(I don't usually take this long to write a thank you, but an important matter kinda stole my attention on a Monday night.)
I know I didn't reinvent a wheel, readings have been going on for decades. Well, historically much longer than that but you know what I mean. And the internet has been used to stream live events since it was able to do so. But for some reason Sunday felt like the first time I’ve hosted a Bluebird Reading and it felt like I stepped into new territory. While preparing to write this I had to make sure to pull every Bluebird from the memory banks, just for grounding purposes.
Being able to effectively listen to the spoken word is an exercise in being human; paying attention to the details while also trying to comprehend the symbolism, the sitting in silence, the emotional response - at the right moments, and sometimes at the wrong moments. Reader, after reader, after reader, and sometimes for two hours at a time. I don’t know about you, but this is often hard for me to do. For some reason I can't sit still too long during poetry readings and I sometimes want to just laugh during the quiet moments. Yeah, I sometimes suck at being an audience, but one thing I know for sure, my Bluebird audience doesn't suck. Ever. I'd love nothing better than to give a big hug and thanks to all of those who came by (virtually and physically) to listen and support our featured writers, the Bluebird reading series and Avenue 50 Studio. My parents (all four of them) were in attendance via Google Hangout, and so were Bluebird alumni Melinda Palacio and Wyatt Underwood!
This past Sunday was especially significant to me for many reasons, one being that I’m a big fan of the journey, more so than the destination. Physical or metaphysical, place is defined by the stories that still travel on the roads between here and there. It’s important that these stories are told, because where we are now – didn't always exist. I think it’s important to remember yesterday and there, and to dream of tomorrow and here.
So to recap - the wonderful Hector Tobar gave us a sneak peek into a mythical relationship centering on our River and nurtured by bicycle tours of the cities under-appreciated malodorous areas. Amanda Yates Garcia (with the help of Mark So strategically placing his cassette decks in the hands of the audience) led us on an exploration away from places dreamt up by our inherited anxieties and towards our relationship with place and the sounds that those physical and spiritual experiences birth – and with Gram Parsons to boot! Abel Salas took us to Tucson to help us compassionately fight, for what is right and for those that can’t. And we thought about our plans for disaster, and then wonderfully accepted our Angelesian fate, with the help of Joseph Lapin's view from Chinatown. And of course, what journey wouldn't be complete without a visit to the old village of Strathpeffer, Ross-shire in the Scottish Highlands?! With a little help from our lovely friends at Google Hangout, our favorite human factors engineer - the effervescent, holistic and Los Angeles born Ashley Karr - was able to share her beautiful poem from her hotel bed in her ancestral Scotland. I thank them for inspiring us...for amazing storytelling...and for making Bluebird their home for a couple hours on a Sunday afternoon.
A HUGE thank you to the wonderful open-mic’rs – My favorite part of the Bluebird Reading, always!
Don't worry, we’ll be expanding on this Google Hangout experiment because of course, I wouldn't want anyone to get bored. Stay tuned for more info on that.
And next month there will be NO Bluebird, as she’s flying away from home for a little winter break. But catch us December 8th when we feature Rich Ferguson, Brynn Saito & a live Butoh performance by Khadija Anderson (plus more TBA) !!!
Again, thank you and a huge X and O
The more your encounter with poetry deepens, the more your experience of your own life will deepen, and you will begin to see things by means of words, and words by means of things.
Ok so seriously, I have a ridiculously busy schedule. In addition to a 40 (+/-) hour work week I also curate two monthly poetry readings, a bi-monthly reading that involves much more than poetry, I volunteer once a week, have mentorship responsibilities, accept reading invitations a couple times a month, working on a music project, my poetry collection, and some literary projects outside of the readings. And let's not forget making time for self, family and nurturing my wonderful friendships and romance-ship...
So of course I’m often asked, “How do you have so much energy?”
Well, I think it's due mostly to my listening to imperial court music, or just Toshio Hosokawa for weeks at a time. Every. Single. Morning. Sure I meditate too, but I practice Deep Listening at least once a day. I think when we become submerged in sounds that are spacial, in harmony with the movements of our breathe, we allow our bodies to float and wander off – away from ourselves - for a brief moment. What makes it a little different than meditation is that in the brief moment when we lose ourselves between the emotional chords, sounds, and ambient voices, we create an immediate bond with our surroundings, subconsciously. It’s as if we’re listening to an orchestrated love letter penned by nature. And like meditation, we also create a bond with the silence in the negative space (Ma, 間). When I return to the conscious state, I realize there’s been an entire conversation going on, a conversation with silence. My subconscious listens to the silence, and as I get better at this the silence makes the trip back home with me. It’s invigorating. And I feel armed for battle…
and ready for the day.
