POETRY & ARTS NEWSLETTER
LOVE THY NEIGHBOR
(Matthew 22 37:38)
An Opinion column
from Beatlick Pamela Hirst
May 24, 2017
STUDENTS OF OAXACA FOCUS ATTENTION
ON 43 MISSING STUDENTS
Local students of Oaxaca presented interpretive dances and plays to observe the kidnap-
ping and disappearance of 43 student in 2014. According to Wikipedia: On September 26,
2014, 43 male students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers' College went missing in
Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico. Other official reports claim the students commandeered several
buses to travel to Mexico City in order to commemorate the anniversary of the 1968
Tlatelolco Massacre. During the journey, local police intercepted them and a confrontation
ensued. Conflicting reports claim after a day of protests, the students only wanted to make
their way back to their college. Accounts of what happened next differ. Members of the
student union say they boarded three local buses, but the police says the students seized
The performances presented on the zocalo of Oaxaca City included local students who
coordinated the event with many artists and musicians.
"The struggles of the educators has continued for decades. The education reform is better
understood as an attack on labor. Much like the discourse of recent education reform
movements in the United States, the Mexican reformers invoke notions of accountability
and equality.But the reform itself contains numerous measures aimed at undermining the
power of teachers union including measures that weaken the union's control of the hiring
process at normal schools (which they historically controlled), eliminate teachers' ability to
pass down a position to their children, make it easier to fire teachers who miss work, and
limit the number of union positions paid by the state," according to the Jacobin.
TRANSPORTATION PROTESTS CONTINUE
May 1, 2017
Bus drivers continue protests in the streets during Mexican Labor Day. These Mexican
citizens represent Revolutionary Workers’ Federation of Mexican Trade Unions (FORAS)
who continue their protest with Choferes del Sur and Urbanos of Oaxaca, transportation
companies who employ them.
The conflict concerns how the two companies are taking advantage of their transporters by
not honoring earlier agreements and contracts calling for fair labor practices. FORAS
originally held a strike on March 20. The businesses have fired many workers who participated in the March 20 strike.
FORAS representative Alejandro González Forastieri said the workers are demanding that
the collective bargaining agreement be updated, as the workers have to pay fees for the
maintenance of the trucks owned by the companies and the fuel required to run their
Their salaries constitute what remains after these expenses are met by the workers.
Additionally, they do not have any standard employee benefits that are common in America,
they are not paid for overtime, and they are not paid according to hours they work.
Alejandra Gómez Candiani, president of the board of directors of both companies, recognize
d the right to strike, but said that strikers agreed 40 percent of transporters would not stop
work. He says he is moving forward with plans to fire striking transporters.
The capitol city depends on approximately 900 buses of five different transportation lines to
provide service for more than 260 colonies and territorial zones. At least 50 percent stopped
work during the strike.
This particular Labor Day protest calls for the signing of a work contract, salary benefits and
compensation for the workers fired due to their participation in the March 20 strike.
Additionally, representatives of eight social organizations from different localities marched
in Oaxaca in support of FORAS.
STEPHEN KING DESERVES AWARD
FOR CREATING READERS
by Emma J. Wisdom
Writing can be torture, but also it’s a labor of love and to find readers of one’s ilk whether fiction or non-fiction is the best of its kind. Many readers and writers extend kudos to Stephen King for breaking through the wall of resistance to receive the Medal of Distinguished Contributions to American Letters. However, not everyone feels so positive about King being the recipient of such an honor.
I’ve kept author Samuel G. Freedman’s article “Stephen King Deserves an Award for Creating Readers” as an incentive to remind me of the possibilities as well as to add my accolades to King as what one can possibly expect in the writing arena. In addition, I want to thank Freedman for his bravery to voice such a pithy observation in support of Stephen King’s writings…his body of works. Not all writers write what I suppose the eminent critic Harold Bloom believes to be worthy of honor. At the time King received the award, he had written 40 novels and drawn millions of readers--no small accomplishment by any measurement---and for that reason among others the committee awarded him the honor among his judges, peers, and readers.
As Freedman writes, “If his work convinces people to turn off the TV, log off the computer, unplug the earphones, and discover the imaginative world conjured by the written words (this author’s emphasis), then he is preserving something vital…” And, thus again, I, among the American Letters committee, recognize King’s value to the written word. The number of readers that King attracts each year is only one reason for a writer such as King to be recognized for his accomplishments.
Yet Richard Snyder, formerly of Simon and Schuster, asks the rhetorical question of King’s writing, “Is it literature?”
