My renegade pal Sooby (Sohaib) Ahmed is a fine poet in the “romantic” tradition (think Shelley, Keats et al) and often sends along his work for my edification. This one came along just before Ichiro came along so sharing here for the record.
Though S. and i enjoyed wild adventures together in NYC/state, Providence and other environs, our most ridiculous times came the summer 1991 with dozens of Grateful Dead (and related) shows, music festivals, psychedelic parks, and the infamous Taos hi-jack incident.
Despite all of these hi-jinks, i don’t have a handy snapshot of him so instead a flyleaf of a book i mailed to him from Sri Lanka included as inadequate visual addition.
I wish there were that us There were, there were Like we only did make Like snowflake make So too could and have when It snow so like that, And it was, it has So its, such as, only such as In that way, I’d had Only and as we melt I’ll ask, I wish And, a way Its all the less cold then there Would be getting a wish Being it so selfish The snowflake we chance can be Should I but be so Brave and have Wouldn’t suiting our imagination Say can us both but be Suited also, for it, I wish, its a wish for yourself So its, such as, only such Only and as we melt I’ll ask, I wish And a way Of it, if it, That too heartfelt a what, What a heart-felt for always.
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 windows shivered radio crackled
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.”