The Accomplishment of Slowing Down ~ Tricycle

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Bob Fulton died in his plane while flying over Pennslyvania in 2002.  A very creative guy…artist, musician, film maker, philosopher, intellectual, poet.  A Renaissance man……and a good guy…  Lived in Aspen and put together a great film called ‘Pilot Notes’ with the BBC and other film projects… check him out … rŌbert

~ PILOTS NOTES TRAILER ~

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  ~~~  PILOTS NOTES  ~~~

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Fulton’s Father was the original adventurer….must be genetic memory…  JR

 

Musings from the border lands … Eric Ming

Por favor rŌbert  readers

Our pleasure to introduce Eric Ming (no need for a nom de guerre). Another San Juan desperado, writer, photographer, husband, skier, climber and gentleman of the world. Eric recently was transferred to the border lands of Colorado/New Mexico by The Man (forest service) to work El Rito, N.M. and was assigned to Aldo Leopold’s (Sand County Alminac) “Mia Casita” that Aldo built in Tres Piedras for his  la esposa, Estella Luna Otero Bergere …  Que sorpresa! 

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The Ming studio at the Leopold casita

 

 

 

 

Don Éric will surely channel some of the Leopold creativity and will hopefully pass on spontaneous art, ideas, photos, opinions, bar stories or whatever he wants for rŌbert aficionados to enjoy.

We look forward  to hearing from you.  Your dance card is open.

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And don’t forget to eat at el Farolito, some of the best northern New Mexican food in the area, especially the green chile.

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gracias Caballero 

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photos credit Eric Ming

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Looking into southern Colorado from northern New Mexico

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Artful Catholic site on the south end of Antonito, Colorado

to light the fire | letter by Yosa Buson

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Yosa Buson was one of the greatest masters of Haiku poetry and he was during his lifetime. One can smile at the modest phrase he puts at the end of this poetic compilation when he tells the addressee what to do with this letter. – “These poems [in this letter] are an expression of gratitude for your habitual kindness, such as fish. You can use them to light the fire”. Buson signed the letter Houko-An, a sobriquet which translates “Mugwort Pot Hermitage”.
Yosa Buson (1716-1783)

 

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Not Here Yet ~ Lion’s Roar

Gary Snyder Zen Shambhala Sun Lion's Roar Buddhism Homelessness Environment AmericaPhoto by Phil Roussin.

Remarks by Gary Snyder on Buddhism, Ecology & the Poetics of Homelessness.

The question of our ethical obligations and community with non-human creatures has been with me since childhood. It was the question which drove me out of Lutheran Sunday school at about the age of nine. My Sunday school teacher told me my dead heifer would not go to heaven; that was the end of that.

As a youth growing up in the Pacific Northwest, with questions of ecological and social justice on my mind, casting about as we do for philosophies to learn about, one of the religions I came upon was Buddhism. At the same time, I was studying Taoism and engaged with Native American spirituality in the Northwest.

The clear lyrics of Chinese poetry— the powerful imagery and the leaps of the mind in Japanese haiku—the exuberant devotionalism of Buddhist poetry in India: all these have touched me and are reflected in my work.

But another aspect of my work has been frankly ecological, for which I get more heat from critics than I do about the more “poetic” work. The literary/ critical mind in the United States is shy of providing any value-based position, and particularly shy of taking a critical stance, even if poetic and sardonic. So what I am talking about is not always considered my best poetry.

It has been for me a deep personal choice to try to have other realms speak through my poetry. To call out a flicker, to call out a watershed, if it might be done. I have a little poem called “The Flickers”:

sharp clear call
THIS!
THIS!
THIS!
in the cool pine breeze

Letting the flickers speak that way for us, as they always do—that is an ecological poem. So a large part of my poetic work has been the evocation of natural systems, and of human beings— myself, my friends, and my family— moving through the natural world and being as much a part of it as they can.

I might have been such a poet had I never stumbled onto the dharma, or Buddhist teaching, but I doubt it. In fact, I doubt that I would be any sort of poet at all without the dharma, because the dharma was a great help in keeping me from “irritably grasping after reason.” It has constantly reminded me to accept my ignorance and to live in “not-knowing,” which is where you have to live to be a poet, as distinguished, say, from a journalist.

In recent years, my political and poetic direction has been to turn the question for Americans away from who we are, to where we are. The two questions aren’t separate—they are the same question, just from a different angle.

Zen master Dogen says, “When you find your place, practice begins.” The population on this continent will become grounded, will find their place, by a slight change of mind that says, “I’m here.”

