Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Blog Foto

(I can't seem to post or replace my blog photo, so I'll leave this entry up at the top. Please scroll down for latest blog entry)

Lorna Dee Cervantes 12/23/07
foto by Francisco J. Dominguez
copyright 2007

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News From World Can't Wait - Peaceful Protesters Attacked In Berkeley

Non-violent World Can't Wait protest in Berkeley attacked by police AGAIN
2 protesters arrested . . . Several injured
This must stop! Your support needed!

Dear World Can't Wait Bay Area community,

This is a short report on the Friday, February 22 protest at the
Marines Recruiting Station in Berkeley. We will have more to say in a
few days, as WCW and our other friends in the anti-war movement make
new plans to continue this struggle and build for an outpouring of
resistance on March 19, the 5th anniversary of the Iraq war. However,
before we release more public statements, or take other steps to
address the continued use of excessive police force against nonviolent
protesters, we want to let you know what happened -- particularly
since police spokespeople have been lying about it ad nauseam to the
media, attempting to portray us as the aggressors.

Also in Berkeley, on February 16:
For the first time in five years, Berkeley police officers have shot
and killed someone. A 51 year-old African-American grandmother, Anita
Gay, was shot in the back by police in front of her home in South
Berkeley. Outraged members of Mrs. Gay's family and community and
anti-police brutality activists are mobilizing now. World Can't Wait
joins them in demanding that her killers be brought to justice.

How you can help:
Email us if you can write letters, attend court hearings, or
contribute to legal fees and replacement of damaged materials
(including over $9,000 dollars of sound and video equipment). We are
exploring our legal options now, and will keep you posted. And of
course, we are always looking for assistance from justice-loving
lawyers and trained legal observers. More info later this week.

February 22 report:
World Can't Wait activists arrived at the downtown Berkeley Marine
recruiting station at 11 AM. We were joined by Code Pink supporters,
Vets for Peace, A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition, and a number of Berkeley High
students, and students from other schools, who came on their lunch
break and again after school. We had a short "speak out" in which
several anti-war military veterans spoke. Young women took turns
reading a statement from the women of Okinawa denouncing another rape,
this time of a 14 year-old girl, by U.S. Marines on this small
militarized Japanese island. Others read moving poems written by
prisoners in Guantanamo.

Each time World Can't Wait has protested in front of the Marine
recruiting center, police have become increasingly more aggressive and
overbearing - as they have now become toward other protesters there,
including Code Pink. They placed two armed officers smack in the
recruiters' doorway, impeding business as usual themselves. They
nipped at our heels every five minutes, belligerently enforcing every
permit rule, closely timing our parking in the 3 minute loading zone,
enforcing jay-walking laws, and making up new laws on the spot, such
as their outlandish claim that it was illegal for a lone pedestrian to
walk to the corner carrying a picket sign!

In the past when we have protested in front of the recruiting
station, we have been allowed to put up signs and a table on the
sidewalk, as long as we didn't block the sidewalk. Not this time. The
cops brought sound equipment to monitor our decibel levels. Since they
destroyed our very expensive sound system last week, we brought only
bullhorns, which made this even more ridiculous.

At 4:00 PM, when more youth arrived after school, about 20 of us took
a short legal march around the square, as we often do. Then to
conclude the day's action, we went for another short march chanting
and wearing the orange jumpsuits of Guantanamo detainees as we went.
Pedestrians and drivers were honking and waving at us, throwing us
peace signs and power fists. We headed for the traditional free speech
corner on Shattuck Avenue in front of the BART station.

We never arrived there.

Using the pretext of a sound violation for using a bullhorn - which
we've generally been allowed to use in Berkeley - the police waded
into our small group to grab one youth leader who had been leading
chants. As the police shouted and shoved and used their batons to push
their way through our group to get at this young man, activists
wrapped their arms around each other, non-violently standing between
the police and him. A crowd was quickly gathering. Youth of all
nationalities hang around this area, and when they saw the police
assaulting us, many pulled out their camera phones to snap pictures of
the brutality and joined our chants -- which had changed from "Stop
the torture, Stop the war . . . That's what we are fighting for!" to
"Let Him Go! Let Him Go!"

