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Last update: 2013-03-25

No Disclaimer

2013-03-25 :: dbodinem@gmail.com (Don McIver)

I tried to find you yesterday in the way it’s done now: typing your name in front of a blinking cursor.But then realized there was no real reason you’d use the same last names you used back then:One--your biological father, absent,and the other-- a step-father,that I always thought was always gone as well.
Heather.I tried to remember yesterday; the last time I saw you.Vail-it must've been.You’d relocated on a promise--a promise of a steady job in a ski town with people you knew from home.
Heather.Yesterday, I tried to remember when we met,and how I liked you right away;It took me two weeks-- two weeks to find the spell.You'd  push back playingly, liked being teased and prodded .Behind a stainless counter, you’d smile then hand full drinks through a window to a car.
Heather.They gave me the key and never knew what happened.We were hungrysnuck in, reassembled the soda machine, turned the fryer on with just a match.Laminated counters, laughing  and talking until we got our fill.
Heather.Today, I'm not sure how it happened?Was it the back of my best friend’s truck under a blanket?Was it the abandoned suburban field you let me take you to after our first date?Was it the mountain park where we’d wondered wandered away to level ground out of sight?
Heather.Your apartment?Was the weather cold? Windy?  Your mother insisting, "Just come home."You could bring me too if that could make it easier.
Heather.Was I tired?Did I say I wasn’t going home?Your bed; I took my clothes off rather fast.You followed, whispered, "Sssssh.  Things will be okay."
Heather.On top.You stopped.Things never turn out the way they should…Should is such a....Sshhhh.
Heather.Today, I replayed our follow-up conversation:You walking across a parking lot,telling me everything turned out okay.I tried to tell you that I was almost certain that it would.Then you brought up that you felt forced, coerced,and me insisting, "It wasn’t rape."I didn’t hold you down, put myself on top?"
Heather.I knew so little about sex and how it made others feel.  Sorry seems so sorry.Sorry is such a...Ssssssh...


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Saying Good-bye to True Blood

2013-02-26 :: dbodinem@gmail.com (Don McIver)

Maybe we aren’t who the series is designed for? My wife and I turned off Alan Ball’s True Blood (Season 4, Episode 9) with a disappointed thud…as if our computer finally going to white noise that previously always announced, “This is an HBO show and they’re always good,” was suddenly saying, “Don’t get your hopes up.”

It wasn’t that we tried; we’d watched three full seasons (delayed by us not having cable nor subscribed to HBO-GO), but we just couldn’t do it anymore. Suddenly, I could see the machinery of the story telling. In True Blood (I know it’s based on a series of mystery books, and after perusing the web I know many of the elements are lifted straight from the book) the story telling became “Hey you like the characters so watch what happens when I put them in this situation,” and “Oh, aren’t they nice to look at too.” Though missing the sexuality of True Blood, it’s the same story telling that was employed through all 5 seasons of Battlestar Galactica (BSG), which, nevertheless, had many redeeming qualities.

For example, a couple of weeks ago, I thought I’d try watching BSG again. I got through the first 2 episodes okay, but found myself stifled re-watching episode 3. It was a physical reaction. Suddenly, I just didn’t want to invite all that stress into my life, and since I’d already seen it, there was no reason to watch it again. The show has elements that deliberately manipulate the viewer into being stressed out.

A lot of good storytelling does that. And science fiction (as well as mysteries) as a genre certainly want the readers to identify with the protagonist and have certain elements that make it a page turner. But if you already know the outcome, then there’s no reason to read/watch it again. That was my reaction with BSG and, also, now with True Blood. The stress, situations, and identification with the characters keep you watching when your body is staying stop it, turn it off, run for the exits. It literally creates an endorphin rush (normal stress response) and actually hooks you. Watching BSG, and True Blood, is basically addicting.

Though I under-appreciated it at the time, one of the elements that kept me interested in BSG was that quite often the show raised some contemporary, thorny issues. For example, when the crew finally tries to make a go of it on New Caprica only to be found by the Cylons, they have to become terrorists to survive. Coming when it did during our own political history, putting the main characters in the role of terrorists is a pretty brave piece of storytelling and makes it entirely worthwhile.

Similarly, True Blood, at first, seemed like it would raise some interesting points about race relations. It was pretty blatant that there was a sort “civil rights” slant to True Blood, and the fact that it took place largely in the south made the story lines initially compelling. But it also has the elements that seem to be a part of every HBO series: really pretty people getting naked (at least one shot of breasts in every episode). So suddenly, they’ve taken what could be an interesting story line, stripped out the allusions to racial history, added in a big dose of stress where every episode has to have some sort of cliffhanger to make people watch the next, mixed with sex and, presto, you have an HBO show.

Gone is Alan Ball deliberately tackling issues like he did in Six Feet Under replaced with nudity and suspense. Gone is any pretense that the show is going to bring up any lingering racism in the rural south replaced with some sort of “strategy” where vampires can achieve equality just by handling the politics. Gone is any pretense that we may all be more alike than different replaced with Vampires, Werewolves, Shape-shifters, Witches, Shamans, Fairies, and Skin-walkers. Have we got all the demographics covered? Good looking northern Europeans—check; sexy Native American shapeshifter—check; Hispanic homosexual—check; uneducated, drug addicted red necks and power hungry evangelicals—check; breasts—check.

When Alan Ball’s American Beauty was being raved about in 1999 I tried to like it. I did. But the suburbs that he painted didn’t look like the suburbs that I grew up in. And while Kevin Spacey and Chris Cooper are really good actors, I just couldn’t buy the whole set-up. And now, I feel like he’s dabbling with people again he just doesn’t get. At least the cosmopolitan, conflicted Angelino of Six Feet Under is somebody he probably knows? The rural south, meanwhile, is certainly inhabited by people he doesn’t interact with at all. It may make for interesting genre fiction, but serious television? True Blood has a veneer of seriousness, but after turning off episode 9 of season 4, I just didn’t care. It all just seemed designed to keep me watching and seemed to have lost any deeply compelling reason for why.

