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Labor camps of the Soviet Union, will we escape them? San Francisco earthquake 1989 or was it Northridge quake fire and water pouring out of jagged streets? With everything shaking how’s the epileptic supposed to get drunk down the boulevard where they say hey puto? What’s a potato latke at a time like this? Chopstick (now) as hair ornament or nose piercing? Was it a cat that dug up the zucchini that Leonor planted yesterday? Where does the reflection of the burning city float in my iced tea? Yes, no, 50,000 mexicanos disappeared or 100,000? American money or american guns? Is it your duty to float in your bubble of consciousness like a goldfish or pop it? Who is that singing? Is this the Colombianization of everything? Five grapefruits from somewhere rolling around the table top like your body? Like your ideas? Like your eyeballs? The sunshine is hurting, the leaves are curling? If you had one question for the children of Gaza before they were blown apart, what would it be? Thank you for your business?
On yardbird corners of embryonic hopes, drowned in a heroin tear.
On yardbird corners of parkerflights to sound filled pockets in space.
On neuro-corners of striped brains & desperate electro-surgeons.
On alcohol corners of pointless discussion & historical hangovers.
On television corners of cornflakes & rockwells impotent America.
On university corners of tailored intellect & greek letter openers.
On military corners of megathon deaths & universal anesthesia.
On religious corners of theological limericks and
On radio corners of century-long records & static events.
On advertising corners of filter-tipped ice-cream & instant instants
On teen-age corners of comic book seduction and corrupted guitars,
On political corners of wamted candidates & ritual lies.
On motion picture corners of lassie & other symbols.
On intellectual corners of conversational therapy & analyzed fear.
On newspaper corners of sexy headlines & scholarly comics.
On love divided corners of die now pay later mortuaries.
On philosophical corners of semantic desperadoes & idea-mongers.
On middle class corners of private school puberty & anatomical revolts
On ultra-real corners of love on abandoned roller-coasters
On lonely poet corners of low lying leaves & moist prophet eyes.
NOVELS FROM A FRAGMENT IN PROGRESS
RETURN TRIP SEATED ERECT ON THE SINGING TRAIN IN DELIBERATE ATTEMPT NOT TO FALL ASLEEP, USE OF IMAGINATION TO AVOID SWAYING PEOPLE, UNREAL VISIONS OF MURALS ON RED RESTROOM FLOORS, SLEEP URGE GETTING STRONGER, SCREWING UP THE EYES TO A PERFECT BREAST, ROUGH STOP, STRONG WISH FOR EROTICISM DEPARTING NATIONS CARRYING BIG PAPER BAGS, WONDERING ABOUT THE DENTS IN BOXER S FACES, REJECTION OF THE SEXUAL ASPECT OF SWEAT, PICTURE OF THE MOTORMAN AS THE MYSTIC FERRY-MAN, HIS FACE WOULD EVER BE DESCRIBED IN NOVELS, AWARENESS OF MUSIC OUT BY THE WHEELS, SERIOUS ATTEMPT TO WRITE SONGS, SURPRISED AT MY OWN NAIVETÉ, AMUSED BY SOUNDS LIKE ONE I CAN’T WRITE, APPROACHING STATION, EYES OF SLIDING DOOR, WAITING FOR IT TO OPEN, MORE PEOPLE, ANOTHER STOP. IT ALWAYS HAPPENS, BRING THIS OFF WITHOUT ANNOYING. ALWAYS WATCH THEM GET OFF BEFORE THE BIG EVENT, I ALMOST GIVE UP AT TIMES LIKE THESE. HOW TO SAVE IT. REPETITIOUS FRUSTRATION, NOW, MYSTIC HOURS WITHOUT LOSING A GRIP ON MY SANITY & FREQUENTLY, WOMEN REALIZE MY CONCENTRATION TO MASTER THIS TRICK, WILLING TO RIDE PAST THEIR DESTINATION.
