Friday, April 17, 2015

In my youth I was a tireless dancer. This is a Dorn poem, appropriately included in Hands Up!, the collection brought out by Amiri Baraka through his Totem Press, in association with Corinth Books, Baraka then living in New York City, but having lived in Newark, that he would return to Newark—the wisdom in this. And the first lines of this poem from Dorn begin, "But now I pass | graveyards in a car." And in the second stanza of the poem, after having mourned the dead, after having mourned those objects and events and phenomena that have since passed out of existence, Dorn then turns to the dance itself, the Saturday night dance, he recalls this from his youth and thinking on his youth he recalls himself as a tireless dancer. And I find now that, for my own part, it serves me well to recall my own experiences in the world as a tireless dancer, the photographs below—the first from Newark and the second from New York City—we tireless dancers—inexhaustible—alive—well.

At least one of the people in the photograph above is no longer with us, he having died of an HIV-related illness, ostensibly due to drugs. Too many of the others in the photograph I have not seen in too many years, there, the Pipeline in Newark, perhaps on a Thursday night, possibly a Saturday when the hardcore matinees took place. Broadstreet in Newark, just a block or two from where the city of Belville begins. 1991. Perhaps. And I can look at these faces and recall stories, moments, anecdotes, encounters. These faces are not aids to memory; they are people who perhaps might recall as I do—how in our youth we were all tireless dancers—inexhaustible.

And the second photo, this, a dancing. These would have been the drums, the pounding, of a confusion and also of a class war and also of a deep desire the shape of which still outpaces our desire. And our ability to grasp this desire through itself offers its own clear knowing. And perhaps this photograph was taken at Nightingales. Perhaps another club. The Bank or the Wetlands. I do not know. Though I do know I was there. And I cannot know where. I do not see myself. And this is as it should be for who could want to see only their own image when in fact it was the whole of the choir that mattered. And this is not the dance of exchange but a dance compelled by the suffering generated by exchange. To regard any of this otherwise would be folly. And this dance—this dance—nothing more than the movement of bodies toward survival—a tempering of the mind.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Southern Maine Workers' Center. An astonishing resource (and pictured below, this featured at the SMWC site, Fairport workers on strike, represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers).

Thinking about the center, and later stopping in, I found myself thinking about the Miners' Gala in Durham each year, and Little Moscow, the Chopwell district of Durham, the banner of the lodge there, a trinity situated at center, Scottish socialist and Labor Party co-founder Keir Hardie, Lenin and Marx, this lodge National Union of Mineworkers, a Labor Party badge to the right of the banner, a hammer and sickle with a red star at the other, this contradiction, and below lines from Whitman, Pioneers: "WE TAKE UP THE TASK ETERNAL | THE BURDEN AND THE LESSON."

That Whitman could be so seamlessly situated beneath this trinity, or that this configuration—Hardie, Lenin and Marx—can still resonate through the streets, if only as ritual practice, to this one might ask what better ritual to observe, this echo of a perhaps more radical past, and I now I find myself recalling the shop in Durham where I found Bill Griffith's North East Dialect: Survey and Word List (1999), later Griffith's would hone and expand the endeavor into A Dictionary of North East Dialect (2004), encouraging me to wonder where a dialect ends and a language begins, and as ever the question of the shibboleth for any dialect ensnared in a humiliatingly subordinate relation to a dominant language, the subordinate dialect often figured culturally as the butt of a joke. And so to see Whitman, who, like Springsteen or Baraka, aspires to celebrate working people and the working poor, to privilege them, as washing the feet of the indigent and ill—to see class cut across the Atlantic in this way—this offers something—even if only ritualized gesture. 

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Render unto Caesar. This was most difficult to me. Perhaps is. I do not know. This is stupefaction. This is light. I do not know. Yes. Duncan. His meadow. Among my friends:
Among my friends love is a great sorrow.
It has become a daily burden, a feast,
a gluttony for fools, a heart's famine.
We visit one another asking, telling one another.
We do not burn hotly, we question the fire.
We do not fall forward with our alive
eager faces looking thru into the fire.
We stare back into our own faces.
We have become our own realities.
We seek to exhaust our lovelessness. 
Perhaps this. Lovelessness. I do not know. This. This is a thinking. Perhaps. Among my friends. Yes.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Pinkerton Thugs. This first. Then this. The clearing. Micah Blue Smaldone. This to love.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Long awaited. Andrew Rippeon, from PORCHES (Delete Press 2015):

Andrew Rippeon edited P-Queue (2007 – 2010), founded QUEUE Books (2007 – 2011), and now works as a letterpress printer and serves as the studio manager for The Press at Nine-Mile Swamp. He is editing a selection of letters from Larry Eigner to Jonathan Williams, of The Jargon Society, and currently teaches literature at Hamilton College in central New York.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

An unusual but potentially useful source of poetry information, At Buffalo, mag for SUNY-Buffalo alumni — i.e. Lauren Newkirk Maynard, "Priceless Cargo: UB Sends Rare Manuscripts to Wales to Honor 100th Birthday of Dylan Thomas" (Winter 2015):

And this anecdote from the same issue on Charles Olson's Myth and Lit course at Buffalo, c1964:

Monday, March 16, 2015

Lee Si-Young, "The Police Did Not Think of Them as Human Beings." Patterns. Trans. Brother Anthony and Yoo Hui-Sok. Green Integer 2014.
The police thought of them as enemies. At 5:30 a.m. on the 20th, all five lanes of Han'gang Street were closed to traffic. 1600 men from 20 squadrons of police were deployed, together with 49 men from the Seoul anti-terrorist special brigade and four water-trucks. From the start, the police did not consider the dispossessed renters as human beings. Likewise, the fifty or so protesters, who were occupying a watch-tower they had constructed using containers etc. on the roof of the 5-floor commercial building scheduled for demolition in the redevelopment of Han'gang Street's 2nd block, did not think of the police as human beings. Instead, they had stocks of firebombs, acid bombs and 60 cans of paint-thinner up on the roof as a means of defense. As soon as the police tried to storm the ground floor of the building at 6:05, they hurled firebombs. At 6:10 the water-trucks aimed powerful jets at the roof of the building. The police seemed to be thinking of the citizens, now soaked with water like drowned rats, as major criminals or terrorists. At 6:45, 13 members of the police special brigade arrived on the roof, carried in a container raised by a crane. The container struck the watchtower hard and the firebombs thrown by the squatters drove back the water cannon. At 7:10 fire first broke out in the watch-tower. At 7:20 ten additional members of the special brigade arrived on the roof. At 7:26 the police stormed the first level of the tower, the protesters retreated to the upper level, resisting fiercely, as red flames began to emerge from the interior, then after a strong explosion the entire structure was engulfed in the blaze. By this time, the roof was ankle-deep in water from the cannons, with a layer of thinner floating on its surface. Just then three or four squatters rushed out of the flames and were hanging from the railings round the roof, away from the smoke, shouting, "Help!" but nobody took any notice. Finally, they fell to the icy ground where no mattresses had been spread. The day's attack ended with six blackened corpses left lying in the tower, including one policeman, but from the start the police had not thought of the protesters as human beings and the protesters did not consider them as their policemen.