February 25, 2013


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The Day I Wore a Dress

2013-02-04 :: dbodinem@gmail.com (Don McIver)

(I almost want to start this poem by repeating the title,but merely typing the above, I know that, now, I don't have to).Language has a way of creating,so here I am...trying to tell you I worelight brown loafers,                red knee high socks,                                a brown rayon dress with white polka dots,                                                a simple, yet elegant necklace,                                                                a pair of light blue sun glasses,                                                                                and a scarf.Marilyn Monroe incognito.
(I'd like to begin to tell you about getting up on a stagedressed like this,but something else was happening).Point A from point Band I get there the only way I know how.Biking was just something that I did,                a way I interfaced with the world,                                so I climbed on board                                                and started pedaling.All the cars at the first block let me go...just another beard dressed up in dress.Nothing new to see hear,move along.I merged on Lead and took my bike lane down the hill,legs pumping like they do.A few other cars stared me down and I felt watched.A lot of cars on an early Sunday afternoon.I sat in the lane,                clearly marking my way,                                lights flashing,                                                legs pumping,                                                                wobbling to my left so I took up space                                                                                that clearly belonged to me,                                                                                                just like I usually doas the overpass reared up.I felt sandwiched between a concrete embankmentand a row of moving cars.
(I'd like to point out that I'm typing this right now,so don't worry about whether I make it or not.You can assume, because I am writing,that I created a way for me to not become another statistic,another "accident"in a city built for cars).But the dress wasn't helping much.I was trying to be seen,when a big part in this town                is trying not to be visible, but still trying to be seen.If I make it downtown without them even knowing I was there,I'm happy.
Being alone and isolated isn't a new feeling.Being vulnerable and in peril isn't something that someone invites uncritically.Yet, for a few minutes,the sensation was far from pleasantand I had a choice.When we try and teach tolerance,                we're trying to create a world                                where out of the ordinary is basically the way it is.A man can wear a dress;                a woman a rough cut of blue jeans;                                or even vice versa.But when I stepped outside, outside of what people expect to see,I felt more than shame,I felt alone, vulnerable, as if at any moment I could be the subject of someone else's poem,instead of the one creating it.


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The Territory

2013-01-28 :: dbodinem@gmail.com (Don McIver)

(for Robert Frost)
No bigger than a housecat,a small gray roadrunner has adopted our neighborhood.Almost any morning, I can spot him.Sometimes up the road a bit, turned towards the sun with his feathers spread apart, warming up,or just bouncing from our fence to our roof,then over the top and down to the other fencethat keeps our lot separate from our neighbor's.
I wonder if he recognizes me,knows how I know his colors:  the red and white stretched out from behind his eyes like mascarahow I recognize his stuttered step,his head ducked down so his beak is the first thing impacted on anything that doesn't get out of his way.
Strange how the cats don't seem to bother him,and I wonder what he eats,and whether I should spread some bird seed on the wall.
My neighbor and I exchange pleasantries and stay in our respective territories--a smaller part of his territory--a neighborhood in the middle of the city.


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Cracking the Code of Modern Manhood

2013-01-19 :: dbodinem@gmail.com (Don McIver)

Review of Carlos Andres Gomez' book Man Up: Cracking the Code of Modern Manhood

Enjoy! …


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A Space Odyssey

2013-01-19 :: dbodinem@gmail.com (Don McIver)

I had the pleasure of watching Stanley Kubrick's 2001:  A Space Odyssey again the last couple of nights.  Its definitely been a few years, but I was actually surprised that the movie didn't really seem all that dated.   I know its a pretty celebrated picture, and totally agree that it deserves all the accolades its gotten.  

There are particular sequences that are simply amazing.  For example, when David Bowman goes to disconnect HAL and the only sound is HAL's comments and David's breathing...the whole sequence is stunning, almost terrifying and sad:  "I'm scared Dave."

I particularly like that the director relished in the vagueness of not only HAL's malfunction but also what Dave experiences at the end.   Too often we try and tie everything up...and quite often release director's cuts that answer everything...I'm looking at you Donnie Darko.   Film is a collaborative art and while I think there are good reasons for directors to re-cut movies (see Blade Runner) sometimes its best to just leave it alone (I'm talking to you George Lucas).

So the next time you're staring at your iPad or smart phone, think about this movie.   There's some devices that look eerily prescient.



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Girl Wake

2013-01-19 :: dbodinem@gmail.com (Don McIver)

Blond hairpulled back in a pony tail,black sports brashort, tight black shorts with red trim,you ran by me on the other side of the road.
One guy working on a roof nearbystepped towards his buddy, tapped his shoulder and pointed towards youthen gave me the thumbs up.
A young man on a bikemade the Sign of the Cross watching you and riding.
Three men, on your side, dutifully partedthen craned their necks towards you.
A dog let out a lonesome howl;a cat froze in place in the middle of the street;a screech of brakes erupted;a finch fluttered overhead,and I smelled Honeysuckle.
Did you know you were a wave
and would leave so many men gesturing
and staring in your wake?

Did you think your wake would cause this
on your lunchtime jog?


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Bread and Circus

2013-01-19 :: dbodinem@gmail.com (Don McIver)

--For a friend's Facebook friends who suggested they take out a bounty to "kick me in the nuts"--

On April 10, 2005, Al Lucas died after being hit during a kick-off between the Los Angeles Avengers and New York Dragons .  I'll admit, I didn't know that before I started working on this, but it's a fact that while his mom was pregnant in 1978, I missed a block during my pre-youth group tackle football game, causing my youth group leader to sustain one too many hits, and I watched as his knee twisted and his tendon snapped.  My missed block; his broken tendon. My guilt; his walking with a limp for the rest of his life.

I'll admit that I pretty much stopped caring about football after watching the Denver Broncos get trounced 55-10 by the 49'ers. The payoff wasn't worth it.  I'd be angry for days and suffer the constant ribbing from people who "hated" the Broncos and watch as the real news cycle was buried under the constant barrage of speculation, conjecture, any minor bit of information that dictated that Denver was a Bronco town and football was news item number 1.  It didn't make sense to get this worked up over a game; and while watching a team be successful was fun, it, in hindsight, is basically bread and circus.  Don't get worked up over the war in Afghanistan; the Saints are in the Super Bowl. Don't get involved in stopping the Keystone Pipeline; Peyton Manning is now a Bronco. Don't bother watching the slow erosion of women's rights and liberties; Tim Tebow is now a Jet.  Don't worry about why your income has stayed relatively flat; the Saints had a bounty program.

Wait...what was that?  The Saints had a bounty program that rewarded players for injuring opposing team players?
When I apologized to my youth group leader, he was more than gracious and didn't blame me even though I was clearly instrumental in his injury.   He had to have surgery to repair the damage and hobbled around the church for months or watched from the sidelines as we threw our bodies with bandon.
But knees heal...sort of...or at least you recover some semblance of normality so that your life goes on.  Yet, in football, there is a 75 percent chance of getting a concussion, and once you've had one concussion, you're twice as likely to get another. Yet, the Saints had a bounty program to injure other players.

New England's Darryl Stingley was hit by Oakland's Jack Tatum, his spinal cord was broken between the 4th and 5th vertebrae and he spent the rest of his life in a wheel chair--19 years before he died at the age of 56.