The standard of measurement by which Americans consult more often than any other reference book is Webster’s dictionary, which defines literature as “writing in prose or verse regarded as having permanent worth through its intrinsic (essential) excellence” or “the entire body of writings of a specific language, period, people, etc.” or “the writings dealing with a particular subject….” And all kinds of writing is essential just as a balanced meal is essential to our healthy well-being. Thus, accordingly, the answer is King does write literature. Although his topic or subject matter might not be Snyder’s cup of tea, it is nevertheless “literature” according to Webster whether he or others might not plunk down money to purchase King’s fanfare. Yet, it is by definition “literature” of a particular kind. And King has a crop of faithful readers, to boot, by his and his publisher’s annual earnings.
Regardless of what the critics have said, or presently saying, or even what they might say in the future, Stephen King is going about his business of being a writer and a writer, by all means, writes. On November 3, 2015, (little more than a year ago) USA Today announced the release of yet another novel by King. The title of this one is called The Bazaar of Bad Dreams. According to the report, the story is set in the 1950s. Here King writes of the supernatural and deals with deep meditations on age, morality and mortality. According to the report, two pieces are particularly “outstanding.” King writes an introduction to each new story. But then, the author has the ability “to grip the reader’s mind, body and soul with his prose [making] it all look easy and graded King this time out with a 3.5 rating out of a possible 4.
This author has read both Stephen King (in horror) and Ray Bradbury (in science fiction). While I am not a reader of either author’s long list of books, I have read from their short list, because like all readers my choice depends on the storyline to determine whether I’ll make the decision to purchase a particular book or not. It’s called reader’s choice, I believe.
Author Stephen King: “Books have weight and texture; they make a pleasant presence in the hand. Nothing smells as good as a new book, especially if you get your nose right down in the binding, where you can still catch an acrid tang of the glue. The only thing close is the peppery smell of an old one. The odor of an old book is the odor of history, and for me, the look of a new one is still the look of the future.”
----Stephen King Reader’s Readers' Digest, April 2002
Emma J. Wisdom is an award-winning writer, educator, playwright, journalist, and author of more than 40 novels, novellas, and books. She holds undergraduate degrees from the University of Tennessee and Tennessee State University in Nashville, and a Masters of Arts in Education. Wisdom is also a lifetime member of Phi Kappa Phi.
FEATURED POET: MARC CARVER
Put two hands under my armpits and lift me
and still I fall.
Raise me above crowds
pass me along
twist me around
and still I fall.
Baptise me in holy waters from a sacred river and still I fall.
Trumpet my name with adoration and still
still I fall.
Worship me and still
still I fall.
Be my friend the most loyal friend anybody could have
and once again
look after me
make me lazy
and still yes
still I fall.
Piss all over my body.
Shout, spit at me.
Laugh at me.
Cut me, pull my limbs from my body.
Nail me to a cross.
Let ravens peck out my eyes and liver.
And I will rise.
As I walked into the supermarket
A woman bent down in front of me.
She started to pick something up from the floor
I looked down,
there was a round flattened chewing gum down there.
I watched as she
thinking it was money
tried to get her nails right underneath it.
I walked off shaking my head and laughing.
She followed me in
realizing her mistake.
I knew why I had left the house
COFFEE HOUSE FEEDBACK
I look at the girl's reflection in the sheet glass window.
Another woman looks at me.
I see her
but still she looks, I am not that different am I?
The woman shouts some exotic coffee to go but it doesn't matter because everything is in a 'to go' cup today.
The Anglo Indian man told me the dishwasher was broken I asked him if it was him, he looked sheepish.
I can't decide whether to tell
I look out of the window
not to see anything just to look.
A biggish man pushes his young son along in a stroller.
The young boy thinks for a bit
then decides to wave at no one in particular
like he is a queen waving at his subjects
not seeing them but knowing they are there.
A baby swimming in the womb with a bathing suit on.
A white elephant .
The elephant in the room.
A sous chef sliding plates of food down the line and off the edge, smashing them all - forever.
A cyclist riding backwards up a hill .
A tree smiling and waving his branches at you.
A poetic drunk in a bar.
A smile from a stranger.
A mountain made of butter.
The thought that I will never know who I am.
Conjoined twins telling each other they are sick of sight of one another.
A dog chasing its own tail until it has a heart attack.
Yellow, blue and red clouds floating together to make new colours.
A giant owl on your window frame.
A totem pole in the shopping centre.
Seeing to the end of two mirrors.
Being able to put these things together like a giant jigsaw puzzle.
Please try and if you do, get back to me, you know where to find me.
