Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Half Eagle Pose

Full Eagle Shirt

 2 Kids in a National Park
When I was little, my brother and I loved Will Smith's song, Summertime.  (Or is it Summa-time?  Just kidding.  Also, Google just let me know it's a DJ Jazzy Jeff & Fresh Prince song.  Sorry, Jazzy!  My bad.) 

Lately, I've been feeling ready for summer.  I know, it's weird.  The winter addict is preparing for raspberry season!  It's true.  And, after last summer's debacles, I find it promising that, as the calendar pages turn, my veins itch a little, no longer clinging to the constriction of cold, but anticipating the swell that heat brings. 

In the spirit of summer, therefore, I give you a Kenneth Rexroth poem, from The Phoenix & The Tortoise:

From "...about the cool water"
by Kenneth Rexroth

"...about the cool water
the wind sounds through sprays
of apple, and from the quivering leaves
slumber pours down..."

We lie here in the bee filled, ruinous
Orchard of a decayed New England farm,
Summer in our hair, and the smell
Of summer in our twined bodies,
Summer in our mouths, and summer
In the luminous, fragmentary words
Of this dead Greek woman.
Stop reading. Lean back. Give me your mouth.
Your grace is as beautiful as sleep.
You move against me like a wave
That moves in sleep.
Your body spreads across my brain
Like a bird filled summer;
Not like a body, not like a separate thing,
But like a nimbus that hovers
Over every other thing in all the world.
Lean back. You are beautiful,
As beautiful as the folding
Of your hands in sleep.

From The Phoenix & The Tortoise.  Copyright 1944 by New Directions.

Speaking of Kenneth Rexroth, who resisted the reputation that followed him as the "father of The Beats" (good for him!  who doesn't want a movement named after themselves?!), I watched Magic Bus recently, the movie about Ken Kesey and his friends' trip across America.  I have a crush on Kesey, I'm realizing.  The movie is pretty silly but worth the watch, and remarkable most of all because they flew an American flag from the top of the bus while doing blush-worthy amounts of drugs.  My heart sort of swelled (there's that word again!  Ready for summer, I tell you) when I saw this - and I think that's what moves me about Kesey so much: his idealism, his willingness to plunge naked into the well of his ideas.  There is an innocence to his muscular actions that I admire. 

I'm not endorsing blush-worthy amounts of drugs, by the way, but I was struck by the fact that the early 60s were crazy innocent, and hatred for hippie ideals wasn't yet cemented in the American consciousness.  I love and identify with a lot of rural spaces and values, but I also believe in some New Age principles that might horrify a lot of people in those spaces. This marriage in the movie of the flag with the wilderness of their zonked-out exploration of life just stuck with me.  
Let's take back the American flag, I say!  Why does it have to stand for weird conservative scariness? 

Although, I did cry at the Budweiser Clydesdale commercial during the Super Bowl, I must confess.

And so.  With all sorts of weird imagery - naked Ken Keseys, dead Greek women, DJ Jazzy Jeff, etc etc - I leave you to your splendid day.  May it be wondrous and full of your wild machinations.