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judy smith Dec 2015
Weddings begin with the venue. “A venue holds everything,” says Kristin King, who is opening a new event facility, The Sloane, in Nashville’s Gulch area in 2016.

“It’s the vibe, the feeling. It’s the house for the event,’’ she adds. “It gives the whole feeling of what you’re trying to convey. Where you have an event, is to me, one of the most important things. You can dress it up however you want to, but it sends the message of what you want your guests to know about you as a couple.”

King, who has been in the bridal business for about a decade, says she envisions creating the ultimate event venue in the historic 1101 Grundy Street building. When complete, the 6,000-square-foot facility will house an office/bridal suite, glass tower showcasing the Nashville skyline, catering kitchen and double-sided elevator for vendors.

“A venue really dictates how many people they’re going to have at their wedding,” says Randi Lesnick of Nashville’s Randi Events. “If somebody picks a venue that’s great for 150 people, and they want to have 350, well that venue’s out.

“Pick the venue first, and then you can always worry about everything else.”

Book far in advance

With hearts set on the venue, plan for a date at least a year, but no less than six or nine months out from the desired date, before securing the location.

“It’s grown so fast, and I don’t think anybody knows how to deal with it,” Lesnick explains of the competition for wedding venues in Tennessee, particularly in Nashville and Gatlinburg.

“For 2016 we have almost every Saturday booked already. So if someone wants a specific date, we do recommend that they book at least a year out.”

Booking well in advance can have other benefits, says Lindsay Barrows of Custom Love Gifts and Events in Knoxville, who is also part of the Smoky Mountain Wedding Professionals Association.

“I worked with a bride who ended up saving a lot of money on her venue and some of her vendors because she booked so far in advance that when they changed their prices the following year when her wedding actually was – she had already locked in prices from the previous year,” Barrows adds.

Lesnick notes a venue could run anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000, and the overall wedding could run $30,000 to $100,000. And, if it is an outdoor wedding there should always be a backup.

“Brides have a lot of dreams,” says Sarah Anne Miller, director of weddings at Randi’s. “They look at more of the décor and the prettiness of the wedding and not really the logistical part of it. They want an outdoor wedding for 200 people in September, you’ve got to think about weather.”

Five weeks after the Omni opened in 2013, it hosted its first wedding. It had about 20 last year and seven already on the books, and there are even three scheduled for 2017.

“The typical wedding is still booking about a year out,” says Shirley Langguth, assistant director of catering at Omni Hotels. The Omni has multiple wedding ceremony locations picked out onsite, and also hosts numerous day-after wedding brunches.

More details

Once the venue is nailed down, couples can move on to every other detail that needs addressing, from flowers and dress to catering and cake.

“I want to meet with somebody as soon as they know what their venue is because there are only so many in a weekend that we can deliver and create,” says Juanita Lane, owner of Dulce Desserts in Edgehill Village, about her torte-layered wedding cakes. “Once they’ve secured the venue, then I would suggest it’s time to start looking at your vendors.”

Lane hosts two tastings at Dulce, the first one just to see if the couple even likes them. The second is when they bring out the numerous cakes, curds and frostings to create the ultimate custom confection.

Couples can now get that full-on tasting experience at Dulce Dessert’s brand new cake tasting bar.

“People can basically come in and do slices of cake and enjoy the Dulce experience,” Lane adds. “The thing that used to be reserved for brides or people having large events, the general population can do now at their leisure.”

read more:www.marieaustralia.com/evening-dresses

www.marieaustralia.com/long-formal-dresses
Patrick Austin Oct 2018
My backpack ready for anything, I left for a voyage across the pond. As fellow passengers climb aboard I met a 27 year old traveling musician named Russ carrying his cajòn. He told me of his travels from Massachusetts and pending divorce. We related on this and exchanged CD's. Behind us sitting on the Ferry were two young girls working on a puzzle. Russ imposed himself and tried to impress them with his musical endeavors. These girls were in America from Germany attending college. One was 17 and the other was 18 but I am sure they knew better than to play into his hand. After talk of language and culture we disembarked. Russ invited me to his show that night but I had plans to meet a girl at a board game pub. I walked to the bus stop while smoking my pipe and caught the number 40 from downtown to a trendy neighborhood up north.

After I stepped off I found myself amongst the overgrown players of games and drinkers of fine beer. Brittany arrived and we chatted over IPA's. I explained my recent challenges to get the topic of divorce out of the way before we left for Mexican food. She was very open in saying I should play the field and not have a serious relationship. I agreed with her take but could not read her as well as I had hoped. She said I need to get the rebounding out of the way and explained that she too is struggling with commitment. Being 34 with no marriage or children under her belt she feels that therapy is essential to figuring this out.

We walked to our happy hour destination and shared Nacho's while drinking "Colorado Kool-Aid". Both of us having spent a lot of time in Denver we could relate on much but I felt there was an elephant in the room. Afterwards we walked to a nearby record store and browsed while talking about music and interests. She needed to leave soon having obligations to housesit and watch pets. Dog walking is her profession since her departure from the world of corporate accounting. We walked to her unkempt sedan and she gave me a ride back downtown. We talked of hanging out again but our schedule may not permit for some time. I wonder if she will entertain my company without reservation, only time will tell.

I decided to phone my old friend from Denver who lives near and devise another plan for the evening. The sun was still shining and I had no reason to return home yet. I walked to a nearby brew pub while waiting for him to meet me. I sat at the bar with another traveler named Dave. He is an airline pilot close to retirement from the state of Texas. We talked about my time in the Navy and my pending legal woes. He's been proudly married for 30 years and counts his blessings that he is still in harmony with his wife. My friend decided to meet me at a concert in close proximity to my date with Brittany. Once again I would take the number 40 uptown. Dave bought my IPA and gave me words of encouragement and complimented my persona. It meant a lot and I thanked him as I said goodbye.

While waiting for the bus I asked for information from a woman in her early 50's. She works for a tech company nearby but was happy to help as I had a more pleasant vibe than most of her young, urban, unprofessional colleagues. While unsure of my way she directed my move to get off at the next stop. I walked up the hill another seven blocks to the show. While smoking my pipe along the way another bus rider was two steps ahead named Nate. He was curious about my pipe tobacco and we gave brief anecdotes about ourselves. He offered to buy me a quick beer before my concert. I took him up on this offer as we walked into a nearby market. He purchased several large cans of domestics and afterwards we headed back down the dark boulevard towards the Abbey drinking our brew. As I arrived at the former church venue we parted ways peacefully.

I ventured into the bustling scene concealing my open container while finding my friend. I sat just as the opening act started. We enjoyed three musical performances but the star of the show was the beautiful woman from Denver that we both enjoyed during our time there. Feeling that we should explore the venue where Russ was performing we made our way there. I was sad to discover the brewery was shutting down before 10pm and the band was long gone. We decided to walk to the nearby singles bar playing music so loudly it could be heard from a block away. This strange place was crawling with many folks of the beautiful sort but nothing seemed to be attractive about it. We had a glass of wine and a shot of bourbon. I spoke to the fellow DJ for a moment but there was no dancefloor to be found. We decided to venture on.

We walked up and down the avenue and discovered another Mexican food restaurant, beaming with the young and the foolish. Our community seating was met with overly affectionate couples to our left and valley girls to our right. Our Tequila mules hit the spot with our Nacho's and late night platter. The girls spoke of Denver people which I thought strange. Why so much co(lorado)-incidence in one evening? I injected myself into the discussion and was met with friendly conversation. Unable to finish my Nacho's I knew I had fulfilled my share of fun for the night. This was the fourth time I had eaten nachos this week. We proceeded back to the urban adventure wagon and made our way to the slums of the tech-boom. My 2am slumber was met with an air mattress of great quality and woolen blankets.

I awoke at 7am to the clouded sunlight peering through the sliding glass door. I laid awake with my stomach turning from the many Nachos not yet digested. My housemates called me about needing to move my car for restriping the parking lot. Fortunately I left my keys so they were able to do this for me. I smoked my pipe on the patio while my friend "hit the gym". When he returned we decided to walk through the arboretum by the university and enjoy the sunny autumn day. Afterwards he dropped me off by the ferry where I waited an hour drinking beer at the commuter dive.

