About the team

About our founder

Storykeeper, Poet, Performance Artist, and Arts Advocate Linda Ravenswood
is a Los Angeles native and 7th generation California schoolteacher (e.g. LAUSD
educator family for two centuries, paternal grandmother Elementary School Principal, Baja California Sur)

Linda is a multi award winning, National Performance Poet and Literary advocate. A teacher since her undergraduate program at CalArts (CAP in public schools, Plaza de la Raza) she continues her family legacy of arts outreach, literacy, access, focus on diversity, and accountability to constituents across Southern California and The West.

Published in nearly 100 books, anthologies, journals, online periodicals, and collaborative manifestos, Linda founded The Los Angeles Press in 2018 with a grant from the Vons Foundation (via Duda Holdings), USC, and The Los Angeles Review of Books — to address the critical need for access to publishing opportunities for all. Her strategic plan includes continuing to place art and literature in unexpected places, to delight and inspire the public, to widen the circle of empathy and inclusion for artists, writers, and storytellers from all walks of life, to continue partnering with local, regional, and national organizations to create accessible, diverse, meaningful arts and literature programming, and to address critical needs for arts advocacy for the constituents of Los Angeles and The West. #blm

Linda is a Co founder of Melrose Poetry Bureau, headquartered in West Hollywood, is a founding member of Project 1521, a winner of The California Writer’s Grant, and two time Pushcart Prize nominee

Her book rock waves / sloe drags is forthcoming from Eyewear London in 2020.

She has an old personal website (web designer needed:)) at https://lindaravenswood.wixsite.com/lindaravenswood/about

Find her @thelosangelespress and @bespokepoets on Instagram

 

Linda Ravenswood PhD abd — Supplementary docs for West Hollywood Poet Laureate Program

 

Poetry is a Shapeshifter

first published in Angels + Flight Literary West, 2017

http://aflwmag.com/2017/01/23/poetry-shapeshifter/

 

Poetry must be a singer,
to remain relevant, Poetry must be liquid.
It must penetrate many crevices of society,
must present itself in many genres, and on many platforms
must raise its head from traditional ideas, modes and venues
must cling within the souls of the artists,
but race to merge with the souls of the People;
Poetry must be unafraid,
bold —
Poetry must sing

Poetry must embrace multidimensionality and multi-genre-ality
must be liberal, but fierce in its disciplines
must have a champion
must speak history must be indiscreet
must be tactless, falling down stairs like a toddler,
slipping into ravines like a dancer on high alert,
forgetting the words but remembering the way
Poetry must be improvised from years of preparation
must be improvised from the genetic memory,
Poetry must be.
Poetry must be.

Poetry must be politic
must have muscles
must bend low to serve the People, not just aggrandize the poet
must have a big heart
and a great sense of humor
must travel light, but bring with it
invisible cables of lineage, culture, resistance, and resilience
The poet must speak for everyone,
her duty must not be to factions —
She should know the Tongva, the Gabrielino, the Mexican, the Spanish —
not speak for only one segment of the population
but for The German, The Irish, The Jewish, The Hmong,
The Japanese, The Ethiopian, The Laotian. from the depths of poverty,
and from the hope of a just wealth,
from the streets, and from the salon

The poet’s hair,
if she has hair —
her arms,
if she possess them —
her eyes,
if they be —
must belong to her
though they be recycled
from a hundred other sources.
From these vessels,
and others,
she must give nourishment to a People

The poet should know the land.
understand Chavez Ravine and Dodger Stadium,
and speak with mercy and generosity
towards both civic realities,
She must stretch imaginations, causes, firmaments, destinies
search out justice,
amendments,
reparations,
forgivenesses,
concords,
and ultimate brother and sisterhood
She must not be pigeonholed by politics,
but must use politics to resound fervent truths, share place, and re + member hope

The poet should live here,
in this gloriastic chasm
somewhere between student and teacher,
shaman, and servant, magician and fool,
She must dance here
and bow to all dissemblers and non believers

(We) must travel light but like lightning;
must bring the force of light with us,
have stamina, strength, hope, vigilance, sight —
(We) must speak from the memory of place,
through personal trauma, for untapped dreams
only dared in crossed fingers and quick breaths.

It is essential the poet be a mixed person,
maybe even dropped on her head once or twice,
maybe her father left
or stayed
but couldn’t speak
and another language had to be met
maybe her mother was a circus rider
or she went to the pictures instead of Calculus
maybe her teeth were knocked in
or she lay in Orthopaedic Hospital all of 3rd grade
maybe she saw a man beaten on a corner
out of the corner of her eye
and she never dis remembered —

It is essential that the poet live in this liminal place,
of a wholeness of humanity

If the poet can be a person of multiple heritages
with allegiances to all —
If the poet can be college-educated
someone who experiences prison a world traveler
a seamstress
a high school dropout
live out of her car
or on the beach

If she knows Dante’s Trail, the Magic Castle, the Paletero in Boyle Heights, Hop Louie’s, the Saugus Cafe, Llano del Rio, Geoffrey’s in Malibu, Angels Flight, the Red Car, La Brea Tar Pits, The Farmers Market before The Grove, Ray Bolger’s dance at Good Shepherd Church, what the Third Street Promenade looked like before 1995, where
Tony Curtis filmed in Los Feliz, the California Incline, Leimert Park and The World Stage, when you could swim in Santa Monica, the South Central Farm

If the poet can know
If he can remember
If the poet can sing
If they can be an old man and a young woman
If they can be an old woman and a young man
because —
Poetry must be.
Poetry must be.

—-

Cold song in a hot clime

– for Sandra Bland -from UCLA Convocation. 2017

56°F,
Wind, North,
3 miles an hour,
100% humidity,
Naperville, Illinois …

and

the phone started ringing,
a rolled over sound from long ago;

I didn’t recognize the number
but I’m off this summer
so I said ‘Hello’
and a woman’s voice
came back, ‘It’s Sandy,
Sandy Bland.
I don’t know you,
do you know me ?
My eyes are closed,
someone gave me a phone
in the dark:
are you white?’

Closing down the receiver
like an earphone
in a recording studio,
I said, ‘Mother ? Is that you?’

No, it’s Sandy, She said,
something happened.

I put my face in the pillow,
Alice Coltrane deep.

Sometimes, if you’re lucky
rainbows lick your dreams
there — I said, eyes
so tight,
whole face
a crumpled
sheet of music,

‘Sandy‘?’
and
She said,
~ ~

So
I said,
too fast
instead of listening,
‘Where you at ?’

And
She said, ‘ … gone.’

             In        the silence
                 beyond her
             soto voce,
        her
           break in the coda,
       open eyes / quick second
    was I /   
          in my room /
                    safe

    / for her      the false stop
    whip turn
  pull over / put out
         your cigarette
   you / running
      blue black
   daylight
        where ever you are / strong /
      strong       running    blue
            / strong running blue black /
                       strong running blueback /
 / you /        running high /
/ alone /
         / you know your rights /

/ don’t say my name /          don’t know my name

              from
              this /

     stop saying / the wrong name /

          there’s a job in texas /
               we can make it /

‘Sandy?
you still there?’
Mm hmm,’ she said.

Remember the time they tried to have a party
but everybody got sick and called it off
and that time we got the offer,
ain’t nobody ever could
ever hold a job like that
that was a fleur-de-lis in the clouds,
something to make us go on and on and on … 

and the high mountain gaida
flew across the valley
a tar beating on the breeze

‘how can we hold your memory ?
Where
have
you done
went ?’

Yeah but are you white?’

(and the music
fell off the stand)

‘so  … We white when it suits / yes you was right /
and … we not when the sky falls in / cos we pass’

and the top note went across the staff of sky
connecting one thing to another, linking hands
genetic passageways / the deep sea / I’m forever blowing bubbles .
thread of eon / my grandmother’s watch and fob

and Sandy said ‘Ain’t that lucky,
ain’t that lucky.’

And the receiver went cold,
and the song was over

—-

The sacred schizophrenia of her truth

— for Korryn Gaines—
published by Harriet Tubman Press, 2018

 

But if you’re brown
and you
something
to say ….
Oh stars !

