Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Robert Creeley (1926-2005) 

Hello, I just learned the devastating news that Bob Creeley has died, of pneumonia, in Marfa Texas. I don't know any details yet other than that. His voice can be heartbreaking and is unforgettable.

Here is the Creeley PennSound link:

A review of Robert Creeley's If I were writing this in The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 11, 2004.

In the email I had from him recently, discussing plans to meet up, he wrote: "As luck has it, we'll be in Marfa, Texas of all places..." We decided to meet up in Providence later in the summer.

Writes House will host an informal memorial for Creeley on Monday April 4, from 5-6 PM in the Arts Cafe. Bring a poem, or Creeley story.


Tuesday, March 29, 2005

An Interview with William Corbett 

The spring 2005 online issue of Rain Taxi is now up. I have an interview in the issue with William Corbett.

Here is a paragraph from the introduction:

The connections Corbett draws, cultivates, and has with individual poems and poets, as well as individual paintings and painters past and present, are direct and personal and fully active in his person and work. He not only edited Schuyler's letters, but there is a feeling that he takes each one personally, as if each lost Schuyler letter is also somehow a missing piece of himself. Corbett's identification with the painter Franz Kline comes to him through his own his memories of the "thick black forms" of the Pennsylvania landscape and the coal towns where they both grew up. A marvelous raconteur, Corbett can recount all-nighters with the painter Philip Guston, wistfully remarking that "Guston would arrive for dinner at seven and leave at seven," which speaks volumes of the volumes Corbett has to tell.


--Tom Devaney

Monday, March 28, 2005

Erica Kaufman's Belladonna intro for HASSEN! 

Hi all, I loved Erica Kaufman's introduction to Hassen's Belladonna reading the other night at the Zinc Bar in NY that I asked her to please send it. After Hassen finished reading we were all pretty BLOWN AWAY! And I looked over at Kristen Gallagher sitting next to me, she quietly nodded her head and said, "Oh yeah, that introduction was right on!"

Damn straight it was! Anyway, below is the introduction, and BIG thanks to Erica for letting it be posted to the PhillySound page.

hassen writes poetry & fiction in the philadelphia area. poems can be found in frequency audio journal, nedge, skanky possum as well as with the phillysound poets for furniture press and online at mini-mag.com. chapbooks include sky journal: from land and sky journal: from sea as well as salem, forthcoming from belladonna.*

hassen’s poetics is a visual one, both on the page, in the mind, and out loud. while reading her chapbook, sky journal: from land, i am reminded of the great surrealist filmmaker, maya deren, and her short film "at land." deren is often remembered because of her "silent connection with the eyes" and the "juxtaposition of disparate spaces." in this film, the viewer follows deren through a myriad of spaces and rituals. "natural rhythms are reversed" as she travels through "anachronistic spaces."

in "before the world," hassen verbally creates the same sensation with lines like "it could break the blue" and "clocks were starfish." what one takes to be a normal environment or an unconscious human routine, suddenly becomes different. in sky journal: from land, hassen writes, "to measure/ electricity of transformation," and this feels like a voicing of this phenomena apparent in her work. things are changing, both words and images, and it is vibrant, trustworthy, rather than jarring.

in "tonight," she writes, "is this/ meditation or do you study your own images in me." and, again, the reader or listener is brought into a visual language, a language that is both "radically artistic," fluid, "and perhaps even transcendental." i heard hassen read her work out loud months before i never saw it on the page. a lot of the time when i enjoy work read aloud, i often do not like it on the page. but hassen’s balance between the tangible and the abstract, the verbal and the visual, makes for a poetics that maintains its omnipotence both out loud and on the page. this reminds me of her poem, "hysterical," where she writes, "my organs let you read them."

and, thank you for the privilege.

please welcome hassen.

MORE Bansky LOVE coming in! 

Carol Mirakove wrote with her own enthusiasm for the outlaw artist Bansky. She sent a much better hyperlink than the one I posted, and here it is: BANSKY!

Carol also points out that his two books Banging Your Head Against a
Brick Wall
and Existencilism can be purchased from AK Press.