This has not yet happened for the American population. This is a homeless nation; the whole population of North America is homeless. This is not to take away from the reality and the pain of actual homelessness, but with the exception of the Native Americans, who have been displaced in a different way, we are all homeless.

We are not yet here, we have not yet found our place, so we cannot yet begin our practice.

Yet we are almost here. That has been part of my poetic practice, although it still takes the form of nerdy-sounding public level language, talking about “watersheds” or “eco-systems.” If I can find the language that goes past that, I sure will use it. I’m looking for it right now.

I’d like to ask you about that sense of homelessness and how it contributes to our confusion and social collapse.

We’re playing on different senses of the word homeless. There is the traditional Buddhist sense in which it is proposed with a positive meaning—”the homeless brothers and sisters”—and is taken to mean those who have entered into the monastic sangha, or community. Homelessness in that context means leaving the ordinary bonds and obligations of caste, kin and society, and entering into another context of obligations and associations, which is the work with the dharma. So that kind of homelessness means stepping outside of the usual obligations of your society.

Another sense of the term homelessness is the larger metaphor of being “unplaced”—without a place. It’s my sense that Americans are more displaced, more homeless, than they realize. They live in that condition without being conscious of it, and yet it profoundly affects their psychological and social life.

One effect is that nobody lives in one place long enough to take a serious interest in local politics or local community. That’s why we have such a low turnout at elections. If people lived in a place long enough to feel a sense of obligation and commitment to it, like a marriage, then even if they didn’t believe in national scale politics, they would sure as hell know that local scale politics accomplishes something.

That’s at a simple level, but it resonates through the school system and the kind of ecological work that can only be done by local people. That’s essential, because the Sierra Club is not going to come and save your local marsh from a Safeway supermarket parking lot. You’ve got to do it yourself or nobody will.

The larger metaphor is the lack of communication with the non-human community, the profound nature-illiteracy of educated Americans, who think that knowing the names of birds and wild plants is something only high school teachers and boy scouts need to do. Whereas that should be part of every cultured person’s response to their world. It shouldn’t be something just for nature freaks; it should be part of everyone’s literacy. In exercising such literacy in a particular place, we begin to fulfill, right there, some of the implications of the first Buddhist precept, which is to cause less harm, including less harm to non-human entities.

One could pursue this a little farther and ask what this pervasive sense of homelessness has done—mythically, poetically, and artistically—to our still formative society. My wife and I and a few friends have a project in mind to help Cambodians, Hmongs, and other Southeast Asian immigrants discover the American wilderness. They’re all so hard-bent on learning about the constitution and getting their citizenship; we’re hard-bent on showing them there’s another citizenship that is far more profound. We would say to them, “We want to help you become citizens of North America. Let us take you to the mountain, the desert and go walking together.”

Paradoxically, the United States—as I have proposed it, a homeless and displaced society—is vigorously engaged in displacing everybody else in the world as well. That’s what happens when you fund the “development” of the Third World: you make everybody else on the planet homeless.

Straight Creek—Great Burn for Tom and Martha Birch

Lightly, in the April mountains—Straight Creek, dry grass freed again of snow & the chickadees are pecking last fall’s seeds

fluffing tail in chilly wind,

Avalanche piled up cross the creek and chunked-froze solid— water sluicing under; spills out

rock lip pool, bends over, braided, white, foaming, returns to trembling

deep-dark hole.

Creek boulders show the flow-wear lines in shapes the same as running blood carves in the heart’s main valve,

Early spring dry. Dry snow flurries;

walk on crusty high snow slopes —grand dead burn pine—

chartreuse lichen as adornment (a dye for wool) angled tumbled talus rock of geosyncline warm sea bottom yes, so long ago.

“Once on a time.”

Far light on the Bitteroots;

scrabble down willow slide changing clouds above, shapes on glowing sun-ball

writhing, choosing

reaching out against eternal azure—

us resting on dry fern and watching

Shining Heaven change his feather garments overhead.

A whoosh of birds swoops up and round tilts back

almost always flying all apart and yet hangs on! together;

never a leader, all of one swift

empty

dancing mind.

They arc and loop & then their flight is done, they settle down, end of poem.

What you are saying makes me think about the phrase from The Lotus Sutra that enlightened the Sixth Patriarch of Zen: “Abiding no place.”

Keeping in mind that the medicine was always prescribed according to the disease, we must remember that the language of non-abiding and homelessness was used in traditional Asia in relationship to very deeply settled, very conventional societies. There were Asian societies where people needed to be able to say to themselves, “You can step out of this—you can go away and look back at it, and liberate yourself from it.” Whereas in America the situation is wholly reversed; nobody knows where they came from or has a sense of place.

