Tuesday, August 31, 2010

August 28, 2010, Queen Anne Uptown Art Stroll Redpen Poetry Showcase

Aaron Dietz, Caroline Albert, Ronnie Porter, William James, Nancy Penrose, and Barbara honored the greats with our minds. It seems where ever I go (the ghosts of) Charles, Harvey, or Dylan are always there. I met Harvey Goldner in the Seattle open mic scene. The first time was at the homeland open mic emceed by Tom Ring at onthe house.

(Here's a Tolkienesque sidenote:
In 2004-08, onthe house was a community living room operated by a young Nazarene couple who also ran a store front church and a photography studio out of that spot. The church is now located on 21st and Union. The pastor Benji, graduated from the same college as my mother. And one of their friend's father was in or near my mom's class. At the present moment, an ice cream shop called the Blue Bird has set up shop in that space).

After Harvey passed away from mouth cancer, he was hailed as the Bard of Belltown in the PI. He made his living driving a cab and earned just enough for beer, rolling tobacco, food, and rent. When he wasn’t out cutting mics, I used to see him at the Central branch of the library out front on the fifth avenue side twisting up a cigarette. He never put on airs and he like Jack McCarthy actually listened to the blatherings of other writers. It would have been nice if all the people who participated (whiter they were invited or not) stayed to hear all us poets read.

It always seems to happen at open audience affairs. When I had an open mic and public access show in McMinnville, Oregon, I was always having to silence out the four letter words from people’s poems and stories. If we have anything to learn from Charles Bukowski or Harvey Goldner is that life ain’t PG (or at least their living of this life wasn't). So, why should we expect our poems to be?

We honored Charles Bukowski today. We honored Harvey Goldner today. We honored Dylan Thomas today. We honored Carl Sandburg today. We honored Robert Frost today. We honored Isaac Asimov today. We honored Henry David Thoreau today. We honored Shakespeare today. We honored Jesus today. We honored Kabir. A dead poet is more alive in the living than they were when they lived.

I’m pleased that Ronnie invoked the spirit of Charles when he offended the ear of a listener. If he hadn’t, I would have with a poem glorifying the lifestyles of these scoundrels. The line that would have jarred their ear off would have read like this.

Waking to write another article, story, or poem that will never sell on:

Woe is me
This is my life
I am living
It sucks
Let me ram this poem cockwise into you
so that you may see how crappy it is
after I pull it, bloodied, out of your dry stinking rectum.

I have no idea what the word “cockwise” means. I lifted it from the Dylan Thomas poem, Foster the Light. The word doesn’t exist in any dictionary that I’ve ever laid my hands on. So, I can only assume that he made the word up or that it was some kind of Welsh / English vernacular.

Dylan Thomas, FOSTER THE LIGHT, Stanza 4:

Roll unmanly over this turning tuft,
O ring of seas, nor sorrow as I shift
From all my mortal lovers with a starboard smile;
Nor when my love lies in the cross-boned drift
Naked among the bow-and-arrow birds
Shall you turn cockwise on a tufted axle.

I wonder if it has something to do with how cocks turn? I wonder if cockwise is a boat term or part? Dylan, from context, is mixing feathered fowl and boats together. Anyway, moving on.

Each of us has a song inside that we've spent our entire lives trying to articulate just what it is. Writers do this in words. Athletes in actions. Tradesmen in trades. Parents through children. Artists through expression. Musicians through songs. Scholars through study. Workers through work. Drunks through drinking. Poets through poeming.

I wonder if insanity is the denial or the repression of this song?

At this poetry read it was Ronnie Porter whose tongue let slip the offending words. I didn’t even notice. His words were balanced like a gourmet dinner salad. But one of the visual artist at counter balance park complained about the “F” word or was it the “Vagina,” that instigated the offense?

Document O from Super by Aaron Dietz
Ronnie, Friend, & Nichole at the Mecca After Party

Aaron & Ronnie

Monday, August 30, 2010

Time Masheen: I Found Some Old Poems

photo by Ken Barton (McMinnville, OR) 1996
Posting these pieces (below) is a good exercise in humility, because it shows exactly how bad of a writer I was before I started poor saps press: the series (April 2002), going to the Coffee Cottage Writers group (Spring 2003), and moving to Seattle (December 2003), which in just being here, present around all those writers more talented then me, really developed my style and helped me to locate my voice and how I can shout the loudest.