During my ferry ride home I walked up and down the passenger compartment looking for a fellow rider to play cribbage. I had no such luck and headed for the observation deck. While the city vanished behind us I struck up a conversation with a young lady from Manchester who had just returned to living in the US. We talked about the nature of selfies and the conflict of living in the moment. As we spoke a man approached me who had overheard my request for a card game. We walked back inside and sat next to an abandoned puzzle with pieces scattered about the deck. Mark introduced himself and we shook hands. It was not until he shuffled and dealt the cards that I realized this 45 year old Asian man only had one arm. His ability to shuffle and deal was impressive. His skill with cribbage was more than rusty, after one game I had a victory so great I felt guilty. He too is going through divorce and seeking a new job. It was a great way to pass the time with a fellow passenger.

As I readied myself for the porting I noticed a familiar face, a young sailor I served with in Mississippi. Our time spent together was met with sorrow as we faced similar career challenges. I had not seen him for several months but he almost did not recognize me. I had lost 50 pounds, left the Navy and become single all in a matter of a few months. I assured him I was on the dawn of newfound joy and wished him luck on his upcoming deployment. I patted him on the head as he seems like such a lovable scamp to me at this point. I exited the terminal to saunter back home. I smoked my pipe while crossing the bridge enjoying the last hour of sunlight.

I settled my belongings at home while serving myself a can of chili and a cold IPA on draft from my housemates tap. I joined him for the end of a baseball game in the den and shared a few moments with my community. I slept for a couple hours and then made my way to work. So much can happen in a day.
Not poetry, but what is life, if not poetry in motion?
CHAPTER ONE

My geographic movements during the past year could be called “A Tale of Two Couches.” So as June draws to a close, I assume the position here again on Couch California. I am back in Hemet, the place the smug among us call Hemetucky--as if there was nothing a couple of Mint Juleps and a **** of Blue Grass wouldn’t cure. It is the year of our Lord, 2014: so far an interesting year for women. There was a woman who wore socks to bed. There was always my long-time, here today-gone tomorrow, long time companion, currently teaching somewhere remote on the Big Rez, a southwestern Navajo concentration camp near the 4 Corners.  Next, there’s my current object of affection, that fine and frisky lady from The Bronx by way of Bernalillo--currently at home in Laguna Beach, Orange County. Trixie: my main squeeze at the moment.

And now, completely out of the ******* blue this afternoon, my cell phone rings and it’s ******* Juanita--my all-time favorite woman, Juanita Mi Favorita de La Quinta--a Coachella Valley town and desert wadi, extending its lucrative winter tourist season to become a significant, year-round retirement venue and a robust service economy feeding off it.  Juanita arrived there in the late 80s, in middle of her early forties.  She was unemployed, homeless, just a suitcase to her name and a two-year old toddler in tow. Her parents were there, as was her Aunt Peggy.  Juanita was always Peggy’s favorite niece, her favorite child, actually, Peggy herself being childless, never married.  Aunt Peggy put her maternal instincts to work on Juanita Rodriguez, her Sister Rosalia’s second favorite twin daughter.

Maria, Rosalia’s first favorite daughter, Juanita’s twin sister—MARIA: lives in Newport Beach and acts as an extra in many commercial ads shot in southern California and elsewhere, an irony never without sting for Juanita. “Que lastima!” Poor Juanita: as her would-be Hollywood Movie star aspirations disintegrated over the years, along with her unrealized lower expectations to be TV star, and even those semi-glamorous modeling gigs at trade shows and fairs—the elephant’s graveyard of the acting profession—failed to materialize, and now her celebrity habitat shrunken even further, to that sporadic but consistent mockery of stardom, I refer to any would-be thespian’s ignominious one-celled visual protozoan: The Extra Call List.  And—*******-- what happens next? Juanita’s sister Maria starts getting these parts, starts getting hired by filling out a ******* postcard, starts getting paid to look good in the background. *******: no professional education or instruction, no agent, and no need to **** off both the producer, the producer’s cousin Morey, the director and the director’s wife’s huge Golden retriever, Genghis--actually a mighty handsome animal--or needing to spill $4K on that Derma-brasion, Juanita inflicted on herself last year.

Juanita, as you already know, was the second favorite daughter and the second favorite twin of the family. She became the third favorite child in her three-child family upon the arrival of her slick baby brother Nico-- the Golden Child, who grew up to be a glib Merrill-Lynch stockbroker, office and residence, Beverly Hills 90112.  (Enter forcefully into the narrative, His Nibs himself, Sir Nicodemus of Hollywood, Juanita and Maria’s baby brother Nico. He speaks: “Excuse me, stockbroker my ***, as it says in a 11 point Rockwell Boldfont, right here on my gold-leaf embossed business card: Senior Large Capital Investment Counselor.”)

No, Juanita had a hard time just treading water in that Cleveland shark tank. And though she lacked nothing in the cuteness department, she had this one fatal flaw, namely, the gift of ***** and sass and a reflex to speak truth to power. Juanita: rejected by Rosalia as a threat to her hegemony as Boss of the Girl’s Club, was cast adrift on a tempestuous childhood cruel Montserrat sea, out there on the briny deep . . .  
                

                                      



High Seas: where many a tuna has a Sorry Charlie moment: “Star-Kist don’t want no tuna with good taste; Star-Kist wants a tuna that tastes good.”

Finally, Juanita is rescued, taken aboard the Good/Soul Aunt Peggy—that wayward bark Elisabeta Rodriguez, home-ported in Southside, Chicago, Illinois—the rescue at sea performed in classy, rather low-key manner; no Andrea Doria drama, but understated:

{Camera One, Helicopter above, zooms over turbulent ocean surface. Peggy, an oasis of calm, aboard the raft Kon Tiki with Thor Heyerdahl and his crew, floats by, whispering, “Going my way, Honey? Climb aboard. Have a homemade oatmeal cookie and a small glass tumbler of Jack Daniels.” Okay, no, that’s not fair. Sure Aunt Peggy drank, but never got round to offering you a drink until you were well into your 30s. Let’s just say she offered you a warm glass of milk, the mother’s milk deprived you by your mother, her sister Rosalia. Dear Aunt Peggy: a seasoned survivor herself, flawed by early childhood deafness and grotesque speech.  Yet, she had refused to settle for life in an asylum. She made a go at life.  She learned; she prospered; she flourished. And when the time came, she was there for you in the Coachella Desert, there for her feisty niece Juanita Ann.  Aunt Peggy: a loving spirit personified, became Juanita’s special confidant and counselor, her personal cheer squad of one. Juanita, of course, a former cheerleader herself--an early hint of greatness to be sure, a highlight, perhaps the highlight of her life, shown off every Halloween, still celebrated at American high schools each Fall. She is the Principal’s secretary at a huge suburban high school in Indio. Each Halloween, if the date falls on a school day, Juanita arrives for work wearing that scrupulously preserved, vintage 1966 cheerleader uniform, looking real foxy still, snug now in all the right places. Eternal Truth: Juanita has always and will always be good looking. Life with Juanita is perpetual “ooh la-la.”

So, I am on the couch that afternoon, reading more of Gramsci’s prison notebooks, specifically the philosophy he calls “Praxis.”  Completely out of the ******* blue, Juanita calls me on a RESTRICTED phone, as I said, Juanita, a torch I’ve kept burning for years, flaring up like a refinery flame--oil still very much in the present energy mix--hope springing eternal as they say, and instantly my mission in life is rekindling our lost love. Juanita’s conceived her mission prior to her phone call:  using me to keep her son from being whacked by the local Eme--the Mexican Mafia—that ethnic-pride social club that the RICO-squad-- using family tree socio-grams and other expensively-printed graphics, the one RICO keeps trying to convince us is some sort of organized crime conspiracy. The Mexican Mafia: like everything else practical and utilitarian in this world: THAT’S ITALIAN! And, if you are starting to sense a bit of ethnic chauvinism on, between & below the lines, you are barking up the right tree.
                                                           ­     
      
                                                            
(AUTHOR’S POST-SCRIPT EDIT: And, an ad for dog food right here? Not the best choice of sponsors, perhaps, at the moment. Juanita was far off from the ****** ***** that start looking not half-bad at 2:30 in the glazy morning, not anywhere near those beasts you find lingering in the airport bars you usually frequent near closing time on Saturday nights. No, I remind you that Juanita was all “ooh la-la.” In my next printing—and my Lord, there have been so many, haven’t there, Paulie “Eat-a-Bag-of-****” Muldoon? I will change out the Alpo ad, plugging in a spot for Aunt Jemima pancake syrup or Betty Crocker whipped cream, you know, something more apropos.)