Be on our side,
be with us
… in us

Mother us
when mothers
vanish

to disappearing 
because freedom
ain’t small enough
to hold

Be my father — 
stars
 — when fathers are out
on a rail
beat down
and beating
beating beating
they feet
tryna get home —
oh sacred breath of our fathers

Hold to us —
stars —  Hold us —
spoon us
your mysteries
and eternal
breaths.
Fill us with mighty dreams
that hold us, circled
in the safety of your
endless gaze ….

look after our boys
who weren’t done
who fell shunn’d
were burned with acid
lived tied up
got sold out —

and where I go
I see a woman on the rise,
and look —
there are
so many travelers

—-

orchid bulb//fox blood//seafoam —
a poultice

Published in Project 1521, Getty Publishing, forthcoming 2021

For the 7 children perished in US detention, 2019

Darlyn Cristabel Cordova – Valle
Jakelin Maquin
Felipe Gomez Alonzo
Juan de Leon Gutierrez
Wilmer Josue Ramirex Vasquez
Carlos Hernandez Vasquez
Mariee Juarez

 

You will not be forgotten nor ever
though you return to air and earth

you will be in the dawn again —
braided in our bread
our ox bones will bear the need of you

the essential you

our leaves and trees will increase with you
we will imbibe of you
our riverwater will increase because of you

we will imbibe of you in night —
you the remanded
you the blighted, the swept,
you the medicine for our children
though no star shattered to feed you
in the tremor in your hour of need —

your mother’s hands // a fury // a cloud //
all fastness // to bring you over —
the eternal recurrence of your gift //
your footprint — your Smallfoot —
on the place // every desert

plant and eye will become you —
you will not be forgotten // you —

your useful voice will sing in the desert again —
your childcall and ghostwisdom —
your strength to withstand conquest —
your ancient battalion against bronze heavy hand —
a pressure sacrilegious from outside you —
your strength to rebuild
the tower of our people—

over and again — your ironweed —
your night — your time under glass —

though your throat was closed
it will be the tributary —
the medicine of your veins will speak the healing —
your body will return the protection
of which you were robbed

your body the breakers
your body the rock
your body the breath
your body the night
your body the safety
your body the light
your body the tunnel of grass
your body the place
your body our coven
your body our wood
until you become everything

 

—————————–

 

Que es tu Latinidad ?

una Colección de Poesia en Ingles
de Linda Ravenswood de Montaño
hecha en los estados unidos
de mixteco y partículas azules, vientos,
oceánicos y olas blancas

Recuerde
en la mitad del aliento del día
Recuerde
y Vuelva a Contar
pero, no se quede atrapado
en su propia historia

linda ravenswood          battenberg press             los angeles, 2018

 

Towards California

published in The Southwestern Review 2018

this is everything I know about the man on the train / he loves his family /
/ it’s cost a lot of money to get this trip / he’ll be / in Stockton on Saturday /
/ he’s calling / all the people he knows / primos / tias / friends / keeps asking
/ is the truck okay ? / did you get the money ? / did you make money, angel ? /
/ angel, did you make money on this run ? / meet me at the place in Stockton /
/ we can change the trucks / Alicia is coming before June / meet me /
/ bring that thing / you know what I’m talking about, right ? /

/ he calls everyone tia / mija / mijita / primo / because everyone
is interchangeably tia / mija / mijita / primo / because he is a mexican adult male /
/ he tells the people / the children went to the graves of their uncle and father / cleaned the graves / a little bit / of someone’s father /
/ he tells a man / be in town / have it ready /
/ he tells one woman /
/ be in San Bernardino / 5 minutes /
on the platform / i will give money / for the children / i will kiss you /

/ this is everything I know about the man on the train / I’ve not seen him
but he must be wiry / he asks his family / are the phones working ? /
the calls / keep getting dropped / it is vacation but he cannot stop /
/ maybe he is talking to no one / maybe he has no plans /
/ maybe he is alone / like everyone else /

/ this is everything I know about the man on the train /

 

When you’re Latino

 Hispanic means white. (ish)
Unless you’re white,
and then Hispanic means ‘I don’t see you’.
‘This land was your land for how many years, what?’
‘There was gold found where?’
‘…Can we eat it?’
‘I want to wear gold, on the inside.’
’I want to be that white. ‘

Hispanic means white (ish)
Turn down service. Sugar cube. Private school.
Hispanic means Papa
owns a restaurant. Hispanic means Passing.

Latino means Cholo.
Indio. Teardrop tattoo.
Latino means
stopped by the cops.
Probable flunk out, at least one grade.
Latino is embattled. Splinters along the lengua de nopal.
Latino puts Xes on the ends of things to call itself into existence.
Latino wants to be Feared.

When you’re Latino you work the kitchen.
Latino means
hands of the business, not the face.

When you’re Hispanic you go to medical school.
When you’re Hispanic you smile at Ballet Folklorico.
(Don’t forget to send a check.)
When you’re Hispanic you glance lovingly, but remotely
at Cultural markers.
(Quaint. Simple.)
When you’re Hispanic there’s a room in your house with masks on the wall.
People think you’re a cultural torchbearer.
Nothing bad will happen to you.
When you’re Latino
finishing high school means you’re a sellout to some of your friends.
Oye Carnal. Be Fierce. Be hard. Wear defiance like blue eyeshadow.

When you’re Latino you have grease under your nails; Car, Lawnmower, Comida.
When you’re Latino you make your eyebrows high and dark.
When you’re Latino you joint like a wet back,
no matter how many smart clothes you wear.
Even your grandfather, Tres Flores slapped on both sides of his face,
even he cannot escape the smell.

When you’re Hispanic you have a library.
People come to dinner. (Wine, flowers. )
You’re well-liked. White people even
bring you their babies, when red spots appear in the night.
‘Dr. Lopez will know, he’s lived here so long’.
When you’re Hispanic they tell you how much integrity you have, como las montanas, but still there is no earth to touch your cuffs, no bent back or leatherneck from harvesting on your hands and knees.

When you’re Latino you have A Book.
You keep it at the bottom of your closet, near your shoes and suitcase.
Sometimes you go to the closet to look at The Book,
at The Seven Sisters Rising,
forming that great marker
into the heavens to escape the bear your brother has become.

Sometimes when you’re Latino, you long to be the bear.
Mostly you grab beer, hang in the window.
Sometimes boil about how it’s all Mexico,
how everything was swiped while you were grinding corn
and building the whole city.

 

Springtime 1 

published in The Los Angeles Poetry Society Journal 2016

When I was a child
I fervently worshipped the tiger inside my mouth;
parted lips, geographic tongue, all Indus Valley —
til my mother thrashed me in the green grass
and smashed me in the cradle, screaming
‘wake up brown bitch, it’s spring.’
So I scrubbed my knuckles red as brown could be
red, which is pretty red, and saw that I was passing.
At the bus stop in Century City, I stood relieved,
but little by little, my hips and breasts
throbbed golden brown,
and everyone on the block called
‘gimme some’; even the older girls
pushed me down, their breath on my lashes,
looking to me sweet as they could.
Little did I know the female gaze
and her right desire —
I was in my loops — barbie and the jacaranda —
so I kept my knees closed,
though an ocean was jetting through.
And there my mother saw me
swollen, doing cartwheels
on her Mayflowers in the front garden.
So she clobbered,
‘get a better bra for those pendulous breasts’
as still I was too round for her spring.
She put up a bounty that said
‘drop the brown you’re packing on,
and all this will be yours’,
and glued the recipe inside my eyelids.
But I woke up round as ever —
and she was gone.
Had you seen the tiger inside my mouth,
you would’ve worshipped too. Finally,
I inked up my eyebrows
and came fully to the Mendieta,
and the tiger lives on.