Believe it or not, competition is actually a good thing for artists (at least it has been good for me) in order to sharpen pencils and bring out that natural flare (I got thirteen pieces on now; I don't know what they say, but they're there. Count 'em).

Leave me a comment as to which one is the worst and which is the best of the worst...

22 May 2000:  C H E E S E P I E R E C E P E

1> Crush/Crumble three cups cracker of choice. Saltine, Ritz, Wheat- Thin, you get the picture.
2> Mix cracker crumbs into desired pie tin with a dash of (extra-virgin) olive oil or melted butter and form a crust on bottom and sides of tin. If more crumbs are needed, by all means crumble some more.
3> Spread two or more cups grated cheese onto crumb crust.
4> Cover Cheese with an additional layer of crumbs w/o mixing with oil substance.
5> Bake pie at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or till cheese is melted -- whichever is longer.

You may find three cups of cheese to be to much cheese. If so you may wish to cut the cheese with vegetables or refried beans or whatever suits your fancy. Note, however, to do so will lengthen the cooking time of the pie. Also, after cooking you may wish to let the pie cool slightly before serving.

2:30AM - 4:32PM, 1/1/2000:  The Blue's

Rhythm in tunes
Dancing thru
Saturated bones
And swaying flesh

Mary's innocence
Off colored past
Dreamy eyes
And curving lips

3:08 - 3:26 am, 12/31/1999


rickety back porch




3:00 pm, 11/19/1999

Dive into the"Rabbit's Hole"
Plunge through the Poet's Mind
Who is this Poet asks "Alice" into a tree
'Tis not She, He, nor Me says the Cat perched on a leave

Only those who listen to image
Ramblings of the Under Mind...

5:23PM October 17 -20, 1999:  "IRON JOHN" part one:

It feels good to touch
That wild person extant inside
You know

That wild man or That wild woman

We keep locked away inside an Iron Cage or
beneath the waters of psyche's pond
The feeling of potency radiates
When the key touches the lock
tickling the toes
laving down the head
That tamed person
Gripping those Iron bars
Enthralled by the waters waves
lips twitching
nostrils flaring
fists clenching
eyes blaring
With demonstrative rage
The items of frustrations projection
possessed flies about the room
vulgar syllables dart off the tongue
thick course hair sprout up over the body
Guess what friends
The tamed just loosed Enkidu again
When the flame dies down
Adrenaline throttles back
The wild person is forced back
While the tame pours buckets of shame into the pond or
Over that prison which houses "Iron John."

July 5, 1999 8:14pm Draft 3

Groan groan groan
Time again to work
A day or two away is not enough
groan grumble moan
Drink some coffee
Eat a chunk of bread
Think motivational thoughts

-- "I Live in a Van Down By the River" -- Cris Farley SNL

Examine the bank balance again
Don't cry
OK boo hoo hooo
breath eat drink think
Is it worth it
Its supposed to be
A place to go or to find happiness
Why then do I feel as a whore
The Pimp finds me a job
The Madame keeps me busy and fed
Each days end is the same
Pain Physical Emotional Exhaustion Pain
Contending with others hidden chaos
Vampires sucking dry a dwindling power supply
Hard to remain obedient
Prostituting the self for another's sadistic fantasy
Adding to the Brothels box of gold
While the whores remain the same
Destitute Disparity Disrestorative Justice
Trickles down to greet each hooker on the street
Scraping by on the tartar of ones teeth
Waiting for the weakly tid-bit
One faded dollar for me
Ten crisp ones for the Pimp
A hundred lumps of green for the Madame
Is it really worth the effort
grumble groan Creek
Don't Think


More Coffee
Chew on some Bread
Crawl to work again


1:14AM October 15 - 17 3:25PM 1999:  IS THIS DAY NEAR?

Systemic Contempt
Breeds lingering death
Poor pretentious children
Masters, they call themselves, of the Universe
Chasing their primate tails
Evolved useless ear's and narcissistic eye's
In their quest to tower into heaven.

A labored breath wheezes
Distant movements rumble
Joints crack and groan
The Mother spits blood over and over
Tears flood across her wailing face
The last cry for her children escapes.

