Thursday, 31 January 2013

Anselm Hollo (12/4/34- 29/1/13) - Shed the Fear/ Godlike/ R.I.P

Sad to hear yesterday that the poetry community had lost another fine distinctive voice.Anshelm Hollo was born and raised in Helsinki, Finland, and worked as a poet, translator, editor, journalist and teacher in Sweden, Germany, Austria, England (for 8 years), and, since 1966, the United States. He was the authour of some forty plus books of poetry. Including Maya (1970), Souourner Micrcosm(1977) and Near Miss Haiku (1990).
He became widely known for his many translations of European poetry, including the work of Russian poet Andrei Voznesenksy and the Finnish poet Penti Sarrikoski. He also translated people as variant as Jean Genet and Rosa Luxemburg. I first became aware of him I guess through his 1965 appearance at the Underground International Poetry Incarnation.Here dressed  head to toe in black  he appeared alongside Alexander Trocchi and Allen Ginsberg.
His style was strongly influenced by the American beats, and he was also adept at capturing isolated moments of perception. Often whimsical and gently satirical in tone, his poems were open-ended, valuing an ongoing human attentiveness rather than rejecting closure on the basis of theory.
He did nort care to much about prizes, he wrote  because basically that is what he needed to do. He did manage to get the title of the United States Anti-Laureate, to which he was elected by the Buffalo Poetics list back at the turn of the century.
He lived in Boulder, Colorada with his wife visual artist Dalrymple Hollo, where since 1985 he was the Professor at the Bhuddist inspired  Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University. On all accounts because of his gentle , unassuming manner he was loved by all who came across him., close friends of many other great American poets like Ted Berrigan and Robert Creeley.
He died on January 29th 2013 after post operative pneumonia aged 78. Anselm Hollo R.I.P. The lights may switch off but we carry on receiving

Shed the Fear

Who has a face sees
    the world,
but the world
    is not

to be borne-
   or only
when seen as
  another:

how did this
  come together? How
did I find you?
  so many turns

in the road
  so few of them
possible!
  How not to spin out

in hairpin turns
  of disbelief...
TheSufi martyrs
  insisted

"The world
  is a wedding"
Why not go with them,

in the face of
   present carnage
centuries
  later.

Godlike

when you suddenly
feel like talking

about the times
in your life when you were

a total idiot asshole you resist
the impulse

& just sit there
at the head of the table

beaming


Further Reading:
Notes  on the Possibilities and Attractions of Existence
Selected Poems 1965 - 2000
(Coffe House Press 2001)



Wednesday, 30 January 2013

The Secret Government War against the most vulnerable.



Following Sundays  post a short film about the governments secret war on the most vulnerable. This however is just the tip of the iceburg. As seen on Panorama programme on Monday night, ' The Current Disability Sham'http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01qgk9h  that exposed the governments work providers techniques in treating the above.Benefit claimants including disabled people were referred to as LTB - code for "Lying thieving Bastards" by staff at Triage, a firm responsible for delivering the Governments £5billion work programme. Well this acronyym now fits perfectly for the party that has sought to implement these programmes, LTB =Lying Tory Bastards.  Everyday we are being treated with contempt under the auspices of a government that simply do not care. Their war of attrition is based on depriving the most deserving of the means to live.
Blessed are the poor. This punishing ordeal has to stop. What kind of society are we living. This grim vile return,  by our Government to the  Dickensian era. This is growing everyday, that I  sincerely believe to be cruel ,unjust and immoral.
I used to think that only love could break our hearts, but that too is a lie. Why are not the police, taking statements, for what they are doing is surely hateful and a crime.Silver spoon fed Tories attacking our senses everyday. Instead of a war on poverty it is a war on the poor. The rich get richer and the poor sink further into the depths. I remember Thatcher she was heartless and cruel, but this lot are really taking the piss.Hunting us, seems to be the Tory Party's new bloodsport of choice.
Four years ago my voice was nearly lost, but then I discovered the power of the internet, a medium by which I gain a little bit of strength, nowadays we don't have to be completely alone.
We might merely be mere statistics, for them, but there is definitely something wrong with their machine. They are making prisoners of us all, we must stand up and tear down their walls. Thatchers policies  blighted generations, the scars that she created,are still running deep, and now their doing it all over again.
When April comes it will be one of the cruellest times of our lifes, when even further destructive policies will be implemented, like the bedroom tax, increases in council tax, nearly every single person on benefits will be affected, all limited to a 1% rise below inflation. Along with devatating cuts to essential services, the damage created by their wrecking hands will be clearly  felt.
Where is the oppposition in Parliament, a few raised but most in silence, the Liberals bleat but carry on regardless, Labours proving to be a feeble opposition.. All shackled to corporations and morally bankrupt.
Many turning outside of Parliament for comfort and protection, I salute those who are raising their voices in clear  opposition, in angry defiance.In the grips of the worst recession for years, members of parliament reward  themselves  a hefty £20,000 pay rise, a  clearly rotten system and somethings gotta change.
Nye Bevan was right when he said " No amount of cajolery and no attempts at ethical or social seduction, can eradicate from my heart a deep burning hatred for the Tory Party. So far as I am concerned they are lower than vermin." I would add that we should show contempt to all who help them. All governments are vulnerable to mass opposition, the polltax in the 1980's was destroyed because of the anger that arose on the streets, it is sad that it has come to this ,but they should not be allowed to get away with what they are doing. We must stop them before their damage causes to much irrevocable harm.Their punishing us, but just how many bankers have been made to suffer because of the consequences of their actions?






Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Nicanor Parra (b.5/9/14) - Anti-Poets of the World Unite.


Nicanor Parra is a Chilean poet, born in Chillan. He qualified as a teacher of mathematics and physics in 1938, in 1943 he studied physics in the U.S.A. and returned to Chile as a professor at the University of Chile.  He is one of the best known Chilean poets after Pablo Neruda. His sister Violeta was one of Chiles most renknowed folk singers. He himself has described himself as an anti-poet, due to to his distaste for standard poetic pomp and function. Influenced by the everyday,  as well as a potent mix of Marxist politics, now 97, his poems have power I believe, because he is accessible and understood by ordinary people. He utilised the speech patterns  of the Chilean lower classes in much of his poetry, combining provocativeness  with a gentle playfulness. His poetry speaks too of inner struggles as well as the struggles going on  in his own country.
Foremost his poems speak fom the heart, using humour and cynicism to convey his dissatisfaction with the world, allowing him to embrace the political as well as the human pulse. This allows his poetry to be accessible to all, reaching out to as wide an audience as possible, beyond the confines of literary convention and the corridors of academia.
He once said " Poetry is all around us" "It is in the graffito on the walls, I walk around and write down the graffiti, those are my poems." 
Still breaking through the  barriers,metamorposing  language with all it's possibilities.He has been nominated several times for the Nobel Prize in Literature. I personally am reminded of the American Beat poets, and the late Allen Ginsberg himself announced Parra as one of the most influential poets of our time, which is sweet enough for me.


The vices of the modern world

Modern delinquents
Are authorised to convene daily in parks and gardens.
Equipped with powerful binoculars and pocket watches
They break into kiosks favoured by death
And install their laboratories among the rosebshes in
   full flower.
From there they direct the photogrrapher and beggars
  that roam the neighbourhood
Trying to raise a small temple to misery
And, if they get a chance, having some woebgone
 shoeshine boy.
The cowed police run from these monsters
Making for the middle of town
Where the great year's end fires are breaking out
And a hooded hero is robbing two nuns at gun point.
The vices of the modern world:
The motor car and the movies,
Racial discrimination,
The extermination of the Indian,
The manipulation of high finance,
The catastrophe of the aged,
The clandenstine white-slave trade carried on by
  international sodomites,
Self-advertisement and gluttony,
Expensive funerals,
Personal friends of his Excellency,
The elevation of folklore to a spiritual category,
The abuse of soporifics and philosophy,
The softening upof men favoured by fortune,
Auto-eroticism and sexual cruelty,
The exaltation of the study of dreams and the sub-
  conscious to the detriment of common sense,
The exaggerated faith in serums and vacines,
The deification of the phallus,
The international spread-legs policy patronised by the
 reactionary press,
The unbounded lust for power and money,
The gold rush,
The fatal dollar dance,
Speculation and abortion,
The destruction of idols,
Overdevelopment of dietics and pedagogical psychology,
The vices of dancing, of the cigarette, of games of chance,
The drops of blood that are often found on the sheets of
 newlyweds,
The madness of the sea,
Agraphobia and claustrophobia,
The disintigration of the atom,
The gory humour of the theory of relativity,
The frenzy to return to the womb,
The cult of the exotic,
Aeroplane accidents,
Incinerations, mass purges, retention of passports,
All thisjust because,
To produce vertigo,
Dream-analysis,
And the spread of radiomania.