What about if you had never had an original thought
It had all come from somewhere
a painting you had seen or a word
spoken by someone else
or a book you had read
or even worse something you had seen on TV.
All that subliminal shit on the internet
you don't think you notice or see.
All that money companies pay thousands for
so they can know what you like and what you don't
Who is to say 1984 really is in the past.
So next time you think to yourself
I HAVE AN IDEA,
was it really yours
I am fairly sure now
I will never leave this place
time is stuck here in some horrible loop
I am left checking the tightness of woman's trousers
and why their boots never seem to fit properly
and why they wear inappropriate clothes for the time of year
maybe this is where I was always going to end up
alone only these thoughts for company
of course all poets have to be alone
even when they think they are not
Life sent some people to soften the blow
but as always they slipped through my fingers
and I was alone again
just me and the sorrow
and the grief
and whatever is left in the bottle
which is always never enough.
I don't need people much
just now and again
but whenever I do
all I ever see is them walking away.
It is all here
a half second before a teardrop hits the floor
a kind word on a bad day
finding a reason
telling the truth then having the courage to live that truth
not being afraid
madness then calm
the sun on your face
a sky filled with stars.
To give people what they think they want.
that we call
ALL IN A DAY'S WORK
I feel something
don't know what it is.
Could be anything
but it is not
it is something.
Some meaning in it all
just knowing that something has to be done
I don't do it.
It is nothing simple like cleaning the kitchen floor
or doing the dishes.
This can only be done by me
it can only come from me.
Deep inside this old brain
that likes to drown itself in wine at night.
And watch trash TV
and call the end to another day.
Yea this weary old brain knows something
that is why I don't talk to people anymore.
I speak a different language to them.
I am fairly sure I always did
but now I am sure.
So I have to do that thing that others can't
and of course here it is.
NO FUSS DALAI
I got an urge to met the Dalai Lama
I guess he would take some finding
he is probably traveling the around the world
Or I might get lucky and find him at home
staring up at all those big mountains
I told my son
when I die I want to have my ashes scattered on Everest
but I don't think he will ever make it up there.
Even if it were my truly dying wish.
No the back garden will do just fine
no need for a fuss.
ONE WAY TICKET
it is all here
the only place where life begins.
I can feel it now
when there is no one else around
and my mind leaves this world.
It finds a place where there is no pain no greed
no jealousy no money
a purity that makes everything shine.
I can't always get here
but for the days I can
I never really want to come back.
MARY DEZEMBER WINS BEAT POEM CONTEST
Mary, left, receives the cash from Pamela Hirst.
TIM STALEY publishes
"Still Howling" & "Endnote to Still Howling"
by Mary Dezember in Cacti Fur
TedX TALK BY BEATLICK PAMELA HIRST
Albuquerque event/Civic Plaza
Theme: Go Viral
THE FINAL DAYS OF BEATLICK JOE
This is a story about Beatlick Joe Speer, the Jack Kerouac of the Southwest, born and
raised, died and buried, right here in Albuquerque. He was a product of the Land of
Enchantment.a cultural heritage. He was magic and the most spiritually developed
person I ever met.
We enjoyed 22 years together. Beatlick Joe taught me what love really means,
he taught me kindness, acceptance, and non-conformity. And the day came…was only 62,
when he began to fail, his legs hurt, then swelled, unto the point that a doctor had to be
consulted. And that is the day, Nov. 19, 2010, that I found out Beatlick Joe had pancreatic
cancer, and his days were meagerly numbered. Joe had a novel in him; he was a dedicated
journalist, writer, and raconteur. And when I found out he was going to die, I said, “Honey,
we have to get your novel published.” He had been working on it for 20 years.
The goal was to get a proof of his book into his hands. And I did accomplish that by working
18 hours a day, relentlessly, beside his death bed. This was my mission, my final tribute
to the finest man I ever knew, bring that book to the light of day.
One night, on Jan. 23, 2011, to be specific, I was sitting beside his bed, laptop on a table,
continuing to edit, when I was shocked to see by the clock on the wall, that it was almost
three o'clock in the morning. I went to bed.
And as I there with my brain too stimulated to sleep yet, I looked up into the dim light,
fixated at the spinning blades of the ceiling fan. And then smoky entities began to fill the
top of the room. Small eddies of smoke emanated from the end of the spinning fan blades.
Everything was rotating, smoky spinning white things, more and more began to spit out of
the blades, multiplying. In a matter of moments the ceiling was filled with dozens of small
whirlwinds which began to slide down the side of the wall. I reached out my hand and tried
to touch one. I lay there amazed, not concerned yet, amazed.Until all the eddies above my head, almost in unison, began to stretch out, elongate until they became somewhat rolled out like bread dough. Elongated until they became worms.