They have no choice but to bend down
and kiss their own backsides
Screaming while they inch and slip
Into the fiery hot gash which opened in her side
Realizing too late the pride they engendered
Hair or not they are still just apes
Silence ensues across the Mother's tired face
While she mourns the loss of her children this day....

photo by Ken Barton 1996
Today, 8/29/10, I sold this guitar
to a guy on Bainbridge Island
1996 or 1997
Poetry is the language of my life
These thoughts dance through my days like dreams
Perhaps Dreams are my Life
I just don't know sometimes.
Incense and Indian classical wafting through the air
Transforming my house into a hut.
I sit along the banks of the River Ganges,
Contemplating the mystery of the Brahma.
Dreamily, I drift, to the desert Sinai --
To the dirty stone shack with a grass roof --
Fire burning in a pit on the floor --
Sitting, upon pillows,
Eating, a sinewy old goat.
Attentiveness Lapses,
Listlessly wandering on,
Caught between a dream and a thought.

The Yogi ponders,
The Mystic wanders,
Trapped between two worlds East and West.
A storm progresses,
Confusing the Mind
Catholicity emerges,
Gracing rest to pains of heretical Soul.

Vividly, the pen


                           into my hand



The warrior slashed his sword, with madness burning in his eyes, popping the head off one of the gray skinned aliens; on the back sweep he sliced through the middle of two more, screaming, "You bastards, you killed my brother, you're all going to pay...!"

During the massacre the wry lilith princess, leader of the enemy battle force, teleported away when she realized the mission to capture the Warrior was a total failure. In anger she blew apart Captain Dennal with a single word-thought. She then cut off his testicles and ran to the hall-way of dimensions while leaving her commandos to die.

The cavernous room was beginning to look like a slaughter house during harvest time. The sinister black eyed commandos did not stand a chance against his glimmering two handed sword. With every precision stroke, executed by the warrior, another quivering body part was severed and flew aside accompanied by a sickly smelling black fluid that oozed, squirted, or pulsed out of the enemy causing his magical blade to purr gleefully in his hands. The cacophony of mental agony that assaulted his psychic was staggering; it did not slow him down but served only to fuel the fires of madness building within him. After forty five seconds of parring and whirling like a windmill, the whole force of alien commandos were still.

The warrior waltzed over the pile of mutilated bodies to where the scattered remains of his brother lie. He knelt down and picked up his brother's head and cradled it in his arms. A look of melancholy crept upon his face, his mood rapidly twisted into vengeance. In a fit of rage he threw the head across the room where it smashed like a ripe watermelon against the wall. He roared, "I shall avenge you my brother!!!"

An instant later he disappeared through a shimmering cloud of energy -- in hot pursuit of the enemy princess.

Ken Barton & My Favorite Hotrod Guitar (it was stolen) 1996
1988 was the year that it first entered into my mind that I could be a writer. 

When I applied to Linfield, I almost put creative writing as an alternative major to Physics. I wonder what would have happened if I had taken a risk back then and got a degree in writing?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

No Shortage Of Angst Here

08252010 No Shortage Of Angst Here

Photo by Bruce V Bracken
It’s the calm before the storm. I capitulate between hope and despair. I’ve done nothing but give ground since this process began. But that’s how it is with hermit crabs who have nothing more than a borrowed shell to shelter them from uncontrollable elements bombarding their universe. I think in one fashion or another I've always ridden a motorcycle. I've always been a hermit crab without a shell. I've always lived on the precipice of stability like a chad hanging over the gaping maw of ruination.

I seem to remember something S said (after I first started dating her last February) about what she saw on my astrological chart. Normally, I heap New Ageism, Tarot cards, Psychic readings, Astrology and whatnot into the same bucket of crap. But there was something in S's explanation that rang true to how I have lived this life, which is why I listened. She said that I'd have to stand my ground in a relationship in order for me to move forward (to become a public artist). It dawned on me today that this relationship she could have been referring to may not have been a romantic one, but a family one. I thought for sure it was about her and thus, I dug my heels down deep into the ground regarding everything she wanted from me and eventually, I ran away. But now I'm thinking mayhaps its my father (who also shares the same sign that she possesses). Of course dad would say that now is not the time to stand on principal, but he has said that about me all my life (regarding most of the work or life choices I have made).

Well anyhow, I went to the slam last night and put my name in the bucket for the IWPS preliminary qualifying competition. I was one of nine chosen and went second. If winning is your goal, being chosen to go early in the round is a death knell, because of a phenomenon called score creep. I didn't impress these judges this time. I've only slammed about six times: three times this year and three times the year I moved here. I suspect it will take me about a year to really learn the job in this venue. And I'll need to see a typical slam poem splayed out on the page in order to reverse engineer the style. I generally purchase poetry in an audio format, but I do occasionally acquire a book or two. 

