Monday, May 7, 2012

Orchard Readings of James McGrath

I kept meaning to, but I never made it to a reading in James McGrath's orchard.  Since New Mexico Literary Arts, the board of which I have been president for many a year, has given James a Poetry Gratitude Award, and celebrated last week at my house.  There were 24 people here, including five from Taos because SOMOS (Society of the Muse of the Southwest) had gotten the other award. We had  Santa Fe, Albuquerque, El Rito, La Cieneguiella, Chimayo, Taos, and La Puebla all represented.
James was so sweet and so happy, I decided to go hear him read, along with Catherine Ferguson and Katherine Seluga, two friends whose work I admire heartily. Here is the watercolor by Catherine Ferguson that appeared on the invitation card:

I was still recovering from the Super Duper Moon and an even more super duper duper sleepover with my Granddaughter, Kaylee.  But I wended my way to James' orchard and never looked back.  There were over 60 people there, I know because I count.  James has hosted dozens of Orchard Readings.  He has a shed for the chairs and a sheltered and bowered space for the reading, plus snacks, plus a gathering of the lovely poetry crowd, middle school daughter of Katherine to canes in the crowd.  A plethora of years.  White hair never looked better than in this light, under these trees.  I had a lovely day, can report back to the NMLA Board that we indeed  bestowed the honor on the right fellow.  Mid 80's never looked so good or wrote so well as it does on James.  His writing seemed to blend into the natural world.  He not only wrote about that world, he enlivened it by his scene.

I don't have a photo, but there were all these lovers of poetry, in friendship, tucked in under the trees, with the hummers flitting, the words formal and just-springing, a total hour of delight.  As soon as it was over, people didn't linger, though I did.  James' guest bathroom is floor to ceiling poetry books and literary magazines. There were only two extra cars in the lot by the time I left, careful not to mow down the solar collectors.   There is more to say, but I'll let the wind say it.

In my very first appearance as PL I spoke of the many venues for readings, and mentioned orchards. It was the least I could do to visit as many of these venues as I could in these two years. I went to Warehouse 21, Church of Beethoven, Lannan, Poetry at Paul's, The Outpost in ABQ for the Youth Slam Finals, Collected Works too many times to count, and that is just to name a few.

James is off to Ireland in two weeks, his annual jaunt.  I feel that after knowing him for at least twenty years he has come more and more into focus.  Check out the orchard readings, newcomers, and check out the work of all three of these fine poets.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Today, sad

I can't wrap my head around death.  I mean, I am in for it.  Not my own death, but the fact  that I love so many people.  I keep falling for them.  Maybe the people who annoy me are blessings because I will not get so all shook up at their passing.  I am no Dhali Lama.  Yesterday I was typing about the flowers and the Dhali Lama came up only I spelled it Dahlia.  Maybe I am the Dahlia Lama.  Better go plant.

So the reason I grow so sad is that David Lescht died yesterday at 64, an age that has a familiar ring to it.
He organized the Santa Fe Bandstand, free music and a big party on the Plaza all July and August.   He also led a fabulous program called Outside In.  Musicians went into prisons, detention centers, hospitals and nursing homes and raised the roof.  My friend Alicia played accordion in nursing homes and though she's not the greatest singer, the elders got up and danced.  They loved her.  I had to call her in Vermont where she has moved and tell her of David's death.

I also found myself cruising through Cowgirl Hall of Fame where there was a gathering for David.  First cruise, I didn't see anybody I knew.  But second time an hour later, I ran into Abe and Dea and several other plaza dancers, regulars, old hippies, people who loved David.  I didn't know him very well but liked him tremendously, and admired his work.  We both got grants from Bread for the Journey one year, he let me ride into the plaza on a pedicab and bring a giant pencil and two other poets to perform, we talked in Trader Joe's. So, though only an acquaintance I am very sad.  There should be different words for how well  and how we know people.  Friend, Lover, family, aren't enough.  What about celebrities we love, artist who shake our world, people we only know when standing up and conversing in grocery stores,  people we like more than they like us, out to lunch friends (that doesn't come out right), come over to the house friends, sleepover friends, friends who are like family because you can't get rid of them but might not have chosen them if you had it to do again friends, and best friends who you haven't spoken to in years but you let them keep that status.

Maybe after the PL is over I can make names for each category of friendship and be a real poet, and change the English Language.  Now I am just left with a passel of occasional poems to wrestle down.

David Lescht, may he rest in rock and roll peace, bearded and beautiful, let the good times sadly roll.
May his programs live on.

Getting Behind

I am getting behind.  Every day has been predictable full.  Shall I break them into bite sized poetic pieces, or shall I just go bonkers on one.  My blog seems to now have 39 followers which is thirty more than I boast about.  I am  no Mark Zuckerberg.  Many days I am no Joan Logghe.  But some days I am.

Last week was a biggie and I feel relieved it is over.  My car is in the shop getting new brakes.  Think metaphorically you 39 readers.  I, of course, originally wrote "new breaks" and maybe I need a break.

