And the year rolls in regardless of our fantasy that it starts at a certain point, a certain moment – wash it away and the year rolls on, and seasons roll, and weather rolls, and you roll, and how’s life going for you anyway? Punch in the gut and flowers from the sky. Lay in the warm grass and breathe. Let’s lay in the grass and breathe, because we love the grass, we love the grass together, and we could love each other, we might love each other and maybe we do or will, but whether or not, we could. It’s so hard to love, so easy but so hard, what with all our graspings and needs, our odd foods and smells, our dirty floors and feet and hearts run over by trucks, and so easy with those same hearts, easy to love our rising from the ground, our different hands, our strivings and arrivals and the beautiful blossoms of our clash, the way we meet and dance and dance away and how we complement upon the turn. How we complement, can complement, can meet and lift and rise together on this spinning rock, this mote of dust, this giant beating heart hurtling through space, how we hurtle, how we roll, roll with seasons, roll with weather, roll with time, how you sit on a bench with a cup of tea and you’re not alone.
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ANNOUNCE :: I’ll be presenting on a couple of panels at the San Francisco Writers Conference on Feb 12-13, which might sound like fun to some, but even more fun will be the Evening of Poetry and Jazz on Friday the 12th at 8:30. It’s free and open to the public, and anyone can come on down (er, up, since it’s at the Mark Hopkins on the top of Nob Hill) and read a few minutes with a jazz band (or not). Just wander in looking like you don’t belong there, and ask how to find Café Ferlinghetti (no kidding). Deets on the Events page.
ANNOUNCE :: Co-hosting Babar in Exile #4 on Saturday, February 13 with Paul Corman-Roberts. Babaric features for the eve will be Steve Arntson and Kimi Sugioka, with Honorary Babarian James Cagney. Be there and get excited at 7pm sharp, with an open mic, at The Octopus Literary Salon in downtown Oakland. Deets on the Events page.
Spider webs complete our lives. They lurk in corners as covert décor. They filter vermin from our days. They show us the infinite geometry of mind. They prepare us for the end. They give us a sureshot metaphor for entanglement, for life’s sandtraps, for struggle against, for futility, for rapture and flow. They are the water and the ice. They are the lava and the crust. The lie in wait. They house the hidden intelligence. They hide the hungry intelligence. They are made and making. They further and complete. They give us gossamer.
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ANNOUNCE :: Super happy to have a piece in the Winter 2016 issue of Dryland, the third installation of a rockin’ (as in rock the boat, as in shake the damn earth) lit+art journal focused on all things L.A., from the grit up. Chosen: a flash prose piece titled “On the eve of Obama’s re-election”. You can find deets on the Anthologies page, but you can click here to check out the whole third issue (read it! read it!), and here for a shortcut to my piece (or at least the vicinity, you might need to scroll a bit). Read! Read! Read! – but not necessarily dryly.
ANNOUNCE :: Guess what? I’m having an ART SHOW and everything! Like stuff you can look at and read and smell all at the same time. And as some of yas know, I don’t do this very often. It’ll be up at Nomadic Press in the Fruitvale District of Oakland from late March probably through April, probably with an open party with readings and music on April 8. It’s still coming together, but I won’t let you forget. There are a few deets on the Events page now, and more coming soon. Yay!
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We write every day because we write every day because we write every day because we write every day because we write. Because if we don’t write, a small organ explodes. Because we write to shine a light so we might proceed, to illuminate the things about so we might avoid collision, so we might appreciate, so we might more easily recognize the world. So we might see. We write to recognize, to identify, to find flux and stasis, to find ourselves amidst, whatever we might be. We write to find what order there might be, and to dispel delusions of imagined order. We write to find chaos, and to dispel imagined chaos. We write to find things, and to name them, and to name their movement and their charge, and to name ourselves and our movement in the process, whatever that might be. Some people believe that to name a thing is to control it, to command it, but that is not the case, that is imagined order. If you’re one of those people, seek help before you commit an act of violence, if you haven’t already, or if you have, perhaps every day. To name a thing is simply to learn how much it is a part of you, and you of it, and to take whatever comfort or satiety or warning or desperation that you can from that, from the knowledge of how much you are part, because you’ll never know how much you are not.
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REFLECT :: WHY IT REALLY IS THE SEASON OF THE CROW
I go to events all the time. Perhaps you do too. Mine are mostly poetry and music, but when it comes down to it, an event is an event. Sometimes events are good – the performers do a reasonably good job, the material is engaging, the audience is in a good mood. Sometimes events are great – everybody hits it, it’s just the right venue, we’re along for the ride, we laugh and cheer and hoot. Sometimes events are even amazing – all of the above, plus each performer jazzes the next, each other, and the energy cycles to a wildfire. But sometimes, rarely, a show is more than that, and a subtle but significant line is crossed – yes, everyone lights each other’s fuse, performers and audience alike; yes, the pieces are exemplary and shining; yes, the diversity of voices is startling yet complementary and essential; yes, after a while everyone is levitating; but there’s something more as well, something going on, something being catalyzed, something set in motion, something unseen by limited flesh is whirling through the room, dwelling, emanating, making new life with every breath.
I had the pleasure and honor of hosting such a show this month, although by happenstance, by accident, as a favor for someone. That was Season of the Crow on January 22, part of the longer Crow series of readings and music, curated and set in motion by Paul Corman-Roberts, who in the end couldn’t be there himself. And no matter, it was just another reading, though it turned out not to be. The performers were integral, of course, and very varied. Laura Jew observed wryly on cultural presumptions. Corrina Bain, in from Brooklyn with a super smart presence, catapulted us with trans issues into a much broader world. Brennan DeFrisco dove into the subtleties of ethos and relationships. ToReadah Mikell faced off unflinchingly with race and religion. Kelly Klein led us through the twists and twines of intimacy (with some cosmetology humor amidst). Annelyse Gelman tossed out a couple of sublime and hair-raising songs with her ethereal voice as if it were an everyday thing (and it may be for her). And the Lake Lady Ukulele Project regaled with sweetness and hope as if to lift us from the darker corners of the evening, of the day, of this delinquent century.
It was the performers, yes, of course, that made the evening, but it was also something beyond them. By the end of the evening, everyone was on fire, openly on fire, but no one was sure exactly how the conflagration got started. There was a purpose in that room, a divinity of time and place reveling in the human mix and tumble, the energy and creative force that we, here, now, in the East Bay, find so unbridled and unbridling. The fabric of history is bulging with it, folks, is ripping, and it is a heady and nutritive brew. This happens here and there, now and then, when the right people are in the right place at the right time, and it is happening here and now, and there are a lot of the right people dancing about. O you sprites. And this event, though exceptional even among the exceptions, is also, for the moment, somewhat of the norm, because there are an awful lot of exceptional events happening around here these days, even at times sublime ones, so let’s drink of it while we can, let’s play, let’s roll in the fire and sing, because, and I hate to say it but I also love to say it, we don’t know how long this will last.
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In the head-on collision with life, colors blur and bent light rules. All the details stretch around you, seconds stretch to minutes, the illusion of time revealed. Each heartbeat a lifetime, as it is for some, as those creatures in your bloodstream flash and expire, minute lives a century to them. With time and light illusory yet happening, we ride the cosmic tightrope, the comic nebula of butterflies and grass, loping through the fields on a secret child’s mission to find the hidden stone. Air and sun and reeds and yellow flowers streaming by, blurred and blurring but for that acute centerpoint of faith, the center of seeing, the molecular certainty, the absolute clarity of a blade and a gnat and a tiny clump of soil made of — yes, yes, we see it.