Bob Kaufman—POET, Part 1 with David Henderson
David Henderson pays serious homage to the pioneering beat and American surrealist poet Bob Kaufman, with readings of Kaufman’s poems, music by Charlie Parker and Horace Silver, and testimony from friends and fellow poets including Allen Ginsberg, Amiri Baraka, Ted Joans, and Bob’s brother George Kaufman.
The John Sinclair Foundation Presents
VINTAGE RADIO VAULTS 76
Bob Kaufman—POET with David Henderson
KPFA-FM, Berkeley CA, 1991 [VV-DHVV-0076]
Poet and biographer David Henderson pays serious homage to the great Bob Kaufman, pioneering beat and surrealist poet from New Orleans, in
Bob Kaufman—POET: The Life & Poetry of an African American Man. Kaufman is remembered and explicated by friends and fellow poets including Allen Ginsberg, Amiri Baraka, Ted Joans, Bob’s brother George, his widow Eileen, and many others, with their testimony set against music by Charlie Parker and Horace Silver and recitations of Kaufman’s poems by Roscoe Lee Browne, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Tony Seymour, and Bob Kaufman himself. Part One investigates Kaufman’s youth, his early manhood as a merchant seaman and political organizer, and his impact on San Francisco in the 1950s.
Cast: David Henderson, writer & producer; hosted by Ed Markman; narrated by Al Young; family & friends George Kaufman, Eileen Kaufman, Raymond Foye, Jerry Kamstra, photographer Jerry Stoll, and Simon Alexander; scholars Nathaniel Mackie, Charles Nyland, and Maria Damon; fellow poets Allen Ginsberg, Ted Joans, Amiri Baraka abd Lawrence Ferlinghetti; recitations from Solitudes Crowded With Loneliness by Bob Kaufman, Roscoe Lee Browne, Ruby Dee, Ossie Davis, Tony Seymour, Suzanne Cockrel; recorded music by Charlie Parker and Horace Silver
Bob Kaufman—POET, Part 2 with David Henderson
Part Two of David Henderson’s radio homage to the great American surrealist poet Bob Kaufman, with more of Kaufman’s poems, music by Charlie Parker and Horace Silver, and testimony from friends and fellow poets including Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Felringhetti, and Bob’s brother and widow.
The John Sinclair Foundation Presents
VINTAGE RADIO VAULTS 77
Bob Kaufman—POET with David Henderson
KPFA-FM, Berkeley CA, 1991 [DHVV-0077]
Today is defeated by the cell phone.
Today is defeated by the cell phone taking calls from the traffic jam that began before you awoke, jammed in freeways of the night city.
Today is defeated by Griffith Park wilted in insufficient shade of microwave towers, California burning to ashes of corny rock & roll. Somebody else’s tune, somebody’s number, you were overheard saying.
Today is defeated by woman on cell phone running a stop sign, gabbing her way into 999,999.99 brightly colored sprinkles of slavery, genocide and a Ford 150 overloaded with yard waste.
Today is defeated by a cell phone in the form of a traffic jam, jammed up in a dream.
Get off the line. Make the gesture that sweeps numbers off your name.
Born in 1962, Sarith Peou is a survivor of the Khmer Rouge genocide (1975-1979) in which more than one quarter of the Cambodian population was killed. In 1982, Sarith fled to a refugee camp in Thailand. In 1987, he resettled in southern California, and in 1993, he moved to Minnesota. He is now serving prison time in Minnesota. While incarcerated, he converted to Christianity, and earned a GED and an Associate of Arts degree. He has dedicated his life to education, and moral and spiritual transformation within the prison. He is completing his autobiography, tentatively titled Prison Without Walls.
Ed Bok Lee is the author of Real Karaoke People, winner of the PEN/Beyond Margins Award and Asian American Literary Award (Members’ Choice Award).
