Wednesday, October 30, 2013

#219 October Morris Park

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Social Life of Genes

There is so much amazing stuff in this ariticle, I have to post a link.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Friday, October 25, 2013

#217

Self-Portrait 30.5x26 Acrylic on Massonite

Monday, October 21, 2013

#215

24x18, Acrylic on canvas

Living in Imagination


But are these powers real? you ask. Real, as imagination is real, as the world opens to us, yes, and we live within our wonder. Within—not outside examining, measuring, weighing from the cyclic year of endless drought, but timeless, or timeleaping making memories, our lives out of dreams—outing our dreams and finding them in things, the things we make and do: in poems, in art, in the work of our bodies. Now and then it happens, and we don’t know what it is that has happened—a feather and a sash on a walking stick becomes or was both dream and waking action, know it by how it persists, endures, the dream that comes again changing forms, begging recognition, understanding… not in explanation or translation (so called, interpretation), but in following where it leads.

I lay a piece of rusted metal on a table beside a shard of glass, a few can tabs, crushed bottle caps, a piece of weathered wood. Move them until they fall into a dance and dance themselves into place. There is the dream and in it the answer to the question I’d forgotten to ask. It told me, I could say (if you let me speak dream speak) -- it told me that this branch, my walking stick, had power, power to lead, but it was only in the dream that I heard, the dream I thought I’d forgotten on waking. But I felt it. I said it in my own voice. This stick has power.

It was beautiful.

I found ribbons, string, pieces of wire—found them on the street. I picked them up and tied them to my stick. And feathers. And leaves. Can tabs. An earring a woman gave me past midnight at the Berks Street EL station, a bell from a poet.

I carried it, self-conscious at first, this strange thing in my hand, walking beside me, and knew inhibition to be a thing imported, not part of me, that inhibition was a not prohibition, but the feeling of resistance when you begin to push open a door that has been long sealed. Push… push through, and on the other side, you find yourself saying, that if I were to see a feathered earring in a window, I’d go in that store and have my ears pierced so I could wear it. And that happened! A small thing, you say—but it wasn’t. It was another door to another world. Or rather, the piercing of an invisible membrane , and the dreams came leaking out into the waking world.

Nevermind what anyone might think. And I hung poems on a dead tree. And recited them in the SEPTA concourse at 15th Street with my Spirit Stick and earrings, now made of can tabs, and a bowler hat, undoing myself and making myself anew—out of a single feather and a sash. This has power, I said. Can you tell me I am wrong?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Telling our stories for the next generation

... just read from one of our beloved Oxen, gone to the West Coast... that people had never heard of MOVE. Was there really a bomb? What evidence? It was ON TV!!! this got me thinking...
Think about it... Thousands, many thousands of people saw that on TV... and it becomes a forgotten event, but through oral memory, recounting, reminding. If not archived in some 'official' way... it ceases to exist. Like the Black Panther executions.

Think about this. What we have witnessed. In the Occupy encampments. In the attempt to stop feeding the homeless here in Philly, in so many confrontations. If we don't remember, record, tell the stories... no one will know. No one will believe such things happened. Maybe on Youtube... but for how long will that be accesable? Other than for old TV shows and pop songs? Can't let it all depend on the digital extention of our memories... we have to tell the stories, over and over and over, and give them form, so they can be remembered and repeated. Repetion matters. Neve ever say to an old person,.. oh, we've heard that from you before!... untill you can tell it too, tell it to someone else.... if it's something that matters.
Nothing lasts longer than oral memory.
Not TV
Not YouTube
Not Facebook
Not accademic mongraphs
Not print news
What we carry in our minds and imagination and memories--is everything, and most of what will matter, for future generations.... if and only if, we begin to take that task seriously. To tell our stories, and to shape them... to give them form that will hold them, like vessels of living fire, that will burn them in the souls of those who come after. Else... what have we done with our lives? Because the changes we long for, won't happen in our lifetimes.
This is a hard lesson, in a time when we are divided by generations. To understand, that not only what you believe and do, but how you tell it, how you give it a shape that will endure beyound you... this matters. Else it all come to nothing.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Tortoise tat


This was a significant time. I was in Sante Fe, surrounded by desert and mountains and dreamed of a desert tortoise--one of those dreams charged with feeling, like a message to myself. The desert tortoise lives in burrows, comes out at night. I thought, I've been living underground, and now this is the evening of my life. The sun is setting. It's time to come out of my burrow. Those were my thoughts, and I didn't even connect them to sex! Other than the standard Freudian stuff... in and out of the hole sort of thing.

I'm an artist and poet. I think in images and symbols--and dreams. Sometimes it takes years before I'm able to 'explain' them in prosaic language, but I find, even when I don't know it--I follow those dream images, and the symbols that emerge in my poetry and art (when I say that my Spirit Stick is inhabited by one of my Spirit Guides... it's more than metaphor). That tortoise was one of those symbols. Five months later, having come out--and planning to go to a fall gathering of Radical Faeries, I noticed in reading about one of the first Radical Faeries, Harry Hay... that I had gotten my tortoise tattoo on his birthday--not far from where he had once lived.

