I’ve been invited to read poetry for the Olympia Poetry Network, as their featured reader for February.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
February 20, 2019 - 7pm
Traditions Fair Trade Cafe
5th and Water Street downtown Olympia
I already have some requests and will be reading new poems along with old favorites. Here’s a new one I’ve been working on.
JOB DESCRIPTION FOR A POET
We need scouts, just a few. The job
requires a willingness to live rough
in wilderness, and make your own way.
We can supply a few tools and a vague idea
of where we want to go. The country
is unknown. Others have gone in;
most have not returned. There are wild
animals. Some are dangerous.
We’ll be behind, widening your trail,
building outposts and the foundations
for towns. We will no doubt wonder why
you blazed the trail where you did, but
we can’t know what you’ll come up against.
We’ll count on you. Do your best. With luck
We’ll find you at rest by the fabled sea.
Learn more about the Olympia Poetry Network.
There are several threads that weave through them all. Rings, of course, but also a ritual, exploratory process that put me in collaboration with the materials and fabrication in a quest to discover (and be surprised by) the eventual form.
As the process evolved they became more complex and dense, varying from complete chaos to ideas of order, from an assembly of iterations of one element to a complex that involved five or six different shapes, and from fourteen elements overall to too many to count.
Each of the final pieces has its grace and strengths; they each exist as individuals and as generations of kin—as dependent on one another as they are each freed from those that came before.
When ten were complete I looked back to the original, the great grandmother of them all, and wondered what it was that I found so singularly compelling about that first.
Besides the pure clarity of being the first, I realized it was also the most simple.
It had the fewest parts, as well as the fewest rules of engagement. These details give it an open, uncomplicated stance I appreciate. Simplicity is its strength. Over the next few weeks the idea for the ultimate Ring Dance, #11, took form.
Initiation, View No1, wood, leather cord, 22” x 16” x 13”, $1800
The piece called “Initiation” began with wonder and a pile of black walnut scraps. I glued them together on a curve, then faired the faces and edges smooth. That gave me an intriguing form I hadn’t imagined at the outset. It reminded me of a piece of body armor, protection for the left half of the chest.
Their struggle is mythological: they pull against forces they can’t see or comprehend. Holding on to one another and to those mysterious cords that descend into the underworld stabilizes them.
There is a sense that neither could do it alone, but what they combine their forces against remains a mystery. They can theorize but they better not let go, or so it seems.
Closing Time Performance
Salon Refu, Susan Christian’s gallery and event space in Olympia is hosting another series of closing-time intimate readings and performances this January. They were so well received (and so much fun) in December that the gallery didn’t want to stop.
Father and Daughter
This time I’ll read a few poems and my daughter Erica Freas will sing a few of her amazing songs. We’ve been wanting to do this together for a long time. We hope you can join us.
The New Teamwork
How We Work Together Now
When I was a kid…
When I was a kid I remember thinking that if I had a skyhook that reached high enough I could just grab on and let the earth turn under me, then set down at another longitude thousands of miles away. It seemed so simple; I could go around the world in twenty-four hours.
More recently I noticed that everything feels a lot more calm when I recognize that I’m holding still and everything else is moving around me. Even when I’m driving or flying, there can be a stately calm in knowing the world is pouring by, under over and beside my resting position.
It's a good thing…
It’s a good thing I became a poet and sculptor rather than an engineer—so much more is possible.
A gift idea for the season…
Waiting for the Curtain
In this case…
The day of waiting for the book to be announced led me to find the poem I was thinking of—and then to wonder why it wasn’t in the book. That led to one of those familiar creative dilemmas in which I questioned why other poems were in the book. Which led to the recognition that it’s all exactly as it should be. Let’s see what happens.
The unpublished poem is called “Way of Being.”
Way of Being
The way thunder tumbles,
a train coming on a warm evening
carrying heavy rain:
with shelter near we languish, nuzzling
the luxury of all that fluid change--
at hand, but not on us yet.
Deep breaths, relaxed and alert,
the work approaching, the deluge--
or is it already complete? Are we finished--
simply waiting for the curtain,
for what has been stored in potential
to play out in release?
Anchor cut, the ship
its own power and that of the sea--
into the realm of wind shifts
and rogue waves; the barrier between
life and death more porous. Tears
beginning, live emotion, the thrill
of grief as reptile-brain recalls
all the ways of destruction
as near at hand as those of salvation.
And yet we stand—somewhere between--
in the moment we've always dreamed of:
focus of habit under wraps, fear finally
two levels down, wonder driving the bus.
No need to contribute
to retirement or fasten
seat-belts—this passage worth
far more than old age or another
string of red-veined sunsets repeating
over Tahiti's ocean—this once
we let ourselves be, and be, and be.