As  has been demonstrated
The modern world is composed of artificial flowers
Grown under bell jars like death,
It is made of movie stars
And bloo-smeared boxers fighting by moonlight
And nightingale-men controling the economic lives of
  the nations
With certain easily explained devices;
Usually they are dressed in black like precursors of
   autumn
And cat roots and wild herbs.
Meanwhile the wise, gnawed by rats,
Rot in the crypts of cathedrals
And souls with the slightest nobility are relentlessly
  persecuted by the police.

The modern world is an enormous sewer,
The chic restaurants are stuffed with disgusting corpses
And birds flying dangerously low.
That's not all; the hospitals are full of imposters,
To say nothing of those heirs of the spirit who found
  colonies in the anus of each new surgical case.

Modern industrialists occasionally suffer from the effects
  of the poisoned atmosphere.
They are stricken at their sewing machines by the
  terrifying sleeping sickness
Which eventually turn them into angels, of a sort.
They deny the existence of the physical world
And brag about being poor children of the grave.
And yet the world has always been like this.
Truth, like beauty, is neither created nor lost
And poetry is in things themselves or is merely a mirage
  of the spirit.
I admit that a well-planned earthquake
Can wipe out a city rich in traditions in a matter of
 seconds,
And that a meticulous aerial bombardment
Smashes trees, horses, thrones, music,
But what does it matter
If, while the world's greatest ballerina
Is dying, poor and abandoned, in a village in southern
 France,
Spring restores to man a few of the vanished flowers.

What I say is, let's try to be happy, sucking on the
  miserable human rib.
Let's extract from it the restorative liquid,
Each one following his personal inclinations.
Let's cling to this divine table-scrap!
Panting and trembling,
Let's suck those maddening lips.
The lot is cast.
Let's breathe in this enervating and destructive perfume
And for one more day live the life of the elect.
Out of his armpits man extracts the wax he needs to
 mould the face of hios idols
And out of woman's sex the straw and the mud for his
 temples.

Therefore
I grow a louse on my tie
And smile at the imbeciles descending from the trees.


Young Poets

Write as you will
In whatever style you like
Too much blood has run under the bridge
To go on believing
That only one road is right.

In poetry everything is permitted.

With only this condition, of course:
You have to improve on the blank page.


Warnings

In case of fire
Do not use elevators
Use stairways
unless otherwise instructed

No smoking
No littering
No shitting
No radio playing
unless otherwise instructed
Please Flush Toilet
After Each Use
Except When Train
is Standing At Station
Be thoughtful
Of The Next Passenger
Onward Christian Soldiers
Workers of the World  unite
we have nothing to lose
but our life Glory to the Father
and  to the Son and the Holy Ghost
unless otherwise instructed
By the way
We also hold these truths to be
self evident
That all nan are created
That they have been endowed
by their creator
With certain inaliable rights
That among these are: Life
Liberty and the pursuit of happiness
and last but not least
that 2 and 2 makes 4
unless otherwise instructed.



Further reading

Nicanor Parra: Poems & Anti Poems
New Diections, 1985

Anti-Poems: how to look better  and feel good
-Nicanor Parra, New Directions, 2004

After Dinner Reservations - Nicacor Parra
Host Publications, 2007



Some useful links

The technique of Anti-Poetry
http://www.nicanorparra.uchile.cl/english/technique.html

Literature and Revolution - Fernando Alegria
http://www.webshells.com/jdoug/LitRev8.htm



Sunday, 20 January 2013

Frederick Nietzsche (15/10/1844 -25/8/00) - Sleep at Noontide


Library computers playing up at the moment, made me realise how reliant I have become to the daily use of their portals. Has it all become another addiction, another distraction.
In the meantime I offer you this.

