Happy [[w:Lhosar]] and Happy [[w:Chinese New Year]]. As a someone born in the year of the [[w:dog]], I've got a slightly biased reverence for dog years and dogs in general. But I don't have too many digital photos of pups. I do, however, have this one of my former housemates Xela and Joba (who's burying her snout in the snow). We had some good times together. Woof!
Is it always the poets who defend their art? Is it only the poets who are saying, "We need poetry"? I have a vision of poets queueing up to take their turn to stand on a soapbox in the middle of the Saturday market in Madison and proclaim to whomever will listen, "You need us." Beseeching among ripe melons and bright flowers, "Listen: We have something for your ears, to soothe you. Something for your mind, to spark you. Something for your heart, to heal you." They will gently intone to the shoppers caressing waxy purple eggsplants, "Listen to us. You may not believe this, but you will be better to pause a moment and consider our words. And then maybe you will join us."
I have no greater literary love than [:wittman|Wittman Ah Sing], the poet/playwright protagonist of [w:Maxine Hong Kingston]'s novel [http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&client=safari&rls=en-us&q=Tripmaster+Monkey%3A+his+fake+book&btnG=Search|Tripmaster Monkey: his fake book]. He also appears in her [http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&client=safari&rls=en-us&q=The+Fifth+Book+of+Peace&btnG=Search|Fifth Book of Peace]. In my mind, I have dedicated this site to him.
In Tripmaster Monkey, while Wittman is working in the Toy Deparment, he thinks, [:lewwelch|"So it has come to this."] Kingston inserts, "([w:Lew Welch], the Red Monk, says: now and again, stop and think, 'So it has come to this.')"
At the department store where he had a job--"Are you in the English Department or the History Department?" "I'm in the Toy Department."--it was Hallowe'en month. Wittman had helped trick up the kid dummies in flat apron-like run-over-with-a-steamroller cartoon costumes. The Management Trainees had sent out a memo: Floor personnel to wear costumes of their choice on Hallowe'en, which [:wittman|Wittman] hoped would not fall on one of his workdays, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 1:00 to 9:00 p.m., Open Late for Your Shopping Convenience. Another season, in the Candy Department, he had worn rabbit ears and white gloves. For revenge, he had stolen candy--white chocolate--and saved on buying groceries. Do something about your life. Find a way out before you have to set up Christmas Toyland. Transfer into Notions? Sell armpit shelds and corn pads? When he was a kid, he thought he could be happy forever working in a store. The tall glass at Kress had curved around brand-new toys, each one in many copies, which the owner arranged as he pleased. Is this malcontentedness what comes with a liberal-arts education? The way they taught you to think at school was to keep asking what's really going on. What's that thing at the end of this assembly line for? Why merchandising? Why business? Why money? Who are the stockholders? What else have they got their fingers into? Are any of the holdings in bomb commodities? Seek out vanities and emptiness. Which way out? Which way out? One of the clerks spotted him, and left the floor--quitting time for her. No wonder he didn't know anybody. But anything's better than the Defense Department. And he wasn't a soldier. We wasn't a prison guard. He was barely employed, a casual employee.
It snowed last night, making the Friday evening commute a bit more of a challenge for some. It was beautiful, however, and temporarily put an end to my belief that spring had arrived in January.
Sticking with my New Year's resolution to read more poetry and fiction, I picked up Gary Snyder's Earth House Hold. The first part is called "Lookout's Journal." It's a collection of journal entries from 1952 when he was apparently a lookout in Mt. Baker National Forest. He's in the back country and it's mostly simple observations of nature and of other humans -- voices over the 2-way radio, in diners, etc.
So far, everything that I've posted here has been pretty safe. I haven't revealed much about what I'm feeling and what really is mattering to me. ... For me, a website is not an appropriate place to be baring my soul. But it is a place to venture out with bold thinking and careful radical ideas. A blog is a good place to write about issues that are personally meaningful. I'm not sure, however, that I can really pull that off. Mostly this page is for tinkering. Occasionally farting out an idea. Posting some nice pictures.
I will try to say something now. If anything, I am interested in attaining my fullest potential, especially spiritual potential. A few years ago, I concluded that the only thing that could save us from the misery of constant war, plague and famine is a deep spiritual shift. But how could that ever happen? ... I don't know. I guess I'm working on it for myself. I hope you are too.
May the new year be one of productivity and spiritual growth for all. May all our actions be beneficial for all sentient beings. May we all be filled with love and share life's joys and pleasures with our friends, families and lovers.
If anyone is interested, I've posted some of my photos over at flickr. I'll, of course, be adding more in the future. [http://www.flickr.com/photos/16938637@N00/|Check it out].