Monday, October 31, 2005

Mason Waller Disguised as Marcus Schenkenberg in a Kilt

Mason Pandora Penelope Waller, a cajun by nature, in his slumbering Little Nemo mode, watches his sonambulist thoughts and notions drift as gentle leaves about him; watches his thoughts fall as autumn leaves from a thousand sleepy trees: leaves alive speaking call to him and calling him call him back to sleep or nudge him closer to the surface of his consciousness leafy thoughts of leafy dream trees dreams half-dreams wishes and urges to wake to himself: You'd like to think they forebear but they don't. They're Bravehearts, these unknowns, I tells ya these men in skirts, these noble Songs of Hiawatha these thoughts a-thinking nobodys; smooth sailing they sang of it over the moon (the wonder of it all) travelling in the aware something other than you -- freely passionately float within himself in tongues: each new thought considers a career in Hollywood or politics or as a magician's companion full of animal cunning, or with consummate skill, a touch of genius and with finesse utililzing Wucius Wong's Principles of Two-Dimensional Design in the pages of Flaunt magazine. One must always be prepared to learn something totally new. Mason mulls to himself dreamily: I am the axis around which moves a spiral the eternal revolution of human culture. Mason logically considers to himself: yellow is more akin to red than blue. The slow ticking of the second hand of the Krups clock. Stately ticking of the ticking clock the whispering ticking the stately tock ticking clock. Mason hears the moonlight whisper. Tea for breakfast silky oolong another day without money enough to beguile his many moods, Mason rouses himself from a low flying dream and opens one eye then another and shakes the sleep from his philosophical eyes to question the day after his warm soapy shower before his mirror lathered face shaving thoughts flicker and flit through him thoughts ooze from every cell of his body his unconscious body his clever unawareness his eyes see words his emotions feel nothing his eyes watch his eyes in the mirror while flashes of his father his father he knows but does not know occur to him: I can imagine a blind man piecing together a jig-saw puzzle by touch alone. A jig saw puzzle of a tree an acacia my father was in Korea in the war but never talks about it an almond my father was also in Italy during World War II, ski troupe yet never talks about it a beech when I was seven my father was naked shaving before a mirror a buckeye my father never talked about much of anything except to discipline me through words to my mother a candleberry my father dreamed of having a service station a gas station Texaco station after the war a date my father avoided talking directly to me palm my father lost his hair early dogwood when my father married my mother I was at the wedding how much wood would a woodpecker peck if a woodpecker would peck wood a ficus my father enjoyed and may still enjoy working out crossword puzzles a fig for a while in the early 60s my father smoked a pipe a fir my father was unfaithful once to my mother who never forgave him my favorite: ginkgo in autumn golden as god and a host of angels a grapefruit my father seemed lost at times lost in thought but never appeared to be thinking just sullen a hickory my father belonged to the Knights of Columbus a holly my father was really my step-father but I had his same last name a juniper my father touched me once but that was a slap to the head and kumquat my father had very old parents who frightened me like aliens from a planet called The Farm a laurel my father's father died old locust my father's mother died old and logwood my father's mother and father moved to a large house on a tree lined street in Fond du Lac Wisconsin a magnolia my father never cried openly a mango my father had back problems a maple my father smelled of Ben-Gay oak my father would "take-to-bed" and listen to the Braves play ball on the radio and olive, my father supported us a papaw my father brought home a cocker spaniel and named it "Ginger Peachy" pear my father was told to "get rid of the dog" and pecan my father once said to me while I was listening to Sgt. Preston of the Yukon on the radio: turn off that radio or I'll push it through the wall a quince my father collected pennies a rain tree my father owned a series of Jeeps a redwood my father lost his service station business when Big Corporate Oil got rid of "the little guys" sassafras my father failed at everything he tried spruce my father was unsure of "direction" sycamore my father may believe in something but I don't know what it is and teak my father lives with my mother in a trailer park in northern Wisconsin now a tulip tree my father goes out every day and collects cans and umbrella tree when I talk with my father on the phone he always says "you always sound so good, here's your mother" a varnish tree my father once said to me at the dinner table: "do you think you're god's gift to women?" the message was: I'm going to kill you and walnut my father saw me as a joke and would never talk about me to people he knew a weeping willow my father may have once been a very sexy man a white birch my father while still alive is a very distant memory a white cedar my father never told me anything about anything white gum my father once went to church regularly white oak my father may have once prayed white pine my father stopped saying "grace" at meals white poplar my father is a secret to me white spruce my father in 1965 wanted to buy a Mustang but settled for a vinyl-roofed LTD instead and willow my father spent a great deal of time trying to grow a good looking lawn a witch hazel my father seemed never to be around yew my father read the Milwaukee Sentinel intently and zebrawood my father? Only when all the pieces are put together, those small flat pieces of maybe and could be and I just want to be myself wishes do the shadows appear do the high-lights show do the concave or convex monochromatic surfaces of his memories begin to imagine how ruthlessly imagination has been not allowed to him. If I go out tonight what or who will I be. I can't believe how much Marcus Schenkenberg looks just like me. I have always wanted to be a waller I have always wished to be a mason. I am king of my castle. I am a Mason and a Waller. You can call me Mason Waller but that's not really who I am. I am made of stone. Carved from stone. No one will ever notice me no one will ever see me. I am a stone wall I am Mason Waller. I look good without a shirt sitting in the sun of a Sunday. I look god-like and goodly goodly as a Lothario in the full sun light of an August day sitting in the sun of a Sunday in my father's Mustang. I can't decide who I am sitting flat and intently and looking just like me is Marcus Schenkenberg looking good just like god-like me. I am carved from stone.

Across the street a boy with a pale white face: blood drips from his ears. A farm boy wears blue checks and hay. The fairy-tall high school girl dressed in her mother's prom dress the imperfect sentence of her nervous grandmother. The basic grid of hope. The terrifying well-dressed manners of the next generation. The drowned the suffocated the recent dead knocking knocking at the chamber door.

Mason believes in the day ahead in the comedy and magic of the day: Calm full of peace carrying out his assignment: he will go to work, board bravely the bus in his warrior kilt, work boots and torn leather jacket he will live where everyone shall see him he will not only feel but sense his strength: as a river hugs the shore he tells himself: I have time I have had time I will have time; I have a process I am a process I am a preparatory stage; I know it comes down to work in life; a place in life; I will call to the beasts the werewolves and upper management and say: I am me and I will have your heads.

Part Two -- Later that same Halloween day

"Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense."