A dozen or so squad cars, sirens wailing and lights flashing,
suddenly rushed the intersection from several directions, as more cops
began pulling out their clubs and beating people. Young WCW activists
were hit in the face with batons. Older people were also assaulted: a
leading WCW organizer was grabbed and thrown head first into a brick
wall, and a member of Code Pink is on crutches after she was violently
thrown to the ground. (Both women are OK after emergency room
treatment). Finally, the police pulled the WCW youth organizer from
the crowd, threw him in the back of the squad car and took off for the
jail. They also arrested a 21 year-old Army "conscientious objector."
The police dispersed the riot squad, while almost simultaneously
holding a quick press conference to ensure the media would dutifully
report that the police had been "forced" by the protesters to go to
this level of violence, all because of a bullhorn.

We regrouped and marched back to the Marines station, and ended the
day on our feet and back at this outpost of the war machine, chanting
and speaking out. We want to let the community and the world know that
we are determined to step up the struggle to stop this illegitimate,
criminal war and occupation. We are all looking at what has happened –
including the huge showdown on February 12 between anti-war Berkeley
and the rightwing pro-war invasion, and also the fact that all of our
recent three World Can't Wait nonviolent protests at the recruiters
have been hit by full-on riot scale police attacks – as a clear sign
that the powers-that-be are worried because we are having an effect,
and that determination from the youth and everyone else is what is
called for now. More is needed, especially now, with the March 19th
fifth anniversary of the war fast approaching. This is our
responsibility to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, to the torture
victims at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, and to the world.
Another news flash: Thursday, February 21
20 World Can't Wait activists confront war criminal John Yoo
at UC Berkeley School of Law

As we said here last week, it is appalling to find the legal
architect of the Bush regime's torture policies and fascistic "unitary
power of the executive" doctrine presiding over a panel discussion of
respected law professors as they all calmly discuss the ins and outs
of the presidential elections. What does this say about the elections
- in which neither leading Democratic candidate will denounce the
Military Commissions Act and the torture it enables, nor the Patriot
Act? And what does this say about the new norms we are now living
under, where a war criminal is teaching constitutional law to future
lawyers and judges?

See the front page story and photo from the Daily Californian here:

Rafael, Stephanie and Noel,
SF Bay Area WCW Chapter

Enough! The World Can't Wait!
Drive Out the Bush Regime!
Impeach Bush & Cheney for War Crimes!

Donate generously . . .

- A Berkeley homeowner just gave WCW $400 to buy 25 more jumpsuits.
- Another woman who can't afford to miss work for the protest sent a
check for $100.
- Two local business owners continue to generously donate their space
for WCW events.

WCW is an all volunteer organization. It is a vehicle for the change
we need NOW. Funds from you are the fuel this vehicle needs. Give all
you can.
Make checks payable to: "SF World Can't Wait" Mail to: 2940 16th
Street, Room 200-6,
San Francisco, CA 94103, or donate on-line at worldcantwait.org.
To make a tax deductible donation of $100 or more in support of WCW's
educational activities, checks should be made out to: "The Alliance
for Global Justice," a 501(3)(c) organization, and designate "for WCW"
in the check memo line. The Alliance for Global Justice latest
financial report is available at their offices: 1247 E St. SE,
Washington, D.C. 20003
SF World Can't Wait
2940 16th St., Rm 200-6
San Francisco, CA 94103

(415) 864-5153
Important Note on Forwarding WCW Emails:

See that blue "Forward email" link just underneath the black border
below? Good.
Clicking on that link is the best way to forward our mass emails to
all of your fellow and potential DOTBR'ers (Drive Out the Bush
We've had reports of people:
Forwarding a WCW email by using the "forward" button within their
e-mail program, yahoo for example;
Having someone who received the forwarded email unsubscribe or opt-out
of the list, resulting in:
Taking themselves AND the person who forwarded the email off of the
subscribers list! Don't let this happen to you!

Use the blue "Forward email" link . . . Stay on our email list
Forward widely and often . . . And Drive Out the Bush Regime!

SF Bay World Can't Wait


2940 16th Street, Room 200-6
San Francisco, CA 94103

www.sfbaycantwait.org IMPORTANT!!!

Your help is always needed for publicity and outreach. We have posters
and flyers to get out everywhere, as well as programs, media,
decorations, and literature tables. Call the WCW office (415) 864-5153
to volunteer!