Juanita, I really must hand it to you. You showed the greatest staying power, year after year as I moved further and further away from La Quinta, California. Juanita: you embraced what was good in me, ignored my flaws and strengthened me with your love for so many years. As far as you and Peggy, I guess it was a case of the “apple not falling far from the tree” one of many endearing Midwestern metaphors you taught me.  Peggy taught you, taught you to be kind and then you taught me. No matter what bizarre venue I pulled out of my ***, you showed above-average staying power, continued to visit me wherever I went, Casa Grande & Buckeye, Arizona, Appalachia, West Virginia, and even Italy, when I thought I’d try Europe again after so many years.  With each move, each time, Juanita renewed her commitment to the relationship. Meanwhile, I continued to test her, quantifying her dedication, undermining her sense of mission to disprove my worldview on the expendability of women. Surely, you know that one: the unreliability of women, women who disappear without saying goodbye. That old deeply etched conviction to never get attached to a woman, any woman, based on the empirical fact that women have been known to suddenly die, a fact seared into my still tender metal by the surprise death of my mother on 11 January 1962.

1962. It was already an insecure world, to wit:  The Cuban Missile Crisis. Nikita Khrushchev, in his time both Dr. No and Dr. Evil, namely the Premier whom we Baby Boomers saw as Boogey Man of All Time (Although Putin is showing potential, lately)—the Kennedy ****** (what else could you call it?). All these events scary, whether or not I got the chronology right . . . I remained on high alert for any threat to my delicate adolescent psyche.  My mother-Rosa Teresa Sekaquaptewa-died at 2 o’clock in the morning, screaming in agony while apologizing to my father for not having his dinner on the table when he walked in from work that prior afternoon. She’d already been in bed since noon, attended by two of my aunts--both my father’s sisters--who loved their Hopi sister-in-law, Rosa.  Also present was Lafcadio Smirnoff, M.D.--last of the house call medicine men--a dapper, mustachioed, swarthy gentleman, misdiagnosing her abdominal pain as a 24-hour virus, while she bled out internally for at least eight more hours, her whimpers alternated with screams, well into the wee hours of the morning.

I was upstairs in that dormer bedroom listening to her die. An hour later, Father Numb-nuts of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish teleported in, beaming directly into my bedroom from the parish rectory.  Father Seamus Numb-nuts, an illuminated Burning Bush . . . not quite the bush I ‘d conjured at other times, so many times alone with Gwen Wong, ******* Playmate of the Year, 1961, one of Hefner’s hot centerfolds. No, give me a ******* break, you momo! Whacking off is the last thing on a libidinous, adolescent guinea’s brain when his mama is being tortured and killed by God. Even Alexander Portnoy, Philip Roth’s early avatar would have drawn the wanking line at that unforgettable moment.

No, perhaps what I’d had in mind was The Burning Bush Golf Course where so much of Fletcher Kneble’s political mischief and government shenanigans got cooked up. You remember his books, some of the Cold War’s finest: Seven Days in May, Vanished, etc.

Or better yet, perhaps the greatest political slogan of the 20th century: “STAY OUT THE BUSHES!” Thank you, Jesse. “Thank you, Reverend Jackson,” I slip into my Excellence in Broadcasting mode, my very own private Limbaugh. Announcing my on- air arrival is El Rushbo’s unmistakable, totally recognizable bass line bumper, courtesy of Chrissie Hynde’s Pretenders band mate, guitarist Tony Butler: Dum, dum, dum-dum, Da-dum, dum-dum-dum-dum-da-dum-dum. Single, “My City Was Gone” by The Pretenders
Rush Limbaugh Song– YouTube www.youtube.com/watch?v=SScW9r0y3c4

I become Reverend Jackson. I emerge from the vapors, an obscure abyss of deep family pangs and disappointments, ever-diminishing public relevance and fade to black (no pun intended) and media oblivion. The only thing left is that line:  “STAY OUT THE BUSHES!” You will always own that line, Jesse--true political genius (to wit: Rainbow Coalition) Jackson that you are, despite El Rush-Bo’s virulent anti-Black animus, his predilection to mock you, Al Sharpton, Corey Booker, Barack “Hussein” Obama, and any other professional ***** in America. Isn’t it time someone came right out and tagged Mr. Limbaugh as the Father Coughlin of our time.

Meanwhile back in The Bronx, enter another man of the cloth:  It’s Seamus Numb-nuts, making one of his many well-documented spectral visitations, his splendiferous miracles and wonders. How much longer will the Vatican ignore this humble Bronx priest, this epitome of Sainthood; this reverent man, lacking only the stigmata for a unanimous consent vote? Quote the Numb-nuts: “God Works in Mysterious Ways.” An old standard to be sure, but a lovely, all-purpose bromide for explaining why evil exists in our world. Needless to say, I was underwhelmed; I lost God at that moment, consequently shooting myself in the foot--metaphorically-speaking-condemning myself to an unshielded life, life OUT THE BUSHES!  I went forth into the world without God, without that handy divine crutch, that Andy Devine metaphor for when one’s legs grow weary: a puff of smoke, a reverb twang and a nasty frog croaking “Hi-ya, Kids. Hi-ya, Hi-ya. Hi-ya.”

   Andy's Gang - Pasta Fazooli vs. Froggy the Gremlin - YouTube
► 3:55► 3:55
www.youtube.com/watch?v=H35odPm7b3w Aug 8, 2012 - Uploaded by jmgilsinger
Froggy the Gremlin -Tuba ... Andy Devine (Aug 24, 1952)

Life for me became lonely and purposeless. And probably explains my susceptibility to military discipline and a subsequent career in clandestine government service. In 1968--the very day I turned nineteen, September 25th of that year—that fateful day when I should have shot myself in the foot—literally not metaphorically--earning that coveted 4-F physical rejection, a draft deferment to be desired, that 4-F classification of unfitness for duty, a necessary loophole in U.S. conscript service law.  The Draft: last used during that great commonwealth Cold War purge, that culling out of the unwashed, uneducated children of immigrants, that cut-rate, discount, lower socio-economic ***** bank—the only bank where after you make a deposit, you lose interest, to wit: most Black, Hispanic and Poor White Trash parents.  We were cannon fodder, many of us got to be planted at Arlington and other holy American shrines, still wrapped in black or olive drab leak-proof body bags, doing our generational bit to strengthen the gene pool left behind. A debt, some would say, we owed the country and, given the sorry state of the global wicket, increasingly an obligation to the species. And if I had to predict an outcome, Fascism in America will arrive riding the white horse of the environmental, anti-nuclear Bolsheviks. One could argue that Communism has moved so far left on the political spectrum that it’s now the far right.  Concoct a legislative policy goal, accomplish it legally as the bill becomes Law, signed by the President, endorsed and blessed by The U.S. Supreme Court, the highest court in the land.

To wit: “Three generations of imbeciles is enough?” declared Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., an Associate Supreme Court Justice at the time, buttressing a majority argument harnessing the power of U.S. law as a legal means of purifying the race.  When euthanasia failed to win over American hearts and mind, the Federal Government played the war card again and again. Vietnam: undeclared and therefore unconstitutional--except for that Gulf of Tonkin ******* resolution. Vietnam: a cost-plus eugenics project, if ever there was one, although responsive, of course, to the needs of the Military-Industrial Complex.  ******* Ike: he warned us against Fascism in America. As usual, we ignored the man in charge.

