Sunday, December 20, 2009

turning year...

(via Flickr)

Well Happy Holidays.

What an autumn, what a fall. (That word fall was too appropos from September on this year) . I swear Murphy's Law was all in 2009. (And sadly, that goes for Brittany Murphy too. How sad that such a young person has died.But passings are sad irrespective of age...) Over the last couple months I've had two family passings several computer crashings and well, let's just cut the list short there. Looking forward to winter being here for real. No puns for that season.

I guess I could segue into "Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer..." etc. but today was neither season just a peaceful day. We got our first proper snow in NY yesterday as some foreshadowing. If it had to snow, it really couldn't have been more convenient: we had enough lead time to get the remaining shopping done and it didn't really hit until the late afternoon. It's quiet (for Brooklyn anyway) and kinda nice. The snow will stay white for at least the end of the day. Tomorrow's rush hour is a whole other story...

I was sitting here on the penultimate Sunday of 2009 thinking about the year and stumbled upon something in my iTunes folder. (I don't know about you, but I haven't listened to everything I've downloaded or transferred.) I finally heard, in its entirety, the beautiful anthology "The Long Road to Freedom: An Anthology of Black Music".


This project was embarked upon by the great Harry Belafonte in the 1950s but didn't come to fruition until this (rapidly ending) decade.


Although he didn't put his name on the tracks or the cover, his sound is so singular, it's impossible not to know it's him coordinating things. He also included the phenomenal Gloria Lynne and the great Joe Williams among other luminaries in this 6 CD set. It's so arresting, beautiful and understatedly heart-breaking. The sense of optimism in the songs allude to the horrors of slavery and Jim Crow.

Confluently enough, I just put in the first two words "Long Road" into iTunes to play the discs through, and at the very end of the 4+ hours of music, Robert Creeley's poem "The Long Road" played. It was such an unusual, yet completely appropriate close to hearing the anthology, that I had to pause. Not to be to self-reflective but I have to say that I felt a strong sense of being part of a long (and very winding) road: from African praise songs, to slavery songs, to the Blues and the Fisk Jubilee Singers along side Robert Creeley (but certainly not as a peer). What an interesting terrain this poetic landscape is.


I guess going to two funerals kind of close together also made me think of "The Idea of Ancestry" to quote the great Etheridge Knight. Poetry makes me feel solitary often but not alone usually...

Got back to Chi town again and snuck a peek at the Chicago Shakespeare Theaterl's Richard III. This was the first time that it really got into my head/heart how hard it is for actors to work in and at their parts. I do appreciate people getting up there. I also really do like how thoroughly the cast knows what every word means and why it's there. American actors aren't always socialized that way and I appreciate when folks on this side of the world are focused on that.


Speaking of bardic stuff, Ian McKellen is reprising his role in Waiting for Godot so if you're in London, go see. (I am not putting yet another picture of IM up.) He's breath-taking. Alas, his colleague in the previous incarnation, Patrick Stewart, won't be there but McKellen is worth the ticket, he's a Gemini so go see him. I'm looking out for my peeps!

(Because of this silly rule, I'll also be buying Clint Eastwood's new biography that I saw in the store. But that's as close to repubby as I'm gonna recommend. You can leave the Giuliani book in the remainder bin.)

(via MERIE W. WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images)

This weird rule is an excuse to make myself read books I don't usually "have time for" or normally wouldn't peruse. I read Katherine Graham's autobiography (late publisher of the Washington Post), (Sir) Christopher Lee's later autobiography "Lord of Misrule" and Rupert Everett's autobiography because of this pretext. His name for the book, "Staged Beauty" also encouraged me to see the film by that title and I literally wept at the end. I love good films about acting so that was that: one degree of separation between arbitrary sun sign-ness and tears. I read other people's work too, obviously, but not often enough "for fun" as it were. Nodding toward Clint, I also love CE's work with actors and finally have "an in" with the reading of this bio. It's strictly how he works with actors, irrespective of the story. (My mother is still mystified that I know, and enjoy, Eastwood more as a director than an actor. Generational thing. And my Mom's a Sagittarius: I read Kenneth Branaugh's autobiography to understand "her people". (Okay, that's not really the reason.) I do not, however, need encouragement to read archers Jeffrey Wright and Don Cheadle's though, so put out autobiographies guys!)

Well, performance talk always perks me up which is good. I was getting too somber and introspective after humbling myself the work of Mr. Belafonte and the subject matter he works with. Here's to looking forward with clear eyes and good inspiration.

I wish all my family, friends and students (past and present) happy new year and congrats for making it through another one. Lots and lots of people with many advantages did not. It has been a very intense year for everyone including our planet as the climate change talks in Copenhagen, concluded last week, indicate.


See you in the '10s,

The Idea of Ancestry
by Etheridge Knight


Taped to the wall of my cell are 47 pictures: 47 black
faces: my father, mother, grandmothers (1 dead), grand-
fathers (both dead), brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts,
cousins (1st and 2nd), nieces, and nephews. They stare
across the space at me sprawling on my bunk. I know
their dark eyes, they know mine. I know their style,
they know mine. I am all of them, they are all of me;
they are farmers, I am a thief, I am me, they are thee.

I have at one time or another been in love with my mother,
1 grandmother, 2 sisters, 2 aunts (1 went to the asylum),
and 5 cousins. I am now in love with a 7-yr-old niece
(she sends me letters in large block print, and
her picture is the only one that smiles at me).

I have the same name as 1 grandfather, 3 cousins, 3 nephews,
and 1 uncle. The uncle disappeared when he was 15, just took
off and caught a freight (they say). He's discussed each year
when the family has a reunion, he causes uneasiness in
the clan, he is an empty space. My father's mother, who is 93
and who keeps the Family Bible with everbody's birth dates
(and death dates) in it, always mentions him. There is no
place in her Bible for "whereabouts unknown."


Each fall the graves of my grandfathers call me, the brown
hills and red gullies of mississippi send out their electric
messages, galvanizing my genes. Last yr/like a salmon quitting
the cold ocean-leaping and bucking up his birth stream/I
hitchhiked my way from LA with 16 caps in my pocket and a
monkey on my back. And I almost kicked it with the kinfolks.
I walked barefooted in my grandmother's backyard/I smelled the
land and the woods/I sipped cornwhiskey from fruit jars with the
I flirted with the women/I had a ball till the caps ran out
and my habit came down. That night I looked at my grandmother
and split/my guts were screaming for junk/but I was almost
contented/I had almost caught up with me.
(The next day in Memphis I cracked a croaker's crib for a fix.)

This yr there is a gray stone wall damming my stream, and when
the falling leaves stir my genes, I pace my cell or flop on my bunk
and stare at 47 black faces across the space. I am all of them,
they are all of me, I am me, they are thee, and I have no children
to float in the space between.

