.)

This year put some inter into your personal text. Give the gift that lasts: WORDS.

ps. Barbara, I'd love to read with you. My server & email have been down until today. Modern Times would be ideal. And UC Berkeley. Sending email soon. Hope to catch you & Jean at Cody's. Looks like April-May in Cal for me. My fantasy would be reading with you in New York at Louder Arts. Anytime. Poetry On, Sister-No-Sisyphus.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Much As I Hate To Admit It, I Am. . .

You are Lucy!

Which Peanuts Character are You?
brought to you by Quizilla
sigh. . . never the Little Red Haired Girl

"Unconscious Mutterings #150 On 12/19/05"

  1. Replenish:: the vase,
  2. People:: or flowers,
  3. Trend:: setting sun or
  4. Girlfriends:: on the beach.
  5. Spirit:: screams, a willing
  6. Banshee:: on the scene,
  7. Oasis:: long avoided,
  8. Thrills:: of do it yourself or die, that
  9. Fountain:: of the heart,
  10. Boxes:: and boxes of pleasure that
Redeem:: the face.

Shovel your own walk at La Luna Niña where it's always sublimely subliminal.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

from: MEMPHIS MINNIE, GENOCIDE, AND IDENTITY POLITICS: A Conversation With Lorna Dee Cervantes

Found this shout out today from the Representation Show. I'm glad this resonates with someone. ~ LDC
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ (site still under construction, so check back soon)

"What happens in some English departments is that instead of sticking to actual conditions and relations--or, in other words: history--it becomes about how smart you are. Who has the superior intellect? Who has the superior vision? Who is playing tennis with all the right people? I'm not talking ego. I'm saying look at the conditions of power. Look at the conditions and look at the relations. Soon everyone is fighting and in competition for the little crumbs of grants and little travel disbursements and they are spending all their time writing proposals. It becomes this thing where you have to assert yourself in the half-light, again, of what Kunitz called "the tyranny of the single idea." Identity politics. Multiculturalism. Political correctness. Who has the right interpretation? Is it modernity, or is it postmodernity? And postmodernism is not even a thing! It is not a movement, it is not an artistic style, it is not an anything. It is not a noun. It is not a verb. It is a condition. A consciousness. And it is a gestalt consciousness. A gestalt is like one of those black and white drawings you find in a book of optical illusions. Sometimes you see a face and sometimes you see a vase. That's why I keep saying you have to dwell among actual conditions and relations."

--Lorna Dee Cervantes

located the Lorna Dee Cervantes link above.

copyright 2003 - Michigan Quarterly Review

Southwest radio since 2000,

Happy Birthday, Lonnie Brooks, Keith Richards & Don Santiago Jimenez!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

"Unconscious Mutterings #149 On 12/15/05"

  1. Stalker:: leafer
  2. Outrageous:: leaving
  3. Carrying:: on
  4. Spirited:: to the jiffy.
  5. Oh!:: My, give the
  6. Grid::  line it up all man and
  7. Country:: Give it up all
  8. Karen:: and the quid,
  9. Candles:: and a moonlit walk
  10. Relationship:: out to sea
and hurricane.

Give your own piece of mind at the Subliminal Luna Nina.

Right Brainer Dead Ahead

right brain dead ahead
You're right brain oriented! Some characteristics
that might describe you are: random, intuitive,
holistic, synthesizing, subjective, and you look at the whole picture
rather than the details. You are generally more
creative and artistic than the typical left
brainer and prefer music over logic. You are
more spontaneous, and you look at similarities
rather than differences. You prefer the female
family members over the male and are more
future oriented. You don't like feeling
incapable or being incorrect, and often avoid
responsibility. One of your worst fears would
be to be left completely alone in the world.
Some things you might need to work on: take
responsibility (it may prove beneficial),
finish projects/jobs, and make/meet goals.
Please rate if you liked it!

Are You More Left or Right Brain Oriented?
brought to you by Quizilla

uh, yup

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Happy Birthday Deford Bailey

'Mi Casa es tu casa' - La Casa de la Ant-I Dote

Click here to view my house

Thanks to Anne Haines for this bit of diversion. ("very tidy" BWA-HA-HA!) Come see neat houses. Get into your own ant's imagination. Guaranteed to be cheaper than your next mortgage.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

What Kind of Pie Am I?

You Are Mud Pie

You're the perfect combo of flavor and depth

Those who like you give into their impulses

Who Was I Listening to 30 Years Ago?

Who was I listening to 30 Years Ago?

Who was I listening to 20 Years Ago?

Who was I listening to 10 Years Ago?

Who was I listening to 5 Years Ago?

Who was I listening to 1 Year Ago?

Who was I listening to Yesterday?

This Guy
Dougie MacLean
(click photo)

After hearing "Caledonia" play on the radio 30 years ago, I called my husband at work and told him about it and he stopped on his way home and bought me the album: Caledonia. (Substitute "California" for "Caledonia" when you hear it. I noticed Dougie is reading my mind. Yesterday, he put up "Caledonia" in his listening booth.) I have old time friends who ask me, first thing, "Are you still listening to Dougie MacLean?" Yes! More soon on Me & Dougie, the Muse.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Me MeMe Me Meme Me On Time - Take Four

"What Was I Doing. . .?"

