I changed my template last week. Which is of no consequence to anyone but me, but I suddenly realize that the *simple* template I picked in 2011…I know…was looking very busy so I chose something else. So just a month shy of my 5th anniversary of this particular ramble on the internet…something new.
“There has always been a tendency to try and rehab a word that has been used as an epithet for you. It’s a way of claiming something that hurt you, hoping that you can say, ‘now this word won’t hurt me anymore.’ It’s part of the attempted healing.”
Yvonne Seon, Historian and mother of Dave Chappell, from If He Hollers Let Him Go by Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah in the Believer
When I read this last night it really resonated with me. Growing up in New Orleans, I always saw WOP salad listed on menus and knew it meant Italian salad. I didn’t realize until years later that WOP was pejorative term and was claimed and turned by the Italian population of the city. You don’t see it as much anymore, but I took family to a seafood restaurant out by the airport in April and there it was.
This is why you read…to expand your mind.
“the one way rich people stay rich is by not appreciating true skill and common workman”
from Cleaning Up New York by Bob Rosenthal originally published 1970
Hard to believe that Allen Toussaint passed away almost 2 months ago while touring in Spain. If you don’t know the name (and that’s sort of impossible if you’re from New Orleans), then you definitely know his music which has been covered by a bajillion different artists in many genres. I just read a great article about him in the January 2016 New Orleans Magazine. In the article the author, quotes Toussaint as saying that the city of New Orleans has a hum “between B and B-flat.” How great is that?
Also, you can find videos of notes in case you need to tune your brain to our hum…
look it in the face the bad spirits can’t abide being looked at in the face and the good spirits will look you right back
I just found this draft and it’s just a fragment of a quote from the Benjamin January book series, maybe the 7th volume. For whatever reason this really resonated with me, this is my methodology when walking down city streets by myself. If a passerby won’t look me in the eye, then I’m wary.
I’ve been reading the City Lights Pocket Poets Anthology, 60th Anniversary Edition before bed each night and last night I found Jacques Prevert’s Discours sur la Paix, translated into English by Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
I couldn’t find a public version of the poem, but I did find these 2 wacky videos about the poem.
Thanks to NPR’s Morning Edition (and my local affiliate WWNO), I learned that Lawrence Ferlinghetti is still with us in the land of the living. AND is a very sassy 96. During the piece (seriously go listen to it), they read a bit of Howl by Allen Ginsberg.
I remember when I first read that poem as a teen and how the language and the rhythm overwhelmed me…I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness,
starving hysterical naked… I dare you to read it and remain unmoved.
I wondered if I remembered any of Ferlinghetti’s poems. And I’m going to have to check my bookshelf when I’m at home later. But I did find this poem Dog (1958) which I’m glad to have discovered new today…The dog trots freely in the street. The ending reminds me a bit of Stevie Smith’s Person from Porlock with the poem shifting rhythms.