Saturday, June 14, 2014

What Makes an Activist?

I am being an activist by staying home and not budging for over 24 hours.  I once called it my Petrol Sabbath, not burning any gas for a day.  I still try and take one day a week to not go anywhere. That would be today, only I went to pack produce at our little adorable EspaƱola Community Market, my only second time volunteering there.  I usually just support by spending money, but this was actually more fun.

I was about to leave and I realized we had left a bit of a mess in the lettuce packing, so I tidied that up, snagged the plastic bags about to be thrown for my use, and when I came out you were there.  My dear husband and side kick of 44 years and I was thrilled and a bit fluttery,  I liked the surprise element.  You were buying a sweet roll which sounds like a blues song. Then helping our son move. You help someone on an average of every single day. You deliver wood in winter and barely cover the cost of gas.  You do dump runs for neighbors, ditto. You are helping our kids reconfigure as two of the three are moving this month.  When a neighbor calls, you are the ghost buster. You know who you are.
I consider you an activist. You built our house.

Today, after I came home, I readied the house for the folks coming to write with me tomorrow.  I am doing three Sundays this summer instead of my usual eight nights in town teaching poetry.  I spent a good part of today, after the gazpacho from market produce was blended, in rifling through my poetry books. I got to revisit poets I love, fiddle with my copyright breaking handouts, and find my deep center of poetry. It's good because due to allergy to the glorious honeysuckle, I have been foggy and brainless, sort of a Lucille Ball of poetry.

But today I found my center, and also found out that I have accumulated lots of mixed media works, artists' books, and informal paintings that I have done when I teach or just play around.  I have a whole book trying to paint Anna Akhmatova, and failing miserably.  I did do about a dozen retablos of poets, and by a fluke the one of Robert Bly came out very much in his spirit, set of mouth, and wild hair.  It was done in 2006, scanned for Santa Fe Poetry Broadside by Miriam Bobkoff and made into a poster by photographer Pierre Toutain.  Blessings to dear Miriam B and thanks to Pierre.

A few weeks ago, I heard from documentary filmmaker Haydn Reiss, that could he, maybe, possibly, use the painting in his Bly documentary.  You might imagine how pleased I was, am, and hopeful.
The Bly image has been over my desk for years and now maybe gets a life off the wall.  I am a great believer that if you just make many exposures, as in photography, you will get some good shots.  I also like my Jack Gilbert painting and Neruda is close, but no cigar,   So I wait in the possible to see what transpires.

If you want to support the Bly video which is near to conclusion here's how: I did for good luck, to support the project,  and because I try to cultivate the activist heart of the world.  Haydn made a great  Rumi video, one of Stafford and Bly, and one called "Every War Has Two Losers."  All of them excellent.

In the heavens, Maya Angelou may be wondering what kind of an activist this is.   I love what Bill Clinton said.  That she had borrowed God's voice, and now God wanted it back.  That fits in with Judaism, that the Divine has broken into sparks, and that we are mending the brokenness of the world, Tikkun Olam. We each do it in our own way.  Today it was laying low, finding center, and even the allergies seem to scamper off.  I think, too, that we each share in that divine breath. Being alive. That is one of the names of the Creator.  Breathe for the breathless.  Love to you all.