So when you take a sport as brutal as football and put a bounty on players' heads to take them out, you really are playing with their lives. Yet maybe I'm not sympathetic to the plight of the Saints fans, and a year suspension for their head coach?  A year is not enough. …


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Required Reading

2013-01-19 :: dbodinem@gmail.com (Don McIver)

Required Reading
In a Time Magazine interview, Sherman Alexie mocks himself when he says, “Yeah, that’s exactly what I thought back in 1987: What’s going to make me really economically successful? Poems about Indian guys. I’m a capitalistic genius,” yet the joke is actually real. Alexie has had a lot of success writing about Indian guys. Taking stories from his earlier works, he’s added a few, shaken well, then published this collection: Blasphemy: New and Selected Stories, and I'd call it required reading.
Some of the characters draw on Alexie's own history: hydrocephalus, basketball, complicated father/son relationships, living on the reservation, and leaving it behind. Many of the characters appear in multiple stories; themes crop up again and again; and through it all you see his sense of humor, his struggles with alcoholism, and his willingness to tackle reservation life that mark this as clearly a book penned by a native, but also a great book (native or not).
Though clearly steeped in what it means to be a Spokane Indian in the Pacific Northwest, Alexie speaks to (and for) all of us. From a 2009 article in the NY Times, he states, “We all know the Indians were colonized by the Europeans, but every colonized Indian has been colonized by the Indian reaction to colonization.” While it failed for Native Americans a long time ago, we realize it's failing for all of us now. We’ve all been colonized; we’ve all been subjected to this experiment that boils us down to a demographic, commodity, market share, things that are quantified and sold. Yet, he's able to embrace pop culture, specifically using American Idol (from “Idolatry”) to preach, “In this world, we must love the liars or go unloved” that allows him to reach a broader audience.
His is the voice of one who admires tradition and heritage but is willing to look at it critically. These stories just feel right and reading them makes me revisit pasts and places I haven’t thought of in years. For example, I only have a passing memory of Spokane, the big city on the other side of the Idaho panhandle from my childhood home of Missoula, but I remember Indians. When I was younger, they were the gravestones scattered on the Little Big Horn Battlefield National Monument and the gray plaque marking where Chief Joseph and his band of Nez Perce Indians were caught just 22 miles down the road from my father’s birthplace. They were the very real fears of my great-grandfather’s childhood.
That fear was passed down, and it's Alexie, an unwitting diplomat from his tribe to mine, that made me revisit so much of my own perceptions, racism, privilege after reading this, and he’ll entice, use humor, make you look at what is hiding behind your mirror, and then laugh at you again. When the ending from “The Toughest Indian in the World” sneaks up on you, you’ll wonder why you haven’t read him before. Yet he’ll send you in all these different directions: moved, frustrated, angry, joyous, and, a lot of the time, just plain sad. I’m still shocked over how sad a single lone donkey on a moonlit hillside can be, how so many of us only realize how fragile our bodies actually are in some sudden random injury like a knee “exploding” on a basketball court, and how similar to Harlan Atwater’s “not being Indian enough” is to the experience of every white man I’ve ever met and their unease at being nothing more than “the man.” This is what good writing can do.
Blasphemy is a book of stories, so the commitment seems just right for this world where the only time we actually read is when our collective insomnia kicks in at 4 a.m. You’ll write down who you’re handing this tome too next…and remember because you’ll want to hoard and share it all at the same time. Required reading, like I said, and if that’s not enough praise to get you moving, I’m surprised you’ve even read this far.


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Keith Jarrett: The Koln Concert and What it says about Creativity

2013-01-19 :: dbodinem@gmail.com (Don McIver)

Life is about listening.   Sometimes what life is saying comes at you in in strange ways.  
On Friday, I was reading this story on Salon.com and it mentioned that few jazz musicians have the same clout as they once did.  Of the few who still draw considerable audiences, it mentioned Keith Jarrett.  

I don't know Keith Jarrett, but I've been trying to school myself on jazz for the better part of a year now.   Since I'm relatively new to this jazz thing, I want to make sure I'm really listening to what people think of as "great."   With that in mind, I bought a book:   The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings.   Under Keith Jarrett they mention the album,  The Koln Concert as his best album (part of any enthusiasts' "Core Collection").   So, when I saw the album while perusing Mecca Records in ABQ, I knew I had to buy it.   Life was talking.

The Koln Concert
(So, go ahead and click on the above link from YouTube.   You can listen to the whole recording while reading this.)

What did I know?   Keith Jarrett's Koln Concert is a recording of a concert he gave in January of 1975.   The playing was improvised, but he'd requested a specific piano (which the promoter (for a variety of reasons) didn't provide).   The instrument he was using was not a "concert" piano but a "practice" piano.  Needless to say, he wasn't really happy with the piano and almost canceled the whole performance (sometimes the show doesn't go on), but the promoter convinced him to continue.   He goes on and what follows is the most mind boggling, amazing piano playing I've ever heard.  He knew something was happening; the audience knew something was happening; and you, dear reader, will know something was happening if you just listen.

Just the circumstances around this concert bring up some really important questions and even suggest some answers.

Question:   Are we responsible for the art we create?
Answer:  The sub-standard instrument was not what Jarrett requested, yet he goes on to create his best selling album of all time, a concert that many people note as "transcendent" and "sublime."   Thus, only to a degree.  

Question:  What if he'd had the piano he requested?
Answer:  I postulate that we probably wouldn't be reading about this particular concert.  My theory is that it was him having to deal with a sub-standard instrument that forced him to play in some exciting and innovative ways that he wouldn't have done had everything gone his way.  

Question:  So great art is an "accident?"
Answer:  Yes, but only to a degree.  Keith Jarrett was known as a gifted piano player and talented improviser.  He didn't just wake up one day with those skills.  He practiced, played, practiced, and played some more.  That way when the moment was right, he was able to grab it.   Elizabeth Gilbert has a wonderful Ted Talk about creativity and genius here that touches on some of what I see happening in this recording. 

Likewise, Malcolm Gladwell in his book The Outliers:  the Story of Success has a chapter where he talks about the "10,000 hour rule."  In it, he talks about The Beatles' Hamburg days.   Shortly before they broke into the phenomenon we know of as The Beatles, they were a bar band in Hamburg.   There they played all the time, in front of live audiences, hour upon hour.   So, when they came to U.S. they knew how to capture their art and knew what to do with it.

Question:   What are you creating?
Answer:  We all need to write more.   When great poets talk about "writing everyday" they aren't necessarily saying that that is the only way to create great art.   What they are saying is that great art is elusive and if you don't have the skills (write everyday) you won't know what to do with it when it strikes.   And, maybe it strikes in some not so good situations.  

So, start writing.


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A Poem for December 1st

2012-12-04 :: dbodinem@gmail.com (Don McIver)

This morning,

I wanted to write a poem that celebrated you,

that lifted you up--

strong shouldered words.