Big qualifier here: I don't have this poem in print. This is how I heard it though after hearing "The Long Road to Freedom". Take this as a typographical interpretation of Creeley. Despite my flaws, his beauty comes through and again, is a wonderful coda, this time after Etheridge.

The Long Road
by Robert Creeley (as I heard it)

The Long Road: The Long Road of it all
is an echo, a sound like an image expanding
frames growing one after one in ascending or
descending order. All of us arising, falling
thought and explosion of emptiness soon forgotten.

As a kid I wondered, where do they go
My father dead the place had a faded dustiness
despite the woods and all. We all grew up.
I see our faces in old school pictures.
Where are we now?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Happy Autumn!

Well, yours truly had one heck of a summer. Back in London with my nose to the grindstone and turning a new corner as is my wont.


I was, to steal from the Beatles, "workin' like a dog" and didn't get to see my UK friends I'm ashamed to say. Busy bee. I only had a minute to have a little fun one sunday and see the amazing Waiting for Godot directed by Sean Mattias with Patrick Stewart (got an autograph!) and Ian McKellan (omg!). It was a great, great show. And Beckett's writing...that left me happy in and of itself. The performances were like the icing and cherry on top of a delectable cake! (and I win the award for corniest simile in a blog!) Yeah, a bit gushy but it was really wonderful.


Despite my long-standing disdain for the weather and the food, I've fallen in love with the city this time and the weather was better than NY's June July and August so the natives here tell me. I also have to say, pubs rock. Totally different from the bar scene in the US irrespective of locale -- okay I'm not a drinker but I can still tell!

(h/t -- Bridgewater State College website)


Home again, school's back in and my students are lovely. Feel like I'm finally settling into the semester. I enjoyed London as I said, when I got off the plane... realized how much I missed Brooklyn's habits and inhabitants.


My hometown was in full force during the Brooklyn Book Festival. What a huge event! The annual Brooklyn Festival ("BoBi") award winner this year is Edwidge Danticat -- now MacAuthur genius -- Edwidge Dandicat, who was there with her family. I recall using excerpts from Breath, Eyes, Memory for a class years ago and the students were quite moved by it. Couldn't happen to a lovelier writer. She lived in Brooklyn for a while, too. This borough is a lucky charm, in my humble opinion.

(h/t New York

(h/t Brooklyn Book Festival official Facebook site)

I was on a panel at the festival with a great group, very eclectic: rapper Lupe Fiasco, a very smart cookie, rebellious writer Matthew Zapruder, the well-read, sharp, and yes, really tall Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth and little, much shorter me. Rob Casper from Poetry Society of America kicked off the conversation which was then moderated by culture maven Toure. It was super fun and the audience was really excellent. Very nice mix of folks from hoity-toity poetry types to slam kids to celebrity admirers and journalists. I was impressed by them.

Also stopped by the gathering for a great new anthology called Poetry and Cultural Studies: A Reader edited by Maria Damon and Ira Livingston. it's a wonderful, helpful book that'll really contributes to both fields of Cultural Studies and Poetics.


Hmmm...what else? Miscellany: My mother made me watch (by buying me the first two seasons on DVD) Mad Men, so now I've joined the rest of humanity. It's a well-crafted show. Nice to see something besides reality tv on basic cable.

(h/t biggest mirror blog)

Got a couple articles coming out in various publications soon and being a horrible publicist of my own work, will try to let y'all know about them. Writing, gigging and stuff. Now that I'm back back, as we say, I'll be checking in more regularly. See you 'round this web.


How like a winter hath my absence been (Sonnet 97)
by William Shakespeare

How like a winter hath my absence been
From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year!
What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen!
What old December’s bareness every where!
And yet this time remov’d was summer’s time;
The teeming autumn, big with rich increase,
Bearing the wanton burden of the prime,
Like widow’d wombs after their lords’ decease:
Yet this abundant issue seem’d to me
But hope of orphans and unfather’d fruit;
For summer and his pleasures wait on thee,
And, thou away, the very birds are mute:
Or, if they sing, ’tis with so dull a cheer,
That leaves look pale, dreading the winter’s near.


Sunday, August 09, 2009

summer blog break...

(quick note post I been meaning to send. no pix so I can get it out of my draft box but I'll make up for it in the subsequent post!)

Away doin' some more learnin' this summer. Does it ever end? Nope. Not if, like me, you know there is more you need to learn... in merry old England where my (philosophical) beloved, JL Austin rests in peace, icons RADA, the Globe, the West End, Southbank... all that stuff reside. I think, with the exception of the newly expanded London City, I've used all of the airports around London. (Heathrow's the worst.)

While at the library I went to see the Henry VIII exhibit at the British Library (too much of The Tudors tv show, probably -- I swear I have had enough of that man and *his* drama).

Know what sight actually choked me up though? Seriously? Seeing a copy of the Magna Carta. That joint was deep! Also at the British Library. It was also really nice to see the Shakespeare stuff. Luckily for me, it was my second time seeing a Gutenberg Bible. (Yale's Beinecke Library has one in glorious display) so I can say I've seen that on two continents, but that Magna Carta -- really was something. Not much of it is relevant today since it focused on concretizing aspects of feudal law but this is the part that really stands out:

No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled . nor will we proceed with force against him . except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land. To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice.

(excerpt from the highlighted portion presented at the British Library)

For a while, we got so close to this being rescinded by the capricious will of a dubious leader. I know we're supposed to be all "let bygones be bygones" now that we have a new President but when I saw that copy it reminded me of how dangerously close to the-end-of-everything we got.

Now I *know* that this touching Magna Carta-type deal isn't quite as concrete for some of us as it is for others. I know that. But for all human rights efforts one of our greatest weapons have been the *inconsistentcy* between law and practice. If the laws on the books are insane (and so many of them remain -- developed throughout the past eight years or earlier -- and must be rescinded immediately) it's really hard to appeal to the equal rights based on the contradictions between law and practice.

coda: I mean, y'all see how crazy folks are acting just bringing out the KKK in hicksville. Fortunately, that Chicago hawk makes tough hides on the residents. As they say "God willin' and the creek don't rise", the Prez will get it goin' and struggling folks'll have some healthcare and other inalienable rights.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

catch as catch can..

Whew! Just made the end of the month for a bloggie note.

Hanging out with buddies before traipsing around this summer. Running a bit and saw a few good things. I even have pix I (mostly) took myself. That's not necessarily a good thing as I'm not a photographer, but oh well. (The photos w/o attribution are ones I took.)

