July 4, 2008

I stayed at home on the Fourth of July
And I pulled the shades so I didn't have to see the sky



Inez Storer, The Luxury Liner to Seattle, 2007

Earliest Memory
-- Sarah Hannah

Still cribbed, in the gable
With the tall hemlock

At the window, in the lull
Of late afternoon:

Three crackles; the story
Record ended. I somehow

Climbed over the bars
And crawled down the hall

Along the narrow balcony
Over the stairs: the twisted

Iron railings on my left,
On my right, the cool white

Stucco wall. To the next room:
My mother asleep on the bedspread

Of dark maroon and brown.
Sunlight hung in the curtains.

I watched her lying there.
I already knew not to wake her.


Lessons
-- by Walt Whitman

There are who teach only the sweet lessons of peace and safety;
But I teach lessons of war and death to those I love,
That they readily meet invasions, when they come.


* From the Holy Soul Jelly Roll liner notes Ginsberg explains how he came up with 'Ah,' "...[I] got in the middle of the group who were going off to blockade a highway and started chanting 'Ah' after asking them to chant with me. Everybody sat down, then we discussed strategy calmly rather than as a hysterical mob. 'Om' closes out at the end but 'Ah' leaves the mouth open, breath goes out [see Ginsberg’s Mind Breaths poem for more]. On the 4th of July you see the fireworks and say 'Ah,' or you recognize something and say 'Ah!' When Trungpa said "Why don’t you try ‘Ah’?" he joined an American sound with Himalayan wisdom, and I’ve used it ever since. "Ah" for recognition, appreciation, the intelligence of speech joining body and mind and for a measure of the breath."


-- back July 10

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