Sky held up by long cottonwood branches,

but today is Rosa Parks' day.

This morning,

I wanted to write a poem that celebrated you,

that took your hand.

This is your creation, your dream.

You’ve created a world where we treat each other better,

Dream a world that no longer makes our desires yours.

But today, my sister cracked a case that brought a serial rapist into court,

He sat, alone, staring at a blank wall, shivering and afraid.

My sister: all five foot two inches and one fifteen clicks open her pen.

“So why did we find your DNA where we did?”

This morning,

I wanted to write a poem that celebrated you--

my grandmother, toddler father in her arms,

kicking at the collapsed coal vein uncovering my grandfather,

(back broken) and kept him awake while neighbors ran for help.

She’d tend to 3 kids while he recovered,

continue farming,

chopping wood,

keeping the snow from piling too high on their too small house during the coldest winter on record.

This morning,

I wanted to write a poem that celebrated you--

my wife at an open art studio never backing down.

Homeless artists, too often, have really bad days,

and get what they want out of fear,

and never meet anyone who isn’t afraid,

but then meet my wife.

There’s a power in her that is stronger than me, stronger than might

a way of getting what she wants without force or right,

a way of holding a space,

a way of welcoming everyone with a simple embrace.

There is a power greater than force greater than imposing one’s will.

greater than weapons and storming some hill.

There is a power we need to embrace:

Women should run the corporations,

negotiate the treaties,

police the streets,

write the legislation,

and rule the country.

All men know this to be true.

We saw our mothers do it every day.

This morning,

I wanted to write a poem that celebrated you,

that lifted you up--

strong shouldered words.

Long cottonwood branches held up the sky,

but today is your day,

today is your day,

today is your day.

November 17, 2012


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Conspiracy Literature

2012-07-12 :: dbodinem@gmail.com (Don McIver)

Saw a posting today about the 20 greatest Dystopian books, and thought we needed a treatment for Conspiracy Lit. as well.

You ask, "What is Conspiracy Lit?"

Conspiracy Lit. is any fictional book that poses that their is some sort of all knowing, super secret society pulling the strings.

Here's my list:

1.  Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49.  Wow! I love this book.   I've loaned this book out so many times, I can't even keep a copy on my shelf.   Opened the door to Pynchon for me--which is a pretty strange world as well.

2.  Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea's The Illuminatus Trilogy:  The Eye in the Pyramid, the Golden Apple, and the Pyramid.  Technically, 3 books but when I was turned on to this one it was in the trilogy format so I read it as 3 books.

3.  Robert Anton Wilson's Masks of the Illuminati.  Yes, I'm skipping the Schroedinger's Cat Trilogy.   It is a good book, but not really Conspiracy Lit.  This, though set in the time of Einstein and Joyce, they are uncovering a conspiracy.   A nice way to get you ready for The Illuminatus Trilogy.

4.  Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum.  I once had the accountant at a restaurant I worked at pronounce, "I know of a book that no body ever finishes," and then preceded to name this one.  Of course, I'd read it twice by then.  Great book!

5.  Thomas Pynchon's Inherent Vice.  Similar and inferior to The Crying of Lot 49, but told with Pynchon's characteristic wit and hipness.  He can write a readable book when he wants to.

6.  Jim Dodge's Stone Junction.   For years I've been waiting for Dodge to write another book and he hasn't.  It seems he prefers the life of a tenured professor over writing fiction.  Sad, this was great, fun read.

7.  Arturo's Perez-Reverte's The Club Dumas.  When I was younger, I was also fascinated by all things conspiracy, and stumbled upon Reverte.  This and The Flanders Panel were great.

8.  Tim Powers' The Anubis Gates.  This book remains my single best grocery store book buy ever.  I remember buying it randomly at King Soopers just because the cover looked interesting and ended up loving it, loaning it to friends (I don't even have a copy anymore) and reading every Powers book after that.  Great Time-Travel/Conspiracy Lit. from a great storyteller.  His later work is a bit formulaic, but this one rocked for sure.

I know there's some I'm missing, but I've got to get back to work.   Leave a comment here or on the FB post that links here.   I know I'm not listing Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code or Angels and Demons  because frankly both of those books suck!  Seriously...absolutely horrible books by someone who should've never gotten a publishing deal.


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Top 10 Jazz Albums

2012-07-09 :: dbodinem@gmail.com (Don McIver)

So, Mindy and I have been on a Jazz kick for the better part of 3 months now.  At first, it was just listening to what we knew and then it moved into just kinda cherry picking, but finally, it was just too overwhelming, so I broke down and bought The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings .  

So, after using the book and listening, I assigned a homework assignment.   What are your Top 10 Jazz Albums of all time (so far)?  As much as possible try and pick albums and avoid picking compilations or "best of" albums because they are more often than not just compilations of singles and not complete works of art on their own like a good album tries to be.

So here's my list:

1.  In a Special Way-Miles Davis.  There really is no words to describe how awesome this album is.   Though the critics define it as "Fusion," it really was "Fusion" before people knew what that was.  And while it was recorded ensemble (unlike a lot recording where the musician is recorded solo and the final track is built by adding the solo tracks together), the album is also sort of assembled by the producer (Teo Macero) as the two tracks are really 3 movements each.  Just put this one and sit back in a chair and let Miles take you, and he will.

2.  Highway Rider - Brad Mehldau.   This is actually a pretty recent release (2010), and its been on heavy rotation as I try and grapple with why I love this one so much.   First, Brad, Joshua Redman, and company are actually improvising with a whole string section (5 tracks) so it could also be labeled as Classical (except for that improvisation thing-that's pretty much makes it Jazz imo).   Second, "The Falcon Will Fly Again" and "We'll Cross the River Together" are mind-numbingly beautiful.  And third, "Sky Turning Grey [For Elliott Smith]" is a fitting tribute to the singer/songwriter.

3.  Somethin' Else - Cannonball Adderley.  Some could argue that this is much a Miles record as Cannonball Adderley's but you'll find it under his name.   Some really great Hard Bop here with every track being interesting and somewhat familiar.  Definitely worth a lot of listens.

4.  The Black Saint & The Sinner Lady - Charles Mingus.   Ah, Mingus!  Prior to my recent investigation, Charles Mingus was probably the only Jazz musician that I listened to regularly.  In fact, Mingus inspired my first Jazz poem, "Hobo Ho" published here and at The Malpais Review.  Strangely, however, this album was not one that I listened to at all prior to my recent foray into Jazz.  It is now.  Buy it; listen to it; love it.

