Tuesday, May 28, 2019

6/3/19 Bruce Isaacson Plus Julia Vinograd Retrospective  host Elaine

Bruce Isaacson met Julia Vinograd in 1985 during SF’s open reading / spoken word resurgence.  He earned degrees from Claremont McKenna, Dartmouth and Brooklyn College, where he submitted a thesis to noted American poet Allen Ginsberg.  Julia first introduced him to Ginsberg’s work.  Together with Julia and the poet David Lerner, Bruce co-founded Zeitgeist Press, which started as the house press for the infamous Cafe Babar readings, as David Lerner called it, Gladiator School for Poets. Today, Bruce serves as publisher for Zeitgeist, with over 100 poetry titles to date. He has lived in Michoacán, Mexico, New York City, Los Angeles, Berkeley-San Francisco, and Leningrad, Russia.  He lives today in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he was the first Poet Laureate of Clark County, Nevada, a community of two million souls encompassing the City of Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Strip.  His latest book is Crossing Over, which includes stories of Julia, Lerner, and the poet David Gollub.

Here is a one page poem from the book:

My Heart When It’s a Whale

after David Gollub

Mostly roaming silent in dark waters
It is as   a thing put steaming
To cool in a tub    darker
Than time,   times to come, that is
Not times past   which are placed
In the afternoon light of memory   like
Family photos   framed on a
Shelf no one looks at,   or a
Cup of wrong coffee,   you look
Knowing it’s yours   while saying aloud
To no one   ‘that’s not mine’   that’s my
Heart holding its breath   in the
Deep, lost, with nowhere to go,   looking up at
Desire like the sun   seen through
Three miles of water,   remembering how
Fabulous it was to be young,   now that
Murder’s at the border   of your
Eyebrows like overgrown bushes
Trimming them’s like   trying to walk a cat, like
“Trying” to save a marriage,   like trying to
Raise a child   when you
Already raised   a monster,  Dreamzilla’s
Little brother    playing with
Firetrucks with an   x,   t-r-u-
Ex-wives and   ex-lovers,   ex-
Communicado’d saints,   shining hopefully at
History   while lost in language,   like
A whale,   who comes to   the surface   and
Blows,   grateful to breathe,   but still
Lost   in the wallows and wonders

of the deep.

We are celebrating the poetry life of Julia Vinograd. 
   Here is a poem appropriate to the moment by Julia:


You must feel loved when you read this.
Lean against the hand
stroking the back of your neck.  Relax.
In the pocket where you once kept marbles
is a small bag full of kisses.
Open it.  Let it go.
Someone's humming in the next room
with a throaty laugh at every missed note
because mistakes don't matter.
No, don't go see.
You don't even have to listen.
You are loved.
There's a warm smell coming from the kitchen
and the puppy's nibbling your slippers
but you're too comfortable to get angry.
There are so many people who want this.
Just this.
Believe me, they are not your enemies.

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