Countdown in My PL life included:
Saturday: Workshop for a group of psychotherapists and Dolores McCarthy. It turns out to be more fun than I thought.  When I read a poem and leave out one part (for length) the man asks, "And what did you leave out?"
Sunday, reading at high Mayhem Studio, the name says it all.  My kids and grandkids showed up looking stunning and surprised me.
Monday: Something happened, I am sure of it, but I forget what.
Tuesday:  Joan and the Giant Pencil" with Jeremy, see the poems written below.  I love the one about Mexico.
Wednesday: Tres Chicas Meeting to discuss vision for the press
Thursday: I recuse myself from PL committee since my friends are being considered.
Friday: Reading with Arthus Sze and Valerie Martinez, "Just Words Away," at the NM History Museum.
Saturday: Four hour workshop at Odes & Offerings.  
Sunday: New Mexico Literary Arts Poetry Gratitude Award at our house. 24 people.  Whew.
That was one fun week.  Siting on the porch I realize that I am in poetry heaven.  Now I am relieved to be back on earth. 

I just looked at my contract and I am technically ON until end of June.  Hmm, who is waiting in the wings to tote this barge, lift this pencil?

Here are the poems from Turquoise Train, Jeff Davis' fifth grade:

From: Joan Logghe []
Sent: Monday, April 30, 2012 7:22 AM
Subject: Re: poems

You are so sweet to say this and to take times to type in the kids' work.

Do you think I can print on my blog and then on facebook?  I don't have last names,but don't want to
take advantage of these sweet guys.

Otherwise I will just put them in my personal scrapbook.  The poems are lovely.  I can see a little booklet of their work.

Thank you for being such a great teacher..... JL
On Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 6:43 AM, JEFFREY DAVIS 
HI Joan
Here are the poems from that day you were in my class.
Thanks again for coming.  The kids really liked the show and the activity
You have been a GREAT PL!
You have raised the bar.
I hope subsequent PLs can measure up J


I will wake up at midnight and go to my dad’s house …
Go outside and sit …
Sit with him on the steps.
The steps feel bumpy like a small rock.
The air…
Air smells like smores.  When I look around the house, it makes me feel safe …
Safe like you’re all by yourself in a warm room.
When I am on the stops with my dad,
It reminds  when I was little.
When we would sit on the s tops and he would sing to me.
I felt like I’m loved.
I’m loved.
I miss my dad …
I’m gonna go to my dad pretty soon.
I will be missed by my dad.
Dad …


Indiana is my special place
Because it is where my grandpa is
And were mosquitoes and tree frogs grow.


Love, love dreams about becoming a wish.
Love wants to fly and be something that might come true,
Someday …
Someday love will have the power to be both.
Love is like a wish.
Love dreams to be a child’s wish that might come true.
How do you think about love dreaming to be a wish?
Someday his wish will come true


The best part of New Mexico.
I see pheasant s fly over me.
I see mallards and wild turkey racing to the pond
Oh I can’t wait to go back
I wish I lived there
My dogs splashing across the pond
Oh how I wish for Truchas


My house inspires me because it has a lot of insects, dogs, trees, and wide open space.
The reason my house inspires me is because it is always calm outside
So I can write my poems.
I normally write about two poems every day
I go outside.


What do clouds dream of?
Do they dream of playing in the sun?
Do they dream of being a human?
Do they dream of being red?
Oh, what do clouds dream of?


My special place is the mountains.
It is quiet
I listen to the animals
I love the wind in my hair
The water with the fishes
The rock going down the mountains
My mom comes to get me
I say good bye.


I wonder if toys dream of kids
Playing with them.
Do trees dream of water every day?
Do ear rings wonder when
And where
They are going to be worn?
Does batman wonder why he is a super hero?
Do computers know when they are going to be used?


I will arise and go now to Mexico.
I hear horses gallop
I hear chickens chirping
The bell of church rings
I see kids playing and running
Women making dinner
Husbands riding horses
The stores are closing
Kids ask parents for corimas to get ice cream
Elder men getting out of church.
I see my family relaxing
Oh how I love Mexico
I see lights go out in Arasichi
The sun sets while
The mountains cover it.
I like my horse outside
The wind blows my hair different directions.
I smell nothing but plants
I see people eating dinner
I close my eyes and think,
Oh Mexico,
How I love you
I open my eyes,
I’m on my bed
Laying down
It was only a dream.
I can’t wait to go back home to Mexico.


The forest things
I will go to the depths of the woods
The little birds will sing
The bears will try to climb all the trees
Wolves will howl
When the moon is full
And just listen to their moans will make you fear the night.


Dreams of words
Words dream of being said
They want to be repeated
Over and over again
Wanting to be written on lined paper
Or be the name of a painting
The words dream day and night
For they are soon to be spoken.


I will arise and go now
And go to Iowa
And see all the beautiful trees
And my only great grandma.
Others, I miss them all
So much I wish I was there now
I bet they miss me
I hardly ever see them
My other great grandparents watch over me
I miss them all.


Water dreams of being drunk
Swum in
Used to wash things
Used to keep fires away
Water dreams of being scared


I will go to Las Vegas, Nevada
To see all the lights
And casinos
I love  to go and just walk around
Go to all kinds of stores
Sleep in a nice hotel
See the sunset and
See the sunrise
The sky will be all kinds of colors
Like neon blue, neon pink, neon purple, neon green, neon orange
My car will be the same colors of the sky
The seats will be leather
With all the colors of the sky
My wells will be the same color – everything in my car will be the color of the kiy I will have to be rich
If I wanted that kind of car
Oh yeah, I want a camaro
I would love to go to different states
I would travel to all 49 states
That would my life and I would take my family and friends.


Jeff Davis
Teacher, Turquoise Trail Charter School
Fellow, Yale National Initiative, 2007 - 2010
TTCS, 13A San Marcos Loop
Santa Fe,  NM  87508