Sunday, February 28, 2010

For Chile, From Her Native Master, Pablo Neruda: "And the City Now Has Gone"


How the clock moves on, relentlessly,
with such assurance that it eats the years.
The days are small and transitory grapes,
the months grow faded, taken out of time.

It fades, it falls away, the moment, fired
by that implacable artillery-
and suddenly, only a year is left to us,
a month, a day, and death turns up in the diary.

No one could ever stop the water's flowing;
nor thought nor love has ever held it back.
It has run on through suns and other beings,
its passing rhythm signifying our death.

Until, in the end, we fall in time, exhausted,
and it takes us, and that's it. Then we are dead,
dragged off with no being left, no life, no darkness,

no dust, no words. That is what it comes to;
and in the city where we'll live no more,
all is left empty, our clothing and our pride.

-Pablo Neruda, trans. Alastair Reid

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Friday, February 26, 2010

Where In The World Is Lorna? 2010 Readings & Workshops Calendar

(in progess, will be updated as we go)

Lorna Dee Cervantes Reading Calendar 2010

Saturday, Feb. 27, 10 am

"Building Bridges: The 1st Annual Latino Summit"
Intensive Poetry Workshop
St. Ignatius College Preparatory School
San Francisco, CA

Tuesday, March 2, 7pm

Mark Allen Everett Poetry Series
Poetry Reading
David L. Boren Auditorium at the National Weather Center
Oklahoma University (NE corner of Highway 9 & Jenkins)
Norman, OK

Friday, March 5, 5-8:45 (reading at 6 pm)
Cultural Encounters, First Fridays at the de Young Museum
Muralista Mujeres/ Women Muralists in The Mission and The World
Golden Gate park, San Francisco

Saturday, March 13, 11:30-1 pm

Split This Rock
Workshop: "Poesia Para la Gente/Writing to Save Lives"
(pending other readings, workshops in the area)
Washington, DC

Tuesday, March 16

Speak Art to Power
Poetry Reading for Women of Juarez
(pending other readings, workshops in area)
New York City

Saturday, March 27, 1-4 pm

Mills College
Intensive Poetry Workhop ($25)
(to be confirmed)
Oakland, CA

Sunday, March 28, 7pm

Muchas Voces Una Visión/ Many Voices One Vision
Poetry Reading ($10) at La Peña
Benefit for Relief Efforts In Haiti by Doctors Without Borders
Berkeley, CA

Friday, April 9, 7pm
Poetry Reading
ConTinta Celebration
AWP: Assoc. of Writers & Writing Programs
Denver, CO

Saturday, April 17

Kearny St. Intergenerational/ Interdisciplinary
Writers Lab
(time, location TBA)
San Francisco, CA

Monday, April 19

Poetry Reading
NYC Poetry Fest (to be confirmed)
(pending other workshops, readings in area)
New York City/ Bronx

Saturday, April 24

Kearny St. Intergenerational/ Interdisciplinary
Writers Lab
(time, location TBA)
San Francisco, CA

Sunday, May 1

Poetry Reading & Workshop
Writers Conference
(time, location TBA)
Chicago, ILL

Saturday, May 29

American Language Association
"Something Symbolic Going On"
Panel presentation on Elena Viramontes
(time, location TBA)

Sunday, June 20 - 26

VONA poetry workshop
(price, time, location, TBA)
San Francisco, CA

Saturday, October 16

Poetry Reading
(time, location TBA)
(pending other readings, workshops in area)
New York City

Saturday, October 30

Poetry Reading Hike
(time, location TBA)
(pending other readings, workshops in area)
Tuscaloosa, AL

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"On Happiness"

On Happiness

Dolphins taught the apes to speak
To take comfort in the wait for waves
To flow together in an arch of forgiveness
To pay attention to the past, past
Envy into the hilarity of a new revelation

Joy is the natural state, a constitution
Written with the rags of war, the pangs
Of indecision and a decisive dividing
On the plate. Bliss is the ride in, the free fall
All together now, singing in the element of birds.