Monday: Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, will visit hurricane-hit New Orleans on their first official overseas jaunt since marrying in April, the prince's office confirmed Monday Stompin at the Savoy books on Health Care Finance Science & Technology Measles (Signs and Symptoms) known for its typical skin rash CDW order FAX a word from the Chancellor Ginkgo Raymond Chandler twisted knickers check request which one to get; The Blue Room Benny Goodman; I could say Bella Bella each language tells me how grand you are Office Max under $200; Office Depot order laser paper 32 lb change TokyoBot robot clock back an hour; Nicaraguan officials began damage assessment and clean-up efforts Monday after Hurricane Beta swept the country before heading over the Pacific Ocean eat lettuce chopped turkey Paul Newman olive oil Samuel Alito, a federal appeals court judge from Philadelphia, was nominated to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor Monday morning yellow highlighter The Trees of San Francisco Mike Sullivan Raymond Chandler pulp stories clarinet Sing Sing Sing drum 1938 New Techniques in Gastrointestinal Imaging Medicinal Plants of the World Nutrients and Cell Signaling is a signal a sign Digital Human Anatomy and Endoscopic Ultrasonograph The Blood Cerebrospinal Fluid Barrier about 200,000 people in remote valleys and high mountains still haven't received aid or shelter three weeks after the 7.6 magnitude earthquake, the United Nations said on Oct. 28. As many as 2 million people in northern Pakistan need immediate help before the Himalayan winter sets in, the UN said An Atlas of Foot and Ankle Surgery Blackwell's Book Services; Halloween d.a. levy could make grandiose claims, and at the same time claim that neither he nor anyone else had anything to say worth hearing. You could see him as a nihilist, seeking oblivion, or a mystic seeking a void which produces endless miracles, which in turn fit quite plainly into the flow of daily life ten of swords Slaughterhouse-Five Ethan Hawke at an early age took acting classes at the McCarter Theatre and appeared in various high school performances struggling to finance his new movie BILLY DEAD, about a troubled working-class Michigan family fans are being offered the chance to buy up 900,000 shares of stock for just $8.75 each, so Hawke can raise the $8 million he needs to make the project, Julie Delpy, Vernon Dobtcheff, Louise Lemoine Torres, Rodolphe Pauly, Mariane Plasteig, Diabolo, Albert Delpy, Marie Pillet, Denis Evrard, Sam Shepherd would work as a stable hand, herdsman, orange picker, sheep shearer, bus boy, waiter and musician before beginning his career as a playwright in New York in 1964 True North Blue Moon Blue Guitar Blue Monday Rhapsody in Blue Moonglow Ebb Tide New Orleans Tennessee Williams Porgy & Bess The Little Prince The Ugly Duckling Hans Christian Andersen Bugs Bunny Jimmy Durante Will & Ariel Durant Klaus Barbie The Lone Ranger Long John Silver Billy the Kid Fritz the Cat Jim Sorcic James Sorcic James Martin James Jim Jim the House Jim Sorcic Milwaukee 1969 autumn sing his song sing James the songs of Jim Sorcic his poetry his careful walk his strut his miracle dance his politics of sexual cat and poetic mouse we will dance later and come whole heartedly heartfully hopefully heatedly eagerly softening him up by getting him hard inside him and looking for him with touch with hands with him in black leather jacket nothing else good morning let morning come to you while you cut out all the bits and pieces of people you didn't want to meet in your life cut in the rest people walk by feeling a compulsion to say something even though they're only passing through; behind the ordinary surface consciousness the mind is mixed up with divine conflict to live the consciousness of the Atman is to live in the calm unity and peace that is above things and separate from the world even when pervading it; Purusha; emanations portions hobgoblins sisters of mercy Agnesian nuns high school home room they have created the world of Asuras, Rakshasas, Pishachas; are you experiencing this? I can only translate the past into noun flashes into bitter bites of feelings which appear to be covered in a mass of flies, maggots and steaming with heat. a who's who of when and where; expected to be the mere servant of my own life the Butler of Memory the servant of nostalgia; the king of nouns the prince of time the keeper of signs the cataloguer of wish : a word involves being able to use it on certain occasions in a special tone of voice; you might say that certain words are only pegs to hang intonations on. read to me: Dear Folks: we are swell here -- so nice and warm. Suns every day. Was foggy earlier for the first time. Had a fine trip and no trouble only got into snow in Texas. Road's were slippery for 3 hours drive. How are you all. Write when you can. A sailor wearing a white sailor cap is talking to a girl in Bixby Park, Long Beach, California. I wonder who Mr. & Mrs. R. C. Rasmussen of 280 Bischoff Street Fond du Lac, Wisconsin are or more likely were. 2 cent stamp; John Adams; pinkish afternoon nobody's around at lunch went to lunch everybody quiet library hush I'm wondering about Story Telling and Character Development; do people develop except in stories? is that the same as just becoming more mellow or dead with age: worn out worn down too many cigarettes too much sex or jim beam or just eating too much; when do the young stop becoming young and just age away; is that a logical inference or just a generality. it's no wonder Mason thinks to himself: I want to go out as Marcus Schenkenberg. Understanding a sentence is more akin to understanding a piece of music than one might think. We can't cross the bridge to the execution until we are there. The police have ties to Kashmir's most-feared militants claimed responsibility Sunday for a series of terrorist bombings that killed 59 people in New Delhi.



Mason as Marcus was heard to say:
Now winter nights enlarge
The number of their hours



Mason writes home to his mother:
I don't think you will have much success in your proposed search for our ancestors, as I don’t believe we had any.



Bang Bang Bang
Mason does his best Bette Davis "The Letter" impersonation
Bang Bang Bang

I never loved you I never loved you
I've always loved him I'll always love him.
O the moonlight the terrible moonlight.

-- Jeff Wietor

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Fall Back

Dumbly morning arrives at 7.
The season of incremental darkness begins again.
I don't know.
Odor of semen in the Pacific warm breeze.
I don't want to say.
A man walks along McAllister reading the news.
I don't want to hear it.
Sycamore leaves stitched gray with fungus.
I'm dumb.
Cold sensation in the palm of the hand.
I am neither awake nor asleep.
Having not a feeling but a search for a feeling.
Earlier today than yesterday.
He either is or was feeling something.
I don't know.
He is feeling he was a memory.
That feeling exists or was existing.
He had been feeling something.
I don't want to say.
He repeats to remember his feeling.
In feeling he repeats his memory of remembering.
I don't want to hear it.
Everything that was is still.
Being that one.
Saying he was that one enough.
Try to listen.
Some are taking something.
Some are not taking everything
but would be taking anything.
There are many being living.
There is one being living.
He might have been one succeeding.

Go ahead memory, name names.
In living I don't know what
Ananda, my cat, thinks or does not think in sunlight.

The daily line of light grows shorter.
I want to say that it is not
a difference of degree.

When one is one being one
is being one suffering in being one.
Feels or does not feel in stillness.
I'm dumb.
Some laugh, some suffer.
Being one telling something.
Walking through he was asking and grieving.
I don't know.
He is not telling everything he was telling.
In not mentioning that he was one
he was being one meaning everything.
I don't want to say.
Morning arrived today at 7 yesterday at 8.
Tonight will arrive earlier today at 5
yesterday at 6

Susan phoned two days ago
to say there will be a sitting.
Will I sit alone or with others
Neither awake nor asleep.
How can one talk about understanding
and not understanding by asking
what it is you want.

Neither awake nor asleep
I don't want to hear it
I don't want to say
I don't know
I'm dumb

The Forgotten Dialect Of The Heart

How astonishing it is that language can almost mean,
and frightening that it does not quite. Love, we say,
God, we say, Rome and Michiko, we write, and the words
get it all wrong. We say bread and it means according
to which nation. French has no word for home,
and we have no word for strict pleasure. A people
in northern India is dying out because their ancient
tongue has no words for endearment. I dream of lost
vocabularies that might express some of what
we no longer can. Maybe the Etruscan texts would
finally explain why the couples on their tombs
are smiling. And maybe not. When the thousands
of mysterious Sumerian tablets were translated,
they seemed to be business records. But what if they
are poems or psalms? My joy is the same as twelve
Ethiopian goats standing silent in the morning light.
O Lord, thou art slabs of salt and ingots of copper,
as grand as ripe barley lithe under the wind's labor.
Her breasts are six white oxen loaded with bolts
of long-fibered Egyptian cotton. My love is a hundred
pitchers of honey. Shiploads of thuya are what
my body wants to say to your body. Giraffes are this
desire in the dark. Perhaps the spiral Minoan script
is not language but a map. What we feel most has
no name but amber, archers, cinnamon, horses, and birds.

