Awake Liberty — art by John Burroughs, 10/30/2009
No matter how much time I spend reading and answering e-mail, I never catch up. I suppose if I did nothing else, I could catch up — but then I suspect that half the people to whom I’d just responded would write back to me again before I’d even finished. My inbox is like that mythological pitcher that never gets empty no matter how many glasses I fill out of it.
I’m not complaining, just explaining — because, as I stated in my Facebook status update last night, “John Burroughs has come to the conclusion he may never catch up on e-mail — and maybe that’s not the end of the world after all.” Heck, I’m not even caught up on my a-mail and b-mail. Though I try to carefully scan through and pick out ones I think can’t wait, I’m sure some slip through the cracks.
Sometimes, too, the frivolous ones — or at least the quick and easy — get answered first. It’s a whole lot easier to find 15 seconds to respond than to find an hour. And I sometimes catch myself in the unfortunate mindtrap where I think: “Okay, I can spend an hour giving this important one the attention it deserves or I can spend that hour answering (and getting rid of) 120 easy ones — so let me do the 120, because if I do just the one, I’ll receive at least sixty more in my inbox by the time I finish it and then I’ll be even further behind.” So the important one gets put off and the bullshit gets addressed. Or other times I’ll spend half a day on important ones only to find myself buried in a much higher pile of unread e-mail when I’m finished.
Again, I’m not necessarily complaining. Or if I am, I’m not complaining about the mail or its senders — I’m complaining about my lack of time and inability to efficiently handle it all. Mostly I’m just explaining. I don’t wanna discourage people from writing. I’ve always enjoyed mail — in prison mail call was my favorite time of every day — and here at home all day long is mail call. But I don’t want people to feel hurt or pissed off or think I’m an asshole because they haven’t gotten an answer from me yet.
The fact that my GoDaddy e-mail server and Facebook inbox have experienced technical difficulties this month hasn’t helped.
As of 8:00 a.m. EST on 28 October 2009, here are the number(s) of unread messages in my various boxes:
Road Runner: 670
Crisis Chronicles: 2013
And bear in mind that I already read and dealt with at least 200 this morning before compiling those numbers.
So if you haven’t heard from me, it doesn’t mean you’re not important to me. And though I feel like shit about it, it really isn’t the end of the world. At least that’s what I’m telling myself today.
A poem I wrote in prison in 1997 after I’d learned that William S. Burroughs had passed away has just been published in the Fall 2009 issue of Polarity — “an online magazine of New American Bohemian Literature” edited by New York poet George Wallace. My humble piece now finds itself in the extraordinary company of work by George Moore, Tony Quagliano, Steve Dalachinsky, Herschel Silverman, and Russell Salamon. Check out the magazine at www.poembeat.com. (The permalink to my poem is http://www.poembeat.com/fall2009/burroughs.html.) Thank you, George!
After you go there, you may click here to see my photograph of the original manuscript for this poem.
As promised in my last blog, I just uploaded my some photos from the Morgan Conservatory reading on 16 October to a Facebook album. Sorry some are dark — the lighting in the stage area was perfect for poetry, but not so much for photography unless I got right up on top of people. And unfortunately, I didn’t get any of me and JJ Haaz performing together because I forgot to hand someone my camera before we took the stage. Dig ’em here: http://www.facebook.com/jesuscrisis?ref=name#/album.php?aid=35109&id=1072416429.
Yesterday, I discovered the Book Nook, a shop inside the Westlake Porter Public Library, is selling used books cheap through the end of October. I bought these nine titles for a total of three dollars:
Demian by Hermann Hesse
Beneath the Wheel by Hermann Hesse
The Major Plays by Anton Chekhov
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
The Lady of the Lake and Other Poems by Sir Walter Scott
The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
A Latin-English interlinear translation of The Works of Virgil
Reflections by Hermann Hesse
Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth
I was privileged to take part in three fantastic poetry events this past week: Friday the 16th at the Morgan Conservatory, Saturday the 17th at Visible Voice Books, and Tuesday the 20th’s Lix and Kix 1-year anniversary free-for-all (featuring interweaves by legendary Cincinnati poet Ralph La Charity and musical accompaniment by 10-string guitar master JJ Haaz) at Bela Dubby. The first two of these events were hosted by Burning River to celebrate their publication of New York poet Jane Rosenberg LaForge’s chapbook After Voices. All three were very special to me in different ways, and I plan to write more about them when I have an opportunity — but for now I’ll quickly draw your attention to a few relevant items:
I took photos at all three events, and have just posted Saturday’s in a Facebook album. I’ll try to post Friday’s and Tuesday’s in the next day or so.
