Myrtle

Here we spin on this little ball of green and the sight is clean and the fight is mean and we top the hill just to find another hill always been the case always been the case it’s a sad and beautiful world     I could charm but I won’t do any harm I could bend but only for a friend I could please if it happens in a breeze and the rock rolls on but the oak is strong it’s a sad and beautiful world     whatcha gonna do whatcha gonna do when the clock flies in your face and mud on the windowpane take you from the race and blood in the hungry vein pumps the baking brain boils in the rain it’s a world it’s a world it’s a mad mad world and the strife is ripe and the pipe is full and the human heart if we only will can be big as sky with a shining eye it’s a sad and beautiful world

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ANNOUNCE  ::  I’m exceptionally excited to announce that I’ve got some new performance videos up on the Performance page of this site (where else)?  But they’re not just any new videos – they’re really old new videos!  I’ve started rescuing bits of older performance from VHS, and will post some as I find them worthwhile.  So this month I’ve added four old vids from 1990-91, one poem each, not from readings but just recited in situ (i.e., wherever the hell we happened to be).  To check ‘em out, go the the Performance page, then click on Ancient, and voila!, you’re back in time 25 years.  See if you can recognize me – I’m young and kind of cute and everything.   :P

ANNOUNCE  :: One of my ecstatic odes, “The Food in My Beard”, has found its first publication in the new anthology by great weather for MEDIA press, I Let Go of the Stars in My Hand.  The anth proffers a fearless, dynamic collection of contemporary poetry and short fiction by sixty-six established and emerging writers from across the United States and well beyond, and an exclusive new interview with legendary poet and activist John Sinclair.  So I (and my beard) are in kind of good company.  Deets and more at the top of the Anthologies & Journals page.  Check it out, yo!

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The great eye swerves again upon the hungry poor, feeding them appliances and grief.  Songs fly through the littered air, rife with oil and the corpses of the ages, and the eye glows warm in its seat.  Huge cars rip the land, fashioned voices beat stone with anarchy, the windows of our skulls rattle through the day and night.  Snakes rattle in the corner.  Falcons perch.  And on we bob, filling our holes with cold plastic and melted lives, urgent, mesmerized, ardent as pie.  We tear our friends to ribbons for a shiny score.  The great eye throbs, and swerves to feed us more.  Consumption, competition, conflict:  all addictions pure as poppy, and like the silken dream they have their sleek and furtive pushers.  Treat accordingly.

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ANNOUNCE  ::  Have a little spate of readings in the next few months, both in and (mostly) out of the Bay Area.  Deets are on the Events page, but just to pique a titch:  September 3 at Books, Inc.. in Alameda, co-featuring with Nanette Bradley Deetz; September 5 at the Felix Kulpa Gallery in Santa Cruz with a mess of amazing poets for Sparring with Beatnik Ghosts, round 56; October 4 at the Brownstone Poets Series in Brooklyn, with co-feature Michael Broder (yay!); and October 11 in Woodstock, NY (yes that’s the Woodstock), for the Woodstock Poetry Society with co-feature Teresa M. Costa.  Then in November on tour with great weather for MEDIA up to Portland and Seattle.  Stay tuned for more!

HOST WANTED  ::  Poetry Unbound, the monthly series that I co-organize and host with Oakland poet Clive Matson, is looking for a third person to org and host the series with us.  That is, we’re looking for a third person.  Since we strive to bring together writers with similar somethings from different circles, we’d like said third person to be a poet who runs in somewhat different tribes than each of us.  And we’d like same third person to be a woman.  Period.  There are already too many stinky men running this series.  The task involves a few hours a month, planning upcoming readings, asking poets, getting their info and giving them ours, you know, the usual, plus a few hours at the event itself, on the first Sunday of each month.  Any one interested, or curious enough to discuss it, should give either one of us a shout.  You can find my contact info, if you don’t have it, on (super surprise!) the Contact page.  Cheers!