' And Zarathustra ran and ran, but he fond no one else, and was alone and ever found himself again; he enyoyed and quaffed his solitude, and thought of good things - for hours. About the hour of noontide, however, when the sun stood exactly over Zarathustra's head, he passed an old, bent and gnarled tree, which was encircled round by the ardent love of a vine, and hidden from itself; from this there hung yellow grapes in abundance, confronting the wanderer. Then he felt inclined to quench a little thirst, and to break off for himself a cluster of grapes. When, however, he had alreadsy his arm outstretched for that purpose, he felt still more inclined for something else - namely, to lie down beside the tree at the hour of perfect noontide and sleep.
This Zarathustra did; and no sooner had he laid himself on the ground in the stillness and secrecy of the variegated grass, than he had forgotten his little tirst, and fell asleep. For as the proverb of Zarathustra saith: "One thing is more necessary than the other". Only that his eyes remained open :- for they never grew weary of viewing and admiring the tree and the love of the vine. In falling asleep, however, Zarathustra spake thus to his heart:
"Hush! Hush! Hath not the world now become perfect? What hath happened unto me?
As a delicate wind danceth invisibly upon parqueted sea, light, feather-light, so- danceth sleep upon me.
No eye doth it close to me, it leaveth my soul awake. Light is it, verily, feather-light.
It persaudeth me, I know not how, it toucheth me inwardly with a caressing hand, it constraineth me. Yea, it constrainth me, so that my soul stretcheth itself out :-
- How long and weary it becometh, my strange soul! Hath a seventh-day evening come to it precisely at noontide? Hath it already wandered too long, blissfully, among good and ripe things?
It stretcheth itself out, long- longer! it lieth still, my strange soul. Too many good things hath it already tasted; this golden sadness oppresseth it, it distorteth its mouth.
- As a ship that putteth into the calmest cove:- it now drwaeth up to the land, waery of long voyages and uncertain seas. Is not the land more faithful?
As such aship huggeth the shore, tuggeth the shore:- then it sufficeth for a spider to spin its thread from the ship to the land. No stronger ropes are required there.
As such a weary ship in the calmest cove, so do I also now repose, nigh to the earth, faithful, trusting, waiting, bound to it with the lightest threads.
O happiness! O happiness! Wilt thou perhaps sing, O my soul? Thou liest in the grass. But this is the secret, solemn hour, when no shepherd playeth his pipe.
Take care! Hot noontide sleepth on the fields. Do not sing! Hush! Thw world is perfect.
Do not sing, thou prairie-bird, my soul! Do not even whisper! Lo-hush! The old noontide sleeeth, it moveth its mouth: doth it notjust now drink a drop of happiness -
- An old brown drop of golden happiness, golden wine? Something whisked over it, its happiness laugeth!' Thus-laugheth a God. Hush!-
-'For happiness, how little sufficeth for happiness!' Thus I spake I once and thought myself wise. But it was a blasphemy: that have I now learned. Wise fools speak better.
The least thing precisely, the gentlest thing, the lightest thing, a lizard's rustling, a breath, awhisk, an eye-glance - little  maketh up the best happiness. Hush!
-What hath befallen me: Hark! Hath time flown away? Do I not fall? Have I not fallen- hark! into the well of eternity?
-What happened to me? Hush! It stingeth me-alas- to the heart? To the heart! Oh, break up, break up, my heart, after such happiness, after such a sting!
-What? Hath not the orld just now become perfect? Round and ripe? Oh, for the golden round ring - whither doth it fly? Let me run after it! Quick!
Hush-" (and here Zarathustra stretched himself, and felt that he was asleep.)
"Up!" said he tohimself, "thou sleeper! Thou noontide sleeper! Well tye, up, ye old legs! It is time and more than time; many a good stretch of road is still awaiting you-
Now you have slept your fill; for how long a time? A half-eternity! Well then, up now, mine old heart! For how long after such a sleep mayest thou- remain awake?"
(But then did he fall asleep anew, and his soul spake against him and defended itself,and lay down again) - "Leave me alone! Hush! Hath not the world just now become perfect? Oh, for the goldeen round ball!"
"Get up," said Zarathustra, " thou little thief, though sluggard! What! Still stretching thyself, yawning, sighing, falling into deep wells?
Who art thou then, O my soul?" (and here he became frightened, for a sunbeam shot down from heaven upon his face.)
"O heaven above me," said he sighing, and sat upright, " thou gazest at me? Thou hearkenest unto my strange soul?
When wilt thou drink this drop of dew that fell down upon all earthly things, - when wilt thou drink this strange soul-
-When, thou well of eternity! thou joyous, awful, noontide abyss! when wilt tou drink my soul back into thee?"
Thus spake Zarathustra, and rose from his couch beside the tree, as if awakening from a srange drunkeness: and behold! there stood the sun still exactly above his head. One nigh, however, rightly infer therefrom that Zarathusttra had not then slept long.