Put my hard hat on and hung out at another poetry house -- not in Philly this time -- the soon-to-be-new-home of New York's Poets' House. It's really impressive and I even have a few pix of Executive Director Lee Bricetti with her construction chapeau:

As you can see, she's very involved in the project!

After we saw that amazing space, one of my good friends and I stopped by another one: the beautiful, intense and word-centric art piece, the Irish Hunger Memorial. it's really something. I urge you to see it, and read through it. The memorial not only references famine that killed thousands in Ireland but the nature of people, places, governments to allow people to starve all over the world. it's in a great conversation with the new Poets' House home as it conveys how powerfully words reverberate. A real masterpiece -- and free to visit, roam around and touch. The pix below really don't do it justice but are more of a teaser:

It was a Manhattany day. We ended up in the West Village and walked right past this living monument:

With all this DOMA (that's Defense of Marriage Act for you non-wonky folks) dueling banjos ads going around, walking past or at least actually noticing the Stonewall Inn for the first time reminds me of how recent all this discourse is. Personally, I think New York attitude will win out over NY conservatism (esp. upstate) and we'll have same-sex marriage here. Yes, there are conservatives in the state but I suspect that no one here sees them being trumped by Iowa on anything that's not agrarian (and even on that level, we've got lots of farms outside of the 5 boroughs). When I saw the movie Milk (yes, Penn shoulda won that Oscar) it just reminded me of the historic era we're in. I mean, I remember those clothes! (Yes, I was young but I do remember them, I even wore the tike versions.)

Speaking of great, touching, morally-relevant films, I *just* saw the super excellent "Up" movie by Pixar. (Those of you who know I'm a goofy Harry Potter fan will not be surprised that I went to see an animated picture.) It was so good! Super touching, lots of great lessons/reminders for kids and adults and expertly done. Pixar is not joking! I've enjoyed every single one of their films that I've seen. Very moving and lovely economy of language. I even shed a tear or two. I'm no Roger Ebert (even though he is a Gemini and carries the sign well) so I won't presume a fancy review but go see. And it was great to hear Ed Asner! Talk about the 70s...I remember him from the Lou Grant days and he's an excellent actor and unapologetic lefty. Dude is mad old school. It's funny: he does look like the character in UP (without glasses) at this point in his life:

(h/t and

I realize I'm not only talking about the 1970s but, folks in *their* 70s. Asner graduating the 7th decade and will actually be hitting 80 this year. May I live so long as they say (and as vigorously)...


Lines on Retirement, after Reading Lear
by David Wright

for Richard Pacholski

Avoid storms. And retirement parties.
You can’t trust the sweetnesses your friends will
offer, when they really want your office,
which they’ll redecorate. Beware the still
untested pension plan. Keep your keys. Ask
for more troops than you think you’ll need. Listen
more to fools and less to colleagues. Love your
youngest child the most, regardless. Back to
storms: dress warm, take a friend, don’t eat the grass,
don’t stand near tall trees, and keep the yelling
down—the winds won’t listen, and no one will
see you in the dark. It’s too hard to hear
you over all the thunder. But you’re not
Lear, except that we can’t stop you from what
you’ve planned to do. In the end, no one leaves
the stage in character—we never see
the feather, the mirror held to our lips.
So don’t wait for skies to crack with sun. Feel
the storm’s sweet sting invade you to the skin,
the strange, sore comforts of the wind. Embrace
your children’s ragged praise and that of friends.
Go ahead, take it off, take it all off.
Run naked into tempests. Weave flowers
into your hair. Bellow at cataracts.
If you dare, scream at the gods. Babble as
if you thought words could save. Drink rain like cold
beer. So much better than making theories.
We’d all come with you, laughing, if we could.


Friday, May 22, 2009

Dag, the month is flying!


Well looks like it took almost up to Memorial Day for Spring to spring up before summer. Nice weather in NYC. I'm sad that more than a few students had terrible convocation weather. Ah well. The main thing is that it's done. I got to hang out at a few fun student events at Pratt Institute and UPenn.


Apparently, no Memorial Day weekend is complete without a Barbecue (with a capital B) and I had the occasion to get to one this weekend. Fun, groovy with folks I haven't seen for years. Slowly emerging from my underground thing after years of school and writing. Trying to get the band out there, too. Time to get movin'...

Heading out to the cooler and less delectable climes as I do every summer -- and spring is finally hitting the city! There was a little article in the NYT about people taking 'staycations' and even though I won't be one of the stayers, the comments other people made invoked some nostalgia: I remember when my brother turned some young teen year, he came up with the good idea of taking a tour of the city. Because we were little, we got into quite a few things for free(the Toussaut's Wax Museum was in the Empire State Building) because folks thought we were somebody's kids!


With people bbq'ing, the Statue of Liberty's head getting open and the waterfront abuzz, I'm going to miss my hometown even more than usual. I'll try to sneak in another quick note before the month's out. Just one for May has got to get a little dap for coming through in the home stretch.



by Theodore Worozbyt

Turns out the radiologist didn't know thing one about radios. I stood there in my stocking feet and waited for the music to begin again. Being generally good with small motors I would mow and mow the lawn stoically with a white hand towel draped around my neck. I was stimulated by the reports of the optical scienteers. Because of the particular reflective and refractive qualities inherent in the molecular structure of the chlorophyll molecule, the wavelength perceived by the human eye as green is in fact repulsed by grass. Thus grass is all other colors. Impossible, impossible! was the catarrh violently discharging itself in the chambers of my thoughts. Grass and vert are green. Reading is black surrounded by white. If not, what? A barely perceptible hum underfoot that turns out to be electricity or some other invisible fluid? A basket heaped with unadjusted watches? The forests filled with white tigers. Fire came from god's beard. The sun rolled, a chariot wheel flaring its treads across the clouds. Starlight: angelic punctuation on the carbon paper of midnight. New York City sewers crawled with titanic alligators before debunkers in rubber boots stepped in. President Somebody was smoking an Egyptian cigarette and several papers didn't get signed before the prognosis began to resemble a trumpet: something gold around a hole.


Thursday, April 30, 2009

April showers bring...staying in and watching movies

Coming in under the wire with April! The last day. It's been wet and more than a bit windy with big weather swings in Apple-town. Hope that means great flowers for May.

Got around a little bit this month: saw a really lovely independent film that won an award at Cannes in 2006 called "Luxury Car" at the Asia Society. It's from China and has some gorgeous acting and judicious direction. If you want to check it out yourself, here's a link to a clip:

The version I saw was originally subtitled in French so if you speak that language this poster will make even more sense:

Speaking of films, hick that I am, I *finally* saw two Shakespeare classics I've been meaning to catch up with: Julius Caesar with the luminous Marlon Brando and the astounding James Mason (and the great John Gielgud, Deborah Kerr, etc. everyone was rockin' it) and Laurence Olivier in Merchant of Venice. Just blown out of the water with the performances. Olivier's final utterance/lament at the end of the trial was just haunting and he showed a tremendous amount of restraint and grief throughout the film. Dude was not to be messed with! (That's him with the top hat. I haven't exactly *mastered* the blog photo thing so that's the best I could get of that picture, okay?)

