Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"VOICES AGAINST BIG OIL" A Benefit for The Louisiana Bucket Brigade.



Join us for a night of action in response to the Gulf Oil Disaster with poets JAWANZA DUMISANI,LUIS JAVIER RODRIGUEZ, LEWIS MACADAMS, LIZ GONZALEZ, TERRI CARRION,RANDY CAUTHEN, MICHAEL ROTHENBERG with musicians BOB MALONE (piano),JEFF DELLISANTI (sax), RICHARD GRANT (trumpet) and TREVOR WARE (bass).

All proceeds got to The Louisiana Bucket Brigade, a 501(c)(3) environmental health and justice organization. www.labucketbrigade.org

LIZ GONZALEZ's work has appeared in numerous journals, periodicals, and anthologies and will be in the forthcoming anthology Blame the Ugly Mug: Ten Years of Two Idiots Peddling Poetry. She facilitates creative writing workshops at community centers and teaches writing at Long Beach City College and creative writing at the UCLA Extension Writers' Program.
JAWANZA DUMISANI is Director of Literary Programming at The World Stage, a PEN Fellow and recipient of the 2004-2005 PEN Award; his collection, Stoetry, is available from FarStarFire Press.
LEWIS MACADAMS is a poet, journalist, filmmaker, and founder of Friends of the Los Angeles River. The River, Books 1,2, & 3 were published recently by Blue Press. He is also the author of Birth of The Cool. His most recent Blue Press book is Lyrics.
TERRI CARRION was conceived in Venezuela, born in New York to a Galician mother and a Cuban Father, and raised in Los Angeles and Miami. Her poetry, prose and photography has appeared and disappeared in various publications. RANDY CAUTHEN is Poet-in-Residence at Cal State Dominguez Hills and the author of three books: The Use of Force (poetry), Black Letters: An Ethnography of Legal Writing (nonfiction) and the forthcoming Stealing Your Death (poetry).
LUIS JAVIER RODRIGUEZ is a published poet, novelist, short story writer, memoirist and columnist. He's also founder of Tia Chucha Press and cofounder of Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural in the Northeast San Fernando Valley.
MICHAEL ROTHENBERG is editor of Big Bridge magazine, www.bigbridge.org. He is the author of the eco-spy thriller Punk Rockwell(Tropical Press). His most recent book of poems is My Youth As A Train (Foothills Publishing, 2010).
BOB MALONE doesn't just accompany himself on piano. "He supports his singing with pulsating, roaring keyboard work that grabs you and shakes you until you cry for mercy.”— Keyboard Magazine
JEFF DELLISANTI: Professional woodwinds player. Owns and operates all his machinery.
Special Admission: $10.00. All proceeds go to the Louisiana Bucket Brigade.

KGB Poetry: Rae Armantrout, Cornelius Eady & Linda Gregerson

November 15, 2010
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Rae Armantrout won this year’s Pulitzer Prize for poetry for her book, Versed ,which also won the 2009 National Book Critics Circle Award. She is a professor of writing and literature at the University of California, San Diego, and the author of ten books of poetry.

Cornelius Eady is the author of eight books of poetry, including Hardheaded Weather: New and Selected Poems (Putnam, April 2008). His second book, Victims of the Latest Dance Craze, won the Lamont Prize from the Academy of American Poets in 1985; in 2001 Brutal Imagination was a finalist for the National Book Award. His work in theater includes the libretto for an opera, “Running Man,” which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama in 1999. His play, “Brutal Imagination,” won Newsday’s Oppenheimer award in 2002. In 1996 Eady co-founded, with writer Toi Derricotte, the Cave Canem summer workshop/retreat for African American poets.

Linda Gregerson is the author of four poetry collections: Magnetic North (2007), Waterborne (2002),The Woman Who Died in Her Sleep (1996), and Fire in the Conservatory (1982). She is the Frederick G. L. Huetwell Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan, where she teaches creative writing and Renaissance literature.She has received awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Poetry Society of America, and the Modern Poetry Association, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Institute for Advanced Study, the National Humanities Center, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Magnetic North was a finalist for the National Book Award, and she won the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award for Waterborne.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

Lhabap Duchen At KTC Monastery


Date: Saturday, October 30, 2010 - 8:30 am

Duration: 7 Hours

Travel Directions:

October 30, 2010 (Saturday)*

Please join us in celebration of this auspicious event when the Buddha Shakyamuni descended from the heavenly realm of Tushita back to the human realm after teaching his mother.

*Please note: Lhabap Duchen falls on Friday, October 29th. However, in order to enable as many Sangha members and friends to participate, we have scheduled the activities involved in honoring this auspicious day to occur on Saturday, October 30th.

8:30 am Tong Chö

A traditional Tong Chö of 1,000 butter lamps, 1,000 bowls of saffron water and 300 bowls filled with rice, incense and flowers is offered weekly, accompanied by chanting of the Chenrezi practice.

9:30 am Monlam Choga, followed by the Short Shitro Practice

Chanting of the Monlam Choga (Prayers of Auspiciousness), a practice of offering and aspiration prayers compiled by Dorje Chang Kalu Rinpoche. This is followed by the short liturgy of Shitro (Peaceful and Wrathful Deities), a profound practice from the cycle of teachings and meditations of the Tibetan Book of the Dead. We dedicate this practice to the deceased in order to purify negativities, avert obstacles in the bardo, and establish a connection with the deities that will ripen in future lives.