Lorna Dee Cervantes

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Statement on the occasion of Mission Latina/o poets honoring Diane di Prima's inauguration as Poet Laureate of San Francisco, 2/20/10

Statement on the occasion of Mission Latina/o poets honoring Diane diPrima's inauguration as Poet Laureate of San Francisco, 2/20/10

I suspect I was invited to participate for my connection to The Mission, poetry, and the early days of MCC, and as soon as I was asked I said to myself: "Oh, you have NO idea!" I spoke of staring into the hideous op-art carpet and sinking into the earth only to find myself when Diane spoke back in '69? '70? at San Jose State. I'm pretty sure I was 16 years old and that she read with Victor Hernández Cruz & Elías Hruska-Cortez. As amazing as they were, they were just the set-up for the grand slam of Diane for me that night. I had come to hear her, having already been familiar with her poetry and other revolutionary letters. I heard her whenever I could. I know it was her voice I heard and spoke with in my poetry for years, maybe to this day--minus the NY accent. She was reading from the beginning of Loba, her ongoing opus. It was healing as well as liberating to be transformed by a woman and her totem. I shadowed her for decades afterward when I'd come to The Mission to see my father. It led me to strange poetry movie nights and other happenings in cavernous dreamscape spaces in the early '70s. It kept me in the library and bookstores just keeping up with her work. It brought me back to Third World poetry and the women's collective. It brought me to the Lower East Side. And, about 15 years later it brought me into her livingroom with her friends and family: poets (white men) I had long admired and read in the "poetry world" who would on any other place on earth not have paid any attention to me at all. She made them listen. And, finally, it led me to Boulder where I was a tenured Associate Professor of English for almost 20 years where I had the pleasure of her company and voice at the nearby Naropa Institute, the creative writing program she had a hand in founding. I have always heard her voice. I am proud, as a second generation Native San Franciscan, to know that my city has the good sense and impeccable taste to name her, Diane diPrima, my Poet Laureate.


Lorna Dee Cervantes

3181 Mission St., PMB 16
San Francisco, CA 94110

Skype: Lorna-Dee-Cervantes

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"Poem For Diane" (Celebrating Diane di Prima's Inauguration as Poet Laureate of San Francisco)


"When spoken (poetry) cuts a shape in time"
~ Diane di Prima

La Loba, you taught me well,
how to survive the hell
of an intelligent woman.
Taught me to spell
my way to her-story, taught
me the world was a word
with out El_Otro, Loba,
you taught me to cherish
my whiskers, my attuned ears,
my long smokey looks when
La Loba just wants to play.
You taught me the mouse
is more than she has at hand,
that many mouths can save an other.
How to howl, Loba, you let me
howl, with your tiny hands
and your enormous heart,
with your no-bullshit vocabulary
and your steel-snap mind,
with your pacing, your waiting,
your ever cool, oh so cool way
of loving, La Lobita, you taught
me by being you. You taught
me the world was more than words
and your word, all.

Lorna Dee Cervantes

(on the occasion of Mission Latina/o poets honoring Diane di Prima's inauguration as Poet Laureate of San Francisco)

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Lorna Dee's Intensive Yoga/Poetry/Spirituality Workshop TODAY in San Jose! Come on down! As the Spirit Moves You

Come to my intensive yoga/poetry/Spirituality wkshp TODAY, 1-4, 510 S. First in SJ. Bring $25, 15-20 copies of a poem to wkshp, writing materials for poems & notes, comfortable clothing to sit, recline or stretch. Uh, & tip$$ for the poet as this is an unpaid gig & a benefit for scholarships from the Art of Living Fellowship's City Leadership Corps. This is a rare opportunity for me to discuss Spirit, Spirituality, language, breath & the conditions & experience of faith as it relates to poetry unfolding in the world and the art of living. I'm looking forward to it. (This is a non-denominational, non-religious, all-levels, all-ages, bilingual poetry workshop.) Just come with an open mind and heart and be prepared to write! You don't even have to move... as the Spirit moves you.
Lorna Dee Cervantes Writing Workshop

Scholarship Fundraiser for Art of Living: City Leadership Corps
Education - Workshop
Saturday, February 20, 2010
1:00pm - 4:00pm
San Jose, CA
510 S. First St.
San Jose, CA
View Map

LORNA DEE CERVANTES will be teaching a one-day writing workshop for ALL backgrounds and skill levels on Saturday, February 20th at MACLA in downtown San José. The workshop, from 1 - 4 p.m., costs $25.

The fundraiser is for the Art of Living's City Leadership Corps Fellowship.

DO NOT MISS this rare opportunity! PLEASE COME THROUGH!

