After arriving in Japan for the first time, i began exploring Japanese poetic forms – realizing that the didactic 5-7-5 structure *wasn’t the point* / Then combining with impressionist colours seen on a recent ramble in Europe, Read it a series combining, in a fashion, Japanese forms with European colours and “new-world” themes.
Then with brother Bob’s upcoming wedding, compiled a bunch of these creations into a little book and read (with translation) at his wedding (mostly to blank stares of bewilderment.
A few years later in Guam, did a proper layout and production run (maybe 50?) and mailed the chapbooks out around the world. Used hemp/cereal straw paper from China (ordered from Paul Stanford in Oregon) which was rough going through copy machines of the day –especially my complicated double-sided / zigzag layout with topstitch binding – of course sewn with hemp twine.
I don’t have one of the “finished ones” in my archive, but do have the original layout production master / will eventually dig out > in the meantime, here is the cover (not hemp paper) + Pay special attention to my proto-Creative-Commons non-copyright on the erstwhile colophon and the pseudonym (do you know the origins?)
While I have few delusions about my poetry chapbooks being “popular” this one especially seems to have disappeared into the wind with nary a sound (despite it being one of the projects of which i am most proud).
Note: a few of these poems were used/re-mixed in a collection from 2004 (assembled in Olympia) called “Hotspring and Stubbed Toe” which was distributed digitally and will be available shortly in this archive as part of #daveo50 series.
Lansing Michigan, 1973
eating macaroni & cheese
in a damp basement
while adults whispered
and i wondered why
the tornado was coming
and then my memory began
this is brother Bob’s (straight ahead) birthday March 1973 so i (front right) was 2.5 years old / for years i recalled this photo somehow and then going through my dear late Mom’s slides, found this and *knew it* instantly / that screened in porch, the sun, and everything.
this memory was described elsewhere in a riff…
“A brief stint in Lansing Michigan is where I remember my first thoughts, hunkered in the basement easting macaroni and cheese during a tornado, sitting in a big screened-in porch eating birthday cake with my glasses on.”