Noon Pot Luck Lunch

Following the chanting, please join us for a Pot Luck luncheon. Bring your favorite dish to share, and spend the afternoon with your friends and fellow Dharma practitioners! Please be sure all food is strictly vegetarian and without garlic, in keeping with the monastery’s guidelines.

Upon arrival at KTC, please bring your pot luck meal directly upstairs to the shrine room where all food will be blessed during the chanting. After the chanting is finished, please bring your dish downstairs to the dining room where we can enjoy all the delicacies.

1:00 pm Shakyamuni Buddha Guru Yoga and The Twelve Deeds of the Buddha

In commemoration of Lhabap Duchen, these practices and prayers will be chanted. (English transliterations available).

We'll need a head count for advance planning the Pot Luck, so please RSVP reservations

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

Feliz Molina Interview


Gary Parrish interviews Feliz Molina, January 15th- 19th, 2009

GP: Can you pin point yr first encounter with poetry growing up?
Answer:
FM: Pinning the point..hhmm. The first time I encountered poetry was in 5th grade. I was hearing voices in my head and may have been schizophrenic as a kid but got over it. I consider it somewhat of a poetic feat having to listen to those voices for a couple of years, the voices telling me what was going to happen in the world like "there will be big earthquakes and hurricanes, people will die." I kept a notebook. My parents freaked out while the voice also said what kind of airlines to take when I have to flee America. While it was happening, I didn't realize that the voice was my own, that somewhere in my head I wanted to journey very far away. Now about the earthquakes, I don't know where that came from. Mostly it was a female voice and sometimes it was a male. I was deeply religious as a kid and may have associated those voices with mother & father archetypes without knowing it.
In 7th grade I started to write what I thought was poetry. I went to a catholic school and someone in 8th grade handed me a note with a William Blake poem; I forget which but it had to do with eternity, an hour, some sand, something about a palm of a hand. I remember the tiny piece of torn Mead notebook paper it was written on with voluptuous letters like the hips of Marylin Monroe. My friend took the time to write Blake's poem during class and handed it to me during recess or lunch. I remember taking it, reading it and smiling on the playground. That was my first encounter with poetry.
Question #2
GP: What was the atmosphere like growing up in 1990's California and how has that terrain informed yr writing, out look on pop culture, political culture?
Answer

