ORGANIZER: Thomas Hibbard
I’m a little late in replying, but hope your event went well!
Just answering the inclination here. Good to see poetry is alive and kicking in Racine. It is a myth that poetry is “not everywhere”; it is! The evidence is the 100K poets for change event. Four years ago, 2011 the event was significantly smaller. I found a website that listed the 2011 venues and it was very much shorter than that of 2014’s. I went to several events related to it. Lots to do, hear and say. Best of luck.
Today is “The Day.” Time to dance and sing, play music and recite poetry and go outside and view the sun in the sky and hold hands and dance in a circle all together and be happy. Time to get to the Farmers Market and get your Brussels sprouts, your sweets, your bread, your cider, your vegetables–exchange the bustling presence of good will caring for the fruits of tears and solitary hard work. Today is the day that the doors of perception are thrown open on all things below and above, that no secrets are hidden any longer and, in the splashing brilliance of subjective clarity of uncountable numbers, everything is seen just as it is and the silence turns to shouts of ecstasy.
At one point, Jesus says that some of the prophets or people of the old testament wanted to see one of the days of the Son of Man but they were denied this and didn’t see it. Then in another place Jesus says that Abraham “saw it” that is the new life, the new testament “and was glad.” What were they allowed or denied from seeing? In my opinion, it is exteriority. In Isaiah’s work it’s called “eating the fruits of one’s hands.” In Darwin’s time it was called “survival of the fittest.” In Adam Smith’s time it was called “the law of supply and demand.” Today the same idea is “sustainability.” These are versions of the notion of finding fulfillment in one’s own efforts, discovering the totality of Being, of connecting the Other with the self, of finding a certain type of emotional completion. “Change” in my opinion is similar. It’s really an idea of life, motion, difference, in a way, imperfection. We want to feel that our efforts will bring about something that we desire, that they will be an advance in that sense. Change means other things also, specific social things—because our society remains plagued with obstacles and flaws. But change is also a fundamental characteristic of reality itself. Change satisfies us with its twists and turns and with surprise. But change is a constant. In the end, it is a quality that is inviolable.
John Bennett writes, “ay yr bent face y / ap yr yap cor / tex debarked en / barcked for laun” and “suit clot suit clot suit / clot suit clot suit clot / suit clot suit clot suit / clot suit clot suit clot” — The formal totality of the discourse is nothing but an unnatural reflection of senseless incoherence.
The day of universal change is near. In the sanctuary of consideration that stands spread out on top of the mountain of work-to-do, the hundred-thousand voices of the sun roar in loyal joy. The miraculous moment of imperfection is ready to give its eternal consolation to the late weakness that has no strength, the forlorn reward of lost sadness: Existence of the Self.
We have had some good poetic activity around southeastern Wisconsin. The Lorine Niedecker poetry festival in October is always fun at the Café Carpe in Fort Atkinson, usually on a strange desolate night with the Rock River sparkling in the windows. Andy Gricivic was there last year. The year before I met an interesting guy from Rockford IL. Bonk poetry series in Racine is doing a lot, especially because it brings together musical performers with poetry writers. Sometimes the poets have to be careful they don’t get blown off the stage by the musicians. Keeps us on our toes. Woodland Pattern is rolling along in Milwaukee. There aren’t too many poets in Waukesha County that I know of. The same with Hartland. I’m uploading a couple of photos from the excellent Bonk reading at the Eco-Justice Center north of Racine. It was a beautifully taken care of farm with the reading in singing in the hayloft of a barn. The performers are Joe Hall from Buffalo and Naomi Marie from Racine.