Instead of “abide nowhere,” you could say, just as easily and just as to the point, “Be at home right now, right here. Right now, be at home.” And start being at home from that instant. Buddhist practice shows us that’s a possibility.

Forty years ago, when the influence of Buddhism started to be felt in America, there was a lot of concern about living by what we called “slender means.” Gradually I’ve seen that fade into the background, but if we’re going to do something about saving the planet, we’ve got to live not only in compassion but also as cleanly and simply as possible.

Not to answer directly, let me say that I think poetry does that every day. In poetry and the other arts, there is an ongoing presentation of an alternative set of values, an ongoing presentation of the vivid experience of living in the moment, of valuing the ordinary that is before us. It is implicitly unmaterialistic; it implicitly argues that we do not lead a quality life by the accumulation of consumer items. We lead a quality life by the quality of our perception and the quality of our consciousness.

Is there still a “here” to be at? If the wilderness is mapped, is this talk of “home” just a pointless nostalgia?

Pristine nature, or wilderness, is not the question. The question is not what was here, or what might be here. The question is, what is here? What is here is a lot more than we know, a lot more than we’re aware of, a lot more than we see.

For instance, what is here at this particular place, Manhattan, is the confluence of a river that reaches deep into the mountains; the old wetlands of the Newark Basin; the southern and northern Atlantic waters; the Eastern Atlantic Flyway, and some very wonderful bedrock which this city is on. The air is full of seed-fluff, of wild plants going eve*y which direction.

The flows of these natural forces have not stopped.

So the natural world is here and it has enormous durability. I would say it’s not nostalgic, it’s ever-present, and it’s always more than we think it is. Years ago, an architect friend of mine pointed out that downtown skyscrapers are riverbeds stood on end. This is a river bed from somewhere in the watershed, just temporarily moved over here. Now that is poetic language; that is what poets do.

I Went into The Maverick Bar

I went into the Maverick Bar

In Farmington, New Mexico.

And drank double shots of bourbon
backed with beer.

My long hair was tucked up under a cap I’d left the earring in the car.

Two cowboys did horseplay by the pool tables,

A waitress asked us

where are you from? a country-and-western band began to play “We don’t smoke Marijuana in Muskokie” And with the next song, a couple began to dance.

They held each other like in High School dances in the fifties;

I recalled when I worked in the woods

and the bars of Madras, Oregon. That short-haired joy and roughness— America—your stupidity.

I could almost love you again.

We left—onto the freeway shoulders— under the tough old stars—

In the shadow of bluffs

I came back to myself.

To the real work, to

“What is to be done.”

Mr. Snyder’s remarks in this article are edited from a discussion sponsored by the Academy of American Poets, held at Poet’s House in New York City on October 28, 1992, to discuss issues raised by the anthology Beneath a Single Moon: Buddhism and Contemporary American Poetry (Shambhala Publications, 1991).©1994 by Gary Snyder. Turtle Island poems© 1974 Gary Snyder. Courtesy of New Directions Publishing.

The Wild Mind of Gary Snyder ~ Lion’s Roar

gary snyder
Gary Snyder, San Francisco, 1958. (Photo by Harry Redl, from terebess.hu)

For the nineties, the celebrated Beat rebel advocates “wild mind,” neighborhood values and watershed politics. “Wild mind,” he says, “means elegantly self-disciplined, self-regulating. That’s what wilderness is. Nobody has a management plan for it.”

Asked if he grows tired of talking about ecological stewardship, digging in, and coalition-building, the poet Gary Snyder responds with candor: “Am I tired of talking about it? I’m tired of doing it!” he roars. “But hey, you’ve got to keep doing it. That’s part of politics, and politics is more than winning and losing at the polls.”

These days, there’s an honest, conservative-sounding ring to the politics of the celebrated Beat rebel. Gary Snyder, though, has little in common with the right wingers who currently prevail throughout the western world.

“Conservatism has some very valid meanings,” he says. “Of course, most of the people who call themselves conservative aren’t that, because they’re out to extract and use, to turn a profit. Curiously, eco and artist people and those who work with dharma practice are conservatives in the best sense of the word-we’re trying to save a few things!

“Care for the environment is like noblesse oblige,” he maintains. “You don’t do it because it has to be done. You do it because it’s beautiful. That’s the bodhisattva spirit. The bodhisattva is not anxious to do good, or feels obligation or anything like that. In Jodo-shin Buddhism, which my wife was raised in, the bodhisattva just says, ‘I picked up the tab for everybody. Goodnight folks…’ ”

Five years ago, in a prodigious collection of essays called The Practice of the Wild, Gary Snyder introduced a pair of distinctive ideas to our vocabulary of ecological inquiry. Grounded in a lifetime of nature and wilderness observation, Snyder offered the “etiquette of freedom” and “practice of the wild” as root prescriptions for the global crisis.

