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“Tomorrow, Yvonne. – Poetry & Prose for Suicidal Egotists”
Forword written by Ray Manzarek of The Doors
“Her eyes. Deep brown, sensuous, penetrating. Always looking. Always watching. Searching into the heart of things. Into the depths and secrets of time. The destiny of this age we so perilously occupy. So foolishly occupy. We dance and sing and fight and love and kill and create – and Yvonne is watching it all. With her typewriter eyes recording everything. Bringing us messages and glimpses, quick cuts and cool motifs of the passing carnival. She can see into the truth of the moment and bring us the essence of that instant. Her words paint pictures of the how and why and what of today. Our time. Her words. Our lives. Her understanding. Our folly. Her portraits.
Read her and delight in a new, strong voice. Let her tell you of the golden days and diamond nights of Los Angeles. The sheer delight at being alive at the end of the continent. Butt-up against the Pacific Ocean. Knowing that we come to the end of the Western canon at this point. And she has absorbed it all and she is now free. Free to let her wit penetrate into the heart of the Los Angeles light. That baking sun that is desert making and madness making, but illuminating and truth telling in its never blinking eye. Letting us create our own lives from our dreams and visions, our new lives. Isn’t that why we came to LA? To create the new life? The New Creature, as Jim Morrison calls the new self? To invent ourselves to a new casing, a new cloak of jewels. To be the new on the planet. “Let’s reinvent the gods, all the myths of the ages” Jim also said. And Yvonne has heard him and tells us of this reinvention – and its attendant joys. But also of its darkness. The legendary dark underbelly of LA. It’s John Fante territory. Nate West and John Rechy. It’s The Day of the Locust and City Of Night.
Yvonne is the “lucky little lady in the city of light” who tells us tales of the lost angels in our bleak and absurd “city of night.” I first met Yvonne de la Vega when I played keyboards behind the L. A. Poetry Sextet. Michael C. Ford, Yvonne de la Vega, Joel Lipman, Lisa Rafel, and the deliciously named Lotus Weinstock. Hey, it’s L.A. ain’t it? Ray Manzarek on keys, Karl Vincent on bull bass, and a conga drummer. I know that’s eight. But, hey, it’s L.A. ain’t it? Anything goes. The poets sat on beat stools like too cool jazz guitarists and traded poems back and forth. We laid down blues and Mileslike modal jazz and a touch of Doors “Riders On The Storm” behind the wailing of the wordsmiths. Sometimes we played a-tonal free form and sometimes Latino L.A. barrio grooves, especially for Yvonne’s “A Real Bad Boy”, and the ode to her bro “Hey Chito.” They are in this book and they are fine. There’s even a poem for Karl, called “Karl ‘The Bridgeman’ Vincent.” Karl has the bass that once belonged to the bass master Charles Mingus, another L.A. dude. And how smoothly and furiously he doth play it! Yvonne and I have talked of perhaps putting the L.A. Poetry Sextet back together again for some performances and recording. Depending on who still walks the planet…and who is still sane. This was all pre-Bush the 2nd. Things change.
But my girl is still wailing her poem/tunes into the mad and howling Los Angeles night. And they are here. For you to digest. To get behind. To dive into. To wrap around your shoulders like a grown up security blanket. How good they feel in the gut. And how warm and knowledgeable. You’re going to love the little California haikus that come after each chapter. And, my god, the chapters. I should have known Yvonne would stop at nothing short of, nothing less than, the total human condition. LIFE. DEATH. LOVE. WAR. HOPE. Inclusive enough? Chapter headings for the 21st Century. Or the 1st. And let’s talk poem titles: “Flamenco Sketches” – of course you want to know what that one’s about. When we played it behind Yvonne we played “All Blues.” “Hey Chito” – About her brother. Genius boy, Disappeared. In San Francisco? Where are you big brother? Remember when we left home together? “Everything Pink” – One of my favorites. I immediately think all pussy.
But, no. This is Barbie from the land of brown. And you can never be Barbie from the land of brown. “A Real Bad Boy” – Oh, for he is cool. “The Flirt and Suicidal Egotist” – In the background, always lurking, tempting, calling to her. She writes: ‘Her days are a long window and she is at one end, her solace at the other.’ And that solace is death. But she is the suicidal egotist. ‘And they both know she is too vain to give him a go.’ At least for now. “Many Loves” – And you will love this. Yvonne says: ‘One is called Eros.’ And then she speaks of the first explosion of love. And then affectionate, romantic love. Then brotherly love. And finally the spiritual, and a call to the infinite: ‘Oh most high, Spread your love that we may know it as ours. To love one, to love All, without exception. And when the night and the cold come to contrast the light. Let us slumber under the warmth of Your Spirit.’
-And let us all warm ourselves with her words, her perceptions, her visions and her knowledge. I promise you one hell of a good time. ~ Ray Manzarek