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events, performance, poem

Dean's lists, green lists, we also need a greed list, of those who gobble up resources while the rest of the world struggles. So while the gobblers gobble, next Friday we'll use poetry to collect money and cans of food for Central City Church's Food Pantry. Come hear Jim Hazard, Eric Jefferson, Tim Kloss, and me perform:
FRI, FEB 6, 2009, 8 PM, requested donation: $4 and two cans of food.
19th St just south of Wisconsin Ave
Here’s a poem I wrote several years ago. In view of the eighteen and a half billion dollars in bonuses for Wall Street execs, of the usual trickle-down arguments in Washington, of the rich insisting they need tax cuts, I see it's not yet obsolete.

Piggybackers' Cutbacks

They've power, they've money, yet hunger for more
Piggy-backing on those who are poor
Why do they want what they don't even need
In a world  of hungry mouths to feed?
Schools, housing, health care, head starts for the young
All need more funding, what's being done?
Cutting back, cutting back,
Those who are down get pushed through the cracks
Cutting back, cutting back, piggy-backers' income tax

They've power, they've money, yet hunger for more
So much so that they'll go to war
It's the poor who will fight
The poor will be killed
The rich get the spoils
The poor will be billed.

Earth was here before humanity
The forests the beaches the fish the sea
The diamonds the gold the soil
The oil the oil the oil
Why in the world should a privileged few
Think all these resources are their due?
Cutting back, cutting back,
Those who are down get pushed through the cracks
Cutting back, cutting back piggy-backers' income tax

Their rule is not golden, they'll torture, they'll kill
They'll imprison those who won't bow to their will
They  can't seem to feel, never learned how
They're stealing our future, their time's only NOW
Power on the outside, inside a gaping hole
they can't ever fill, for what's missing is the soul.



art, buses, environment

This bus stopped in front of Pick ’n Save at 12:17 on the dot, got to Capitol Drive at 12:19. Amazing punctuality. Now I have to figure out what to do as I ride downtown. Too many choices. Should I write, should I draw, should I people-watch, look out the window? We’re cruising along Oakland Avenue, fresh mail stuffed into every single mailbox, hangs out over the tops, and it’s not because people are suddenly writing and receiving letters. If it’s like MY mail, it’ll all go directly into the recycle bin.

That’s tragic. We cut down forests to make paper for flyers, catalogues, donation solicitations, annual reports, on and on, and no one opens anything. We toss it all into containers that may or may not be for recycling. And beyond the loss of trees, what energy is used to make the paper and ink, print the info, send the never-to-be-read mail, then recycle the paper or truck it to the landfill?

I recently read that it takes over 100 million trees to produce all the junk mail that arrives in American mailboxes each year. Let’s see, US population, 300 million, number of trees used, 100 million, that’s a third of a tree per year for every person in the USA, just for junk mail! Then think of all the paper towel, paper plates, tissues, toilet paper, packaging, Americans use. Maybe there’s another two-thirds tree per person beyond the junk mail.

I guess I’ll draw the other passengers instead of contemplating loss of forests. Or is that a waste of paper, too? At least I work very small these days. And I can take solace in the idea that the arts is what distinguishes us from other species. Anyway I try to use as little of the earth’s resources as possible, as I walk, bike, bus, reuse, recycle. If they could walk a carbon copy of my sole, I suspect most Americans would leave much smaller carbon footprints than they do now. So I might as well draw.


performance, Schwartz

Today is February 27th, and Schwartz on Oakland is about to enter its last month of existence. Books read, readings heard, French Tables, coffee klatches, ideas hatched, friends seen, friends made, chess games played, gifts bought, the presence of Schwartz so close to us has had an inestimable impact on Adolph and me.

As a writer I’ve had an additional relationship with the store: it has been one of my favorite places to perform. Last April Louisa Loveridge-Gallas, Bill Murtaugh, and I gave a reading there, MUD, SWEAT, AND TEARS, a title arrived at by a three-mind brainstorm.

And here’s one small example of where that word “inestimable” applies: Betty Salamun of DanceCircus emailed me: GREAT TITLE  (I may steal it too...). And I replied: Oh, darn, I should have gotten a copyright! Unless you want to do something together with that title! She wrote back: ya know Suzanne I wrote it as a joke but I do need to think of a concept for next year's concert... and I did urban and water this year -- hmm something about land next year makes sense...hmmm.

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