Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Back to Jack, A Poem, Drawing Challenge Blog

We're so busy around these parts lately, I've hardly been able to make time for this enterprise. Our annual Jack Kerouac memorial reading is coming up, on October 21, so we're full steam ahead on rehearsals, locking down the script, getting a venue lined up, and chasing down performers. Back to Jack is a literary tradition in Toledo, going back to 1984. The original 'Jacks', five poets and musicians who performed and caroused together, took Back to Jack to Lowell, MA, and Ontario, I believe, and even performed in front of Allen Ginsberg and Neal Cassady's widow. They also performed all over town, in bars, sandwich shops, and the Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Toledo.

Back to Jack went on hiatus in the mid-nineties, but I got the script from Nick Muska, gentleman poet and founder of Back to Jack, and with his blessing, and the blessings of the other 'Jacks', started performing the show again with a semi-regular cast of new 'Jacks', including John Swaile, Caroline Gauger, Matt Sradeja, Ryan Warner, Adrian Lime, Jonie McItire, Andrew Field, Ashely Eichner, and Jake Hammond. We've been blessed with the cooperation of many fine business owners in Toledo, including the Davids at The Original Sub-Shop (where Back to Jack has been performed several times, and where we debuted our first effort), Mickey Finn's Pub, and The Attic on Adams, who have let us use their space for performances. The poets and literature lovers have also been really generous, coming out in good numbers to support us and get carried away by the big spirit of Jack Kerouac, as he lives in the words he wrote and we try hard to bring to life. Here's a photo of last year's performance:

Pictured from Left to Right: Adrian Lime, Ashley Eichner, Andrew Field, yours truly, Jonie McIntire, and Caroline Gauger. Not Pictured: Jake Hammond. So I'll post one of him solo, here:

What else, what else? I'm not making a bit of progress on my novel, but I have started reading Reading Lolita in Tehran. I have a lot to say about that book. I'm drafting a blog entry as I read. I can't believe I've never read Nabokov. My primary encounter with Nabokov comes from a poem by William Matthews called Nabokov's Blues. If you've read Reading Lolita in Tehran, you know why I'm mentioning Nabokov. If you haven't read it, then do so soon. It's especially relevant considering the Iranian president will be speaking at the U.N.'s General Assembly this weekend. 

I also started a weekly drawing challenge blog with my friend Mike Noss. You can find that here: 

And last but not least, here's a poem for your pleasure: 

Alive Now

Every day I wish
to step into the wind
and let it carry me
until I land somewhere
so far from here;
our planet
is still so full of wonders--
the smallest songbird
nest woven in a roadside
dogwood is a cup
full of life,
and the biggest animal
that ever lived is not
an extinct dinosaur
but the blue whale,
alive now, at the same
time as you and I.
Why shouldn’t I leap
into the world and
interact with the wild things
abounding? Who knows
what I’ll find in the
wind, water, or leaf litter?
Maybe God
is found down here,
in the created world,
and not in the world to come,
the world that
may never be.
Let me return to the
poetry of creatures, to being
an animal in spirit,
and pray let that ancient nature
entice the shy catbird
into my hand, and with its
multitudinous voices
give me all the words
I need to speak to God
in whatever far-flung lands
the wind carries me to.

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