Digging

Been doing a lot of time travel lately – it started innocently enough with an organizational jag early in the summer, then snowballed to unexpected ramifications.  Really just intended to make shelf room for a couple boxes of books, and ended up reorging just about cranny of my apartment.  Went through heaps of old papers and letters to find stuff to toss, and eventually made a tour of all my books, music, dvd’s, dozens of old VHS tapes, mostly of readings and performances, by myself and others, from the 80’s and 90’s; even ended up albuming every photo I could find, going back to high school and the 70’s.  This was a serious head trip, folks, bordering on hallucinatory – closest thing we have to time travel, really, and it’s pretty damn close – disarming, mesmerizing, titillating, alarming, frightening, exhilarating, obsessive, full of ghosts and beaches, stages and messes, broken glasses, broken promises, wonderfully fulfilled promises, sensuousness, loss, burned food, dead lovers, dead friendships, endless friendships, uncontrolled laughter, old shoes, unimaginable fabrics, faces touched, eyes delved, and hair.  Lots and lots of hair.  How did this happen?

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ANNOUNCE  ::  So happy to have nothing to announce this coming month. No upcoming events, no publications, nuthin but a couple weeks back East to help out the parents.  Beyond that, just quietude (I hope), and breath.

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Layers.  Bits of bark, whole and shredded.  Dead leaves ground to flakes or dust.  Dried pine needles.  Bits of crumbled cone.  Tiny chunks of animal, living and dead, left and leaving.  A scrap of old cardboard, moldering to loam.  An old seed, half-sprouted, dried.  A shard of glass.  And deeper, richer, thick.  True soil.  Bits of worms.  A snail shell.  A gold ring.  Roots and vesicles.  Dark damp.  Air.  A wisp of dream.  A long-done feather.  Pebbles.  A finger bone.  Damper dark.  A taproot.  Shale.

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REFLECT  ::  Continuing my hiking spree with fab poet Steve Arntson, clambered up Eagle Peak out by Mount Diablo early this month, along with friends Alex Lee and Jared DeFigh.  Steve’s philosophy of hiking is to find a steep hill, find the steepest path up that hill, and climb until you drop.  Doing this close to 2000´ climb in 90° heat was crazy, but we did it (or most of it) anyway.  Got to see funnel-web spiders, lots of very dry flora, hawks from above, the haze from the raging wildfires up north, and a three-foot rattlesnake.  I learned 1) that I have more stamina than I thought, 2) that I didn’t have quite enough stamina to make it all the way to the top in that kind of heat, 3) that carrying tons of water is worth it, 4) that the sun can kill you, and 5) that rattlesnakes do sometimes hang out in the middle of the trail.  Took a few days to recover, and I felt soooo much stronger the next time I hiked up puny-old Vollmer Peak back home.

REFLECT  ::  Surreal drive mid-August from Oakland up to Cloverdale (at the top of Sonoma county) to visit my beyond-terrif Aunt Bobbi.  The wildfires north of there had been burning for weeks, and two days prior the winds had shifted south (they had been heading east).  From the North SF Bay onward the air was deep brown and full of particulates.  Even driving west across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, the hills of Marin were in a deep brown haze, and Mount Tamalpais was hidden from view.  Heading north up US-101, Marin County looked apocalyptic, with the hills on either side of the highway sometimes barely visible.  It was 105°, I was driving with my friend Kayla who is 83, and the air conditioning in my van hasn’t worked for years.  We drove off and on with the windows up, choking in the baking car.  Intermittently the winds would draft the haze away, and the sky would open up; then around a bend or through a pass it would press back down.  Thankfully the air was fairly good by the time we got to Cloverdale.  I’ve never had so strong a sense of natural disaster, and of the changing world.

REFLECT  ::  There’s so much poetry happening here these days, here being the East Bay, being the flatlands east of the San Francisco Bay and west of the Berkeley-Oakland Hills, being the center of Northern California art and literature now that San Francisco itself has successfully driven most of its real artists and writers away to safe distance so that the tech zombies don’t have to look at us too often and see what they’ve become, being Here where there is a Here, being Magic Land, being Oak Land, being pure combustion.  Too much to tell, really, and I only witness a fraction, as do we all.  Hosted three events myself the month, all of them rockin':  first Babar in Exile #2, with Julia Vinograd, David Gollub, Kathleen Wood, and MK Chavez injecting the fire of the 90’s into the word-veins of the present, then the Bay Area Edition of The National Beat Poetry Festival 2015, with Jerry Kamstra, Jami Cassady Ratto, Clive Matson, Jessica Loos, Daniel Yaryan, Jennifer Barone, and Gerald Nicosia kickin’ it original Beat-style, and finally read myself with Neeli Cherkovski and Vancouver, WA poets Christopher Luna and Toni Partington, who were celebrating their wedding with a honeymoon tour.  All an honor to witness and partake in.  But that didn’t stop me from basking in a few other extra-marv events as well.  Highlights were def the 5th Anniversary Reading for Lyrics & Dirges, one of Berkeley’s top-notchest feature focused events (stop by some third Wednesday and check ‘er out!), this one with Allie Marini, Vernon Keeve III,  Maisha Z. Johnson, Joshua Kent Fowler, Peter Bullen, Brynn Saito, and classical Spanish guitar by Hao Tran, AND a seriously howlalicious Full Moon Reading to close out the month at the silvery edge of Lake Merritt, hosted by that very same Vernon Keeve III, featuring the lunar songs and rants of Claudette Moonsong Davis, Yume Kim, Jesse Prado, Jezebel Delilah X, Cassandra Dallett, and Denise Benavides.  We’re talkin’ banquets here, folks, pret’ near every night of the forever, feasts of mindheartsoulflesh and the drum of the next age.  So stop on by sometime, pret’ near any time, that’s the East Bay, remember, and make sure you’re good and hungry.

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To rid something of bad energy, take it to the earth.  Place the object on the ground, being sure to put it face down.  Some prefer the middle of a field or plain, an open grassy place; I use the soil between the roots of a great tree.  In either case, the earth will pull the bad stuff down, and roots will soak it up and churn it into cellulose.  If you want to keep the object, leave it there until it’s clean.  If you don’t want to keep it, first acquire a new garden spade – it has to be unused.  Use it to bury the object at least a foot deep.  Make whatever noises you need to over the spot (including none at all), then turn away and fling the spade as far as you can.

Sincerely,
Richard

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