  • 30 Years Ago

  • 20 Years Ago

  • 10 Years Ago

  • 5 Years Ago - I am 46 years old. The December before, T & and I buy a house together. I sell my house in Boulder and find another for us that has northern light for T's painting studio -- it is hard to find such a light in Boulder where north windows are not smart thermodynamics. I find a 2-story box of a house in a neighborhood with excellent schools (art-math-music) with a finished basement and two fireplaces: one, gas, in the living-room which for years I am afraid to light, and another wood burning one in the basement: perfect for Y2K so "when the grid goes down" we're set -- plenty southwest sun. I wake up EARLY in this house. "I'm turning into my grandmother," I think. And the thought pleases me. This time in December, six years ago, I am handing T a cashiers check for $90,000 made out to him, and for an instant, I think: "This may be the biggest mistake of my life." I have sold my first house, the one with the 40 foot blue spruce the cats love, garden (established cumfrey!), and kitchen with the wall painted "mastodon blood red" for the appetite. I HATE TO MOVE but I do. Bryce from Wings Press calls periodically. We have other business, anthology permissions, Daughters of the Quinto Sol (or whatever the conference was called before "Latina Letters") and I am sure he asks, again, for a book. I have resurrected MANGO Publications and have decided to publish my own limited edition of DRIVE, and I have already published a limited run of BOOK III: PLAY the summer before; the summer before I decide to decide and choose T as my last move never after. I am laying out "How Far's the War" and plan to job the printing and specially made box out to a professional, but want to do as much of it myself as I can, and all of the design. Bryce asks: "WHY?" And it gongs in my head for the next 3 years in a way that paralyzes me. But I have enough to do with unpacking. T uses the money to pay off his old mortgage & sells his house. I joke that the closing is our wedding day. We decide to keep me out of it as T's credit rating is spotless and mine is, well, as only a semiotician who distrusts the symbol in general could be. I get pregnant right away. We're delighted and I spend the first 3 months of 2000 reading baby books, eating well and calculating the development of neurons. In March I miss direct involvement in a search for a cw position for the first time as I have a miscarriage. I get monitored every day for 2 weeks prior. Towards the end, when it seems inevitable, I go to Planned Parenthood for the testing. The older nurse who draws my blood is the only one who thinks to say: "I'm sorry." I am so grateful to her. I have already been to emergency. I am to return when I "expel the remains" but I use a potent herb instead. I am confident I know what I am doing, and know that this is the only way I can assure pregnancy in the future. I know, too, that I could hemorrhage and die. I miss my mother and my grandmother terribly. The cramps begin late at night. I wake up T and take the tincture; it tastes appropriately bitter. I go in the bathroom, mine in the bedroom, and scream into a towel. My son has school in the morning; I don't want to have to wake him for a scary ride to emergency. He doesn't know about the baby. I call the doctor, mine is on vacation. It is horrible and painful. I feel ever brave for it. I go back to bed at dawn. It takes me a while to recover. Meanwhile, my body goes through all the stages and changes for full-term pregnancy anyway. I can't stay awake for my child's reading every night. I wake often, around 2 am, to find I have fallen asleep in his bed. Every night since he was born I have read to him. I dream into the book and we erupt into peals of laughter later remembering. I am reading a Magic School Bus Book where they go to a coral reef contaminated by a chain and a metal treasure chest. I am reading the part about sharks and dreaming of lampreys and nurse sharks while I read. I get it mixed up with another book in the series, about traveling through the human body and phagocytes, and who knows. I don't know what I read and he says something, and I point to the picture of the shark and say, "This is what we have in our bodies." "WHAT!!!?" He screams. I laugh. And realize I've been hallucinating my own book. That summer he has a swimming accident in daycare while I am teaching summer school. My son has been submerged and has an extreme fear of water. Two weeks later he is attacked by the neighbor's Rottweiller. She brings him over with a torn cheek. We have a tearful (me) time in emergency, hours when I realize he would have been better off with my prompt herbal attention. They bring in a plastic surgeon. He gives my son a horse tranquilizer, some kind of weird psychotropic not normally used on humans, ketamine, I think. I ask the surgeon about it. He writes the name down on a slip of paper I hold out to him, and gives me a "look lady, I can just walk out right now" kind of attitude about it. So I let him. He clips a long clump of flesh from my son's extraordinarily good-looking cheek. Then he takes the stitches out too soon. The two traumas have affected my son. It merges with my "illness" and my time in bed, and he becomes very morbid. He has a great fear of sharks. He's afraid they will somehow end up in his bath. He asks me a lot if I'm going to die. We talk a lot about "El Mundo" and that we are the earth. I find a box of seeds five years expired. They had belonged to T's former partner who had died getting hit on her bicycle by a drunk driver. She was an acquaintance of mine from the Peace Center, I had considered her a newly made friend at the time of her death. Now her old seeds. She was a master gardner. Me, I'd just follow my grandmother around in California and do whatever she'd say: "Just throw it in the ground. Water it. It likes to grow." I spend the summer outside in our new backyard which is bare. I read her gardening books. Her notebooks and labels. And cry. I plant the seeds after the books all say they will never grow, thinking of my expired seed, and the baby T & I will never have. T sends me to Isla for my birthday. I spend it there, alone. That summer, before the trip, I am sitting in the yard, crying over the seedlings that have all germinated, and I remember "chaya". I remember that chaya may have saved our baby from miscarriage as it had saved my son 6 years before. I spend a long journey of botanical research. It is as if the plant is speaking to me. It takes me several years later to realize that this time five years ago, I am very depressed.

    1 Year Ago - I am the BIG 5-0. I spend a sweet holiday with T at home. And, year. I miss California. I have missed applying to several good positions there, positions I have been invited to apply for. I want to stay in Colorado. With T. We were married, that July 30, Blue Moon. We got our own license and certificate and hiked up Green Mountain, sat facing Boulder and our house and signed the form; I imagine the trees officiate as "they have memories longer than ours." That fall I am "sick as a dog" and have been, intermittently for years. I can't stop throwing up and go to the emergency room periodically that year for fluids and tests. That fall break, I am 89 pounds. I look deathly ill. People turn away when I see them staring at me. I am barely strong enough to go to the store. Bryce is publishing DRIVE and for the first time in decades, the press is turned down for an NEA grant. I think I know why. I have an "unpublishable" poem in DRIVE. I figure this gives me more time to work on the books. It is very difficult trying to *finish* one book much less five simultaneously. I write over 50 poems, not counting revisions and screenplay. I decide to use the Eliot quotes. I find the perfect cover, a painting by a painter who had had a profound influence on me 35 years ago when I was still a teen. "The Bus" by Irving Norman. I don't mind the delay in publication. I get another poor review due to my illness and delayed publication date. I don't get another raise and am placed on probation. I decide I need to take a medical leave upon the advice of my Chair. I never know when I will be sick and when I will be well. And when I am sick I can do nothing but retch every 10 minutes day and night for days on end until emergency room we do depart for, and I figure that does not make for good pedagogy. I miss California. I send my father & family a basket, and my regrets that I won't be able to come for the holidays. I miss tamales and tamaladas. I miss throwing big dinner parties for friends. I cook a lot, recipes from Bon Appetit and old favorites. I make tamales. My son has the "best Christmas ever." So do I. T is happy. So am I.

