Buddy Cushman Art

engaging stories of hope and joy


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10,000 Revisions

Open Mike 2

I pray today is a day of no wasted time. Exactly none. I’ve been successful so far though it is only five minutes past seven in the morning. In the morning recliner I was reading the poems — a few — of Pablo Neruda from a library book of his complete works. Mostly I was reading from the lengthy introduction. From there, on the second cup of coffee, I moved on to breakfast recipes in the Tassajara Recipe book, which arrived earlier in the week via Ebay and set me back only four dollars and some cents including shipping. I took a little time to ponder over five photos of myself the resident Papaccino’s coffee shop photographer slipped me in an envelope from a local print shop as I made my way back to my seat from the microphone in the corner of the room. Two months ago I could not have imagined reading anything — a recipe, a prayer, some passage from one of Dr. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing books, anything — in front of people, having developed (I remember distinctly) a variety of panic disorder reading in front of a group of men in a brightly lit basement room in a church on Medford Ave in Somerville, MA — all with hyper-ventilations and heart interruptions and fear of not catching a new breath — ever again — meaning I have refused to read in public for more than ten years.

This morning
Gray with misunderstandings
And surrenders
Distractions of the highest order,
Golden,
Enticing in their ambiance
Welcome turnaways from
That hungry child
In the public school door.
She’s invisible.

But this was my fourth appearance up at the open mike, after one initial week of panic and refusal, and some neighborhood guy was handing me pictures of me. By the way, I look old though I can happily and honestly report I feel within my mind and spirit and soul quite the opposite, even in a world of aching knees and prescribed cholesterol medication.

Last night I read two poems from Minor Revelations and one from my second book of poetry — Dictation from the Backyard. I finished, placing my hands on the provided metal reading stand to keep the shaking less visible, with a poem I’d written only yesterday morning, I felt compelled to read it even if it didn’t feel in it’s final state — kind of like how I feel about myself….not my final state, not yet. Still, the poem is titled 10,000 Revisions, which could or could not be some metaphor for my own transformations.

Someone yelled out, after my first poem, “Did you write that?” Someone else approached me when the open mike thing was over and said he wanted to buy a copy of my book. I said I’d bring one next week. Meaning I can’t be wasting any time…..anytime.

I’ve followed you to the carnival,
Followed into the funhouse,
All it’s laughable distortions.
But see,
Here,
I hold a mirror
True in its reflection
Taken from atop the girl’s
Second-hand dresser,
A birthday gift some year back
I’ve watched her hold it
In one hand
Brush her hair with the other, and
Now I’ve borrowed it
As if it is a breaker
To be snapped closed
And cut through
The tripped darkness,
Which is intentional
And obligates me
To flip the switch.
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From This Morning’s Morning Pages

 

April Flowers pic

It’s great when I can look around and see lots of evidences of my creations, on days when I feel (relatively) creation-less. At least so far, though it’s only 7:30 in the morning and the sun has barely provided enough light to watch like yesterday and tomorrow the falling rain. This evidence of something inside me bursting to come out, even as if in a drizzle, when we talk about legacies — for the kids, for the grand-kids, for the planet, for the wife or the daddy.

So it’s good, here a book of poetry lost in a pile of greater poets, there on the wall set off by a golden brown solid wood frame a so much abstract notion of what April looks like — to me, on that day. Isn’t April the most poetic month, and haven’t I made my best effort to this date to honor her — oh sacred April — with my colors and my words?

I snap pictures on my walk
Where science holds hands with nature
In recollection, digital, colorized
My eyes look up and out
Osprey lording over green river and
Blue pond cattails lean left in morning breeze,
Hold sparrows on their fluffy perch
I drop to my knees
(In my heart)
In thanks — once again — for this. All this.

 

Yes, evidences that there is more inside me than nothing — always good to know — more, even, than lots. Whitmanesque. I am large. Little me with my little life has much to offer. Which, of course, leads to and begs the question — Whose doesn’t?

If I can get sober anyone can get sober, I’ve heard that said from time to time over the years of abstinence and re-generation. And that may or may not have anything to do with creativity — I think I doubt it — just another thing to possibly think about.

Here it is a Monday ( and I bet there are more Monday songs than Friday songs) and so far today I feel, so far, a little vacant and possibly direction-less, other than the imperative to lower the cholesterol and get down on the floor and stretch these old bones, among anything else in need of stretch, and already today — and it’s only 7:47 — I’ve read Walt Whitman and Langston Hughes and Sylvia Plath and William Carlos Williams and Mary Oliver and I can honestly report it hasn’t been to compare, but rather to seek brave new worlds. These early morning worlds always waiting. And like Ringo Starr sang, “All I’ve got to do is act naturally.”

So good thing there ain’t no white chalk outline around me yet. Amen to that.

Someone has written a poem.
When I read it
Will I twirl?
Will I then write my own?
Will I catch the sun from the corner
Of one eye, the moon
From the other?
Will my past line up behind me?
In devotion to
The one me now?