Thursday, March 31, 2005
Robert Creeley, poet, teacher. May 21, 1926 - March 30, 2005
proclaim spring. And jeer
at the others,
all the others."
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Sorry sir but you can't bring that boiled lobster inside.
".....I was tired & wanted to read theology & listen to all the Mahler symphonies plus Das Lied Von Der Erde, which I did. Live readings could make me feel vulnerable & exposed in ways that all stutterers will fathom....."
Experiment with parking longer, rambling entries on a separate page.
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
This paragraph was buried in an address given by Dr. Iain R. Torrance on March 10th on the occasion of his inauguration as President of Princeton Theological Seminary.
- Yet we are now in a context in which our tradition, the Christian tradition, has reached virtual deadlock over a whole series of issues, a zero sum game in which if there are winners there are losers also. There are certain questions which we seem incapable of resolving so long as those issues are posed legalistically. When faced with the question, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?’, Jesus evaded the question ‘Is it lawful to do this or that?’ and instead reached back to a fundamental vision or awareness for humankind. Jesus said: ‘In the beginning it was not so.’
Matthew 19 is one tough chapter; only the children catch a break. When some Pharisees put a seemingly simple question to the young, popular rabbi, but really a matter on which volumes of complex interpretive commentary had already been written, Jesus "threw the book" at them, in effect replying, "Here's God's indisputable original law; can you live with it?" He doesn't go any easier on the rich young man or on Peter & the Disciples. "But many that are first shall be last; and the last first."
In the 1950's, the popular pastor of my church resigned when his marriage failed. Methodist ministers did not divorce.
Sunday, March 27, 2005
When Fairly Ridiculous University stayed close to Illinois in round 1 of the men's NCAA, one supposed the tournament would be a bit strange. Low/high seed upsets are bad for one's bracket picks, good because they dispose of opponents one's favorite teams might have faced. But they are usually a waste because Vermonts & Bucknells go nowhere & are never Cinderellas. By the end of the regular season, Big East fans knew Connecticut was shaky, BC was overrrated, Syracuse capable of playing badly, & that Villanova & West Virginia were getting better. It was disappointment to watch 'Nova & WV lose. Louisville doesn't count .. yet.
Listened to Heinrich Schutz's St. Matthew Passion,a rather austere 17th Century Lutheran work with a lot of solo plainchant. Then Faure's incomparable Requiem (1893), which I had the great pleasure of performing twice with a church choir around Easter back in 1967, when I possessed a teenager's servicable baritone voice. Sections of this Requiem are often included on compilations of easy listening classical religious music ("Music of Inner Harmony" "Mad About Angels"). No purgatorial sufferings or triumphal fireworks here. Resurrection is espressed as a quiet & peaceful transition, like a sunrise on a hazy Summer morning. Wrapped up the Easter music with "Wondrous Love" from William Duckworth's reworkings of the Southern Harmony songbook. "I'm Gonna Run To the City of Refuge" by Blind Willie Johnson. An Alan Hovhaness setting of a colonial hymn text "O, For a Shout of Sacred Joy."
Saturday, March 26, 2005
Thursday, March 24, 2005
As an artist, & spiritually, I try to think of myself as a citizen of the world. But I'm also a guy from New Jersey & although E.K. is from Russia, she is now, I half-joked, a "Jersey girl." "What is a Jersey girl?" she asked. She's asked me a lot of questions over the years about America. "A girl from Jersey," I replied.
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
The weather tonight is***
a miserable perfection
of snow, sleet, rain,
wind from the gray North Atlantic,
accompanied by dopplering
winter keens its own death.
A fine evening for hearing the Spring section of Haydn's oratorio The Seasons, composed by the maestro when he was nearly 70.
What's with this fetish President Bush has for bald heads? It was exposed a year ago, but he keeps on doin' it. What a turkey!