 

As a mostly white person in the time of why

How to lean into your Latinidad
if you were raised
by white people and Ashkenazi Jews /
how to find the way /
in the sweet loaded kitchen
of all Holocaust survivors. Little h Big H.
Black Irish girl seeped in Mexican brine
and Litvok candy / how to
lean into your Latini/dad if you
don’t understand / only the epigenetic
centres of the universe
in your bones and blood / all the ache and shame
around the city / indigo splotches across your backside / wetback right in the face of 14 / how did he know / ain’t my white privilege available in this light? /
how to understand Latini / dad never having been to a quinceanera

What is that cultural adjacency,
so adjacent, it might as well
bear another ZIP Code, live in another part
of the Thomas Guide, be so far beyond
the borders of recognition, red
lined from the community chest //

your father drives up in his Cortes Gold
Cadillac fresh from ‘Burbank’
to give you a present
you cannot use
that you do not want /
a shapeless shadow bucket
seat dwelling friend
/ you remember him right mija /
/ hi Linda /
/ happy birthday /
sits in the car
pastel lemon lurches
a 1980’s
colecock’d smear
against concrete /
then he
pulls away /
yes later men leave like this
peel off like this
memories of distant strangers
all planet groaning
halted love affairs in mirrors
where objects appear closer than irl /

there, in that throbbing vision cut
from a world of fatherishness
he ascends and recoils in clicktrack
golf clubs banging /
Diego Rivera /
bales of Canebrake /
bales of white lilies,
a donde vas papa ?
where are you going LatiniDad?

 

/////Papa ///////////////////////////////////
//
// Papa /

 

The refugees come like monarchs

Published by The Acentos Review 2017

 The soft bigotry of low expectation, sit down back
there, you’re dead, in swaddling, hasta los huesos,
you are of subtlest shadows, shhhhhhh

we’re standing in our night gowns
with parkas on, holding suitcases and plastic bags.
i re+member
refugees come like
monarchs,
our packs and crowns,
toes in desert silt,
a bone, a ragged bit, a jaw, a cup, my people
we are here and home and gone,
with winds round our frames
to bless
the pilgrimage, our
sky.

women with a two hand clap means food,
a two hand pat breeds our
flat and filling meal, flat song, teeth smiling, extruding corn meal;
across ocean, tortuga belly
full of vegetables, dipping down
the hand made scoop,
the simmering flesh,
the best meal you ever had
as sand kicks up its lashes
for grit.
being Refugee means all this is yours,
the golden singing to the black
crepe night, stars our microphones and mirrors.
i walk this desert
talk out of the side of my mouth;
it’s not cowardice
it’s passing

don’t see me white boy
you and ten like you,
don’t see me
horde of mopeds on the low turn,
don’t see this wet soul.

let me go on passing.
your ancient culture / my ancient culture / can’t we all just get along /
thunder boy butts come down hard / a steely armiture building civilisation /
smoldering cig curlers in labial folds / i thought i could make it to town,
and somewhere
in one of these white flats
a mother must be
caressing her kindergartener
and boiling a hissing sausage
that sings like me,
all this grass on my tongue

 

The treaty

My father was the first to see through the schemes of the white man. 
Even though he married white. (To be white!) 
He said, my son when I am gone, you are the chief of these people 
even though I adopted that white waitresses’ blue-eyed boy 
and gave him my name, remember the one you never wanted?  
Well yeah —
I wanted to be a white entrepreneur, hey yah hey yah.  Across the plains 
can you hear the voice of your father?  All men are bastards. 
I love you mija. I promise to take you to Spain when you’re 15,
15 years old, 1500 years old. All the time I promise I’ll take you to Spain.
Always remember that your father never sold his country. 
After you died papa, all your brothers and sisters sold the land 
where the tortugas come on the shore in the Baja, 
they gave me your portion from the French hoteliers. 
Papa it was so much money, and words I never knew, 
apostile seal, hectares. 
Always remember that your father never sold his country.
He sold alcohol to pastel golfers from NBC Studios in Burbank.  
You must stop your ears whenever you are asked to sign a treaty 
selling your home. 
Human, stop your ears whenever they iron a treaty 
selling your home. 
The sound of the burning parchment will travel with you 
like a bad relative.  
My son never forget my dying words, this country holds your father’s body. 
Never sell the bones of your father and mother.   
I pressed my father’s hand and told him
I would protect his grave with my life. 
His stepdaughter told me to call the authorities, 
ask if the breathing tube of my father could be removed.  
Perhaps it was hurting him,  they said.  
I went to call, daughter of the bartender, 
Daughter of the treaty makers
and the turn down service providers.
When I came back to the room to say it is inhumane 
to remove the breathing tube of a dying man, 
my father was gone.  
I stood there with the chaplain, 
who saw I was his daughter amidst the golfers, 
their loaves of handbags and their hurry up eyes.  
The chaplain knew the truth. 
Why does it matter that some stranger knows ?   
The Hague.   Always.  
A man who would not love his father’s grave 
is worse than a wild animal.   

(Chief Joseph and Linda Ravenswood)

 

———–

The Ana Mendieta Project
 

excerpt funded by The California Writers Project / Yefe Nof Award 2019

The play is separated into several monologues, and scenes between Ana, her sister, her niece, her colleagues, her teachers, and people she knows in the Midwest, Cuba, NYC and Italy.  Between the scenes are projections of the films of Ana Mendieta and stills from her performances. These serve as background and set.   During the scenes there are standard living quarters with furnishings, office spaces, her studio, and her loft in New York City.  
Two monologues.

Ana Mendieta speaks: 

Oye.  If I put blood on the streets and you walk by, with your button down, and your perfect shoes, and your umbrella, tightly rolled up like DNA, if I put blood on the street and you walk by, will you notice blood on the street? There’s blood on the street, and you walk by, you notice, there is blood on the street, but you walk by, do you call the police, you never call the police, why don’t you call the police? If I put blood on the streets, New York City, if I and my friends bring our super eight cameras to the street, and hide out in cars, and we put blood on the street, and we watch you with our camera, our legs tucked underneath the tripod, our hands in each other‘s hands, on sandwiches from the deli around the corner, with beer, and much coffee, soy Cubana, if we do this, in the light of day, if we put blood on the streets, and you walk by, going where it is that you are going,, If we put blood on the street, and you walk by, under the awning, next to a business front, blood on the street, and you see it, sidestepping, avoiding, and yet you see it, and you don’t call the police, why don’t you call the police?  What’s it gonna take for you to call the police? Oh wait wait wait wait wait – are you just that much smarter, do you know that the police aren’t going to do anything about it? Have these been the wrong questions all along, strange precursors to a night, a night, a starless night.  Imagine a window.

And Ana Mendieta walks on the treadmill suspended inside
the floorboards a la Greg Toland 
as she walks projections spin all around
everything she sees 
the world / the streets / the forest trees / everywhere she walks
projected on plinth canvases parade around her like a tryptich 
everything she sees / a tree wall city street person everywhere / she walks 
she swings her arms as she walks and everything she sees streams in succession she says

— I am that – I am that – I am there – I am there – I am that – it is not narcissism – I’m not marking my territory like an animal I am marking my territory like an animal – I am marking my territory – I am marking my way like someone in a catacomb – I am putting my graffiti on the I-Ternal city – eat ternal city of man – be a ternal world – the smell – this mountain I lived here – this river I lived here – this fish I lived here – this flower I lived here – on this the I-Ternal mountain I live here even when I am gone I still live here I plant my foot I plant my cane I plant my flowers – I planted my voice – I plan to my route – I plan to my tree – I plant my seed this is my planet I am not a narcissist I am a claimant in my own story and women! learn and hear and listen and change and do not mark any Juno put down – do not denigrate other women who make themselves the story – do not collect narcissism- do not be the enemy from with in – in family – in tribe – do not terrorize your sisters – there is enough terror without you shipping it in – stop editing me I know how to edit myself isn’t that the point I put my markings I insert myself into my own story no man can tell my story I am no man I am Odysseus I am no man I am Odysseus I am no man I insert myself into my own story I am Odysseus I am no man I insert myself into my own ocean I am Odysseus I am no man I make a boat of my womanhood I am Odysseus I am in no man I rewrite history I am Odysseus I am no man I make history I am Odysseus I am no man Odysseus is a woman I rewrite history I am Odysseus I am no man my story is story I am Odysseus I am in no man I am this bird this bird I am this bird I do not want what you have I do not want to castrate you and wear your penis around my neck like a trophy of your rotten glory that’s not my trophy that’s not my history I am not a footnote I am Odysseus I am no man