I invited Carla, one of my only Catholic writer friends to come. And I'm glad she did too. She's a fiction writer who frequents open mics at the Richard Hugo House. Her current specialty is penning short stories—that can be read in five minutes or less—based on something that strikes her fancy out of The Stranger. I’m hoping that she will return to this venue and learn how to compose short narrative poems. I could see her as a slam poet and advance quickly up the ranks. She could become a performer like Jack McCarthy is or was.

The feature Robin Park, was awesome. She learned her craft through Youth Speak and she really bit into the experience of that word driving her pen. I started tearing up during her performance and my guts did that spasmodic quivering jerking motion that occurs before a cry. I don’t do that very often. The last time I did was when I was at my folks at the top of July and bottom of August. I demonstrated to them through the documentary "Slamnation: The Sport of Spoken Word" what Slam is. It wasn’t Robin’s poetry per say, but the fact that I will (most likely) be separated from this magical place of like minded people. I never knew what community was until I came to Seattle and entered into the ranks of the poets here. I've discovered that through this medium of expression I can connect to a reality greater than myself. For me it is the Eucharist or what the Eucharist should fill in my life (if I were a proper Catholic). It is a worship experience. The word of God becomes incarnated or in-fleshed in expression of the tongue. Through my ears, I eat that word and it fills me with belonging; with a sensation that I am a part of this creation; that I am more than who I am. This stuff that we blather out (every week, or bimonthly, or monthly, or six weeks depending on the population basin of your slam location) to each other doesn’t matter to that cold world of economics that drives the western world. Poetry is meaningless to people who go home in a mad rush after work to watch television (I realized that the Acronym PBS really stands for Public Bull Shit).

Matt Gano (photo grabbed online)
It is said that a person can be a writer anywhere. This is not necessarily true. Yes, I could be a page poet in a POW cell or Himalayan cave. Most writers are (to a degree) loners by nature. Although, some are introverted-extroverts. I'm kind of this way. I recharge both alone and in the company of others. Page poets connect their word to the universe through the publication of their pages in zines, mags, and journals. Performance poets, on the other hand, are a different breed altogether. Yes, we are just as introverted, as our page poet siblings are and just as unfit for the world of work. The pinnacle difference is we are driven to shit out our angst onto an audience that is present in the same moment and place that we are. Here in this place one's proximity to their target listener is so close you can see their nose hairs, inhale their ass breath, and their shitty rosy-water farty smells. It is like being an infantry solider with a bayonet fixed to a single shot musket and you're charging over the trench to impale your enemy---who is actually a sibling from another set of parents---in the heart. Whereas, the distance between a page poet and their audience can be much further away. A page poet could be likened to that of a pilot who controls a drone bomber from a hundred-thousand-million parsecs away to drop bombs on interested aliens.

Don't get me wrong, I like page poetry. I like to read it out loud. I like to hear it read by the poet too. And I've purchased about a hundred dollars of poetry mp3 tracks thus far.

Spoken word performing is not just about the writing. It is about the presentation too. I’ve aspired to be a Spoken Word poet since I graduated from college and first heard an audio presentation of Kabir’s teachings performed by Robert Bly. I don’t think I’m that good of a performer now or not to the same level as Karen Finneyfrock, Tara Hardy, Buddy Wakefield, Joaquin Zihuatanejo, CR Avery, or Jack McCarthy are. The slammaster, Daemond Arrindell, I would love to hear him perform live sometime, but it looks like that will become difficult in the (near) future.

Tara Hardy
To be a spoken word poet you got to have an audience. Very few people who attend library or literary or mixed genre open mics perform their work. Most people read monochromatic with their noses rubbing the words off the pages.

I know all about performance anxiety, but I don't let a thing like a panic attack get in the way of a dramatic reading. A few times, my body has shook so violently that I could not read the words on the page. I discovered this year after Seattle Door & Window went under, that if I drink a couple pints of PBR, I can keep a lid over that panic beast.

In the United States there are nearly 100 slam venues distributed across 30 (or so) states (see official map at poetry slam, inc). Texas supports eight slams. Prior to this depression Oregon supported two: one in Portland and the other in Bend. Washington State only has one in Seattle, but there is young man I competed against last night who wants to start one in Olympia (maybe I should move there instead to help).