-- Jack Gilbert

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Deepening, the Feeling

Any expression of quality is the result of relationship between two opposite worlds, between two levels of reality. A direction is followed. And, as the years go on, it deepens or changes. It is in accordance with what one wishes to express that the technique also changes. Even from one painting to another, something may need to be enlivened again. The sensitivity is deepening, the feeling is becoming, so to say, more exact, and the technique needs to correspond, to be refined, attuned, in the same way a musical instrument needs to be attuned in accord with what is going to be played. What remains recognizable from one piece of work to another represents what is essential in the artist; it is his signature, his own voice.

There is another aspect I would like to touch upon. When I see that the painting is not going to go any further, there is a split. What I did does not belong to me any more; it is no longer my child. It becomes like a message sealed in a bottle thrown into the sea. Perhaps someday someone will find it and will read the message. But for me it already belongs to the past. A kind of death has taken place which frees me from identification with my own work.

-- Paul Reynard

Friday, October 28, 2005

5 Tanka

just for fun
I put Mother on my back

she weighs so
little that I start crying

and can't walk three steps


beastly face
with a mouth that opens
and closes

is all I see

of the man giving a talk


I work

and work yet my life
impoverished as ever

I gaze at my hands


I close my eyes

yet nothing whatever
floats up in my mind

out of sheer loneliness
I reopen them


what lies in my heart
may be heard

I quickly draw back my chest

from the stethoscope


-- Ishikawa Takuboku

Thursday, October 27, 2005

from: A Book of Disquiet

We generally give to our ideas about the unknown the color of our notions about what we do know: If we call death a sleep it's because it has the appearance of sleep; if we call death a new life, it's because it seems different from life. We build our beliefs and hopes out of these small misunderstandings with reality and live off husks of bread we call cakes, the way poor children play at being happy.

But that's how all life is; at least that's how the particular way of life generally known as civilization is. Civilization consists in giving an inappropriate name to something and then dreaming what results from that. In fact the false name and the true dream do create a new reality. The object really does become other, because we have made it so. We manufacture realities. We use the raw materials we always used but the form lent it by art effectively prevents it from remaining the same. A table made out of pinewood is a pinetree but it is also a table. We sit down at the table not at the pinetree. . .

-- Fernando Pessoa

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

from: A Book of Disquiet

For a long time - I don't know if it's a matter of days or months - I haven't written down a single impression; I'm not thinking, therefore I'm not existing. I have forgotten who I am; I don't know how to write because I don't know how to be. Because of an oblique sleep, I was someone else. Knowing that I don't remember myself is waking up.

I fainted during a bit of my life. I regain consciousness without any memory of what I was, and the memory of who I was suffers for having been interrupted. There is in me a confused notion of an unknown interval, a futile effort on the part of my memory to want to find that other memory. I don't connect myself with myself. If I've lived, I forget having known it.

-- Fernando Pessoa

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

from: A Book of Disquiet

For a long time, I haven't existed. I am extremely calm. No one can distinguish me from who I am. I felt myself breathe just now as if I'd done something new, something late in coming to me. I begin to be conscious of being conscious. Perhaps tomorrow I will wake up to myself and again take up the course of my existence. I won't if by doing so I will be happier or sadder. I know nothing. I raise my head and I see that over toward the Castle hill, the sunset taking place in the opposite direction burning in dozen of windows with a high reverberation of cold fire. Around those eyes of hard flame the entire hill has an end-of-day smoothness. At least I can feel sad and be aware that in this sadness of mine - seen with hearing - is mixed the sudden sound of the trolley passing by, the incidental voices of some young people chatting, the forgotten whisper of the living city.
For a long time, I haven't been myself.

-- Fernando Pessoa

Monday, October 24, 2005

Homage To Life

It’s good to have chosen
A living home
And housed time
In a ceaseless heart
And seen my hands
Alight on the world,
As on an apple
In a little garden,
To have loved the earth,
The moon and the sun
Like old friends
Who have no equals,
And to have committed
The world to memory
Like a bright horseman
To his black steed,
To have given a face
To these words — woman, children,
And to have been a shore
For the wandering continents
And to have come upon the soul
With tiny strokes of the oars,
For it is scared away
By a brusque approach.
It is beautiful to have known
The shade under the leaves,
And to have felt age
Creep over the naked body,
And have accompanied pain
Of black blood in our veins,
And gilded its silence
With the star, Patience,
And to have all these words
Moving around in the head,
To choose the least beautiful of them
And let them have a ball,
To have felt life,
Hurried and ill loved,
And locked it up
In this poetry.

-- Jules Supervielle

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Miu Miu Cells Mason About Adam Clearwater

Chapter 22

good morning it's Sunday morning are you watching a reduced Hurricane Wilma accelerate toward storm-weary Florida, threatening residents with 105-mph winds, tornadoes and a surge of seawater that could flood the Keys and the state's southwest coast? do you think life happened on earth by design some say that's how we got here it may be a lot of unverified nonsense watching Tab Hunter this morning on a morning show he was one of the biggest pop-movie stars years ago now he's a writer he wrote his autobiography because he heard somebody from a tabloid was finally going to expose him so he said: "I'd rather have you hear it from the horse's mouth than the horse's ass" a heart-throb knocking 'em dead in the 50s he's now in his seventies young love wasn't the half of it and hidden gay too now all the talk about baseball how 'bout those sox and the who are they playing does anyone watch baseball anymore it's like living in the 1950s take a revealing look at camouflage standing by in Naples Florida it might become a category three maybe not the streets of Cancun devastated and the looters want to eat they were shot as water came in people were sleeping on the floor in the water 17 hours in the dark soaking wet now a weaker storm debating whether to move but they're kinda waiting whether to leave they're closely watching Wilma they're expecting it to intensify significantly so many tropical storms they've used up all the names more than half of the Nigerians in the plane crash lived or died I'm not sure the week ahead will be chilly with nice autumn weather make time for dinner with KFC we can't stop asking where did we come from why are we here why did the world come to be peer into the inner cell they couldn't possibly evolve by chance the DNA cytoplasm mitochondrila-crista ribosome peroxisome vacuole sperm cells in semen sometimes the consciousness has no record of the initial impulse the deep memory of manifestation sweat forming on the hand video cradles what it sees more efficiently in other realms of existence smaller smaller tinier tinier minute minute we think there's a creator that's a christian creator or creature from the black lagoon greatest headlines of the century today of course and 79,000 people are now dead in the Pakistan quake and all the news reports two people dead in Cancun go figure I don't want to end up like my parents you're too young for this and too old for that and overwhelmed yelling tougher taking care of myself nowadays less than perfect I feel like hiding in something somewhere I don't know why my job as a friend makes me forget the weight of the world and take the matter into my own hands feeling the pain becoming zoned out numb not really interested in things and turning to Adam for advice feeling self-medicated just being around him no it's not a waste of time it's never a waste of time and he doesn't lead to self-destruction for that matter either; carrying about a lot of pain turned inside out hurting myself using food I'm close to him that's all he's like the excitement before the calm after a storm.