5.  Sidewinder - Lee Morgan.   This truly is a great record, and while the title track is pretty darn infectious, the real stunner (imo) is "Hocus-Pocus."   It also helps that the story behind Lee Morgan's death is great (sad, but great).   There's a poem working there, but its still gestating.

6.  Kind of Blue - Miles Davis.  Yes, I know, there are 3 albums on this list that feature Miles Davis prominently.  I've come to grips with that.  I love Miles Davis.   There's a reason Kind of Blue is considered, by many, to be not only the best Jazz album in history, but possibly one of the best albums of all time.   If I was on a deserted island or on a space ship for an extended voyage this would be on my iPod and I'd burn a copy to give to an alien race that is trying to understand what it means to be human ("Here...read Hamlet and listen to this.").  

7.  Take Five - The Dave Brubeck Quartet.   When I put this one on, I was surprised by how many songs I recognized but never knew were from this album.  I'm pretty sure this was in heavy rotation in my house when I was growing up (Jazz is my father's musical genre of choice).   It really is a good album.

8.  A Love Supreme - John Coltrane.   Did Coltrane know he was going to die of cancer at 40 years old?  I think a part of him knew.  Look not only at the quantity of his output, but the quality as well.  The man was on to something...and now that's all we have.

9.  Blackbyrd - Donald Byrd.   This one is downright funky, just such a pleasure to listen to.  While Byrd acheived some mild success, he seemed to somehow avoid the pitfalls that so many musicians fall into.   The fact that he's gone on to be a teacher and the artist-in-residence at Delaware State College cannot be understated.

10.  Careless Love - Madeleine Peyroux.   Yes, she does a lot of covers (but that's a Jazz traditiion), and yes, she sounds a lot like a safer, more accessible Lady Day.   But, this is about albums, not songs.   And Billie's albums (not greatest hits) just don't hold up as well.

So there you have it my first stab at this.   I know they'll be additions and thus, by extension, subtractions, but these are the albums that are grabbing my ear right now. …


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A Weird Kind of Day

2012-05-23 :: dbodinem@gmail.com (Don McIver)

So, I'm not particularly superstitious, but this day has been kind of weird, and I'm not sure which way its gonna go.                 Lunch...some random dude drops a coupon off for a restaurant that's nearby that I've never heard of.  Close by...a restaurant, so I break for lunch and head there.   Not terribly big and in a location I would've never thought to look for a restaurant so I sit down and order a sandwich:  Hawaiian Ham on sour dough.   It comes out and I eat my cole slaw (not too sweet) and then start eating my sandwich:  lettuce, tomato, mayo, pineapple, but no ham.  Seriously, no ham.  I ordered a Hawaiian Ham sandwich and they forgot the ham.   So I call my waiter over, show him the sandwich and watch as he whisks my hamless ham sandwich off.   A few minutes later, he sets down another sandwich, with ham and a new side of cole slaw and says, "Chef says lunch is on us."                Hey free lunch.                Day goes as planned. I talk, answer e-mail, finish up some paperwork and head out to a surprise meeting at payroll as my department representative.  Over the last 3 years, all salaries at the college have been frozen.  But last year, if the budget situation improved, the college decided that it would grant a one time  disbursement to all employees (if they were still employed by such and such a date) and had started work before February 2012).  Yippee!  Free money.  I go to the meeting, listen to payroll explain how the process worked, why they're having to give paper checks instead of direct deposit, how they got it so that everyone received the same amount (if you were full-time you got $900...no matter whether you had a lot of dependents or none at all).  After about 45 minutes of glad handing, questions, etc. we each a get a big stack of checks to take back.                  Back at the office, we start going through the checks and the only one missing is mine.  Everyone in our department got a check but me.  No plausible explanation (no I'm not having my income garnished for delinquent child support; yes, I've been employed since 2002 and am still employed), but I don't have a check.   Ironic?  The one person who went to the meeting to pick up the checks doesn't have one.                   We make a few phone calls and discover that as we were speaking my check was winding its way to the Westside campus (where payroll still has me located  even though I haven't worked at the Westside for 2 years).   Weird.  I rest a bit easy, plan on not spending as much money at the grocery store, and relax.  The money's coming, but probably not till next week when they figure out I'm not there anymore and drop it in the mailbox.                Hey free money...sort of.                End of the day, I'm hungry and against my better judgment decide I'll give Wendy's a try.   I order and specifically substitute out my fries for a side order of macaroni and cheese.                   The front counter guy starts filling my order and puts a big order of fries on my tray.                  I say, "I subbed out the fries with mac and cheese."                  He nods and then says, "Don't worry.  You can have those too."                Hey free fries....but now I'm really confused.   This has been a weird kind of day. …


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Caja Del Rio

2012-05-01 :: dbodinem@gmail.com (Don McIver)


The wind picks up.   Encased in a tent, I'm attached to a kite about to take flight,and tonight I'm thankful for plastic.
The rain fly strains at the sown straps, tent stakes, and plastic snaps,and I, tucked inside, watch the walls bend and  buckle,then snap back in place.
Dry, I peek out the transparent screen knowing the low clouds reflecting the city lights of Santa Fe, make the plateau a dull gray as a smattering of raindrops fall.
In the morning, green grass, white cactus flower, Indian Paintbrush, brown volcanic rock, and two unknown peaks, bathed in morning light, frame us as we pack up.
The wind picks up.  On my bike, I'm attached to my bike pedals by shoes, and my legs push at the pedalsand today I'm thankful for muscle.

All the guidebooks suggested I might see horses,but we don't and find our way back to the roadand set out towards our car.  
How much personal space must a cow need?  Clearly timid and afraid, they run, never away or across the road and up,but together they run in the same direction that we travel
Separated from others by a barbed wire fence,two calves run away from us and along the fence with the otherson the other side.
They always run, and at times, the calf has to skirt too close as the fence line and road convergeand it panics, skips ahead even faster causing the others to full on sprint as well.
Finally, they somehow squeak through the fence and find themselves with the others.I can’t find a break in the fenceand wonder how they suddenly crossed?
What process did it go through to go through the fence? To decide that enough was enough?To suddenly find themselves with a fence behind instead of always in front?
Are there fences that I run along?Are there fences that move on without a breakthat I can just walk through?
For 10 years we ran along the fenceand never looked for a breakand now we see the family that may never be ours.
Science has its limits. No more clomid, the hysterosalpingogram was enough to say stop. 
In a room, with diagrams and machines,all the plumbing's in place and the data confirms what we know.Time is a calf running out.  Life is a series of fences. …


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La Palabra: the Word is Woman

2012-04-17 :: dbodinem@gmail.com (Don McIver)