Forward email

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Sad News: Poet, Literary Critic, Performance Artist, Professor Vincent Woodard Passes

I just discovered this tonight: "Remembering Vincent Woodard" and "Safe Journeys, Dearest Vincent" I am so sad. Vincent Woodard, my dear colleague and friend and supporter at CU Boulder has passed. How is it that someone so beautiful and brilliant and wonderful is no longer with us? How much we regret the time not spent with would-be friends and dear ones. This is all so sad. I wish I'd known. I would have flown up for the memorial at CU the other day. What an incredible Spirit that man had, what a Light. He will be missed. I may try to make the memorial in Austin on March 21.

And, tomorrow (today), 2/23, I will be reading and remembering my friend and one of my earliest influences, raúlsalinas, "El Tapon" at the Galería de la Raza on 24th Street in the Mission at 7 pm. We will be raising funds for his widow. Please come and hear tributes along with his words by Alejandro Murguía, Tomas Riley, Leticia Hernández, Naomi Quiñonez and others. I hope to be reading the original version of "A Trip Through the Mine Jail" which I read as a young high school student in the Chicano journal Aztlán in 1970.

This blog has always been more for the dead than for me. This light for their's.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

"Blood Moon, 7:45"

Blood Moon, 7:45

(for JD)

For a brief moment in time
the eye of the moon gazed
down upon my past loves, past
heart-wonders, upon you, my past lover.
For a while before it became
a sliver of a skiff, you and I,
the Owl and the Pussycat, were in love
once more inside a silver boat sailing
on the sea of sky—and almost disappeared
or dipped behind a star. Our love-
spittle descending down, our salivation,
our salvation of the moment
before the amorous fuzz that became
us was no more. No matter
what science finds us here (there),
two love-sucked suckers in a field
of budding roses turning the great dial
and straining against the pawl. All
that time I thought I knew you,
fed you a moment of me. Every cliche
tucked neatly in place, snug as
the diamond you placed upon my hand,
our pawnshop find, our brilliant
glass act. We were a sensuous lot,
a cipher coming home, our signals
strong as the waves crashing upon our shore.
Do you evermore? I hope so. There
where the mist envelopes, just over
that ridge where the light, now a nail
without a finger, points. For a moment
we were a phenomena I will remember
to the grave. Or until fire becomes me
and I peer out upon a lucid bay
again. Under this blood moon drawing
our animal souls from home, I am
once again with you, gazing into
that part of myself who sits here
still. That heart that still loves
you—before the season passes,
before this changeling light disappears
into a blood mush and reappears,
changed. Same moon. Same face.
Same love, but shadowed and reinvented.
Soon to be, again, mundane
as that moon now refracting the sun's dial.
And I'm left here, dialing alone,
and wondering of you, your total
eclipse from me. And, move on.


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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Sad News: El Poeta, raulrsalinas Begins His Longest Walk

I Just received these bulletins on MySpace that my friend and one of my earliest influences, raúlsalinas has passed. This is very sad news for me. I'm so glad I spent the past two days doing what he would have done: on monday I participated in the press conference and rally for the beginning of the Longest Walk. I read a couple of poems at Sproul plaza at UC Berkeley in support of the return of the bones of our ancestors from there and everywhere else they are being held hostage. Then, yesterday, I participated in the march and rally at Berkeley to support the council's decision to shut down the Marine recruitment station. I also witnessed the harrassment and police intimidation of Raza youth in the park where they skateboard which was taken over by militant right wing racists who verbally and physically assaulted them. Three youths were arrested after being roughed up by police.

Raúl, your Spirit is strong. And it is present. Tiahui, Maestro. I will miss your smile. ~ Lorna Dee Cervantes

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
Date: Feb 13, 2008 9:09 AM

Raul Salinas.
Activist, Master Poet, Chican-indio Legend... Your influence and wisdom will live on through generations.

For those who knew of him, please feel free to repost and send love and prayers his way...

Raul R. Salinas Presente!

¡Raúl R. Salinas, Presente!
March 17, 1934- February 13, 2008

Jazz Hipster | Pinto | Cockroach Poet | Human Rights Activist | Xicanindio | Elder | Comrade

It is with profound sadness and heartache that we inform you of the passing of Calaca Press Field Commander, Raúl R. Salinas.