    Yesterday: Take One - I had my reading yesterday, first time I had read for the program in 15 years. I can't help but read from the new novel. It's all I hear. Besides, I know I'll be reading soon from the new book, DRIVE, and I make a little joke about it being 25 years in the writing and I am already sick of it. I have a new manuscript of poetry that I have just printed up. I bring that to the reading, too. I am mesmerized by Marcia Douglas's new book, Notes From A Writer's Book of Cures and Spells. She reads exquisitely. I read the Ancestors poem with the Chumash rattle. Then launch into the novel. What the heck. I wanted to debut the book with the performance pieces, with musicians, but I would have had to pay them. Not that I would have minded, if I could have afforded it this month, but it's snowing and bitterly cold. I don't expect anyone to show up. But they do. I've been asked to present a reading next spring for Ethnic Studies. I will debut the book then. I end my reading with the new Neruda poem, "Sleeping Around." I like that we are all so different from each other. I have always believed the university's motto: "Excellence in Diversity." I'm not about limiting the conditions of possibility.

    Yesterday: Take Two - Yesterday it was too cold for anything. I spent the day actually organizing my bookmarks. I actually marked and organized "lifelines" -- dates for submitting poems. I am almost tongue-in-cheek submitting this year, not because I am not serious about this new work, but that I feel a little put upon as an artist to be forced to succumb to the system of gathering "Brownie Points" by scatter-shooting individual poems out to little mags and journals -- and *losing my first rights to my own poems* -- when I get no credit for having poems included in the Nortons or other texts and anthologies from major presses. My poetic thrust (yeah, I'll write that, y que?) has always been THE BOOK. I get invites to submit to mags almost weekly. There's only so many hours in a day, and my priority has always been students. And so I submit to student mags. I have lots of new poems in this new manuscript that have *not* been on the blog, and which I'm really excited about. I like them. (Editors: Want any?)

    Yesterday: Take Three - Yesterday we went to go hear Otis Taylor & Charlie Musselwhite. Yowza, Do old blues guys ever get old? I take my position in the front of the stage and start dancing at the first note. This is my favoritest thing to do in the world: Dance to Charlie Musselwhite. Or, dance to any blues. Or, dance. "Blues? You dance to that? I thought that was just music you cry to into your beer," an old love of my life once told me. I LOVE dancing to blues. I LOVE dancing to Charlie Musselwhite. I love Otis Taylor, too, so two in one, and Motet and Papa (something), too, all great. I gotta do this more often. Gets my yayas out. Two different people stop me and tell me I am an "awesome dancer." T sits this one out. ("I was dancing in my seat.") And I get The Look from several. A good night.

    Yesterday: Take Four - Yesterday I washed dishes. I cooked something then went to do a reading for a benefit to buy land for women's indigenous ceremonies. It was at the Perk & Pub in Denver. Ellen Klaver, who I rode up with, played and sang some original songs. She has the most amazing voice. Look for her CDs. Another woman who reads regularly at Cafe Cultura, where I'd like to go, if I drove as it's hard to get there from Boulder at night, otherwise. I think they are doing incredible work there. Check out their MySpace website here -- I did and opened up my own MySpace. The reading went well; it feels odd to read from the new book, especially with all the last minute changes, I forget where poems are -- there's so many to choose from. So many styles and strategies. Rocky Rodriguez has organized it. She's been an influence and a role model to me for over 30 years. I give her a book and sign it to that effect. It feels good to be there. Ellen dances in the indigenous women's danzante group. The drummer is really good. It cuts right through me, straight to the DNA. I have always wanted to join a danzante group. It feels like home. I need to get out more.

    Yesterday: Take Five - Yesterday I did what I do every Sunday: get up, check email, read my blogs (that is, your blogs), come down, hug T, and settle in to read the paper with T and listen to Cancion Mexicana. Then, it's Chicano music all day long -- no matter what kind of music it is. I listen to Pocho Joe and later, Latin music. Then, Reggae. I cook a frittata that's more like a Spanish tortilla. I invite my old friend, and now, Nanny, N for dinner. He was with us for Thanksgiving and I have a turkey pot pie in the freezer. I make a corn chowder/ mushroom soup blend. He make yummy sounds all through the meal. I'm writing a script for a sit-com pilot in my head: "N the Nanny" about a genius hippy drop-out guy from NY in Boulder who finds himself a nanny for an old friend. N knows everyone. When the Dylan special aired, N says, "I sold my truck to Joan Baez. They were living in. . .". It would make a great sit-com. Very unique. We're quiet and bummed out. Right before N came T got a call from his sister. His 86 year old mother has just fallen and broken her hip. She is in the hospital in Pueblo because Trinidad doesn't have one. We should be going down soon.

    I'm off to deliver my son's cello to him at school. Thanks for the memories. I'm devouring all of your accounts. And if you haven't, now, do you.