I also filmed Friday’s and Tuesday’s gigs and will try to post highlights online as soon as humanly possible (bear in mind I’m way behind and still have footage from as far back as April that I want to post, but I’m gonna get busy on it). In the meantime, however, I’m pleased to report that our friend Ken Kitt also filmed Tuesday’s Lix and Kix and has begun posting clips on his PoetryVidz You Tube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/poetryvidz. Here’s a clip he posted of me reading a new poem called “Peacing It Together” accompanied by JJ Haaz:
Crisis Chronicles Press is pleased to announce our publication of d.a. levy’s Suburban Monastery Death Poem! This epic work originally appeared in print in the late 1960s. But I copied the text for this new CC version from the second zero edition, an Offense Fund reprint published in Cleveland in 1976 — a copy of which levy’s friend rjs (who also edited the zero edition) kindly sent me several months ago. At the time, I made this long poem (36 pages or so) available in its entirety for free in the Crisis Chronicles Online Library. And it’s still there (click here to read it). The point of republishing it isn’t really to make money (might be nice, though it’s not necessary, to recoup my costs — and if there is any profit, invest it in future publishing projects). It’s more a labor of love — a way to honor levy’s legacy and further broadcast his finest work. Without d.a. levy, neither our Cleveland poetry scene nor our small poetry press community would be as rich (I don’t mean financially) as they are. And levy’s Suburban Monastery Death Poem is, in my humble opinion, one of the finest pieces of literature to come out of not only Cleveland, but also America. I feel richer for having read it — and I trust you will, too. If you want a copy of our new edition of levy’s masterwork, please send $5 to Crisis Chronicles Press; 420 Cleveland Street; Elyria, OH 44035. You can also order securely through the PayPal button below. Or write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can barter or make other arrangements.
Peace and poetry,
|Suburban Monastery Death Poem|
|Buy one copy $5.00 Buy two copies $10.00 Buy 10 copies $45.00|
to my calendar
December 31st will be
the end of the world we know
Apparently an enormous fiery ball
of who knows what is gonna
drop on Times Square
Had a heck of a weekend with the Burning River readings…. Thanks to all who came out, participated, and/or sent good vibes and wishes! I will write a bit more about that when I have time. For now, I just wanna let you know about this coming Tuesday:
October 20th 2009 (7 pm) at the Bela Dubby Art Gallery and Beer Cafe (13321 Madison Ave. in Lakewood) — Lix and Kix (hosted by Dianne Borsenik and me) break the mold! Featured poet Ralph La Charity (from Cincinnati) and 10-string guitarist JJ Haaz will
weave in and out of an experimental fu@k-the-format
get-in-where-you-fit-in poetic open mic free-for-all on the Lix and Kix
poetry series’ one year anniversary.
Ralph La Charity at the Coventry Library, 5/8/2009 [photo by Jesus Crisis]
JJ Haaz at the Morgan Conservatory, 10/16/2009 [photo by Dianne Borsenik]
Lix and Kix 1-year Anniversary Extravaganza [poster by Dianne Borsenik]
“I’ve got a head like a lit cigarette.” — Bono, from U2’s “Cedars of Lebanon” (No Line on the Horizon)
Last night I wanted to write, needed to write, but couldn’t. I had in the back of my mind (among a million other things) my recent Free Will Astrology horoscope: “To extract enough gold to make a wedding ring, a mining company must
process a ton of ore. In a similar way, many writers generate a swamp
of unusable sentences on their way to distilling the precise message
they really want to deliver. Please keep these examples in mind as you
evaluate your own recent progress, Virgo. It may seem like you’re
moving at a crawl and producing little of worth. But according to my
analysis of the omens, you’re on your way to producing the equivalent
of a gold ring.” That seemed impossible to me — a load of shit that could nevertheless perhaps prove true if I really believed it. But I didn’t see how I could.
So instead I kept watching this Anton Corbijn video of one of my favorite U2 songs:
This morning I awoke with a new, real poem in my head and wrote it down — will be reading it (and more) tonight at the Morgan Conservatory, accompanied by 10-string guitar master JJ Haaz. Jane Rosenberg LaForge of New York, Michelle Reale of Pennsylvania, Bree of Green Panda Press, and Chris Bowen of Burning River (who’s hosting the event) will be reading as well. Our reading is supposed to begin promptly at 8 pm, but the fun will actually start (and we’ll be there) at 6 pm with performance art and other coolness, including the release of Jane’s new chapbook After Voices. Hope to see you there!
Morgan Art of Papermaking
Conservatory & Educational Foundation
1754 E. 47th Street
Cleveland, OH 44103