Archive for april
My peonies sleep
curled into their red roots
frozen with the ground.
I walk with what is left of winter
and discover a tiny animal, wet and black,
bereft of possibility.
It’s too close to spring to die.
we need a month of sunny days
before we dig and plant.
a hale storm threw
a million tiny pearls
onto tawny fields
as soon as they landed.
“Poetry is the one place where people can speak their original human mind. It is the outlet for people to say in public what is known in private. ”
20 liner poets Chris Shearer, Leslie Berliant and yours truly are reading tonight at the Cherry Branch Gallery in Cherry Valley, NY…home to Ginsberg et al.
“Cherry Valley has a long history as an artist and writer’s community. Willa Cather left New York City for the isolated village in 1911, writing O Pioneers! while there. Poet Allen Ginsberg bought a farm there in the 1960s, and the town became a haven and destination point for many of the major personalities of the Beat scene:
William Burroughs, Gregory Corso, Peter Orlovsky, Herbert Huncke, Ray Bremser, Anne Waldman, Robert Creeley, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Harry Smith, Mary Beach, Claude Pelieu and many others all spent time either living or visiting there.
Poet Charles Plymell still lives in Cherry Valley (and I heard he gave a nod of approval to my iPhoneography show)—he and his wife Pam ran Cherry Valley Editions from their home, publishing small editions of major writers. Jazz pianist Paul Bley and Jeff Palmer are residents of the small town, as is artist/writer Jack Walls, artists Richard Saba and Mark Mastroianni, film maker James Rasin, and National Book Award nominated novelist Dana Spiotta.
The transgender pioneer, actress and Andy Warhol Superstar Candy Darling is buried in the historic Cherry Valley Cemetery. A significant portion of the award winning feature length documentary film about her life, Beautiful Darling (2010), was shot in Cherry Valley. The photographer Ryan McGinley has staged several photo shoots in and around the village, and the artist Dash Snow shot one of his last 8mm pieces, “Sisyphus, Sissy Fuss, Silly Puss”, there in late May 2009.”
Photo of Ginsberg’s farm…taken last summer.
The Roads Less Traveled
We turned off the main highway
because that is what we do
She wakes us better than the rest
I’ll tell you why-
beyond the steering wheel
past the bugs splattered on glass
across the dust-covered hood
we live but a moment
Boulders, bunnies and rain, no lights
this is where we truly live
where no one lives anymore
Just like us now
stuck in cities now
dead-end jobs now
dazed and empty of desire
The road less travelled promises redemption
The Crazy Days of April
You are probably busy
picking up your uniformed school children,
listening to your heels scrape linoleum in the frozen food section,
holding your breath as your jet hits turbulence somewhere over Kansas,
sticking your card into the reader at the gas pump and waiting for your credit to be approved,
sitting in a dark room listening to your father draw his last breaths,
dabbing perfume on your wrist, your neck, while you stare in the mirror
at the wrinkles you didn’t expect.
Much like you do, one foot in front of the other, one breath after the next,
I slog through the crazy days of April-
the sky is either endless and blue or clogged with clouds and spitting rain,
another in between,
alone in space.
and who could have imagined
all this undone?
On Friday, I’ll see him again, you’ll see her again, he’ll see you.
We’ll drink and laugh and look at each other with children’s eyes.
Oh, to be young again…
to bark at the moon.