Raul, the author of the seminal Chicano experience poem, Un Trip Through the Mind Jail, was not only an accomplished poet but a dedicated community activist who gained a political consciousness while serving approximately 13 years inside some of America’s most notorious prisons (Huntsville, Soledad, and Leavenworth among others). While in prison at Marion he was befriended by Puerto Rican Nationalist Rafael Cancel Miranda (famed for an armed assault on congress on March 1, 1954 with fellow Nationalists including Lolita Lebron). Sr. Miranda was a major influence on Raul’s lifework. Imprisoned during the early Chicano Movement years he was active in the prison rights struggles of that time. His book, raúlrsalinas and the Jail Machine: My Weapon is My Pen: Selected Writings by Raúl Salinas (edited by protégé Louis G. Mendoza) highlights his struggles and victories inside America’s prison system. Including winning a landmark prison rights case.

After his release from prison in 1973 he dedicated his life to Chicano and Native American causes. He was a member of the Centro de la Raza in Seattle, the American Indian Movement, a cofounder of the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee and various other progressive organizations dedicated to defending the rights and interests of all working class and colonized people. A true internationalist he was committed to supporting Puerto Rican independence (as well as ending the bombing on Vieques), the Cuban Revolution, The Nicaraguan Sandinistas, the Zapatistas in Chiapas and the Bolivarian Process of Presidente Hugo Chavez Frias of Venezuela among many other internationalist struggles.

After serving many years of forced exile in Washington state (where he helped defend Native American fishing rights), he eventually returned to his home in Austin, TX. Shortly thereafter he opened Resistencia Bookstore and Red Salmon Arts which became a cultural and political hub for East Austin’s Chicano community.

In 1999, after hearing about this “cool vato de aquellas,” Calaca Press took a chance by calling Resistencia Bookstore out of the blue to introduce ourselves and seek a meeting. After a somewhat cold conversation we later flew to San Antonio for the Inter-American Book Fair where we were to gather. Instantly we hit it off and plans were made to bring Raul to San Diego to record a couple poems for volume 2 of our Raza Spoken Here audio series. After an amazing recording session featuring Raúl and Taco Shop Poets rhythm section Mikey Figgins on bass and Kevin P. Green on drums it was decided to go forward with a full CD of Raul’s work. A few months later Raul came back to San Diego (sleeping many a night on the infamous striped couch in our tiny apartment in Barrio Lomas) to finish recording what would become Los Many Mundos of raúlrsalinas: Un Poetic Jazz Viaje con Friends. During this session we recorded, but never released, Un Trip Through the Mind Jail. Perhaps the only quality recording of this major work of Chicano literature.

It was during 2000 that Raúl affectionately and facetiously dubbed Calaca owners Brent E. Beltrán and Consuelo Manríquez de Beltrán the Chairman and Comandante CHElo, while calling himself the Field Commander of Calaca Press. Raul helped create and foment the current mystique that surrounds our Calacaverse and the work that we do. Between 2000 and 2004 Raul made numerous trips to San Diego to visit Calacalandia and became a regular amongst the Calacas and SD’s Chicano art/activist scene. Without the example of our Field Commander, Calaca Press and our organization the Red CalacArts Collective (whom we borrowed the Red and Arts from Red Salmon Arts as an homage), would not be what it is today.

Our Field Commander and comrade will be missed and remembered. He will always hold a special place in our collective memory.

Adelante, compañero, siempre adelante.

Desde Calacalandia,

El Chairman y La Comandante CHElo

gray grease
for raúlrsalinas

salinas slides
gray grease
against the groove
the hard
roots rock
he walks
a moment
crystal city clear
still bringing
jazz and jams again

lingua franca
in a dice shoot
dipping days
salinas cool
viejito haze
’mano may raise
in riffs

he started breathing in san anto
brought it blessed in san anto
in the bop unbroken
guadalupe sunday
growing largo
dealing su descarga
and the smoke is in the air
like a mingus moon

when they sing the sad corridos
do they also sing for you?
above the freeways passing over
and the sometimes quiet corners
we demeaned
by quarantine
the en masse
gente de masa

tired because
is next to joblessness
and talking
the fruition of dead president cutbacks

tired because
double barrels
aim down broadway
emblematic of
blue clad predators

tired because
life does not
flash before the eyes
of hard rock vatos
green back mambos
celebrating every day
as día de los muertos

now die, just die
no requiems
no peace in campo santo lies
no real magic mantra may revive
not common
sense of the shaman
distant drum songs keeping time
we’re running blind
holding bandanas
and bullets
and borderlines

we seek
we climb
we only find
the gristle and gray smoke sage
trencitas in the ancient way
burning down a desert stage
the migrant phrases
each by each
the whole of soul
frozen on an empty afternoon

by Tomás Riley
From the book mahcic: selected poems (Calaca Press, 2005)