Adam's face a film-maker's dream of a dream of making films passes before my gaze like a young Tab Hunter an accident forced him to give up dancing but the things one can express with the hand, with the head, with the eyes, with the shoulders, with the physique of Vishnu Apollo sweet Jesus how many useless and encumbering words then disappear! What economy! a rigorous quest, a burnished soft face and immersion in paying attention to others' problem in spite of his resolve to become successful as an actor he just wants to go to work sometimes playing drums a master of precision to be a precision instrument himself precise movement of the interior to the exterior and looking honestly into your face saying it's all about you see for yourself you're the ultimatethrillingnumber1 fortunate with adulation a diamond blue voice and passionate for the appropriate his face peering down from an LA billboard Adam Cadmon so vast and huge each of his hairs a stream of light with an underlying metaphysical message a great guy normally quiet untouchable no bother I know I know drawing goofy hearts and love notes in his journal

you can talk to him you can talk with him you can talk about him you can talk talk taking talk taking words to new levels newer depths talking with him is never about him but about what he thinks about you thinking about southamerican poets italian design or george clooney on the early show singing in the rain laid back singing his praises with a gift for song music and years of expensive education an expert on Shakespeare playing jazz on a Yamaha piano dipping into hip-hop he doesn't tip toe he stomps twenty something a four star young man who makes a difference star of source ideas a perfect roommate he said what are you thinking about and when I told him he listened he makes you feel like a piece of music he plays happily ever after responsbile for his own health makes you want to sing your life your music

it's all now you see him now you don't disappears for days watches movies: Killer Shrews, Hercules Unchained, Swamp Diamonds, City Limits, Radar Secret Service stares out at the gray low fog city streets dreams of designing treehouses dressing in camouflage to hide in plain site to deceive by design to hide by standing out what does he want: to break you down you put you into a box by taking you out of a cage make you a common object tape your thoughts with his listening capacity his talent for hearing he's not the first to disguise the sun with light

a secret passage a shy boy: people with lapis lazuli eyes believe what they want to believe I never talked about it everything is quiet would you like to take Lola someplace tonight amazingly he can keep a secret possessing the presence of a spanish toreador sword poised before the bull lying in wait I'm off Adam now and not better for it you have to keep in mind the question: how do people learn the meaning of Adam especially in Technicolor iridescent gleaming and behaved: I can imagine Adam telling me that I've finally succeeded in really being able to think: to saturate words with hyacinth robin's egg & Siva lingam blue just before the film runs out.

I try never to forget those patterns we call poems; that every man is the measure of things; when the mind is in question everything is in question; trusted feelings compel me to act; that you are broad-minded and considerate like a spring breeze; the process of making poetry is the first Adam; you came from out of the blue and then returned when then it came to me: I am able to hear your voice saying it is the function of the brain to be secure; there's never been anything like it and it seems to me that without opposition there is no growth. Does it matter, why? It is very difficult to give one's attention to something. Is it not? I won't forget you. There is no how.

-- Jeff Wietor

Love 20 cents the First Quarter Mile

All right. I may have lied to you and about you, and made a
few pronouncements a bit too sweeping, perhaps, and
possibly forgotten to tag the bases here or there,
And damned your extravagance, and maligned your tastes,
and libeled your relatives, and slandered a few of your friends,
Nevertheless, come back.

Come home. I will agree to forget the statements that you
issued so copiously to the neighbors and the press,
And you will forget that figment of your imagination, the
blonde from Detroit;
I will agree that your lady friend who lives above us is not
crazy, bats, nutty as they come, but on the contrary
rather bright,
And you will concede that poor old Steinberg is neither a
drunk, nor a swindler, but simply a guy, on the eccentric
side, trying to get along.
(Are you listening, you bitch, and have you got this straight?)

Because I forgive you, yes, for everything.
I forgive you for being beautiful and generous and wise,
I forgive you, to put it simply, for being alive, and pardon
you, in short, for being you.

Because tonight you are in my hair and eyes,
And every street light that our taxi passes shows me you again,
still you,
And because tonight all other nights are black, all other hours
are cold and far away, and now, this minute, the stars
are very near and bright.

Come back. We will have a celebration to end all celebrations.
We will invite the undertaker who lives beneath us, and a
couple of boys from the office, and some other friends.
And Steinberg, who is off the wagon, and that
insane woman who lives upstairs, and a few reporters, if
anything should break.

-- Kenneth Fearing

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Mason & Miu Miu Out Walking Together & Alone

Chapter 7

out walking in San Francisco's SOMA the secret language of the stars and planets Miu-Miu supposes to herself as she walks in cadence with Mason's amble, and the secret language of hope and misery mix into the fine brew and delicious froth I call life, how cold it’s become; this winter has been nothing but cold and rain. alchemy Mason mulls inside his brain trying himself to make synaptic connections searching in the dark world where words and sounds become veiled abstracts of possible realities sifting through words puzzling and unpuzzling pieces of probabilities conjectures and faint glimpses of what feel like truth but don't have the right ring yet have an undeniable resilience of perfectly pitched tone may at the same time reflect mere reasoning with himself to himself wonders what alchemy's really all about not the hocus-pocus that it’s made out to be: more light and air less smoke and mirrors of heavy metal gold production although who knows Mason thinks silently as he walks like a moan with Miu-Miu in the brittle nowhere he likes to think of as today. do you know Miu-Miu half sings intoning aloud do you know what painting I wish I had hanging in my apartment tell me Mason half begs what painting; that big orange and green Visitation, Pontormo’s Visitation with the double portraits hmmm answers Mason. dark unsatisfyingly sinister thoughts concerning Mason wander push shuffle saunter & strut through Miu-Miu’s attentively distracted mind-screen as they cross Eleventh Street at Folsom: Mason kills everything by over-indulging his thinking about everything too smoothely, he always makes me feel like I'm not only only half-right but usually not even a quarter right about what I'm talking about or wondering and pondering he makes me feel like everybody has to die without ever arriving at a realization or insight into anything he can make a plus feel like a minus I can't believe I'll die it's impossible to think about death this isn't how I want to know Mason he’s a symbol of everything beautiful and corrupt or morbid and mysterious and benignly forgivable; a burden a guitar string my ruby slipper, a knight of swords, you’re not anything substantial when you're with him he’s a leathery Lothario in the making he’s the One he’s willowy an ancient rite a heavenly sphere a strength a magical mouthed simplicity. I have no energy it’s a nightmare no it’s not it’s insane whacked-out in a funhouse way a thousand little Masons all decked out in a body that would fit snuggly into a Golden Rectangle perfectly designed to be seen for brief moments my cat-walk model I know I’m dreaming I wink at reality without knowing what I mean by reality I pretend this is a slow motioned walk along a vacant street within a street full of people and I can’t help myself out of this nightmare -- no that can’t be -- all I have is a grave ahead of me? the cold this thin air I’m breathing I’m breathing and walking I’ll look at something that will help I should talk to him say something to show I’m here with him: Mason do you ever have crazy thoughts What? crazy crazy no what do you mean you know like you sense you’re walking along the street but also feel like you’re home & just died in bed that’s crazy you give too much power to thoughts and don’t think enough about having no thoughts that’s what I love about him he always says the right thing I wonder if he means it maybe he is crazy and the cold is making me doubt my own certainties certainly certainties what is certain is something I don’t know about. it’s hopeless I laugh I’ll never get that painting it must be huge it is worth a kazillion dollars and it means something to half a million people who protect it with their fears and dreams and hopes and love it patiently perfectly a metaphor for memory the sublime trickster of traveling effortlessly through time and space effortlessly he has a pair of dice that must have went to Harvard. the god and planet Mercury. the dense body of the Earth. to make out of our lives something akin to a spirit & aware. the appearance of things. the visitation. this visitor. where did he go I don’t know I don’t know I don’t know I feel like a visitor here just visiting god I love painting I love sewing I love fabric and texture and color so I love the idea of Mason so I love it when he visits me and I love it when he models and I pay him for it I know he enjoys me teasing him with extravagant attention straight out of pulp-fiction romance. Miu-Miu looks up at the sky hoping to channel far off energy. Mason senses her beside him and says in a faint and distant voice don’t worry we’re almost there. what’s the goal Miu-Miu what’s the goal on the material level that’s all we have a goal on a material level; signs he says signs turn right turn left wet paint stop Sagittarius Virgo men women: out of the blue hears music inside his head as if he were wearing earphones but isn't: It was a lucky April shower; opera it was the most convenient bebop door, I found swing a million dollar baby in a five and ten cent store. The rain electronica continued a cappela for an hour, hung around whistling to himself for three or four, around a million dollar baby in a five Gospel and Industrial ten cent Motown store. She was hard rock selling china and when she reggae made Trance those eyes, I kept Zydeco buying china until the crowd pizzicato got wise. Incident'ly Easy Listening if you should run into a shower, just step rhythm and blues inside my cottage door, And meet the million dollar gangsta baby from the five and ten cent store. Mason keeps a vast array of metals and other alchemical material in his pockets: a penny, seven dimes, a nickel, a ring of keys, a rabbit’s foot, a miniature Porsche, an Acme Thunderer Made in England whistle, a Zippo lighter embossed with a cactus and a coyote howling at the moon, a Rostfrei thin flat serviceable jack-knife, a spherical ball of Carrera marble with all the traits of a miniature Moon, a leather wallet with paper money, pieces of paper with names inscribed, scribbled; a tiny flat package tied with string he was told never to open and a small medallion of the dali lama which would be the elixir of immortality and why will “I” not be here why will I not be here why will I not be here it is only just . Mason realizes his life changed the moment Jupiter was impacted by a stray meteor catastrophe in the late 90s. Catastrophe. there’s the DNA Lounge we’re almost there: the cosmic blue sky somewhere behind the cosmic gray clouds hanging in the ether in the emptiness created purposefully to contain all the magic bric-a-brac of life of living of death of dying of wishing craving desiring birth again.

