poems, etc.

flowing through me like broken glass (Zelda's exercise, Nov. 18)

Just a week and a day until I head back for Japan, for the Seido Aichi tournament and for a few days of sightseeing and cultural investigation (including the bars of Osaka...) Got a few more things to do, lining up hotel rooms and renting a phone, figuring out what to pack. (I'm thinking about getting a big new backpack and taking that instead of a suitcase. Need to plan it out a bit more though.)

I found out that there's a new requirement for gaijin entering the country to be photographed and fingerprinted. The video put together by the Japanese equivalent of Homeland Security is a notable example of so-stupid-its-funny, as the proper Nihonjin lady explains to overacting slow-witten gaijin how the new measures make them safer.

Hopefully this week I'll get the house cleaned up, papers sorted and the like, so I don't return to a total mess.


exercise: freewrite on the phrase "flowing through me like broken glass"

and I have heard it said the in the days of American slavery, the child of the cook would be the food taster for the master of the house, because the slaves would often put ground glass in the food of their enslavers

flowing through me like broken glass

glass in the water, invisible, sharper-edged than steel when jagged, smoother than skin when whole

flowing through me like broken glass

a cutting river, internal sandblasting. I grind the glass and return it to sand.

filling in at Load of Fun

Blogging from the new toy again, my Palm Centro. Kind of wild to be able to access the full internet on a pocketsize portable - Wikipedia and Google in my pocket. I can even ssh into work. (Not that I'd want to do a lot of work typing on this tiny keyboard, but for emergency access, rock on.)

Julie called this evening. the band and poets she had scheduled to play at Load of Fun had to cancel. So a couple of us Zeldaeans filled in with some poetry and music - Julie, Mike, Robin, and I had a nice little circle o' poetry.

playing music and breaking up fights; putting down roots (Zelda's Inferno exercise Nov 4)

An eventful week...Wednesday, Halloween, I played a happy hour gig at Leadbetter's. Good crowd for the holiday (Fells Point buzzes for Halloween) and I actually made decent money, almost $80 between tip and my share of the take from the bar. Not enough that I'm going to quit the day job, but $80 for four hours - $20 an hour - is respectable. I'd play more often if I could get gigs that paid like that, sure.

Hung out afterward for the night shift, crowded but generally having a good time enjoying the musical stylings of Johnny Smooth...until, during a break in his set, I made my way up front for some fresh air and looked outside, to see a pushing match, a fight brewing, in front of the Admiral's Cup a few doors down.

I told the guy on the door to call 911, and ran over to break things up. Yelling "Break it up! Break it up! Cops are on the way!", I did my best to cool things down, stepping between any pair who looked in conflict. It was impossible to figure out who was pissed with whom about what; but for that minute of two, my job was just to act as a sort of "anti-catalyst", preventing violent reactions.

benefit shows at 2640; parties, circles, and gigs; Zelda's Inferno writing exercise

At the BARC benefit at 2640 now, Mongoloidian Glow on the stage. Zelda's will be in a while, but I came down early, got some food at The Yabba Pot and then came over to give BARC a few bucks and support the AR cause a little.

Wednesday we had a planning meeting here for the Water For the Well benefit next weekend. I'm excited that Jeff, my uncle, is going to be on the bill - first time we've performed together. Afterward I caught (most of) a Halloween music and spoken-word show at the Metro Gallery.

Thursday, I played the Fell's Point Musician's Showcase at Leadbetters, got a good response to my hour. It was the first time I'd played there since I got back to the U.S.; I'll be back for the happy hour gig on Halloween.

Friday, our Samhain circle got rained out - we decided to move the date so we could still do it outside, rather than moving it indoors. So I got to go to the show at Kiss Cafe that Kelly put together. Saw Chris and Wes there, in one of those Smalltimore moments.

Yesterday, promotions at the dojo, a long day. Then went out to see Telesma play at the Metro Gallery, good show as always.

