Monday, June 15, 2009

buddha needs a bath



video

water of vision
your dreams for later
today I fill my cup
to quench my thirst

rain earlier left wooden bridge soaked
clouds darken again
still I savor
the extinguishing of my desire

wind carries tiny flowers
their pattern spots my world
on paper, shoe top, float in spring,
drop like stones, rotted stump,
ferns, exposed wash root

June 9, 2009
Springs Hollow

ビジョンの水

あなたの夢へ

今日私は自分のカップを埋める

私の喉の渇きをいやす

以前の木製の橋を左雨ずぶぬれ

雲が再び暗く

まだ私は十分に味わう

私の願望は、消火の

風の小さな花を運ぶ

そのパターンを自分の世界観光スポット

紙の上に、靴の上、春に浮かぶ、

石のようにドロップし、断端腐った

シダは、露出を洗うルート

2009年6月9日

Friday, June 12, 2009

Edward Sanders POEMS FOR NEW ORLEANS

Edward Sanders At Caffe Lena


Hey Click On the Image and It Will Enlarge
A while back, a now dead poet named Ron Newsome did a review of Ed Sanders book Investigative Poetry for ROOTDRINKER during the Journal of the St. Lawrence Border Country days. I saw Ed Sanders when he featured at the Caffe Lena Poetry Festival on April 11, 2009, I asked him if he remembered the review. "Remember the review," he said, "It was the only review." I was shocked at that possibility, but not totally knocked into the land of disbelief because I get the reality that even readers are rare as cricket-frog's playing violin when the swamp is frozen and a review, well that is not put out there that often. I don't call this a review, just some comments on his latest, POEMS FOR NEW ORLEANS, sent in the spirit of friendship and communication.

Ed Sanders wanted to write this book. He has lots of projects he is working on and thus he didn't have to make time and space for this one. Actually, there is a bit of a story. Michael Minzer offered to fly Sanders and his wife Miriam anywhere in the world where he would write poetry for a CD for Minzer's Paris Records. They eventually picked New Orleans where the recording began during Mardi Gras '07. In his introduction he says "I decided to create a sequence of works steeped in the history of the City, past and present. The poems seemed to pour out, many more than could fit on a 70-minute CD, so a book came to life!" I have the CD also but I'm a fan of paper & ink: the black crows of ink, as Sanders himself once said.

History, why it has to be here? You know the old saying that history is written by the victors. There is official school text book history and even books about what they left out of the tale (ugly things which as a historian myself I could tell you a few). Ed Sanders creative force able to be a synthesizer of particulars. New Orleans as Sanders evokes (conjures) and invokes through memories, words left & made, poetics backpacked in... Why New Orleans found here is the only place worth studying, although of course you come out the other side? Through-out this book when he says polis its like a little chime that rings "Olson" "Olson" Katrina then hovered above the Polis/as if waiting for an e-mail. Anger at "Unearned Suffering" and "Secret Poverty" and "Bead Greed" as he writes of Truckers hauling FEMA trailers/at hyperinflated rates! Ed Sanders poet on the ground reporting from The City of New Orleans. Bush, Chertoff, Brown, Blanco but other devils were dancing too.

Here's a phenomenon I try to avoid. You meet someone new, discover they have liberal to radical politics and then you emotionally charge through a litany of anecdotal and factual items with them discussing the ills of the world only to run out of juice and both sink into depression. I doubt that would happen with Ed Sanders. I'm sure he gets tired and discouraged like the rest of us but his mind, his art, his language leap beyond and fundamentally jubilate human universe with his humor and love of life. When I crack an Ed Sanders book I'm already anticipating creative language, often making me smile at the hipster rag he ragas.

The control of testosterone
& the patterns of anger in the genome

came about through generous waving of the Bible
plus structures of fun and politeness
--from poem Teeming Docks—New Orleans 1820-1860