-- Jeff Wietor

Friday, October 21, 2005

I Am Standing

I am standing on the threshold about to enter a room. It is a complicated business. In the first place I must shove against an atmosphere pressing with a force of fourteen pounds on every square inch of my body. I must make sure of landing on a plank travelling at twenty miles a second round the sun - a fraction of a second too early or too late, the plank would be miles away. I must do this whilst hanging from a round planet head outward into space, and with a wind of aether blowing at no one knows how many miles a second through every interstice of my body. The plank has no solidity of substance. To step on it is like stepping on a swarm of flies. Shall I not slip through? No, if I make the venture one of the flies hits me and gives a boost up again; I fall again and am knocked upwards by another fly; and so on. I may hope that the net result will be that I remain about steady; but if unfortunately I should slip through the floor or be boosted too violently up to the ceiling, the occurrence would be, not a violation of the laws of Nature, but a rare coincidence...

Verily, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a scientific man to pass through a door. And whether the door be barn door or church door it might be wiser that he should consent to be an ordinary man and walk in rather than wait till all the difficulties involved in a really scientific ingress are resolved.

--A.S. Eddington

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Never Work Hard

Let us reject tedious work. It goes against human nature, against the cosmic rhythms, it goes against man himself, to take trouble where none is needed. It is natural for him to apply himself to avoiding such work; to use every instrument that comes to hand, every favorable chance which can help him out, to make his work easier and more pleasant. Tedious work is inhuman and repugnant, every work which shows signs of it is ugly. It is pleasure and ease, without harshness and constraint, which create grace in every human gesture.

-- Jean Dubuffet

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

California Plush

The only thing I miss about Los Angeles

is the Hollywood Freeway at midnight, windows down and
radio blaring
bearing right into the center of the city, the Capitol Tower
on the right, and beyond it, Hollywood Boulevard

--pimps, surplus stores, footprints of the stars

--descending through the city
fast as the law would allow

through the lights, then rising to the stack
out of the city
to the stack where lanes are stacked six deep

and you on top; the air
now clean, for a moment weightless

without memories, or
need for a past.

The need for the past

is so much at the center of my life
I write this poem to record my discovery of it,
my reconciliation.

It was in Bishop, the room was done
in California plush: we had gone into the coffee shop, were told
you could only get a steak in the bar:
I hesitated,
not wanting to be an occasion of temptation for my father

but he wanted to, so we entered

a dark room, with amber water glasses, walnut
tables, captain's chairs,
plastic doilies, papier-mâché bas-relief wall ballerinas,
German memorial plates "bought on a trip to Europe,"
Puritan crosshatch green-yellow wallpaper,
frilly shades, cowhide

I thought of Cambridge:

the lovely congruent elegance
of Revolutionary architecture, even of

ersatz thirties Georgian

seemed alien, a threat, sign
of all I was not--

to bode order and lucidity

as an ideal, if not reality--

not this California plush, which


I was not.

And so I made myself an Easterner,
finding it, after all, more like me
than I had let myself hope.

And now, staring into the embittered face of
my father,

again, for two weeks, as twice a year,
I was back.

The waitress asked us if we wanted a drink.
Grimly, I waited until he said no...

Before the tribunal of the world I submit the following

Nancy showed it to us,
in her apartment at the model,
as she waited month by month
for the property settlement, her children grown
and working for their father,
at fifty-three now alone,
a drink in her hand:

as my father said,
"They keep a drink in her hand":

Name Wallace du Bois
Box No 128 Chino, Calif.
Date July 25 ,19 54

Mr Howard Arturian
I am writing a letter to you this afternoon while I'm in the
mood of writing. How is everything getting along with you these
fine days, as for me everything is just fine and I feel great except for
the heat I think its lot warmer then it is up there but I don't mind
it so much. I work at the dairy half day and I go to trade school the
other half day Body & Fender, now I am learning how to spray
paint cars I've already painted one and now I got another car to
paint. So now I think I've learned all I want after I have learned all
this. I know how to straighten metals and all that. I forgot to say
"Hello" to you. The reason why I am writing to you is about a job,
my Parole Officer told me that he got letter from and that you want
me to go to work for you. So I wanted to know if its truth. When
I go to the Board in Feb. I'll tell them what I want to do and where
I would like to go, so if you want me to work for you I'd rather have
you sent me to your brother John in Tonapah and place to stay for
my family. The Old Lady says the same thing in her last letter that
she would be some place else then in Bishop, thats the way I feel
too.and another thing is my drinking problem. I made up my mind
to quit my drinking, after all what it did to me and what happen.
This is one thing I'll never forget as longs as I live I never want
to go through all this mess again. This sure did teach me lot of things
that I never knew before. So Howard you can let me know soon
as possible. I sure would appreciate it.