FM: Aahh, the 1990's--a subject I love from a distance and am embarrassed about when standing at the center of it. I grew up in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, California which already felt like a rusty theme park in itself. The neon desolation of endless strip malls, palm trees lined on the street like plastic imitations of themselves. It all seemed very real walking to school with my older brother in Reseda where I lived until about age 7. My parents had board and care homes that housed mentally retarded individuals so there was lots of us in the house. There was a 7 Eleven down on Sherman Way St. across from a big cream catholic church called "Saint Catherine's of Siena." There was a Vons supermarket that had yummy fat potato fries and bright pink cupcakes with rainbow sprinkles glowing through the display glass. I wore plaid blue & green jumper uniform with a button up white collared shirt, white Vans on my feet.
One time my brother took me a house party somewhere in Northridge. I was 8 and he was 15. There was a drive by shooting and it turned out that a 14 year old Korean boy got killed in front of the pale green suburban lawn lined with sprinklers. The cops came and everyone went to the Northridge Police Dept. for questioning. I remember us being there all night until my mother came and picked us up in her fat white Cadillac the next morning. It was just another 3rd grad school night.
The Valley in the 1990's seemed to be a conglomeration of varying sectors: Hollywood movies representing racial stereotypes, coming of age TV shows that told one how to dress, talk, and act "cool", and of course the racial barriers between Whites, Blacks, Asians, Hispanics. Being Filipina, it was accustomed to kick it with other Filipinos, Vietnamese, Thai, etc. For whatever reason, there were racial clicks even though some of my bestfriends were also white and hispanic and some of my cousins were half black and half white. From what I remember in the Valley, there was a period in the early 1990's where the "older generation" (my older brother's age group) of Asians were heavily influenced by MTV and the DJ Culture, break dance, house music, and the happier old skool hip hop like A Tribe Called Quest, Heavy D, DJ Jazzy Fresh, Naughty By Nature, Notorious BIG, De La Sol, Digable Planet, etc. as well as the R n' B of SWV, Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige, Foxy Brown, Boys II Men, Keith Sweat, LL Cool J, Total, Jodeci, Babyface--all those owing homage to The Jackson 5, and break beats stemming from the electric funk waves of Kraftwerk,Whodini, Lisa Lisa & The Cult Jam, Doug E. Fresh, etc. being remixed and dubbed on mixed tapes blaring from a Sony boom box in a backyard boogie of someone's house when the parents weren't home. I remember a time when boys' haircuts stood 5 inches high from their scalp whipped with a recipe of Rave hairspray and a stressed out blowdryer. Those boys sporting baggy Dickies or saggy jeans worn backwards with letter belts touching down to the floor with a 3-button pager hanging from the belt loops. I remember when the Kid N' Play knock off haircuts evolved into 3 inch spikes, and gelled to stick up like a porcupine with long bangs and bleached blonde bangs drooped over their faces only to swoop back in one casual River Pheonix gesture with a Newport menthol hanging out of the side of a mouth or car of a dope fixed up manual drive Honda Civic or Acura Legend with fixed up rims and front benders dragging across the parking garage of the Northridge Mall. What the fuck, it all seems so colorful from a 10 year distance.
I remember a Pager Language where numerical paging was a language only known to those who were cool and had a pager. But weren't pagers also closely associated with drug dealers? Sometimes one had to flip a pager to read the nuermical text upside down to read a word sensibly and often one had to guess.
a=2 411 meant somone had info. to share
b=8 911 meant to hurry the fuck up and call
c=0 143 meant "i love you"
d=0 823 meant "thinking of you" because of the amount of letters for each word
e=3 187 meant someone was going to kill you
f=4 637 meant "always and forever"
g=9 247 meant 24 hours 7 days a week
h=4
i=1
j=7
k=15
l=7
m=177
n=17
o=0
p=9
q (no one used this letter)
r=12
s=5
t=7
u=17
v=11
w=111 or 177
x=(hardly used either)
y=4
z=(hardly)
We used to page each other during school if we ditched It was fucken ridiculous. In 8th grade I had a pager and had friends who were older than me and would pick me up from school to go to the mall or something dumb like that. I remember the Filipino boys at my school were thought of as "gangsters" and we were sent to the principals office for being stereotyped as "trouble makers" or some bullshit. When I was 14 years old I hired a DJ and threw house parties at my parents house. It was my bestfriends 15th birthday and somehow kids from outside of LA found out about the party and there were over 200 people who showed up. The cops came, there was a fight between two gangs in front of the house, an ambulance showed up, my brother was already a paramedic at the time so he was treating someone who got jumped. It was out of control. Back in the day my brother had a break dancing crew called "Bahay Tribe" and it also seemed to be a gesture away from the recklessness of gang banging. The concept of "Fly Girls" also took flight from the TV show In Living Color and beautiful sexy hot asian teenage girls started their own dance crews rocking skin tight outfits with long auburn or black hair thrown around whenever they swung around dancing poles. Every Asian Valley Girl had her nails done in acrylic and sometimes spray painted with a view of a beach sunset. Her nails she also used to de-tangle her way through a head of wavy dyed hair full of mouse. There were no cellphones then. Her boyfriend would most likely pick her up in the middle of the night and parked his car down the street smoking a menthol light with Jodeci song blowing in the tape deck of the car radio. They'd most likely go to some secret public place to go make love--like the parking lot of a mall or video arcade. If she had a feeling that her father found out she wasn't home she'd call her girlfriend and ask her girlfriend to lie for her in case her father called. She'd recite the plan she had already plotted while putting on makeup in her bedroom and looking out through her window at a neighborhood littered with lazy streetlights that made the ground feel like it was floating before anything digital was ever known to the Valley. She'd probably sneak the cordless phone from the charger in the kitchen to check the saved voicemail he left "hey babe I'll be there in 5 minutes. love you. bye."
Question 3
GP: What brought you to Naropa and then a little further down the road to Brown University for yr graduate work? Both programs boast a wide range of accomplished poets and writers from Anselm Hollo, Anne Waldman to Keith and Rosemary Waldrop, do you find their influence in yr writing and who are you reading today?
Answer 3

