Monday, August 29, 2011

After the Storm

I've been reading C.K. Williams's Repair and came across this poem. After Hurricane Irene has come and gone it struck a chord with me. I hope you enjoy it, too.


Even when the rain falls relatively hard,
only one leaf at a time of the little tree
you planted on the balcony last year,
then another leaf at its time, and one more,
is set trembling by the constant droplets,

but the rain, the clouds flocked over the city,
you at the piano inside, your hesitant music
mingling with the din of the downpour,
the gush of rivulets loosed from the eaves,
the iron railings and flowing gutters,

all of it fuses in me with such intensity
that I can't help wondering why my longing
to live forever has so abated that it hardly
comes to me anymore, and never as it did,
as regret for what I might not live to live,

but rather as a layering of instants like this,
transient as the mist drawn from the rooftops,
yet emphatic as any note of the nocturne
you practice, and, the storm faltering, fading
into its own radiant passing, you practice again.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Gillian Welch

I saw Gillian Welch last night at the Haw River Ballroom in Saxapahaw. She was supposed to perform in Wilmington but due to Hurricane Irene the show was rescheduled to Saxapahaw. Thank you Irene! What a phenomenal show! If you ever get the opportunity to see Ms Welch & Mr Rawlings play by all means do so.

They played this song last night & it has always been one of my favorites. Always reminds me of a good friend of mine when back in the day we used to go out dancing just about every night. Loved dancing with my friend, Dave, & it makes sad / happy whenever I hear this song.

              Elvis Presley Blues from the Time (The Revelator) album, 2001

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Big money funding school resegregation in Wake County NC

The Republican party really wants to takes us back, back into the dark ages. These attempts to end public education are taking place not too far from here. People need to wake up and understand how extreme these Republicans are. And vote the bastards out in the next election.

To read more about this issue you can read about it here:  

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The new poet laureate

Here's a poem by the new poet laureate, Philip Levine. Enjoy!

M. Degas Teaches Art & Science At Durfee Intermediate School--Detroit, 1942

He made a line on the blackboard,
one bold stroke from right to left
diagonally downward and stood back
to ask, looking as always at no one
in particular, "What have I done?"
From the back of the room Freddie
shouted, "You've broken a piece
of chalk." M. Degas did not smile.
"What have I done?" he repeated.
The most intellectual students
looked down to study their desks
except for Gertrude Bimmler, who raised
her hand before she spoke. "M. Degas,
you have created the hypotenuse
of an isosceles triangle." Degas mused.
Everyone knew that Gertrude could not
be incorrect. "It is possible,"
Louis Warshowsky added precisely,
"that you have begun to represent
the roof of a barn." I remember
that it was exactly twenty minutes
past eleven, and I thought at worst
this would go on another forty
minutes. It was early April,
the snow had all but melted on
the playgrounds, the elms and maples
bordering the cracked walks shivered
in the new winds, and I believed
that before I knew it I'd be
swaggering to the candy store
for a Milky Way. M. Degas
pursed his lips, and the room
stilled until the long hand
of the clock moved to twenty one
as though in complicity with Gertrude,
who added confidently, "You've begun
to separate the dark from the dark."
I looked back for help, but now
the trees bucked and quaked, 

and Iknew this could go on forever.  

Philip Levine

You can  hear Mr. Levine read the poem here:

Monday, August 15, 2011

Stan Brakhage

Stan Brakhage, was an American non-narrative filmmaker who is considered to be one of the most important figures in 20th century experimental film.

The Dante Quartet is an experimental short film completed in 1987. The film was inspired by Dante's The Divine Comedy, and took six years to produce.

The Dante Quartet is divided into four parts, titled Hell Itself, Hell Spit Flexion, Purgation and existence is song, respectively. Brakhage described the sections as follows:

I made Hell Itself during the breakup with Jane [Brakhage] and the collapse of my whole life, so I got to know quite well the streaming of the hypnagogic that’s hellish. Now the body can not only feed back its sense of being in hell but also its getting out of hell, and Hell Spit Flexion shows the way out – it’s there as crowbar to life one out of hell toward the transformatory state – purgatory. And finally there’s a fourth state that’s fleeting. I’ve called the last part existence is song quoting Rilke, because I don’t want to presume upon the after-life and call it “Heaven."

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Bill Knott

Bill Knott was one of my professors at Emerson College where I earned an MFA in poetry. Knott is the author of ten books of poetry, including his landmark first collection The Naomi Poems (Follett, 1968), Outremer, which won the Iowa Poetry Prize in 1988, and most recently The Unsubscriber (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004). He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2003. He could scare the bejusus out of the unitiated, but Knott knows his stuff and has to be admired for his tenacity in doing it his own way.
Knott has self-published collections of his work, which are available for free through his website:

Friday, August 5, 2011

Balkan Brass

I've spent the past couple of hours listening to Balkan brass bands and nearly catapulting myself through the roof in the process. Love the seismic energy of these sounds! Hope you enjoy it too. This is the Fanfara Transilvania Balkan Brass Band:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

August 4th

I saw my first Great Blue Heron of the summer this morning. What a treat! I remember seeing them last year around this time. It must be part of their migration pattern. Happy to have them back in hood. They are truly magnificent creatures!  I've also been seeing more of the Red-shouldered Hawks. One flew about 5 feet over my head a few weeks back. What a fierce looking bird. And of course the Barred Owls are seemingly always around. Just the sound of them calling out to each other is enough to soothe the soul. Love my tree house in the forest and all its wondrous inhabitants!