Scene on the boat on a raft visions of Gericault’s shipwreck painting the two sisters cling to one another coming to America coming to America clinging to one another coming to America fleeing the violence fleeing the out rage clinging to one another water water everywhere cuidate callate tu boca speaking Spanish speaking and singing to the African deity intoning the names of the Orishas they sing there are no mice in America saying to each other remindign each other that there are no racists in the United States only good people only good people and everyone loves Mexicans everyone loves Cubans everyone knows where they’re coming from right on and they will be good to them and kind to them FlashForward FlashForward forward to say the words that they know to one another this is a boy this is a girl and FlashForward become american a white woman is toweling off their hair a large white woman from the Midwest is towelling off their hair she says to them now that you’ve come to America you have to learn our Waze and our customs we are not dirty people we are not lazy people we do not have regimes in this country you have to get all that out of your head it’s not a regime here we care about freedom and cleanliness and we speak English we do not say Mercato we say market we do not say Mercato we say market she’s nodding her head to tell the girls to repeat what she’s saying the girls say we say Marcato we do not say market we say Mercato we do not say market she slaps them they say we say market we do not say Mercato we say market we do not say Macado The white woman finishes towelling off the girls with a big white cloth she says you’ll learn you’ll learn FlashForward to her sister graduating earlier and going off to art school her sister tells her that she is an artist she wants to study art Ana says she still doesn’t know what she wants to do she says but I usually do what you do I always follow you and I always well she says I’ll always follow you
I’ve always followed you and I always will her sister says yeah but if somebody jumped off of a cliff would you jump off after them and Ana says if I love them I would if it was for a good cause if it was for a reason her sister says hush don’t say that you have to be your own person you have to you have to be your own person her sister leaves she says I am my own person I belong to no one I don’t belong to anybody

(after the scene in Rome)

Ana:  Guess what?  I can talk. I’m not just a bleeding statue. I’m not just your wet dream from the 1970s. I’m not your brown princess. I’m not your poster child.  I’m not someone’s punched girlfriend/fiancé/wife/carcass. Heave ho.  Line up the next one.  I’m not your guerrilla girl. I don’t wear an ape mask. I am an ape mask.

I don’t think it started to go left when I took those  hair clippings and glued them to my face; inappropriate they all said, gross they all said, creepy they all said, not feminine, they all said. How are these actual critiques?  Is gender still all we can talk about?  What if I said to you it wasn’t that I started smearing my blood on white walls that made him angry, what if I said it was that I was getting noticed by the establishment, that was the linchpin, that that was the shove.  I’m holding on macramé strands, butterfly wings, I’m holding on, Someone catch me,  I’m being born!  Catch me!  Say my name.  Sandra Bland.  Say my name.  Corrine Gaines. Say my name. The women of Ciudad Juarez. Say my name.  Ana Mendieta. Say my name.

 

—————

The Saint of Land

Memories of strangers  

I make a tortilla.   
It is a flat, 
Somewhat splendid weft of wheat.   
Splendid  because 
It is — in the whole Life is bursting and o
We eat and squint in the Sun kind of way and 
Somewhat   
Because — you never know.   
My mother nursed 
the hairs of wheat that make these leavening 
Ivory leaves, up through the rocky crumbles 
of land out back.  She nursed the rows and curls 
in tears and puffs and splits, her mouth hanging 
wet and heaving, making her digs in the dirt 
and her digs at my father, long gone, with 
what she would have said, what she wished she could 
have called home to ‘braid and boil and wake him.  
Behind the house, in her sweat, her fingerblood,
her hot dna, she’d call the wheat forth,  
every fulcral arm in the field a prayer, 
alone on our acre.  I should go out to 
help her meet the grain.  I should run to do 
Mitzvot and help her bring it in, but it’s 
Trouble buttoning the cardigan, trouble 
even to lift my fatty feet over 
the crib slats; I am two and watching her 
in the window, crying why, and raging 
as she buckles like a stevedore over the ropes of 
Wheat.  
Wheat — that mocks the brambles on, 
Wheat —
That’ll sop the honey gone, 
Wheat —
That turns the skies on end 
Over and Over in the beige bends, 
Back up to the slit where the moon crawls in, 
Creaking in the wind duffs
In the evening din, 
Speaking of the belly and the hot pee scent of 
Wheat — after it’s gone through the whole body, spent. 
The day tumbles down and the child trundles round 
And the wheat silky groans in the black outside.  
My mother was a game and my father was a name 
And I stand on the lot where the visions came;  
No longer of Wheat, no longer of she, 
Just a pocket of money for my lover and me 
Out of the field and into the chair
The whiling ease in life in the chair;  
The wheat that soaked my eyes is ended
The wheat that took her youth is burnt 
wheat that was our cheapest legacy
lays dead in rotted stomachs of old men from Nebraska

 

Self Acknowledged Cholas that I love

Revekka —

​’ M​y grand father
was born in 1920, ​
and he always smelled of tobacco,
so strongly,
and ​T​res F​lorés,
slapped
on both sides
of his face. ​’  ​

​Silvy —

‘ ​We are empowering ourselves
 when we make our own art and work.
​W​e are empowering ourselves
when we do our work in public – plainly, truly. ​
 ​When we do that, ​
 we empower and inspire other people,
 especially girls,
 to make their own ​work ​
 and to tell ​their own ​​story. ‘  ​

​Cintia ​—

‘ ​​She look’d like Sandra Medina,
eyes the same green / brown as her hair​, ​
a florid earth colo​r ​
whe​re leaves and dirt meet​.  

​ A​gains​t​ her face,
that shade​
made her glow
all​ red and yellow,
like fruit ski​n in summer. ‘   ​

​Stella —

‘ I went to NYC
and I got so much attention,
which is crazy, because
in L.A. they got no love
for my wide hips and big ass.
But in Bushwick,
they loved me there,
because the only Mexicans
in New York
are from Pueblo,
and it’s like
one guy
and one girl
brought their whole families over
so every Mexican in NYC
looks Mayan,
with real
Cara de los Indigenos,
so you can always
spot them there,
keeping to themselves
and marrying each other
to maintain that Pueblito look.  
In Bushwick, its lots of Centro Americanos,
and Cubans,
and Puerto Ricans, and
Dominicans,
and South Americans,
but very few Mexicans, you know!
And the Dominicans
and Puerto Ricans loved me there.  
They said,
‘Ay, what are you?’
And I said,
“I’m Mexican, guy!’
And they said
‘Ay, no you’re not! —
Mexicans are petite and Indio!’
And I was like
‘Damn, I’m Mexican though!
and we laughed so much.  
Then finally, one day
this guy
who’d been out to L.A.
saw me;
I was painting faces
for extra money,  
and he came up to me
on the street
and he said  
with his finger wagging,
‘I know what you are!
You’re a Chola!’
And that was amazing,
because unless you’ve been out
to L.A.
you don’t really understand
what it is
to be Chicana. ‘   

————

 

Sixth grade lesbian shower scene

first performed at Tbe Boca de Oro Literary Festival, Santa Ana 2017

 

It’s the last week of summer camp
at the Marlborough School for Girls 
in Los Angeles. 
I’m on the summer swim team.  
I’m popular.  Summer popular.  
I wear cool, preppy clothes 
and bathing suit. 
After swim the older girls 
lightly snap short towels 
at me. It’s good. We traipse, 
me with pearls and honey 
them with Larchmont blonde 
and sunny.  All their sparkling eyeballs 
are on me;  my butt, my kneecaps, 
the soft hairs on my pinkmound, 
throbbing, buzzing.  
Now they’re touching me.  
The blonde, nude hairs 
of their thighs, crisp from chlorine,  
rub my thighs.  All gold. 
My towel claps to the floor.  
Cold asses, hot inner openings, 
prune fingers, melting tongues, 
this is happening. Me 
a 6th grader with 5 
7th grade girls, 
I’m 
so 
gay. 