Sunday, March 27, 2005

Why one tiny press carries on: pressed wafer 

Tonight I finshed up writing a short intro for an interview I conducted with Bill Corbett in Feburary when he was in town. It will be published in the next online edition of Rain Taxi. Looking up some information about Pressed Wafer, the magazine and press Corbett publishes with Joseph Torra, Dan Bouchard, Jim Behrle, and Nelly Reifler, I came across an article about the press, which Corbett wrote entitled: "For the love of poetry: Why one tiny press carries on," published a year ago in The Portland Phoenix.

Corbett asks "The question at Pressed Wafer and throughout the poetry publishing world is: why bother?"

Some of his answers include the following: "For the love of the art." And "For the love of poets," is another. As someone who is under no illusions about poetry, the poetry world, and/or the world in general, Corbett articlules, as well as I've read anywhere, how and why poets and poetry presses like Pressed Wafter do carry on; it's worth reading.

Here's the link:

--Tom Devaney

Matt and CA thanks for the tip on Bansky!

BANSKY is my hero! 

Matt McGoldrick told me about the amazing artist Bansky last night at La Tazza. By the way, the reading last night at La Tazza, if you missed it, what a shame! What a GREAT night of poetry with Buck Downs and Tina Darragh!

But not only does Bansky put his own paintings in museums when no one is looking, he's also an animal activist as it turns out.

Look at this link: BANSKY

There are 6 photographs from museum security cameras hanging his art.

Not until now do I realize that it's possible to fall in love with someone having never even met them!

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Bobby Short article in today's Inquirer 

Jeff Weinstein has a lovely article in The Philadelphia Inquirer today about the impeccable cabaret singer and piano player Bobby Short who died two days ago in New York City.



Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Associated Press gets the story twice!!!!! WHAT? 

Nicole McEwan sent this link. You have to read it to believe it! Be sure to read all of it, so you can actually read that weird example at the bottom of the 2 leads.

Click here to read.


Sunday, March 20, 2005

How fast can you tie a water balloon? 

I see you, you don’t see me;
a bag of balloons between us.
The all-out get-out battle.

--Tom Devaney

Friday, March 18, 2005

2005 Mooncalf Book: WAYS TO USE LANCE, by Brett Evans 

For details on this publication, click here: 108


Monday, March 14, 2005

conversation with Eileen Myles 

It's rare when a poet's novel doesn't make me angry. Maybe I'm still rather juvenile about NOT mixing my peas with my mashed potatoes, but it does seem involuntary. A few poets do it where poetry, and the innovation not only don't fade, but actually crank up a notch; poets like Hassen, and Magdalena Zurawski. But I have to admit that your Cool for You was the very first time I could swallow the novel from a poet, and see it as an extension, rather than a betrayal of form.

When I was working at Giovanni's Room Bookstore I was working all that out, sometimes by arguing with the young dykes. Over and over I would find two or more pouring over Cool for You, deep in discussion about it. It was hard enough to not irritate them for being the big fag in the lesbian fiction room while they were enthusiastically involved with your novel, but getting them to check out your poems was sometimes impossible, as some of them had the reverse symptoms of my genre-mixing ailment. Once in a while one of them would already know your poems, and would agree with me, and would do all that convincing legwork for me. Other times I would have to admit how much I hate novels but like Cool for You to get them to listen. Your book of poems I'd start off with was Not Me. For some reason Not Me always hooked them, and soon enough they were looking at School of Fish.

Your novel made your poems the best selling poems in the store's history. What a strange way to enter the carnival ride, but then again maybe not. I remember telling you about my problems and fears of poets writing novels, and you said, "I just didn't have the patience to write a novel when I was younger. Now I do." Do you still see it this way, even as you work on your new novel? What does all this mean to you being a poet writing novels?