EVEN IF you are not going to take the workshop, come by and leave a donation or buy some YUMMY home baked goods : )

Contact: Melissa Lozano
Art of Living's City Leadership Corps Fellow
Mills College

Contact: Adriana Garcia
MAIZ Movimiento de Acción, Inspirando Servicio

Lorna Dee Cervantes is an award-winning Chicana-Native American poet who is considered one of the major Chicana poets of the past 40 years. She was born in 1954 in California and grew up in San Jose, speaking English exclusively. This was strictly enforced by her parents, who allowed only English to be spoken at home by her and her brother. This was to avoid the racism and genocide that was occurring in her community at that time. Lorna is a dynamic poet who draws tremendous power from her struggles in the literary and political trenches. She has received two National Endowment for the Arts poetry fellowships, a prestigious Lila Wallace Readers Digest Fellowship, and two Pushcart Prizes.

Contact me at me dot COMmercial suffix at LornaDeeCervantes if you'd like to host your own poetry workshops in your own space. HAVE POEMS. WILL TRAVEL. I'm especially interested in DC & NY venues beginning to mid-March. $25 per person minimum depending upon travel expenses: make it a fundraiser or house party. Contact me about readings, presentations, workshops at your university, college or other venue. (I'm beginning to give up on colleges, etc., as they don't pay for months, especially in CA, but hey, I'm a yogi, I'm flexible.) I'll be posting my travel & readings schedule soon. Poetry On!

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How Far Is Heaven?


Friday, February 19, 2010

Latina/o Poets Celebrate San Francisco's New Poet Laureate, Diane di Prima, TONIGHT, 6 pm (7 reading) w/ Lorna Dee Cervantes & former SF Laureates

Fog In Pacifica (Haiku)

Fog In Pacifica

Noisy neighbors. Now
Starlings replace hermit thrush
Nesting. I miss you.



St. Valentine's Day In San Francisco (more Mission Haiku)


Happy Japanese
Guy dances and composes
Down 24th Street


New red Camaro
Hangs a left because it can
Home for Mom today!


Love Hurts

Couples walk their dogs
Hot capuccinos in hand
Kissing and dripping


People think real hard
On this street days before pay
Men sell red roses



Sunday's best in Spring
Everyone's a flower post rain
Two men pass a can

Two men pass a can
Everyone's a flower post rain
Sunday best in Spring


In Passing

Running man, tiny
Black shorts, holds stopwatch, lights past
Hip hop Adidas


So many flowers today!
People pass dressed Sunday best
One's in love wear red


Foreigners today
Walk slow past the church. Future
Artists in strollers



Curly-haired guy eats
A banana, walks past old
Guy who looks like him


Men with ice cream cones,
Chicharron: hard to believe
The blood on the streets


Someone's looking. All
Think of it. The pregnant one
Rubbing her belly


Yellow taxi takes
Or brings back home. MUNI bus
Just misses the hit


"This Sucks"

Sweeping up the trash
On Valentine's Day, cute
Guy makes it an art


On Harrison

The pelota man
Runs fast past Humphry Slocombe,
Heavy cart tinkling


Humphry Slocombe sells
Jalapeño mango scoops
Same as man from cart


Dogs bother the old
Woman dressed for church. Blond Grrrl
Doesn't apologize


A single man sings
Drunkenly down the street
"AH-MERRY-KAH!" loud


Oompah tuba sounds
From the taquería blare
Ranchera love songs


Too many drunk guys
I think I'll go home to my
Dog tonight: True Love


* note: Any resemblance to any person, living or dead, is purely poetic; but do let me know if you see yourself.

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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Did A Black Haitian Ex-Slave Immigrant From New Orleans Rebuild San Francisco in 6 years after the 1906 Earthquake? The Edison of Bernal Heights

I am now officially 100% on Mission, in the The Mission and on a mission. Exciting news in the last week. Major breakthroughs in all areas. True serendipity. What treasures you find when you least expect it, when you aren't even looking: the power of intent. "God is alive; Magic is afoot" as Buffy St. Marie sang it. Ecopoetics is not a literary style. It's a way of knowing, a way of being, a way of "seeing." It's how the multiverse gets things done. We have an advantage most matter doesn't, we have hands and we can move.

As for the tease? I can prove it. And there couldn't be a better time for it. Chronicle Books? Oprah Winfrey. It's a story I will love to tell.

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