My Cunt flies  
and 
there she is 

my mother.  
My mother‘s face 
is in the locker room /  
/ insane white woman face / 
unwholesome 
withering death face / 
/ the juice runs down 
glazes me colecock’d.  
She grabs / by the shoulders 
in her Giorgio of Beverly Hills 
beige, presses me through the room 

               how dare you do this to me I told you 
              I had an appointment and you had to            
            
come out instantly after swim who do you      
            
think you are didn’t I tell you this morning 
            
I had an appointment and you could only 
           
swim which is very expensive and     
            which your father is not helping me with
            or sending me anything beyond the bare 
            minimum I have to do all this on my own,  
            how dare you disobey me answer me.

I look for my garbage / the locker room has shut down / everyone’s mouth glubs agape / Joseph Mengele / everyone gathers at their stuff // the carnival has burned down / there is no sex / only death camp / there is no orgasm at Auschwitz  / who were you / playing with Aryan beauties / get in the box car / my mother does not cease screaming / wet whips my face up and down Rossmore / careening / she will not stop 

               didn’t I tell you
              
be outside 
               ready to go 
               and didn’t you 
               promise ? you swore 

and she balls her hand into a fist and punches me with all of her white Mayflower rage / sends me all the way to the reservation / across borders / past the schoolyard in la Ribera / past the cemetery of the ancients / past the women clapping tortillas on their knees / past the spoon dip into tortuga y calabasas / past the unknown histories of the family 

                don’t go there Linda
                it’s all dust on the road 
                to San qunitin 
                all rocks all banditos  
                don’t go there 
                why would you 
                you’re white.

I ingress. Immediately my mother >Neville Chamberlain /   

                 are you hurt does it hurt 
                 are you hurt does it hurt 

and feels around the welt 

                 it’s getting swollen it’s 
                 getting swollen it’s getting swollen 
                
it’s getting swollen it’s getting swollen 
                
it’s getting swollen 

then screeches to the pediatricians office 

                 tell them you fell off the swings make  
                sure OK? 

the pediatricians feels the welt 
‘what happened’ 
‘I fell off the swings’ 
‘you fell off the swings? it’s okay –
you fell off the swings –
you’re going to be OK’ 

I don’t remember after that 
except we bought things, she smiled, 
everything was going to be OK 
I don’t remember much 

don’t remember much
just that 
I’m totally 
totally gay 
and there are reasons why 
I don’t speak to my mother.

 

—————-

The Saint

My aunt and uncle come from La Paz. They infuse the house with Spanish and salted white cheese. They talk of new cars and the tranquility of their home in the pueblito. Their stories are of Cabo Fiero and slippery Uncle Pablo, who stole corn flour, sugar and tequila for the poor, how he spent decades playing cards in the border town, running a hotel for prostitutes he named for a saint. They show a dirty picture in crossed bandolieros, his chest a battered map in the double crease. When the guitars come out, they sing full throated with a pride that touches terror.

My aunt and uncle come from La Paz. They talk of the horse culture on the rancho, the beauty of their animals, of mobility and strength, of riding up in the saddle against ocean. They gawp at our glistening boulevard in Hollywood, spending new dollars on jugo de amanzano from a Latina vendor at a kiosk. Things are familiar, but strained. In window displays, they know already that prices are better downtown. Their faces burn Hidalgo, Sanchez Taboada, Chuahoctemoc, stone stares from the Paseo de Los Heroes in Tijuana. What do I know, what do I know. Cars flash, and we are legs out, walking through. Chaos. They seem vulnerable, small as memories in the cross walk. Long south is home in the Baja, a fingery elision from upper California. My uncle says this when you need a horse as he side steps the racket. Vamos Princessa, he says.

On days when he would come – with vegetables and cake, dolls, and money for my grandmother- my father would hoist me high and say Caballo to my one Spanish ear. The first word between us. Caballo. A coincidence, a childhood fascination, a genetic response? Into a dark house loaded with European antiques, he would come to tell me things I forgot I knew. Once, he brought a white buffalo that I could sit upon.  Sturdy and soft.  A ride and a game.  A friend and a guardian. Like the bison of the plains, it disappeared, to the spaces between dust motes, when the sun at five in the afternoon smears a painful edge on the light. Things we pretend we own. My grandmother sold the buffalo, like a white woman would do, sold it to one of her customers, as if the legacy of my father and his gifts, weren’t mine to embrace or deny. Just like a nice, white woman. What does a little girl want a white buffalo for ? What does she want with desert walkie talkies ? Or a lariat ? Save it for later! The ministry of her clever eyes!

My aunt and uncle wear shoes of hammered leather from Baja. They come with minty dollars in mitu fingers. They are other world in the sitting room They are proud, they say. Ay, Linda, we the proud people; but I think they are telling me more stories. I think they’re stunned at what the world has made of what they believed was beautiful and important. Caballo.

Who is the one who points to the sun? Who is this who speaks
Sun ? The artist perhaps,
the ersatz pointer, and the poet,
the one who cries Rain, never having seen it.
The poet is the saddest bugger,
sad as a Mexican howling love songs
and waiting to be fed.  Pan tostado, mija. Mande.
The Mexican must be the most human of all.
And the Mexican singer, oh sad evocateur
of a swatch of time on earth.

 

———-

Part 1

 

published by Inlandia, 2020

coffee in rialto

especially when you’re so angry it doesn’t matter.   
especially when you’re so angry
you chew beetroots to the nub alone, standing.
especially when you’re so angry everyone is yawning.
especially when you’re so angry, and Gramma says
‘it’s a beautiful day !’ 
especially when you’re so angry you break your feet off at the ankles
and smash about on blood stumps because
you are terror.
especially when you’re so angry
at night, you flail your blood stumps
up and down, across,
and up and down and over 
and it flicks and boils and stings and burns,
and you flail the covers,
stinging, acid, burning, 
going hard,
blood filling white sheets
by ‘capillary action’, thank you Sister Frances Mary

 

Part 2

breakfast in rialto

You’re not supposed to feel sad you’re not supposed to feel sad and if you do feel sad, and if you are sad, shut the f****up about it because there’re so many other people in worse condition, your belly aching is embarrassing to you and the whole family, Miss – so when my father left I was a little baby in the nineteen-seventies, he packed up his rags little by little, so when she looked in his room one night, (her story), all his stuff was missing, or (his story), she threw all his belongings into the parking lot, and when the fellas came out at closing time it was trash and shirt sleeves in the wind from end to end. I was maybe too little to know that a whole culture was leaving me, and if I ever wanted to be a part of it, it would be in some ways inauthentic because my mother’s White and my father’s Mexican, but practically White I think he wanted to be White except if anyone ever asked he’d always say he was a proud Mexican, but not down and dirty, not like his employees, but elitist, Salma Hayek and Vicente Fox, some fancy Mexican business, but he wasn’t ludicrous about it, he was affable, there were a thousand people at his funeral when he prematurely died from too much Golf and pills but I digress what I really wanted to talk to you about was how you’re not supposed to be sad when you’re raised by the great generation how when your baby daddy leaves it’s a sign of weakness to want to speak to a therapist when you’re 27 and you have twin daughters who are one year old and all of a sudden their father decides to move in with the lesbian woman across the street who decided she’s not really a lesbian and all that time she spent at your house was just building a game plan to return to heteronormativity, you’re not supposed to feel sad and if you do you’re supposed to shut the f*** up about it and get on with it and you’re not supposed to feel sad about how you keep knocking on doors and everybody keeps closing them in your face the same people who hated your work at College are the same people outside College who hate your work now so you keep knocking on different doors, all square, and they keep saying family only and you keep looking at the work getting grants and you say wait a minute isn’t that the woman who put the piece of paper to the wall, stood in front of it, and took an outline of herself and now she’s the master artist of the county? Okay so you keep going to doors and you keep asking grants bodies to appreciate your work when clearly all they want to do is avail funding for people who must’ve had a really great abstract I’m hoping because I cannot explain otherwise why this work is the work being shoved down the public gullet maybe it’s too hard to piece through my verbiage maybe it’s too hard to go there when you’re hurting so bad you don’t want to hear about anybody else screamin’ and maybe it’s the same thing maybe I’m complaining too much I don’t know it seems like the whole society is in protest which is a kind of a complaint I dunno I just feel like I don’t have a tribe like maybe if I had a posse and we all wore the same t-shirts like Martin Lawrence said ‘you go into a supermarket and you’re one black guy they treat you like s***, but if 40 black guys go in the supermarket and they say yeah we all want some toothpaste, they’ll get some f****** toothpaste’ what does that say about art if it’s only going to get known because people are scared of it or if it’s popular because a bunch of rich people said it was good and isn’t it all just a necrotic nepotism and longing for someone to suck you off that’s why so and so got the grant because the funder was thinking maybe this time I’ll get to cum on them like I always wanted I just don’t  understand – so when my father left it was really painful I remember the pink bed linens I remember lying on them I was a year old I promise I remember, I spoke when I was four months old I was always me, the g – ds and the angels and Saints if they exist, it was just us, I had no other friends no brothers no sisters my grandfathers were dead my grandmother was dead my aunt was an alcoholic pill popper and math teacher and all she cared about was looking good on a bar stool in Rialto California I had no uncles my favorite people in the world were the next door neighbor’s a perfect nuclear family with a perfect wife from Norway who brought all her Nordic ideals to the Jewish accountant with actual hornrims and she worked at a bank and get this, her boss loved her perfect blonde sweet ways so much that he let her live in one of his houses with her Jewish accountant husband for $100 a month a Los Feliz mansion with 5 bedrooms two bathrooms and room for a dog some people have all the luck and some people deserve it the way she made everything so perfect and beautiful because of her work ethic she’s one of those people who gets up during commercials to do exercises she’s one of those people who eats three almonds she’s one of those people who makes beautiful Scandinavian needlework on napkins and doilies and throws and runners and tablecloths and bell pulls and curtains and every room looks like a diorama of how its sposed to be, not because she threw away money hiring stylists but because she scrimped and saved and worked her fingers red arthritic cleaning and shopping at Goodwill and early morning garage sales along the 210