FM: A few times during junior or senior year of high school got on a Greyhound bus to San Fransisco to visit my brother and would go to City Lights Bookstore to sit in the poetry section for hours thumbing mostly thru Neruda. My boyfriend had given gave me Diane DiPrima's Memoirs of A Beatnik for my 17th birthday.
At City Lights there was a flyer about DiPrima leading a writing workshop and wanted to have a reason to get out of LA apart from really liking her book. My first semester of college I'd commute from LA to SF once a month to attend them. I remember her being a strict and funny force in the room with soft edges that could easily turn sharp and a voice that sounded packed with sand. I remember being in a little beat up 2 door Toyota, her stomach basically touching the wheel while she inched her way at what seemed 10 miles an hour through traffic and lights with big hilarious looking sunglasses characteristic of what hipsters wear today. I wanted to LOL through the windoe while she kept switching gears. I couldn't stop staring at the wheel pressing against the belly of her t-shirt and remember wondering what the hell I was doing with this historical lady. We made it to her apartment. There were thangka paintings hanging from her walls and didn't know that the deities symbolized a neurosis I obviously wasn't aware of. We sat across from each other on chairs and looked over poems. I forget now what she said but remember what she asked "what do you want to do with writing, what're your plans?" I said I didn't know and she went on about some school called Naropa with a writing program called the Jack Kerouac School of Poetics. I was sketched out and nodded "ok".
While at Marymount College in LA I had the urge to go to Nepal to study Buddhism and went to college counseling office, found a study abroad book and did a bibliomancy technique where I randomly flipped a page and saw that it landed on a study abroad program to Nepal that so happened to be sponsored by Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. I skipped to the campus pay phone and called Naropa telling them I wanted to go to Nepal. Turns out, the program switched to Sikkim, India (a neighboring state) b/c of political unrest.
When I came back to the States, I decided to try the writing program at Naropa. I remember the snow being out of control, like entering a snow globe of mind control. The first semester I attended Anselm Hollo's poetry workshop, about fifteen students and all of us sitting at long tables forming a square while Anselm sat the head of it. I remember Anselm having an unusual, fluffy, and angelic sense of humor that floated through the white aether of whatever budda family--a concoction of padma and vajra electricity or what have you. We wrote comments on each others pomes and even went so far to autograph them. We were assigned the basic Donald Hall Anthology of Post- Modern Poetry on a dark blue cover with 3 women poets danging inside it--Levertov, Guest, Niedecker? Students would hang around during the break smoking American Spirits or getting chai at the cafe. I remember laughing more than talking. talking more than meditating. Sometimes I'd tuck myself into the vajra blue maitri room and fall asleep.
Then Professor Donald Preziosi showed up and introduced some of us to Walter Benjamin and we tripped out about spectatorship and subject-object relations (whatever that is). I dragged Anna out all the way from Sonoma State in California to sit in on Preziosi's class for a spring semester. We shared an apartment and would stay up for hours into the night reading Deleuze, Bergson, Benjamin-- cliff hanging from one part of a concept and switching to the latest fashions in W Magazine, turning on the TV and reciting poetry over infomercials, getting hooked on one concept and applying it to our experiences at the Mall or Target.
During a Summer Writing Program at Brown I took a week long course with Thalia Field after having read Point and Line. For the first time I met someone who stretched non-pretentiously encouraged experimentation in terms of form and content on the page. I was hooked. I loved her immediately, what she was doing, how she got involved. I felt that she was tapping into far away gold mines, throwing around wrenches left and right and telling us to go and find them. It was like an easter egg hunt, we went around blindfolded digging through air. It was in her class that I realized I could touch any object and pull a poem out of it, that a poem was waiting to happen. I attempted to pull a narrative out of a phone book by writing up scenarios pertaining to addresses of businesses. Font styles also started to come to life, every different type of font had personalities of their own. When the week ended she asked what I planned to do after graduation. I had no idea. She suggested that I consider applying to Brown.
One night I dreamt of riding in a car going down a neighborhood street that felt like Providence. Another morning I woke up to a phone call from CD Wright.
At Brown I found myself in the presence of Thalia Field, Keith & Rosmarie Waldrop, Forrest Gander and CD Wright. I felt drawn to Rosmarie Waldrop's work straightaway, particulary Curves to the Apple which I'll hold onto for as long as I'm walking on this earth. I don't know why I trust her perception so much. I don't know if I'm saying this right. "...A name, I said, cannot go from mouth to mouth, a clear mirror unclouded by breath[...] And we can't logically correlate a fact with a soul, even if fiction sustains the tone of our muscles.Your lips trembled slightly as you said that logic could take care of itself."
-The Reproduction of Profiles
There's nothing to dissect from this. It just makes sense and displays a rendering of thought when the sentence progresses into a further escalation or deflamation--like a set of escalator stairs and every step tucking into itself the further up you go. A line ends and is pulled toward or away from itself. Regardless of its direction, it's heading toward the same source (of gravity) in the poem, on the page, while it takes you on a detour and asks that you put on a pair of spectacles to view what your are walking/reading into.
"...Or the word "me." As if one could come into language as into a room[...] I sat down in it. No balcony for clearer view, but I could focus on the silvered lack of substance or the syllables that correspond to it because all resonance grows from consent to emptiness. But maybe, in my craving for hinges, I confused identity with someone else."
-The Reproduction of Profiles
I don't know what the spectacle's prescription is. It shifts. The prescription of the lens changes per poem perhaps. For whatever reason I am drawn to Rosmarie Waldrop's leap into a field of visual syntax, as though sometimes objects are floating without intending to. I toy with thinking that it might have to do with being in the technological time we're in--that somehow I am floating in this Hotmail email account while writing this, that there is no volume here inside this Hotmail while it feels as though the words are floating. She is an influence without having to explain it.
Recently I've been coloring outside the crayola lines of astrology trying to get a grip on what the fuck a birth chart is and if I've already been pre-programmed according to the alignment of the planets at the point that I fell out of my mother. Today at Symposium Books I picked up a memoir on Wittegenstein by Norman Malcolm, a grey book called "Things in the Night" by an Estonian writer named Mati Unt, and William C. Williams "The Great American Novel". Before that, there was a Kenyan safari happening towards the end of Obama's "Dreams from My Father" lying on the bed.
Question 4
GP: Can you describe yr creative process, tell us what an image is to you, what it becomes in the text? I often find myself grounded in yr poems with lyrical qualities that seem to push the poem forward from one space and terrain to another. Can you comment on metaphors in yr poems?
Answer 4
FM: What is an image?
How can this be answered without being diluted by what other people have had to say about it? I don't know, perhaps an image is something you can and/or can't touch. A tangible object being a simultaneous image of itself, an intangible object being one that's in the cocoon of cinema or that is imagined. Perhaps it goes back to Williams' "No ideas but in Things." Not sure if there's a difference between ideas, image, & things. All the ideas, images, & things are already out there. I think maybe it has to do with aesthetic sensibility--aesthetic in the sense of honesty & sincerity. We're in a time where "ugly sweaters" are the new beautiful. But I believe that what drives thin distinctions between the beautiful and the ugly is a sort of push toward a place of sincerity while also attempting to let go of threads of apathetic irony (the ugly sweater) that signifies "cool".
Now let me take off the ugly sweater & turn it into an image.