That made me go into the wayback machine and pull out the good old Richard III with Ian McKellen (whose MacBeth with Judi Dench I also saw not too long ago).

Folks know I'm into the old school Brit drama (I, Claudius with Derek Jacobi and Elizabeth R with Glenda Jackson were forever etched in my mind as a child. Yay for PBS and constant re-runs!). I've seen just enough of the less-than-successful adaptations of that stuff to really love it when it works on stage or screen (big or small). Super duper gorgeous.

If you want to see some great send-ups through (let's not be too precious about Will), my colleague Nelson hipped me to this hilarious clip of Peter Sellers doing Richard III doing the Beetle's "Hard Day's Night" that was chuckle-worthy in it's drollness:

and who can forget that Emmy award winning turn of *Sir* Derek Jacobi making fun of his own (*beautiful*) original BBC Hamlet on Frasier?:

*Everytime* I see these joints I have to laugh.

(If you don't see 2 links immediately above, just two pix, something's not working with the blog but be sure to google them! Youtube has the clips!)

So, as you may detect from the many stills I've been indoors and it has been raining a lot here...

But, one one of the few lovely evenings, I got a chance to see one of my buddies' bands play, Marvin Sewell's group. They were really great, fabulous really, and shared the bill with Jeff Lee Johnson (whom I'm ashamed to say I didn't know but was really moved by). Marvin urged us to see Johnson's band and I'm so glad I did!

Marvin's crew was hitting it and, if you know Marv you know he's not exactly a talker, but he was quite conversational that night...I have to say I learned some stuff about him I didn't know before -- and I've known 'him for more than 15 years! He had the ever-ready and deservedly in-demand bass player Jerome Harris (who I also have known since forever), keeping it lockety-locked.

M. Sewell's a low-key kinda dude as this picture sorta indicates. But he was workin' them strings:

Extra thumbnail pictures for being extra in the house this month! Now that spring is hopefully springing, there may be less so this should hold ya. Modern China, Old fashioned/adapted Shakes and cool newfangled music. Not a bad month to leave! See y'all with a poem (or two):

a woman had placed
by Anne Blonstein

after jorge luis borges

a yellow rose
in a hotel glass
the man had kissed her
on the neck
had kissed her
on the mouth

but these kisses belonged to yesterday
there would be no moment
of revernalization

yellow roses came from china
open in may before our hybrids
unfold pink rugosities and baroque scent
expose dusty fissured yellow pearls

Concordance [Our conversation is a wing]
by Mei-mei Berssenbrugge

Our conversation is a wing below my consciousness, like organization in blowing cloth, eddies of water, its order of light on film with no lens.

A higher resonance of story finds its way to higher organization: data swirl into group dreams.

Then story surfaces, as if recognized; flies buzzing in your room suddenly translate to "Oh! You're crying!"

So, here I hug the old person, who's not "light" until I embrace him.

My happiness at seeing him, my French suit constitute at the interface of wing and occasion.

Postulate whether the friendship is fulfilling.

Reduce by small increments your worry about the nature of compassion or the chill of emotional identification among girlfriends, your wish to be held in the consciousness of another, like a person waiting for you to wake.

Postulate the wave nature of wanting him to wait (white space) and the quanta of fractal conflict, point to point, along the outline of a petal, shore from a small boat.

Words spoken with force create particles.

He calls the location of accidents a morphic field; their recurrence is resonance, as of an archetype with the vibration of a seed.

My last thoughts were bitter and helpless.

Friends witnessing grief enter your consciousness, illuminating your form, so quiet comes.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

March showers, April flowers and smiles!

Hey Bunnies!

April's here and I see a little green outside of my window. Yay!

So I've been keeping busy, last place outside of Brooklyn (and occasionally Manhattan) I've been to was Arizona -- nice landscape. I love the scrappy unusual plants there. It's almost like being on the balmy moon.

I, finally, thanks to my buddy Carlos Gallegos at U of A, put a toe into Mexico. I've always been very embarrassed by the fact that I've (very luckily) been to several countries on all the land masses that aren't mainly ice and hadn't yet been to the other country that is attached to this one. Seriously, I felt like a real hick. Still do but at least I hung out for a moment in the border town(s) of Nogales, ate a little, contributed to the economy (e.g. shopped) a little and disabused myself of the stereotypes of constant OK Corral drama whenever Mexico has been mentioned in the news lately. Can't really give myself props for being, as we used to say, "all up in Mexico" but at least I can't completely hold my head in shame -- about visiting Mexico at least. Picked up a sundress and made me think that one day soon it may even be warm enough wear it!

Is that warm sunlight I see in the horizon of the Nogales vendors?

(I didn't take this picture. See the url:

Now time feels fleeting as it always does when spring really gets to springing and I'm looking forward to a lovely, rigorous summer.

Since it's Sunday I snuck a peek at the style sections and all I saw was first lady pix. She's so adorably Amazonian!

Photo by Pascal Le Segretain /Getty Images

I was thinking both she and Mrs. Sarkozy wear flats for the same reasons -- so they won't be taller than their hubbies. But Barack O is over 6 feet, and Nicholas S is 5'5" ... irony much? (Hey, whatever works. I'm in no position to comment on height!)

I know I'm supposed to be all closeted about my fashion jones but I mainly look and don't touch, especially in this economy. So I'll go on: one of the things I don't get about the kerfuffle regarding Michelle O's clothes is clearly she's sending a message about modesty while the economy is doing so badly. Hence the J Crew mixing and lower key designers. I mean, like, 'hello?'.

Every once in a while she'll brand it out but I think she's trying to send a down with hyper-consumerism message just like the Pres. is. Now Oscar de la Renta is hatin' and opinionatin' on behalf of the couture crowd b/c *they* want to get the money that the First Couple usually bestows on designers. But let's just say that's what it's about: their bottom lines. My brother, oddly (because he could care less about clothes) hipped me to this piece and it is so cold-hearted a diss, I was kinda stunned. Then I applauded:

You can read the longer version yourself. The thumbnail is: why are all these designers complaining that this famous Black woman isn't wearing their clothes when they don't hire Black models? How can she even *see* herself in them? .... Ooops! the blogger went to church on 'em. No punches pulled. Worse was the excuse that some of them made that there aren't any Black models around. I mean that's ridiculous. I know some Black models and I don't even really *know* models!

Catch up with the rest of the millennium designers!