Eileen Myles
Well, every book is different. This one's taken me twice as long to write the first draft. And now I'm afraid to finish it. I mean edit it and give it a shape. Yeah this one takes something other than patience. I guess I'll know what it took when I finish it. But I know what you mean about the poet novels. But I think lots of people are writing them. All the "new narrative" people. Kevin and Dodie, Dennis Cooper, Bob Gluck. Kathy Acker was. See I think a lot of poets aren't reading novels by people who are doing them, so they aren't seeing how it can be done. I think the poetry world is pretty straight and I always think about how a lot of people took a left at some point, the queer ones and started writing prose. Like just didn't perceive it as a problem. Maybe the only problem then being whether you kept writing poems, once you made that shift. I think poets start (or some people started) writing about poetry. I mean language poetry had a whole industry next to itself about itself. It was smart and it was what they wanted to make, but I'd rather make a novel or a performance rather than an essay about poetry. Or I like getting paid to do it, so I did journalism which surprisingly a lot of people in the poetry world think of as commercial. So then we're talking about class. I mean I already do enough free things without writing about poetry for poetry magazines. But writing poems themselves feels like survival. I'd be really afraid of a world in which I didn't write poems. It'd be like adolescence only being old. Yeah I think I'll stay here which is in between which is writing poetry.

I'm always in debt to Jim Cory, who gave me my first copy of Not Me. We had just formed a small publishing collective called Insight To Riot Press, and had published the first title of poems, A Fucking Brief History of Fucking, by the inimitable Janet (fucking!) Mason! Janet, Jim and I were big fans of your work, and I told them that I wanted you to come read with us in Philly to help promote Janet's book. They laughed at me, and I remember thinking, "Laughing at a Capricorn only encourages him!"

Several days later I took the bus to New York, determined to meet you, and persuade you to come read in Philly. To be honest I didn't know what the hell I was doing, but at the time all I could think about was what a great poet you are, and what a great book Janet had written, and how much everyone would love both if it could all come together in the same room. I was young, and far more immature than my age, which saved me more than once, all that stupidity in the gas tank.

I remember walking into St. Mark's Poetry Project, not knowing anyone there, and asking for your phone number. They all looked at me like I was crazy and said No Way, and I was back on the street with no plan. It was when I was sitting in Tompkins Square Park eating a bagel when it had occurred to me to just call information for your number. I remember walking the streets, looking for a pay phone, imagining you had an unlisted number or something. But you didn't, and you answered the phone on the second ring.

The conversation was very brief. You seemed to like Janet's book title, but at the same time were suspicious of me, and told me you needed several hundred dollars and a train ticket to make it worth your while. Part of me was happy when leaving New York that day, while another part of me was feeling like Dorothy getting to the Emerald City, only to find out she needed to go back out and bring back the witch's broomstick. Several hundred dollars always seemed like a million to me, and it still does to be honest.

Soon enough though I discovered all was well. I had a meeting with the owner of the North Star Bar (Charlie, very generous man), who provided the space and fronted the cash. With the help of Jim and Janet we sold tickets and packed the place. And I still remember the surprise in your voice when I called the week after I had gone to New York to find you. All was set to go, and you were going to read from your new book Chelsea Girls.

Hanging out with you after the event, I remember asking you what was something you really wanted to do with your writing. You had said you wanted to collaborate on something big, but didn't know what. Ten years later and you have collaborated on the opera "Hell" with composer Michael Webster. What was it like writing the libretto? What was the process, especially in the collaborative sense of the process?

Eileen Myles
We walked and talked for about a year and a half. (Hits head. As in duh.) I forgot, that is why this novel is taking so long. I did that in the middle of it. But we discussed goals – who the opera was for, what we wanted to do in a social, abstract, communal way. We had a lot of ideas and I don't know how they would have been addressed when the world trade center happened. That really triggered "Hell" into existence. I went to P-town in the January after it and I wrote for a couple of weeks. Kevin Killian was doing a poet's theater in SF and had asked me for something, anything. So I used that to write the first ten minutes. I had a picture in my head of a guy coming out of the smokey hole that the world trade center left and naturally he'd be on a cellphone. Every few years we all get bumped up, technologically. I remember when no one had cellphones and then everyone did. You were forced by the new relay of messages. You were some asshole if you refused to get an answering machine. How could people prove they called! So then cellphones had become that and in New York everyone was walking down the street talking on the phone and my happiest thought kept being that they were on the same call. So cellphones were always in the mix of "Hell." I started collecting things after the first ten minutes. I mean, I didn't write again for almost a year, but I'd think yeah, frogs Do something about frogs when I heard frogs were all dying. So I researched frogs. Michael kept feeding me music since he had some musical ideas so I had to hear the kind of opera he was interested in. That stuff went right in. He proposed in the first place that I write the libretto and he compose to the beats of the speech of it. So that was always the plan. Once we were through talking, I got writing and he just waited. I got really stuck in the writing again, when I began the next year, but then I saw the movie Adaptation and I loved that way they kept replacing the reality of the film with the script's reality and vice versa. I mean I thought if the mainstream can be that avant garde why can't I. I kept getting little pushes from the oddest places. Then Michael started composing, which was another year. I was down here (San Diego) and Michael lives in LA so I'd drive up and hear some songs. Mostly I'd say that something sounded too high if it did. You know gender and singing are really interesting questions. He'd ask me to change a few words or add some if the music wasn't feeling right. Not much re-writing there.