    Sunday, December 11, 2005

    Me MeMe Me Meme Me On Time - Take Three

    Ten Years Ago - I am 41. I am my own greatest fear: a single mother -- with a one year old. I am also what I have always wanted to be -- an university professor. I'm still ecstatic over my job: I love my colleagues. I'm not teaching that year. I had received another NEA fellowship grant for poetry and spent most of my time in a place that becomes my second home, Isla Mujeres, Mexico -- after having left the alcoholic poet I was living with after he told me, the day I received my acceptance letter from the NEA: "Well, you know, the only reason you got it is that you're a Chicana." (Yes, he didn't get it.) I conceive my child in Mexico despite two sure fire methods of birth control. My third week of pregnancy, I greet Yemaya, La Caribe, as I do every morning I am there as my little house looks directly out at el Mar from my writing desk, and I hear a voice emitting from the wooden window frame: "You're pregnant, Lorna. And this boy will be. And it will be good." Extremely trippy, as I am not in the habit of hearing voices. But I am. And it is. I've been a Visiting Scholar at the University of Houston at the Center for Mexican American Studies. I am working with a small group of Chicana/Tejana writers I love, including Carolina Monsivais. My time in Houston influences me for the rest of my life. I LOVE TEXAS! I consider moving there permanently, and half-heartedly apply for a position but sabbotage my own efforts. Besides, I bring my newborn to the interview and I am stupid from breast-feeding. I don't believe my body really wants to live there, in the Temple of Petrol, that is. And, it's hot. That March Selena dies. I grieve with the world it seems. I go down to my favorite taqueria and eat tacos de lengua while my baby nurses publicly but discretely under a thin silk Indian scarf listening to my baby's "song": "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom" except that I sing it while I'm changing diapers: "Bitty, Bitty Bum Bum." Except for singing, I speak Spanish, exclusively, to my baby. I read Neruda's poems to him every day, he prefers them. I am under the wing of Roberta Fernandez. I'm "housed" in English, in the Creative Writing Program. My office there feels very lonely. When I am not hired for the position in Creative Writing, the students stage a protest and march. I'm on the flyers holding my baby at one week old, his long monkey feet dangling and curling on the side. I look like I don't know how to hold a baby. I write most of BIRD AVE and poems for "How Far's the War?" and Hard Drive. I live in the Montrose area, as I am a lifetime non-driver living in the Temple of Petrol and this is the closest I can get to the health food store. I drink double shots of wheat grass in carrot juice daily as I have discovered chaya on Isla Mujeres, which saves my baby from a miscarriage in process, and I crave the nutrients. I gave birth to my baby (dar la luz) like a cat in my apartment with a midwife and assistants. At 10 months old he says his first sentence. He's checking out a new red sportscar, or something, maybe a Jag, in the bank parking lot in Houston. I say, "Oh? You like that car? Red car. Red car." "Cool car!" He says, with expression. I return to Colorado that summer (August?) where I'm joined by my baby's father who takes an active role as co-parent. He sleeps on my couch in the living room. We've never gotten along. Nor ever loved each other. I believe I will never have passion in my life again. I am resigned to it. Home that summer, I am opening a mound of mail. In it is a letter from the Lila-Wallace/ Readers Digest Foundation. I've just been awarded a surprise grant out of the blue giving me $105,000 along with another $35,000 for a community interaction project of my choice over a 3-year period during which I am not to work -- but do whatever I want. I burst into tears thinking about how I was wondering how I was going to manage my child by myself while going back to work. "Quién murio?" My baby's father asks, "Who died?" I instantly know what I am going to do: Floricanto Colorado/ honor Lalo. I remember a time, long ago, when I dreamt an envelop stuffed with wads of unfamiliar presidents -- a time when I thought Carlos Castaneda was going to help me. That year I carry my baby around with me everywhere in a floral sling and later in a purple back-pack. I do my first reading, a fundraiser for the CW Program at Houston at the McNeil Art Museum; my baby is 10 days old, worn in the sling in front of me while I read, rocking side to side slightly. I go to a party after Sandra Cisnero's reading. I spend the time talking to Paul Rodriguez, the comedian, and he tells me" "This is what it's all about" as my baby sleeps in the sling about 3 am. I take my baby to Spain, to Tasco, to Laguna de Bacalar. I take my baby back to the place of conception and feed him avocados. I take him with me across the country, New York to California and 12 states inbetween. On Thanksgiving I go back home, to California, because I can, just me and my baby. We go to the sea, the Pacific ocean where I thank her, Yemaya. I go to show the sea lions under "Andy's" on the wharf. We get our picture taken with Santa on the wharf, in the California winter sun. I stop a passer-by and have her take a picture of us in the sunset. If I had cards they would read: Have baby. Will travel.

