Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Wassup? Nothing.

When my son talked on the phone to his friends for many years, he was always doing "nothing".
While I may have had some slight confusion to his Zen teenage stance, the idea of doing nothing has me perplexed.  When I am at home I move non-stop from one thing calling out for attention to another.

I remember one day last summer when I had an open day on the calendar.  There ended up being a death on a nearby pueblo, and since I was connected to the woman from two different directions, I went to the very moving ceremony.  Now, my neighbor's life and death fill many moments and my head, and heart.  It's appropriate, but I have to hope that the empty calendar days, rare and wonderful, are filled with life.

I hope to stay home now, see grandkids on their empty calendar days, and swim a lot.  I have also forgotten how to cook, but last night the dinner for two stretched to six in a blink and was lovely on the back porch. I hope to teach deeply.   Here is such an at home moment. That's me against a wall of Catherine Ferguson's retablos, the largest one of Sophia, goddess of wisdom.

I also have a few upcoming events and I wouldn't be Post-PL, in the endless PL Going Out of Business Sale if not for my postings: 

Breadloaf is a famous summer writing workshop and gathering for teachers who are writers.
I am reading for them at St. John's College and you are invited.  This Thursday, June 21, 7:00 in the cafe.
or what I am calling The Not-So-Great-Hall.  Don't tell them I said so.
It is free and a more serious and literary reading than my last one.

I was on Women's Focus Last Saturday, June 17, KUNM at noon, with Carol Boss. It is archived for two weeks from that date.  Just go to KUNM.org and put in the date and time of day.

I wil also be teaching a one-day workshop  for Word Harvest, Jean Schaumberg and Anne Hillerman's production, on Saturday, July 21 9:00-4:00   call for details  471-1565.  I will explore how the practice of poetry leads into other writing. It will be fun, it's a small obsession of mine.

My upcoming Ghost Ranch class if pretty full, but possible.  It starts June 25th. 
But I am really excited about Ghost Ranch in the fall, Poetry Alchemy,, September 30 -October 6th.   Go to www.ghostranch.org to check it out.

Today is not an empty calendar day, but two hours at San Ildefonso day School is pretty darn lovely.

XX ta ta, I must go harvest the lettuce before it wilts, and before I do. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Life and Death Post-PL

So the mayor proclaimed June 13, 2012 as Joan Logghe Day in Santa Fe.  It was my last hurrah. I was touched, I was teary, I was clumsy.  I read the city council a poem for children that I wrote. Tom Leech from the Palace of the Governor's Press was there and we distributed copies oft he book he published on letterpress  from last year's poem to the city council.  It is called "April in Santa."

 It was late in the day. I said to myself, as the day was waning, come back, come back Joan Logghe Day.  I was weepy as we went to dinner, almost staggering to ISME cause it was closest and oddly, sushi has become comfort food.  Michael told the waitperson that it was my day and that's why I was sniffling.
After we ate the young man asked why it was my day and I said I was just ending a two year stint as the city poet laureate.  He got a look on his face and I asked if maybe I had come to his school. He nodded his head.  He attended Agua Fria, Alameda, and last year graduated from Santa Fe High.  I was his graduation speaker and he said, yes, he remembered.  His name is Juan. I told him that when I shook the 306 hands at graduation I tried to make a prayer or blessing for each one.  He is a handsome, courteous guy and I thought, see, there is a post-PL life and it is in community.
My first act post-PL was writing an obituary for my neighbor, Gary Eckard. Michael and I met Gary in 1973 when he was building a geodesic dome where he lived with his first wife, where we had belly dance parties, music he played, and were awed by the views of the badlands. He sold us six acres of land in 1976, the place we have lived ever since on the road named Eckards Way, though Gary wanted Dead Thief Lane when the county invited us to name the rural roads.  The obit took two days to write.  I made the wise move to ask a few writer friends their memories of Gary and excellent rewrites were coming in, even as the notice was posted.  Now I am sad I don't live on Dead Thief Lane.

Sad as this was, it gave Monique and me comfort, we had a project, and we shared some laughs.
All during his last days I have been writing song lyrics,  feeding the four horses and Kafka, the dog, and the cat whose name I never got.  Five or six weeks and it's just been "Kitty."

The walking over to feed the animals has been a very meditative thing, and just as Monique is missing, among every other thing, the long drive to the VA Hospital down by the airport, the lack of daily practice of morning feeding feels a bit of a loss.  But the real loss is Gary who lived his musical life here, next door, with a singing voice we all adored, a funky piano style we danced to in the 1970's and were devoted fans wherever he played. That's also why I was weepy in ISME, over my sushi.  Here's one of the songs. Anybody got a tune?
Election Day and Venus transits the Sun

          with thanks to Miriam Sagan

Always vote for Venus,
This ain’t our first rodeo.
little boy at the Ranchitos pool
his mother calling, Romeo Romeo
Sponge Bob bathing suit
Never has the blues looked so cute.
Tell him, Romeo and Venus
will grow up to elope

Election day and this ain’t
our first rodeo.  Our friend at the polls
had 48 weeks of chemo.
The other one lost his hair in a girlie show
Always vote for Venus, you know
it aint our first rodeo.