 

————-

Wetb*ck Diario

published by Foglifter Press 2017 

 

On                     Motherhood,                  Artistry,                        Invisibility,                   Oblivion

I am an American. I saw the chance to make a buck and I grabbed it. At night I bite my nails to the nub, ten beetroots running red, hoping it’ll all work out.

On                                                                      being                                                             alone

I am the young mother of twins. We work together, we sing together. At night I hear them talking in special tones, their darkened room, two beds foot to foot. I’m an only child.  I kind – of – know what it’s like not to be alone — but only obliquely — like turning a beveled glass, watching cobalt ribbons fall together and apart. Their dance ultimately comes to rest, but how it swayed in cohort. Mostly it’s me in the mirror / my favourite / the mirror within the mirror / a million pairs of legs / so many soft faces saying yes.

On                                                                                                                                        rejection

Sometimes I look at the lists. Home computer, laptop, online outlets; wall of letters, of acquaintance, of begging, of nailing notes to the communal door — a ponderous list —

belt loop, wet rope in shallow tide. Foothold. Firm hand. Secure. Secure. Fuck – you – money. Plans with no end. A holiday in the desert. // Every day I write and every day someone who turned their face to the same sun calling yes, says no. Everyday I try to find a place to show up.

On                                                                                                                                       honesty

To me, being a Latinx writer means I am a wanderer, an apostle in a place I barely understand, in borderlands. Being Latinx means I am home in the west. Being Latinx means I am passing. Being Latinx means I am White, and European — an American — because if I was Nahuatl, or Mixtec, I would just say that. I don’t know what percent of me is Mayflower, but I know my mother’s skin is so white it shines blue. I know we speak English, and that I was sent to study in England. I know that the roads to the Baja are ‘dangerous Linda, and all dust, don’t go there, why would you ?’ I know that I have one Spanish ear. The Nautilus. I know the first words my father gave to me : Mija y Caballo.

 

—————————

 

Jane’s Heir

published by Underground Voices, 2010

 

Your grandfather’s name is Oscar. You do not know him also as I never did too.
He had a tavern across town. The people such-ed and huddled around him,
got up close to his face as possible with a big wooden bar between,
pointed at things with cigarette hands and made levy’s with crystal ash trays —
white people, from the seventies; kind of cheap people, the way some people were
back then and the way most people are that way now.
I think the phrase is trash, but these people had money for golfing and drinking
in the afternoons.

They weren’t scraping their chins on the pavement dead-pan, but they were lean, haggard — can you see ? They came mostly from Burbank. White, but still, you know. They were drunks too, only not that drunk. Today we call them social drinkers,
like Aunt Peg, on account of you don’t say drunks anymore even if a person’s falling all over themselves from being blasted or if you want to be very Joan Crawford about it.

But so far as your grandfather — the light in his bar was redder than the sun in the parking lot. When you’d push open that heavy door, time seemed to change, not just location. Sound was deeper in there, and the angles jangly. When you’d emerge, if it was still the afternoon, the sun would blaze your senses white for all the gold pieces that’d be thrown around between the asphalt and the cars. You’d have a stone cold freak out every time the sun made you remember where you were and what had gone down, time ways.

A bunch of Mexicans worked like lightning, looked busy as surgeons, moving in the kitchen behind the works there. They’d be making those kinds of brunches people liked back then; eggs benedict, low bowls of cheese toast, plates slathered with pink sauce. When I’d nose in to sneak my awestruck stare that the place even existed, some guy would catch sight of oscar’s daughter and would rush me like I was a veteran of a foreign war come home, or some diva, he’ll want to see you, oscar oscar where’s the man, his daughter is here, no the real one. The stranger who knew me like I was a movie star was more welcoming than the man himself, like even those locals knew me better than my own father. And even though he seemed happy to see me, he didn’t know me and he’d watch the golf game from a high bolted television and look over at me between strokes.
I was eleven years old.

Maybe I’m being unfair. He’s dead now, so what the hell.
I just wanted you to know that you had a grandfather and his name was Oscar
He’d give me money sometimes. and promised to take me to Spain.
All the time when I was growing up, he’d tell me when I was fifteen
he was going to take me to Spain.

—————

 

Receipt

 

You need this poem
This poem is a Compass / You will never be lost
if you have this poem /
I bring you this receipt from my ancestors /
/ and the movies / here to remind you
everyone loves the flaming yellow gorse / they never tireof hearing about it /
What I once thought was repetition / is essential /

This poem is a receipt /
who will I be to you in 5000 years / keep this receipt, you will know /
Ynez. Stella. All the people in the boat / The great cloth of heaven
diamond dollops between black stretches / this. what names can tell.

Now
the cabman is Irish .
He presses the traffic like a river fish /
knows the way around the plaza /
Alvarado Allday looks like the detritus
of a turned over carnival / burned beachfront
the black underbelly of the works
in axle grease and sweet wrappers. The Rio Grande
was once the border. Now every
cement block cum zip code is new territory /
how will we tell about how much brilliance and confusion /
lives in the west. What is a trailhead, grandma?

Father came / borders were crossed. Erase it. /
Mother said white is as white does. Then she disappeared,
Mexicans came running to dry the tears. Mexicans always /
dry the tears of weeping children.
So much warm milk. So much nopal on eggs.
Oh / to be a Mexican woman when children cry,
baking bread in the warmth of cotton dresses
and the flesh of the embrace. Widows and orphans and the dangling edge
of the leading, pull out all the stops for the widows and orphans, make a casserole,
send heaviest pots, and fresh fruit, transgress, Dance with the ghosts of the land and sky. Come home. Transgress, Come home. Remember you are Americans.

Driving to the theatre The cabman is Moroccan.

He understands the road / Hold the receipt /

This poem is the receipt / I am American / Something of a bloviator / else I would keep these prayers to myself /

But being American / and from the west / I sew this to your coat pocket as well / Remember / This poem is a Compass /

You will never be lost if you have this poem. Throw your eyes to grandmother sky. May all your enemies come to know your greatness, rip the clothes of their shirts when they hear you have gone from this world /

Into the midst of your fathers / know this name from the West / in the great tremble on long legs / of Invented Americans.