(give it a try)
The earliest memory I have belongs to December 8, 1980. The first time I'd witness a grown man break into a million pieces. That was the night I realized that I, my stepfather, family, and the rest of our crazy little world...was mortal...and human. And my stepfathers tears for the loss of this man who was only a funny musician to me then, meant that he'd make sure I knew everything there was to know about him. And thus began my life infused with John Lennon. And because of the lack of time, in lieu of me writing a new note like I do ever year, here's the note I wrote last year...on why for me, and for so many, it was John Lennon.
THIS POST written October 9 2012
Most of us call it "living," settling in a space with furnished memories manufactured to place a new history where cobwebs once created shadows. Los Angeles dines on those cobwebs and lives in its shadows. It can be impossible to live in this place without a proper map. This place woven together by fragments of unknown pasts and make believe roads ahead. Meet me at the four level interchange, where the past catches up to the 110 and the 101, and where dreams slow down to talk about today. Meet me there so that we can talk about what living in Los Angeles means, and if we remember to wear white we'll be able to see where the cobwebs and shadows call home.
I'll tell you the secret to love making. But not the kind that involves bodies getting lost in each other. First you have to grow wings. When midnight comes you let go, of everything you knew. Your wings embrace what you were once too scared to say hello to. Wings as strong and safe as home, as delicate as where he last kissed you. And I promise, when he wakes in your arms he'll believe there is a God he once prayed to.
Writing, at its best, is an observation with the occasional participation...in living. The wonderful writer Joseph Mattson catches those observations in the height of their realty and releases them...to us, gift wrapped in piercing colors that we can feel. Read this and unwrap the imagery and what your left with is, quite simply, an amazing and perfectly arranged assortment of sentences. Writing at its best.
"My Mother's Unsolved Murder" by Joseph Mattson, published by The Fix
I have so many fabulously talented and awesome friends, one of them is composer/musician/producer Joseph Minadeo aka Patternbased. He’s currently on a massive tour across the country, collaborating with musicians/artists/designers… planned, but mostly kind of spontaneous. He just left Ashville and is now in NYC/ Philly/NJ area…and is open to collaborating in cities near there.
If you’re a musician on the East coast…hit him up and collaborate. Ever patient, professional, flexible and with a great ear, he’s honestly a great producer/musician to work with!
Check out his website for details on what he’s worked on, his projects, style etc….
And one of several things he and I worked on was this piece he just published on his Soundcloud. It’s a little prosaic excerpt-infused-melody taken from the beloved Jean Baudrillard’s philosophical treatise “Simulacra and Simulation.”
The most important thing he taught me was that words require rest to ready themselves for a life conducted in these semiotic orchestras. After a short recess, the words will develop minds of their own, jump from the pages and walk into waiting memories. For the first time, they become excited to go to where you call home. And the conductor will take pride in his own gracious bow.
Yesterday I lied and said I can't write about him.
His strong fingers still holding onto fragile memories.
I want to protect him, keep him from the hurt that can surface
when words pour over an open wound.
So I lied again and told him that all I want to do is write about how I'm crossing my delicate fingers,
waiting for memories to let go
and for me to slip in.
And I lied again. And again after that.
And then it happened
That version of him disappeared. And all that's left is truth.
Sitting together, as words fall on wounds that will take forever to heal, if at all.
We stare at them, and each other.
And let us happen.
And learn that harmony isn't found in the letting go of our long-lived memories,
instead it's found somewhere in the letting go of the fight.
Love needs room to grow, and there's no room left
in a space filled with war.
Hemingway once wrote, "He defends [his friends] when they are attacked, he gets them into magazines and out of jail. ... He writes articles about them. He introduces them to wealthy women. He gets publishers to take their books. He sits up all night with them when they claim to be dying ... he advances them hospital expenses and dissuades them from suicide."
T. S. Eliot declared that he "is more responsible for the twentieth-century revolution in poetry than is any other individual."
Donald Hall remarked that he "is the poet who, a thousand times more than any other man, has made modern poetry possible in English."
He gave birth to Robert Frost. He introduced Joyce to Harriet Shaw Weaver and then invited him to Paris, changing everything.
As a writer, Ezra Pound was aware of the inside, as a human...he was aware of the outside.