Then we began working with directors which was another whole saga. In the flow of a collaboration with a lot of people, I love it. It's like having the most wonderful temporary family. I love singers. But afterwards you have the worst hangover. It's like shame. I think though I'm used to performing, I'm really pretty solitary about work and being in that kind of group is incredibly fucking taxing. We’re gearing up for another run and my teeth are shaking, but once it's started I know I'll be drunk with joy. Opera is an amazing form and I feel very evangelical about its properties.

You have taught plenty of workshops in New York, but what's it like teaching at a university out there in San Diego? Do you enjoy it? What's a day like for you?

Eileen Myles
It's strange. It's like not having a face, but having a body and it's buttressed by an institution. I feel stronger, but more anonymous. I feel adult, but not alone. The students make it real. They don't know where I used to be and that is actually a good thing. I have to be present with them. Meanwhile I've got to say I was feeling like a really shitty teacher this quarter, but maybe it recouped itself last night in a really great show that students did incredible work for. I taught "libretti" to graduate students this quarter. I mean I can teach whatever I want and that's incredible. I mean I'm just learning to "use" the university. You have so much at your disposal here and it's like driving a humvee. I have to overcome my fear of access. I do enjoy it. When I take part in where I am, rather than feeling alienated which is always easy. It's comparing it to something else, someone else. Something brought me here. It's complicated but I want to figure it out from here. Today for instance let's see a guy came out to talk about my house because all the rain caused flooding so he has to pump out the basement. I went running in the park after that. Then I read emails and the newspaper and made phonecalls mostly about hell and also some piece I'm going to write about an artist when I'm in New York next week. Then I went up to school and had coffee with the guy who wrote Sideways who went to UCSD. He was a real industry guy and kind of twittering with that energy of one who's having everything thrown at him at once and has a lot of gravity about himself and his story. He was like someone who's just had a novel come out, but it's a movie so his head is in the sky. He didn't even think we were writers and artists, those of us sitting there. But it didn't matter, since we were anyhow. It was interesting. Tonight I went to see a great movie, Days of Being Wild. Wong Kar Wai. I'd seen it before. I love this movie. Shot to shot and when the music starts and stops. It tears me apart, this film. A movie full of posturing and youthful excess. You probably wanted to hear me talk about teaching. I go up to school two or three days a week. Otherwise I'm home working in some fashion. Today I was writing the beginning of a poem in my notebook while I was driving up to school. It's sitting in the car.

What is something going on in poetry today that is new? Something you didn't see ten, twenty years ago?

Eileen Myles
It seems more continuous. In the same way that young people don't seem straight or gay, poets now don't seem especially connected to this culture or that ie being hippies, or media type people, having jobs or not. It all seems possible. And schools seem like an old idea. When Bruce and Charles started doing language magazine I remember it seemed so serious. Like they were grim young Marxists or something. But they were the last people who really pulled off starting a school. They really did it since the New York Times can't stop bashing language poetry every time they get a chance. It's so assimilated now, but its still enough of a faction to be identifiable. Otherwise all the schools have blurred, though I think there is a distinction between P & A (prizes and awards) ie Official poetry, and us who are the unofficial. And the unofficial is all named language now to the official. It's pretty weird. I learned that in Russia – that there’s government approved art, and then samizdat. That's exactly how it wound up here, after the fall of the Berlin wall and all the rest. We're just post everything, and that's new and maybe it'll hold.