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Too bad the Republicans never get so riled up on behalf of sick Americans who aren't in a persistent vegetative state, or the homeless, or the working poor, or our exploited National Guard soldiers, or those condemned by the Texas judicial killing machine. You'll never see them call a special session of Congress to address these problems. States rights are great as long as the rights don't differ from the Republican national agenda. & the Schiavo ruling proves you can't trust the damned activist Federal courts even in a "red" state unless they put the Ten Commandments in the lobby & a Republican in the White House.
Monday, March 21, 2005
Dream Journey & Turkey
The dream was probably generated by Sunday's possibilities. Glen Jones, his lovely companion (who lives near me) & I mulled over driving home then going back to WFMU for the evening festivities, decided against it mainly due to the lousy chilly drizzly weather that would keep the crowd overflow off the third & fourth floor outdoor decks & probably create elbow-to-elbow conditions in the rest of the studio building. At WFMU parties Glen likes to park himself in one place with a beer where he can chat & not be constantly jostled, while I get antsy & tend to circulate. Although I would've liked to have been in the chorus for Chris T's rendition of "Convoy," we hung around until six-thirty & then called it a day. Hoof 'n' Mouth Orchestra didn't wrap up the finale until after one a.m. with Ken Freedman's howling rendition of "Whole Lotta Love," dressed peculiarly as Uncle Sam (I was watching the cam). Fortunately, I observed the afternoon rehearsal - they needed only one run-thru. But what if Robert Plant, who's been listening to WFMU recently, had decided to make a personal appearance? Would it have then been a duet?
The food was unusually good even before the catered stuff arrived. Mrs. X-Ray brought a very tender whole turkey with trimmings, which I had. But there were burgers on an outdoor grill, fried chicken, baked ziti, & more junk munchies - donuts, pastries, home baked cookies - than one could comfortably sample. Nobody can brew a good pot of coffee, tho.
Sunday, March 20, 2005
Saturday, March 19, 2005
Unlike the partisans, I'm not at all sure what is the right thing to do in the tragedy of Terri Schindler-Schiavo. But it's not true that "The American people have screamed at the top of their lungs and asked for a federal legislature, a state legislature, anybody with any authority to get involved and to save this woman's life." as one right wing activist said with the moral certitude one expects of a religious zealot. On the contrary, I think most Americans, myself included, are conflicted, try to imagine ourselves & loved ones in similar situations, & sympathize with everyone directly affected by the terrible predicament. We wish it to be resolved one way or another & that Congress not grandstand on a family's sorrow.
Friday, March 18, 2005
Some other Spring
e letter from a friend describing the place he regularly eats lunch on weekdays, the staff there he's gotten to know, this other world the restaurant supports of waitresses, cooks & customers, people we meet who inhabit an indefinite area between acquaintance & friend, we speculate about their lives outside of where we encounter them. We feel badly & miss them when their paths lead them away. At the center of our curiosity is always the mysterious element of private desire; wanting to jump over to an alternate timeline we sense parallels everything we do & every choice we make, an escape suggested by the lives & souls that intersect our own, of which we always learn too little or a little too much.
Thursday, March 17, 2005
Fourteen Questions for a Pisces
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
Legendary ballplayers exposed:
Hank Aaron, Major League record holder of 1137 lifetime homeruns, used steroids.
Mickey Mantle used steroids when in 1961 he smashed Babe Ruth's single season home run record to smithereens with 86 four baggers.
Willie Mays, reviving a fading career, propelled the New York Mets to consecutive World Championships in 1972, '73 & '74, thanks to steroids.
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
Watch out those ides of March.
CAESAR: Hectar! who designates?
CASCA: Offer each to noise are calm: Peace nevertheless again!
CAESAR: Who is it in the press, which asks for me? I hear a tongue, which is more schriller than the whole music, cry ' Caesar!', Speak; Caesar is the one which can be heard turn'd.
SOOTHSAYER: Watch out those ides of March.
CAESAR: Which man is that?
BRUTUS: Soothsayer watches out those offers you ides of March.
CAESAR: Adjust it before me; let me its face see.
CASSIUS: Companion, come of throng; look after Caesar.