Suddenly, when its no longer worn, the image is just an image without "myself". This seems to be leading to one's sense of perception in relation to an image or object which goes back to your original question "tell us what an image is to you". This is where the poet has total responsibility with regard to the image because it belongs to nobody, not even the poet. For as long as the image survives, the poet can too. But the image can keep surviving on its own while all the poets have been wiped out. This is why its important that poets meditate for themselves on what their relationship is to the image. I haven't done that yet so it makes it real fricken hard to answer yr question. First of all, I'm not sure of who or what I am to be able to see what am image is to me. But I do know that an image is neutral until you project whatever your feeling into it. You don't even have to know what it is you're feeling and that's why its useful to write. Writing helps to arrive at the original feeling or thought, an unraveling of self prescribed tricks or that Trungpa saying "one need not have gone through the journey" or something like that. I think maybe the image chaanges once its in a piece of text. If the image is extrapolated from elsewhere, a mode of translation happens when trying to insert it into MS Word or paper. That's why in the moment of writing, you're hanging from a string trying to hold on to the original feeling or thought while also trying to be sincere on some level--trying to sincerely hang onto the string and that's a genuine point of honesty--in the despair. What does the image become in the text? If there's a genuine relationship to the image, it becomes eternal. In the poems, I'm totally oblivious to whatever lyrical qualities--they're not intended. As for metaphor, it goes back to concept with a twist of feeling and pushing through a newer field of perception--its a constant development of new perception, imagining what's possible and going for it. That's why certain philisophers/theorists are so fun & exciting too--they construct new terrains of perception. Perhaps "No metaphors but in things."
Question 5
GP: It's been said that Rock n Roll and the Internet are the two biggest generational gaps in the last 60 years. We've seen our political landscapes change here in America with this last election, and also a kind of end to "the baby-boomer" generation's hold on old boy politics, total economic failures and dolt diplomacy. What effects, if any will this "turn over" have on poetry, on life in this country?
Answer 5
FM: Don't take whatever I say for truth b/c I can only make whimsy associations. First, we won't feel any direct changes happening straightaway with the Obama administration depending on where we are geographically and whatever social groups/networks we're affiliated with. Without being a part of Obama's campaign trail we're left with the internet, TV, newspapers, magazines. Would he have had as many votes without the internet and Change.gov? It’s likely not.
The fact that people from different parts of the world were celebrating his election is remarkable and new in itself. I don't understand what you mean by "political landscapes" and them changing. I think maybe the changes are felt more so in different parts of the country than in other parts. I'll be in D.C. for the Inauguration and I bet the energy will feel different there than in Providence, RI. As for the economy, Rhode Island is the 2nd most unemployed state in the country adding to the hilarity of my daily existence. No one wants to hire an MFA degree so I'm having pseudo fun working at a cafe flipping chocolate chip pancakes and eating them. The economy is making up for not giving me a higher paying job by feeding me more pancakes. It's not so bad or is it just plain fattening.
In relation to the economy, have you ever heard of the Uniform Commercial Code? Its a real fricken hologram of a maze, but there are a few social movements in this country tied to the fundamental belief that the federal government turned against the original ideas of liberty and individual rights dating to the American Revolution and that the government is basically reaping the benefits from its citizens through what's also known as "sweat labor" as a form of credit in and of itself. From what I heard going back home to California and talking to some people connected to the Sovereign Citizens Movement, American citizens' identities are being used as collateral by the government as credit because this country has been bankrupt since Woodrow Wilson who said "if the country ever finds out what we did to them, there'd be a revolution tommorrow". Basically, our birth certificate, social security, and forms of I.D. have our names written in all upper-case letters. Supposedly, we are living under two drastically different forms of identity; one being what's called the "public", and the other "private". The "public" identity is also known as the "strawman"--the name that bears one's name in all uppercase letters. The "private" identity is the one which has rights in claiming oneself to be "sovereign" and basically protected from having to pay taxes through "proper UCC filing" using documents from the Internal Tax Revenue and going through a process of sending those properly filled tax forms to your Secretary of State, receiving them with some sort of stamp, and then forwarding those stamped tax forms over to the US Treasury which then forwards to the IRS for background check to confirm the filer/person's debt for tax exemption. The logic goes that one's debt is actually one's credit. I know, it all sounds bizarre and perhaps that's why these social movements dedicated to this are casted in the conspiracy theory category. Between California & Florida making up about 39% (LA Times, Sept. 2008) of home foreclosures in the country it seems worth questioning what banks are up to in those two states with regard to money lending and why the value of houses drop absurdly to the point of families having to pay about double what the house is actually worth. People have options: tell the banks to go ahead and take their homes, file for bankruptcy, or keep paying the insane interest until beyond the grave. I'm only writing from what I see my family going through and the pieces of info. collected here and there. At some point it's a pain separating fact from fiction or just accepting both. Currently living in one of the 8 states that are above the foreclosure average (Rhode Island being one of them), I am also living in the 2nd most unemployed state wondering if I should just wander back to California, New York, or teach english in Spain. I'm rambling, bare with me.
As for the generational landmarks of rock n' roll in the 1960's and the Internet of today, I guess what it also comes down to is: what does it now mean to be living in an "real or frozen time" overflow of information which can also serve to be a subtle yet obvious form of distraction? Everytime I get on the Internet it feels like having to swat flies swarming in and out of the screen. With the set up of Facebook we're in a framework where we can post & share whatever we want to expose about ourselves or however we want to make our faces look on the book. While its also a way to share what kind of music or books we like, what we're "doing right now", who we want to send cookies or an animal to, it can also be another "interfacial" layer. How often do our faces and profiles get makeovers? (There's a book collaboration underway called The Psychology of Facebook organized by some dude at Stanford by the name of Daniel Berdichevsky--should be interesting to check out.) In the time we're in it also seems that we can have our rock n' roll and Internet too, and some. An abundance of everything which is just a reflection of the phenomena of the Internet itself, multiple & simultaneous, and not surprising that on a clinical level Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD) is a leading actor on the stage of our generation's theater. Maybe I'm just trippen but there must be a connection between the supposed mental disorders our generation is faced with along with advances in technology---that statement is vague as hell and that's why I'm a dreamer.
Blogger communities seem to be a popular form of virtual real estate except for us poets who don't get any reveune out of it. It's a labor of love, really. It's the same concern for print culture vs. electronic culture or traversing back and forth and the Green issues at stake for not killing trees and having sustainable Green energy to keep our laptops powered. I don't mind not being able to touch or hold my Blog or cuddling it to sleep. But of course that desire to do so, to squeeze the damn internet, creates tension I sometimes wonder is productive outside of it being purely conceptual. I'm not sure what the elements are that lead into some sort of "turn over" or what the turn over currently is. But from what it looks like today, there are poetry readings happening in different cities and towns in this country, while the definition of "poet" has also turned into the double life of a "blogger" for some. Maybe I'm not wording this right. Self-promotion is also a readymade tactic provided by blogger.com, myspace, and facebook. That doesn't go to say that self-promotion (within the land of poetry) is a vain or nasty thing--it's just a medium to say "hello world, this is what i'm thinking, feeling, writing...come and see if you like!" After all we're alive at the oldest the earth's been for cying out loud. Let's do whatever we want to get to know ourselves and be ready and open for whatever lies ahead--with honesty & sincerity even if people don't want to be kind to one another then maybe people can at least be nice about it.
As for poetry, the poems from whomever will speak for itself. Maybe a poem happens one day at a time without the anxiety of what will happen to it in the future or what Beckett said "Fail, fail again. Fail better." I think its safer to think one's poems are a constant failure because, ultimately they are. We're writing towards a failure in humanity with every hopeful key that we press on our laptops. And its beautiful to think that every word was a failure while we hoped that it wasn't. It's a failure, all of it, because we die.
Feliz Molina is a poet living in Provincetown Rhode Island.
She is a graduate of both Naropa and Brown University
Check out her work here in the Boog City Reader.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Drive-In Picture Show by Gary Parrish

