Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Protesting the Oppression of Tibet

From INDEPENDENT TIBET, facts compiled by Jamyang Norbu:  Mao Zedong met Stalin on 22 January 1950 and asked for the Soviet air force to transport supplies for the invasion of the independent state of Tibet, which began on 6 October 1950.  Resistance and the heavy torment the Tibetans have suffered is well known and continued for years, ceasing only in 1974.  Recently at least 26 Tibetans, including monks and nuns, have self-immolated, protesting Chinese oppression of their state.

Here is a recent demonstration in San Francisco:

Memories of Seattle's Home of the Good Shepherd

Some years ago -- probably in the early 1970s, I visited Seattle, undoubtedly in the company of Robert Minichiello who lived there, and I stayed in the Home of the Good Shepherd.  The nuns who ran a home there for delinquent girls had moved into the world, and the Home was to become an arts center, but still stood empty except for Linda Beaumont who lived on the empty top  floor.  She loved having a space where she could dance while painting.  (In 2012, Linda's public art works are all over the Seattle area: Linda Beaumont )   Chuck Greening was also there working on a project, and so I was witnessing a miraculous conversion -- a religious institution turning into an art center.  Still, as an ex-Catholic, I was excited to spend the night in a nun's bed, properly spare, white covers on a white iron bed, where I pretended I was virginal and "pure," imagining the nun who had slept in the bed before me, but there was an anti-climax the next day when I met the nun at a gathering.  She was laughing like any normal person, and drinking a cocktail.  
I have felt impelled to write this entry on my blog in particular  because of "the lost mural of Linda Beaumont," a loss that seems to concern me more than her.   There had been a drained pool at the Home, and Linda created a mosaic face there, and the pool was  filled again with water.  I don't know if I took this photo, or someone else gave it to me, but I learned later that the pool was considered a danger and was filled with earth.  Will it be found one day, a mysterious artwork from an ancient time?  Who the artist?

Perhaps someone will remember all the details I am forgetting, such as whether it was during this time that an old ironworks in Seattle became a little park called The Ironworks.  For a very symetrical hill there (in the photo below), Chuck Greening was creating a sundial where the needle that cast the shadow that told the time would be any person who happened to stand at the center of his large sun dial.  

It was fun to sit in the chapel of the Home of the Good Shepherd and listen to Chuck and two others discuss his plan, in particular the problem of drainage off that hill.  I think Steve Badanes may have been one of the friends helping him (Steve of Jersey Devils, the architects, Jersey Devil design/build, and some years later, Linda's husband). 


Perhaps this is Steve Gadanes, with this thick black head of hair, in the upper right, helping Chuck Greening, lower right, as they begin to set the sundial in place.


From a later time, a landmark loved by Seattle folk, Steve Badanes' Ogre Under the Freeway....

The Greek Blue Elephant

At the March 13th luncheon of the Center for the Art of Translation, the very likeable Peter Constantine, one of the editors of a big new anthology, THE GREEK POETS, Homer to the Present, gave a very clear presentation, with samples of Greek poetry with their translations.  He made me wish that I knew Greek.  The anthology includes over 1,000 poems by nearly 200 poets, translated by the likes of Anne Carson, Robert Fagles, W.S. Merwin, Ezra Pound, etc.  Angelos Sakkis, local poet/translator, was there, and handed me a sheet about a book translated by the friend who was with him, Thanasis Maskaleris:  The Terrestrial Gospel of Nikoa Kazantzakis, or  Peter Constantine was kind enough to comply when I asked him to write "Blue Elephant" in Greek:

Before the Discovery of Antidepressants

  Two depressed people before learning of antidepressants -- 
  Feel free to laugh...

   May 1976 [More from Ye Olde Storage Boxes]
       May had come, but there seemed to be a preoccupation
       with dying.  Jacob thought about suicide again.  
       He was back to burning himself alive on the steps
       of the federal building; this time the signs say:
                         SAVE THE DOLPHINS!
                          SAVE THE WHALES!
       How could he explain that this was the same as hoping
       for his next breath.


         He told Rocco (who had just finished months of work on
         plans for another visionary building that he had no hope
         would ever be built) about his suicide, and Rocco said his
         latest suicide was to burn himself in the AIA office.
         Jacob wondered how many people perfect their suicides,
         polishing them on rainy days.  Rocco proposed a movie
         full of nothing but suicide scenes.


   Although I give the world its praise
   I live without hope.
   My necklace is the hanging rope.
   I follow it across my days.

   We come to a final bungalow, beyond
   a tract of bungalows.  It floats on weeds,
   invisibly, where the royal ragged lover reads
   his houses up from a drowning pond.