P.S From Your Friend
I hope you can read my Wally Du Bois
writing. I am a little nervous yet

--He and his wife had given a party, and
one of the guests was walking away
just as Wallace started backing up his car.
He hit him, so put the body in the back seat
and drove to a deserted road.
There he put it before the tires, and
ran back and forth over it several times.

When he got out of Chino, he did,
indeed, never do that again:
but one child was dead, his only son,
found with the rest of the family
immobile in their beds with typhoid,
next to the mother, the child having been
dead two days:

he continued to drink, and as if it were the Old West
shot up the town a couple of Saturday nights.

"So now I think I've learned all I want
after I have learned all this: this sure did teach me a lot of things
that I never knew before.
I am a little nervous yet."

It seems to me
an emblem of Bishop--

For watching the room, as the waitresses in their
back-combed, Parisian, peroxided, bouffant hairdos,
and plastic belts,
moved back and forth

I thought of Wallace, and
the room suddenly seemed to me
not uninteresting at all:

they were the same. Every plate and chair

had its congruence with

all the choices creating

these people, created

by them--by me,

for this is my father's chosen country, my origin.

Before, I had merely been anxious, bored; now,
I began to ask a thousand questions...

He was, of course, mistrustful, knowing I was bored,
knowing he had dragged me up here from Bakersfield

after five years

of almost managing to forget Bishop existed.

But he soon became loquacious, ordered a drink,
and settled down for
an afternoon of talk...

He liked Bishop: somehow, it was to his taste, this
hard-drinking, loud, visited-by-movie-stars town.
"Better to be a big fish in a little pond."

And he was: when they came to shoot a film,
he entertained them; Miss A--, who wore
nothing at all under her mink coat; Mr. M--,
good horseman, good shot.

"But when your mother
let me down" (for alcoholism and
infidelity, she divorced him)
"and Los Angeles wouldn't give us water any more,
I had to leave.

We were the first people to grow potatoes in this valley."

When he began to tell me
that he lost control of the business
because of the settlement he gave my mother,

because I had heard it
many times,

in revenge, I asked why people up here drank so much.

He hesitated. "Bored, I guess.
--Not much to do."

And why had Nancy's husband left her?

In bitterness, all he said was:
"People up here drink too damn much."

And that was how experience
had informed his life.

"So now I think I've learned all I want
after I have learned all this: this sure did teach me a lot of things
that I never knew before.
I am a little nervous yet."

Yet, as my mother said,
returning, as always, to the past,

"I wouldn't change any of it.
It taught me so much. Gladys
is such an innocent creature: you look into her face
and somehow it's empty, all she worries about
are sales and the baby.
her husband's too good!"

It's quite pointless to call this rationalization:
my mother, for uncertain reasons, has had her
bout with insanity, but she's right:

the past in maiming us,
makes us,
is also

I think of Proust, dying
in a cork-linked room, because he refuses to eat
because he thinks that he cannot write if he eats
because he wills to write, to finish his novel

--his novel which recaptures the past, and
with a kind of joy, because
in the debris
of the past, he has found the sources of the necessities

which have led him to this room, writing

--in this strange harmony, does he will
for it to have been different?

And I can't not think of the remorse of Oedipus,

who tries to escape, to expiate the past
by blinding himself, and
then, when he is dying, sees that he has become a Daimon

--does he, discovering, at last, this cruel
coherence created by
"the order of the universe"

--does he will
anything reversed?

I look at my father:
as he drinks his way into garrulous, shaky
defensiveness, the debris of the past
is just debris--; whatever I reason, it is a desolation
to watch...

must I watch?
He will not change; he does not want to change;

every defeated gesture implies
the past is useless, irretrievable...
--I want to change: I want to stop fear's subtle

guidance of my life--; but, how can I do that
if I am still
afraid of its source?

-- Frank Bidart

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Northwest Passage

Out past Sylvan Beach is the place
They still call Indian Village
Built only to be burned
The summer Spencer Tracy came to town
For years after that
Whole families would picnic there
Scavenging the debris
For rubber arrowheads
But when Spencer came
Everyone got jobs
Five dollars a day and lunch
The Depression ending with glamour
And the chance to sew on a button
For a star
Some of the men were extras
Growing beards and wearing buckskin
Rogers’ Rangers looking for that passage
All summer long
From eight to five
My father was among them
And once years later
The summer after he died
I saw the movie on the late show
I stared at it hard
Even recognized a few landmarks
I scavenged every frame
For the smallest sign of him
I found none

-- Vern Rutsala

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Good Guests

We sit in a room armored by light and surrounded

by surfaces bright as mirrors. Everything shines and

gives comfort, nothing is out of place and our hosts,

too, are immaculate, each hair placed with the skill of

a jeweler. Our words flutter and fail, too dusty, while

theirs flow out in perfect paragraphs. We wonder why

they invited us, disheveled and in tatters as we are, to

enter their lives. Should we confess our unworthi-

ness? And oh we want to scour our brains for some

small accomplishment but find nothing worthy, noth-

ing to equal the gleaming parquet of their smiles.

They are so well-bred we can't believe our good luck,

all our gnarled deceits brought here to be honored!

And then, suddenly, we know: They're specialists to

whom we've come with our shabby guilts and petty

crimes to be killed with exquisite kindness.

-- Vern Rutsala

Friday, October 14, 2005

de Young 31-hour Celebration

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Saturday, October 15 - Sunday, October 16

Open around the clock • Free General Admission

The de Young celebrates its re-opening in Golden Gate Park with a 31-hour museum marathon, FREE to the public!

Opening ceremonies begin at 10 a.m., and the museum will be open continuously from NOON on October 15 until 5 p.m. October 16. The opening weekend program includes music, dancing, food and a full schedule of performances by local groups throughout the museum grounds. To memorialize the occasion, a photo opportunity station will be located near the historic sphinx sculptures.


Saturday, October 15
A Celebration of World Art and Cultures

10 a.m.
Musicians from the San Francisco Symphony Brass Section - Performance
(John Pearson, Trumpet; Kale Cumings, Trumpet; Chris Cooper, French Horn; Mathew Alison, Trombone; and Peter Wahrhaftig, Tuba)
World Stage (at Museum Entrance)

11 a.m.
Official Museum Dedication Ceremony with performances by San Francisco Opera Center (Elza van den Heever, soprano, 2005 Adler Fellow) Star Spangled Banner and Ain't it a Pretty Night from “Susannah” by Carlisle Floyd; San Francisco Ballet (Seven for Eight, choreographed by Helgi Tomasson, with dancers Yuan Yuan Tan and Yuri Possokhov) San Francisco Poet Laureate devorah major (ribbons, bound and cut, 2005), SFPD Mounted Unit (presentation of the colors)
(American sign Language interpretation will be provided for the Dedication Ceremony)
World Stage

12 p.m., Ribbon Cutting - DOORS OPEN;
Galleries open to the public NONSTOP until 5 p.m. on Sunday, October 16

12 - 12:30 p.m.
Formal Official Historical Photograph of Opening Day Visitors - Art Rogers
Wilsey Court

12:30 p.m.
Hatshepsut: From Queen to Pharaoh open to the public ($5.00 special exhibition fee applies)
Special Exhibitions Galleries (Lower Level)

12:30 p.m.
Golden Gate Park Band
World Stage

12:30 p.m.
Stilt walkers from Spectacle for Hire
Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive and JFK Drive

12:30 p.m.
Artist-in-residence Lise Swenson interviews visitors for her film project, “Questions and Answers” about the new de Young Museum
Kimball Education Gallery

