Friday, January 25, 2008

Happy Birthday, Kelly!

Hope it's a good one. I love you!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Blog for Pro-Choice Day

Scroll down for my story, my speech to the Pro-Choice rally in San Francisco this past saturday. Keep our bodies free.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Readings; Or, Where In The World is Lorna Dee?

I'm reading this afternoon, January 21, for Glide Memorial's Martin Luther King Celebration after the march in the Bill Graham Auditorium at 99 Grove Street -- a great honor for me.

I'm reading tomorrow night, January 22, at the Live Worms Gallery at 1345 Grant Ave. in North Beach at 7 pm with H.D. Moe, Ronald Sauer and Ned Millett. My Step-mother, Susan Kelk Cervantes will be exhibiting her paintings along with others.

I'll be reading, speaking and giving a writing workshop for scholarship recipients of the Chicana/Latina Foundation Leadership Conference on Saturday, January 26.

More coming up. See you there!

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

My Speech to Pro-Choice Rally 35 Years After Roe vs. Wade

foto by Francisco J. Dominguez copyright 2008

Speech to Pro-Choice Rally for Women's Right to Choose - 35 Years After Roe vs. Wade (delivered 1/19/08, San Francisco, CA)

35 years ago the fog was so thick on the valley floor I couldn't see my face. I couldn't see the cars on the road or the bus as it pulled up out of the fog to take me to the east side hospital where, at 16 years old, I became the 6th woman in the state of California to receive a legal abortion. Three years before, at age 13, the fog was the same ornery stew as when someone grabbed me on the way to school, threw me to the ground in the empty lot left over from the freeway construction and raped me at knifepoint. At 15, I tried to heal by making sweet love to my boyfriend, a gentle baby-faced boy.

35 years ago a whiteness gripped my life and held me in its decisive grasp. I couldn't get away from the mass that held me down: the oppressive poverty, the ignorant faces that ignored me and what I could become, the fog that clogged my brain whenever I looked at the books I loved and thought I would have to leave behind forever, my mother, passed out on the floor every day when I came home from school, the days which seemed like another shovel of dirt burying me under a muddy future — at best. 35 years ago, my life was over before it had begun — just like every other girl I knew. I was pregnant.

35 years ago, there was no one to tell. No one, I felt, who could save me from my fate. My nights were blasted by the beatings my mother received from the men she met in bars. My nights were sirens and broken bottles and locks on the door against the male heaviness I felt outside. My nights were jobless, hopeless, futureless, a black hole, a darkening suction pulling me from my dreams. I wanted to study. I wanted to attend college. I wanted to "make something out of myself." I wanted to become an university professor. At that time, it was as if I wanted to visit Mars, or Venus, where I imagined all the women are small like me, but free. 35 years ago, my life was over — I was pregnant.

35 years ago I tried to end my life. I took my mother's extra long knitting needles and a bottle of alcohol under the bed and inserted the point into my womb. The pain was nothing compared to the inner pain I lived with during those dark misty days. I wanted to die, rather than live my living death. At the hospital, a nurse told me about a new program. I was sent to a bright office where a psychiatrist asked me one single question: "Do you want to terminate this pregnancy?" "Yes," I answered, without hesitation. And, like a dream, my boyfriend appeared in another office, and together we answered the same question: "I do." Yes. I wanted to live.

I will never ever forget that first waking, that first coming out of the fog of anesthesia. I will never ever forget this day, 35 years ago, when I gave birth to myself by aborting — a decision I have always felt I had to live up to — to honor that postponed being by being all I could become. I will never ever forget that feeling of extreme relief or those first words that came to me out of the mist that was my mind: "It's over." It was as if the enemy had lifted the gate to the underground cave and I was free. "Free at last! Free at last." Thank God, Almighty, I was free at last! 35 years ago I made a choice, for life. I made a change.