Eugenics? Why didn’t the government just put all the retards on the stand, as John Frankenheimer did in Judgment at Nuremberg, a crafty Maximilian Schell humiliating a feeble-minded Montgomery Clift?  Why not, make everyone face a public tribunal, forcing all of us to testify in court, exposing our many substandard and borderline substandard cerebral deficits?  Why not force everyone to demonstrate just how ******* dumb we are, using some clever intelligence test, something l
Sam Winter  May 2013
Heartfelt
Sam Winter May 2013
So, this was written to an unnamed ex a while ago. I ran across it the other day, and I might publish it in the collection I'm currently working on. To me, this is more than just a letter, it's a piece of prose. It's a pouring out of the soul in a way that few people take the time to do. Obviously written at a very rocky time in a previous relationship, I enjoy the clarity of thought that's displayed (not as an egotist, but as a stylist), and I enjoy the allusions and illustration. I'm proud of it, if not for the source or the outcome, then for the product of my turmoil. If I were to classify it? I'd label it, now, as a study of the mind. Enjoy it, and, as always, I welcome your comments and criticisms!

-###-

                Before I say anything else, I want you to know that I love you deeply, and truly. I would give anything to make you happy, and I'd do anything you ever asked me to. I don't ever want to hurt you, and I don't ever want you to be unhappy.
                But I am unhappy. I sleep next to a woman I can't touch until she won't notice, who won't - or can't, I still can't figure out which - show me the affection I crave; and when I try to explain to her the physical and mental stress this puts me through, she doesn't understand or doesn't care (still can't pin that one, either).
                I once took a "Psychology of Affection" class. Evidently, the emotion we call "love" is a conglomeration of a number of different, smaller emotions. Chiefly among them are attention and affection. Attention was always defined by my professor as "the willingness of one to give their focus in degrees, and the blatantness with which they are willing to display that focus." He went on to explain that when one is willing to give their focus but not to display it, or willing to make a display but not to give it, then an imbalance is affected, and either one or both members of a relationship become unhappy. And degrees of happiness become apparent when degrees of willingness are shown.
                In our case, I think, I am both willing to give you my attention, and unafraid to do it regardless of place or time; therefore, I think I give you a very high degree of attention. How do you think you score? How do you think I'd score you?
                Affection works on the same principle: willingness to give, and the ability to do so in a way that is apparent to the other party. Along with these two, though, Affection has a third variable: frequency. The combination of these three and the balance that must be kept determines the amount of affection given, and received at an intellectual level.
                I am entirely certain that I have been willing to show you ample affection in any venue, I am quite capable of showing you my affection in a plethora of ways, and I have done so (in innumerable combinations) with staggering frequency, despite the lack of reciprocation that should have left me hopeless.
                Well, right about now, I'm starting to feel hopeless. Any relationship requires two very basic things, hon: cerebral and physical interaction. An intimate relationship, therefore, requires an amount of intimacy in both cerebral and physical interactions. In addition, any relationship, intimate or otherwise, requires equal participation in all areas to continue over any extended period of time.
                I have been trying for God knows how long, to make this explicitly clear to you: I do not receive enough affection or attention from you for me to stay happy.
                I've laid a foundation in a universal truth for you; you have the science of our interaction at your fingertips, now. You understand what I understand, so I'm going to be as forward as I can in addressing this situation.
                In order for me to stay satisfied with our relationship, the amount of affection and attention I get HAS to change. I am, currently, both mentally and physically distressed, and I am at a breaking point. I have tried multiple times to get you to change: I've tried being subtle and hinting at things I like you to do - things I'd like to see more frequently from you; I've tried being abrasive, being a **** - telling you what I don't like, and why; I've tried being manipulative - guilt-tripping you into thinking or acting differently; I've tried (God, have I tried!) to be truthful and sweet and kind - to tell you, up front, what pleases me and what doesn't in the un-charged air of plain discussion. Any, and all (!), of these methods have been met with selfish stubbornness. I have tried, very hard, to convince myself that it's just been me. That it's something I have, or haven't, been doing. That me flipping out so often is just me freaking out. That none of my state of mind has anything to do with you. I dread putting any of the blame on you because...I worship you, I don't want your flawless image tainted by these things! But, at this point, I've done so much, and tried so hard to get you to change, to open up to me, to act (just act!) like you want me in your head and heart and *****. But you've been stubborn and you refuse to change...and it is driving me away.
                I don't want you to drive me away. I know you love me; I'm convinced you think I improve your life. And I'm convinced you improve mine in so many ways. But there is an imbalance.... I've done as much as any man can be asked: I have been kind, gentle, sweet, gracious, caring, selfless, and loving; but I cannot be these things when you will neither receive them nor give them back. My emotion, my spirit, and my love are being swallowed up in a void, and I can feel the light in this relationship fading. I can't stay in this if I'm the only one showing how I feel. If you don't love me, anymore, tell me. But I can't stay here and not know. I can't give you so much of my heart, and not get anything in return. It's my turn to be selfish.
                I am banking on the hope that you want this to work, honey. I am praying to God, Almighty that you would rather change how you act than give me up.
                I have never given anyone I've been in a relationship with an ultimatum before. Maybe that's why I've been hurt so badly before. But I'm not going to sink this ship myself. I'm giving you an honest chance. I want this, more than anything. I want you more than anything! I don't care that we don't earn enough for food, yet. I don't care that you spend oodles of time with your friends; I don't care about anything you do with your life except this. This one thing will solve so many of our problems, you don't even realize!
                My peace...my serenity with our relationship and with you as my partner in life, depends, solely, on how you behave towards me. There aren't enough Josephine Collective concerts or pills, or parties in all the world that will make me feel like you love me more than you showing me your **** self. I NEED this. It is essential to my functioning as your lover and your friend; I can't love a stone. And I can guarantee you, right now, that if you can put aside your insecurities, put aside your "awkwardness" argument, put aside your doubt that I would ever, EVER, turn you away or leave you alone, and just show me every minute of every day that you love me, I would never worry again. Reassure me with a kiss. Say "hello" with a kiss. Warm up by scooting closer. Cool down by throwing off a blanket - not pushing me away. Act like you can't keep your hands off me. There will be no nights where I ask you distressing questions; there won't be times when I'm offended by your going somewhere without me; I will not get upset when plans get upset. If I knew in my heart of hearts that you loved me and you'd make sure I knew it when you saw me, then there wouldn't be room for doubt.
                But right now...I don't know whether you love me or whether you're just going through the motions. My thinking is "if she loved me, she'd show me." But you don't show me. You know this as well as I do! One passionate kiss every couple of weeks is not showing me. A wag of the hips a couple times a month doesn't show me. Part of the psychological validation for committing to a relationship is the fact that your partner's body is yours to use. And it should be a willing use! I am a male. Three-fourths of my interaction with society is conducted physically, or visually. I need to see and feel that you love me. And that's not very much to ask from you, is it? And it's not awkwardness. You've shown me plenty of times that you're not abnormally awkward. And it's not shyness; you've been perfectly happy to make a scene in front of others before. It's not ***, either. *** isn't what trips me up. I'm fine without *** as long as I know you'd give it if you could. If I was confident that you'd jump my bones before I ever suggested it, then it wouldn't be an issue. But I'm not confident. Hell, I could go another three months if I got a BJ now and then.... I'm tempted to say it's pure selfish stubbornness, but I know that's not true. I think you're afraid of something. Maybe of opening up - spilling your guts - for me. Maybe you've been hurt a lot worse than I realize? There are so many possibilities. But you're the only one that can let me in, baby.
                I know it's not your way. That's evident enough from all my failures. But this is beyond "my way versus your way," now. This is essential to our being together. I love you, selflessly and shamelessly; but if I am going to be happy with you, I need to know you love me back. This isn't an option, anymore, dearest. You have to change. I need to know on a daily, hourly, moment-to-moment basis that you prefer me over anything else...period. My heart is breaking because I can't tell if you love me back. So, I'm going to make this easy on you. I've brought this up to you before - multiple times, actually. Each one just as memorable as the next. Each one serious enough to tell you that something has to change. But you don't seem to get it. You don't understand that this is paramount to my happiness...essential to my functioning; and you don't get that yet. You've asked me to do multiple things differently; I have changed how I act - who I am - to cater to your peace and happiness, and I am happy to do so. I have asked this one thing of you and you won't do it? I have asked this one thing because it is the one thing that I need to change. I've told you that. But the day after, and the week after, and the month after I bring this up, nothing changes. I can't handle that. I can't handle that I can be so willing to make you happy...to change my thoughts and actions through my own will to make your life simpler, less worrisome, happier and easier; yet you are so unwilling to grab your own mind and make it behave as you choose to ease my mind and my heart and give me that little validation I need from you so I can tell myself that I am your whole world the way you're mine!
                I will always love you. Always.
                But I can't be with someone who can't show me they love me.
                This is your ultimatum: Change. Put me in your mind. Think about the things you do that make me happy, and do them. Physically connect with me. Touch me on a regular basis. Visually connect with me. Get my attention, and hold it every day. Act like you are my woman the way I try to be your man. And do it now. You do not get a week or a month or a year. I am out of time. I can't wait on this any longer. If you want me here, hold me here with your own two arms.
                If you can't hold me, then I won't stay.