Zelda's Inferno writing exercise: write a poem from a wordlist, generated from the theme "renaissance festival":

unicycle, plague, corset, beer, joust, serf, glimmer, awkward, wench, pine, pirate, armor, rouge, constricting

sometimes I feel the constrictions
of my created self
that fiction that defines my character
that places awkwardly-drawn boundaries around
what I say and do

a plague of personalities
an armoring identity

what is the statute of limitations on grief?

A poem for Allison Fisher:

somebody tell me
what is the statute of limitations on grief?

my high school reunion, hoping to see an old friend a bright shining soul
seeing instead her name on a memorial list
dead of breast cancer, nine years ago

so somebody tell me
what is the statute of limitations on grief?

can I still grieve at news almost a decade old?
at learning that a light I thought was out there brightening the world
had long fallen dark?

Gonna wear my red shirt tonight; Joe Squared

Working more on the "favorite shirt" idea for a piece...

Now I pretty much grew up on "Star Trek" - original series. I mean, my parents have a portrait of Kirk and Spock hanging in their living room, ok? And one thing you learn from watching Star Trek is, never wear a red shirt.

'Cause every damn time, Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and some poor sucker in a red shirt beam down to the planet - and guess who gets all the salt in his body sucked out, or gets a knife in the chest from some warrior-culture alien, or catches the horrible disease that dissolves your whole body into a pile of powder? Right. The dude in the red shirt.

But then I grew up. And then they did the whole "next generation" thing, where the captain wears a red shirt, and the guy in yellow always buys it.

And then one night on the cable TV classic movie show I saw "Rebel Without a Cause", where James Dean wears this cool red jacket - which technically isn't a shirt, but close enough, right?

Anyway, point is, eventually I learned to love the red shirt. You grow, you learn, you put away childish ways, that's what life is all about.

so i'm gonna wear my red shirt tonight



gonna wear my red shirt tonight

gonna wear my red shirt tonight



it's my favorite shirt

it's the color of passion

it's my only red shirt

I don't care if it's in fashion

ummm-hmmmm

Playa Del Fuego; my favorite shirt; Zelda's exercise: synesthetic descriptions

So last weekend was Playa Del Fuego. Fun but sort of mellow. Nothing really extraordinary to a Starwood veteran - though the naked slip & slide was fun. Also nice hanging out with the Zelda's folks at our camp, I think we did a good job of drawing people in, getting folks involved in our writing exercises.

The big bonfire ("burn", in the lingo) on Saturday night was actually a little disappointing. The fire was nice enough; there were some fire performers, which is cool but I'm getting jaded and not that interested unless they're really good; and there was a little bit of drumming, but not much and not for long. No dancing. I don't see the point in a bonfire without dancing around it in a circle.

But I had a good afterward hanging out at "Whiskey and Whores", a bar theme camp. Met a girl who spun poi, who finally gave me the key to figuring out the three-beat weave; met a few pretty women. which is always a favorite pasttime.(What happens at PDF, stays at PDF, so nothing more to say on that. :-) )

sdrawkcab: Zelda's Inferno exercise from September 30

Zelda's Inferno exercise from September 30th: tell an event backwards. Writing this was a little bit cathartic.

it ended with me walking down the sidewalk in front of her house
back to my car
not sure if I had freed myself or
if I wanted to die right there

before that was my attempt to leave as a friend
or at least not an enemy
to tell her I still cared

before that was her throwing back every gift I'd given her

September 23 Zelda's exercise

poem based on words and phrase supplied by the workshop participants:

euphoric, a smile that stretches beyond your cheeks, a world full of kung fu masters, antidisestablishmentarianism, vapory, contentment,
sacrificial eyelash, freedom


a world full of taoist masters

everyone you meet is your guide to enlightenment

the tollbooth lady who chats about the weather and asks, "Where did all this wind come from?"

the taxi driver who radiates freedom and contentment

the euphoric beyond-the-face smile of a child picking dandelions



the world tree sprouts from a single eyelash sacrificed by a sage

and I swing through its branches

monkey-mind unlimited

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