AFTER SEPTEMBER
my book of poetry about September 11th, 2001...and after Available NOW at Amazon.com -click here
.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Sublime Theatre far from OFF Broadway.




A Play in Circles, A Circular Play by Gertrude Stein



A play ahead of its time, composed by the great impresario of ex-patriot 20th Century Europe, Gertrude Stein, this work remains a mystery, and seeing it staged in, of all places, Greenville, North Carolina, adds to its enigmatic quality.

This powerful piece directed by Dani Keil and acted by Kinston native Lauren Melton Lewis, and Ukrainian born Kate Ker, is an extraordinary commitment to performance. It’s a telltale sign of professionalism and trust that is imperative to make an opaque piece move forward in a cognitive manner. The lack of ego and hubris, the absence of pretension and artifice, draws the viewer into difficult situations where a search for meaning is futile and the force of experience is essential.

The core theme of the play is language. Who owns it? Who defines it? Who creates it? Is it man? Is it woman?

Kiel explores the use of speech through interpretive action. The casting of a non-English speaking actor is brilliant. Ker’s vocalizations challenge traditional tropes of our pedestrian language in a myriad of ways. You sit transfixed by her beauty and confounded by pronunciation. Once you deal with your own deficiency, you start to hear and see the play. Eventually, you relax into stories and interpretations of people, surrendering to their humanity. Two human experiences. In tandem, apart. Together. Not actors in a play, but beings in life. The native English speaker, Lewis, evokes story and theme with her body in motion and at rest, as well as with her melodious elocution. Ker is like Lewis's musical counterpart in moment after beautiful, poignant moment. Just gorgeous work of movement and rest.

I have seen Richard Foreman and the Wooster Group. I can honestly say this performance rivals the best of them. Kudos Dani Keil and Whirligig for having the stones to take on this text.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Why there is still Hope for YES, WE CAN.



This is a quote from blogger John Pavlovitz in a post today.

"Hillary supporters believe in a diverse America; one where religion or skin color or sexual orientation or place of birth aren’t liabilities or deficiencies or moral defects. Her campaign was one of inclusion and connection and inter-dependency. It was about building bridges and breaking ceilings. It was about going high.

Trump supporters believe in a very selective America; one that is largely white and straight and Christian, and the voting verified this. Donald Trump has never made any assertions otherwise. He ran a campaign of fear and exclusion and isolation—and that’s the vision of the world those who voted for him have endorsed."


These are facts except for one thing. The Democratic ticket won the popular vote. Which means more people believe in the Hillary vision than do Trump's vision (which his camp is now claiming was only a scheme to get him elected.) So we should be encouraged as a nation. We still have a lot of work to do. For every wall Trump builds we have to open a door, build a bridge, create a window. This is not the end. It's a beginning. Like Bruce Springsteen sings: "One step up and two steps back."

I think it is simplistic and just plain wrong to believe that people, all the people, who voted for Trump are xenophobic, racist, homophobic, war mongers. People are fed up with grid lock, with bickering, sniping, and insults. Those came from both sides. They are fed up our inability to move past our differences and get to that foreign place called "Compromise."

This was not a military coup or a hostile take over. This was cold, calculated, American style Democracy. Yes, Trump's base is...well...base.  And yes, now we have to fight against the Pandora's box he opened. Most of all, he is going to have to live with it.

Is he the next Hitler? Will there be death squads? Is this a zero sum game?

INSERT HOPE HERE

America was great, it is great and it will always be great as long as we hold these truths to be self evident...let us not lose sight of that. Peacefully protest. Petition the government. Take it to the Supreme court. Take it to the court of public opinion. But always fight the fight...the good fight.


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Meaningful Dates of Remembrances –





Tomorrow we mark the 8th year since the passing of my father. Sunday will mark 15 years since terrorist suicide bombers destroyed the World Trade Center. Life altering moments.

This year, we will build a home. This year we will celebrate all the hard work we have done, the service rendered in an effort to heal the wounds of a city, the wounds of a man.

This year I want my 9/11 Post to find Samantha Fossella, a grade school girl on 9/11, her hand-made card graced my locker at 280 Broadway since we moved there in early 2003. As my mind emerged from the fog of war, I saw her flag as a symbol of hope for the future. I want to find Samantha Fossella and thank her from the bottom of my heart for the encouragement her work of art and craft gave me in my darkest hours. For many years, I felt I had no right to live while so many died. I truly struggled with what turns out is a very common condition called: Survivor’s Guilt. Why had I been spared? Why wasn’t I the one to die on September 11th, 2001?

Slowly and painstakingly, I forced the conversation away from what didn’t happen to me, and began to focus on what I could do to make the world a better place, what could heal New York City and contribute on a long term basis to its safety and security. I am truly grateful to the Department of Buildings in New York City and to the Inspector Training Academy of Buildings University for the opportunity to express my grief and sorrow in a positive, productive way. I have been fortunate to be entrusted with orienting aspiring inspectors in a world of law and code. The blueprint, if you will, we all use to challenge the real world of brick, concrete and steel, to Build Safe, and Live Safe.

A lot of folks think I drank the Kool Aid; that I am under some mind control influence. If I did, it happened long ago in classrooms not unlike the one in which Samantha Fossella took crayon to paper. I want to thank her teachers, and all my teachers some of whom made the ultimate sacrifice themselves, or some who had their own children die in wars defending the flag. I am, ironically, anti-war. Anti-violence is an ideal of mine, but when violence finds you, and you are attacked, one must defend one’s self. I prefer to fight violence with Peace and Love. I prefer to inspire others to do the same. Today I want to thank Samantha for fighting violence with a peaceful message to all the folks who went to the rescue. Her act rescued me.