Backstage, I stepped between Jive Poetic and a woman.Jive, a very tall, svelte black man, was upset and letting her know.She , being Texan, didn't take to kindly to a black man stepping up on her.But this is not a poem about race relations.
No, this is a poem ducks issues about race,
weaves around gender relations,
even blocks issues of regional pride and
jabs at my body
in constant flow.This body seems a little different every day,and as I watch the slow addition of gray hair crawl across my chest,I know I'm not the same person, mentally, emotionally, or physically as I was at eighteen.
So, it was with a huge degree of skepticismthat when my doctor suggested I try and get back to the weight I was when I graduated from high school,I queried, "Really?"He cited some statistic about how most people are fully developed at eighteenand their weight then is ideal.
My body has never been a statistic,and I wasn't one at eighteen.At eighteen, I was at the height I am now,but weighed about 40 pounds less.Yes, in the almost thirty years since I graduated,I've added 40 pounds, about one and a third pound a year.But most of that weight was added in my 30s,when my weight would rocket up during late fall and winter,then drop as spring turned into summer.
As my 40s approached, it no longer dropped,and my weight hovered at where it is right now.So in a sense, my weight, now, is not in constant flow,but the hair that covers my chest keeps crawling, such that I no longer have a cute line down the middle of my chest but a mat, a carpet,that seems to spread out like some slowly evolving inverted bowl and doily spider web,and hairs that would range from brown to red,now contain a smattering of gray as well.
I don't think I'm a big man,yet I often chide my lover when she cooks to double the recipe because the measurements don't seem to fill this beast of a machine for more than just a little bit.I find myself eating two meals to her one,and sneaking away to recharge.I'm not starving but have the appetite for more, always more.
So when Jive looked down on me, I thinkhe, in his anger, might've thought,If this guy really puts his weight into some blow,it's gonna hurt,and he stepped back,took a deep breathand used his words not his body.


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What's Your Story

2012-04-07 :: dbodinem@gmail.com (Don McIver)

I don't question where the muse goes,the unbridled, quick reflex that leads me to pick out books on a bookshelf,the random internet post that leads me to an article,a list of tracks I should be listening to,so when I stumbled upon your name on a list,I thought I'd give it a go.
The "Jezebel" of Jazz,you bucked trends by not singing in an evening dress,preferring skirt and band jacketto place you squarely in the band instead of in front of it.
The wikipedia entry saysthrough a botched tonsillectomyit left you without a uvulaThus you created a percussive, short note style because you couldn't hold long phrases or use vibrato.
So surprised that I'm not hearing"I'm going mad for a pad," filtering out through some weird internet commercial for Apple,but, hey, maybe they're not as hep as I think I am.Jump jiving Jezebel, you join Kenton, Goodman, Krupman, Herman,you loved pot,and moved on to harder stuffthat surprisingly didn't claim your life,but spent months in jailsand talked candidly about your usage, your struggles with "the life."
So Morning Glory, what's your story?


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Librotraficante or william carlos williams eat your heart out

2012-03-14 :: dbodinem@gmail.com (Don McIver)

I'm going.

Mindy was going to meet me there.  
We'd both love a ride.  
Mindy could meet us there and hopefully
               ride back with us.  
She'll have her bike.  
So if we can fit
             the bike in,
we'd love a ride back (just back for Mindy
and her bike
and me)
after just me). …


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Mnemosyne Forgets

2012-03-02 :: dbodinem@gmail.com (Don McIver)

The long bowed wood left marks on the hardwood floor,so we tried to keep the rocker on a rug.It didn't work and every house would have these streakswhere our rocking had stripped wax off.
Memory is a hesitant thing, a thing best left on shelves for rainy days.What troubles me is remembering, remembering August ninth-nineteen ninety five.A boundary day, a before and after day.
He wasn't just a guitar player missing the upper bird digits of his wing-ed finger.He wasn't just a singer, who often strayed off key.I struggle to write what he was, and still is, some 16 years later as I remember remembering.
That day was long neglected friendship calling just to see how I was holding up,sorting through dated and venued bootlegs, listening to over-mixed studio CDs,holding my two black dogs and rocking and crying, and rocking and crying.
Once a year we made a trip, made arrangements for inside.Locking knowing eyes with others--he forgot a verse or teased the next song with a chord.The whirling line of solo dancers in the breezeway--patched long skirts drawing breath, the lights synced with every song,the grilled cheese, sugar cubes and cheap beers the after-concert parking lot.
Seeing the Dead live made me feel like I belonged, like these freaks had some sort place for me.When Jerry Garcia died in rehab,I remember a part of me dying too.


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The Host Summit

2012-02-05 :: dbodinem@gmail.com (Don McIver)

Week 1:
Sunday-Chatter (Every Sunday)                 Feature                                   Don McIver

Spoken Word Hour (Every Sunday)           Feature (Radio Show)          Ijah Umi

East of Edith (Every Monday)                    Open Mike + Feature             Collective

Hakim Be & Friends (1st Tuesdays)           Feature                                   Hakim Bellamy

Poetry & Beer (1st Wed.)                            Open Mike +                          Don McIver & Eric Bodwell

Week 2:
Sunday-Chatter (Every Sunday)                 Feature                                   Don McIver

Spoken Word Hour (Every Sunday)           Feature (Radio Show)            Ijah Umi

East of Edith (Every Monday)                    Open Mike + Feature             Collective
Adobe Walls Open Mike (2nd Tuesdays)      Open Mike & Feature         Ken Gurney

MAS Poetry (2nd Wed.)                                     en Mike & Slam +                  Kenn Rodriguez

Smokin' Slam (2nd Thursday)                          Feature & Slam                          Katrina Guarascio

Week 3:
Sunday-Chatter (Every Sunday)                 Feature                                   Don McIver

Spoken Word Hour (Every Sunday)           Feature (Radio Show)          Ijah Umi

East of Edith (Every Monday)                    Open Mike + Feature             Collective
Fixed & Free (3rd Thursday)                       Open Mike & Feature          Billy Brown

Week 4:
Sunday-Chatter (Every Sunday)                 Feature                                   Don McIver

Spoken Word Hour (Every Sunday)           Feature (Radio Show)          Ijah Umi

East of Edith (Every Monday)                    Open Mike + Feature             Collective
Merimee's Poetry Salon (4th Thursdays)       Open Mike                      Merimee Moffitt

Speak, Poet:   Voz, Palabra y Sonido (4th Thursdays)  Open Mike & Feature    Andrea Serrano

Final Fridays (Final Friday)                         Open Mike, Slam +           Jazz Cuffee & Khalid Binsunni

Regular, but not fixed:

Jule's Poetry Playhouse                                                                            Jules Nyquist

Peace Center's Peaceluck Gathering                                                         Zachary Kluckman
Works in Progress                                                                                     UNM

Variety Shows:

Vagrant Variety
Reptilian Lounge
Encyclopedia Show
Tourette's W/O Regrets


Grand Slam
Youth Slam-Off


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Ode to the Stove

2012-01-14 :: dbodinem@gmail.com (Don McIver)

Now I suspect (though I have no method to confirm)that the reason Henry David Thoreauwrote so little during those two years outside of Concord, hanging out at Walden Pond,was that he was chopping wood, and starting fires, and tending fires,and just basically busy with the business of staying warm.
When you are worried about staying warm,writing just doesn't seem to be all that important.Writing is pretty sedate, just you and your own thoughts running out your fingers.But I admit that when I embarked upon moving the wood pileso that it was closer to the house and splitting axe and splitting log,the moving seemed more important too.But the words were already coming, spilling out,running down my muscles into these two hands.
Thank God I learned to type cause the words come so much faster nowmaking it hard for me to keep up.And I admit I had to hold that first stanza in my head for a bit as I moved that 1/2 cord from one part of my yard to another.But I did it(stubborn I suppose),and now I'm lookingat the fire and how much it draws my eye.
At two in the morning, +I wasn't thinking about the poem I planned on writing today.No, I was trying to get the fire started again,so my house will stay somewhat warmwithout my paying tribute to the Gas Company.
Now I admit, I admire Thoreau,and wished he'd managed to stay out there for more than just two years.Just two years of chopping wood, drinking water, burning oil for light,and thinking about being disobedient.In my own way, I'm being disobedient too,but only as much as my fire will allow. …


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The 4 Stooges

2012-01-03 :: dbodinem@gmail.com (Don McIver)

Greetings.My name is Jean Phillipe Gillespie Nate the III.And while I am one of three:my grandfather from a land so far awayand my father who looked a lot like me let me endeavor to showcase to you my ruminations, extrapolations, expostulations, affirmations, enunciations, and articulationson why it was 4 wise men who set out to see what was hanging out under that big ol' star."O' beautiful star of Bethlehem"
Cause you see my gift neither glittered like gold,or fragrated like frankincense,or was as malodorous as myrrh.My gift was fresh spring water,that rolled down Mt. Araratover gold flecked granite and watered the Burseracae Tree but dried up before reaching Commiphora Myrrah.My water is what made all this possible,and I was giving it to you.
And during the walk, I lost track of what was yours and mine, and drank yours.   So I had to go back...and they kept on.This old wise fool is always late.   And I might've had some questions I was going to ask had I made it to the church
on time,
Cause, you see, I'm the inquisitive sortand don't see myself getting fingers jammed in eyes, hit below the beltor  my nose tweaked because I'm .Jean Phillipe Gillespie Nate the III and when Larry, Curly and Moe reached you first,they gave their gifts and didn't really understand that the greatest gift is life itself,and I'd want to know exactly what you were thinking.
This shit, this life, is crazy....For all we know we're here all by ourselves and there is no one in charge,minding the store,behind the steering wheel.This thing called life is some sick sort of runaway mule heading for that cliff.
No...if you'll forgive me for my protestations but emancipation ain't all its cracked up to be.   Why Larry, Curly, and Moe just want to keep everyone laughing,  I want them laughing too but I want them laughing because they know.This shit, this life, is crazy....and its scary and its a bit jacked upBut the alternative?   The alternative to life is....The alternative to life is....
So, if you'll forgive me, I really, really, want to know what exactly were you thinking?Were you bored?Or perhaps, you don't have any answers either...now chew on that one for a bit.


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Breaking the 4th Wall

2011-12-25 :: dbodinem@gmail.com (Don McIver)

I'd been promising myself I'd write a poem every day during my too short two week vacation.  Most years I'm in Colorado dealing with my mom's inability to do anything quietly or the franticness that my sister approaches buying presents for her husband's side of the family.   But, this year, I'm home and really wanting to spend my time writing.  Usually that involves poetry, but this year, the essay seemed to tickle my muse and I've found myself drawn to the form again and again.    So, here I am, Christmas morning and I'm thinking and wanting to get my thoughts down on paper because I don't really know what I'm thinking until I put it down on paper (virtual paper). The pattern this year seems to be to really break down how art works (or at least how I see art working),  so after finding myself talking about my set at the Green Mill and my next morning conversation with Marc I thought I'd get it down and relate it to Louis CK's show at the Beacon Theater.                When I began thinking about my set for Chicago, I knew I wanted to do work that I connected with.   I also knew that the deadline of the show would force me to memorize work so I included pieces that were haphazardly memorized and pieces that needed to be memorized (for a longer monolog that I want to perform next summer).   Here was the list (with notes that I'll talk about):Setlist for Chicago:(change to Chi-town references-casual intro) Answer me that Jack(first poetry reading and about Chicago) When the Revolution ReallyDeja VuDear TomUnderwater
So...what I've really been interested in is when a performance start and what constitutes performance in a poetry reading.   Now I'm not particularly fond of the "traditional" way poetry sets are arranged.   Most of the time, an experienced reader/performer will have some sort of anecdote/comment and then say something like "This poem is called...." or "My next poem..."   It seems to me to be this is a rather clunky way of letting the audience know when they should focus and when they shouldn't.  I, however, wanted a way to hold the audience for longer chunks of time, to string poems together.   I wanted to take the audience on a longer journey (20 minutes) not just 2-3 minutes, then a short breather, then 2-3 minutes, etc.   So in picking the first poem, I decided I wanted to make the poem conversational, so that the audience wouldn't  know that the reading had started and I'd have to sort of coax them into paying attention instead of metaphorically announcing, "Pay Attention."  So what I did was take the below poem, "Answer Me That," and change the references so it seemed as if it just happened.  Here's the original: I’m sitting in a coffee shop on Central and I’m a little shocked by what I just saw on the walk over.   A white truck with a black dog in the bed pulled out in front of this green Saturn and was struck by it and spun around ninety degrees.  The dog became a cart wheeling bundle of black fur and twisted and turned in the air for a good twenty feet.   None of the people were harmed, and the cars – good old disposable cars – who cares.  But the dog – he trotted back to the truck and jumped into the bed like nothing happened.
Now I can’t get the image out of my head, this black mass flipping and twisting in the air and I’m almost glad I didn’t see him hit the pavement, and I couldn’t stop and say I was a witness and give my name and address because I kept seeing this bundle of black fur that I didn’t even realize was a dog at first flying through the air in a mass of legs and paws and I’m supposed to write about Kerouac.  I’m supposed to write about the disjointed style and verbal barrage of The Subterraneans when all I see is the black fur flipping and twisting and that image is juxtaposed against an image of my own black dog running out into the street and hitting a car and running back inside and dying on my living room floor.  And I’m supposed to write about Kerouac when I can’t help but shake and freak out. 
Take this image from my mind Jack.   Take it with you on the road and you and Cassidy can mull it over and talk about how grand it is as you plow through the eternal present of 40’s America.  And I wonder if you could write fast enough Jack.  I wonder if the very act of writing is counter to Zen because you have to absorb the world then spit it back out.  Then why write?   Why write Jack?  Answer me that.
Basically my tone was conversational and I changed one reference "Central" to "Broadway," because the Green Mill is on Broadway.   From my perspective, the audience was actually sucked in and it worked.  My anecdotes were simple and short between poems:  going to hear Peter Michaelson as my first poetry reading before a cover of his poem (which is basically set in downtown Chicago), talking a little about part of the reason I was in Chicago (which actually was my nephew's Bar Mitzvah), noting that I still don't have "Deja Vu" memorized, and talking about me and Mindy's sort of "Panel Discussion"/reception with her family to announce our marriage (which was the preface to a love poem that I added to the set right before I went up there).   And it worked.   The crowd listened, laughed, and I got many compliments after the show.                So, in talking to Marc the next morning, I asked him what he thought of my set--(Seriously.  You're sitting in Marc Smith's apartment and have a chance to get feedback why wouldn't you ask for it?).  He was generally complimentary but actually surprised me because he felt that I "betrayed" the audience with my first poem by starting it that way.   Betrayed?                   Wow!  I didn't feel that.  My experience was that the audience was with me the whole time.   Marc felt that I lost them but regained them because the rest of my set was authentically me.   Interesting.  So what I'm left with is this:  do poetry audiences have expectations of the performer?   Obviously, a stand-up audience expects to laugh and the lights will dim when the comic comes out on stage (but they also know to pay attention when the comic comes on-more on this in a bit).   And an audience in a movie theater knows the movie is going to start because the lights basically go to black (even beyond the dimming during the previews).    But many poetry shows don't have visual cues, the light don't dim, etc. so the poet has to provide the "roadsigns" so that the audience is in on the act.                     When I started my set the way I did, I actually kept the audience out of the act.    They didn't know that my first poem had actually started, but that was what I was trying to do.   So the question really is, "Did it work?" and taking Marc's criticism to heart, I don't think that it did.   He pointed out that for it to "work" I'd have to let the poem be more than it was....it really is a pretty simple poem.  But, I think there's another way to do it and that would be to really change the poem so that there are no markers to it being a poem at all.                Ironically, Louis CK's new special (downloaded off his website) starts with Louis walking to the Beacon Theater (through the streets of Manhattan-deliberately similar to his intro from FX show) and then into the crowd mulling around the entrance, people handing over their tickets, taking their seats, etc.   Finally as the crowd settles in the camera follows Louis onto the stage and him explaining he's going to do all the necessary announcements (turn off your cells, etc).    And then he's off.   The lights are dimmed (but Louis's already on the stage and initiates it) but there really is no marker that the show has started.   And it works.   I think part of the reason it works is that Louis's whole act is sort of "conversational."  But can it work with a poetry set?