 

Election Day in a small town

funded by The Goldhirsh Foundation, 2016

 

I tried to smile for the camera, near the flag
blazoned across the fire house windows on election day.
The sun was so high that morning, my eyes squealed and watered
coming towards the people’s damp confusion,
is this where I go?
last time I went to another place,
my father is bed ridden, where do we go?

The whole city is a polling centre; pouring out of cars
they come, and come again, line with babies in arms, from work, from Yerevan,
Guatemala City, Santa Monica, in ones and threes
all with paper clutches.

My typewriter makes them smile, they remember her from
long ago, skirts and knee highs, granny’s breakfast,
two steps to the diploma. They say, do you remember the sound of the keys
like we remember ?
Are you old enough ?
Do you like it the way we did?

 I write their brief story, and they take it away–
a snapshot of their service so they won’t forget .

Long ago
a goat’s head sang in a tree on the outskirts of town.
The people stared and followed
along lay lines, honing in
where the sound beckoned. When they came upon it,
it was hoarse
and dripping from so much singing and waiting,
the smallest goat grin seemed
to cross its muzzle I before
it threw
its eyes closed and was silent.
For a long time, the people stood and knelt and talked
about what it might mean.

 

 

——————–

on divers memories

commissioned by The Mayor’s Office of Los Angeles, 2016

 

1

from the tree of life
the mendieta
figure emerges ripping herself
out of the tree
out of the backdrop
she was there the whole time
the tree becomes the building the building becomes the sky and everyone is flowers

2

someday everything will be flowers but today there is a diversity of species
the mirror drops so Close
we jump across a subtle plane everyday

3

Can you see
the brown person
at the edge
of a white woman’s gaze
like a continent
like a hammer ?

4

have you seen Ramiro’s paintings?
he’s the Latinx artist
who makes pictures of gorgeous houses across Los Angeles
but he never removes the brown cook the brown leaf blower
the black nanny the Black builder from the frame
of all the irony in all the irony
of Ramiro’s paintings, the brown woman
who works the land
at the marble mansion
probably spends more time there
than the white people who own the place
does that sound familiar? the people who live there work there
don’t own anything and
in the end
there is no job security no rancho
only the bus ride home 5
Steadfast
like an immigrant on the waves in the desert
cactus heel’d or
swallowing leagues of salt water,
there’s a man
coming out of the landscape his arm is rais’d above his head
stop the train
there’s a man coming
does he need help ? is that blood ?
the watchers shout does he need us ? do we need him ?
will there be a meeting ?
100,000 bells of my heart ring out will there be a meeting ?

6

I know what it’s like / to be the brown person
at the edge /of a white woman’s gaze /
because my mother
is the whitest woman in Los Angeles /
she’s a Mayflower descendant /
and you better believe
that white women voted for Trump
because they did
and they do /

I remember making fortresses
and tents / in my bedroom /
on the floor / with my lacey duvet /
and my mother coming in / saying /
get off the floor you dirty indian / /

you can take the dirty indian / /
out of the landscape / /
but you can’t take the dirty Indian
out of the dirty indian /

there aren’t many people
talking about the inter-familial trauma
of being the brownest child

there aren’t very many people
talking about the inter-familial trauma of racism

7

let’s talk about that
let’s talk about homestead  
let’s talk about
let’s talk about the NDN
in the landscape again

 

LINDA RAVENSWOOD BFA, MA, PhD abd

 363 Riverdale Drive                                                                                 Spring – Summer 2020Los Angeles, California 91204                        #(818) 484 – 5162     (310) 210 9984              linda.ravenswood@my.pacifica.edu

Linda Ravenswood  http://lindaravenswood.wixsite.com/lindaravenswood/project-3           The Los Angeles Press  theLosAngelespress@gmail.com

 

Professional Profile

Educational History

The Pacifica Graduate Institute, Santa Barbara, California

Doctor of Philosophy PhD Community, Liberation, and Eco-psychology Abd 2017

The Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2014

M.A. Psychology with emphasis in Community Theatre

Mount Saint Mary’s College 2009

M.A. Humanities with emphasis in Performance Studies

The California Institute of the Arts – CalArts

Bachelor of Fine Arts BFA 2007

triple degree from the Theatre School, the Art School, and the Music School

Select Fellowships and Honors

 

2019

Poet in residence Beyond Baroque

2019

The California Writers Grant — Yefe Nof

 

Award

2019

City of West Hollywood Grant for Arts

 

Programming – Publishing — The Pride Poets

 

published by The Los Angeles Press, edited by

 

Linda Ravenswood

2018

The Latinx Theatre Alliance Fellowship

 

Center Theatre Group and Casa 0101

2018

Fellowship, The LARB/USC Publishing

 

Symposium

2018

Finalist Not a Cult Book Prize

2017

Shortlisted for Poet Laureate of Los Angeles

2017

Finalist New York New Works Theatre

 

Festival, NYC

2017

Finalist Hillary Gravendyk Poetry Prize

2016

Finalist City of West Hollywood Poet Laureate

2016

The Vermont Centre for the Arts, Grantee for

 

 

Poetry, 2016

2014

NEA Grant for Bike Odyssey Los Angeles

2013

Pushcart Nomination for Short Story

2012

Pushcart Nomination for Poetry

 

Select Professional Experience (Teaching)

CSUN, lead wrkshp presenter, Department of English, April 2017

UCLA, World Arts and Culture, visiting lecturer, April – June 2017

Theatre and Spoken Word Praxes, book binding workshops 2017-present Poetry workshops 2017-present

Lynwood Unified School District, Theatre and Arts Educator 2016 – 2018

Angels Gate Cultural Centre, Teaching Artist, 2019 – present Poetry Wrkshp Leader, Pietr Performance, 2016 – present

Teaching Artist – in – residence, History of the Theatre and Performance Poetry, The 24th Street Theatre, 2016 – present

Ventura College, Visiting Lecturer, Performance Studies and Social Action, 2014 – 2015 The Los Angeles Unified School District, satellite Arts and Humanities teacher, 2010-2013 Occidental College, Los Angeles, California 2008-2009

Instructor in Performance Poetry / Programme Director / Arts praxes

 

Current Artistic Partnerships and Fiscal Projects

2018 – present    Founded the Los Angeles Press

2018 – present     The Los Angeles Press publications and public events at Alias Books

2018 – present     The Los Angeles Press partnership publications and public events at Beyond Baroque 2018 – present               Project 1521, The Getty Museum, LACMA

2018 – present     Descanso Gardens, love poetry installations

2013 – present     Partnership with RENT Poet for Arts Programming in Los Angeles

2017 – present     Curator, The Rockhaven Sanitarium for Women, New Visual and Performative Works, with The Friends of Rockhaven and The Crescenta Valley Historical Society and Museum

2019                      Curator, The Skirball Museum Heritage Series, Poetry Residency and Community Wrkshp, (upcoming)

2017 – present     Pop Up Poetry Events with The Los Angeles Philharmonic, ongoing

partnership with LAPhil and Off Beat Entertainment

2017 – present     The Poetry Detectives, The Melrose Poetry Bureau, Residency at The Natural History Museum Los Angeles, Summer 2017 and Summer 2018

2016 – present     Fellow at The Women’s Centre for Creative Work, Los Angeles, Staff / Presenter 2014 – present              The Melrose Poetry Bureau, Los Angeles, California

Co – Founding Member and Co Artistic Director 2012 – present                          Principal Juror, The Southern California Women’s Art Caucus.

