Monday, January 28, 2008

Run-on thoughts

By now most of you are used to reading this blog to find out what is up with David Nelson and Friends (aka The David Nelson Band) and the New Riders of the Purple Sage. Lately, you all must be really disappointed. I have not been forthcoming with any news, being far too ill and tired to write much of anything. That has not changed. I have, however, been redirecting my energy and focus and spending a lot more time in San Francisco doing a variety of fun things and visiting with a lot of my friends. And for the time being, that is the direction in which this page is moving. Readership is down from 1500 hits a day to about 1200, and you know, fine with me since I am only writing this to amuse myself and for the edification of a few people I really care about. Ooops! Did I just unsubtly tell most of the readers to go away? That is not what I meant to say, really, what I intended to say was, you are all welcome to read this page but you may not find on it the information you once did.

Last night, I went in to San Francisco (yet again) to attend a poetry reading at the Beat Museum. Actually, I mainly went to return a book that Jack Hirschman loaned me a few weeks ago (Katerina Gogou's Three Clicks Left in the original Greek) but I have to admit to a certain amount of curiosity about Gabor Gyukics. Gabor read some poems from his book, A Transparent Lion, as well as several poems by the late poet Attila Josef. Some of the poems were read in English, some in their native Hungarian, all were very powerful. Jack Hirschman contributed to the evening by reading some of the English translations as well. I thought the best part of the evening, however, was when Jack read his own poem, The Merry Cemetery, from the book, The Arcanes. Turns out The Merry Cemetery is an actual cemetery in Transylvania and I found this picture of it on the internet:
I think perhaps merry and colorful or charming may be interchangeable words in Romanian, a language with which I am not in the least familiar. Merry seems like a strange adjective for describing a cemetery, don't you think? It sort of evokes the sentiment "bury me at Legoland." A mind is a terrible thing to waste and mine is now long gone.

When Gabor was talking about the gypsies, etc., in Hungary, I drifted off to the only time I saw a real gypsy camp. It was 1964 and I was on a high school field trip to Thessaloniki in Greece. En route there, our bus drove through some really beautiful (and unusual when you think of Greece) green countryside. It was early spring and the rain had just stopped, the clouds overhead were gone but had left a misty remembrance hovering over the fields, the ground was covered with that bright green of new grass before it gets sunburned, and all of a sudden, the countryside was completely peppered with little wagons - all of them with white or brown canvas coverings on them and each of them drawn by one horse or donkey. It was a monochromatic superimposition on the colorful landscape and very surreal. I said what is that and my teacher said, "Gypsies. Don't look at them, they are filthy and we will soon pass them." But I could not help myself, I had to look. Two or three small boys, barefoot and wearing real rags (not the kind of "rags" we see in the Tenderloin but clothing pieced together in a tattered and haphazard fashion from memories of garments that once were) ran alongside the bus carrying sticks. Clueless and fascinated, I smiled and waved and was startled when they started throwing rocks at the bus as we drove down the street. Funny what sticks in your mind and what coaxes those memories out of hiding!

Well, I have rambled enough for now. More later. Or maybe, to quote Robert Hunter, "even this too shall pass away."

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