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Taking Stock

So far this year, 2008, I've gotten a divorce (finalized), bought a house, fell in love, fell out of love, fell back in love, quit drinking (no brainer, I hardly drink anyway), quit smoking (yeah, I know), applied for a job in a totally different field, finished an 80 page book and published it. Now what? Year of the Rat has hardly even begun. Time for the new. Time for re-beginnings. And, you?

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Where In The World Is Lorna? Rally, Rallying, And Lorna Dee's New Book!

Foto Copyright 2008 by Francisco J. Dominguez - Not to be used without expressed written permission.

Well, one place I'm not is NYC at the AWP. I so wanted to go this year and meet up with all of you, visit old friends and attend the Latino Arts Conference which was at the same time. I also wanted to attend the honoring of Tato Laviera, and all the other side readings and events to the AWP this year. Also, maybe get in some schmoozing. IF I so desire and choose to re-enter academia. Ahem. But the conference sold out early, and my economic resources depleted early as well. Besides, what with all this germ warfare going on, I've been fighting off a nasty flu/ bronchial thing that just keeps lingering on like the pink mucus de-energizer bunny.

So, where I've been is rallying and rallying. Besides the 35th Anniversary of Roe vs. Wade event in San Francisco, I had the great honor to be invited by Janice Mirikitani, a poet who has had a major influence on me and my work, via Leticia Hernandez, a young poet who is dynamite and who presented at the event last year - to present for the 22nd Annual Martin Luther King March and Rally for the Glide Memorial Church at the Bill Graham Theater. Luckily, my voice held out, only one little off-squeek. But I was so nervous, I made the mistake of reciting my slogan: Don't Hate, Educate! as starting out: "Hate..." Oops. I should have covered my tracks like a jazz musician and said something else, turned it into something else, but instead I apologized and then got it right. I had 5 minutes so read 3 short poems, 2 new ones on immigration rights - stating that if MLK, Jr. were alive today, he'd be standing for the rights of immigrant workers. Then I read "10 One-Line Poems For America" from DRIVE: The First Quartet. Early on I asked Howard, the incredible Saxophonist for the Glide choir and Tim, the electric guitarist to jam with me on the one-line poems. Luckily, they agreed. I do SO love performing with jazz musicians - it really is in my blood. Howard jumped in on the second immigration poem and it sounded really good. It was a very moving day, all around. And, thanks so much to photographer extraordinaire, Francisco Dominguez for snapping this shot (no doubt destined to be a classic) of me reading the last word of the second poem: "JUSTICIA!" a la Phil Goldvarg.

Then, rallying once more, I presented my poetry along with a little motivational speaking and lecturing on the writing process (the creative/critical process) for the Chicana/Latina Foundation. This was also quite moving. It was so great to see so many beautiful minds in that room, and know that each one is afforded the opportunity she deserves. Good luck to all.

Meanwhile, I was asked to provide copies of my latest book for them and the board members of the foundation, but DRIVE costs $25 each and I couldn't get the books on time (I just had a week), so I offered to put together some chapbooks of poems selected specifically for them. Well, that project turned into an 80 page new book of new and selected poems entitled BIRD AVE y New Mission Poems. I have limited copies for a mere $10 each. Sure to be a collector's item soon. You can write to me; or, better yet, invite me to come read/present in your location for copies. You can also click my Amazon pay system at the bottom of this page (long scroll, sorry) and see if that works to pay directly, and I'll shoot you a copy in the mail.

I'll be reading at UC Davis on Feb. 20th. And possibly reading for the Lunada at the Galeria de la Raza here in The City; that is, if I can convince Marc Pinate that the full moon is actually on thursday, Feb. 21. More on my spring schedule soon.

Also, I'll be starting intensive workshops this month. More on that soon, too.

"Peace is a many tendered thing."

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