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“Concierto de Aranjuez/Spain”: Unnamed dancer with Chick Corea’s band in Barcelona 2008 | Courtesy YouTube
ANYTIME YOU WISH, YOU CAN DANCE
Anytime you wish, you can dance
this poem like you did in Barcelona
the great, the flute, your mantilla
properly black, your black hair tied back,
your thick-toed shoes rousting the floor,
handed, above your head staged fingers
curve and click, the rest of you alive, all
olive-brown, a mongrel beauty, light-twisted,
a budding smile your rose and proof
of every mystery you master each time
the spirit calls. Can duende dwell far behind?
Gypsy Jew Moor, the salt and soul of Spain
Â© Al Young
31 March 2013
Â Â© Richard B. Ressman
GABRIELE THE NATURAL WAY
Gabriele Rico Ressman (1937-2013) in memoriam
Â âWe donât stop playing because we grow old,
we grow old because we stop playing.â
— Satchel Paige
You taught the world to write a natural way,
a playful way for sure. Donât think. Just breathe.
Just undermine whatâs on your mind and stay
aloof. Just hold your breath and die. Believe.
Let go and breathe back out. Youâre on again.
Stories and poems we utter naturally;
text vexes us like learning the trombone.
Technique groans to get taught. You actually
danced from your left brain to your right with just
enough of the right kind of love left over
to share, to match all odds. Your lifelong lust
for learning and defiance lasts. Forever.
From Germany to California you,
light-giving Gabriele, you gave us you.
– Al Young
19 March 2013
âIâm not going to die, Iâm going home like a shooting star.â
— Sojourner Truth
Alberta Cifolelli: “The Sentinels IX”
The Great Hall Art Exhibit: Alberta CifolelliâDrawings, Prints, Paintings
Friday, Jan 4, 2013 – Tuesday, Mar 26, 2013
Rewind 1987 <<<
Â The VW needs serious transmission work,
the Datsun blows a radiator hose,
Blue Cross wants $425 right away,
the last checks of December come back
bouncing off the wall at $8.50 a crack,
the turntable quits spinning,
mildew overtakes the bathroom walls,
thereâs $50 worth of developed pictures
at Fotomat you canât afford to pick up,
the old typewriterâs gonna cost $30
to fix up so you can rent it out.
You bite into an apple & hurt your molar
on the stem the same molar with root canal
work done last January & itâs time
to go in for a checkup. Theyâre gonna kick
you outta the screenwriters guild if
you donât pay up the 2 yearsâ back dues.
The City of Los Angeles owes all
the money you spent in travel costs
to do a gig way back in November,
the radio you bought your son for graduation
fell apart & itâs cheaper to buy a new one
than have his fixed, the Xmas briefcase
your wife gave you its handleâs slipped off
already, prospects keep growing colder
as the water youâre in grows hotter.
You know itâs January when you have to stop
& pay close attention to what youâre doing
wrong that seemed O so right last July.
— from Heaven: Collected Poems 1956-1990
Â© 1992 by Al Young
Download the audio MP3
WHAT DECEMBER REMEMBERSÂ
St. Anthony’s Dining Hall | Glide Memorial Church, San Francisco
How good it feels always to feed and feed
not really the poor, but actual people, table
by table, more than just one mouth at a time;
next-generation descendents and ancestors,
one by one, one on one, one to one. What fun
to deify and defy, to feed yourself, to last.
Body Shop El Ăguila, San Ysidro, with its big sign in English: “MAY WE HAVE THE NEXT DENTS?”
Yes, like in Stormy Monday Blues, the eagle flew
on Friday, and Saturday he went out to play
- except this year’s Christmas fell on a Tuesday.
He needed him a hard-work weekend long enough
to knock out a foundry full of fender-benders.
To make ends meet, to lavish, to water his wayward,
can’t-speak-Spanish daughters with digital gifts;
to rescue their brother, to win back their mother,
he needed back-busting blessings to lose those blues.
ÂżLa vida loca?Â Yes, life was still whatever it was,
his sweet and cruel Christmases the craziest.
The Poet at Three
The poet at three crunching on a candy cane,
sucking on an orange. Sandy Claws knocking
back a cold Co-Cola, all sly, all wise, all smiley
and winky, all White Christmas dreamy, messing
with the kid: a snowy red picture that sticks.
All the way from Mississippi’s Gulf Coast
the poet will clear Cal’s glossy golf courses
(Pebble Beach, Hidden Valley, Pelican Hill,
Old Brockway, Coyote Moon, Incline Village)
to land and hang with joy. To and from worlds
he’ll get to know, the poet will take heart and give.
Â© 2012 Al Young
Â Al Young
âYour native zone is silence.â
— Kenneth Patchen
To have to silence the phone
tells you what you deeply need:
surcease, time-out to feed
on soul, some quiet nights alone.
Youâre good as long as breathing
lasts, as long as you can still
make out the taste and smell
of truth around you, seething
like the midday sun, a common
force of nature. âPlease donât call.
None of you.â You review all
the rules of order you can summon.
âTurn off your ringers,â you conclude.
An un-safe-cracker, you tumbler-dial
until you fail. Locked out, you smile.
Silence backs your every mood.
Â© 2012 Al Young