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We try to live, but god knows what we really do.  You know what I mean.  Fresh green days with clear air and all hope for making something of it.  Then some of us go off to actually plant a garden, others grunge tired to pay the bills, and some simply trample heads.  WTF?  Or maybe I’m writing only for idealists.  Or maybe, rather than excluding or including, railing or judging, we could take another tack and, just to be sure we’re on track, reconsider this whole “making something of it” thing.  What is this “making” exactly?  What do we do when we make?  And what is this “something” we’re making?  Is it something that can be made?  Is the product the point, or the production?  Are either essential, or should we do something else?  Can we?  And finally, what is this “it” that we’re making something of?  Where did it come from?  What are we making it into?  And how do we shape it in order to do so?  Do we pummel?  Coerce it?  Caress?

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REFLECT  ::  Had an awesome experience reading in July at the Composers & Poets Salon, hosted by members of the transubstantiationatory jazz/poetry band COPUS.  But I’m not saying this because I enjoy reading (though most folks know I do), but because this is an amazing monthly event, and I strongly recommend that folks in the SF area check it out.  It’s on the last Friday of each month, and as far as I know you have to find the Facebook invite for it, though you might be able to contact the band through their website; you also need to rsvp for the address, since it’s at a private residence out by the beach.  Space is limited to 35 peeps or so.  They usually feature three acoustic performances (poets and musicians) in the living room, followed by sets in the music room by Phoenix Rising (gorgeous meditative music by Wendy Loomis and Monica Williams, who play piano and flute for COPUS respectively), and of course COPUS themselves, who also feature Royal Kent on lyrics, Patrick Mahon on bass, and Greg McRay on drums.  At the recent show I was joined by marv poet Kayla Sussell and vibraphonist Dan Neville for a full and satisfying first set.  But this event isn’t just about the performers, and it’s not just the performers that make it outstanding – it’s the atmosphere created by the folks who put it on (a shout out here to the fabulous Ne, who emcees each show), and especially the awesome and generous folks who attend.  It’s about the meeting and conversation and sheer human joy just as much as it’s about the music, and there’s plenty of time for that, before, between, and after the performances.  So if you find yourself in need of sheer human joy, or could even just use a dollop, make a note and come check out this event.  You’ll be damn glad you did. 

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Leaves for a pillow and brush for a bed.  You sniff the dusty dirt for anything.  You meander.  You canter and cavort.  What are the untrodden ways?  Those that weren’t there a second ago.

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REFLECT  ::  Had a blast(ing cap) and a half in downtown Oakland last month at the 3rd Annual Beast Crawl, the East Bay’s answer/thumb-at-nose/dancing partner to SF’s renowned Litcrawl.  Managed to catch the action at four of the thirty or so venues that were hosting readings over the course of three hours.  Started at Awaken Café for some verbal resplendence by Milvia Street and Poetry Flash writers, charmed especially by John Panzer‘s biographical tale of being stranded and gay in a small Nevada town, and John Oliver Simon‘s ever-insightful sonnets.  Ducked out toward the end to try to catch a bit of the Be About It reading at E. M. Wolfman Bookstore, but the event had ended early and I only managed to witness a poetic catfight between Alexandra Naughton and Paul Corman-Roberts, the two dyspeptic hosts for the show.  True rage or faux fracus?  Only the Muses know, but they did advertise with a photo from the Andy Kaufman-Jerry Lawler wrestling match.  ‘Nuff said.  The second leg of the Crawl found me at the SomaR Bar (sic) for the Big Bridge / Cosmic Dream Time poets.  Here everyone was excellent, with Kirk Lumpkin and MK Chavez particularly shiny (or was it the cocktail?).  Finally caught a spectacular Naked Bulb reading at the Tribune Tavern, MC’d by the inimitable Missy Church.  Again all terrific, with standout performances by Iwalani Venerable (who proffered a couple of gorgeous songs on guitar), William Taylor, Jr. (who has the softest-spoken stun setting I know), and Andrew J. Thomas (who righteously wrapped the evening with sweetness).  Rounded out the night with burgers and beer and tons of elated converse at the Telegraph Beer Garden, and half-rhymed the night away.  Really an ass-kicking event, and I have no doubt that next year’s will be explosive.

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At the heart of this month blooms a myrtle.  I am saying that because I want it to be.  And in that way I have made the world, for an incomprehensibly small moment.  And that is how the world is made, not by people, not by gods, but by everything wanting.  Everything.  The leaf gropes sun.  Rock reaches for its inner bonds.  Fire eats.  And somewhere in the world there is a myrtle blossom, tender, vibrant, freshly bloomed and ripe, wanting you.

Happy August,
Richard

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