Buck Owens – “Act Naturally” – cover

Buck Owens – so underrated as a wonderful songwriter, picker, performer. Here’s one of his clever songs – at-home recording. These are bare bones – just enjoy. My music feeds into poetry and vice versa. So I do this. Garage band, home studio, usb mic – and minimal digital editing.

getting tarnish on the fingers

Guitar CornerAfter playing the flute again yesterday I pitied my poor 1970 Guild D-35 sitting in our “guitar corner” gathering dust for a few weeks – this absolutely wonderful acoustic that I had rebuilt a few years ago, that I bought with Bar Mitzvah money 45 years ago when I was 13, with it’s great varied intonation…we missed each other, so while Sarah Dugan worked hard on her facebook updates in her livingroom corner office, I grabbed the guitar and sat on the couch tinkering around with it. Before any time had past I was lost in airy extended major chords, riffs, playing around with 5/4 time, which Sarah really dug. Then I closed the session with one of the first songs I learned for her, “Winter’s Come and Gone” by Gillian Welch. Always nice to get tarnish on my fingers and keep the calluses hard. It makes any day worthwhile.

feeling down about my poetry

Been feeling down about two things lately – a year of poetry and poetry manuscript rejections, and the fact that the publications in print journals – this poetry I’ve written to be read and enjoyed, disappears into obscurity because, really, who reads journals? So, feeling for the first time in a long time that no one gives a shit about my poetry and not wanting to even go to one open mic lately, I decided to listen when Sarah encouraged me to blog more. Today I’m off from school and meetings, so you’re getting the outpouring of the tiny blog posts. Which is the best way to write on the Internet, I think.

the “free speech zone” is tough

In my class I’ve been working so hard to establish a “free speech zone,” but I think I goofed up when I pressed a student for evidence to back up some claims that police brutality is the same as it always has been. I believe I inhibited the students’ feeling of not being judged rather than making the “zone” a safe place. It’s a fine balance between free speech with rebuttal and “chilling” a conversation, which by definition has to allow dissent even when the topic is uncomfortable. I’m still trying to negotiate that fine line. Hopefully, this class of freshmen writers, which has been VERY enthusiastic, beyond all my expectations, will continue to feel the class is open and that they can explore their first attempts at reasoning on issues, no matter how tentative and perhaps uninformed, without feeling silenced. I’m committed to this pedagogy, but it’s hard to do sometimes.

what does it mean to be colorblind?

When asked about their approach to race in America, many people will claim they are color-blind, meaning that issues of race simply don’t exist in their world view. At a recent diversity conference I attended I learned the following concepts to consider about the “color-blind” claim:

  • The vast majority who claim to be color-blind or completely neutral in regard to race are white.
  • A definition of “color-blind” is: “To claim that race is not important, even in those situations where race is important.
  • Correlated with the claim of racial colorblindness is the increase in what is known as “micro-aggression.” Micro-aggression can be defined as “brief, everyday exchanges that send denigrating messages to certain individuals because of their group membership.” generally happening below the level of awareness of well-intentioned members of the dominant culture. The result of micro-aggressions to those exposed to them are an increase of feeling discriminated against. It has been called “the new face of racism.”

It seems to me when whites claim that race is not an issue in their lives, the problem is that  the group historically the most racist and privileged in our society is now claiming race doesn’t matter and they are cleansed from any and all taint of racism. The danger is it is a form of denial which prevents the real work of eliminating racism and sexism from continuing as it prevents the issue from being discussed truthfully and openly. Rather, it becomes a subtle way of condoning and continuing social racism.