Maybe it is the beatific sense but the only others are Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg where I do find such spontaneous verve. When Ron Newsome reviewed Investigative Poetry he said Poetry must address ourselves to the actual problems of Polis-Bios-Cosmos Relationships not solved by the powers-that-be as well as point out thoses failures and dismantle the war machine. Ed Sanders is a poet easily covering that scope. As much an instruction as any of his earlier work, the poems On the Way (She was afraid of bees/ and wore an expensive veiled cap from the internet); Unearned Suffering (The River of Malice/ is one strong force/ to block); Echoes of Heraclitius (O my God!/one of my neighbors was floating with/ her hair entangled in a tree limb)and My Darling Magnolia tree (The secret mind no longer/whispered through the axions of wonder.) All instruction for the City of New Orleans on the Mind. Make the revolution a tall tale, Some FEMA Trailers in Hope --- I don't believe it could of happened compared to Ed Sanders who writes it down. Actually, I lied-- I do believe this story poem entirely, including the humor of its telling incredulous action and lean back off a barstool accounting by Jonathan Abner Tobias Pissoff and with other guys involved Tony the Beatnik and Marnie, Jimmy Joe the Hillbilly Boy's cousin. Seems there was 10,000 FEMA trailers sitting unused in a lot in Hope, Arkanas that sure could be used in New Orleans where people had no place to live. Story goes they did six runs and the last just barely past a police stakeout with the idea to leave the last FEMA trailer by Marie Laveau's crypt in in St. Louis Cemetery. Man we were happy, poem says, Mark Twain could have put our little caper/in one of his books. I feel better just for the humor released. Definitely an Ed Sanders trait but for me a release cause I'll write a humorous poem and think well this has to go over here away from my serious work and it be good to be reminded truth and fun go together.

Beyond the human dimension self-centered me first polis there was "a heartless act of wild nature." On the stage at Caffe Lena and in his conversation back at his table Ed wanted to share his poetic touch on the mythology (a mythological present also a trait in his body of work) he had kenned from the gumbo of his New Orleans experiences - that Poseidon (who's not very bright as the gods go) was the hand that flooded the city. He adapts from Euripides, TROJAN WOMEN lines 48-97 how Athena (protectress of ancient cities) enlists Poseidon to destroy the Achaeans even through she just helped them to capture the City of Troy for Ajak raped Cassandra in my Shrine Athena tells Poseidon bragged to the Greeks, and goes unpunished. Ed Sanders asks 3,289 years after What crime does Athena descry? Is there any? He lets Ajax loose in New Orleans in the poem Rape with MOM (motive opportunity means) for scions of Ajax to depredate. Tells of Grace Lebage who wrote a song about her personal horror she preformed in San Francisco to raise money to rebuild a couple of cottages. In the poem To Poseidon he addresses the god as he stands after the flood:

Maybe you were just trying to build some wetlands?
But we are not crayfish

we are, for better or worse,
sacks of sentient water
about to leave Gaia

for the Pontchartrains of the Beyond

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

GATHERING AT CHRISTMAN PRESERVE & SMITTY'S TAVERN

The Daoist folk deity's known as t'u-ti (literally land, soil, territory) are the little local gods of a particular place. For the third year a gathering has taken place on June 1st on a tall bank above the creek that tumbles through a series of waterfalls at the Christman Preserve. The Preserve is located in the Town of Duanesburg in New York State. A Tribute to local farmer and nature poet William Weaver Christman (1865-1937) the gathering of poets and their friends was joined this year by Anne Christman, his granddaughter, and by two neighbors representing families that have known each other for well over a hundred years. Here at the gathering spot there might be a t'u-ti belonging to the location. Any who visit the overlooking bank remark on the special serenity, the unclouded feeling present.

The t'u-ti sent out an invitation for the ceremony. The Fisherman of the Susquehanna watershed, the poets of the sacred Finger Lakes, the Normanskill poets of the number one hundred and twenty, the thirty-two officials of environmental conservation, the Great Spirits in charge of wind, rain, thunder, and lightning, the three ghosts of bards of local history, the five benevolents of small press publishing, the eight Immortals of poesy, the ten open mic readers of the Hells -- all were present on the appointed day.

These t'u-ti seem to be like numen, little gods of oak grove and sacred spring. I've been thinking about the mechanics of it all ever since I first learned of them a few months ago. One thing that is different from the western tradition is that some t'u-ti are celebrated persons, community servants who when living gave to others. Not like ghosts haunting or spirits being unable to pass on, these t'u-ti are new entities. The souls of a community's good servants still enter heaven but somehow something of the them is left as guardian spirit to protect and preserve what they accomplished in their lives. (I'm just making up this metaphysics as I go along.) It may not be measurable but at each touch (physical, emotional & spiritual) lets say a little tiny unmeasurable but there piece of the person touching moves to the touched. Someone's favorite hat; tools like a carving knife or loom; a room a person spent much enjoyable time in -- Did you ever get the feeling that something of the person lingered? We have identity, walls between us and the world, maybe for those giving of themselves to their works, to the needs of others, the walls allow a tiny bit of the person's essense to move from their essense to the world. I can think of a few people, Will Christman among them, who still evoke influence on others many years after their deaths.