Anywho...I have been running into buddies I haven't seen in dog's years while out of town. Like Carlos, Kazim Ali, Kimiko Hahn and Fred Moten. Good to see faces in places...met some new folks since I've been back that opened up my peeps: Saw two thought-provoking lectures on photography icw academic duties.

One by the fashion photographer Miles Aldridge (segue, segue) at the ICP. My hipster arty students were full of meta-narrative comments about his latest book, particularly about how women were 'framed' as well as how he presented his family at the end of the talk. Quite the stimulating discussion. The attention to tone and color in the pictures was extraordinary and lush. I have to say that I enjoyed it most when he discussed the technique used in considering the film stock, cameras, background. The nuts-and-bolts stuff. We juxtaposed his 'intent' w/ Barthes relationship to 'intent' in Camera Lucida and it was really a nice contrast. Not totally fair I suppose since Barthes is a philosopher not a photographer but I think Barthes had the unfair advantage, as it were.

Aldridge did come across as a pretty amiable fellow as he signed books. Not a friend, but friendly!

I then had the pleasure of participating in a great conversation along with other eggheads (saying it with love!) and Susan Meiselas the very verite photographer, famous for, among other things, her work in Nicaragua during the war, her latest book on the idea of Kurdistan (conceptual mapping, Carlos?) and the controversy between her and Joy Garnett and Joywar. There's so much that can be said about Meiselas' work as a metaphor of journalism, fame, derivation, 'sampling' and community. Read around on line and see what folks are saying. Even though I'm not a visual person, gave me tons to think about and see.

For the rest of the spring, i'm getting some rest in the spring. No insane weekly traveling and conference talking. Planehopping is super cool, but only in doses. i miss Brooklyn.

Even walked across the bridge this week. Nothing else like it.

This poem is a bit longer than usual but a very nice 'slant' summary:

The Bridge, Palm Sunday, 1973
by Alfred Corn

It avails not. time nor place—distance avails not. . .
—Whitman. "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry"

The bridge was a huge sentence diagram,
You and I the compound subject, moving
Toward the verb. We stopped, breathing
Balloonfuls of air; and noonday sun sent down
A hard spray of light. Sensing an occasion,
I put my arm on your shoulder, my friend
And brother. Words, today, took the form of actions.

The object of the pilgrimage, 110 Columbia Heights,
Where Hart Crane once lived, no longer existed,
We learned, torn down, the physical address gone.
A second possible tribute was to read his Proem
There on the Promenade in sight of the theme.
That line moved you about the bedlamite whose shirt
Balloons as he drops into the river, much like
Crane's death, though he wasn't a "bedlamite";
A dreamer, maybe who called on Whitman and clasped
His present hand, as if to build a bridge across time. . . .

We hadn't imagined happenstance would lead us next
To join with the daydreamers lined up before
An Easter diorama of duck eggs, hatching
Behind plate glass. The intended sentiment featured
Feathered skeletons racked with spasms of pecking
Against resistant shell, struggling out of dim
Solitary into incandescence and gravity, and quaking
With the shock of sound and sight as though existence
Were a nervous disease. All newborns receive the same
Sentence—birth, death, equivalent triumphs.

Two deaf-mutes walked back the same but inverse way,
Fatigue making strangers of us and the afternoon
Hurt, like sunburn. Overexposure is a constant
Risk of sensation and of company. I wondered
Why we were together—is friendship imaginary?
And does imagination obscure or reveal its subject?
The ties always feel strange, strung along happenstance,
Following no diagram, incomplete, a bridge of suspense. . . .

Sometimes completed things revisited still resonate.
I'm thinking about Crane's poem of the Bridge,
Grand enough to inspire disbelief and to suspend it.
The truth may lie in imagining a connection
With him or with you; with anyone able to overlook
Distance, shrug off time, on the right occasion. . . .

If I called him a brother—help me with this, Hart—
Who climbed toward light and sensation until the sky
Broke open to reveal an acute, perfect convergence
Before letting him fall back into error and mortality,
Would we be joined with him and the voyagers before him?
Would a new sentence be pronounced, a living connection
Between island and island, for a second, be made?


Oh and for those who observe: Got this from the IHC website. Super soul-stirring gospel music on the page:

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Heya Bunnies:

Been running around like a lil old nut! 3 cities in 3 weeks and on to #4. Been having fun traveling but now the cold bug (a.k.a. too many airplanes) has grounded me for the weekend...I'll live.

Sunny and pleasant in Brooklyn! While I was out getting even more orange juice I saw lots of hipsters and regulars making the rounds, too.

Mine over the season included Norf Cakalak, Oh HI! Oh and one of the beautiful cities on earth, Chi-town. That place is crazy gorgeous. Brooklyn New Yorkers are not generous with out-borough praise but this place is an astounding gotham to behold. No wonder the new Batmans are shot there. It's totally retro-futuristic. This is a *detail* of the Harold Washington Library (yay HW! One of the unsung heroes that aided our current president's ascent.) The picture after the detail is the building.

Keep in mind: this is a *library*:

Got a chance to see a show, catch up with arty friends and hang out with the sophisticated and downright perky Kimiko Hahn. Super fun!

Last night, I saw this lovely band: Melvin Gibbs' "Elevated Entity". If y'all know Melvin you know the roof was raised!

A great project. He's one of the great New York musicians (we'll claim him) but we have to share him with the rest of the planet, especially with the crew he's got for this project. Here's an overview --

And he's a Gemini. I claim all of the twins (except the Bush parents, Guiliani and anyone I don't agree with). Spring is our season coming up.

So I was happily thinking these fond thoughts and happened to be laying about in my sickened state and ran into Michael Moore's film, SiCKO (sp). That movie is one heck of a tear-jerker and a very deep meditation.

Got me to thinking that the concept of "insurance" is really deep! Both SiCKO and this whole AIG thing makes me think of the relationship we have with the concept. I came across this joke from an insurance education page:

Comedians often joke that, “it shouldn’t be called life insurance. It should be called death insurance because it doesn’t pay unless you die. And even then it still doesn’t pay you; it pays everyone BUT you!” (

That's kinda what Moore's film is dealing with and that the taxpayer bailout frustration is about. Feeling exploited and vulnerable. If you haven't seen the movie in a while, it's worth another look. Bring your hankies...