12:30 p.m.
Sterling Johnson: “The Bubblesmith”
Café Terrace Tent

2 p.m.
Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band
World Stage

2 p.m.
“Muses of Connection: Poetry, Music and Art” - Special Program, accompanied by Kash Killion (cello, serengi) and Richard Howell (tenor and soprano sax and talking drum).
Poet Laureates read original poems dedicated to the grand opening of the new de Young Museum, with former San Francisco Poet Laureates devorah major, Janice Mirikitani, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, California State Poet Laureate Al Young, Robert Hass, and the 2005 Youth Speaks Poetry slam champions Katri Foster, Meilani Clay, and Dahlak Brathwaite.
Koret Auditorium

2 p.m.
Hot Club of San Francisco - “Gypsy Swing” Tea Dance
Café Terrace Tent

3 p.m.
Al-Masri Ensemble and Samar, featuring Joe Kandalaft and Louay Dahbour “An Homage to Queen Hatshepsut” (Egyptian music & dance)
World Stage

3:30 p.m. Performance #1
American Conservatory Theater Repertory Company premieres a staged reading from “After the War” by Philip Kan Gotanda - Dedicated to artist Ruth Asawa. Performed by Margo Hall, Mirjana Jokovich, Steven Anthony Jones, Samantha Quinn, Celia Shumon, Eric Steinberg, Lawrence Thoo, and Gregory Wallace.
Koret Auditorium

4:00 p.m. Performance #2
American Conservatory Theater Repertory Company premieres a staged reading from “After the War” by Philip Kan Gotanda - Dedicated to artist Ruth Asawa. Performed by Margo Hall, Mirjana Jokovich, Steven Anthony Jones, Samantha Quinn, Celia Shumon, Eric Steinberg, Lawrence Thoo, and Gregory Wallace.
Koret Auditorium

4 p.m.
Ixim Tinamit (Maya Marimba Band)
World Stage

4 p.m.
Piazzoni Murals Room open to the public - Mini docent tours available
Piazzoni Murals Room

4 p.m.
New Orleans Jazz Vipers - Dancing. 2005 Winners of "Big Easy" Award for “Best Traditional Jazz Band”,
Presented with the Don’t Stop The Music Foundation.
Café Terrace Tent

5 p.m.
Fogo na Roupa - Brazilian Samba Contingent (2005 San Francisco Carnaval Grand Champions)
World Stage

5 p.m. Performance #1
Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet "In the Moment" (Original collaboration with artist Raymond Saunders)
Koret Auditorium

5:30 p.m. Performance #2
Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet "In the Moment" (Original collaboration with artist Raymond Saunders)
Koret Auditorium

6 p.m.
Bossa Nova with Ricardo Peixoto and Claudia Villela
Tower Observation Deck

6 p.m. to 6 a.m. (ALL NIGHT)
Maya “alfombra” installation - (sawdust street painting). Mexican artist Gato Garcia
Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive

6:30 p.m.
John Handy with CLASS - Jazz Dancing
Café Terrace Tent

7 p.m.
Film screening: Lise Swenson’s film about the new de Young Museum: “Questions and Answers”, with an introduction by the filmmaker
Koret Auditorium

8:30 p.m.
Film screening: San Francisco premiere of “Proteus”, by David LeBrun, direct from the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, winner of Numerous Awards for “Best Documentary”- “A sweeping vision of nature as a single, unfolding work of art”
Presented with the cooperation of Roxie Cinema
Koret Auditorium

9 - 11 p.m.
The John Santos Quartet Latin jazz dancing
Café Terrace Tent

9 p.m.
Hatshepsut: From Queen to Pharaoh - Special Exhibition Closes until 9:30 a.m., October 16

9:30 p.m.
SoVoSó - A cappella vocal ensemble. (Singers: Sunshine Becker, David Worm, Joey Blake, Bryan Dyer, Zoe Ellis)
Tower Observation Deck

10 p.m. - midnight
DJ Cheb i Sabbah (World Music) - Dancing
Featuring Dhol Rhythms (Dancers) and Mitch Hyare (Drum)
Lower Lobby Lounge

11 p.m. - 1: 30 a.m.
West African Ceremony, led by Chief Priest Baba Ifagbenusola Atanda, Spiritual leader of HATTAF International - For members of the Orisha Community and the general public.
Koret Auditorium

Sunday, October 16
Family Day

Midnight -
Om Records Dance Party - "Dance Your Art Out" - DJs include: JT Donaldson, Colossus (live), DJ Fluid, J Boogie's Dubtronic Science (live)
Lower Lobby Lounge

6 a.m.
Maya Blessing Ceremony led by Don Pascual Yaxon (Sunrise)
Museum Lawn

8 a.m.
China Songshan Shaolin Temple Buddhist Ceremony
World Stage

9 - 11 a.m.
Multicultural Blessing Ceremonies including: Native American, Maya, Sufi, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, Danza Azteca Xitlalli de San Francisco (Aztec Dancers). Led by Anne-Marie Sayers of Indian Canyon, in collaboration with the Interfaith Center at the Presidio.
World Stage and Art Galleries TBD

9:30 a.m.
Hatshepsut: From Queen to Pharaoh - Open to the public ($5.00 special exhibition fee applies)
Special Exhibition Galleries (Lower Level)

9:30 a.m.
Tower Observation Deck reopens to the public until 5 p.m.
Tower Observation Check

9:30 a.m. - noon
City College of San Francisco - Sketching Class
Osher Sculpture Garden

All Day
“The Young de Young" - Family Day for all ages

Hands-on art activities

* Geoffrey Nwogu - African wood carving
* Lily Lanier - Origami
* Museum Artists - Egyptian beauty with face painting
* Museum Ambassadors - “Picture Yourself” with Egyptian art and costumes - Polaroid photo station
* Mural exchange project - Postcard Project
* Art hat activity

Café Terrace Tent

All day
San Francisco Circus Center - Performances, Bubble-making activity
Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive

All day
Sawdust Painting by Gato Garcia
Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive

All day
Lise Swenson, filmmaker. Visitor interviews until 5 p.m. for Questions and Answers, a new film about the new de Young
Kimball Education Gallery

10:30 a.m.
Danza Azteca Xitlalli de San Francisco - Aztec dancers
World Stage

10 a.m.
Anime screening for family audiences - TBD
Koret Auditorium

11 a.m.
Fook Sing Lion dancers
Osher Sculpture Garden

11:30 a.m.
Stilt walkers from West Portal Elementary Chinese Performing Arts Program
Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive

SF JAZZ All-Star High School Ensemble
World Stage

Stilt walkers
Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive

1 p.m.
Lowell High School String Quartet
World Stage

1:30 p.m.
Julia Tsitsi Chigamba and the Chinyakare Ensemble - African Dancers and Musicians
World Stage

2 p.m.
West Portal Chinese Ribbon/Fan Dancers
World Stage

2:30 p.m.
Soka Gakkai International USA youth groups: Mystic Flava Hip Hop, New Century Brass Band, Ever Victorious Taiko, Lotus Spoken Word
World Stage

2:30 p.m.
Margaret Jenkins Dance Company - Performance: Running with the Land, in the Osher Sculpture Garden. Running with the Land is a new work created especially for the Barbro Osher Sculpture Garden, commissioned by the Barbro Osher Pro Seucia Foundation, and featuring a score by composer Paul Drescher and costumes by Laura Hazlett.
Osher Sculpture Garden

3 p.m.
Grupo Jaranero Zazil-Ha - Children's Traditional Maya Dance
World Stage

3:30 p.m.
Sunset Movement Arts - Children's Ballet, Tao, Hip Hop, Chinese Dance
World Stage

3:30 p.m.
Performing Arts Workshop - Movement Workshops for Children
Koret Auditorium

4 p.m.
Julia Tsitsi Chigamba and the Chinyakare Ensemble - African Dancers and Musicians
World Stage

5 p.m.
Opening Weekend Concludes - Museum closed to the public until Tuesday, October 18.

