9 months

I began this blog nine months ago as a way to garner some attention for my book of poems, midnight the blues, from a small independent press, sight/for/sight books, out of Oregon.  Over the nine months, the blog has turned into a site for my photography more than my writing. I’ve tried to post something daily, sometimes reaching well back in years for material. The experience has made me a better photographer just out of practice. I started creating photographs about 40 years ago. A housemate had a makeshift darkroom in our bathroom, and he showed me the basic process of printing. I bought a 35 millimeter Miranda, which was Japan’s answer to the Leica M cameras and began my wanderings, looking for for “ops”. I caught the fever and walked the streets of Boston, where I was in grad school, looking for interesting subjects: dead birds, dried roses, the beautiful red suit one of my students.   At that same time, I was introduced to the music of John Coltrane and the poetry of Amiri Baraka, the great poet, musicologist and political philosopher. I was on fire. My world was burning  with creative possibilities. As my life unfolded, familial circumstances put a hold on my photography, and I focused on my poetry, publishing a chapbook and poems in various literary journals. About twenty years ago, I took up photography again, excited by my  study of the work of photographers like Stieglitz, Cartier Bresson, Arbus, DeCarava, Giacomelli, Arnold….I also continued my work with poetry. The two had a common basis, what Stieglitz and the painter, Georgia O’Keeffe, referred to as “equivalents,” the creation of art that could not duplicate an experience but could invoke/evoke  the emotional,intellectual, spiritual qualities of that experience. So here I am nine months later sharing my work on a blog, not having a particular goal in mind. At this point, I just want to thank those of you who have responded to my work. Here is a poem from my book that I wrote for a long time friend who died recently (“recently” being relative to one’s age). The poem is the “equivalent” of a conversation I had with him and another friend after a late night of good music, good wine, and meager sleep.

a blues

for Bugs

Billy leans

into morning’s rising

heat

his voice fills

with smoke

& dried roses

love    a song    all the blues

from the sky the sea

love he says taught me

to believe the joy flesh

brings to flesh

is a trick    breath

can’t braid

to breath make

a rope to hold

me to this spinning planet

Joe says   but the Lord never

gives us more

than we can handle

I think   even Jesus begged

his father for a break

love    maybe it teaches us how to play

the blues    bend

an ear to the heart hear

god crying

for one more

day of heartache  one more

night without sleep

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