(Some of the links might need pasting, btw)

But with the warm weather other possibilities seem feasible:

Happily [excerpt]
by Lyn Hejinian

What is not is now possible, a ponderable
You muse on musing on—so much now but you do
You can rearrange what the day gets from accidents but
you can’t derive its reality from them
The dot just now adrift on the paper is not the product of
the paper dark
Nearly negative but finite it springs from its own shadow
and cannot be denied the undeniable world once it is
launched—once it’s launched it’s derived
Tonight sounding roughly it isn’t quite that only words can
reason beyond what’s reasonable that I drop my eyes to
Something comes
The experiences generated by sense perception come by the
happenstance that is with them
Experiences resulting from things impinging on us
There is continuity in moving our understanding of them as they appear
Some which are games bring with them their own rules for
action which is a play we play which we may play with
an end we value not winning
The dilemmas in sentences form tables of discovery of
things created to create the ever better dilemma which is
to make sense to others

(hope Lynn doesn't consider this too much of an abomination of her poem...I used the website to cut & paste from.)

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

In like Flynn...the Lion!

(If you read the subject heading with a New York accent, it rhymes!)

Well dahlinks, the last few weeks have been kinda interesting and the new month is keeping yours truly a'hoppin'... This'll be a little long. Just pretend I wrote 3 and put them together -- which is basically what I did.

Couple weeks ago I got a chance to see two really yummy mainstream films just before Oscar's Day, Milk and The Wrestler. (Still got lots of catching up to do in this regard, obvs.) Milk was one of the most endearing an elegant films I've seen. Just lovely and Penn was astounding. Such a nice light touch and he made me ask my favorite types of questions when I'm watching a film: "*That's* the guy from 'Mystic River'/'We're No Angels'/'Dead Man Walking'? Really lovely storytelling from Van Sant. I saw it with one of my buddies and we had to get T shirts afterwards, we were so giddy!

The Wrestler's tone was very different, gritty. Mickey Rourke was almost unbearable to see. Just heartwrenching. I didn't get a T-shirt that time but another friend of mine and I did take away lots of food for thought. I saw the film as more of a meditation on aging but that might just be because I don't care about sports not even contrived ones. Without that 'distraction' it was easier to look into the trajectory of this modestly hopeful character stubbornly plodding forward. After the movie I saw the comedian Marc Maron's new live show "Scorching the Earth". Very intense. My brother and I saw the first draft of it in Brooklyn and it's definitely gotten stronger. Raw, unapologetic and toward the end Marc reads this letter he wrote (that's all that I'll say about it -- see it yourself) but prefaces it by saying that he looks just as 'bad' as the person he wrote it to. An understatement. If you see the internet show he does w/ Sam Seder, the performance is like a more combative and raw version of his persona on Break Room Live.

Well that was a couple weekends ago...

Last weekend I hung out at Duke for the Infection in the Sentence experimental poetry conference. Got to hang out with my buddy Fred, jazz musician/poet and bon vivant Cecil Taylor, Brent, Christian, Eileen and lots of folks it's been good to see and been to long to see including two -- Susan and Cecilia -- whom I'd seen last at the surreal Helen Adam reading last year. Well you can find the whole list of participants of the conference (except for Kamau B who couldn't attend due to illness) on the Duke U website by googling the search terms. Lots of fun and way too much food. Quite yummy fare in the south and I swear the plates are bigger in North Carolina! I also got to see a grown up soon-to-be-former teen I know who looks like a lady and everything! I remember when her age was in the single digits. Ah, time fleeting thing.

Speaking of academics, I got a mo to check out a talk at my lovely Institute that featured theorist Randy Martin. It was a great talk and those dancer types sure are lovely and demonstrative! They really can fill up a space! During a really fun lunch organized by Jon Beller, I found out that back in the day Mr. Martin had also met/took classes with an actor I've long been a fan of: Bill Irwin. (His presentation as George in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf?" was an exhultant character study.) That's some crazy 1 degree of separation stuff right there!

Snow came in this month and I barely dodged it in the air, I swear! My plane touched down before the snow fell. Phew!
Even though 'the weather outside is frightful' -ly cold, feels a little like spring is around the corner. That Puxatawney Phil was right again, I hate to admit but in NY at least, it's sunny!

I'm traveling a bit now and hope to send off another missive soon in higher double digits!


A Word dropped careless on a Page
by Emily Dickinson

A Word dropped careless on a Page
May stimulate an eye
When folded in perpetual seam
The Wrinkled Maker lie

Infection in the sentence breeds
We may inhale Despair
At distances of Centuries
From the Malaria --

I Sing the Body Electric
by Walt Whitman (first stanza)

I sing the body electric,
The armies of those I love engirth me and I engirth them,
They will not let me off till I go with them, respond to them,
And discorrupt them, and charge them full with the charge of the soul.

A Noun Sentence
by Mahmoud Darwish
Translated by Fady Joudah

A noun sentence, no verb
to it or in it: to the sea the scent of the bed
after making love ... a salty perfume
or a sour one. A noun sentence: my wounded joy
like the sunset at your strange windows.
My flower green like the phoenix. My heart exceeding
my need, hesitant between two doors:
entry a joke, and exit
a labyrinth. Where is my shadow—my guide amid
the crowdedness on the road to judgment day? And I
as an ancient stone of two dark colors in the city wall,
chestnut and black, a protruding insensitivity
toward my visitors and the interpretation of shadows. Wishing
for the present tense a foothold for walking behind me
or ahead of me, barefoot. Where
is my second road to the staircase of expanse? Where
is futility? Where is the road to the road?
And where are we, the marching on the footpath of the present
tense, where are we? Our talk a predicate
and a subject before the sea, and the elusive foam
of speech the dots on the letters,
wishing for the present tense a foothold
on the pavement ...

Thursday, February 05, 2009

It was a cold and wintry night...

and I got to hang out with some lovely Bardians (newly graduated) under one of those bright, Brooklyn half-moons for a birthday party.

We had a free-wheeling conversation and yummy birthday (cup)cake. Under candles folks started waxing about school and stuff. One of the things I encouraged them to do despite being smarty grad students, was to go the commencement ceremonies. My mother forced me to go to my graduations after I was a full-grown lady and they were fun! The whole ritual process of walking, the gown and stuff, really makes the experience tangible. You can feel time passing in a way that we're often too rushed to see.

Speaking of tangibility, that weekend after the party I slid over to the Watermill Center on longuylan -- that's "Long Island" for non-natives -- and checked out Robert Wilson's spot: . Met some very groovy artists and saw some fun work by them.

Despite the limited experience due to the winter climes (they've got lots going on in the outdoor space too), have to say the art collection in there is phenomenal. From all over the world from very modern to very old in spaces that were super minimal color-wise so each piece seemed to be suspended in animation. It was quite a different perspective for this writer to consider art in workspace (I live in an orange house, so that should tell you something).

Quite the pristine spot and even kinda museum-y what with the no-shoes policy and my mom didn't even have to be there to tell me not to touch anything...guess I kept a few things from my 5-year old self!

