Monday, April 14, 2008


"do the doables...." - Wangari Maathai, Kenyan ecologist, human rights advocate, 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner

behavior craving
scrapple of recombination
to the e  c  h  o of Big Bang
a good taste
e  x  p  a  n  d  i  n  g mouths of fellow citizens
for billions of years

molecules form the shape of hallelujah
extrapolating definitions from Aunt Anna's apple cobbler
her dinner invitation a countdown to merciless questions
from a master teacher prodding her apprentice

whose eyes appraise mastery?   bearing invisible gift of correlating guidance
whose words harbor tenderness?   blasting along oscillating Ring Shout

do the doables we are encouraged by the Kenyan ecologist who knows the truth of a tree

fingerprint the ephemeral
project the image of a kora onto the horizon
traffic in music feelings gave you back in the day
baby-sit a shimmer
coax vision from a voice
dehumanize our dehumanization
disarm overseers trying to teach us singing is a crime
pluck strings of shadows into wisdom
play bid whist with the ghost of my mother
Hula-hoop across the Golden Gate Bridge
chant names of the rivet slingers who fell into the churning ocean during construction
be on the lookout for inspiration
guarantee just enough structure to shoulder human virtuosity
tap silences between facts to embroider your tools

come on in   less shock and way more awe   way more motherfuckers mending
themselves & coalescing into stark raving sane
hinged & swinging without squeak of military cadence & self serving rationale of the
billionare welfare cheats foisting their private allegiances into mythology demanding
allegiances from their victims, their targets, their juries

Home Training a la mode
IRS refunds bid enough to re-pay my 83-year-old ex-babysitter
for anchoring my parents' hard-working lives
interview Miss Joyce about reallocating the federal budget
her lullaby   her ass whippings   her common wisdom   
her compassionate conservatism   the raw material for the universal solvent

sweetest topping will be memory of our work
that converted Guantanamo into a national park
where like @ Manzanar the placards on the exhibitions
run down geneology of the national beat-down & ugly reverb
where fearless exhibition cards translated into as many languages as needed
to raise eyebrows & knit hands across borders
where we forever reminded generation after generation

behavior craving
scrapple of recombination
to the e  c  h  o of Big Bang
a good taste
e  x  p  a  n  d  i  n  g mouths of fellow citizens
for billions of years

Peter J. Harris

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Johnson Chronicles Reading & New Poem

Mark your calendars! I'm happy to finally alert you that we've got a date for the next staged reading of Johnson Chronicles. MONDAY, JUNE 16, 2008 @ BOOTLEG THEATER in Los Angeles.  Working with the marvelous actor and good good brother Terrell Tilford (www.TilfordArtGroup.com). TT will anchor the cast. Soon come we will announce the cast and share more details.

meantime, a poem snuck through recently, or was patched through, since what i recently wrote felt deeply connected to a piece i'd been working on for what seemed like years, since i started it while sitting at an arts ed conference at NY's Guggenheim museum. the conference dovetailed with my on-going meditations about criteria...who decides what's valuable, what's to be published, what's part or not part of the canon.....the poem is called "Criteria" and includes the epigram "Do the doables," which i heard Wangari Maatha, the Kenyan ecologist and human rights advocate, 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner, say to Amy Goodman during an interview. sis was asked with all that faces humanity how do we stare down paralysis, and she said, to close out an interview on Goodman's Democracy Now, "do the doables...." remember how critical it is to do what you can, do what you can where you are, do the right thing at the crossroads, do-the-do as you stand at your threshold moments, challenged by all directions. this poem was also spiced by the sounds of Pharoah Sanders and Charles Lloyd, two masters of the saxophone, whose concerts i heard recently in LA. 

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