We returned from California late last night. We got up this morning, unpacked then repacked for 4 days in the Boulder/Escalante area of Utah. I'm doing poetry at Everett Ruess Days on Saturday afternoon. On Saturday evening Flavia and I play with blue haiku. The landscape was, of course, gorgeous. We arrived around 7pm, stopping at the Burr Trail Cafe for food to go. We caught the tail-end of a poetry slam. I did a couple of poems, hoping to get a few people interested enough to come to my performance on Saturday. A fellow named David did some very interesting songs, poems and stories relating to the Escalante, Utah accent.
After I did my poems Mark Austin, one of the festival sponsors introduced himself. Turns out the Cowdaddies played his wedding in Boulder a number of years back. I missed that gig - but there is a connection of sorts. He told us how he kept running into Craig and Kennard in the wilderness over the years until they finally introduced themselves and ended up playing his wedding. Mark has recently been traveling in Chile, including Flavia's birthplace: Antofagasta.
We didn't hang too long because we wanted to get to our room in the Circle Cliffs Motel to hear the 1st Kerry/Bush debate. When Bush talked I tried to put myself in the frame of mind of a Bush supporter, to try to hear and understand what they find appealing. I think it is, "we are America and no one is going to tell us what to do."
After the debate we walked back to the Burr Trail Cafe for tea and wine. The owner of the cafe treated us great. We talked with David some more and his soon-to-be wife, Jill. The have a brand new Siberian Husky puppy. With a raccoon face. Like me, David has long Mormon roots. Walking back to our room I practiced my poetry performance out loud.Mon, 20 Sep 2004
On Saturday I heard Thomas Cahill, Rebecca Solnit and Sam Hamill speak at the Great Salt Lake Book Festival that took place at city library. On Sunday, Tony Weller and Ken Sanders had a "rare book roadshow" at noon. I almost decided not to go since I was still laying in bed reading at 11:30am. Even after I did get up and drive down to the library I had to wait in my car for 15 minutes for a thunderstorm to pass.
I brought my signed copy of Allen Ginsberg's Howl and my Totem Press/Corinth Books edition of Gary Snyder's Myths & Texts. Ginsberg did a reading in the Union Ballroom in February 1989 (with Steve Fletcher accompanying him on guitar). Later in the evening I was fortunate to sit with him at the table of Anselm Hollo (now teaching at Naropa), who was living in Salt Lake at the time. Ginsberg signed my facsimile Harper & Row edition of Howl "for Harold Carr at Anselm Hollo's table - Salt Lake 2/22/89" - illustrating it with a Buddha, Skull and Crossbones, sun, crescent moon and stars. Tony and Ken valued it between $300 and $500 dollars. Myths & Texts was valued at between $40 and $200. Of course, I've had these books for a long time, especially Myths & Texts and I didn't buy them for their future value - I obtained them for my interest in the author's work - particularly Myths & Texts - one of the seminal works in my poetry collection and in my own poetry.
My mom called this morning to say the Salt Lake Tribune has an article mentioning my books at the festival.Sun, 12 Sep 2004
Yesterday, 9/11, we attended a music and poetry performance at Ken Sanders Rare Books. First, members of SLAJO improvised with composer/trombonist Bruce Fowler. Bruce, his brother and father are legends of music in Salt Lake, pretty much setting the standards we all strive towards. Bruce was in Salt Lake from LA doing some investigation into his grandfather's work - a painter. His grandfather originally named Cecret Lake in Albion Basin as "Lake Minnie". He also named Devil's Castle as "The Tower of Babel".
Next up was Ken Sanders reading from reading from Charles Bowden's essay, "Letter to the Next American President" (to be be published in the November issue of GQ). Bruce and Ken "traded fours" during Ken's reading.
Then Alex Caldiero did a 9-11 commemoration "Rants & Laments featuring Cow Mantras + Burka Dancers + Acts of Language + Mortar Shell Gongs". Very powerful. As I said after Alex's 2004 Utah Arts Festival performance - his poetry has taken a decidedly political turn.Wed, 01 Sep 2004
Arriving in a certain slant of sunlight, watching the angle change. What I brought: water, iBook, dog, dog food, sleeping bag, cot, etc.
Sitting here where I've sat for decades.
Smell of sage when Tika, my dog, walks through the brush, disturbing the plants. What I did not bring: Flavia. She is elsewhere.
One thing I brought I didn't a decade ago: reading glasses.
Watching the sun descend - carefully, avoiding its full reflection in the lake - a few clouds on the horizon.
What to describe: what's changed or what's now?
The air full of small flying bugs. About 30 minutes before sunset they start to dissipate. Tika prowling the hillside. Me listening to the silence. I give her water while I eat a chicken salad.
Quiet granite. Lichen, seemingly living on air. A breeze so slight it barely moves the sage blossoms. The movement increases ever so slightly with the sunset edge breeze.
Sage, lupine, indian paint brush - all in bloom.
To the east, deepening dark purple. Almost a dome over the western third of the sky. A dome of disappearing blue at the eastern edge - orange and red on the horizon.
Descending into dark. All merging into a single silence.
Until the waning gibbous moon rises behind me.
And except for civilization all lit up below.