REPRINTED FROM
Thus Spake Zarathustra

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Join the Resistance to the war on welfare.



Join the Resistance to the war on welfare
sign and support
http://wowpetition.com

Now is the winter of our dicontent
but, we are DEFINITELY NOT in  this
all together.


Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Sodastream presents...How to profit from Occupation, Oppression and Apartheid



Sodastream's factory is an illegal Israeli settlement built on land stolen from the Palestinians. Each and everypackage contains human rights abuses and violations of international law. Boycott Sodasream.
For more infomation:
http://www.bdsmovement.net/tag/sodastream

http://www.whoprofits.org/content/production-settlements-case-sodastream

http://www.sodastream.com/

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Lateral Navigations



These are supposed to be the days of our lives
after many years shaking tears of branches,
we have become a perfect foil for tonques that bark,
all of us have maddening faces now, causes to love,
that light  up corners waiting to be fed,
all in touch with tangible pursuit,
beyond the terminus of our governments stealth,
one of the most singular weaknesses of the human spirit.
is how those in powers persuade us to like whatever they choose.
A lot of us have been forgotten,
it makes us sting, beyond their schemes
with our cracked lips, we contain the storm
of tomorrow, smothering their words in half,
find familiar hiding places to lie in wait.
   

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Bring Shaker home from Guantanamo

Yesterday marked eleven years since the first men were taken to Guantanamo Bay.This is 3 years since President Obama promised to bring this to an end. Many of the remaining detainess left languishing in this prison camp   have been cleared for release years ago, never in a court of law have  any been condemned  for committing any crime. The only lasting legacy I see at the moment is one of shame.
One such detainee is British resident Shaker Aamer who has  been held without charge or trial for nearly eleven years. He has been cleared for release by the U.S administration but remains in prison. He is now 44 years old, thousands of miles away from his family who have not seen him for over a decade. He is riddled with arthritis and other medical complaints, the result - he and his lawyers claim of brutal torture and solitary confinement, and the ongoing denial of adequate medical attention.Our Government has failed to honour promises to free him, denying him the justice that he deserves.
Hopefully this will be the year that Guantanemo finally closes, it is time to reunite Mr Aamer with his family too.
Please join thousands in signing amnesty internationals petition calling on his freedom, along with others held in Guantanamo, in order to show that they have not been forgotten

. http://action.amnesty.org.uk/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1194&ea.campaign.id=18208

Close Guantanamo


Thursday, 10 January 2013

Thomas Paine (29/1/1737 -8/6/1809) - Common Sense

Thomas Paine was an English/American political activist, author and political theorist and revolutionary. On  January 10 1776, his pamphlet Common Sense  was published for the first time. Here he delivered his uncompronising message to the common people, which set the seeds for the American  Revolution.In this important document, he urged the American to create a new form of government - a modern republic, based entirely on popular consent. He believed all men were born equal, so saw no need for Kings and Queens, he also distinguished  between governments and society, at the root of all governments is evil but the root of society lay good. He became a champion of equality and liberty and went on to support struggles in Britain and France, going on to critisise organised religion and the role of the Church. Thomas Edison 150 years later would write ' we never had a similar intelligence in this Republic. In Common Sense Paine flared forth with a document so powerful that the Revolution became inevitable.' It is a shame that his vision was not wholly  taken up by American Governments subsequentlty, and that modern America has strayed away considerably from what Paine originally proposed. Time, perhaps for another try.

Extract
Of the Origin and Design of Government in General. With Concise Remarks on the English Constitution.

' Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; wheras they are not  only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by ourwants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher.
Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil, in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries by a government,
our calamities are heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer. Government, like dress is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built on the ruins of the bowers of paradise. For were the impulses of conscience clear, uniform, and irresistably obeyed, man would need no other law giver; but that not being the case, he finds it necessary to surrender up a part  of his property to furnish means for the protection of the rest; and this he is induced to do by the same prudence which in every other case advises him out of two evils to choose the least.'