Catalyst of Olympia
Where I may be living in a month from now is a 163.2 mile round trip away from the nearest audience. Currently, my one-way commute to this audience is about eight blocks. Measured on the map, it is approximately 2000 feet from my front door. My new trek on foot will, according to google maps, take me 26 hours of continual walking one way. On a bicycle the route moves off I-5 and increase to 88.5 miles. Google maps say a person should be able to cover that distance in seven hours and fifty minutes. This is doable. The slam will let out at 11:30 twelve o’clock on Sunday evening and I’ll be able to make work by eight Monday morning. This would be similar to one of those nights that I drank too much at the slam and blacked out passed out behind a dumpster along the way.

Please lord let this cup pass me by. Grant me a livable job so that I can stay a while longer in Seattle.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Could there be a poem in here?

As of August 24, 2010, I can’t imagine leaving Seattle even for a job working for my father and sister. I suppose it would be different if I were asked to move to Portland instead of Lebanon (38 miles southeast of Salem) population 15,397 and is 93.98% white. I really don’t want to go back into a rural area to live, but, at the same time, I do love visiting (or spending time in) quiet places like Grand Ronde Oregon, which is only a few miles to the west from where I grew up in Rowell Creek valley (between Valley Junction and Fort Hill).

Rowell Creek Road reminds me of Tolkien's, Shire. There are people who've lived in the Grand Ronde-Willamina region for multiple generations, who've never heard or ventured up into that valley. Maybe the Shire is not the correct adjective or metaphore to use. Maybe the Willamina-Grand Ronde area is the Shire and Rowell Creek valley is like that hidden Elven highway in the Shire that Frodo, Sam, Pippin, and Merry stumbled upon when they were stumbling off the beaten path to Buckland or like the Old Forest where Tom Bombadil resided.

Sunday, after singing old time gospel at the eleven o'clock Mass at Immaculate Conception, I argued with my father regarding the details of the deal, it dawned on me that I could simply take a leap of faith into the knowledge that I will find a livable job here. To stay here is certainly scarier. To stay here means I have to actually exercise faith or even ask people whom I'm not related to for help; it means I may have to lower my standard of living. To stay here is like riding on a motorcycle versus riding in a car. I know that once my father passes on, the safety of that car will be blasted away and I will be standing exactly where I am right now. If this business goes under, I will be worse off than I am now, because even in a good economic climate Oregon's job market is depressed. In my early life as an Oregon resident, the highest wage I ever earned was about fifty cents more than the prevailing minimum wage. The person who wants to stay here is that individual who wants to ride a motorcycle into the heart of danger. It's the person who wants to break the promise he made to his mother at age seventeen not to purchase a motorcycle till after she passed away, because she could not bear to see me killed or maimed by one like her younger brother almost was or like how Pastor Ned Landis of Emmanuel Lutheran in Willamina did. (Pastor Ned took a job in Vancouver WA, at a much larger parish. He gave six weeks to this process of making his rounds to visit and say goodbye to all of his parishioner. We were the last folks he visited. He left our house on his motorcycle and hit an elk going nearly 100 mph and skidded for eighty yards before he came to a stop. Ned survived, but he never recovered his full intellectual capacity and thusly, never pastored a church ever again. However, he did pass on a few years ago and I learned that he converted Catholic around the same time that I did. Go figure. It must have been the motorcycle, the thrill of riding the beast exposed to the elements that caused him to step off the protestant plank and become catholic) The person who wants to stay is that individual who wants to become a man like his father who can stand (for the most part) on his own two financial feet.

Anyhow, the other day, I was over at Aaron’s having dinner prepared by his beautiful partner Pei. Afterwards, we retired to his living room to drink a Smokey single malt scotch aged ten years to play scrabble. Aaron, you should know, has recently published an experimental fiction novel that will soon be released on amazon.com (and other places) and is also a member of my writers critique group called Red Pen. His first book published in 2006 is called “Reserved for Emperors.”

Here are the words generated by the scotched up game of scrabble. I've extracted the words played and wrote them bellow for sake of convenience. I lost by 40 points with a score of 195. There must be a poem in here somewhere:

Frown                           Treads                           An
Na                                Nor                               Mart
Fogs                             Gave                             Vat
Given                            Dorm                            Jog
Hog                              Year                             Hog
Do                                Sud                              Huh
Dime                            The                               Rind
Clue                             Cube                             Pe
Plots                             Steep                            Lean
Kiln                              Fogs                             Gave
Vat                              Given                            Weary
Screw                          Wine                             Year
Ax                               Sud                               Quod
Bust                             Zits                                Lie
Be                               It                                    Or

Nor gave Quod [a] frown
[He wore] the lean dorm year treads
[Dipped in a] dime wine vat [of] Po

Fogs steep lie or an ax
Hog gave Po [a] weary sud screw

Cube-mart kiln bust
Zits plots be it
Or lie weary rind huh

Given zits,
Jog the cube
An ax nor mart or pe na

An abstract ditty anyway…

Feel free to rearrange the words in any order you wish and leave it in a comment.