    Friday, December 09, 2005

    Me MeMe Me Meme Me On Time - Take Two

    20 Years Ago - I am 31. I'm having a hard time handling my mother's rape, murder & arson case in November of 1982; The house insurance and property dispute takes a long time to resolve. I'm handling that. I spend a long time hanging out in the house. I have ripped ceilings down. Stripped walls. Cleared rubble. Gutted. Drawn elaborate plans for the rebuilding. I spend a lot of time sitting in my mother's bedroom, my old room. I can't do much, because of the insurance. But, it's a total loss. I have to fight the insurance company. I don't get the insurance for lack of a document. But I find a handwritten will. I am living in Santa Cruz. I am writing my qualifying exam for candidacy for a doctorate in History of Consciousness: "On Subjectivity, Subjugation, Subjectivization, and Its Subject; Or, Memphis Minnie Meets the Text of the State." After spending what I refer to as "6 months watching the plants die" in 1983 I decided to go back to school. I earn a degree with high honors in Creative Arts from San Jose State. My new Guru, Stanley Kunitz, gives a reading at San Jose State which is really a talk -- he's reading from notes for A Kind Of Order, A Kind of Folly -- and I am inspired to pursue a lifelong ambition: to get training as a philosopher. I had studied with Stanley in Port Townsend paid for with my NEA grant in '76, then I followed him to the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown in '78 where I was an honored Fellow (I was awarded a special Fellowship) as NYC was just too much for me and my girl to live in, so I never pursued studying with him at Columbia, although I did make the trip and spoke to Carol Muske and Dan Halpern about the program. (Dan tried to steer me into the Translation Program). So, in 1985 I am well into the program. My husband and I are both in denial over the fact that we have separated. He had a hard time handling my handling of a hard time and tells me to "knock it off" because I am crying. Me, having always been the strong, and somewhat stoic one, for all my obvious passion, and maybe, intensity. I have a new Guru, Hayden White, my mentor. I am ecstatic in all ways to be in the program and to have him as my mentor. I realize I am a semiotician. I realize I realize the Political Unconscious. I watch Fred from a distance as he walks through the campus. I don't want to study with him, just his words. I am focusing on the rhetoric of the signified and the anti-aesthetic. My field is axiology, the theory of values. I am studying the art of the Weimer Republic and the "encounter" in the New World while attempting to construct some system of indigenous American philosophy. I already know Memphis Minnie. Hayden calls me "brilliant" and tells his new Theories & Methods class to ask me about symbol and "The Political Unconscious." I am team-teaching a course I love, "Values and Change In A Diverse Society" which is the Core Course for Oakes College. I hang out with old barrio artist friends from San Jo. I am actively involved in a search and excited over the prospect of bringing Teresa de Lauretis; I lobby hard for her. I decide a Sicilian feminist critic is the next best thing to a Chicana prof. I have been studying with David Hoy, "Mr. Impeccable," extensively. I am half in love with Jed Rasula. I like Tabula Rasala. We have an odd private reading where no one knows what to say to the other. We talk a lot about what later becomes his tome. We have a platonic friendship, we're both married, and I refer to him as "a laser beam." I have withdrawn from everybody. Norton is calling my house incessantly requesting a bio as I have been selected for inclusion in one of their major anthologies. I let the phone ring, sign for the registered letters I never answer. I secretly decide that this is certified proof of my madness. I gave up poetry after my mother's murder. I was never going to write again as "Poetry isn't possible in this world." And, I was never again going to use my personal life in a poem. Much less write a bio. Or, answer the phone. I decide if I'm going get all catatonic I might as well put a book in front of my face (just kidding) (sort of) having never been self-destructive; i.e., an alcoholic or drug addict. My chosen method of escape is the Word. I read around the clock: Hegel, Kant, Klor de Alva, Foucault, Derrida, "the whole football team" I say. I never know if it's morning or night. I work at least 5 hours a day on my coursework. I love it. One night I went up on the balcony, by the mouth of the San Lorenzo where it meets the ocean in a frolic of sea lions, and it was very very late. I looked up at the sky, thinking of my childhood "star trips" and as I'm "starring up" I hear a voice in my head, maybe a cadence with words: "MAAAAANnnn, it was tough/ to know it all/ and we haven't learned anything/ since" and I decided to write it down. The Muse, whomever she is, has a Muse of her own, as well as a mind. I secretly think it has something to do with channelling. I'm writing a novel and a screenplay, and my husband tells me not to "prostitute my talent." After that first poem, BIRD AVE, the rest come on their own, mostly late at night (wolves' hour) like the next to come, an overly long narrative entitled "To David Without Goliath From Penny Glass" which is the one I read to Jed. Then, comes the majority of the poems that make up my next book. I get the idea of a literary tryptic. Come to think of it, most of the poems written, not many, have something to do with stars. I am more a puppet of the poetry, rather than a flesh and blood poet. Only two people in the world know where I am: my husband and my housemate, Francisco Alarcon -- I consider him my best friend. I am working in a print shop to pay for it all, part time and summer. I love it, but the guys are cruel. One young guy gets mad at me because I can fix the presses faster than the repair man can arrive. I am a member of Chicano Social Workers and print up things for people as donation work. I like working with my hands, but I become aware that in a day's work, I am exposing myself to 21 known carcinogenic substances. Oh well, I make good money. I trade hour per hour for use of equipment. I have trouble with odd pains in my stomach, "On Day of the Dead" I have an extraordinary encounter with Carlos Castaneda, a man I was sure I would meet when I first read him as an adolescent. I present a reading at Northridge and he surprises the prof at her door by saying, "You have someone coming whom I want to meet." She hasn't advertised the reading. I "dream" his presence in my room talking to me all night before I actually meet him. When we meet for dinner, after "Hello," he asks me: "How did you dream last night?" I smile and say, "It was very interesting." He talks a lot about love and his real father. He signs my book, which I miraculously happen to have with me as i was then constructing my system of philosophy so was rereading everything about him including the books: "Freedom is expensive, but the price is not impossible to pay." And attributes the quote to Don Juan. We close out the restaurant and at midnight we're in the parking lot. He tells me, "You know, I have lost my power. But, I'll help you." His eyes shine intensely, a definite gaze and glow, as he lightly but firmly applies pressure on my left shoulder. I feel as if a snake is uncoiling in my belly as a sharp pain in my stomach, a pain I was deciding I needed to see a doctor about, vanished forever. Later, when I get back from the trip, I dream an envelope full of money. I think I'm going to get money. I'm very poor. I am an internationally acclaimed poet. I am withdrawing more and more from everyone and everything. But, books.

    Thursday, December 08, 2005

    Me MeMe Me Meme Me On Time

    Got this from a beautiful bloom in disguise as a green sticker plant, commonly known as an Artichoke Heart via where ever you are as You Are Here and with Twice the Rice thinking of Decembers past and yesterdays which is where it was all first served up in Blogville. I was inspired to it by A.D. Thomas, another Quick Delete McPete, so watch him, more good poems killed there than at the corner bar -- I hope that means we'll see them in print soon. And to T. Ballard for giving me the idea to extend this timeline, seeing as how I'm older than the internet but still not as old as Ron -- haha. ~ LDC