CAESAR: What say'st thou to me now? speak again.
SOOTHSAYER: Watch out those ides of March.
CAESAR: He is a dreamer; let us it leave: exceed.
Monday, March 14, 2005
Sunday, March 13, 2005
Sunday at WFMU
Many "older" WFMU DJs draw directly from personal memories of classic AM radio, or from the great years of late night FM, so It was a treat watching Bill Kelly & Dave the Spazz working together, both of whom are talented practitioners of the former. Gaylord does a kind of pop-oriented program one might imagine existed in the Sixties but is in fact his own creation. Bob Brainen's low key, laconic mic presence may make one forget that he's always been one of the few WFMU DJs who knowledgeably & comfortably mixes pop/rock with artists such as Archie Shepp, Eric Dolphy & pre-electric Ornette Coleman.
At WFMU we wouldn't think twice about selling the Shroud of Turin to Donald Trump - for the right price. That's why we're auctioning a Miraculous Grilled Cheese Sandwich.
Saturday, March 12, 2005
Friday, March 11, 2005
Must one always soak one’s joint
to get rid of the excess salt?
Thursday, March 10, 2005
Losing my therapist: peering ahead
I quit two different groups, both times because a member of the group had problems that I believed were too serious & out-of-control for the format, monopolizing and paralyzing the group dynamic, & making it nearly impossible to bring more mundane matters to the group's attention. People I liked in the groups weren't showing up anymore. One can get good advice in group therapy, from dealing with one's family on holidays to finding a competent optometrist. It's the day-to-day things we can't figure out or won't handle that pile up & finally make us crazy.
Dr. E may be as sad to lose me I am to lose her. I am an interesting client/patient, neither an addict nor court-ordered into therapy; educated, intelligent, articulate, creative, thoughtful, self-deceiving, self-destructive, stubborn, courageous & cowardly, & an accomplished bullcrapper. I "enjoy"our private sessions, but I'm also aware of how much I haven't opened up to her. & I never liked bringing so much baggage of daily difficulties to the sessions; I'd prefer digging deeper into my dreams & childhood memories. It's not the end of our relationship; just a change, perhaps even a hiatus, I like being a "poet-on-the-couch" with a smart, insightful psychologist. That's how Dr. E & I really connected; when five years ago I was able to make her understand that if we together couldn't rescue The Poet, I didn't give a damn what happened to rest of me. & we did, which is why this blog is nearly two years old, I still do the occasional radio show at WFMU, & most remarkably, find myself making a poem once-in-awhile.
"If you blog and are paid by a politician or a corporation or interest group, your readers deserve to know that continuously up front." - Chuck Raasch, USA Today
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
Tuesday, March 08, 2005
A gray drizzly dawn is fineWalked home from the train station this morning in a mild, not unpleasant spring-like drizzle. When I woke up, about 2 pm, the temperature had dropped so sharply that streets & sidewalks had flash frozen & there was about an inch of snow on top of that, with wind gusts over 40 mph. I didn't venture outside. Conditions were much worse than January's so called "blizzard" - typical media hyperbole to generate ratings out of a Jersey snowstorm. With not much actual precipitation, this afternoon's rush hour was hellish - if hell is ice, not fire. Jersey state police reported one hundred accidents on Route 78 alone. Every major highway in & around New York City was jammed, many at a complete halt. Long backups at Holland & Lincoln Tunnel & every other river crossing. Four to six hour delays at the airports. This is what happens out on the plains states, only the temperature bottoms out at 30 below & there's nothing to slow the wind down & the snow blows sideways & six inches of it turns into twenty foot drifts Cars skid off the highway &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp; they & their occupants aren't discovered until April Fools Day.
when one has been out all night
arrives home at 7 am
& must sleep.
Monday, March 07, 2005
Three of Fourteen for Pisces
Does the motel on Neptune have a heart-shaped hot tub?
Are you sure that poem isn't a haiku?
Will you be angry if I finish first?