At 17, I moved out from the foggy alcohol fumes that was my mother's house, into a place where I could study. I graduated from high school with high honors, and followed my vocational counselor's advice — the counselor who believed that all Mexicans were stupid and "not college material" — and so I attended San Jose City College where I graduated with high honors and transferred to San Jose State where I graduated with the highest honors. Then I attended the University of California at Santa Cruz for my doctoral study, just as I had dreamed 35 years ago. And for the past 19 years I have lived my dream as an Associate Professor of English at a major university. Today I am an internationally recognized and critically acclaimed author. My poetry has been translated into at least six different languages and studied in universities all over the world. At age 40, when I felt I could afford a life that I never lived as a child, I gave birth to my son. My choice. My life. My happiness.

And now, 35 years later, I come back to the city of my birth, San Francisco, out of the fog and into the sun, to pass on that life-force, and to preserve our right, as human beings, to define our own destiny, to pursue our dreams, even through the fog of these dark times, to fight here today — for freedom, for liberty, for justice, for all.

Preserve Roe vs. Wade. Preserve the right of a woman to choose her life. Today I stand here to say:

We make the choice
that is our change.

We make the choice
that is our change.



foto by Francisco J. Dominguez copyright 2008

foto by Francisco J. Dominguez copyright 2008

foto by Francisco J. Dominguez copyright 2008

foto by Francisco J. Dominguez copyright 2008

* More about the march and rally with photos and video here

Friday, January 18, 2008

More 100 Word Poems

I've been writing 100-word poems on given words every week and posting them on my poetry blog, "The Poems, the Whole Poem, And Nothing But the Poems". Just read and scroll down for the rest. I'm not sure if you have to be a MySpace member. Provecho!

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R.I.P. Angel Gonzalez

Anti-Franco poet, Angél González passed way this past weekend: This sad news via Joe Hutchison's blog where he has a translation of one of Angél's poems and links to others. Joe is one of the many fine Colorado poets I met and heard while there. New Mexico will miss the presence of this freedom fighter — adelante, Angél.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Lorna Dee's Emergency Soup Kitchen 1/12 - Misssion Poetry Center Rent Event

Mission Poetry Center/ La Misión Poética

Saturday, January 12, 2008
Lorna Dee's Emergency Soup Kitchen
Rent Event for the Mission Poetry Center
3433 Mission; SF 94110
7 - 11 pm
$25 (includes soup for 2)

Feast & Fest for Self and Soul
Lorna Dee Cervantes
Special Reading of Memorial Poem, "Coffee"
Special Guest Artists
Spin-the-Bottle Floricanto
DIY Book Table & Publishing Wall
Feast & Fest for Two*
Mission Poets receive 1 yr Membership
Intensive Poetry Workshop Discount

Medicine Soup Kitchen

All 4 Sisters Soups

Roasted Butternut Squash & Leek Soup w/ sauteed Shitake mushrooms, roasted shallot paste & boiled baby banana potatoes

6 Bean Soyrizo chile (vegan)

Sweet Corn Power Chowder w/ red quinoa (vegan)

Yam & Chayote Bisque

1 Medicine Stew

Buffalo Balls and Native Wild Rice on Magic Mushrooms & Herb

Lorna Dee's Special Medicine Brew - Broc, spinach, greens, green beans, asparagus and marinated tempeh (vegan)
RSVP, Pass this Invitation on or Sponsor A Mission Poet
*Poor Poet's Perogative: $5 for a bowl and a spin @ 8 pm until the soup & poems run out