Monday, August 16, 2010

It doesn't seem real...

It doesn’t seem real. That I will be leaving this home (I crafted here for myself with the help of the spoken word and writers community), in a shade over three weeks. I’ve lived in the Capitol / First Hill neighborhood for six years nine months now. And for the first four years, I was homesick for dry wheat fields, quiet places and dreamt (between open mics) about doing what I will be doing on September 16th, which is go back home to northwestern Oregon. Until then, I have an overwhelming amount of things to accomplish and figure out. Ideally, I would drive the Uhaul away into the sunset. However, I don't have a drivers license. Tomorrow morning (which is August 17) I am going to take the written test at the West Seattle DMV testing center. I must say that I am frightened by the prospect of being a licensed driver again and prior to moving up here I hated driving with a passion. The only time I missed it was when I returned to Oregon for a visit. I count letting my license expire on my 36th birthday to be the biggest mistake I've made save for perhaps passing Allison, the grocery store girl, a note asking her out. I was so attracted to her that my speech center short circuited and I became a fast retard. I was a little disappointed to find out her age. She was twenty-four then and I was thirty-nine. She later became a muse for the first song I'd ever written with words and all along with a dozen or more prose like compositions. I still find her attractive even though she's lost her girlish figure and is maturing into a beautiful woman, but I'm leaving now and there's no sense bubbling into spilt milk.
An offering to the gods at Summit & Pike Street

The biggest problem I'm having with this move is that I’m settling, for the time being, in Salem, which to the known universe, is an cultural dark hole. At least that was how I tagged it in my tweens till my mid thirties (when I moved from McMinnville to Seattle). Salem is an awfully big city to be so artistically retarded or challenged. Seattle's population was clocked at around 540,000 at the 2000 census. Salem on the other hand sports about 136,924 (from the same period). There are only four live theaters one at Willamette University, the Historic Elsinore Theatre (where I waited around the block to see Star Wars in 1976) Chemeketa Community College, and then there's the Pentacle which is a community theater. Although, Salem did have a professional theater for about six years called the Salem Repertory Theatre, but it died in 2009 to lack of support. It is funny Portland's population is around 529,121 and it supports 65 theatrical troupes and theaters. Salem on the other hand at approximately 3/4 the size of Portland can't support one professional theater. That is shameful in my book. Shame on you Salem!


I was hoping, when I returned to Oregon, that I would make a beeline for Portland. I've heard nothing but good things about Portland's writers community over the past six years. So, as soon as I get my drivers license and a car (hopefully a VW pop top camper bus) I will become the first Salemite (gag, I just threw up a little bit in my mouth when I typed the word; I am not looking forward to this move; my excitement fizzled like an erection slapping really cold water) to attend the Portland Poetry Slam. Also, I've grown accustomed to the liberal loonies who infest the First / Capitol Hill neighborhoods and I know that same personality type also has populated much Portland, which is why Portland is the bicycle bum capital of the northwest and has a model public transportation system.

However, Salem does have a few coffee stores with character in the downtown region. The Coffee House Cafe on 150 Liberty Street NE has that non-corporate style that is unique to Oregon and it hosts several poetry open mics a month. Whatever other culture there is below the event horizon (as far as spoken word poetry is concerned), I’m going to find it and most likely compare the individual venues to either the best or worst open mics of Seattle (and I’ve been to most of the open mics here). My two favorite places for poetry are the Seattle Poetry Slam and Works in Progress at the Hugo House.

Below are a few random images of the Capitol / First Hill neighborhood's taken with my trusty AT&T Pantech camera phone:

Charlie singing his trademark piece Ode to Sesame Street
Thursday's at the Blue Bird Ice Cream.

A random rider on a number 2 to Madrona

Mass at St James August 15, 2010


It just don't seem real that I'm leaving this home I've fallen in love with. When I stopped seeing that last lady I dated for a short spell I wasn't nearly this bubbly (but then again why would one be). I wonder if I'm doing the right thing? I wonder if Salem will become a crucible for me? Will it be a place or vessel of social and artistic isolation resulting in either the death of poetry in my soul or the realization of its true nature?

Hmmm...a dark night of the poem...