    30 Years Ago - I am 21 years old and have been living on my own since I was 17. I am almost 3 years into a relationship & marriage which is magical. There's nothing like going to sleep and waking up with someone you want to be with more than anyone else on earth, and holding that person and having him/her hold you back as if they're thinking the same thing. Blissful. That's how I think of it. For all it's clumsiness. At 19 I had an instant family when his father died and we took in his little sister as our own child. I'm organizing readings for the Centro Cultural de la Gente. My brother plays music for Teatro Campesino & Daniel Valdez. He plays music for the Teatro de la Gente. I'm no longer acting with Teatro Conciente with whom I had traveled to Mexico (my first time) from San José City College, as it was called then. I've been reading with my mentors, Tony (José Antonio) Burciaga and Bernice Zamora a lot, both of whom are holding regular tertulias at their houses which I think of as "Salons" in the French sense. Beginning that December I will embark on a reading schedule that will have me read 320 times out of 360 days as I am sometimes giving 2 or 3 readings a day. I still catch the sunset every night and remember to bid the sun goodnight. I can still whistle the second movement of Mozart's Concerto in D Major which is like my signature piece, it's so light and optimistic: idealistic. Hubby & I go to demos. My idol is José Montoya. I hang out with Merritt Clifton who offers to teach me everything he knows (about publishing & do-it-yourself-printing). I have 2 gurus: Virginia De Araujo whose workshop, London Meadow I started attended in the Santa Cruz Mountains at 18, soon out of high school after an acting friend from hs told me about it but warned me, "They don't take any No-Talent-Bums." I would ride that death-trip every thursday night over the winding fast hiway 17 and that hairpin cut-off turn off the exit -- Do it right or die. I would think of her as at least 6 foot tall. AT LEAST. I saw her hauling trees off the road, chopping half a wood-shed full of wood in a day. I thought of her as brilliant and strong. She was. I love her. And, she scares me to death. A creative writing instructor at Stanford at the time; and I am the youngest member of the workshop and live in secret fear for years that I am a "NTB." Every week someone in the workshop cries, and, it's not over content. My other Guru is just called that: My Guru. He has no other name. I first hear him at the Foothill Writer's Conference and I feel such an overwhelming affinity for his work that I leave the reading in the middle of it (something I have only done that once) and go into the bathroom and write "Poema para los Californios Muertos," which seems like a break-through for me. When I go back to the reading he, Robert Hass, is reading a line about seeing birds rise from the Palo Alto marshland. I write his name down & the fact that he teaches at San Jose State. I had already tried to sit in on a class there with Harold Norris who was SO by the book that he threw me out of class, me knowing it would never have happened if I were a boy. Bob just took roll the first class, looked at me, the only colored girl in the class sitting in the front right hand row, and when I didn't respond, he just shrugged his shoulders, asked me my name, and wrote it down on his roll sheet. I go back to class every tuesday night for 5 years. I think by 1975 I have given in and enrolled in the university. I am a New College major, (I was an english major, then linguistics, then liberal arts.) I design my own courses: Latin American literature, history of independent publishing in America, a poetry manuscript, Chicano art (muralismo). I work with a guy called Hank Heifetz (I think.) He is an interesting poet (very NY) and a good person to work with at this time. I finish writing Beneath the Shadow of the Freeway in Naomi Clark's class. I drop out, I think we both drop out, my husband and I, (he's an economics major, my opposite complement). I go to work in a CB radio factory where he has been working as a Quality Control inspector. My job is clipping leads all day, the little silver wires that stick out of the components after they are soldered. My hands hurt at the end of the day. I sit in a group with 6 women. All of the women are Chicana, although some deny it. They all hate me. I'm overly political and have a weird vocabulary. I spend my lunches alone at my table eating macrobiotic stuff I bring and reading Camus, Simone d B & Sartre's No Exit, just for the irony. One day they are all discussing moving to Canada if (?) (Nixon?) (Reagan?) is not elected. "Oh, wait!" Says one. "Isn't Canada a state?" They go around the room and no one knows. Finally they decide that is. No one asks me. I always try to be nice. I go home every night, open the door to my house, and cry. I cry for a long time. My husband understands. I think this isn't why they hate me. We have big charts on the wall, colored production graphs marking our errors (unclipped solder bridges, etc.) My charts, week after week, never have any color on them. There is no graph as I never make any mistakes. I am promoted quickly to resister stuffer. (I think of this ironically) I still don't have any colored marks on my chart. I'm quick and I never miss a pattern. I overhear the boss tell visitors over my head that the reason he likes Mexican girls is that they have little hands. I am promoted to hand solderer, checking the boards for errors or bad solder connections. I think to tell the women at my table one day that the reason I never make mistakes is that I have been doing Indian beadwork every day since I was a child. It breaks some kind of ice. One day I stop one of the engineer lackeys bringing me the boards. "This is wrong." I say. "This used to be brown-yellow-brown-red with the brown thingy (capacitor) going this way. Now it's brown-red-yellow-brown on this side with the brown thingy upside down now." He takes the board back and comes by later and says. "It's not wrong. It's right." I insist. "It used to be this way; The QR820z, right?" (or, sumthin) He goes away and comes back later with blue prints, or something. "Look," he says, "That's the way it goes, the QR820z." "That's not the way it used to be." "Are you sure?" "I'm positive." He goes away again, and comes back with the head engineer, the guy who designed the whole thing. He's red with pissedness. He's furious that he has to stoop to being called into the "girls room" to talk to this skinny hippy brown girl who is so clearly below him. He never meets my eyes, just looks around the room contemptuously and asks, "What's the problem? I heard there was a problem with the QR820z'." He looks exactly like you would think an early Silicon Valley nerd to look like, light blue striped engineer shirt, even a calculator in his pocket, glasses. Too bad. The kind of smart guy I could have fallen for; the other, I flirt with, mildly. I like the way he smiles and blushes. I try to make smart jokes. This guy's a racist jerk. And, wrong. And PISSED! I find out later that the whole company has been in a tizzy for months because something is wrong with the new base stations, the ones my husband QAs for and is receiving a lot of irate phone calls over as it is the up-coming holidays and CB radios are the national craze. My husband and I are not allowed to see or talk to one another at work; it's part of my hiring agreement. No one knows we are married. At home we never talk about work as per his/our choice. At *home* it's politics, music and poetry. He plays the banjo, and I cry. I remember that my supervisor keeps a bucket of discarded boards for extracting the gold tabbed components at her desk-- she sells them to a jeweler in her family who melts them down. Soon the other women at the table are saving their gold clippings. He unrolls the blueprint and in a loud slow voice reserved for the deaf and dumb proceeds to trace the comparisons on the page to show me they are the same. I fish an old broken QR820z from the bottom of the bucket and show it to him. "It's the QR820z." I don't say "thingy" but miraculously remember the names of the components. I show him the old board. They are not the same. He turns, immediately, bright red. Then he turns away from me without a word. That night, my husband and I talk about work. "What did you say to him?!" "I just showed him the old part. It used to be the other way." We think the engineer was told he was my husband as I think he hates my husband after that, too. But, it could be my hubby's waist-length hair. The BIG BOSS calls me into his office one morning. I think I'm getting a big Christmas bonus since, after all, I have just saved the company $2 million dollars and who knows what in saved reputation as now the new bay stations work & J, my hubby, is busy shipping new ones to replace the old. (The head engineer had made a stupid mistake in the new blueprints (or whatever) for the new design.) But, NO. He offered me a job as lead supervisor of my own division, and immediately transferred me to learn a new huge automated soldering system to which I was to train others to handle. It involved working over an open vat of solder which was unventilated and gave me solder burns on my hands and arms. But I was good at it. It gave me the confidence to think I could learn how to run a press. I had been promoted from lead-clipper to Lead Supervisor in less than 6 weeks. The "girls" started hating me again. Immediately after I had reported the error in the boards to the head engineer a new policy came down that no one was to hoard gold from boards, from now on all gold clippings and components were to be counted at the end of the day. I still cried every day after work. I decided it had to mean something more than making the bills. I decided to save up to buy my own press. Soon after that I quit. And bought the press. "R2D2." RIP

    20 Years Ago -

    More soon. As if you thought this was going to be short!


    yoko & john - IMAGINE
    ~ my favorite John Lennon foto ~
    (I love Yoko Ono.)