-###-
Tyler Nicholas Dec 2011
I truly believe happiness
is listening to your hometown heroes
play their final show at their favorite venue
and crying with them as they play their final song.

And everyone in the crowd sings along.

It's always been a dream of mine-
a dream as big as the state of Nebraska,
but they've taught me, my hometown heroes,
that hope IS a good thing.

And my hometown is Lincoln. And my hometown is where dreams come true.
It was fun, JVA. Thank you for everything.
Could be I’m on a mission:
Convince the entire world
I am the World's Greatest Living
English Language poet;
Of course, genius such as mine
Goes generally unrecognized until
The posthumous crowd weighs in.
And yet, wouldn’t it be nice?

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Yes, wouldn’t it be nice?
(The Nobel Prize,
Tribute at the Kennedy Center,
A MacArthur Grant,
The Presidential Medal of Honor,
Reverent BJs from hipster groupies . . .
The Poet Laureate in his vicarage,
Enjoying my sweet twilight celebrity.)

(Cue “Guys & Dolls” soundtrack: “What's in the daily news?
I'll tell you what's in the daily news.”)
23: Beheaded at Nigerian Election Rally!
Amanda Knox Gets Away with ****** Again in Italy!
Kung Pow: Silicon Valley Penisocracy Crushes Ellen Pao
German Crash Dummy Co-pilot Flies Jet into the Alps!
Hilary’s Emails Are *****!
Sierra Leone Ebola Lockdown!
Iran: Kooks with Nukes!
Sri Lankan President’s Brother Dies from Ax Wounds!
Saudi Diplomats Evacuate Yemen!
Stampede at Hindu Bathing Ritual, Bangladesh Kills at Least 10!
Simply put:  THE WORLD IS IN A STATE OF ****.

Perhaps it’s time we turn again.
Seek solace in poetry—
“Yeah, chemistry,” insists my Sky Masterson,
My “Guys & Dolls” alter ago.
Surprised? You shouldn’t be.
All poets are gamblers & moonshiners.
We polish our chemical craft,
Sweet-talking the distillation apparatus,
Getting us, getting at linguistic essence.
Cunning linguists are we.
(Colonel Angus, are you back?)
Oyez! Oyez! The gavel raps:
“The Curious Case of Sam Hayakawa.”
We open this hearing to determine
Whether or not S.I. Hayakawa—guilty of
Numerous crimes against humanity & other
Professional Neo-Fascist “entrechats.”--
Whether or not he merits a kinder, gentler
Wikipedia BIO.
(Wikipedia ( i/ˌwɪkɨˈpiːdiə/ or  i/ˌwɪkiˈpiːdiə/ WIK-i-***-dee-ə) Wikipedia)
We open this forum, focusing on his
Courageous stand against the
SDS & Black Panthers, part of
An unlikely coalition: The Worker-Student Alliance
& It’s rival, Joe Hill Caucuses.
Da Name of the Place:
(“I like it like that!” Hot Chelle Rae-“I Like It Like That” lyrics| Metro Lyrics www.metrolyrics.com Lyrics to 'I Like It Like That' by Hot Chelle Rae. “Let's get it on, yeah, y'all can come along/Everybody drinks on me, buy out the bar /Just to feel like I'm.”)
The name of the place: San Francisco State,
1968-69, the longest student strike in U.S. history,
Led successfully to the creation of
Black & Other Ethnic studies programs
On campuses across the country,
And, one could argue,
Gave the green light to
Osama Hussein Obama,
Our first Uncle Tom President.
But I digress.

ACTING SFSU President, Dr. Hayakawa—
Perpetual audition, the pressure on,
Feisty, independent-minded & combative,
Screaming at that skeevy student mob:
(Skeevy as in “He bought the thing from
Some skeevy dude in an alley.")
Declaring “A State of Emergency,”
Calling in the SFPD, whose
Inexplicable slogan says”
“Oro en Paz,
Fierro en Guerra.”
Archaic Spanish for
Gold in peace,
Iron in war, by the by,
For you holdouts,
Those of you who still
Think the “English First Movement”
Breathes life still.
I’ve got more news for you:
That crusade died long ago,
Locked up, dark & shuttered,
Bank Repo thugs, their thick
Neck muscles flexing from side to side,
Sashaying across the parking lot,
Like John Wayne on steroids,
Right up to the front door.)
The SFPD: San Francisco city fuzz,
(As they were known at the time) &
The California National Guard, as well,
Obstreperously, generously catered by
Governor Ronald Wilson Reagan,
(Early stage, Alzheimer’s at the time.
But still very much “The Gypper,”
Still chipper in Sacramento.)
Ronnie--keenly interested in
The Eureka State’s congressional clout,
Lassoes a seat in the U.S. House of Lords:
AKA: The U.S. Senate, SPQR.
It’s still hard . . .

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Still hard to believe that California was once
Rock solid in the clutches of the GOP,
Gripped tightly in the Party’s
Desperate talons. But the grip slipped,
Slipped in the slip-sliding 1970s.
It got harder and harder . . .

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Harder and harder to remind
Leroy & the rest of his ebony posse,
That it was Abraham Lincoln—
“The Great Emancipator” himself—who was,
Our first Republican President.
The Emancipation Proclamation:
That toothless rhetorical flourish,
Based solely on Abe’s
Constitutional authority as
Commander-in-Chief,
Not on a law passed by Congress.
It was just Abe blowing smoke
Up their ***** again,
Just an egalitarian blast from
His Old Kentucky past,
A youth spent splitting rails,
Busting his *** just like
Any plantation ******,
A stark plebeian commonality,
Too deeply etched to be ignored.
Poor Abraham Lincoln:
Probably a **** Creek crypto-Jew,
Neutered by the opposition:
His very own Republican majority Congress,
Another example of the GOP
Shooting off its own foot, right up there
With Mitt Romney’s "47 percent of the people,”
The rhetorical gaffe which cost him his
Second & final shot at the White House.
But I digress.

Senator Sam S.I. Samuel Hayakawa:
That inscrutable Asian fixer, is now U.S. Senator,
Republican, California, 1976-83
Pulpit-bullying his Senate colleagues,
Fiercely opposed to transfer of the
Panama Canal & Panama Canal Zone to
Panama: a diplomatic no-brainer; Duh?
Their freaking name is on both of them.
Senator Sam, obstinate & blustering:
"We should keep the Panama Canal.
After all, we stole it fair and square.”
And Hayakawa, later the driving impetus
Behind the Far Right “English Only” movement.
His co-founding an "Official English"
Advocacy group, U.S. English;
Their party line summarizes their belief:
“The passage of English as the official language will help to expand opportunities for immigrants to learn and speak English, the single greatest empowering tool that immigrants must have to succeed."
That’s how they sold it, anyway.
In sooth: just old-fashioned nativist
Anti-immigration hysteria.