Of Monarchy and Hereditary Succession

' MANKIND being originally equals in the order of creation, the equality could only be detroyed by some subsequent circumstance, the distinctions of rich and poor may in a great measure be accounted for, and that without having recourse to the harsh ill-sounding names of oppression and avarice. Oppression is often the consequence, but seldom or never the Means of riches, and tho' avarice will preserve a man from being necessitiously poor, it generally makes him too timorous to be wealthy.
But there is another and great distinction for which  no truly natural or religious reason can be assigned, and that is the distinction of men into kings and subjects. Male and female are the distinctions of nature, good and bad the distinctions of Heaven; but how a race of men came into the world so exalted above the rest, and distinguished like some new species, is worth inquiring into, and whether they are the means of happiness or of misery to mankind.'




Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Herbert Huncke (9/1/15 -8/8/96) - The Evening Sun Turned Crimson



Track from the "from dream to dream" spoken word album, essential listening
Herbert Huncke is the pivotal figure in the develpoment of beat literature. Huncke's use of the carny term beat in his stories of riding the rails in the thirties inspired Jack Kerouac to chronicle his own tale of rootless wandering in On the Road. He turned William Burroughs onto heroin, and appears as a character in Burroughs Junky, the first step in an immersion in addict culture that would produce Naked Lunch, and the image of Huncke's shoes filled with blood traming 42nd Street gave Allen Ginsberg the very model of the angel-headed hipster in his seminal poem Howl. He got to the ripe old age of 81, he would have neen 98 today, so happy birthday Herbert,thanks.
I recommend any of his books, if you can get hold of them, seminal and in my opinion the work of genius.

MORE HERE

Link to rather wonderful " from dream to dream" album

from the rather wonderful devotional hooligan blogspot
http://devotionalhooligan.blogspot.co.uk/2009/02/herbert-huncke-from-dream-to-dream.html

and here

http://ginsbergblog.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/herbert-hunckes-birthday.html

Monday, 7 January 2013

Vote for G4S as worst company of the year!



G4s is up for the Public Eye People's Award 2013, the 'name and shame' award no company wants to win. G4S, the world's largest Private Military and Security Company, is complicit in Israel's occupation of Palestine and is profiting from conflict and insecurity across the world.
War on Want (with allies) has nominated G4S for the awards which help to "shine an international spotlight on corporate scandals." The company has been shortlisted and is now up for the public vote .They have  been up to now one of our governments favourites, with contracts of over £ 600 million being awarded to them. But  their record is far from spotless. The firm lost their previous 'forcible deportation' contract last September after recieving 773 complaints of abuse - both verbal and physical, it profits from imprisoning  refugees while it abuses families and children in their care. In October 2010, an Angolan asylum seeker died as a result of his forced deportation by G4S guards.A truly appalling record.
http://notog4s.blogspot.co.uk/


Please take a minute to vote for G4S at http://www.publiceye.ch/en/vote/g4s/

Online voting is underway. Their are 6 other villainous corporations that you could vote for too.

1. Alstom (FR)

2.Coal India (IN)

3. Goldman Sachs (USA)

4. Lonmin (ZA)

5. Repower (CH)

6.Shell (NL)

At the end of January, within sight of the World Economic Forum (WEF) the Berne Declaration and Greenpeace will then confer the Public Eye Awards for the worst cases of contempt for the environment and human rights.


Saturday, 5 January 2013

Jayne Cortez (10/5/34 -28/12/12) Revolutionary Jazz Poet R.I.P

It is with sadness that I have discovered that poet and spoken word performer and civil rights activist Jayne Cortez has died aged 76.
An activist in the Civil Rights movement, she was an organiser of the Watts writing and dance workshop. She was also the founder of the Watts Repositary Theatre, Bola Press and co-founder of the Organisation of Women Writers of Africa.
In her poetry, she spoke of revolution, which she believed could be used to heal us all, using her voice in a powerful incantory way, using the rythyms of blues and jazz to deliver her messages of fierce, biting, social criticism to be used as imperatives of personal responsibility and change. A devotee of the artistic impulse that is jazz and blues, its impulses were to become a constant theme, using its rythyms as sparks and she became a close friend to many of the jazz greats and members of the avant garde fraternity.
I first discovered her through my own love of jazz, she was married to Ornette Coleman from 1954 until she divorced him in 1964 and I subsequently used to have some of her work on a compilation of freejazz, with her voice used as a bridge between tracks, wish I still had to it. She is best listened  to when heard, rather than directly from the page, a precursor to what is now known as hip hop.She and  Ornette had a son together, jazz drummer Denardo Coleman who she collaberated with on a number of occasions in his firespitters band. She later remarried in 1976 to sculptor Mel Edwards.
Her work has since been translated into many languages and I am widely used to seeing her name published in various anthologies over the years. Using her voice to challenge and the travesties and injustices of our world. Her voice is celebrated for its political, surrealistic pulse and dynamic innovation, with her use of lyricism and visceral sound. Using her voice to represent to the world the perspectives of an African-American feminist, revolutionary in an oral tradition stretching back centuries. Remaining independent, determined, with her singular strong voice, her spirit and ideas savaged silence and the conformity of the masses, raging against the excessives of man and all his brutality.In all her rage she spoke of survival too.
Long may her voice sing with all its energy and passion and its force hit with vivid intention.
Jayne Cortez - Artist on the Cutting edge