Informed by East-West poetics, land and wilderness issues, anthropology, benevolent Buddhism, and Snyder’s long years of familiarity with the bush and high mountain places, these principles point to the essential and life-sustaining relationship between place and psyche.

Such ideas have been at the heart of Snyder’s work for the past forty years. When Jack Kerouac wrote of a new breed of counterculture hero in The Dharma Bums, it was a thinly veiled account of his adventures with Snyder in the mid-l950’s. Kerouac’s effervescent reprise of a West Coast dharma-warrior’s dedication to “soil conservation, the Tennessee Valley Authority, astronomy, geology, Hsuan Tsang’s travels, Chinese painting theory, reforestation, Oceanic ecology and food chains” remains emblematic of the terrain Snyder has explored in the course of his life.

One of our most active and productive poets, Gary Snyder has also been one of our most visible. Returning to California in 1969 after a decade abroad, spent mostly as a lay Zen Buddhist monk in Japan, he homesteaded in the Sierras and worked the lecture trail for sixteen years while raising a young family. By his own reckoning he has seen “practically every university in the United States.”

As poet-essayist, Snyder’s work has been uncannily well-timed, contributing to his reputation as a farseeing and weatherwise interpreter of cultural change. With his current collection of essays, A Place In Space, Snyder brings welcome news of what he’s been thinking about in recent years. Organized around the themes of “Ethics, Aesthetics and Watersheds,” it opens with a discussion of Snyder’s Beat Generation experience.

“It was simply a different time in the American economy,” he explained when I spoke to him recently in Seattle. “It used to be that you came into a strange town, picked up work, found an apartment, stayed a while, then moved on. Effortless. All you had to have was a few basic skills and be willing to work. That’s the kind of mobility you see celebrated by Kerouac in On The Road. For most Americans, it was taken for granted. It gave that insouciant quality to the young working men of North America who didn’t have to go  to college if they wanted to get a job.

“I know this because in 1952 I was able to hitch-hike into San Francisco, stay at a friend’s, and get a job within three days through the employment agency. With an entry level job, on an entry level wage, I found an apartment on Telegraph Hill that I could afford and I lived in the city for a year. Imagine trying to live in San Francisco or New York-any major city-on an entry level wage now? You can’t do it. Furthermore, the jobs aren’t that easy to get.”

The freedom and openness of the post-war economy made it possible for people such as Snyder, Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Lew Welch and others to disaffiliate from mainstream American dreams of respectability. And as Snyder writes, these “proletarian bohemians” chose even further disaffiliation, refusing to write “the sort of thing that middle-class Communist intellectuals think proletarian literature ought to be.”

“In making choices like that, we were able to choose and learn other tricks for not being totally engaged with consumer culture,” he says. “We learned how to live simply and were very good at it in my generation. That was what probably helped shape our sense of community. We not only knew each other, we depended on each other. We shared with each other.