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Bond. James Bond

2011-12-23 :: dbodinem@gmail.com (Don McIver)

Bond.  James Bond.
I've been on a bit of a Bond binge,dabbling round the series,taking stock,wondering why the series kept me engagedfor all these years.Now, I'm not one who'd argue that it was some sort of pinnacle cinema,yet, there is something comforting,something suburbanabout seeing them all again.
Back before the VCR, I'd watch them when they aired on ABC,and in high school...I'd make sure I saw them when they came out,and now I'm revisiting them againand strangely intrigued once again.What is it about nostalgia?about the romanticized life that my adulthood has never resembled? …


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2011-12-22 :: dbodinem@gmail.com (Don McIver)

I'm not one to advocate,nor am I much into prescriptive rules,and really love language and words,but a thought occurred to me todayand I want to tease it out.Let's just eliminate the word "disposable"in the hope that the concept will be rethought.Cause you see nothing is really disposable.Disposable plates, napkins, forks, etc. get put in some landfillwhere at best they're somehow recycled.Even plastic, given time, will break down into something,so its not really disposable.Perhaps relocated.
Now, this poem would take a possible leftist bent if I pointed out that we really treat people as disposable:  forced labor being discarded, but at their best their bodies are recycledif the sentience just sort of disappears.
So, planning a picnic, party, or social get together?Why not just use cleanable dishes as opposed to dishes to just pass on to otherswhether that be now or 50,000 years.


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August 9, 1995

2011-12-21 :: dbodinem@gmail.com (Don McIver)

August 9, 1995
I'm not exactly sure what I was doing, but I know I wasn't happy.My first long term relationship was winding down and I was restless,unsure of the promise that it once held,and ignoring plaintive appeals from my muse to write more,get involved in something larger than myselfand lonely.
There were moments that held a clarity for me,that shifted me off whatever path I'd been on,and hearing the chorus to "Fire on the Mountain" from outside the amphitheater in Kansassparked some weird cognizance in my LSD addled brain and I had to get back in.The security guard did not agree.After getting pummeled we came to some measure of understandingand I passed the rest of that concert --July 4th, 1991--on my own.
This was a turning point for me Jerry,and however clichè it may sound I became a "Deadhead," a hippy,jumping into some other way of being that I still struggle to define.What I was melted away as my consciousness slowly returned in Bonner Springs.Being in Boulder didn't matter and we relocated to Albuquerque a year later,made one last trip to see the Dead in Coloradoand just got on with our life.
And then you died.I remember hearing the news in the morning from some friend calling me from Coloradoas we roasted in a small duplex in the War Zone.The prime spot for listening was somewhere between the floor and the rocking chairin the middle of the room and I hung out with the dogs on the floorsorting through my small collection of bootlegs,and a few studio CDs that just didn't quite capture what I'd experienced.As day rolled into night, I moved up into the wooden wicker rockerand just let the music wash over me,and cried.We'd already decided we were going to make another show,no matter how far away,and I was so terribly sad.
I like to think you'd approve of how my life has unfolded.I write, perform, think about my impact and how I treat the ones I care about.I'm just some fan, Jerry, some random guy from Colorado,who just wanted to understand what all the fuss was aboutand just couldn't possibly understand why so many people that I respectedwere drawn to your admittedly bad voice, unpolished compositions,and a catalog that seemed to meander across genres,never quite fitting in any of them easily.
I still don't get it, but I miss you.Miss what you said to me, though I'm not exactly sure what that is. …


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Spoken Word: Literary Fad, Literary Movement, Genre, or Art Form?

2011-02-06 :: dbodinem@gmail.com (Don McIver)

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Confessions of a Human Nerve Ending

Don McIver is an award winning slam poet, radio host, event producer, author, editor, teacher and performer.

Confessions of  a Human Nerve Ending

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