June and Poets

Brian Doyle is dead.

My heart aches to hear such news.

Probably not as much as the hearts of his immediate family and those closest to him. Condolences and love to those he has left behind.

Portland author Brian Doyle left the planet recently at age 60.

I did not know him personally but I have read a few of his words in such beautiful books as Mink River, The Plover, The Thorny Grace of It. To open one his books was to be bathed, tickled and sung to with words. Words set up as complicated traps for the mind and heart, the lure: humor, the human condition observed-words bending like a gymnast.

I was first introduced to Brian Doyle in his book Mink River, it was not an instant love affair. His long descriptive sentences demanded me to get on board and breathe deep the world that he created and ride the waves of lush wordsmithery.  This required attention. I was lazy. His words made me want to stop being lazy. I wanted to see how he would describe moving water or birds circling or a woman looking at a tree. His writing made me hungry.
Until next time, be well and write poetry in the medium of your choice for the living and the dead.
Poem for Brian Doyle

When poets die

Ellipses grieve

dashes moan

italics slump with the heaviness of loss

while the empty page weights

until the empty page waits

for the pounce of a printer

for the scratch of a pencil

for the caress of pen

backs of business cards cry out

napkins weep

notebooks and notepads rock back and forth reciting prayers

When poets die

my heart craves their yarn

my tongue thirst for their cadence on my lips

my heart seeks that simple line that took 5 years

to tell the truth

When poets die, I cling to their arms and legs:

their books


Evening of Jazz

Thanks for the emails and comments regarding my visit to Oprahland.
Strangely, my research continues as my mother has sent me a
subscription to O.  What have I gotten myself into?

And while some members of the public may demand an mp3 of that audition, I am afraid your imagination will have to suffice.

Anyway, I hope that you will join me at Cicada Restaurant and Lounge Saturday,  February 12 for an evening of music with myself, Joe Baque on piano and bassist Steve Luceno.   Enjoy Cicada’s Northwest/ New Orleans menu to a soundtrack of jazz in this intimate setting.  Music starts at 8pm. Hope to see you there!

Cicada Restaurant and Lounge
700 4th Ave E
Olympia, WA 98506
360 753-5700

Joe Baque’s website: http://www.joebaque.com/

I sing the fish electric…

Blue skies
Smiling at me
Nothing but blue skies
Do I see

Blue Fish
Singing a song
Nothing but Blue Fish
All day long

No there is no typo and I am not talking about the heady tome penned by the great American author Dr Seuss ( One Fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish), I am speaking about fish, hard at work making music for the halibut. Sorry, I won’t be doing that agin in this entry although I must confess, I have had a soft spot for the much maligned, ever adolescent pun.

I speak of the talented fish ( with their equally talented human co-creators) who performed at last November’s STRP Festival which showcases new innovations in technology and art in the Netherlands. Faculty members from the Northwestern University introduced their choir of electric fish in an interactive installation where audience members could “play” the fish. The “talent” was made up of 12 different species of electric fish from the Amazon River Basin. These Amazon natives give off a faint electrical field that is translated to sensors. Each fish has a unique energy signature that is assigned a timbre that is then amplified. Each field has a tone, each fish has a song! I haven’t actually heard it and some how I doubt if it will be topping the charts, but I support musical talent whether it has feet, feathers or fins. You can read more about it here.

So why do I have fish on the brain? Last summer, I did an educational video called Somethin’s Fishy for the City of Bellevue. Perhaps not as hip as the above mentioned techno fish, but I like to think that it humbly helped to preserve some fish hides. The focus of the video was how humans’ daily water use and abuse can affect the critters on the land and in the our waters. This experience re-acquainted me with how important our waterways and water friends are. It was a fun project and I recently received the DVD and wanted to share a bit with you.

By the way, Happy New Year to you! I hope that 2011 brings you good fortune, health, creativity and peace!
Until next time

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