Friday, August 15, 2003
last night Barbara Cole, Jenn McCreary, Tom Devaney and his friend Yan came over for dinner. Chris McCreary was home with their new twin boys (the little men, as Jenn calls them), exhausted from battling a computer worm. the worm sounds awful, hope it's better Chris. if i were to invent software to pluck worms out of systems, i'd call my software package Hungry Robin.
i LOVE to invite people over for dinner when i'm in someone else's house. but it sort of feels like my 2nd home anyway, having been Eleanor Wilner's dog/house sitter for ten years now.
Barbara is about to leave for Buffalo, so i'm glad we had good dinner conversation, the bunch of us. The Philly Sound weekend came up, of course, and we were all equally excited about the turnout and the way it turned out. Tom told us how GREAT it is that Jennifer Snead was part of the Writers House for this event, because she loved the idea and enjoyed being part of it, and creating it. don't know Jennifer that well yet, but i like what i know so far, supersmart cannon fire for the poems!
Frank Sherlock couldn't make it because he was in the air with his girlfriend Heather, bound for Memphis. the 16th is the anniversary of Elvis' death, so they're going to Graceland to take part in the Holy event. August 16th is the Good Friday of the New God, and He doesn't need to rise again, He's always in us, and keeps us rising to our love making and deviant mischief. i asked Frank if he was PREPARED for his pilgrimage. he said he felt it's best to arrive unprepared. that's nice, i like that. Frank will make an EXCELLENT priest in the growing temples of the Presley Heart.
right now i'm reading some poems by Craig Watson, "Figure J" and "Figure M" published in this journal called No. Magdalena Zurawski gave me a copy, she's moving out to San Francisco soon, and said she doesn't need to collect more things at the moment. fine with me, because it's really amazing! the Keith Waldrop series in particular, what he calls SONGS FROM THE DECLINE OF THE WEST, those are beautiful, though uneven, then i realized that he had written them over a period of decades, so, they would be uneven. i have to admit though, so far my favorites are the Craig Watson poems.
Like that old song about one fish
in the mouth of another, we are not accountable for received distances. We
will know that our journey has ended when we see slag pits glowing in the
distance and jet wash scrubs the film noir from our eyes.
--Craig Watson, from "Figure M"
just started reading it, so, maybe i'll get back to you with more. one thing more though about NO, and that is, it's one of those magazines that landed in the hands of an insane designer. what in the hell! i admit, it's interesting looking, but difficult. it seems so early 90's in a way, when all kinds of magazines went the way of extreme and difficult design. there was a magazine called Dot Dot Dot that was simply impossible to figure out, the poet's name several pages away (seriously, i'm not making this shit up) with dashes you follow and follow and follow (and you better not lose the dashes or you're starting all over again) to a teeny tiny arrow with an even teenier font spelling the name of the poet. i really disliked that magazine's layout. more than one issue of it was thrown as violently as possible against a wall in the name of poets who deserve to AT LEAST have their names associated with their poems. but NO is in no way as bad as Dot Dot Dot, so, don't think i'm saying that i'm on the verge of throwing it against the wall. in fact, even though i've just begun reading it, the contents are so sublime, i can't even believe it's a brand new magazine. so VERY many magazines disappoint me these days, that when i'm reading something like NO, i'm in disbelief. more of NO contents: John Taggart, Barbara Guest, Rae Armantrout, C.D. Wright, Cole Swensen, Frank Stanford, Ann Lauterbach, and much more.
at the Philly Sound weekend, Kaia Sand and Jules Boykoff gave me the latest issue of their magazines TANGENT. it's issue number 13, what a great number that is! very interesting things inside: some P. Inman poems, an article called "War and the Environment" by Kristen A. Sheeran, and a pretty fantastic interview "Father Paul Surlis Speaks!" with Jules Boykoff and Michael Schmidt. the centerfold is a quote from Arundhati Roy:
"What the Free Market undermines is not national sovereignty, but democracy. As the disparity between the rich and poor grows, the hidden fist has its work cut out for it. Multinational corporations on the prowl for 'sweetheart deals' that yield enormous profits push through those deals and administer those projects in developing countries without the active connivance of State machinery--the police, the courts, sometimes even the army. Today Corporate Globalization needs an international confederation of loyal, corrupt, preferably authoritarian governments in poorer countries to push through unpopular reforms and quell the mutinies. It needs a press that pretends to be free. It needs courts that pretend to dispense justice. It needs nuclear bombs, standing armies, sterner immigration laws, and watchful coastal patrols to make sure that it's only money, goods, patents, and services that are being globalized--not the free movement of people, not a respect for human rights, not international treaties on racial discrimination or chemical and nuclear weapons, or greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, or god forbid, justice. It's as though even a gesture towards international accountability would wreck the whole enterprise."
wanted to pay closer attention to eyes today, thinking about Arundhati and other mavericks of true Soul. ran into a poet i knew ten years ago and we talked, because we knew each other, once. we're so accustomed to stopping, exchanging, only with those we've had experience with. we're always checking to see what has changed in others, to measure it against what has changed in us, or not changed. but some days when i'm out on the streets of Philadelphia i'm TRYING to imagine (or is it 'realize' instead of 'imagine'?) that i KNOW everyone, in some way. it might be exhausting to have to interact with everyone on the street. but maybe, just maybe it would instead be an injection of energy to connect with so many instead of a consumption of energy. Elivs would know whether this is true or not. tomorrow makes another year of Elvis on high.