“And there is a new simple-living movement coming back now, I understand,” he notes, “where people are getting together, comparing notes about how to live on less money, how to share, living simply.”

~~~  CONTINUE  ~~~

The Summer of Kinky Friedman ~ The New Yorker

 

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“Some of the stuff I’ll be doing tonight I’ve only done a few times on stage,” the country musician, mystery novelist, and former gubernatorial candidate of Texas, Kinky Friedman, warns, with his deadpan, mellow rasp. “So I might screw up. It’s possible. And if I do you’ll know because I usually go, ‘Fuck.’ ”

Kinky has been on the road all summer, quietly touring in support of “Circus of Life,” his first new album of original songs in more than forty years.

“Now, in Europe, when I screwed up, they loved it,” Kinky adds, as he begins to strum. “They all felt it was performance art. The audience here has no sense of that. They don’t think it’s performance art. They just think I’m a little fucked up.”

On a recent visit to perform at City Winery, Kinky stayed with his friend Ryan (Slim) MacFarland and his family, at their home, in Jersey City. “What’s it like having Kinky Friedman as a house guest?” I ask Slim.

“As soon as Kinky walked in the door, with his black Stetson hat and ostrich-skin boots,” Slim recounts, “my five-year-old daughter was in awe. He squatted to meet her at eye level, tipped his hat, and asked if she had ever seen a real cowboy before. She loved it.”

Kinky isn’t, in fact, an actual cowboy. But he is a genuine showman, whose credits as a musician include a stint on tour with Bob Dylan, during the 1976 leg of his “Rolling Thunder Revue,” a travelling caravan of featured performers that included Joan Baez, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Roger McGuinn, Joni Mitchell, and Bob Neuwirth.

“For Kinky,” Slim continues, “life is the performance. So he’s always on: the cigar’s in his hand, maybe he slept in his clothes . . . ”

“ . . . and he’s knocking on your door asking if you want coffee at some ungodly fucking hour, telling you that you’ll drink it black because that’s how they drink it in Texas . . . ”

“ . . . and then he’s bringing you a cup of dirty black coffee, and you’re gonna drink it, and he’s gonna sit there and talk to you and blow cigar smoke right in your face and you’ll just deal with it because he’s funny and irreverent and you love what’s coming out of his mouth.”

Onstage, Kinky exhibits similar traits, minus the smoke. The next night, in Jersey City, at the comparatively diminutive Monty Hall, a music venue owned and operated by WFMU, the local public-radio station, Kinky introduces “Waitret, Please, Waitret,” from 1976’s “Lasso from El Paso,” his last album of original material. In the song, a customer politely invites a waitress to “come sit on my fate.” After one verse, the unfashionably misogynistic tune is abandoned, despite the cautious laughter of the predominantly middle-aged and older crowd. “Well,” the Kinkster, as he is also commonly referred to, especially in the third person, proclaims, “you get the drift.”

“You know, a lot of people, when they think of Kinky Friedman,” McFarland says, “they think of songs like ‘They Ain’t Makin’ Jews Like Jesus Anymore,’ ‘Get Your Biscuits in the Oven and Your Buns in Bed,’ and ‘Asshole from El Paso.’ The funny shit. But Kinky mostly writes serious, heartfelt songs.”

Before launching into “Ride ’Em Jewboy,” which has a funny title but is undoubtedly his most serious song of all, Kinky (who is proudly Jewish) regales the audience with a seeming tall tale. While on a book tour of South Africa, in 1996, Kinky met the anti-apartheid activist Tokyo Sexwhale (pronounced “sex-wah-lay,” but spelled, as Kinky pointed out, “Sex Whale”), who was imprisoned in a cell beside Nelson Mandela on Robben Island. Every night for three years, Sexwhale told Kinky, Mandela listened to “Ride ’Em Jewboy,” the first song of the rock era to be written about the Holocaust, from a smuggled cassette of Kinky’s début album, “Sold American,” from 1973.

“Ride, ride ’em Jewboy
Ride ’em all around the old corral.
I’m, I’m with you boy
If I’ve got to ride six million miles.”

Toward the end of the evening, Kinky puts down the guitar in favor of a copy of “Heroes of a Texas Childhood,” one of more than thirty books that he has written that isn’t a mystery novel, to read “The Navigator,” a story about his father. “He taught me chess, tennis, how to belch, and to always stand up for the underdog,” Kinky explains before reading, “as well as the importance of treating children like adults, and adults like children.”

Although Kinky has been out of the political limelight since his unsuccessful bid to become the Texas agriculture commissioner, in 2014, he has not forgotten how to campaign. “My definition of politics still holds,” Kinky asserts. “ ‘Poly’ means more than one, and ‘tics’ are blood-sucking parasites.” At the end of the show, Kinky descends into the audience to graciously shake as many hands as possible as he leads the satisfied mob to the merch table in the lobby.

It was a 3 a.m. telephone call from another one of Kinky’s lofty friends, Willie Nelson, that inspired “Circle Of Life.” Kinky was watching “Matlock.” Willie, who Kinky also refers to as his therapist, instantly diagnosed his friend with depression and prescribed him to pick up the guitar and write. “When it was all over, and we were done with the record,” Slim recalls, “and Kinky heard it for the first time, he said, ‘Slim, you’ve made a senior citizen very happy.’ ”

  • Andy Friedman is an artist, illustrator, musician, and cartoonist. He has contributed art to this magazine since 1999 and is currently working on a book of essays and drawings.

 

Weeding The Cosmos

This book resides on my bedside table and on the windowsill by my hammock.  I read it, then I read it again … never get tired of it.

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These poems, quick-flash snippets culled from several years of writings–in solitude, while traveling, in work-a-day routines or high-country switchbacks–spring from a tradition as old as the Japanese poet Basho and still just as lively. Falling somewhere between haiku and senryu, John Brandi calls his three-liners “twists”–bringing to light a distinct American style with roots firmly planted in the natural world and the seasons of the human heart.

“Here are poems which leap into the center of gravity. They bring your own world home and give you a fresh taste of wonder. As delicious as discovering the moon over and over again, this book says–Wake up! Be amazed at what happens, no matter what.”–Natalie Goldberg

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