You were good friends with poet Tim Dlugos. I remember reading that extraordinary poem you wrote for his memorial, saying how you always appreciated how you were both careful to sidestep any talk on abortion in order to preserve the friendship. His poems are so fantastic, and there is that book Powerless that's still available, but much of his work is out of print, which makes me sad. But what can you tell us about knowing Dlugos as a poet and as a friend, and how his work and friendship are still with you today?

Eileen Myles
His beautiful laugh, his love for taking the high road, not having the fight, but circumventing it. Doing things for people – he was an incredible generous man, over-extended always but full of good ideas. For you, about you. Who you should meet. He was really remarkable. Very visionary in his conservative way. There are people I love just because we both knew Tim. I know when we see each other that's what we're smiling at. Tim connected people, so many of those people are still in my life because he introduced us. He was unashamed of his love for god. I have that, not the same god, but a sense of how sexy the love of god can be. I think it animated his poems and I accept that gift. Tim made god hot.

There must be other poets whose work you admire whose work is either out of print or difficult to find. Can you share some names or titles, and what this work means to you?

Eileen Myles
Susie Timmons. Always Susie. Locked from Inside. Yellow Press of Chicago did it. She is my generation of poets who came up in the east village in the 70s and 80s. Very fast, very conceptual, funny and magical. Nobody like her. I loved her work then and now. Joe Ceravolo. Wonderful, also kind of religious-tinged work. Loose but sinewy. Spring in this world of poor mutts is a title. A guy completely unheard of is Richard Bandanza. He was in workshops with me in the 70s. He published one book under a pseudonym, Richard Nassau. It was called I Like You. He married a doctor and he lives in Connecticut. I bet he’s still writing.

You've always been very vocal about being a lesbian, and about understanding how this is part of who you are as a writer. What in particular do you have to say to the world today as a lesbian writer, given the grim political climate of openly anti-queer sentiment and legislation?

Eileen Myles
Oh, nothing. It's great to be hated. I hope I don't get shot.

You co-edited The New Fuck You with Liz Kotz some years ago. What was that collaborative editing relationship like? And do you have any plans for an anthology in the future, something you'd like to see put out there?

Eileen Myles
It was a dream. We knew the book needed to exist because it was some kind of lesbian moment and each lesbian anthology was wrong in a new way. We weren't competing. Liz is a critic, I was a poet, and we generally agreed on who we wanted. It was so easy. She was great to work with. And Semiotexte let us do exactly the book we wanted. Yeah I'd love to do a poetry anthology. Totally Great Poetry would be its title. That's Ted Berrigan. He always said "totally great."

What's the one thing you most consistently find yourself telling young writers in workshops and in the classroom?

Eileen Myles
Find ways to write that are easy, not hard. Call what you're thinking poetry and find a form for it that holds the way you think. Make writing habits that look like your life. Take trains and planes.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Phone Calls to Philip Lamantia 

- a note from Joseph Massey



Your email is the first word I've read about Lamantia's death. Yeah, when I first moved out here, almost four years ago, I found his name in a Bay Area telephone directory. I felt compelled to call him. I was very familiar with his work and more than a little star struck. The Beats were my introduction to poetry, starting with "On the Road" (the typical introduction). Through reading tons of Beat material,
Lamantia became a kind of mythical figure to me.

When he answered the phone I got nervous and asked for Cid Corman, knowing he would know who Cid is, and then I would say, "ah, damn, I called the wrong number -- who is this? you know Cid?" and he would say "of course! This is Philip Lamantia..." -- "Lamantia, Jesus, I love your stuff, wow!" And that's exactly what happened.

He asked me my name and he got excited when I answered. Apparently there was an African American poet named Joe Massey who wrote poems while in prison, in the 40's, and had some connection with Lamantia and other Surrealists.

Lamantia asked if I wanted to have coffee with him (he was jazzed over the "serendipity" of my call). I said yes, of course. I told him I'd call him in a few weeks before I planned on coming down to San Francisco. When I called him a few weeks later, he sounded very depressed -- he said he was, and on medication. He wouldn't be able to meet me. Even through that depressed state he was very kind, apologetic; he asked me a lot of questions of the “how are you doing“ variety -- a sweet guy.