Gary Parrish
Drive-In Picture Show
Erudite Fangs, 2010
Cover design, interior design & typesetting
by HR Hegnauer
Original Art Work
by George Schneeman
Boulder, Colorado.

There are two things going on simultaneously in Gary Parrish’s poems-- a mix of awkwardness and grace--the absentminded poet stepping on the toes of the goddess, and then apologizing, while his music plays on. The presentation of self is all periphery and sidelong glance and teetering at the edge, and tension--but with a bounce that keeps it all afloat.

These poems are always on the verge--and then (at some point) they explode, like fireworks, in a shower of sparks. He’s been in some odd places, seen things no one else I know has seen, stepped back from and entered into experiences that required more than a share of providence to survive. His poems are just like him--shy and flirty without being coy. He manages to give it all away every time.

Lewis Warsh

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Kyabje Dorje Chang Kalu Rinpoche

File:Kalou Rimpoche Montpellier 1987.jpg

Understanding the Need for Spiritual Practice

A Teaching by Kyabje Dorje Chang Kalu Rinpoche

Given at Kagyu Thubten Chöling Monastery, 1986

In order to practice the Dharma taught by the Buddha it is necessary, at the outset, to establish confidence in its validity.

First we must understand that we have had countless lives in the past and will continue to have countless lives until we attain the level of a Buddha or Bodhisattva. Belief in the existence of previous and future lives gives rise to confidence in the truth of karma, the effects of actions. This confidence is based on understanding that unvirtuous actions lead to suffering and virtuous actions lead to happiness. Without this conviction, we will not abandon unvirtuous actions or perform virtuous ones.

We can reach this conviction by examining the signs of the workings of karma in the world around us. Although we are all born as human beings, each person experiences different circumstances, such as a long or short life, mental happiness or misery, and wealth or poverty. These variations in individual circumstances arise through previous karma accumulated in former lifetimes. Even animals have a sense that actions lead to results. They know enough to look for food when they are hungry, water when they are thirsty, and shade when they are hot.

If one has no confidence in the existence of past or future lives or in the truth of the effects of karma, then one will have no appreciation of Buddhism or any other religion. The practices of all religions are based on the intention to benefit oneself and others in a future existence.