This was death, horrible furies, rolling around trying to suck up Joe's soul.
Evil horrible things. I stared at them in order to confront them, I called out the name of
Baby Jesus, I defied them. I opened my eyes as wide as I could as one by one they came
at me, darting closer to within one inch of my eyeballs. But I just kept on glaring at them,
challenging them. Calling out Jesus, Jesus.
They seemed to be building up their mass and I leaned over Joe’s body as he lay in the bed
so they couldn't get at him. This went on for quite a few minutes. Finally they began to
come together up in the ceiling and reshape into something more like clouds. It seemed I
had been able to repel them but they were not leaving by any means.
I thought to myself this is working but I don't know how long I can keep my eyes wide
open like this for the whole night. I believed calling out the name of Jesus would protect us
both, but I was becoming really spent and tired. And then I realized. This is evil, darkness,
and the one thing evil cannot tolerate is the light.
So I merely got out of bed and turned on the light. Problem solved. The threat was over
and the furies were all gone. Joe never knew a thing. We slept with the light on the rest of
the night. But I tell you with every fiber of my heart I believe I fought off death that night
as it came to take Joe.
But alas, it was inevitable. Beatlick Je lived two more days. He lived to hold this book in
his hands. Two days later, during the early evening, I left him, for just a short while, to go
to the store. I wasn’t gone 30 minutes. When I came back, he was sitting straight up in the
bed, his eyes were wide open. I spoke to him and he didn’t reply. He looked strange.
“Joe,” I said, “Joe?”
But Joe was dead; the furies took him while I was not there to protect him. They came in
the night and took him away. Today Beatlick Joe Speer lays in a common grave in the
Evangelico Cemetery. His ashes were buried with 88 other souls. Beatlick Joe always
loved an audience. And today, tomorrow, when you are on Facebook, or YouTube or the
internet, search for Beatlick Joe Speer and meet the Jack Kerouac of the Southwest.
Make it Viral!
DUENDE BOOK FAIR
June 11, 2016
Anasazi Winery, Placitas
One big highlight of the Book Fair was getting to visit with Gary Wilke and Marilyn Stablein
(foreground) again since their move to Portland.
John Roche at the Duende Book Fair
Margaret Randall at the Duende Book Fair, one of the biggest names in local literature
MORE OF MARK CARVER
I get that feeling
there are robots in some big factory
making men and women.
Then an overseer pulls from some special place
I don't know where he puts it
only he knows that
but I hope it is somewhere gentle and easy to get to.
I went to the toilet on the train
noticed a sign?i have never seen before,
it says 'do not flush while seated'
I got a picture in my mind of a woman
being sucked down the toilet
or trapped on there,
deciding whether to live with her embarrasement
or call for help.
Yea it could be an interesting job working on the trains
I sat back out side the toilet
sure enough before long a woman went in there,
she is still in there now.
I came back to the centre
Got some food and mounted the steep short statue.
The electric violinist with the loop machine and all the top gear was still playing.
"That is a way up." I said to the man on a break from his office.
We both agreed he was good as we sat eating, looking down on him.
I felt the tears coming but pulled them back as I looked at all the young women around me.
"It makes you feel human, touches your soul." I said to him.
He kept looking at me for longer than he should.
As I left the last thing I said to him was.
"Time for the descent."
TO THE SEA
I walked along the river we walked at the same speed.
I did not know the river's name
And he did not know mine.
He will go much further than me
But I have been so far already.
If he waits
I will find him
At the sea
I went upstairs with my big Mac and fries
you can say what you want about Madonald's
at least it is quick?
The eastern european woman took a shine to me and gave me an
extra barbecue sauce
I sat behind three girls
must have been about 14 or 15,
they started to talk about facebook
"He asked me to send a photo, then said he would send me one,
he sent me a picture of his dick,
like you are going to go out with them after that."
Things have sure changed since I was a teenager.
I got up and got going as I was fairly sure this big Mac
would be coming out soon
and I was fairly sure it will probably look the same on the way out.
JIMMY BURNS' PANTS
I found a pair of pants on top of my big locker
looked like they had been up there awhile,
a big tyre mark through the centre.
I knew they were Jimmy's even before I asked him
this was his old room
and people here did things like that
and they were proud of them too.
I liked Jimmy
he said he came from the gorballs
the worst estate in europe.
When he used to laugh
he looked like he was about to piss himself.