During that conversation, I remember he talked about Native American history in Humboldt County, where I live. We talked a little about Patrick's Point state
park, one of my favorite local parks; he said he used to bird watch there, with his wife. He lamented the clear-cutting that goes on around here due to the evil lumber harvesting practices of Pacific Lumber Co. He recommended that I visit some local museums devoted to Native American history. He went into vast detail about what I'd find there -- a lot of information about basket weaving. The stories about Lamantia
having an encyclopedic mind are true.

I called him a third and final time, a few months after the phone call I just recounted -- this was about two years ago, in the spring, I think -- and he said he was still not feeling well. He sounded worse than the second time I had called him; I got off the phone. Didn't want to bother him.

So, I never got a chance to meet Lamantia, but the little time I got to spend in his company, over the phone, was a blessing.



Thursday, March 10, 2005

Supporting Local Women-Owned Businesses for Women's Month & How Thinking Locally IS Thinking Globally 

Right now in downtown Philadelphia there is only one woman-owned health food store left. It's called Natural Goodness, located on the corner of 20th & Chestnut. The owner's name is Beverly, and like all the independently owned natural foods stores, she has been struggling against the tide of so-called natural foods Super stores, such as Fresh Fields (Whole Foods), and Trader Joe's.


There are many reasons, but for one reason, these are people who stimulate our local economy by putting their money back into other local businesses instead of a giant corporate office many miles away. One way they do this is by supporting local cottage industry, something which is about to collapse in America as local independently owned natural food stores collapse.


I'm sure there are many reasons we could think of to answer this. One very important reason though is ingredients. In my travels across this country I have always tried to find local, independently owned health food stores to shop in. Almost always, you will find local producers of tofu, seitan, cookies and all kinds of other health food products. When you compare the ingredients labels of these products with those of the big national brands you can see the difference right away. For instance, tofu. A big named brand of tofu--probably the biggest--is Nasoya. Nasoya doesn't have Nigari as one of its ingredients, probably because they can't be bothered with all the processing involved with Nigari. But without Nigari, our bodies DO NOT digest the tofu as it should be, and therefore we don't get all the nutrients we need from the bean curd. Your local tofu makers KNOW how important Nigari is for us, and I have yet to find a local tofu maker (whether in Philadelphia, Albuquerque, San Francisco, Chicago, Asheville, Memphis, Norfolk, etc.,) who does not make sure Nigari is in the tofu.


There are many, many examples of why, and how, but in the case of natural food stores, let's stay with the example of Nigari in the tofu for a minute more. In eating well, in eating the very best we can, our bodies and our lives will and do change for the best. Eating foods which not only have the proper ingredients, but also eating foods which are made by hand, locally, has a wide-ranging spiritual ingredient, one that machines cannot reproduce. Anyone who has ever had any experience with Reiki, Bio Feedback, or any other form of NaturoPath healing, KNOWS how the human body responds to other human bodies. When food is made by hand, especially by someone who cares deeply about the ingredients, the preparation, etc, that person transmits that care into the food well beyond the physical product. Doing the best we can for our bodies and our lives reflects and affects many other bodies and lives around us, and THIS is how the global is designed from the local. In an age where world leaders want the reverse to shape us (global to shape the local), it's ESSENTIAL we see what it is we will be giving up if we allow these local businesses to fail.

We will ultimately fail ourselves by letting these businesses fail.


The numbers stand today as less than 1% of owned businesses in the world are owned by women. In America many of us don't yet seem to realize what an amazingly rare thing it is to have women-owned businesses. Beverly, at the corner of 20th & Chestnut in Philadelphia, is a rare an amazing person. She's a true maverick! You should stop in there and talk to her, you'll soon see what I mean. Despite all odds she is still there, and she's not going until they drag her out of there. Her dedication to the health of Philadelphia's macrobiotic and vegetarian community is no small effort, especially these days. The reason I'm writing this at all is because of Beverly. With the new Trader Joe's just blocks away, she has to actually start selling free-range meats. This is something she has NEVER wanted to do, but is left without choice at this point. Not only that, she's now installed a State Lottery machine, in other words she's doing everything she can to stay alive. All she needs is for all of us to take notice, and walk in there, and support her.

Without Beverly and the few remaining independently owned health food stores in Philadelphia, our local cottage industry of health foods cannot survive. And this is mainly because Fresh Fields and Trader Joe's have their own brand names, as well as big national brand names, and REFUSE to carry locally made foods. This is a fact, because I have ASKED them if they will carry the locally made products, and they simply say No.