Meaningful Dates of Remembrances –





Tomorrow we mark the 8th year since the passing of my father. Sunday will mark 15 years since terrorist suicide bombers destroyed the World Trade Center. Life altering moments.

This year, we will build a home. This year we will celebrate all the hard work we have done, the service rendered in an effort to heal the wounds of a city, the wounds of a man.

This year I want my 9/11 Post to find Samantha Fossella, a grade school girl on 9/11, her hand-made card graced my locker at 280 Broadway since we moved there in early 2003. As my mind emerged from the fog of war, I saw her flag as a symbol of hope for the future. I want to find Samantha Fossella and thank her from the bottom of my heart for the encouragement her work of art and craft gave me in my darkest hours. For many years, I felt I had no right to live while so many died. I truly struggled with what turns out is a very common condition called: Survivor’s Guilt. Why had I been spared? Why wasn’t I the one to die on September 11th, 2001?

Slowly and painstakingly, I forced the conversation away from what didn’t happen to me, and began to focus on what I could do to make the world a better place, what could heal New York City and contribute on a long term basis to its safety and security. I am truly grateful to the Department of Buildings in New York City and to the Inspector Training Academy of Buildings University for the opportunity to express my grief and sorrow in a positive, productive way. I have been fortunate to be entrusted with orienting aspiring inspectors in a world of law and code. The blueprint, if you will, we all use to challenge the real world of brick, concrete and steel, to Build Safe, and Live Safe.

A lot of folks think I drank the Kool Aid; that I am under some mind control influence. If I did, it happened long ago in classrooms not unlike the one in which Samantha Fossella took crayon to paper. I want to thank her teachers, and all my teachers some of whom made the ultimate sacrifice themselves, or some who had their own children die in wars defending the flag. I am, ironically, anti-war. Anti-violence is an ideal of mine, but when violence finds you, and you are attacked, one must defend one’s self. I prefer to fight violence with Peace and Love. I prefer to inspire others to do the same. Today I want to thank Samantha for fighting violence with a peaceful message to all the folks who went to the rescue. Her act rescued me.





Friday, July 29, 2016

Sunset In America?


"The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail."

William Faulkner



I consider myself an optimist. Not an intellectual. In fact, I am only now starting to formulate the questions which define my reality. Something most of you reading this did long ago. Hey, better late than never. I write this in the solitude of my rent stabilized Brooklyn apartment where fully half of my income is paid in rent. Yet, my landlords want more.

I write to you this day after a political convention dominates the news even as two more police officers were shot in California, one fatally. Yet, that story is relegated to page two of our collective national newspaper.

The questions I am beginning to ask are fundamental.

Must we be at war with ourselves everyday? Has life become so cheap and meaningless we would be willing to sacrifice our children at an unholy alter? What is "Holiness"? Do we put too much power in the hands of a few and call it democracy? Is it really all about what it looks like? Who puts the value on wealth and money? Where have all the true "Leaders"gone? Is POKEMON evil?

Hillary or Donald?

Really?

Is that all we got? Our American radical extremes made manifest in the persons of a hustler who is a cross between PT Barnum and Larry Flynt, (no disrespect to Larry Flynt), and a career politician uniquely positioned to make history by becoming a "first" woman President of the United States?
(No disrespect intended to either women or to the word United.)

My last question for this missive is this: How many more officers in blue, and the people whom they are sworn to protect and serve will die before November because day after day our eyes are on a sparkling piece of costume jewelry distracting us from the issues dragging our sun into a long, deep, dark night?




Sunset In America?


"The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail."

William Faulkner



I consider myself an optimist. Not an intellectual. In fact, I am only now starting to formulate the questions which define my reality. Something most of you reading this did long ago. Hey, better late than never. I write this in the solitude of my rent stabilized Brooklyn apartment where fully half of my income is paid in rent. Yet, my landlords want more.

I write to you this day after a political convention dominates the news even as two more police officers were shot in California, one fatally. Yet, that story is relegated to page two of our collective national newspaper.

The questions I am beginning to ask are fundamental.

Must we be at war with ourselves everyday? Has life become so cheap and meaningless we would be willing to sacrifice our children at an unholy alter? What is "Holiness"? Do we put too much power in the hands of a few and call it democracy? Is it really all about what it looks like? Who puts the value on wealth and money? Where have all the true "Leaders"gone? Is POKEMON evil?

Hillary or Donald?

Really?

Is that all we got? Our American radical extremes made manifest in the persons of a hustler who is a cross between PT Barnum and Larry Flynt, (no disrespect to Larry Flynt), and a career politician uniquely positioned to make history by becoming a "first" woman President of the United States?
(No disrespect intended to either women or to the word United.)

My last question for this missive is this: How many more officers in blue, and the people whom they are sworn to protect and serve will die before November because day after day our eyes are on a sparkling piece of costume jewelry distracting us from the issues dragging our sun into a long, deep, dark night?




Friday, June 24, 2016

BROOKLYN IS THE LEAST AFFORDABLE PLACE TO LIVE IN THE COUNTRY.

Marooned in Brooklyn. Red dust, red Planet, red Brooklyn. Unlike God Mars I am powerless to lift my Earthly carcass off the dirty ground of a heartless place and soar into the sky of freedom. Burdensome issues of individual rights and moral imperatives fetter my already bound limbs. There is a current of fear in the world. This is why I think I want to name our new house: Serenity. A safe haven for poets, and artists, and for those who live the word Possibility.


Who would choose this?



Over this?