 

Publication History

(Books)

rock waves / sloe drags. – Eyewear London, forthcoming 2020 The Stan Poems Volume 1, A + B Projects, 2019

64, The Best American Poetry of 2019, Black Mountain Press, 2019 The Southwestern Review, 2018-2019

A room of her own Anthology, Halcyone, 2019

Broadside for COLA artists, the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, 2019 Broadside for volume zero of The Los Angeles Press, 2018

Intersections, Poetry Anthology, LMU Press, 2017

Voices from Leimert Park, The Poetry Anthology, Ed. Shonda Buchanan, Tsehai Publications, LMU Press, 2017

Linda Ravenswood Collected Works 2000-2016, An Assembly of Visual and Performance Texts, 2017 Llano del Rio Visual Remnant and Performance Catalogue, Craftswoman House Publications, 2017 Near Kin, Sybaritic Press, 2014

MUDSLINGER, with Charles Linder, Gallery 16, SF, 2013

Hymnal. El Paso: Mouthfeel Press: 2012.* ( * Pushcart Prize Nomination for Literature, 2012 ) The Best of Lines and Stars, Anthology, Lines + Stars Press, 2010

 

Select Publication and Performance History
(Recent Poetry and Performance Art)

Featured poet, The Rapp Saloon, 2019

Write Club, Bootleg Theatre, Featured poet, 2016 and 2019

The Lambda Literary Festival, Los Angeles, 2019

Red light Lit, San Francisco, the make out room, live performances, 2019 and 2020

Red light Lit, the gold room, Los Angeles, live performance, 2019 and 2020

Lincoln Heights Art Center, poetry and performance workshop, hand making books, Instructor, spring 2019

Sleepless ! Typewriter Performance, The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 2018

Out and Loud, at The Majestic Theatre, Ventura, 2018

Master of Ceremonies, The Poetry Brothel, 2018 – present

MANIFESTO at Pitzer College, 2018

Featured poet, Inlandia Publications, 2018

Poetry Deathmatch Cabaret, The Bootleg Theatre 12 Performances, 2018

The Erotic Poetry Festival, Highways 2018

Pillowtalk, Boca de Oro festival, 2018 Sacred Fools Playwrights, 2018

Los Angeles Wmn’s Playwright Alliance, The Samuel French Bookshop, 2018

COAST Santa Monica, featured writer, presenter, 2017

UNREPRESENTABLE, Off Broadway production, The Player’s Theatre, NYC, The Duke Theatre, NYC, 2017

Curated by Linda Ravenswood, Place is Character, New Works from Subtle Inquiries at Rockhaven, The Rockhaven Sanitarium for Women, Summer 2017

Foglifter Press, Featured poet, 2017

The Acentos Review, Featured poet, 2017

Inlandia, Featured poet, 2017

The Neighbourhood Congress of Los Angeles, Mayor’s Special Commission on
Diversity, Poet, 2017 and 2018

The Cantabrigian, Featured Writer, The Wyoming Project, 2017

The UCLA Homecoming Festival, The Melrose Poetry Bureau, Featured Performer, Pauley Pavilion, 2017 and 2018

The Centre for the Art of Performance UCLA, Royce Hall, The Melrose Poetry Bureau, 28th and 29th April 2017

Featured Poet, The Los Angeles Poetry Review, 2017

Featured Reading Series, Beyond Baroque, Linda Ravenswood, 2017

Typewriter Performance Poetry, solo performance, The New York Society Library, NYC, 6 June 2017 The Melrose Poetry Bureau, The Fowler Museum, 3rd May 2017

The Melrose Poetry Bureau, Highways, 12th and 13th May 2017 Featured Poet, Entropy Magazine, March 2017

Featured Poet, Angels + Flight West Literary Magazine, January 2017

Featured Poet, The 25th Annual Empowerment Congress, USC, Mark Ridley Thomas, Office of Arts and Letters, January 2017

sSISTERSs, USC Visions and Voices, 2017, The Roski School of Arts, The USC Department of English Lead Poet Witch: January – February March 2017

Poet, SORORITY, The Hammer Museum, IN REAL LIFE, 100 Days of Performance, December2016

Collaborator, FEMINIST ACTING CLASS, The Hammer Museum, 2016

Poet, Dramaturg, and Humanities Curator for Evermore, a Valley Scrapbook, METRO Arts Project, San Fernando Valley, Van Nuys Constituency, Performance Text and Walking Tour; Research and Development, The Mayor’s Office; The Great Streets Initiative, November 2016

Performance Poet in Residence, The Google Corporation, Google Corporate Events, Southern California, 2016

Valentine, Poetry Installation and Performance Events, The Broad Theatre, 2016

Linda Ravenswood at The Hotel Alexandria, Live Poetry Performance, PEN USA, AWP Conference, Los Angeles, 2016

Poet and Team Co – Director, The QuickDraw Poetry Cabaret, The Bootleg Theatre, Los Angeles, 01 / 2016

 

Visual Arts History and Performance / Mural Making

 

Muralist, Wilshire Christian Church, Mural Project, Los Angeles, 2007

Muralist, Inglewood Arts/Literary Centre,  2014

Scroll improv, paper, ephemera, lipstick, The Main Museum, Los Angeles, 2017

Gallery Tally, LACMA, and For Your Art, 3 oversize Mural Posters, 2.5 ft. X 4 ft., 2013

DirtFruit, ephemera and performance, The Arroyo Arts Collective, 2012

Frozen Staircase, ephemera and performance, Los Angeles, Craftswoman House, 2012

Leaves in the garden burning once, Temporary Residence, Los Angeles, 2013

SKIN, paper remnant, ephemera, performance text, The Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, 2016

Identity, Leaves against the fence, poetry / solo performance, The Angel’s Gate Cultural Centre, San Pedro, July 2016

We Step into the Light, sound installation, photography, and film short, Cornell University, 2014

Foret Interieur, with Alexandra Grant, collaborating artist, Beautiful Feminism, 18th Street Gallery, 2013-2014

Pacific Standard Time, Three Weeks in January, Featured Artist, with Cheri Gaulke and Barbara T. Smith, Photo/Performance Installations, Re – visitation of Liebestod, 1977, Los Angeles, California, 29 January 2012

HINTERCULTURE, endurance performance, Centenary Arts Event, Llano Del Rio, upcoming film, 2014

Jones, animated film, 2010

Blackhorse, animated film, 2018

The Grassroots Fund, animated film, 2014

Casa de Tunel, live performance, multi media document, Tijuana, Mexico, October – November, 2013

GEO LOCO, for The LAUSD, Mural, 12 ft X 20 ft, Los Angeles, 2010

 

Produced Community Poetry, Performance, and Plays

Bike Odyssey L.A. 2014 Written / Directed by Brian Sonia Wallace/ Linda Ravenswood

Schkapf Arts Incubator, West Hollywood Grant, NEA Grant, Hollywood Fringe Festival Producer’s Encore Award  10 performances

How to Make a Monster    2015         Written / Directed by Linda Ravenswood
Highways Performance, Santa Monica 2 performances

The Quickdraw Poetry Cabaret   2016       Written / Directed by Brian Sonia Wallace, Linda Ravenswood, Bobby Gordon, Ary Katz, and Nayeli Knudsen      
The Bootleg Theatre, Los Angeles              
1 month run

UNREPRESENTABLE

2017

Written and Directed by Linda Ravenswood

 

Workshopped at The WCCW,

and The Future is Female International Women’s

Playwrighting Festival,

first showing at The Eclectic Theatre, Los Angeles,

NYC Off Broadway Production at The Player’s

Theatre, Greenwich Village       4 performances

The New York New Works Festival, The Duke Theatre, and Theatre 80, NYC, Finalist, 2017            3 performances

Be*Spoke Poetry Cabaret / Literary Deathmatch                     Written / Directed by Bobby Gordon, Linda Ravenswood, Brian Sonia Wallace, Nayeli Knudsen    
The Bootleg Theatre         12 performances / January 2018

 

Select Professional Affiliation

The Broad Theatre

The Google Corporation The Hammer Museum

The Hollywood Fringe Festival The Edinburgh Fringe Festival

The Crescenta Valley Historical Society

The Cornerstone Theatre

Make Music L.A.

The LAPL and The Library Foundation

The 24th Street Theatre

The California Institute of the Arts

Highways Performance

The Mayor’s Office of the City of Los Angeles

The Santa Monica Museum of Art

Barnsdall Park Arts

The Fowler Museum

Royce Hall and The Centre for the Art of Performance

The Los Angeles Arts Commission

The National Endowment for the Arts

METRO

The WCCW

Artist Magnet

The Eclectic Theatre Company

The City of LA Artist-in-Residency Program

The Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI)

The City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs DCA

LARB

 

References available upon request