Hayakawa: always the high achiever.
Hayakawa: The Great Assimilator,
Preaching his xenophobic Gospel:
“Immigration Must Be Reduced!”
Aryan rhetoric, of course,
A bi-product of radical authoritarian nationalism,
A movement with deep American roots.
Senator Sam: a Japanese-Canadian-American,
Always tried too hard to fit in.
Sam, comfortable in Chicago during WWII,
Not personally subject to confinement,
Advocated that Japanese-Americans
Submit to FDR’s 1942, Executive Order 9066.
“Time in camp, will eventually work to Japanese advantage."
Later, during the Congressional debate over
The Civil Liberties Act of 1988 . . .
(Passed the House on September 17, 1987 (243–141)
Passed the Senate on April 20, 1988 (69–27, in lieu of S. 1009)
Reported by the joint conference committee on July 26, 1988,
Agreed to by the Senate on July 27, 1988 (voice vote) and
By the House on August 4, 1988 (257–156,
Signed into law by President Ronald Reagan 8/10/88.
He opposed $reparations for WWII internment:
“Japanese-Americans should not
Be paid for fulfilling their obligations."
Some guys, I guess, would say, or
Do anything for Bohemia Club membership.
Plagued by night terrors, nonetheless,
His Manzanar nightmares, his vivid
Imaginary experience at other Japanese
Internment Sites: Tule Lake & Camp Rohwer.
Stalag (German pronunciation: [ˈʃtalak])
Stalags, infamous still,
“Stalags ‘R Us,”
Still palpable memories for
Issei ("first generation")
& Nisei ("second generation").
See: 323 U.S. 214. Korematsu v. United States
(No. 22: Argued: October 11, 12, 1944.
Decided: December 18, 1944.140 F.2d 289.
The opinion, written by Hugo Black,
Chief Justice Harlan Stone, Presiding.)

Hayakawa: a strange duck, of course,
But we mustn’t ignore his strong credentials,
And I’d like to disabuse anyone here
Of the notion that it was anything
Other than his academic record
That got his case to this Forum.
Oyez! Oyez! The gavel raps:
“The Curious Case of Sam Hayakawa.”
So begins this fractured Pardoner’s Tale,
This petition for forgiveness,
The Capo di Tutti Capi,
Presiding: the original Italian mafioso,
His Eminence--the Vicar of Jesus Christ,
The Supreme Pontiff
Pope Paparazzi of Rome!
Roma: the only venue large enough to
Dispense dispensation of this magnitude.

Hayakawa: everyone says his C.V. is “impeccable.”
But did anyone ever freaking Google it?
Just where did Professor Sam go to school?
Undergrad? The University of Manitoba,
Truly, by any Third World Standard
A great bastion of intellectual rigor;
Grad school? McGill and U Wisconsin-Madison.
He was a Canadian by birth,
His academic discipline was Semantics.
(As in “That’s just semantics,”
That all-purpose rejoinder in any argument.)
Professor Hayakawa, The Semanticist,
He taught us: “All thought is sub-vocal speech.”

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Hmmm? We think in words.
The medium of thought is language.
If you grok this for the first time,
Let’s stop to celebrate our enlightenment,
With a cultural nod of respect,
We salute our Islamic brethren.
Radical Islam: the new bogeyman,
Responsible for keeping lights on in Alexandria,
Paying the defense & intelligence bills,
Sustaining that sinister
Military-Industrial complex
Ike warned us about.
Hang in there, Mustafa, old buddy.
Like the Cold War, this insanity
Will eventually blow over.
Orwell’s Oceania will reshuffle
Its deck of global grab-***, and a
New enemy will suddenly appear.
Big Brother, as always,
In the full-control mode,
Simply put: on top of the situation.
So Hurrah!
Allāhu Akbar. “God is Great!
The Takbīr (the term for the
Arabic phrase: usually translated as
"God is [the] greatest.")

“All thought is sub-vocal speech.”
What a simple, yet profound insight!
Just a short hop, skip & jump to the
Realization that, perhaps, the clarity
& Power of our minds can be groomed,
Improved upon by mastery of—
In Sam’s case, anyway--the English Language.
Was this, perhaps, the germ of U.S. English,
The political lobbying organization
He co-founded, dedicated to making
English, the official language of the United States.
Hayakawa: a wooly conservative of his own design;
No wonder Governor Reagan loved him.

Dr. S.I. Hayakawa, a colorful and polarizing
Figure in California politics during the 1960s and 70s.
Can we forgive his daily afternoon naps.
Asleep on the floor of the U.S. Senate,
Leaving California so pathetically,
So ostensibly under-represented.
Senator Sam’s comatose presence at
Washington-on Potomac; the
District of Columbia.
A long time ago,
In a distant galaxy . . .
Far, far away.

TEAR GAS.
Alas, long before he got to Washington,
Long before ever setting foot off campus,
He called for tear gas to
Disperse those pesky college kids.
I repeat myself for emphasis:
He authorized the use of tear gas at SF State.
Tear gas: a lachrymatory agent?
Actually, a potentially lethal
Chemical agent . . .
(Yeah, Chemistry!
To wit: Sgt. Sara Brown,
Referencing “Guys & Dolls” again.)
Outlawed for use during wartime,
Banned in international warfare
Under both the 1925 Geneva Protocol; & the
Chemical Weapons Convention;
“Tear gas:  a weapon of war against
The people. We believe that
Tear gas remains a chemical weapon
Whether used on a battlefield, or city streets.”

Thus, history will be your judge,
You unleashed tear gas on college kids,
So I wouldn’t expect a rep makeover
Any time soon, Ichiye-san, my ichiban friend.
Shay  Feb 2019
Blue Venue Lights
Shay Feb 2019
I could cry.
Cause tonight I had such a amazing night,
Screaming at the top of my lungs.
Blissfully dancing in the blue venue lights.

But you are at home with her in your bed.
Laughing at things we have already done,
Things we have already said.
And I feel so alone in this.
Like it was all in my head.

I am blissfully dancing alone tonight.
Vibing to my own beat in the blue venue lights.
But images of you play repeat in my head,
Again and again and again.

Cause you are at home with her in your bed.
Laughing at things we have already done,
Things we have already said.
And I feel so alone in this.
Like it was all in my head.

And I could cry.
Cause tonight I had such a amazing night,
Screaming at the top of my lungs.
Blissfully dancing in the blue venue lights.

But when I go home, I am alone.
y i k e s Jun 2014
Rest your hands on my waist
        and I'll rest mine on your shoulders

Glide with me around the venue
          and tango with me across the dance floor

Buy nasty food with me
         and spill Shirley Temple on my pure white dress with me

Poss for professional photos with me
        and rest your chest against my back as I blush

Hold me close
         as I hold my breath
              hoping this moment-
                             this night-
                                     never ends.
Nigel Morgan Oct 2012
It was a cold night for a concert. There was frost on the windscreen as we got into the car for the short drive to this city church. We drove because we were going to be late, and it was cold, and would be likely to be colder still when the concert was over. I had wondered if part one would be enough. Could Bach and Rameau be enough? Might the musical appetite cope with Mozart and Beethoven too? Were we about to sit down to a large meal, possibly in the wrong order. Can the cheese course be a transcendental experience I wondered? Bach to begin certainly, a substantial starter with one of the mid period keyboard toccatas and two ‘distant’ preludes and fugues, but then a keyboard suite by Rameau?
 
When I listen to Beethoven though I want to hear a work on its own, unencumbered round about with other musics.  A recent experience of several hours driving to hear a single Beethoven symphony has remained close and vivid, and an experience that brought me close to tears. So I imagine that I might only hear Op.110 to make that opening sequence of chords so ominously special. The introduction seems to come from nowhere and does not connect with musical past, except perhaps the composer’s own past. It is as though the pianist puts on a pair of gloves imbued with the spirit of the composer, and these chords appear . . . and what is there that might possibly prepare the listener for the journey that pianist and listener embark upon?  Certainly not the soufflé of Mozart’s K.332.
 
The audience is hardly a smattering of coats, hats and grey hair. There is another piano recital in town tonight and this is but the artist’s preview of a forthcoming concert at a major venue. Our pianist is equipping herself for a prestigious engagement and sensibly recognizes the need to test out the way the programme flows in front of an audience, and in a provincial church where she is not entirely unknown. I admire this resolve and wonder a little at the long-term planning which makes this possible and viable.
 