*All performances subject to change.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Northern Wisconsin

red deer night alone sunrise forest pines highway road alone night sunrise deer sunrises behind deer sunrise above deer star cloud rise through deer antlers awake window shield before deer's antlers a miniature toy deer on the window sill a toy deer a light a miniature deer -- closed to night to morning reindeer in rain toy deer in a box miniature sunsets merry-go-round reindeer music going round the carousel deer belong to the owner of an early sunset deer gallops in place to music before the movie begins carousel deer to the music prance -- night deer gallops in circles -- frozen at the end of day a carousel frozen in the evening light -- closed for the season a carousel deer frozen by the setting sun -- closed for the season deer frozen in sunlight; closed for the season that's where the sun went: no footsteps but circles into the carousel deer will miniature deer dream morning light -- last light from day even carousel deer dream into music before the setting sun before sun set rounds music -- carousel deer suddenly sunrise northern wisconsin deer where light from gallops

-- Jeff Wietor

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Local man who lives Cajun way survives storm

File Photo / Houma Courier

GRAND CAILLOU -- More than a week after a 9-foot storm surge from Hurricane Rita swept over southern Louisiana, Jimmy Sothern is still trying to dry out his cypress-log cabin. His doors are open to the sunlight and soft breeze and furniture is drying on the deck built over the bayou.

Jimmy Sothern of Grand Caillou strums his banjo.

Sothern suffered 3 feet of flooding in the cabins he built on the bayou, and his children have been helping him clean.

"There’s no air conditioning and everything has floated all around, but there’s a lot of people worse off than me," Sothern said.

Sothern is a geologist, environmentalist, historian, musician, artist and artisan. He is a cultural placeholder -- someone who holds dear the history of his people and brings it to light again and again. He does it out of love, and in part, to measure the losses.

Regardless of the topic of conversation, Sothern soon turns it back to geology: the sinking sedimentary basin that is southern Louisiana, the need to return the Mississippi River back to its wild state and the wrongs humans have brought to bear on Louisiana’s land and waterways.

Sothern said that in 1935, the U.S. Geological Survey set bronze elevation markers at intervals along the shell roads leading from Houma. Over the years, as roads were paved, the markers were covered. But Sothern found an older man who remembers one marker’s placement and elevation. Sothern said the marker stated the land was 5 feet above sea level. By 1980, that same spot had sunk 2 feet.

"The Mississippi River, before people settled along its banks and began protecting their homes with levees, deposited silt carried from upriver flooding and created deltas in the Gulf waters," Sothern said.

But the delta building no longer occurs because levees built after the 1927 flood prevent the river from changing course as it once did. Without the river depositing rich soil and land-building sediment in the coastal estuaries, south Louisiana has begun to sink.

And that means storm-driven waters will bring ever more destruction to vulnerable low-lying communities, as shown in recent weeks after hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
"We’re sitting right over the largest subsiding basin in the world," Sothern said, adding there’s a simple reason why the people of Grand Caillou, Dulac, Pointe-aux-Chenes and nearby areas continue to live in the watery realm. "I think they love it here."

Sothern moved to Grand Caillou after the death of his wife in 1977. Together the Sotherns raised six children.

Sothern has no plans to move away from the bayou, although being flooded several times in the past few years has caused him to consider it. His eyes light up when remembering the friendly people and wooded mountains of North Carolina, where friends welcomed him during the last hurricane, and where he played the banjo with a bluegrass band.

But moving to North Carolina would mean leaving the home he built with his own hands. As he has done with every new endeavor, Sothern researched authentic Acadian culture before building and learned that traditional cabins are built with certain elements. Their design makes for a graceful harmony with nature: higher ceilings allow the summer heat to rise, and the cooling evening shade falls around the south or easterly positioned wide front porches. Rainwater sluices easily off of pitched roofs. The three cabins along Sothern’s acre of land are marked with a sign that reads simply "Bayou Cabins." There is the cabin that Sothern lives in, the old-style bar and dance hall that he reserves for private use, and the demonstration cabin built as a model. Sothern has stopped building cabins because he now has to raise them high above the flood line.

Sothern is home on the bayou after several days cooking for evacuees at the Houma-Terrebonne Civic Center, where his son is the executive chef. The Civic Center is serving as a temporary home for Hurricane Katrina evacuees from New Orleans, and a shelter for area families that fled Rita’s flooding.

He is visibly moved when recounting the generosity shown Louisiana residents by people from around the world. "You can’t put a value on that because of the love that came with it," Sothern said, and is for a moment, uncharacteristically quiet.
In his kaleidoscopic childhood, Sothern attended 21 schools in 11 years. His Texas father was an oil driller by trade; his Louisiana mother raised the children. As soon as one well was struck, the family moved on to the next Gulf Coast oil town. The transitory life was hard on Sothern, but he learned to adapt to abrupt changes in culture.

"In Texas, the kids made fun of my Cajun accent, and back in Louisiana they said I talked like an uppity Texan," Sothern said. "But Cajun people are really marvelous. If you make fun of them, they’ll laugh with you."

His favorite memories are of living with his grandparents on the grounds of Southdown Plantation. "That was the most stable time," Sothern said. "Those are some of the happiest days of my life."

Sothern stays in touch with friends from that time, and has two expertly rendered pen-and-ink drawings to remind him of those days: one of the cabins at Southdown, and another of La Trouvaille, a restaurant in Chauvin where Sothern played Cajun music on Saturday nights.

"I fell in love with Houma from the very first minute," he said.

He remembers fondly a Terrebonne Parish of earlier times, when Houma was mainly accessible by water, and families went to town on trawl boats.
"Oyster boats would come in loaded, and I would hear oyster shuckers and shrimp peelers going to work at dawn," Sothern said. "The Courthouse Square was a popular meeting place. Benches were always full and people stopped to visit with one another."

Sothern likened Houma’s downtown in the late 1930s to New Orleans’ French Quarter, bustling with shops, bars and cafes.

"During World War II, Saturday nights looked like a foreign city, like Shanghai," he said. "There were so many people from other parts of the world."

Not content to keep a lifetime of knowledge -- much of it self-acquired -- to himself, Sothern has published three books and taught science courses at Louisiana State University and at L.E. Fletcher Technical Community College in Houma.
He’s led Cajun culture tours and taught himself to sing old-time Cajun songs in French, as well as popular ballads.

His passion for the culture and people of Louisiana burns as brightly as ever, even as he worries about its eventual extinction.

"Cajun culture is disappearing," Sothern said. "The only thing holding it together is Cajun music."

His dream for south Louisiana and the culture that makes it unique is simple: "My beloved homeland, as a safe place to keep on catching oysters, shrimp, redfish and trout, for our great-great-great-grandchildren," Sothern said. "Wherever our final journey ends -- I hope we’re catching trout."

-- Jan Clifford / The Houma Courier


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