    John Lennon - Illegal Alien

    poster for Sometime In New York
    All fotos from Genesis Publications, Sometime In New York. Buy this book for someone you love.

    End the violence. IMAGINE.

    Google Me. Don't Bamboozle Me.

    Wednesday, December 07, 2005

    Thought of the Day: Conquistador

    "When you start out as someone's birthday present, it's bound to end up badly."

    Tuesday, December 06, 2005

    Lorna Dee Cervantes Reads From New Book In Boulder This Tuesday - Dec. 6

    *UPDATE: Just updating this. It's a snowy cold day in Boulder. But if y'all hardy souls want to come out, I'd love to see you. You might even be able to get a copy of the new book, DRIVE: The First Quartet. Back to the fictive mode. ~ LDC
    December 6, 2005

    Join me, Lorna Dee Cervantes and colleagues, Marcia Douglas, and Jeffrey DeShell: Book Party at CU-Boulder!

    Readings from faculty Lorna Dee Cervantes, Marcia Douglas, and Jeffrey DeShell as they celebrate the publication of their new books.

    At CU Boulder, in the British Studies Room, Norlin Library (5th Floor - West Side).

    Tuesday, December 6

    8:00 p.m.

    Jose Montoya Honored At Amherst - 12/10/05 - W/ Vargas, Reyes Rivera, Laviera & Robert Karimi, Mahogany Brown, et al

    AMHERST, Mass.—La Causa and the  Chicano Caucus of Amherst College proudly present the 8th Annual “Voices for the Voiceless” National Diaspora Poetry & Spoken Word Concert and Festival. The Concert will take place on Saturday December 10, 2005 from 6:45 pm until 10:45 p.m. in the Frontroom of the Keefe Campus Center at Amherst College. Voices for the Voiceless will bring together 12 established national poets on one stage, for an evening of literary and cultural entertainment. In addition to the poetry reading, the event will feature a Mexican buffet courtesy of La Veracruzana restaurant, an appearance by VDJ Batibiri of Springfield MA, book signings and an album release party. The idea behind this project is to expose the five-college and New England area to the diversity, complexity, and power of the African-American, Asian, and Latino National poetry scene.
    This year “Voices for the Voiceless” will honor Jose Montoya, (one of the founders of the Chicano Literary Movement), Jesus Tato La Viera (a pioneer in Nuyorican literature), and Roberto Vargas (A celebrated Nicaraguan poet, community organizer, activist, and diplomat) as the recipients of the Louis Reyes Rivera Lifetime Achievement Award. The twelve poets who will read from their work include Giles Lung-Hwa Li, Louis Reyes Rivera, Tato Laviera, Jose Montoya, Roberto Vargas, Crystal Senter-Brown, Jahipster, Maurice “Soulfighter” Taylor, Shaggy Flores, Robert Karimi, Mahogany Brown, and Truth Thomas.

    In addition to the poetry concert the festival will also include a panel discussion with poets Jose Montoya, Jesus Tato Laviera, Louis Reyes Rivera, Roberto Vargas, Shaggy Flores, and Tonia Mathews discussing Latino and African Diaspora studies and their relationship to the Spoken Word tradition. The lecture will take place at Pruyne Lecture Hall (Fayerweather 115) Amherst College at 6pm on Friday December 9, 2005. Reception to follow.  

    For more information contact Ron Espiritu at or 210 885-9088

    Sunday, December 04, 2005

    Shopping For. . .

    ah ah ah! He's old enough to read my blog. I know he'll want to check out the chicken. Anyway, I spent all day yesterday shopping. I'm usually the last one out the door on Christmas eve, so this is an improvement.

    I've been trying to keep the spell on. Still writing the novel. Something magical about it that I don't want to jinx. (And this while having to take him to see Harry Potter today. Ho well. What was that, Girl Hand-Raised By A Cackling Jackal? Some quote about women writers being single or childless or mad -- as in belfrys. Or, Christmas shopping. No jo.)

    Still walking.

    "Unconscious Mutterings #148 On 12/4/05"

    1. Amazing:: Grace
    2. Delights:: the maze,
    3. Inspired:: by a bit,
    4. Disgusted:: and musted.
    5. You:: Grace giver,
    6. Vagina::  not a
    7. Palm:: outstretched.
    8. Sweetheart:: I tell you,
    9. Guilt:: to the max
    10. More to come:: in confession.
    Oh, come Dis-Graced.

    Do it yourself on yourself here, at La Luna Niña.

    Do the Funky Chicken

    This is truly warped -- get all your burger king yayas out here. After having it dance, including ballet and polka, I asked it something truly obscene: "Read me a poem." It stood there a while then walked over to the camera and stuck it's eyeball at me. It was hilarious. This was after telling it, "Be yourself" and it undid a garter. I asked it how much it was paid and he just shrugged, and scratched it's head. This bit of weirdness from La Lorca Loca.

    Friday, December 02, 2005

    Lorna Dee Cervantes's New Blog Site

  • Lorna Dee's new home office (excuse our dust)

  • Not to replace this one, of course -- the Dead are irreplaceable, that's the trade-off. Also, last night, I reclaimed my name: -- now, back to the marathon. I'll be the old lady walking to finish after all the street sweepers have left and the street lamps are on. Now, isn't that a cozy holiday image?
    National Novel Writing Month Participant
    *Hurricane strength winds in Boulder right now, we get it sweeping down off the Flatirons. Time to order in. And, type.

    Isla Mujeres After Wilma: 'Mexican Paradise Bounces Back' - Chris Lane in Today's Madison Capital Times

    Rob Zaleski: Mexican paradise bounces back

    By Rob Zaleski
    December 2, 2005

    Isla Mujeres, off the coast of Cancun, was quickly restored by the Mexican government after Hurricane Wilma struck this summer. (Submitted photo) (click here to go to original article and see photo)

    About Rob
    Rob Zaleski is a 32-year veteran of the news business. His columns appear every Monday and Wednesday in the Communities section.

