The People’s Poet
by Ron Kolm
Author photo © Copyright 2010 Kim Soles
I met Hal in 1980 when he was emceeing the poetry readings at St. Clement’s Church on 46th Street in Hell’s Kitchen. Hal did a terrific job in mixing the knowns and the unknowns, and then making the unknowns feel like they could end up in the pantheon of New York City poets. At the conclusion of each event Sirowitz would read some of his own work. The first time I heard him I was instantly hooked. His poems were short and funny, and in them Hal was able to project himself through his mother’s eyes. To her everything was a potential threat — especially to her family’s belonging to the mostly assimilated Jewish middle-class. Religion still played a part in his work, but almost more as a set of superstitions, than as a link to the ineffable — and it was more through the sensibility of the father than the mother. Hal’s poems were also incredibly concrete — they were filled with real things; real cats, real girlfriends, real condoms. And many of them began with the mantra, “Mother said…”
Love for the Strings:
The Art & Performance of Hikari Kesho’s Shibari Photography
a visual essay by Mark McCawley
Hikari Kesho has always had a passion for the photography of bodies, particularly the female form, exploring what he called “body expression” when at the age of 18 he began his first serious and continuing explorations of photography by enrolling in a major photo club. Often his photographic research led him to interpret the body with the use of chains, ropes, even ivy, anything that could be used to “lock” the position of the subject in a desired position, to transform the subject “more charming, more beautiful graphically, yet certainly also the most erotic” to the eye.
Gibberish, Hallucinations, Paranoia,
and the Long Way Out of Town
by Jose Padua
I can’t remember the quick way out of town anymore, and while we were stuck in traffic on North Capitol Street this morning, we saw this man standing at the entrance to this building, which is listed as the address of the Ida Mae Campbell Wellness & Resource Center. From behind the man looked like he was perhaps a businessman or even a doctor, but as we waited in traffic he remained at the door, and after a moment I could see that he was staring at a sign above the doorknob. When he turned around briefly, I could see he had a totally blank expression on his face, the look of someone who is far beyond just being lost. Then he turned back around to stare at the sign.
The Geographical Rewriting of Memory
Listen to Wreck Travel Memory as you read
It all begins with some lit fuse, an old jingle for Palisades Amusement Park you’re still able to sing along with ["shows & dancing are free"], or the snap of a finger, the way she used to from the edge of the bed with a smirk, some glance of exposed warm skin holding the aroma of sun tan lotion, the sea lions in Central Park Zoo that remind you of Salinger – & reading Salinger on the 1979 F-Train & meeting Sylvina. I used to be a foot messenger & would pass through the zoo when it was rundown but free & I would talk to the animals between deliveries. [The old zoo serves as the final destination in BEER MYSTIC.] Or maybe its some vintage news report from the 1968 Chicago Riots, or an email from an old flame you came to NYC with from Ann Arbor who is wondering how you’re doing, or a sound – in my case, the sound bites here included, plus a few elusive bars from “Funk #49” by James Gang. Or is it Paloma taking photos of turtles in Central Park because she remembers my touching stories about my turtle “Spotty” when I was 10 & how the neighbors released him & I was heartbroken. “Was that what Spotty looked like?” she kept asking.
by Paulette Powell
Charlie couldn’t stop talking about the crows, “The crows, I’ve never seen anything like it before! I tell you, hundreds, weighing down the tree limbs… when it was over, all of a sudden, the whole flock flew away.”
He’d taken several snapshots of the family. On second inspection, I could see Charlie’s signature style, “photo victims” standing in obedience, as though his pic would be featured in the Telegraph magazine. It was always about presentation, even if it weren’t the truth. He was good at directing and folks would comply.
A family portrait. There was Uncle Peter, the poet, and sweet Aunt Elizabeth. Cousins, David and Emma, who once visited us in NYC, right after David’s great bump on the head that proved a miracle awakening. Brother Benedict, looking like a Hell’s Angel, his aura of defiance fighting his English attire. Alongside conservative sister in law, Liz, whose gray hair and glasses were neatly packaged in school teacher manner, revealed Benedict wasn’t really the black sheep to marry a practical spouse. The Parents, were located in the center. “Mum”, a tormented matriarch, who did her best to bare a heavy cross of a sick girl. Her face still revealed a handsome woman, a diplomat’s wife. And “Dad”, who seemed always distant, unattainable for family but faithful to Kate. His eyes revealed a deep sadness beneath a hard exterior, betrayed the knighted war hero. He wasn’t made of stone, but marble layers of duty kept him locked away, sentencing him to a numb existence.