The Buddha taught that sentient beings are subject to 84,000 mental afflictions; to remedy them, he gave 84,000 profound and extensive teachings. The point of all these teachings is to benefit the mind. One's body and speech will automatically derive benefit since the mind is like the master, and the body and speech are like its servants. For example, through thoughts of generosity, we perform acts of generosity; and because of angry thoughts, we use harsh words or act unkindly. The mind is the source of the action while the body and speech enact the mind's intentions. For instance, today you had the thought, "I must go to Kagyu Thubten Chöling to hear the Dharma," and in response to that thought, your body and speech somehow managed to accomplish this.

If one practices the Dharma correctly, then the four types of obscurations that veil the nature of the mind—ignorance, habitual patterns based on dualistic perception, mental afflictions, and karma—are removed. Complete elimination of these obscurations—known in Tibetan as sang—causes the inherent qualities of the mind's nature to manifest fully and spontaneously. This manifestation of the qualities and wisdom of the mind is called gye inTibetan. Together these two form the word sang gye, which means Buddha or Buddhahood, the ultimate attainment.

It is necessary to practice Dharma because we are subject to impermanence. Born from our mother's womb, we go through childhood, mature, grow old, get sick, and eventually die. None of us can avoid birth, old age, sickness, and death. We have no control over this. That is why we need to practice the Dharma.

Since no one lives forever, we have an underlying awareness that we are going to die. But we have only the idea "I'm going to die." We don't remember the suffering, fear and difficulty we experience at the time of death. We don't really understand the nature of death because we don't understand the meaning of Dharma.

If our whole existence just disappeared at death like a flame that has been extinguished, or like water that evaporates, then everything would be fine. But the mind's nature is empty, clear, and unimpeded. Because it is empty it does not die. Our mind does not disappear, but goes on after our physical death to experience the confused appearances of the interval between death and the next rebirth (Tib. bardo). We then take rebirth in one of the six states of existence. This cycle repeats again and again. Since the nature of cyclic existence is impermanence, it is a source of only suffering and not happiness.

Everyone is concerned about having a long life and freedom from sickness. It is good to have these things, but people neglect to provide themselves with good circumstances for future lifetimes. We should recognize that the mind that experiences future lifetimes is the same mind we have now, so we should therefore be concerned with providing for the future experiences of that mind.

How can we ensure happiness in future lifetimes? By practicing virtue with body, speech, and mind. When engendering Bodhicitta we pray, "May all sentient beings have happiness and the causes of happiness; may they be free of suffering and the causes of suffering." The cause of happiness is virtue and the cause of suffering is nonvirtue. It is therefore necessary to practice virtue and avoid unvirtuous actions to the best of our ability. Since we have the ability to choose between virtuous and unvirtuous actions, our future happiness or suffering is in our own hands.

There are two practices that I find extremely important and beneficial. The first is the vow of refuge, which by instilling faith in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha forms a foundation for attaining Buddhahood. The second is the meditation on the Bodhisattva Chenrezi. This practice is the essence of all the teachings of tantra, and Chenrezi the essence of all yidam deities.

Many people in the West are interested in the teachings on Bodhicitta and benefiting others. This is very nice, but the root of cultivating Bodhicitta is being able to take all suffering, loss, and defeat for oneself and to give all happiness, profit, and victory to others. If one does not practice this within one's own family, then talking about applying this ideal to all sentient beings is merely words.

Reflecting on the kindness of our parents is how one begins to practice mind-training (Tib. lojong). We realize that they are suffering now and will continue to suffer in the future, and that until they attain liberation from samsara, they will go from life to life experiencing pain. If we reflect in this way, we begin to understand that it is unfitting for us to allow beings who have been so kind to us to experience so much suffering. This recognition is the beginning of loving-kindness and compassion. Next we must resolve to do whatever we can to free them from suffering. We expand on this contemplation by including all the people that we care for—our children, friends, and relatives. We then include all those whom we neither like nor dislike, and then people we dislike, even those we consider to be our enemies. Finally, we include all sentient beings, who fill all of space, and we imagine that we take on all their suffering and offer them all our happiness and virtue. In particular, we should make the aspiration that this meditation may serve as a cause for their attainment of Buddhahood and liberation from the sufferings of samsara. That is the way in which Bodhicitta is developed.

If we can practice Bodhicitta, develop patience, and pacify all disharmony in our own home, then we have prepared the way leading to the development of limitless Bodhicitta. If, on the other hand, we cannot maintain patience and harmony in our own home with our own family, then it is very unlikely that we will be able to do this with respect to all sentient beings, who are infinite in number. So if, after hearing these teachings, you go home and eliminate all disharmony in your home and family, I will proclaim you all male and female Bodhisattvas!

Kyabje Dorje Chang Kalu Rinpoche



Understanding the Need for Spiritual Practice

A Teaching by Kyabje Dorje Chang Kalu Rinpoche
Given at Kagyu Thubten Chöling Monastery, 1986

In order to practice the Dharma taught by the Buddha it is necessary, at the outset, to establish confidence in its validity.

First we must understand that we have had countless lives in the past and will continue to have countless lives until we attain the level of a Buddha or Bodhisattva. Belief in the existence of previous and future lives gives rise to confidence in the truth of karma, the effects of actions. This confidence is based on understanding that unvirtuous actions lead to suffering and virtuous actions lead to happiness. Without this conviction, we will not abandon unvirtuous actions or perform virtuous ones.