Words are another thing. Writers, poets, singers and others in the expressive arts know about the energy transfer from sender to receiver. With sixteen people and twelve poets reading poems, Will Christman's words, thoughts, and poetic art were broadcast among those gathered in celebration of his life and legacy. Mike Burke added to the event by reading poetry of Will Christman's son Lansing and paired his his own poem with a similarly themed Will Christman poem In a Neglected Graveyard. Michael Czarnecki read a poem he had written minutes before and then marveled both his poem and Christman's broke into song. "A glee sparrow waking/Trills an old love dream:/Here in the shadow of lintel and eaves/I too am singing," Christman wrote. In general having so many readers made for a rich environment because, as each read at least one of Will Christman's poems, there was a nice variety of language and delivery. Walt Franklin had the most interesting tale having written and had published a tribute poem to Will Christman. In its original envelope he shared a letter Lansing Christman wrote him thanking him for the poem and including a cancelled check with W.W. Christman's signature on it for an autograph to keep.


Anne Christman was gratious enough to discuss her grandfather with the gathered. The whole question of a visit to the land by Robert Frost and the arguments he and Will had while touring the property couldn't be verified by Anne. There were strong opinions, with some having certainty that the visits happened and others still holding out for hard evidence. When I explored the Christman family papers at the New York Historical Association archive in Cooperstown, New York, I couldn't find any documentation. I asked her what Will would have thought of we poets going to the tavern for some drink, food, poetry and conversation after we were finished at the creek side today. She said "He would have been right with you. He liked people to enjoy life and did himself"

As everyone left for the parking area and on to Smitty's Tavern in Voorheesville, people separated and took different trails. I made a quick dash to creek side with Michael, Tim Lake, and Obeedude coming along. We then hurried back to the parking area only to be put in wait mode as the others meandered along. When Susan got there she realized she had dropped her green velvet blouse and went back to look for it. With other people waiting , I set off to cover the drive to Smitty's Tavern in as little time as possible. A nice crowd of poets were waiting and Tom Corrado had provided and set up his a mic. We got going "only" about 20 minutes late. What the impractical M.C.(me) thought might be three times around the circle of poets turned out to be only once around. The poets from "far" or "the west" were well received and excellent of course. Local poets were not too shabby either. Here's the line-up: Dennis Sullivan, Therese Broderick, Michael Czarnecki, Tom Corrado, Alan Casline, John Roche, Mimi Moriarty, Susan Deer Cloud, Tim Lake, Paulette Swartzfager, Mike Burke, Walt Franklin, Obeedude, Alan Siegle, Philomena Moriarty, Barbara Vink, Tim Verhaegan, Ron Pavoldi, and John Abbuhl. I wish I made good on my threat to continue the reading in the tavern's parking lot but as chairs went up on the tables and I gathered my papers, posters, and drum, I got to the front of the tavern and saw the poets had just moved to there and the conversations were whirling. I distinctly heard Mike Burke tell Michael Czarnecki he was going to pursue a shared interest in Chinese poetry. The poets from the Finger Lakes wanted to know more about the "Normanskill" poet Ron Pavoldi and damm if Ron had not earned the honorific by poetically documenting playing in the creek beds. It is not how many poems you have published but how often you've gotten your feet wet. John Abbuhl, I expect, learned more about poets today ( if not poetry itself) then all the other days of his life. I guess it is payback for the poets who toured his Pine Hollow Arboretum earlier in the afternoon and learned more about evergreens then they had any day of their lives. John now goes by the name "John of the Arboretum" within certain poetry circles of watershed intelligensia. Arriving back at my house, noted patroness of the arts and my wife Jennifer Pearce took (well to be fair it was two looks not one) and then went up to bed. She said she went from irritated to jealous because we were making so much noice and laughing so much. Very good and interesting conversations kept us going till early in the morning. After breakfast everyone went on their ways. What a warm and enjoyable time. We'll have to do it again next year.


POSTSCRIPT:

On Tuesday I went out to the Christman Preserve to start tracing the small waterway that flowed past the Memorial Stone and had the small bridge built across it at the begining of the woods part of the trail. I didn't go far before I saw a fair-sized beaver pond. I turned around there, giving up my search for the source spring. Next time I'll have to be prepared to circle this little pond. I walked around looking, elusive sighting of deer near our spot and a large winged waterbird from the stream. I saw white and silver feathers on ascending wings through the trees. I'd say it sounded like a heron, but really my ears aren't that trained.