For more information contact Lorna Dee Cervantes @

Memorial Reading for Haas Mroue 1/10 Oakland

from "4th of July Poem"

freedom is out there growing
on the cornfields in Iowa
the orange groves of Florida
and the vineyards in California
freedom ripens in the rays of our poetry
and the shade of our skin

we harvest our freedom daily

Haas Mroue

Dear Poets and Friends,

On October 6, 2007, we lost our beloved Haas Mroue to
a sudden heart attack. At his passing, Haas was
writing and traveling in Beirut, Lebanon. In early
December, our beloved’s friends and family hosted a
memorial in Haas’ home of Port Townsend, Washington to
celebrate him in all his different lights. For those
of us who knew him, Haas was many things: a teacher, a
glass of red wine, a reassuring voice over the
telephone, a poem on the page. Haas’ natural
inclination was to travel—to take flight. As a man
of many homelands, Haas often came to the Bay Area to
teach, read, and write with many of our local poets.
The last time Haas flew into Oakland Airport he threw
his open arms around the familiar body that greeted
him and whispered, “It’s so good to be home.”

So to our friends throughout the Bay Area and
California (and beyond) we call out to you to assist
us in celebrating Haas in an evening featuring his
poems and our tributes. There is no structured way to
mourn, grieve or even rejoice in the glow of a life
lived well. Instead we will do what poets do and we
will return to the poetry. We will return, like Haas,

Please join us for a reading of selected poetry from
Haas Mroue’s Beirut Seizures performed by friends of
Haas Mroue and Poetry for the People’s extended family
of poets. A video introduction of Haas given by June
Jordan will introduce the evening’s activities.

Memorial Poetry Reading for Haas Mroue
Thursday, January 10th
Eastside Arts Alliance
2277-2289 International Blvd.
Oakland, CA

Doors open at 7:45pm
Program begins at 8:00pm
Donations at the door are encouraged.

We hope to see all of you there and please feel free
to forward this to any and all who were touched by
Haas Mroue's poetry and life. Feel free to print out
the attached flyer for this memorial reading as well
as the original obituary from the Port Townsend

click image to enlarge

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

On The First Year of the Rest of Our Lives

foto by Francisco J. Dominguez
copyright 12/23/07

I've been planning for the rest of my life. Taking stock and literally, taking stock. Bits and pieces here from there like a hermit crab, and me, skittering down my coast, a short-legged shore bird skimming the rocks. I like this here. This, here. This. Here.


This here:

"Beginning Again"-A Chola On Transformative Politics

I like to hope. I like to hope this means that this is what 2012 means - that we find the means to "stop time" - the literal meaning of the glyphs. That would mean a return to real time - in time to deal with catastrophe changes in a world gone out of balance. This means a return to values and the value of predilective labor as well as a return to the exchange of real goods and services (as opposed to the false and therefor inflatable values of symbolic exchange: gold, money, credit, usuary, etc.) A return to the Mayan perpetual calendar in synch with the harmony and dance of the spheres.

It can happen.

May your next year be better than the last.

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Border Crossings/Cruzando Fronteras Video

Border Crossings/ Cruzando Fronteras


Declaration Against the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Migra

A message rom my Chumash peeps:

Declaration Against the North American Free Trade Agreement
and the Migra

To All Communities in Resistance to Exploitation and Oppression.
To All Communities in Struggle for Indigenous Peoples' Dignity and
To All Communities of the World.

We are the Frente Contra las Redadas del Condado de Ventura. We are a
network of organizations, collectives and individuals that was formed
in 2007, when Union del Barrio, one of the oldest Mexican Liberation
organizations north of the U.S./Mexico border called for broad unity
and organized resistance against the increased racist laws and Migra-
terror against migrants.

Today, January 1st 2008 the North American Free Trade Agreement
(NAFTA) enters its final stage of implementation. NAFTA, since its
inception, was designed to help the rich U.S. Agriculture and
Industrial Corporations take over the markets of Mexico and destroy
the small farms and national industries. It has caused millions of
displaced or unemployed Raza to move to the cities or migrate to what
today is the United States and Canada.

According to America's Policy Program analysts, "Every hour, Mexico
imports $1.5 million dollars worth of agricultural and food products,
almost all from the United States" While, "In that same hour, 30
people—men, women, and children—leave their homes in the Mexican
countryside to take up the most dangerous journey of their lives—as
migrants to the United States." (America's Policy Program
Congressional Briefing, "Standing Up to NAFTA")

For the rich this is good news, but for us, the working poor, it
signals more poverty, more repression, and more death. This is why
we resist. We resist the oppression and exploitation of our work, our
lands, our community, and of our dignity.