Over the years
I thought I would meet more Jimmy's
but I am still looking
Sad to say.
No poems shall I write today
None of hope or new chances.
No poems shall I write today of love.
No poems shall I write today that speak of the freshness of the air
The newness of the day.
No poems shall I write today of laughter.
No poems shall I write today of beauty.
No poems shall I write today.
No poems shall I write today.
There are a pair of pants on top of the small roof next to my toilet.
I know because I threw them there.
Sometimes people walk by
Talking about them
Like there were some tourist attraction.
Some people have flags of their country flying from their roofs.
I have a flag of underpants from the country of crazy crazy
And it is the only country for me.
THE WORST POET IN THE WORLD
Have you heard about the worst poet in the world
He tells people to F off on stage.
Goes to the mic drunk.
Makes fun of people.
turns up late or not at all.
if you haven't seen him
I have to confess.
SHAME SHAME SHAME
As ride of the valkyres came on
I had an urge to leap from my chair
put my feet on the shoulders of the boy in front
and fly up into the air.
Push up around the dome of the royal albert hall
circling everybody as I soared above like a big bald eagle
and just for a second I was sure I could do it
AWP BOOK FAIR
Apri 1, 2016
See it all on YouTube!
link to John Roche hosting at AWP
Left to Right: Our coordinator Teresa Mei Chuc, Gayle Lauradunn, Jules Nyquist,
Michael C. Ford, Beatlick Pamela Hirst, Michael Czarnecki, John Roche.
Beatlick Press table display at Pasadena Public Library
TRIBUTE POEMS FOR BEATLICK JOE
the mythological guru poet of pojoaque, nm
The need for money and fame didn’t interfere with Joe’s human connection
He was a man with a curious tongue and a fierce love of the ineffable
His loved a blonde Nashville woman who shared his poetic breath
He lived his convictions, I never saw him mad at anyone
For 22 years I was a member of his pleve
His humor incited reverence, made bad times hysterical
The acts he performed in the name of art were indeed hysterical
His mantra: Make another connection. Make another connection.
A Chameleon, Gypsy, Crow and a member of the Planetary Pleve
His life articulated a classic map of the enchanted ineffable
He was a professional Gypsy, not afraid to ride with anyone
To Joe the road was an undulating wave of angel breath
He most often greeted his friends with a poetic breath
Peach brandy on his breath, he loved the world hysterical
At a party for certain he would dance with anyone
Always yearning for that human connection that went beyond connection
A poet of the open road, he prayed to the ineffable
Word by word by word he created a poetic pleve
From Albuquerque to Nashville to Machu Picchu clouds were his pleve
He said clouds are our Mother’s breath
Not the Mother who is your Mother but the Mother of the ineffable
His mad genius truly hysterical
A lamplighter switched on to the cosmic connection
His DNA encoded with the splendor of everyone, anyone
Look into his eyes and you might see anyone
Anyone and everyone was a member of his pleve
Thunder & Lightning his Arcadian connection
O to plant another kiss on his lips of brandy scented breath
Would be enough to make me hysterical
Impossible though to embrace and kiss the ineffable
Sound and wisdom in the beginning the end ineffable A compassionate man limitless in his care for everyone, anyone.
Gypsy Joe had a passion for the mystical hysterical
What grace to be a member of his pleve
Days with Joe encoded on my breath
Remembered walks through snow, the rainbow connection
Dead now our connection ineffable
Anyone who knew him laments the absence of his enchanting breath
Our pleve of cloud, man, rock, snow and ash hysterical in his absent embrace
Here's another poem about Joe's unusual burial.
Beatlick Joe died on Jan. 25, 2017. A box of his A box of Beatlick Joe's ashes
was interred in a communal casket with 88 other souls.
I once saw a Poet
buried by a city,
he was the
at a very special
it was a
it was an
a city showing a
It was the
“Interrring of the
It was true democracy,
Ashes to Ashes,
sharing the ground
a communal coffin
for a community of the dead.
It was a gift from the living
for the known and the unknown,
a gift laid down in
a field of broken hearts.
And words were spoken
from hearts that never healed,
voices crying out with loss,
while the sun made
diamonds of their tears.
Tears made of memories
for the voice they longed to hear,
tears made of longing,
for the voice they never knew.
And when the wind had carried
the last farewell away,
when the last flower was laid,
the last prayer prayed,
when the last footsteps
were just impressions in the sand,
when the last of the cars,
like a train of sorrow,
had all driven back into the world,
and the dead
were left with the dead,
in the quiet,
the only sound
of the land and the sky,
the voice of a dead poet,
reading his way into the next world.