Sunday, October 16, 2011

Occupy Augusta

Thank you Paul Krugman for explaining so eloquently why the Occupy movement calls to me and so many others.
Our contingent of a small - maybe 100 as reported by the local paper - but dedicated  group outside the Capitol Building in Augusta on October 15th
"What’s going on here? The answer, surely, is that Wall Street’s Masters of the Universe realize, deep down, how morally indefensible their position is. They’re not John Galt; they’re not even Steve Jobs. They’re people who got rich by peddling complex financial schemes that, far from delivering clear benefits to the American people, helped push us into a crisis whose aftereffects continue to blight the lives of tens of millions of their fellow citizens.
Yet they have paid no price. Their institutions were bailed out by taxpayers, with few strings attached. They continue to benefit from explicit and implicit federal guarantees — basically, they’re still in a game of heads they win, tails taxpayers lose. And they benefit from tax loopholes that in many cases have people with multimillion-dollar incomes paying lower rates than middle-class families.
This special treatment can’t bear close scrutiny — and therefore, as they see it, there must be no close scrutiny. Anyone who points out the obvious, no matter how calmly and moderately, must be demonized and driven from the stage. In fact, the more reasonable and moderate a critic sounds, the more urgently he or she must be demonized, hence the frantic sliming of Elizabeth Warren.
So who’s really being un-American here? Not the protesters, who are simply trying to get their voices heard. No, the real extremists here are America’s oligarchs, who want to suppress any criticism of the sources of their wealth."
Full op ed:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011



There is a hunger for connection
Deep down in one’s soul
Under all the layers
That moment when you cut 
Through all the bullshit that
Surrounds every relationship
And connect

There are no ex wives, old boyfriends, or needy children
The stress from work is immaterial
The unsold house, the bills, the mistrust
It’s not separating us in this instant
There is only the two of us
And the ping rate is minuscule

It’s there and then it’s gone
Back to daily life
One suffers the hum drum of routine in memory of that moment
As the power of two dance before them, drawing them in
And usually spitting them out
But for the rare moment
When defenses drop and we’re given another glimpse
Of what’s behind the great wall of ego and thought

This poem contributed to
dVersePoets Open Link Night #13

Monday, October 10, 2011

Lowell Celebrates Kerouac 2011

We stopped at the "Historic Trolley Pizzeria" on our way into Lowell Friday afternoon and then drove straight to Jack's grave.  We found it pretty easy it being our 3rd trip there.   

Me bringing a rose for Jack's grave from a bouquet Rick had brought me last week.  

An assortment of offerings - the shots, harmonica, a couple of beers, my rose, Rick's book, and the single malt 16 year old whiskey we brought for our toast.
I read the 242nd Chorus from Mexico City Blues.     

After leaving the grave we checked into our hotel - not an easy feat.  It was so absurd I seriously thought we could be on candid camera or something, but it gave us a chance to talk to the other people in line and met a couple in town for the festival from Bordeaux, France and a professor from Quebec with several students.  We then walked over to Ricardo's, getting lost en route and finding the prof and his students wandering as well.  We all found it a few minutes later and had a beer, talked with Mike, listened to a NY street poet named Steve Dalachinsky whom I really liked.  Then this Jack impersonator told a little story about the first time he met Ken Kesey - not a pretty story.  :-)  

This is "Jack" hanging out at Ricardo's - the first pub on our tour.
We stopped at Cappy's Copper Kettle second where we met a pretty interesting local dude playing pool.  He told us he was a fighter - a kick boxer I think - and told Rick he looked like Kevin Nash who apparently is a wrestler.  It's very ironic that Rick is probably the only person in the bar other than this guy who would have a clue as to who Kevin Nash was.  After seeing a photo of Kevin Nash I must say I don't see the resemblance - 6 ft 7 - 300 pounds of solid muscle would be the first difference I notice.  

Next we went on to Major's Pub.  Rick had been posting on his Kerouac-obsessed blog all week that anyone who came up to him and said Rumplestiltskin would get a free book.  While Rick was outside taking photos I grabbed a table and invited some other folks to sit with us.  I got talking to Melissa, Todd and Nancy and then Rick came and joined us.  As we talked, Melissa said - hey, are you that guy with the blog?  I said, what's the magic word and she nailed it!  Rick  had been carrying a couple of books around so true to his pledge, gave her a signed copy.  It turns out she'd come across his blog when googling a Kerouac quote and saw his posts.  Her partner Todd was the Kerouac lecturer for Saturday which turned out to be very interesting.  

