Showing posts from December, 2011

A Poet named Jack

It is mandatory for me today to talk about Jack Hirschman. I have at least two good reasons for doing it. The former is that December 13th is his birthday and so I feel the need to celebrate him, whilst the latter is a lovely find. As I was researching pictures of him early this morning, I stumbled upon a photograph by Charles Brittin dating back to the early Sixties. The website says that it was taken in 1962. Judging from the movie, I believe it may be a couple of years later. The place is outside Cinema Theater, Western Avenue (L.A.). I look at that picture of over forty years ago and I recognize his smile, his wit and his gait. Jack's life has made him tread so many different roads since then, but it is so great to see his spirit come alive from a still shot.

Happy birthday, comrade. Sempre.

Street Poetry Rules

When poetry becomes graffiti and poets feel the urge to read their poetry to the crowds, then we acknowledge that the times are changing. I have never felt so much the importance of being a street poet before. But, I was so angry lately that I wrote some of my poems on small pieces of paper and handed them out to people in the streets. It is a small act. It won't change the world. But, I do feel a better human being. And, you, my fellow poets, I encourage you all to do the same!

When Magritte painted Poetry Personified

I have always been deeply fascinated by Magritte's paintings. "The Empire of Lights" is my absolute favorite. I have stood admiring it "forever" at the Peggy Guggenheim's Collection in Venice. But, there is a canvas in particular that keeps mesmerizing me. It dates back to 1937 and it is known as "The Therapist". The more I soak it in, the more I feel that it is much more than a mere depiction of the subconscious. I wrote a poem that does capture, or so I believe, the inner poetical nature of this work. To me this painting symbolizes the Poet. The wandering spirit with soles of wind, a bright red cloak, a straw hat, a walking cane and a bag full of books. Each Poet has a transparent soul, an exposed rib cage that cannot conceal the Truth where words in form of doves nest and sing.

Patti Smith, the Poet.

Patti is not just a wonderful rocker, an engaged artist, an activist and a rebel, but she is also a talented wordsmith. These are just a few reasons for which I admire her. At her last concert here in Rome, in the Summer of 2010, it was a pleasant surprise to discover how much she loved Pasolini's works and how she had felt compelled to visit the place where he had been murdered. Her autobiographical book "Just Kids" is a great ride. But, her poems--permeated with her love for William Blake and Arthur Rimbaud--blow me away every time I read them. Her words have the power to scratch my soul. I welcome the bleeding.


I did not wish to work
I did not wish to earn
but to curl with my jar
in the sweet sorghum
I laid my mat among the reeds
I could hear the freeman call
oh my life
what does it matter
will the reed cease bending
with the leper turn
I had a horn I did not blow
I had a sake and another
I could hear the freeman
drunk with sky
what matter me cry