    When the skies finally cleared and Lodi native Chris Lane stepped outside to get his first glimpse of what Hurricane Wilma had done to Isla Mujeres - the tiny slice of nirvana off the coast of Cancun - two months ago, he wondered if the island would ever be the same again.

    Homes had disappeared, businesses were in tatters, streets were waist-high in water, and dozens of "hurricane-proof" telephone poles were floating amid the debris. Although the island's palm trees had somehow withstood Wilma's 155 mph fury, most other trees and shrubs had been uprooted, and about 4 feet of sand and water covered Rueda Medina, the island's main drag.

    "Everything that wasn't cemented down is gone," a shellshocked Lane had told his parents, Rick and Vicky Lane of Lodi, in a phone call on Oct. 21.

    The devastation, most locals agreed, was even worse than what Hurricane Gilbert had inflicted on the island back in 1987. The only good news was that there were just two fatalities: a fishermen who had fallen off his boat and drowned, and a woman who had suffered a heart attack.

    (As noted in an earlier column, the La Gloria English School operated by Tom and Maggie Washa of Middleton - which sits on high ground - sustained just minor water damage.)

    That was two months ago.

    Last week I got an e-mail from Chris Lane asking if I'd relay a message to the hundreds of people from the Madison area who had discovered Isla Mujeres over the last decade and now consider it one of their favorite vacation spots.

    Although Cancun is still a mess, Isla Mujeres has made an extraordinary recovery and is ready for tourists again, wrote Lane, who moved to the island in 2003 and runs an Internet phone service there called Diga Me.

    So if you're looking for a place to unwind over the holidays, he said, please consider the friendly and seductive little island that's just a 30-minute ferry ride from Cancun - providing, of course, that airline service to the Yucatan Peninsula has returned to normal by then.

    "What we really need now is tourism," Lane wrote. "The economy has stalled, and we need some gringo bucks."

    Isla was back on its feet? Just two months after nearly being wiped off the map?

    I found that hard to believe, so I contacted Lane this week, and he reiterated what he'd told me in his e-mail. Implausible as it may sound, the streets have been cleared and most of the hotels and restaurants are back in business, he said. (And if anyone doubts that, Lane suggests they check out the photos on his Web site.

    "I'm just amazingly impressed by what's happened down here," he said. "Everybody just rolled up their sleeves and worked together and the island's functioning again.

    "There's obviously still some damage and people have lost their homes and things like that. But as far as tourism, they've replanted the trees and the shrubbery's coming back. And North Beach (editor's note: one of the premier topless-optional beaches in the Caribbean) is even better than before."

    But the bigger story, Lane suggested, is the role that the Mexican government played in the recovery.

    "I mean, they got here so fast and everything was so well organized that it made the U.S. government's response to Hurricane Katrina look ridiculous," he said.

    Within hours after Wilma departed, military helicopters loaded with food and water were landing on the island's lone air strip. "That went on for days," Lane said, noting that martial law had been declared even before Wilma struck and that there was a 7 p.m. curfew for almost a week.

    Around the same time, he said, boats carrying trucks and huge water pumps and other essential supplies began landing at the island's port - and military personnel fanned out across the six-mile-long island to begin a non-stop cleanup effort that continues to this day.

    Initially, islanders were told it could be three months before electricity would be restored, "which was a little scary," Lane said. But the power was back after five days, and just a few days after that the island had running water again.

    Meanwhile, outsiders responding to an urgent plea on Lane's Web site donated tens of thousands of dollars that were used for everything from diapers to reconstruction materials.

    Lane said the whole experience has restored his faith in mankind. But the story's not over yet, he added, because the Isla economy is barely hanging on.

    So please help spread the word that the sun's hot and the beer's cold, Lane said.

    "Tons of Wisconsin people know what a special place this is. We could sure use their help."


    Published: 9:58 AM 12/2/05

    Copyright 2005 The Capital Times

    Fun With Memes

    This from healer-poet, Peter Pereira, a prince of a guy but you may call him "Goddess" -- his partner calls him "Princess." Fer shur, Peter is an outstanding poet. And, he's always coming up with something.

    Here's one: Go to Google, type "[your name} needs" and copy the first lines that come up. Like most of these things when you're searching in light, the results are often scary dead on. Hilariously so. Here's mine:

    Lorna needs our support!
    Lorna needs to take action now. Otherwise she is
    afraid she will want to smash every plate Eva has ever eaten off or...
    Lorna needs to start building a relationship -- finding out
    a name and expressing sympathy for the cause.
    The Last thing Lorna needs is Another relationship right now. not only because
    it would end all Character development but because the poor thing ...
    Lorna needs a cover, thats for sure. But please...get rid of that HORRID HORRID
    HORRID purple outfit of hers.
    Lorna needs money to keep her work going.
    HaHa! & hoho. Ho! Buy a book. Get a pre-publication signature and date on your advance holiday copy of DRIVE: The First Quartet and double your investment. You can quicken the process (Sorry, Peter, your order languished in my university box for a month! It's now priority on the way; both books under separate cover, one signed to you personally, the other just signed and generally dedicated) by clicking on the Amazon Honor System pay box at the bottom of the blog which links you to a direct payment method that's secure and the payment is deposited into my account directly: you are not ordering from Amazon dot com but from me, the author. You can also use my paypal account, just send to my full name, all three run together, at which is also a good addy to reach me. Just be sure to send me an email notice with shipping and dedication information along with the amount sent so I know, and I can ship it in time for the holidays. Hey, it's a big book of poetry with five distinct collections; I figure somebody is bound to find something that suits. HoHoHo! Books for the holidays. Poetry to soothe the beaten souls. Anyone interested in exchanging books -- I'm always up for that. Cheers!

    Thursday, December 01, 2005


    Global Aids Ribbon
    Originally uploaded by Lorna Dee Cervantes.


    Aids Ribbon logo
    Originally uploaded by Lorna Dee Cervantes.


    Human AIDS Ribbon
    Originally uploaded by Lorna Dee Cervantes.

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