Everyone’s dying, or else their wrinkles glow
Living below this factory for Pluto
was just where my life lined flowed.
I’m a fool pessimist and an optimist
lying low.  And forget about context
this ain’t our first rodeo.

My neighbor lingers in palliative care.
Three hippies at the ball game shared
the one wheelchair.  My friend in chemo
still has all of his hair. 
This may give him a third chance
I’d follow him to any dance
You know the ballot’s cast for Venus
and this ain’t our last rodeo.

The harmonica and the Jemez are on fire.
The television shows are spitting out liars.
The radio has its Singing Wire.
Fire in the Gila, Tears can put it out
cause this ain’t our first Romeo.

Vote for Venus, cast your glance at fate.
The two of them out on an awkward first date.
Romeo and Venus dance on the blade of a knife.
You’re in the ICU fighting for your life.
Walk on the wild side cause this ain’t our first rodeo.

It’s your movie so you get to dress for the role.
Handlebar mustache on every cowboy you know.
Living on Dead Thief Road, trespassers will implode
cause we’re living for Venus and this aint our first rodeo.
Yes, we’re voting for Venus and it ain’t our last --Romeo.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

PL Finale

Haven't posted.  My neighbor, Gary Eckard, has been dying.  So we check in every day and feed the four horses, the other animals and water a little.  Then Dion, my Belizian quasi son, drowned in Hawaii. I mean death is death, we all die.  But still... I have written two songs , anybody got a tune?

Yet, as deep as the sorrows, the joys have been stellar.  Last night the finale reading at Odes & Offerings.

At my first appearance as PL these long two years ago I had the idea to arrive at the Bandstand on the Plaza by pedicab.  So of course, I contacted my pedicab/photographer friend Bob Chavez and he zipped us around, former laureate Valerie Martinez, Girls' School student poet Gabriela, and me.    This was a totally different event, more private, and I was feeling a little deprived that I wouldn't get to hire Bob again. It was part of my vision to make the Poet Laureate visible in a campy and joyful way, to polish up the lamp of poetry and see what genii come out.

So, no pedicab.  Only, only, only, when my friends and I stepped out of the Community Gallery after setting up for the reading, a completely random time of day.  Bob Chavez was there, wide brimmed hat, grin ear to ear.  I choose to believe it was chance and synchronicity and PL magic.  We hopped on and got a ride two uphill blocks to sushi happy hour at ISME.  Here are shots of two years ago contrasted with now,  First I'm happy to see Bob, then I realize the party is sort of over.

There have been two readings connected to Odes & Offerings, half the poets in each one and we got 55 or so in audience which was perfect.  Last night we got double that.  I mean Julia Hudson who let me teach poetry in Chimayo at a mission school was there.  My three friends from the north, Susie Verkamp, Ginger Legato, and Kerby Goforth made me so happy I could levitate.  I think I might have left my body which is why I was pretty clumsy at the reading.

And everybody was there!  At the reading, Leland Guthrie, my soon to be son-in-law playing the digeree doo to welcome.   Hope and Matt, two of my children to help sell merch which is what cool people call their CD's at rock concert.  My merch was PoemHolders, that is potholders with a poem typed in, which has never been called merch before.
Frances McCain was there from Albuquerque and so was Amanda Sutton my publicist, and Even Lisa Enos,now married, grown up, and a different last name, but she was my Celebrate Youth Mentee when she was 12.  We have reconnected a little and seeing here there, well....
And from my work life, Kristin Watson from ArtWorks and Alex Traube from CultureNet Poets-in-the-Schools, and Steve Schwartz who has funded so much through Witter Bynner.  And Bruce and Maureen from Chama, and the towns represented were Chama, Taos, ABQ, Medanales, Velarde, Chimayo, and Santa Fe of course.  Here is me being  happy (see below, happy poet).  I read from 90 pages of work written for the city, gave away eight door prizes, and here I am giving one away.

So,I am left to wonder what this two year stint, reign, tenure, gig has meant to me and to the community.  One never knows, can't speak for others, but in my life, coming in my pre-Medicare
years has been perfect timing. I mean, one could slide down into quietude.  This opportunity and honor has kept me cooking, steeping, and percolating.  I have had a blast and hope some of that blast blew cooling and inspiring winds on others. People were so great last night, I couldn't have felt more appreciation.  And I send it right back out.  I want to go out reflecting the joy, and a little less of my famous worry.  But You can't have it all.  After all the fretful person writes a poem, makes sure there is enough milk and printer ink, and keeps batteries on hand.

This isn't the last post by any means, but since I've been pre-occupied with other things, I wanted to get it out pronto.  After the reading lots of people bought merch, there was cake form the Arts Commission,
and artist carted off most of the artwork. Three pieces sold, and I know of four gifts given. I received a wonderful painting from Kuzana Ogg who I totally fell for and she up and moved.

I am excited for the new Poet Laureate.  I am energized with some new projects in writing and to be sure the book from Odes & Offerings by Sunstone Press happens.  I mean nothing is sure, except this fleeting  and surprising joy.  Between end of PL contract in June and Medicare I have exactly one month.  Michael will be in Peru.  Who knew??