Every year over 400 people die crossing the U.S./Mexico border, a
border that each day is more militarized. Every day this Wall of
Death stretches onward, inch by inch, and everyday more Migra agents
are added to the ranks, signed ujp to terrorize and chase down
workers like hunted animals. Every day, some racist politician or
their lackey, conjures up new legal ways to implement their laws of
oppression against migrants, against the workers that come across the
Wall of Death.

The Migra has unleashed a wave of repression against migrants,
against workers, men, women and children with laws and plans like
Operation Gatekeeper, a plan that forces migrants to cross the border
through the deserts to die. At the same time, another vicious plan to
repress us is Operation Endgame, a plan that aims to deport 12
million undocumented workers out of the United States by the year

The cycle of fear and death continues and now the very same
campesinos that are forced off our lands in Oaxaca, Guerrero,
Chiapas, and other areas of Mexico, are here in the barrios of the
United States, waking up at 4 a.m. everyday, to go pick the same
crops that are shipped off around the world, making those at the top
richer, while we at the bottom get poorer.

Just as our brothers and sisters, the Zapatistas, descended down from
the Chiapas Lacandon Jungle on the eve of 1994 when the first phase
of NAFTA was implemented, we today, fourteen years later, on this eve
of 2008, in one of the oldest Mexican barrios in California, el
Barrio de La Colonia, declare Ya Basta! Enough is Enough! We call on
all those that stand on the side of humanity to join us and fight for
justice and dignity.

We will organize for the next four months in preparation for our
March for Dignity that will take place on International Workers' Day,
May 1, 2008 in Colonia Park, here in the city of Oxnard. Meet us
here, march with us. If you cannot come, organize a March for Dignity
in your community, wherever you are.

But as we march, we must understand that we cannot just march for one
day or believe that politicians will solve our problems. We must
organize ourselves. As our Zapatista sisters and brothers said in the
First Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, we must organize and
struggle for work, land, housing, food, health care, education,
independence, freedom, democracy, justice and peace.

We are in the same struggle as our Chiapaneco brothers and sisters,
because we are, as we said loud and clear in the Mega-Marchas of 2006
against the racist law HR-4437, One People Without Borders!

Stop NAFTA! Stop Migra-Terror!
El Pueblo Unido! Jamas Sera Vencido!

Frente Contra Las Redadas del Condado del Ventura
January 1, 2008
Chumash Peoples' Territory


Declaracion Contra el Tratado de Libre Comercio y La Migra

A Las Comunidades en Resistencia a la Explotacion y Opresion
A Las Comunidades en Lucha por la Dignidad y Auto-Determinacion de
los Pueblos Indigenas
A Todas las Comunidades del Mundo

Nosotros somos el Frente Contra las Redadas del Condado de Ventura.
Somos una red de organizaciones, colectivos y individuos que se formo
en el 2007 cuando Union del Barrio, una de las organizaciones por la
Liberacion Mexicana con mas historia al norte de la frontera de
EEUU/Mexico hizo un llamado por la unidad y resistencia organizada en
contra de la incrementacion de leyes racistas y del terror causado
por La Migra contra migrantes.