Even though my borough is attached, longuylan does feel New England-y in a way the rest of this neck of the woods does not. Some ways good, some ways bad: yesterday I was walking down 6th ave in Manhattan and there were these weird collections of garbage that seemed almost deliberately placed: a gigantic pile of left-over McDonald's food on the sidewalk as if it had been installed and further along in Greenwich village a substantial collection of horse manure almost pyramidal shaped on the sidewalk. It was just there with no indication that a horse had been there at all...odd even by NY standards. Rushing-by people had this look of disbelief on their faces, including me -- and we have a high garbage visibility threshold in these parts.

They were so random yet self-contained that after I said 'gross'! I thought they had to be a set-up: the garbage in New York is like everything else good and bad in the city: not that well-organized.

I did have flashbacks to NY in the 70s though: gritty, nasty, lively. Maybe those piles were milestones marking the end of gentrification as we knew it.

What [The flower sermon]
by Ron Silliman (excerpt)

The flower sermon:
critique is like a swoon
but with a step increase,
the awkward daughter who grows
to join the NBA. All we want
(ever wanted) was to be on that
mailing list, parties at which slim caterers
offer red, yellow, black caviar
spilling off the triangular crackers
while off on the bay
rainbow-striped sails dip and bob and
twist. The woman in the yellow raincoat sits
on a bench at the edge of the schoolyard
while two small children race
across the asphalt plaza. Too many books
sail the moth. A tooth that's lost
while flossing. A short line
makes for anxious music. Not breath
but civilization. The president
of Muzak himself says
that humming along constitutes time theft.
First snow in the Sierras = cold showers here.
The east is past. Margin of terror. The left
is where you feel it (dragging the eyes back
contra naturum). We're just in it
for the honey. Spackling paste
edits nails in wall when painted. Elbows,
shoulders jammed together on the bus.
At each transfer point, glimpse how lives
weave past. A woman with an interesting book
in her purse which I pretend not to see.
Letters crowd into a thought. Green paper
folded around long-stemmed roses
is stapled shut. Rapid winter sunset
lacks twilight.

PS: BTW, if you saw my earlier post from almost exactly 2 years ago (or not), I lamented on the bulkregister inaccessibility drama. Anyway it's ovah and you can find my little pithy comments via, and/or or .net. -- T

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

...and furthermore: Moo!

Yay for Oxen, including Cows(en)!

Every Chinese New Year I post a Happy one since most of the human population on the earth follow this lunar cycle. I've been chowing down on 'the people's food' after my foray down south and boy could my tummy use the break from the rich Louisiana food. Now I'm having rich Asian food. Not as sleep-inducing but very tasty!

Not that New Year is *all* about the food but folks do celebrate via the plate.

My lovely Korean bodega owner (and if that designation isn't an amalgam that's emblematic of NYC, what is?) said the Ox year is good: hard working, loyal, nice. Well we could all use a bit more of those qualities, no?

"You cannot plough a field by turning it over in your mind."

No need for a poem after that line! (h/t to, Image Credit:


So I got a minute away from my fifth of the apple and hung out in some sunnier climes in the Gulf State of LA. Still the best food on earth (and I don't concede Brooklyn's props -- on *anything*-- easily).

Everything is tasty and everyone is an enabler when it comes to eating, so I just gave up and 'went with the local culture'. I swear I gained about 15 pounds in 3 days. Not a bad way to go.

In addition to the culinary excess, it was great to visit the area again. I hadn't been to the area since FEMA messed up in 2005 (just to jog the memory hole, Katrina did not hit landfall, it was the levee breaking that flooded the area). People are amazingly resilient and the artist community as well as the culture in general is dealing with the inevitable post-traumatic stress of that event. The whole experience gave me food for thought about Americana in general: how we feel separated from 'different' folks near us and how close, and in some ways, unifying an extraordinary collective experience can be. Not trying to romanticize the situation at all, or mitigate the disproportionate number of poor/Black folks affected by the flooding, but just to note the non-visual but no-less substantive relationships between people. Folks seemed more connected somehow. But I'm just a hick from the Northeast and may not know what the deal is. I am a bit romantic though, and do hope this sense of connectedness between communities I felt is, in fact, the case.

Goes to show why, as Sandra Ruiz and I argued in an edition of the journal "women and performance" that policy matters. We focused on art but it is generally the case. I very much hope that the Federal Government will set a tone that trickles down to less divisiveness. Not to negate cultural distinctions -- unique contributions are often worth keeping -- but they don't have to be sources of antagonism to be sources of pride. (Okay, everyone hold hands and sing Kumbaya! I know, I know. Mushy much?)


by Mary Cornish

Everyone knew the water would rise,
but nobody knew how much.
The priest at Santa Croce said, God
will not flood the church.
When the Arno broke its banks,
God entered as a river, let His mark high
above the altar.
He left nothing untouched:
stones, plaster, wood.
You are all my children.
The hem of His garment, which was
the river’s bottom sludge,
swept through Florence, filling cars and cradles,
the eyes of marble statues,
even the Doors of Paradise. And the likeness
of His son’s hands, those pierced palms soaked
with water, began to peel like skin.
The Holy Ghost appeared
as clouds of salted crystals
on the faces of saints, until the intonaco
of their painted bodies stood out from the wall as if
they had been resurrected.

This is what I know of restoration:
in a small room near San Marco,
alone on a wooden stool
nearly every day for a year,
I painted squares of blue on gessoed boards—
cobalt blue with madder rose, viridian,
lamp black—pure pigments and the strained yolk
of an egg, then penciled notes about the powders,

the percentages of each. I never asked
to what end I was doing what I did, and now
I’ll never know. Perhaps there was one square
that matched the mantle of a penitent, the stiff
hair of a donkey’s tail, a river calm beneath a bridge.
I don’t even know what I learned,
except the possibilities of blue, and how God enters.

PS: if I can figure out how to add an audio clip to my own blog, I'll include one of my song "Katrina Blues" on Elliott Sharp's group Terraplane from the album "Secret Life".

Friday, January 16, 2009

up and running...

Hey Folks:

I am exhausted thinking about the inauguration. You? Even from the NYC it seems like lots of coordinatin'.

There's so much to get going though after the celebrating. I can't believe our pres.-elect is already campaigning for his "new deal". I'm tired just seeing pictures of him in the news online! I can't imagine what it must be like to be running around moving (from the hotel, to Blair House to the White House -- oh and that last move by Bush to delay the Blair House move: could dude be *more* tacky on his way out? John Howard? Please.) Anyway, I guess all that running is part of the job and Obama seems to be diving in feet first before the swearing in, even. These confirmations have been moving forward and the dinners? My goodness I'd take all sorts of preventative antidotes before breaking bread with some of those folks...(I know, right?: New Yorkers and their paranoia.)

