Far from the dust of the San Francisco dump, renowned Amercian poet Lorna Dee Cervantes read her work. Lorna describes her emphatic and resonating HCR performance in her blog and includes some sound advice for next year’s heretical organisers: “I’ll be performing poetry for the 13th Heretical Consumer Research Performance gathering today in San Francisco where Basquiat meets Baudrillard in the dump, Beuys meets the Fortune 500 on the run and Frida will not appear this afternoon for lunch at noon at the B Restaurant, upper terrace of the Yerba Buena Gardens on Howard across from her inimitable much imitated display. It will be a heretical happening. (What ever will I wear?). ……..For their 14th, they ought to invite the found puppet genius, Liebe Wetzel and her Lunatique Fantastique.”

These are three of the suitable poems that she performed for the particpants and the passers-by, from her volume 100 100-Word Love Poems:

100 Words Against Poverty

I’m not afraid of poverty.
I have your golden touch.
I have your threadlike hair.
I have the gold coin
and gentle rain of you.

I’m not afraid of poverty.
I could sip your soup
all day. I would play
with your remains, twist you
into endless mouthfuls, love you.

I’m not afraid of poverty,
not with this filling music,
not with these eyes, lips
that could cradle a tongue,
all that lean of you.

I’m not afraid of poverty.
I have your meaty heart.
I have the best of you.
I have your art
of loving back, have you.


100 Words Past Poverty

You were meant for me.
The rest is just poverty,
a piss poor way home,
a basket of backyard oranges,
fat potatoes, too many eggs.

You were born for me,
born to the losers class,
born to sorrow, born full
of all that you’ve been
missing, born half-way there.

You were waiting for me,
waiting to eat your fill,
waiting out tomorrow, a future
tense, a perfect reunion: you,
last splash in the present.

You were once my destiny, my
one-way ticket out of poverty,
a full tank of gas,
a brimming goblet, a lotto
love for you—for me.


100 Words for Money

Baby, you don’t need money.
You need me, my siren
in the surf, my song
in the dawn for you.
Who needs money? Anyone’s got
money. Ah, but who you
are, your inner change, that
spare coinage when you speak,
the enchanted gold of your
tongue — and its place! Baby,
who needs money? You’ve got
a gal like me, even
for a bargain. You, my
blue light special: with those
raptor eyes, lackadaisical sighs, wise
assed smiles in the comments;
every hundred dollars in your
heartbeat, that shirtful of soul;
Baby, who puts a price
on a heart like that?




Lorna Dee Cervantes is an internationally acclaimed Chicana poet from San Jose, California. Her poetry has appeared in nearly 200 anthologies & textbooks including the Norton Anthologies of Modern, American, English, Contemporary & Women’s Poetry. The recipient of many honors, awards & literary fellowships, her first book, Emplumada, (Univ. of Pittsburgh, ’81) won an American Book Award; her second, From the Cables of Genocide: Poems on Love and Hunger, (Arte Publico, ’91) won the Paterson Prize for Best Book of Poetry (judge-Hayden Carruth) and the Latino Literature Award. 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. Awarded a prestigious Lila Wallace-Readers Digest Award for her work, she founded & directed “Floricanto Colorado” showcasing Xicano & Xicana literature in Denver & surrounding schools which, among other events, helped to bring about the proclamation of “Abelardo ‘Lalo’ Delgado Day in Denver.” On July 4th, 1976, she founded the influencial small press & Chicano literary journal, MANGO Publications, which was the first to publish Sandra Cisneros, Jimmy Santiago Baca, Alberto Rios, Ray Gonzalez, Ronnie Burk, Orlando Ramírez (co-editor), as well as championed the early work of writers, Gary Soto, Jose Montoya, Jose Montalvo, Jose Antonio Burciaga, & her personal favorite, Luis Omar Salinas. The recipient of two NEA Fellowship Grants for poetry, several California & Colorado State grants, & a Pushcart Prize for Best Poem, she was recently a finalist, along with Reg Saner & Mary Crow who holds the position, for Poet Laureate of Colorado. Her heart belongs in San Francisco, the Mission of her birth. She is currently Associate Professor of English at the University of Colorado in Boulder where she is finishing sick-leave & beginning a sabbatical to complete her book of literary nonfiction, I Know Why the Quetzals Die: An Education. She is presently confounded by the prospect of peddling her screenplay, “Pigmeat: The Life and Times of Memphis Minnie,” a 20-year project, to Oprah (Any leads? Agents don’t “do” poets.) Lorna Dee Cervantes’s 5 new poetry books are bound into one in DRIVE: The First Quartet (Wings Press, October, 2005) and debuts with a performance in Washington, DC, at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.  













































































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