Jayne Cortez as she appeared in the 1982 film 'Poetry in Motion'




Jazz Fan Looks back - Jayne Cortez

I crisscrossed with  Monk
Walked with Bud
Counted every star with Stitt
Sang "Don't Blame Me" with Sarah
Wore a flower like Billie
Screamed in the range of Dinah
& scatted "How High the Moon" with Ella Fitzgerald
as she blwe roof off the Shrine Auditorium
                             Jazz at the Philarmonic

I cut my hair into a permanrnt tam
Made my feet rebellious metronomes
Embedded record needles in paint on paper
Talked bopology talk
Laughed in high-pitched saxophone phrases
Became keeper of every Bird riff
every Lester lick
as Hawk melodicized my ear of infatuated tonques
& Blakey drummed militant messages in
soul of my applauding teeth
& Ray hit bass notes to the last love scene in my bones
I moved in triple time with Max
Grooved High with Diz
Perddoed with Pettiford
Flew home with Hamp
Shuffled in Dexter's Deck
Squatty-rooed with Peterson
Dreamed a "52nd Street Theme" with Fats
& scatted "Lady Be Good" with Ella Fitzgerald
as she blew roof off the Shrine Auditorium
                             Jazz at the Philarmonic


There it Is - Jayne Cortez

And if we don't fight
if we don't resist
if we don't organise and unify and
get the power to control our own lives
Then we will wear
the exagerrated look of captivity
the stylized look of suicide
the dehumanised look of fear
and the decomposed look of repression
forever and ever and ever
And there it is


If the Drum is a Woman - Jayne Cortez

If the drum is a woman
why are you pounding your drum into an insane
babble
why are you pistol shooting through the head of your drum
and making a drum tragedy of drums
if the drum is a woman
don't abuse your drum don't abuse your drum
don't abuse your drum
I know the night is full of displaced persons
I see skins striped with flames
I know the ugly disposition of underpaid clerks they constantly menstruate through the eyes
I know bitterness embedded in flesh
the itching alone can drive you crazy
I know that this is America and chicken are coming home to roost
on the MX missile
But if the drum is a woman
why are you choking your drum
why are you raping your drum
why are you saying disrespectful things
to your mother drum your sister drum
your wife drum and your infant daughter drum
if the drum is a woman
then understand your drum
your drum is not docile
your drum is not invisible
your drum is not inferior to you
your drum is a woman
so don't reject your drum don't try to dominate your drum
don't become weak and cold and desert your drum
don't  be forced into the position
as an oppressor of drums and make a drum tragedy of drums
if the drum is a woman
don't abuse your drum don't abuse your drum
don't abuse our drum.....


 .

Friday, 4 January 2013

Emma Goldman (27/6/1869 -14/5/40) - Free Love



From
Marriage and love
Anarchism and other Essays
1911

perhaps 2013, will be the year of Love and unity
and staying free.                                                    


Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Renewal

As time  passes amongst us,the bridges are falling,
beyond the labyrinths,beyond the caves.
Take giant steps, sing your own requiem,
walk among rainbows pulse.
Echoes in distant waters,
crack the prism that contain us,
hope landscape of tomorrow is irresistable,
and our feet find safe routes.
Liberation is never a solo piece but an orchestra.
It is the encaspulating efforts of millions  of strands,
struggles large and small leading to a progressive sea change in society.
In our outposts  masts  fly high, as the winds of the people sustain,
let our voices be heard,  and together lets follow humanity's assured steps,
moving inch by inch, everything or nothing. All of us or none.*


Happy new year

Remember,  no borders are necessary

heddwch/peace

* Last line 'everything or nothing. All of us or none'
from Bertolt Brecht poem - All of us or none