After, after and after is everybody's doing though. I feel more pressure to do, be myself. Talk about raising that bar. Feeling kinda positive about it though! Hence the title of this entry.

And speaking of, yay pilot! (RIP, Canadian geese.) We got plenty of drama in the Tristate area. Last thing we need is a plane crash and folks hurt. That was so great that no one was permanently injured or killed. How scary was that?

Well the outgoing White House persona was hitting the trails and creating, as always, great literature to riff off of. De Hudson wuz deep but De Nile....(yeah, I trotted out that oldie. Sue me.) A person who speaks well representing the country. Yay. I may not always agree with Obama but at least my Elements of Style won't automatically freeze up with the collective sympathy pains of the world, when he's talking. (My books are very animated.)

Speaking of old school, here's some poems.

Feliz Enero,

PS: In case it isn't super obvious by now, the poems are an extension of this blog's commentary and, just as the prose isn't usually experimental (even though I'm an 'experimental' poet), most of the poems are fairly transparent as are my little ol' notes. -- t

I Hear America Singing.
Walt Whitman

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe
and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deck-
hand singing on the steamboat deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing
as he stands,
The woodcutter's song, the ploughboy's on his way in the morn-
ing, or at noon intermission or at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work,
or of the girl sewing or washing,
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young
fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.

I, Too, Sing America
by Langston Hughes

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"

They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--

I, too, am America.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Okay, it's really 2009, right?

Is it just me or is 2009 really here? Takes me about a week, don't know about you (or even a month or so depending on the Chinese New Year calendar. Ox/Cow year is coming up fast.) Feels like everyone is abuzz and seriously moving but cautious about the times...

Being one of the "hypersensitive" artsy-types one of the things I've been feeling is folks just not being into shopping. Even if 'broke-broke' hasn't really hit everyone yet, it's like the superconsumer is passe...Even Bill Cunningham (the NY Times fashion reporter, not the right-wing intolerant), said the new fashion is for the well-to-do to go into their closets and wear stuff they've had for several seasons. I confess: the spry octogenarian-on-a-bike's NYT slideshow is one of my weekly guilty pleasures. (Yeah, so? That's what living a fairly clean-cut life leaves you with -- perusing other's fashion statements).
(See the "Keepers" audio slideshow.)

On the political tip, seems like everyone is hemming in homeslice! *Now* the Democrats are standing up to executive authority...( -- or in Reid's case, kinda slumping? Dude!) And not to be too US of America-centric, but the situation jumping off in Gaza just had to be encouraged by the current, yet absent, administration. What have they been quietly up to since November 4th?

Sam Seder (actor/comedian/pundit) had a really interesting take on this situation, saying that the hard-liners in Israel are positioning a withdrawal just before the American inauguration to shift the focus of the MidEast discussion. There's also a national election coming up in Israel soon, which probably has a bit more than a little to do with the recent war. One thing I do know is Cheney has been seriously trying to get his war on (some more) and it didn't work out to his liking in Iran, though that dude was *pushing it* so here we all are. For other points of view (in the States) it's excellent to check out Cenk Uygur's Young Turks blog and Mark Levine (from the Inside Scoop, not to be confused with the rightwinger Mark Levin, yikes!) and the other progressive, Tikkun writer Mark LeVine. Very different and passionate perspectives. All good folks.

This isn't my area of expertise so I'm checking it like y'all, from afar, to be real about it. Not to be too sentimentally-based and non-analytical but it's just heartbreaking to see all this death and destruction between two historically oppressed and displaced groups of people. Seriously. Makes me wonder if this was all a set up -- grab your makeshift Reynolds Wrap hat! -- it's not like the folks who organized this situation in Europe back in the day weren't anxious to get *both* parties out of the way. How better than for them to fight each other? And then we've got the nuts here right now who want Israel around so Jesus can smite the country later. Same mindset, different century.

Either way, this is a rock and roll year for sure already. You can see my tone is changing a little blogwise: a bit more overt politics, sometimes. If I jump in more with both feet maybe I'll even post more! God forbid!

Below here's a poem to lick: mmm -- yum!


PS: I picked this poem (h/t to because, like all great poems, you can many things into it. Most of the notes on this post can be implicated in it in some way, even oppositional stances. Poems aren't to show what's there, they're to show more. -- t

To me that man seems like a god in heaven (51)
by Gaius Valerius Catullus
Translated by Charles Martin

To me that man seems like a god in heaven,
seems—may I say it?—greater than all gods are,
who sits by you & without interruption
watches you, listens

to your light laughter, which casts such confusion
onto my senses, Lesbia, that when I
gaze at you merely, all of my well-chosen
words are forgotten

as my tongue thickens & a subtle fire
runs through my body while my ears deafened
by their own ringing & at once my eyes are
covered in darkness!

Leisure, Catullus. More than just a nuisance,
leisure: you riot, overmuch enthusing.
Fabulous cities & their sometime kings have
died of such leisure.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Happy New Year!!!!

I am so happy to have made it through 2008! Lots and lots of changes. I don't forsee 2009 being exactly quiet but maybe more productive as folks get into "nose to the grindstone" mode.

The money thing is crazy, crazy and I hope our national leadership can help folks "keep their heads up". Perception is really important and if we think positively...things will *still* be difficult but at least we'll be looking ahead.

For those who didn't make it through to the end of last year, I hope those of us still here can gain comfort through the deep meaning your time on earth gave the rest of us. Lots of losses in the popular arts and more 'off the beaten path" folks. Icons and future icons gone too soon, for us.

Still problems and still possibilities, opportunities. Weirdly, I can't get into the 'bunker mentality' even though all signs indicate that I'm supposed to: Planet's messed up, no money, mo problems, etc. Seems like there hasn't been a moment to relax and rejoice since election day. Maybe I'm a bit on the wrong side here but I just can't buy into the 'nattering nabobs'. I feel that so much of the drama since November has been targeted to keep folks 'anti-optimistic'. Being a contrarian by nature, I just gotta go the other way on it. Hunker down, yes. Bunker, no. (Corny, probably!)

Another poem, as usual, to put the spirit on ya.

xo and hny,

(excerpt) Endymion, Book I, [A thing of beauty is a joy for ever]
by John Keats

Book I

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
Of all the unhealthy and o'er-darkened ways
Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon,
Trees old and young, sprouting a shady boon
For simple sheep; and such are daffodils
With the green world they live in; and clear rills
That for themselves a cooling covert make
'Gainst the hot season; the mid forest brake,
Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms:
And such too is the grandeur of the dooms
We have imagined for the mighty dead;
All lovely tales that we have heard or read:
An endless fountain of immortal drink,
Pouring unto us from the heaven's brink.