Ahora, el Primero de Enero 2008 el Tratado de Libre Comercio (TLC)
entra a su paso final de implementacion. En TLC, desde su incepcion,
tenia como su meta a apoyar al las Corporaciones Agricolas e
Industriales Estadounidenses a tomar control sobre los mercados de
Mexico y destruir los pequeños campos y industrias nacionales. Esto a
causado que millones de Raza sea desplazada y sin trabajo se mueva a
las ciudades o migrar hacia lo que hoy es los Estados Unidos o

Según reportan analistas del Programa de Poliza de America, "Cada
hora, Mexico importa $1.5 millones de valores de productos de comida
y agricolas, casi todas viene de los Estados Unidos" y "en esa misma
hora, 30 personas-hombres, mujeres, y niños- dejan sus hogares en el
campo Mexicano para tomar el viaje mas peligroso de sus vidas-como
migrantes a los Estados Unidos." (Informe de Polica de las
Americas, "Luchando Contra el TLC")

Para los ricos de arriba esto es buena noticia, pero para nosotros,
los trabajadores, los pobres, esto señala mas pobresa, mas represion
y mas muerte. Por eso resistimos. Luchamos por nuestro trabajo,
tierra, comunidad y dignidad.

Cada año mas de 400 personas mueren crusando la frontera de
EE.UU/Mexico, una frontera que cada dia es mas militarizada. Este
Muro de la Muerte, dia tras dia se estira, y cada dia mas agents de
Migra incrementan sus filas, registrandose a terrorizar y perseguir a
los trabajodores como animales. Cada dia, un politico racista o sus
lacayos, tratan de implemantar sus leyes opresivas contra migrantes,
contra los trabajadores que se vienen cruzando la frontera.
La Migra ha descargado una ola de represión contra los imigrantes,
contra los trabajadores, hombres, mujeres y niños con leyes y planes
como el Operation Gatekeeper, una estrategia que forza los emigrantes
a murir cuando cruzan la frontera tras del desierto. Otro plan
vicioso a reprimirnos, es Operation Endgame, donde dice que quieren
deportar 12 millones de trabajadores indocumentados de los estados
unidos cerca del año 2012.
El ciclo de temor y muerte sigue y ahora los mismos campesinos
forzado de sus tierras en Oaxaca, Guerrero, Chiapas, y otros estados
estan aqui en los barrios de los estados unidos, despertandose a las
cuatro de la mañana cada dia para ir a recoger los mismos cultivos
que mandan alrededor del mundo, haciendo los que estan arriba mas
ricos, mientras nosotros al fondo nos hacen mas pobres.
Asi como nuestros hermanos y hermanas, los Zapatistas, bajaron de la
Selva Lacandona de Chiapas en la vispera de 1994 cuando establecieron
al primera fase de TLC, nosotros ahora, catorce años despues, en esta
vispera del 2008, en uno de los barrios Mexicanos mas viejos en
California, el Barrio de La Colonia, declaramos Ya Basta! Hacemos el
llamado a todos que estan en el lado de la humanidad a unirse con
nosotros y luchar para la justicia y dignidad.
Vamos a organizarnos en los proximos cuatro meses que siguen en
preparación de nuestra Marcha Para la Dignidad que va pasar en el Dia
de los Trabajadores Internacionales, en el primero de Mayo, 2008, en
el parque La Colonia, aqui en la cuidad de Oxnard. Los esperamos
aqui, marchen con nosotros. Si no puedes venir, organizen una Marcha
Para la Dignidad en tu communidad, dondequiera que estes. No podemos
marchar por ese dia nomas, ni creer que los politicos van a resolver
nuestras problemas, necesitamos organizarnos. Como dijieron nuestros
herman@s Zapatistas en la Declaración Primera de la Selva Lacandona,
debemos organizar y luchar para el trabajo, la tierra, el hogar,
comida, salud, educación, independencia, libertad, democracia, la
justicia y la paz. Estamos en la misma lucha de nuestros hermanos y
hermanas Chiapanecos, porque nosotros Somos, como exclamos claro y
fuerte en las Mega-Marchas de 2006 contra la ley racista HR-4437, Una
Pueblo Sin Fronteras!
Alto a TLC! Alto al Terror de la Migra!
El Pueblo Unido! Jamas Sera Vencido!
Frente Contra Las Redadas del Condado del Ventura
Primero de Enero 2008
Territorio del Pueblo Indigena Chumash
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