Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Reminder to Those Hungry For Power

I wish that all who are running for office, whom the media helps to dodge all the deeply immoral actions of the United States at home and abroad, would keep before them the photos revealing the hollow death in their citizens' souls.  No wonder the population identifies with vampires.  Would they only delight in reminding themselves of their vicious games of torture in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, and many other places and times.  Those who flatter the diminishing middle class can absolutely ignore the totally powerless, such as the woman in this photo taken on a San Francisco street on 13 October 2012, who is reading a book she found in the garbage

Lit Crawl, 13 October 2012, at Muddy Waters Cafe

On 13 October 2012, I was recently returned from a trip to Indiana, still thinking about that, but, also, now that I live in Oakland, I have difficulty keeping up with what is going on in San Francisco.  But it is the period of Lit Quake where many writers read around the city, and I guess Saturday, 13 October, was the climax, called Lit Crawl, where poets were reading literally everywhere, not just coffee shops, but, as I discovered, in junk stores, bars, and a barber shop.
Lloyd Stensrud wanted me to meet up with him where gay poets would be reading in a barber shop, but it seemed, as I walked along, that almost every place on Valencia Street had poets reading, even in Balmy Alley.  On the way, I dropped in for a coffee at Muddy Waters Cafe, and discovered another reading there that was also connected with the latest release of a magazine called Ambush Review.  There were familiar faces there, but I was too late to hear more than three poets, the last one being former poet laureate of San Francisco, Jack Hirschman:

Jack Hirschman

Sharon Coleman

Angelos Sakkis

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Lit Crawl: Poetry Reading in a Barber Shop

I went on and met Lloyd Stensrud at the poetry being read in a barber shop:

And this one in the blue vest, quick and nervous, joked wryly that he had just broken up with his lover the night before after finding a stranger's sweater in his closet.  He handed out copies of a haiku he had just written, printed large on newsprint:

Whose SWEATER in this
in my TANSU?  I'll WEAR
the HIDE of my RIVAL.

Printed after the haiku -- his identity, I guess:  "A. Demcak, Poet & Novelist, Cultural Lacky - D.Six"  [See his remarks in the Comments section.]

Those who looked in at the windows may have been wandering from place to place on this "Lit Crawl" evening, or may just have been the Saturday evening crowd on Valencia Street.

A man Lloyd identified as "Baruch" was energetically poetic and very entertaining:


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thomas John ("Whitey") Eilers

I came across an old photograph of a football team that I assumed was one of those photos of people I never knew that insinuate themselves into family photos -- people ancestors knew.  I looked more closely recently and discovered my father as a very young man, probably attending Muskegon High School, Michigan.  It is as if he knew he had better celebrate his hair while it was there, as the men in the Eilers family always end up bald.
I also had not recognized him because this is not the man I knew at an older age who was worn down by farm work for a sadistic German father, work in the Gary steel mills, the Great Depression, struggles as the president of a local union...and many other blows to numerous to mention.
I have felt possessive of my poems, adding none or few on this blog, but I am realizing that once they have been published elsewhere they are relatively "safe" or saved, and so I include such a poem as it fits the subject:  "Father"


When Margaret let me warm my hands in the pocket
of her fur coat as we sat in her little Ford coupe
outside a bar in Black Oak, Indiana,
I was small enough never to have seen the man
in the moon.  Inside the bar, she had lifted me
to pull the handle on the slot machine,
but it wasn’t money I wanted, but just to see
the twirling wheels come to rest as cherries,
oranges, bananas – solid shapes in edible
colors.  As I began to see the man in the moon
I didn’t think of my father, Whitey, drunk in the bar –
gay and lively tonight, but a bitter clod tomorrow. 
I didn’t know the monster would age, change over
time, grow frail and gentle and pale as the man
in the three‑quarter moon – nose and mouth
in profile growing sharper and thinner,
a patch of ice on dark ground, melting
until there is only mud, stars, and memory.

[Published in on-line Poetry Ark]