We can reach this conviction by examining the signs of the workings of karma in the world around us. Although we are all born as human beings, each person experiences different circumstances, such as a long or short life, mental happiness or misery, and wealth or poverty. These variations in individual circumstances arise through previous karma accumulated in former lifetimes. Even animals have a sense that actions lead to results. They know enough to look for food when they are hungry, water when they are thirsty, and shade when they are hot.

If one has no confidence in the existence of past or future lives or in the truth of the effects of karma, then one will have no appreciation of Buddhism or any other religion. The practices of all religions are based on the intention to benefit oneself and others in a future existence.

The Buddha taught that sentient beings are subject to 84,000 mental afflictions; to remedy them, he gave 84,000 profound and extensive teachings. The point of all these teachings is to benefit the mind. One's body and speech will automatically derive benefit since the mind is like the master, and the body and speech are like its servants. For example, through thoughts of generosity, we perform acts of generosity; and because of angry thoughts, we use harsh words or act unkindly. The mind is the source of the action while the body and speech enact the mind's intentions. For instance, today you had the thought, "I must go to Kagyu Thubten Chöling to hear the Dharma," and in response to that thought, your body and speech somehow managed to accomplish this.

If one practices the Dharma correctly, then the four types of obscurations that veil the nature of the mind—ignorance, habitual patterns based on dualistic perception, mental afflictions, and karma—are removed. Complete elimination of these obscurations—known in Tibetan as sang—causes the inherent qualities of the mind's nature to manifest fully and spontaneously. This manifestation of the qualities and wisdom of the mind is called gye inTibetan. Together these two form the word sang gye, which means Buddha or Buddhahood, the ultimate attainment.

It is necessary to practice Dharma because we are subject to impermanence. Born from our mother's womb, we go through childhood, mature, grow old, get sick, and eventually die. None of us can avoid birth, old age, sickness, and death. We have no control over this. That is why we need to practice the Dharma.

Since no one lives forever, we have an underlying awareness that we are going to die. But we have only the idea "I'm going to die." We don't remember the suffering, fear and difficulty we experience at the time of death. We don't really understand the nature of death because we don't understand the meaning of Dharma.

If our whole existence just disappeared at death like a flame that has been extinguished, or like water that evaporates, then everything would be fine. But the mind's nature is empty, clear, and unimpeded. Because it is empty it does not die. Our mind does not disappear, but goes on after our physical death to experience the confused appearances of the interval between death and the next rebirth (Tib. bardo). We then take rebirth in one of the six states of existence. This cycle repeats again and again. Since the nature of cyclic existence is impermanence, it is a source of only suffering and not happiness.

Everyone is concerned about having a long life and freedom from sickness. It is good to have these things, but people neglect to provide themselves with good circumstances for future lifetimes. We should recognize that the mind that experiences future lifetimes is the same mind we have now, so we should therefore be concerned with providing for the future experiences of that mind.

How can we ensure happiness in future lifetimes? By practicing virtue with body, speech, and mind. When engendering Bodhicitta we pray, "May all sentient beings have happiness and the causes of happiness; may they be free of suffering and the causes of suffering." The cause of happiness is virtue and the cause of suffering is nonvirtue. It is therefore necessary to practice virtue and avoid unvirtuous actions to the best of our ability. Since we have the ability to choose between virtuous and unvirtuous actions, our future happiness or suffering is in our own hands.

There are two practices that I find extremely important and beneficial. The first is the vow of refuge, which by instilling faith in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha forms a foundation for attaining Buddhahood. The second is the meditation on the Bodhisattva Chenrezi. This practice is the essence of all the teachings of tantra, and Chenrezi the essence of all yidam deities.

Many people in the West are interested in the teachings on Bodhicitta and benefiting others. This is very nice, but the root of cultivating Bodhicitta is being able to take all suffering, loss, and defeat for oneself and to give all happiness, profit, and victory to others. If one does not practice this within one's own family, then talking about applying this ideal to all sentient beings is merely words.

Reflecting on the kindness of our parents is how one begins to practice mind-training (Tib. lojong). We realize that they are suffering now and will continue to suffer in the future, and that until they attain liberation from samsara, they will go from life to life experiencing pain. If we reflect in this way, we begin to understand that it is unfitting for us to allow beings who have been so kind to us to experience so much suffering. This recognition is the beginning of loving-kindness and compassion. Next we must resolve to do whatever we can to free them from suffering. We expand on this contemplation by including all the people that we care for—our children, friends, and relatives. We then include all those whom we neither like nor dislike, and then people we dislike, even those we consider to be our enemies. Finally, we include all sentient beings, who fill all of space, and we imagine that we take on all their suffering and offer them all our happiness and virtue. In particular, we should make the aspiration that this meditation may serve as a cause for their attainment of Buddhahood and liberation from the sufferings of samsara. That is the way in which Bodhicitta is developed.

If we can practice Bodhicitta, develop patience, and pacify all disharmony in our own home, then we have prepared the way leading to the development of limitless Bodhicitta. If, on the other hand, we cannot maintain patience and harmony in our own home with our own family, then it is very unlikely that we will be able to do this with respect to all sentient beings, who are infinite in number. So if, after hearing these teachings, you go home and eliminate all disharmony in your home and family, I will proclaim you all male and female Bodhisattvas!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010