Help me say No back to them! In fact, I don't just want to say No, I want to say Fuck YOU! We really are sitting at a fork in the road. Let's work together and do our best to help the local build the global.

"If we give our money to KFC, we're paying for a life of misery for some of God's most helpless creatures." --The Reverend Al Sharpton Calls for KFC Boycott for 2005

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Car, Window, & World War II 

Car: an ojbect like a small country.

What do you intend to do, it's your wedding night?

World War II, the Palindrome War, WWII.

Mom, Dad, car, window, the never ending WWII.

--Tom Devaney

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Crystal Protest 

It's okay when it snows, especially when you have finally understood how the trillions of crystals are traveling all that way to surround you. Fully awake in the crystal arrival.

Today was the big protest in front of the Federal Building at 6th and Market in Philadelphia, sponsored by The Global Women's Strike for International Women's Day. Because the wind and cold and trillions of crystals were so overwhelming, the protest group left a little before one o'clock, and I had arrived, with giant WAR BEGINS WITH W sign and fist full of poems a little after one.

It was odd what happened next. There was a large number of cop cars and federal agents standing around the corners and doorways, etc., which I assumed were in position for the protesters.

I asked one of the agents standing in the snow near the corner of 7th and Market if there had been any protesters. He barked, "I don't know what you're talking about!" and he growled something else but I couldn't hear him. So I walked over to the hot dog vendor's cart, and asked him. He said he didn't know anything, but had a lovely smile which reminded me of my old boyfriend Marwan, and I felt compelled to give him one of my poetry broadsides. As I walked north on 7th I looked over my shoulder to see the federal agent talking with the hot dog vendor, who in turn handed the agent my broadside. That was so funny! I mean, I was laughing out loud while walking.

Even funnier though was how a different agent popped out of the sides of the building and walled parking area every so often, talking on walkie talkies. At one point I was able to hear one of these agents, and she said, "He's going up 7th! I SAID he's GOING up 7th!" They watched me circle the block with my explosive poems, then stroll to the bus for home. Hope I was enough entertainment for them for one afternoon. What a bunch of grumpy people wasting their fucking time!

On another note, people are always sending quotes around, but John Landry always sends me some of the best! This one below by Hunter S. Thompson is great, and has to be shared! Thanks John!

"He knew who I was, at that time, because I had a reputation as a writer. I knew he was part of the Bush dynasty. But he was nothing, he offered nothing, and he promised nothing. He had no humor. He was insignificant in every way and consequently I didn't pay much attention to him. But when he passed out in my bathtub, then I noticed him. I'd been in another room, talking to the bright people. I had to have him taken away." -- Hunter S. Thompson, on meeting George W. Bush at Thompson's Super Bowl party in Houston in 1974

Monday, March 07, 2005

Severely Allergic 

No degree for the degrees of sneezing, you sneeze when I sneeze.

The honest houses all around weather our assaults.

--Tom Devaney

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Rothko's Gateways 

Thanks to everyone who wrote to me about my post on Rothko, including Marvin Fisher who said Rothko's suicide wasn't soon enough. Whatever!

Anyway, "Rothko as gateway" should begin! In Philadelphia we have just the one to get together to see, but traveling to nearby cities and meeting up with poets and other human-types interested in "Rothko as gateway" is also a possibility. Someone mentioned that we should smoke some grass first. Well, okay, maybe, I don't know. Mmm, or maybe I'll have some later on. You can take your hit whenever you want, and who knows, maybe you'll be the one to see the other side of the gate!

I dreamt recently that I was looking at the Rothko in Philadelphia, eating peaches from a can, while someone had a little radio playing Bowie's "Rebel Rebel." Dreaming be the high.

Joseph Massey e-mailed, to let us know about John Taggart's Rothko poems in his book "Loop," and Kevin Thurston's e-mail ended with the line "i'm like frank o'hara without the friends," one of my new favorite lines.

Thanks, and more later,

John Irons 

No, not Bly's Iron John, this is a Danish poet/translator I've been corresponding with, and thought you would all enjoy looking at his webpage TRANSFERTEXT.

More later,

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