Most days and many nights my mother cries because of her dog and cat that died long ago. In all honesty, I don’t know what to make of this. In all honesty, I think she’s faking. She asks me, “Don’t you feel sad?” And, again, in all honesty, I say “No. The dog and the cat died a long time ago. It’s necessary to forget the past and move on.” My mother agrees, but then the next day or night she will be crying again. Sometimes around dusk she goes to the door of the porch and calls for the dog or the cat. Just like Shirley Booth at the end of Come Back Little Sheba, my mother calls, “Here Matisse. Here dog. Come Matisse. Come doggie.” At the bottom of the stairs, I stand and listen. But I don’t say anything. With dear mother, it wouldn’t be surprising if the dog burst into the living room from outside, just as he always used to. What’s more, it seems to me that her calls are some sort of reminder. Her calling is really what I’m doing writing poetry. People say that I am unrealistic in my expectations. Poetry is an implausible call into the primordial darkness for the dead, for the unborn. From the warm light of the house, it stands at the door and calls and calls and cries and calls some more, in the emptiness, in the nothingness, for what can’t hear, for what is beneath the ground, for what is light years away, for what has turned and disappeared into infinite time. For what, for what?! Here dog, come kitty, I hear dear mother calling. In the dead of night.
Sometimes people ask me, is there such a thing as love. I don’t know. I don’t know. Perhaps, after all, there is such a thing as love. In the chill and the dark sky of a summer night. In wildflowers. In the great bridges of civilization. In the pages of a book. In the films of Luis Bunuel. In the mildly poison fruit of Gingko trees served at Chinese weddings. In the suicide of Mayakovsky or, perhaps, Robin Williams. In the prose of Hemingway. In the poetry of Borges. It certainly is rare in any case, especially since it is finite. Perhaps someday love will become visible or I should say perhaps someday it will be allowed to become visible. Czeslaw Milosz said that “poetry is the language of the future.” You can see this in poetry, this love forming amidst the words like a living microbe. Yes, someday love will become visible, the Being of Love, and it will walk around and eat and sleep just like any human being. And then we will understand everything and ask no more questions. And we will snap our fingers in a pang of regret and say “so there really was such a thing as love. Dammit, I was going to say there was, but I just couldn’t quite believe it.”
Lost in the dark windy night on the bluffs of Lake Michigan. Things aren’t going just too everlovin’ well. The tragic lights of Milwaukee on a Saturday night. The Downer Theater. Starbucks. The crash of cups being put away and display cases. The excellent music, the beautiful wooden floor. No “comment” yet. No “response” breaks the infinite plane. No words from the abyss of the self.
Yes, we are a catastrophe…what audacity to be so far off in one’s assessment of this life…yet everyone suffers from the same prodigality…I’m reminded of Sartre’s remark that “Mankind is its own nothingness”…we just can’t get it right…we lose when we should win and we win when we should lose…only at for a moment do we achieve honor…this no one will ever change…to me, the changes we are looking for will only allow us to express our incompetence a little more clearly, with a little more pride and dignity.
Today is September 11. 9-11-2014. I remember thirteen years ago watching on television in Wisconsin as the Twin Towers in New York crumbled before the viewers very eyes. The smoke blowing across the beautifully sunlit skyline of Manhattan looked wildly incongruous. I had been able to see those same Twin Towers out of my apartment window when I lived in New York years before. What nothingness! All those wonderful and brave people’s lives lost that day. Let our minds and bodies be worthy of them. It is the prodigious sort of stellar cataclysm from which significant imaginative change might arise. Poets onward to change…
We might get some assistance on this Hartland-Racine blog for poetic change. Poet Matthew Mulder might be giving us a little help for the star of southeastern Wisconsin to shine brightly. I don’t know Matt, but I think he is from Racine. This destination might be featuring mainly a blog participation, with some poetic entries and perhaps some guest appearances from people near and far. I’ll have to get in touch with Matt and see what he has to suggest.
It looks like I will have to be at least explaining a little the destination city of this blog. The poetry scene is so busy in Racine this month that all the poets I know are already booked up for events around the 27th. Nick Demske is off line at the moment for his wedding. There is a big reading on the 28th of other Racine poets. I’m not from Racine but rather from Hartland, about thirty miles due west of Milwaukee. But I’m a poet, and I definitely am looking forward to some important changes. So let’s get going and see what good things we are able to accomplish.
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