The last pub was The Worthen House - the same place we ended last year with all the antique belt driven fans.  As we were going in, the woman in front of us was telling the guy collecting $5 cover charge that she hadn't brought enough cash with her so I paid her way in.  We hung out and listened to Reverend JJ - a pretty good solo guitar and harmonica player and then a rather loud and unique band afterwards.  Walked back to our room about 11:30 I guess.

We had breakfast at the hotel and walked over to Kerouac Park for the bus tour just in time to hear more poetry by Dalachinsky and then a little talk and some flute tunes by Daivd Amram.  
Here's a photo of Steve Dalachinsky from Saturday at Kerouac Park.  
David Amram

People listening at Kerouac Park
We then boarded the bus and went to Jack's place of birth - 9 Lupine Street in Lowell.

Here's Roger Brunelle who grew up in Lowell at the same time that Kerouac lived there.  He never met Jack which he regrets - says Jack died before he was awakened.

We also went to the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, stopped at the Merrimack River, a couple of schools where Jack attended, and the Lowell Library where they say Jack still holds a record for having checked out the most books, among other places.  We broke off the tour when they headed to some locations we'd toured last year and went to a little Mexican restaurant for a quick bite before heading to the Lowell Center for Todd's lecture.  

We had to leave right after he finished so that we could run back to the hotel and get poetry for the open mike back at The Worthen House.  Rick had brought a poem he'd written about being at City Light Bookstore in San Francisco.  I had my moleskine  but none of the poems I had in there were really speaking to me so I decided not to read.  I really wanted some of the more recent poems I'd posted to dVerse poetry.   
Rick reading at open mike upstairs at The Worthen House
We had planned to go the the Centralville Social Club and listen to music at 8 but we were pretty beat (so to speak) at this point and decided to go grab some dinner at a cool pub we'd walked by earlier called The Old Court.  After a nice dinner we knew the music was a no go and decided we'd be redeemed if we went back to the hotel and streamed Howl from Netflix.  Loved the movie - great dialogue.  

When we got up on Sunday we decided to go down to Concord, MA to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery where Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott, and Ralph Waldo Emerson are all buried.  
Entrance to Author's Ridge
Me in front of Louisa May Alcott's grave.
Here's Henry David Thoreau's tombstone - very simple, as it should be.  There's a much larger family marker next to his stone.
Rick at Thoreau's grave.  He read an excerpt from Civil Disobedience.  
Here's me at Nathaniel Hawthorne's grave.
And here's Rick at Ralph Waldo Emerson's grave.  I read the poem, The Apology.

The Apology

Think me not unkind and rude,
That I walk alone in grove and glen;
I go to the god of the wood
To fetch his word to men.

Tax not my sloth that I
Fold my arms beside the brook;
Each cloud that floated in the sky
Writes a letter in my book.

Chide me not, laborious band,
For the idle flowers I brought;
Every aster in my hand
Goes home loaded with a thought.

There was never mystery,
But 'tis figured in the flowers,
Was never secret history,
But birds tell it in the bowers.

One harvest from thy field
Homeward brought the oxen strong;
A second crop thine acres yield,
Which I gather in a song.

All in all, a fun and interesting weekend.  We had a nice drive home during which I stopped at Starbucks for a caffeinated mocha frapacinno, so here it is 2:00 a.m. and I'm still wide awake and putting my blog together.  I'll be glad tomorrow - and when I look back in 10 years - that I did.  

Monday, October 3, 2011

Childhood Memory

Chaos reigns as it often does when he’s around
Yet flight is rejected
Only with complete presence can you detect the landmines before they explode

He crafts them carefully so you almost believe you put them there yourself
Complaints of a hard day of work and coming home to no dinner on the table
He bats the covered plate off the table and it crashes against the wall

The white of the eggs stick guiltily to the window
While the yoke breaks and makes a dramatic descent down the glass
Landing with silent thunder on top of the pink ham and scattered home fries

As my brothers and I run laughing hysterically from the room
Knowing our own peril, we can’t help but point out,
He is of course, right
                        Dinner is not on the table.

This poem contributed to dVersePoets Open Link Night Week 12