Now a figure in black walks out from the shadows to stand by her piano. Coming from stage right she places left her hand firmly on the mirror-black case above the keyboard. She looks at her audience briefly, and makes a bow, almost a curtsey, an obeisance to her audience and possibly to those distant spirits who guard the music she is to play. We will not see her face again until the next time she will stand at the piano to acknowledge our applause after the Bach she is about to play. Her slightly more than shoulder-length hair is cut to flow forward as she holds herself to play; her face is often hidden from us, her expression curiously blank. Perhaps she has prepared herself to enter a deep state of concentration that admits no recognition of those sitting just in front of her. Her dress is long and black with a few sparking threads to catch the careful lighting. Without these occasional glimmers her ****** movement would be unnoticeable. As it is the way the light is caught is subtle and quietly playful, though not enough to distract, only remind us that though in black she is wearing the kind of starry sky such as you might perceive in crepuscular time.
 
Thus, we already sense so much before she has played a note there is a firm slightly dogged confidence and reverence here in her approach to instrument and audience. And in the opening bars of the Bach toccata that is manifest; and not just a confidence born out of some strategy against nervousness, but a ritual of welcoming to this music that now spills out into the partially darkened church. The sonorousness and balance of the piano’s tone surprises. It is not a fine piano, but it has qualities that she seems to understand. There is a degree of attentive listening to herself that enables her to control dynamics and act resolutely on the structure of the music. When the slow section of this four-part toccata appears there is a studied gentleness and restraint that belies any ****** led gesture or manner. Her stance and deliberation at the keyboard remain determined and in control, unaltered by the music’s message. She does not pull her body backwards as seems the custom with so many who feel they have to show us they are stroking and coaxing such gentleness and restraint out of the keyboard.
 
As the final fugato of the toccata flows at almost twice the speed I’ve ever heard it, my concentration begins to disengage. It is too fast for me to follow the voices, I miss the entries, and the smudged resonance of the texture hides those details I have grown over so many years to know and love. This is Glen Gould on speed, not the toccata that resides in my musical memory. I am aware of missing so much and my attention floats away into the sound of it all. It seems to be all sound and not the play of music.
 
In this stage of disengagement I sense the tense quality of her right leg pedalling with the tip of a reddish shoe just visible, deft, tiny flicks of movement. She turns her face away from the keyboard frequently, looking away from the keyboard through the choir to the high altar; and for a moment we see her upturned face, a blank face, possibly with little or no make up, no jewellery. A plain young woman, mid to late thirties perhaps, and not a face marked by children or a busy teaching life, but a face focused on knowing this music to a point at which there is almost a detachment, where it becomes independent of her control, flowing momentarily beyond herself.
 
Then she reins the toccata in, reoccupies it; she is seeking closure for herself and for her audience whose attention for a short while has been, as the Quakers say, gathered. Gathered into a degree of silence, when breathing and the body’s sense and presence of itself disappear, momentarily, and musical listening moves from a clock time to a virtual time. There is a slowing down, an opening out, even though in reality’s metronomic time-field there is none.
 
There is a hesitation. With more Bach to follow, should we applaud? With relief after holding the flight of time’s arrow in our consciousness, just for those concluding minutes and seconds we acknowledge and applaud - the beginning of the concert.
katewinslet Sep 2015
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(twas where aye met thee missus, but mooch as a natural euphoria experienced, i rarely returned to said venue, especially for many years when thy now na grown lovely lasses merely toddlers).
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Go ahead and AskJeeves (or another available partner yea, that lonely looking gal or guy in mom genes), who can never refuse to kick up heals in this rollicking shenanigan – the rumor holds that said activity the most fun one can have with being clothed to another.
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The caller will usually do a walk thru, which begins with the first two couples closest to the stage crew of lively musicians (frequently filling the makeshift hall with music aligned the genre of irish jigs and reels) beginning to pair off.
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After couples one and two (nearest the band) complete their quartet, this process (sans participants coupling off) continues until the foot of the line.
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Actually each duo of dancers within the foursome nearest or furthest from the podium dons the role of “first and second” couple respectively.
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The walk thru can be helpful, especially for those unfamiliar with this social activity, which encroaches on the ordinary comfort zones because eye contact plus physical hand to hand fusion necessary.
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Many of the routines utilize various combinations of approximately a couple dozen unique moves, where each distinct extemporaneously choreographed fancy footwork utilizes a unique variation of such movements.
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The most frequent array of moves comprises the following terms, which I located at hyperlink - www.theyken.net/don/PDF/Glossary.pdf
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Glossary of Contra Dance Figures:
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Allemande Left - Two dancers join left hands about shoulder height with elbows bent down and walk a circular path.
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Allemande, Mirror - Two couples, facing, starting with one couple going between the other couple. Give the person you are starting to pass your most convenient hand, right for two dancers and left for the other two, and turn as described in the allemande right and left.
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Allemande Right - Two dancers join right hands about shoulder height with elbows bent down and walk a circular path.
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Balance – The simplest balance is a step forward and backs. Another type of balance is a step on your right foot and swing your left foot over your right foot and then step on your left foot and swing your right foot over your left foot.
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Balance and Swing - Face other dancer, take both hands, balance (as above) and swing the other dancer.
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Baskets - More that two dancers, step in so all the dancers are in a very tight circle, place your hands behind the backs of the dancers next to you and join hands. Put your right foot in closer to the center of the circle and start to turn this basket by pushing with your left foot (like in a buzz step swing).
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Box the Gnat - Partners (usually) join right hands, raise joined hands above the woman’s head, she walks under the joined hands, as the man walks around behind her. The dancers not only change positions but they end facing in the opposite direction.
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Cast Down – The dancer faces up and turns away from the center of the set and walks down the outside of the set.
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Cast Off, Assisted - Two dancers, facing the same direction, put an arm around the other dancers waist, one dancer moves forward while the other dancer moves backwards.
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Cast Off, Unassisted - One dancer, usually moving up the center or up the outside of the set, walks around an other dancer until they stand next to that dance facing the same direction.
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Cast Up – The dancer faces down and turns away from the center of the set and walks up the outside of the set.
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Circle Left – More than two dancers join hands and form a circle. Hands are joined at a height somewhere between you waist and shoulders. Dancers walk around in a circle to the left or counter- clockwise.
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Circle Right – More than two dancers join hands and form a circle. Hands are joined at a height somewhere between you waist and shoulders. Dancers walk around in a circle to the right or clockwise.
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Contra Corners - This figure is done in proper sets. The first couple turns each other by the right hand until they can turn their first corner, The person who was standing on the left side of your partner. The first couple then turns their first corners by the left hand, until they see the partners. The first couple again turn each other by the right hand and then turn their second corners, the person who was standing on the right side of your partner, by the left hand.
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Courtesy Turn – Two dancers with right hands joined and left hands joined, about waist height, facing the same direction, woman on the man’s right. The woman walks forward while the man backs-up until they are facing the opposite direction.
Cross-Over or Pass Thru – Two-dancer walk by each other passing right shoulders.
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Cross-Over is usually across the set. While Pass Thru is usually up and down the set.
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Do-Si-Do – Two dancers walk forward pass each other right shoulders, pass behind the other dancer, and backup, passing left shoulders into the place where you started.
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Do-Si-Do, Left Shoulder (also known as a See Saw) - Two dancers walk forward pass each other left shoulders, pass behind the other dancer, and backup, passing right shoulders into the place where you started.
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Do-Si-Do, Mirror - Two couples, facing, starting with one couple going between the other couple. Then dance a do-si-do, the two dancers who pass right shoulders dancing right shoulder do-si-do the other two dancers who pass left shoulders dance a left shoulder do-si-do.
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Down the Center, Turn Alone – Two dancers, usually a couple, walk down the center of the set, turn toward each other and return to the place where they started.
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Down the Center, Turn As a Couple – Two dancers, usually a couple, walk down the center of the set.
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Turn as a couple, the woman walks forward as the man backs up, until the couple is facing back in the direction they came from. Then return to a place across the set from where they started.
Figure of Eight – Two consecutive Half Figures of Eight (see below)
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Forward and Back – Dancers join hands with the dancer next to them and move forward four steps and back four steps.
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Gate and Post - Two dancers facing in the same direction, join most convenient hands, right to left, keep hands about shoulder height, one dancer will walk forward in a circular path as the other dancer walks backward in a circular path.
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Grand Chain - Three or more woman, make a right hand star, and turn the star until you meet the third (or designated) man, join left hands with the man and courtesy turn.
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Grand Right and Left - Two dancers, join right hands, pull by and give left hands to the next dancer, pull by, and continue this until you meet the person you are told to meet or until the caller tells you to stop. Can be used in squares, contras, and circles.
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Gypsy - a couple, walk once around each other, clockwise, and end where they started while looking wistfully into each others ' eyes.
Half Figure of Eight – Two dancers across from each other, in a contra, cross over while moving through the couple below (or above), the woman in the lead, they then cast up (down) to end in their partners original place.
Hey for Four – Two couples, facing, usually starting with the women moving to the center and passing right, then pass the opposite man who is moving forward by the left, the two men pass right in the center while the two women do a small loop to the left to face in, again the women pass right in the center as men do a small loop to the left to face in, women pass the men by the left, men pass right in the center and all return to original place.
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Honor - Bow to your partner.
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Improper – In a contra, when a man is in the women’s line and/or a woman is in the Mens' line. The women’s line is the line on the left when viewed from the caller’s position.
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Ladies Chain – Two couples facing, the women join right hands and pull by each other, then give their left hands to the opposite man, finishing with a courtesy turn to face the other couple.
Lead Through - Two dancers facing in the same direction, join most convenient hands, right to left, and walk between the two dancers they are facing. Often followed by a cast to original place.
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Pass Thru - Two couples facing, both couples walk forward, passing the person you are facing by the right shoulder and ending in their place (do not turn around).
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Promenade – A couple, with the man’s right arm around the woman’s waist and her right hand in his right hand, and left hands joined in front of them, move in a forward direction, sometimes ending with a courtesy turn.
Promenade, Single File - All of the dancers in a single file or circle, facing the same direction, follow the dancer in front of you.
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Proper – In a contra, the men are in the mens' line and the woman are in the women’s line. The mens line is the line on the right when viewed from the caller’s position
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Right and Left – Two couples, take right hands with the person across the set and pull by, on the opposite side of the set courtesy turn the person next to you.
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Roll Away - A couple, both facing in the same direction, woman’s left hand in the man’s right hand, the man assists the woman, who rolls across in front of him, as he moves to his right. They both end facing the same direction as they started but they are in each others' place
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Star, Left Hand – Two couples, take left hands with the person diagonally across, then they all walk forward in a circular path.
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Star, Right Hand – Two couples, take right hands with the person diagonally across, then they all walk forward in a circular path.
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Swing – A couple, in a position similar to ballroom position, except the man and woman are right hip to right hip. The simplest descriptions I have heard is assume the above position and then try to walk behind your partner. The dancers can use a simple walking step or a buzz step.
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Turn - See allemande for right and left hand turn. A two hand turn - two dancers, facing, take the other dancers right hand in your left and their left hand in your right. Pull back slightly and both dancers walk clockwise until you get back to where you started.
it was warm
for a winters eve
unusually warm
but damp very damp
birthing a persistent
midnight mist that
crawled over everything