If ever I have the money for another tat--it will be a crow on my right arm. Can't tell you why, but the crow and the tortoise belong together in my mind. Maybe when I have that crow on my arm, I will cross my arms, and they will tell me their story.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Coming out ? From what? To what?


I'm so fortunate to be IN a queer safe space. What could be liberation, for so many--is pure terror, internalized. I've been on a web site for those coming out. Have read hundreds of stories.. so many, so many... the internalized victimization is so sad. I really DON'T like this promoted as a day when people SHOULD come out.. .rather, as a day to celebrate--that it's not a curse, it's a gift! A window to see the hetero-normative patriarchal exploitive world for what it is--an inside/outsider's view, that there's a consciousness 'we'... yeah, ... we.. queers, can create together, not just for our own protection, but for everyone. I was playing pool in the EL BAR tonight... 4 or 5 guys came in. No women. Hipster anti-drag. So obvious. I'm asking myself... why? Why such pains to hide... and this has nothing to do with 'coming out.' I'd guess they've all come out long ago. Like black people dressing white sheets. Jews in Nazi regalia. Why does anyone want to blend in and look like the oppreser? More than fear... it's a real desire to BE that very thing that, bottom line, wants you dead! Let's deal with THAT, and where that comes from, and how all this is connected with other forms of oppresion and exploitation. Like, come out--and join the fucking revolution!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Crossing the Street By Myself, Phil Clore. A Review


On Amazon I read this on a front porch in Old Louisville on a rainy afternoon coming down from the fall gathering at Short Mountain. Couldn't remember where I picked it up, or why I choose to pack it as only one of two books to take to the Mountain. It deepened my sense of connection to see that it had been published in Louisville, and that Phil Clore had grown up in Kentucky… but after a 8 days with the Faeries it hardly seemed a surprise. More like, inevitable.

I liked the first few poems... a dozen or so into the book. Appreciated their brevity, their concision, and the more of them I read—the more the depth of the insight and cathartic charge packed into these seemingly tossed-off-the-top of the head observations impressed me. The tension that developed between the manifest form and their latent affective power--brought me to tears more than onc--a terrible confession to make in a review, I know. Stick to the surface stuff stuff you more readily put into words, that you can dissect and translate into critical language—even if, even better if.. it’s alien to the poetry that brought those forms into being. I could see the columnist, Michael A. Lindenberger struggling with that in the excerpt (?) printed as an introduction. Let me say here, that I hope if this should ever see a reprint--that execrable piece of embarrased self-undermining praise, not be a part of it!

I would have to write a much longer review to do justice to this work... to quote and compare early entries (and I think of them as I would entries in a journal), and later ones, where all the ... well, no, I was going to say, all the artifice was stripped away, but it's more that the artifice has become so perfectly matched with the content that you... 'I' ... trembled in appreciation BOTH of the content... some of which touched so closely on my own life I cringed at my own reflective self-realization... and of the CRAFT. It is not easy to write in this almost aphorist, self-reflective mode. Think: Dickinson. You do this (mostly), not by working over individual pieces, but writing and writing and writing failure after almost-but-not-quite, writing and writing.... and moving on to the next. And the next. And the next.

How else to you get face to face pieces (pp 66 and 67, dated with latter printed first), like those of August 10, 1998, and August 4, 1998. The two together are ... devastating. Let me quote

August 10, 1998

at some point
a mature man
puts away his toys
accepts limitations
of his sexual prowess
and realizes he will
never write the greatest
piece of literature
or become president
of anything

thank God
that hasn't happened
to me

August 4, 1998
my therapist

said that at age 52
I had finally
divorced my Mother

think

I'll date awhile
before rushing into
another relationship


Much of the poignancy here is knowing (by this point) that Clore is Queer (I hope he doesn't object to the word... I HATE the word 'gay'... it reeks of euphemistic apologetic to the hetero-normative world!), so the complexity here is worthy of Dickinson--with her subversive use (and misuse) of her contemporary’s religious notions. So simple in the first instance (really the second, temporally)... but the realization that gave the freedom to that confession, is held captive by the next poem, so you have to go back and read it again thrugh what you've learned from the earlier dated poem. The impossible ideal... which is no ideal at all, but no more than a freely open embrace of the possible, given that "that" ... hasn't happened yet. Beyond and beneath desire, is a loss that can be never be made good. And yet... which made possible such freedom as ever was or could be possible.


I could go on... poem after poem, how he takes a reflection of something 'out there' and invaginates an inward explosion of pathos, which yet, refuses pathos.


March 27,1999


out with a group of
young men last night
even the ugly ones
were pretty
one in particular
showed me attention
I now know
why
eighty year old women
wear rough.

In the last poem of the poem, he writes,

my little poems
are all grown-up ....


yes they are, yes they are.

You've created a poet... Phil Clore, probably one you only partly inhabit, no matter how you might wish to have it so... who I would have fallen in love with in a minute. Ah… but the poems, if you you, or me, your reader… know the difference. And honor that difference. Where can such love hope to go… but back into poetry? Between desire. And where it comes from. Which these poems are ... no, not 'about,'... they are that. They are that.