Monday, April 25, 2005

Monday, monday...

Here it is, Monday evening in Monterey. I'm sitting at a local coffeehouse surrounded by college students studying. The people to the right of me must be studying law because I hear them discussing motive, self defense pleas, and what constitutes stress. There's a couple of japanese girls to my left, and their stream of conversation has been non-stop since I sat down. No doubt since before I sat down. I've got a cd of my sister and her husband interviewing her in Grand Central Station, NYC. I put my headphones on and started to listen to it. Immediately I was engrossed. Sucked in like a black hole. I listened to a minute or two of it, then decided to stop and write this blog entry. I want to listen to it when I'm at home with no distractions where I can put it on in my studio, and really get into it. So now I've got a funky bunch of sounds coming my way via the internet. Adding to the rest of the sounds leaking into my ears. Music from the cafe, people talking, upstairs and downstairs. I've got funk in my ears and there's jazz coming from the house speakers. I'm nearly done with my mocha, whose end will signal the time for me to head back to the barn. Every minute brings more students climbing the stairs looking for someplace to park themselves and their laptops. Nine out of ten students I see here have one. Mostly PC's, but one or two Apples, including mine. The wireless internet works great here, and best of all it's free! Now if they just add some more tables...

You've just vicariously, through literary device, experienced shades of a few moments in my life. I hope it helps. We now return you to your own previously scheduled existence. Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, monday...

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Poetry to the People!

The Road to Hell...
Originally uploaded by gtpoet.
In honor of National Poetry Month, a brand new poem, untitled and, as of this writing, only read once in public. Dig it:

Her feet leave
walking down the street
up the block
around the corner
She is breathing and walking
past trees past cars
people, dogs, front porches
apartment buildings, Palm trees
italian jewelry stores on a street faraway called Delancey
Her feet dip and step as the world rotates
beneath her 1000 mph
knees bending her to the beat
she hears in her head
that Afro pulse latin groovalicious
funkadelic dichotomy of rhythm
pulsing through air,
virtual and real
She is LCD'd and DVD'd
listening to the MP3 of her future voice
i-podding itself into being right now
She is going beyond Brittany
in a jitney filled with people
going her way and
there are flashes in the pan
stashes for the band
two birds in the hand
migrant workers tending the land
while politician gangsters
run their scams -
Still she is steppin' on
flowing like the Hoover Dam
always lyrical
sharp and quizzical
a kind of nitro-dizzical
who won't take
no for an answer
to the question
she is asking
though she knows
change ain't for those basking
in the limelight

of their own sun
and the Father, Son, the Holy Ghost
are the prayed to Gods
people pray to most
she whispers to herself
as she makes a silent toast
to the gravel voiced cat
in the Army green coat
who says to the counter man
with suspicious eyes,
"Can I get four dollars and
four quarters - change for this five"
maybe he's thinkin' to himself
I'm just tryin' to stay alive
when he says to her
" 'scuse me€,
I'm a government employee,
and Green Berets always
sleep good at night."€
Then he smiles at her and
takes a hard right
into the rainy gray
monday morning light

and she steps on
the world rotating
a thousand miles per hour
beneath her feet.

©2005 GLT Jr. March 21, 2005

Saturday, April 02, 2005

John Paul takes his final curtain...

Karol Jozef Wojtyla
Originally uploaded by gtpoet.
John Paul II, the Pope of Rome, the Holy Father, has moved on. He's left the building. He's gone.

On Saturday night, April 2, 2005, Pope John Paul II finally met his maker

Fitting for a man of his great, public stature there is definitely no shortage of real, or cyber, ink on him, and his life. All the more so since his health had been declining steadily in recent months. Still, I'm drawn to my keyboard, kind of like a moth drawn to a light. While I am not a practicing, fallen, guilty, or any other, kind of catholic, I can recognize a man who was beloved by millions, feared by dictators, and duly elected officials alike.

Snapshot 1987: The Pope was touring Los Angeles, complete with a rock star entourage, and security detail that included at least four U.S. Army helicopters watching his every move from the sky. I was working as a carpe
nter for the Los Angeles Festival at Raleigh Studios on Melrose Avenue. Looking up one day as I stood outside Studio 14, I saw the Army choppers flying above my head, and remembered a recent news report that stated the cost of a Papal hat (the tall one they wear) was $10,000, and I thought to myself "Sell the hat, and feed the poor!" At the time I thought the Pope, and most leading practitioners of Catholicism, were hypocrites. To my ear they preached about the goodness of helping the downtrodden among us, even as they laid high moral decrees on struggling people from the backs of limousines. Living the high life, spending millions of dollars on hats, rings, and any other damn thing they pleased to have. Not to mention all the money our city, state, and federal governments were spending on security, and rolling out the red carpet for his visit. This was the time of 'Gordon Gecko', the fictional lizard of Wall Street, and tele-e-jackass Jim Bakker, when greed was good, and I felt the whole thing was overblown. I was annoyed that so much time, attention, and money was being paid to a man whose moral authority was ambiguous to me at best, and whose organization was highly suspect with a checkered past. Remember, in 1987 this was still the same church that had run the Inquisition, called Galileo a heretic for believing the Earth revolved around the Sun, and eventually convicted him as such placing him under house arrest until the end of his life. While thinking about it I even flirted with the idea of making a big sign that said: 'Sell the hat, and feed the poor!", and going to protest the Pope's visit as he rode around my hometown like a self appointed king.

I never made the sign. I went back to work, and blew the whole thing off.

Years later, I know the situation was never that black and white, and I still vehemently disagree with many of his views, and statements. As for the hat, it's probably just one of those things that comes with the territory. Like the Pope-mobile with it's bullet-proof glass box John Paul would sit in as he was driven around city after city. I've often wondered what's locked in the basement of the Vatican, hidden from prying eyes, maybe even from the Pope himself. Today, I think about a young Karol Jozef Wojtyla
(Vo-TEE-Wah) studying in Poland at university, pursuing his love for Poetry, Literature, and Theatre with an experimental theatre group in 1938. Participating in poetry readings, and literary discussions. I think about this, and I can't help but smile as I read in CNN's special Pope report that "friends say he was an intense and gifted actor, and a fine singer." Through having the great priviledge myself to have grown up surrounded by gifted actors, directors, poets, playwrights, producers, designers, and stagehands, the Theatre has been my church for as long as I can remember, and it's the one place I can honestly say I've spent most of my Sundays. Poetry is one of my greatest loves, a goddess muse who literally saved my life, and to whom I am eternally devoted to. Knowing of his love for Theatre, knowing of his love for Poetry, somehow allows me to feel kind of close to him. I don't necessarily agree with him, but I respect. In the play, AS YOU LIKE IT, Act 2, Scene 7, Shakespeare wrote this line for the character of Jaques de Boys:

"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women, merely players; they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts..."

Both man, and Fate (God too if you believe in such things), conspired to produce the play that was Karol Wojtyla's vida loca. When, in 1978, the newly chosen headliner, Pope John Paul I, died suddenly a month into his run in Rome at the great papal theatre in Vatican City, the Broadway of the gospel circuit, auditions were held. After a brief deliberation, the talented Karol, already starring in Poland as the immensely popular Archbishop of Krakow, was given a callback, and cast in the greatest part he would ever play, Pope John Paul II. Beloved by millions, feared by dictators, and duly elected officials alike. In this role of a lifetime he got good reviews, he got bad reviews, he caused a buzz, made women swoon, and freed his nation from a corrupt, Communist choke-hold. He made people laugh, and smile, never missed a show, and he was never out of work.

Which is more than most actors could ever hope for.