avenging
halogen angels
flitted down from
streetlight perches
skidding through
bare limb bars
of broken trees
roped in by sagging
telephone wires

skulking
seraphs
joined
ebullient
neon auroras
laughingly
brake dancing,
jittering away on the
pock marked rims
of hip hop streets

the fine drizzle
descending from the
black urban heavens
splayed holy water
over the bodies
of anything
that moved; and
layered mounds
of transparent beads
on all inert things
chiding those yolked
to weighty burdens
to seek relief of
a much needed
breaking point

our
slouching city
mired in a cycle
of a prolonged
historical rut
beavers away
to lift the lid
on tomorrows
tipping point
in a desperate
labor to stop
tripping over
itself...

a dinged up
Sentra’s
flashing spinners
twisted round
our dark corner
nearly clipping
our troop

inside the
yakking low-riders
scuttled along,
their hidden ***** eyes
cruising the stoops
and cyclone alleys
scoping opportunities
for the next
jolly hustle
to feed
a growing
angry fix

tonight
Mother Nature was
running a *****
to the wall third shift,
manufacturing a
stationary low
of gagging precip
churning volumes
of Vulcan smoke
conjuring
convective spirits
from all the
dim places

emanations lit
the balmy January air
rising from
stubborn gray patches
of despoiled snow
and rancid ponds
organic gutter water
composting
in distilled pools
awaiting leakage
through flotsam
clogged sewage grids

Paterson’s
litter police
could close the
city’s budget deficit
if all infractions
were properly cited
and paid in this
neighborhood

this queer elixir of
rising vapors from
evaporating snow
escaping the cracks
lining the bowels of
mordant streets
joining descending
screens of billowing mists
blurs boundaries of light,
diffusing temporal time

people and things
lose precise definition
reducing sentient beings
to moving silhouettes of gray
photographic negatives
framed in dribbling palettes
of pastel hues

our
5th Ward mission
planted in the
hub of a neighborhood
still holding on...

Old WASP’s
of St. Paul’s
long ago
winged away
from this
princely
Episcopate
principality

the abandoned
conical nest, its
chambers filled with
the mud of 50 dead rectors
precariously clings
to its shivering
boulevard corner

its endowment depleted
its earthly treasure rusting
grandiose Tiffany windows
remain the last legacy of an
opulent faith now
shamefully rattling away
in moth eaten frames

once icons of
adulatory reverence
the final sparkling asset
of a distressed religion
begs to be monetized
by flummoxed vestrymen
yearning to extend
a stewardship
over a dissipating
ESL flock

distress in the hood
parades down Broadway
in all directions

a few blocks east
a shuttered
Barnert Hospital
transfigured into an
urban enterprise zone
for health-care privateers
working overtime to
extract federal
corporate welfare
rent subsidies
dutifully fulfilling
fine print obligations of
Obamacare legislation

Old Mayor Barnert’s
namesake synagogue
once hard by
City Hall
is long gone
its absent footprint
now centered by
a thriving
White Castle

near Broadway’s end
on the outskirts
of Eastside Park
Art Deco Emanuel Temple
the last anchor
for the city’s Judaism
lies vacant
awaiting a renewed
purpose

fraught with irony
a thriving Islamic Center
stands juxtaposed
across the street
from the old
Hebrew Temple

we wonder what
will emerge
from the
hallowed chrysalis
of decommissioned
Emanuel?

rumors of a
Great Falls Art Center
trickle like a leaking faucet
failure to secure a mortgage
in the post credit
bubble pop economy
dams the possibly
of a new centers
coming to fruition

will
the city’s
changing
demography of
reverent Muslim’s
genuflecting
across the street
take time away
from prayer to
patronize a venue
offering decadent
bourgeois jazz and
risqué reviews
of retro Borscht Belt
vaudeville?

when Constantinople
became Istanbul they
converted the Christian
churches into mosques

when the Inquisitioners
drove the Moors from
Granada they converted
the Grand Mosque to
the Cathedral of the
Incarnation

what incarnations
will this city’s
twilight bring?

As Byzantine
begets
Constantinople
begets
Istanbul
the links
in the Silk Road
spanned west
to the new world
of mechanized looms
powered by
Great Falls
raceway water
and a distribution
and procurement
chain anchored
by the Morris Canal

Capitalist
modernity
begets
our Silk City
it also bespeaks
its demise

in the courtyard
of St. Paul’s
a muffled chorus
trawls the thick air

a posse of pimps
done wrangling
their stables
of $5 ******
sing reveries to
the evening haul

midnight lullabies
of corner crooners
lift a Capella hosannas
from the dark armpit
of an alley behind
the Autozone

“i said
you say
what can make
me feel this way
my girl”

juiced pimps
cashin in
livin large on
a skanks
50 cent haul

the trade in flesh
of distressed
human capital
remains a
growth industry

Music Selection:  
Temptations, My Girl

jbm
3/1/13
Oakland
Part 1 of extended poem Silk City PIT.  PIT is an acronym for Point In Time.  PIT is an annual census American cities conduct to count the homeless population.  Paterson NJ is nick named The Silk City.

— The End —