To download the PDF:
by Sarith Peou • 2007 • [out of print]
Forward by Ed Bok Lee
Designed by Lian Lederman
In Corpse Watching, Sarith Peou offers witness to the Cambodian holocaust of the late 1970s, which he survived, in language at once dispassionate and evocative. Upwards of a quarter of all Cambodians died between 1975 and 1979: “The river is swollen / The current is strong / Corpses float by all day long.” As poet Ed Bok Lee writes in his forward to the book, “Beyond telling, in total, a personal story of devastation under Angkar, these poems serve as steadfast interpreters for a multiplicity of voices and intensely human emotions still seeping out of that nation’s deepest wounds.”
from “My Sister Ranchana”:
Mee was the name of the cadre who mistreated Rachany.
I named my new dog Mee.
I abused that dog.
I killed and ate it.
A few months later
Mee died from delivery complications.
I thought my curse had worked.
Now I feel guilty for misplacing my anger on my
Corpse Watching has been used as required reading at California College of the Arts.
Review by Laura Moriarty
Review by Barbara Jane Reyes
Review by Philip Metres
see also: http://jacket2.org/commentary/trauma-tenderness-and-archive
from Susan Schultz’s Tinfish Press: http://tinfishpress.com/?projects=corpse-watching
Luis Rodriguez reading Whitman’s “Poets to Come” at San Gabriel Mission Playhouse 320 S. Mission Drive San Gabriel CA poet laureate of the City of Los Angeles speaking about the role of poets and poetry in U.S. mentions Tia Chucha Press, explains why he’s a publisher of poets, tells of his cultural center, Tia Chucha, “we’re going to make expression part of the mix,” —“I’d like to mention a metaphor—it is the train”—“we’re going to pick 3 stops—it’s the train of our life—let us know what you dropped off and what you picked up—” then reads a T. Roethke poem, “In a Dark Time”—ah, okay, 3 stops:
1 stop, Lower State Street, drop off Greek Deli, drop off the YMCA where dad roomed across from the Greyhound station, drop off neon lights from the bus station fuzzy in the fog, now it’s a parking lot (pick up the scent of bruised rosemary)
Stop 2, the light falling through the morning window, filling the curtains; drop off dreams, the floating body in the space of time—pick up the new day
Stop 3, Zenobia Peak, western Colorado, Dinosaur National Monument, drop off the one that exists in the actual world, pick up the one that exists in memory, where the green river smell of the Green River pours through the Gates of Lodore
She and I were back at it in bitter argument, going back and forth again in one of those fights about my writing, another spat about writing, I was practically spitting anger, having to argue (yet again!) for the time to write, for the right to write, free time to write. I know to everyone else it appears that I’m doing nothing, sitting around, doing what? Getting what done? She’d be questioning the worth of this so-called writing, what was the purpose of it, etc. I’d be practically shaking and spitting anger, having to defend the writing practice, such as it was, whatever its limited successes, whatever its apparent lack of pragmatic worth, again. I insisted on it, its value somehow, on doing it—as I saw fit. Then when I awoke, I realized it’s been years since we had those arguments. But still, as we started the day, I didn’t mention to her that she was in the dream and we had been arguing. Just go, starting the day.
fish scales, each particle licensed by the city, flying about like those seagull cries escaping from a torn and rent denim outlook, molecular personalities waiting on suburbs with apocalyptic eyelashes, fingernail eyebrows almost roaring down the straightaway except for colored enumeration in petroleum, except for happy smiles, car doors slamming twice when I cough Calif., stir Calif. into coffee that’s almost like coffee, the bed, a pause, somebody wears my clothes all vertical and almost good, fearfully congealed on surfaces, laminated by mucous and horizons, I exit or attempt to exit between a shrub and its leaves, between a sunrise and its eyelid, locate an elbow in the neck, recover memory in fingertips and dog, it’s all there in the photograph I was dreaming I’d deliver to you, photograph of black money, white corn syrup, thanks to you, wherever you may be (I see you eating pancakes on top of a skyscraper made of pancakes, nothing they shall ever do to me can erase that chilly wind)