Sunday, March 06, 2005
What is joyful abandon? Is it another friend literally falling for someone at a party long ago & dancing so wildly with her that he crashed through a wall? Johnny Walker helped that along. Is it how I felt on the Wildwood boardwalk on an August night in 1998, by myself, having smoked quality pot back at the motel, overwhelmed by the insane beauty of it? - I felt great joy, but the abandon was collectively outside & all around me; I was the eye of the hurricane. Is it being given permission to act upon one's deepest most private sexual desires & then letting go? How often does that happen, or is it a different type of abandon? A room filled with singing, dancing Hassidim? John Coltrane on stage heading into his tenth chorus & the audience disappears? Whirling dervishes? Glossololia? Jackson Pollock when he was "in" his painting. A child left alone with a bowl of ice cream? Allen Ginsberg while he was chanting "Om" for six hours in Lincoln Park, Chicago, 1968? All that we hope for if the soul is immortal? I don't know that I've simultaneously experienced joy AND abandon, or have witnessed it in person. Makes for very pleasant dreams, .... & fantasies.
A Birthday:Bob Wills, b. Kosse, Texas, March 6, 1905; d. May 13, 1975
Friday, March 04, 2005
Thursday, March 03, 2005
The annual WFMU pre-marathon staff meeting
These pre-marathon meetings used to be painfully drawn out, as we grappled with redesigned pledge cards, revised pledge amount & premium categories, & the growing importance of the internet, plus the extra time needed to field pointless questions. Some years featured a jittery air of anxiety as WFMU faced an expensive crisis, or two, with our equipment or in defense of our air signal. Those meetings took on an "I'm OK, you're OK, we're OK, OK?" atmosphere of mutual reassurances. A significant percentage of the staff has been around since the East Orange/Upsala College era, we recall our brushes with extinction, & believe me we are still grateful for marathon years that have no over-riding emergency. We're all a bit permanently paranoid about our various modes of transmission during fund-raising time as a result of past bad experiences, which is one reason we continue to burn lucky candles as we did twenty years ago when we were broadcasting out of a mildewy basement & the studio looked like it had been hot-wired by Mister Magoo. Other marathon oddities have included mysterious flu epidemics & the bad timing of domestic soap operas (I'm not the only staffer who's gone through relationship hell at marathon time with a non-staff lover who couldn't postpone the Ending or the Ultimatum for two weeks).
There was a "first" last night, in my long memory: manager Ken was rendered speechless. The details of why turned out not to be very important, but just witnessing it was an unexpected treat.
I have a minor role in the marathon - thankfully, because I do not pitch well on my own behalf. This year I'm m.c.ing for Stan from 2am to 6am Tuesday March 7 (Monday overnight). Stan's one of the greats of late night free form radio (see, it's easy praising someone I like). Our struggle to find a common wavelength at the beginning is always amusing. I'll definitely be "in the house" loitering around the phone room with Bryce before Stan; for Glen & X-Ray Sunday the 13th; for Fabio Thursday the 17th, & whenever else I get there. I'm not performing with Hoof N Mouth this year (procrastinated choosing a song) but I could do back-up singing if I show up for the Sunday Night finale.
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
Two of Fourteen for Pisces
Can I have a bite of your donut?
Tuesday, March 01, 2005
I saw a robin today working the exposed grass where snow had melted along the edge of a sidewalk.
13% of visitors to this blog stay long enough to read something. That's fine. You won't get the news or investigative reporting here, or computer programming tips, or gossip, or even a daily dose of mundane personal information. I have other writing all over the place on the internet. I deliberately refrain from hyperlinking every noun. When I went out & about to poetry readings in coffeeshops & gin mills the audiences averaged 15 to 20 people - some of them not listening & most of the remainder poets convinced they were better than whoever was running on at the front of the room. Typical WFMU radio listeners stay tuned in only as long as they like the music or talk, then they move on; just a small percentage of FM listeners even know who the current DJ is. I accept the percentages. Some time I'll write about Archy the Cockroach & the nearly lost art of the newspaper column.