Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Destinations? Stephen Poleskie

Steve Poleskie performing over Southampton, England, 1989
Pilgrimage: Inner and Outer Destinations

We can none of us step into the same river twice, but the river flows on and the other river we step into is cool and refreshing, too. W. Somerset Maugham, The Razor’s Edge.

What was my journey? Pilgrims do not normally carry their destinations with them. When what you are seeking is the sky, however, your goal surrounds you constantly, its lightness weighing on your shoulders. It even extends to the ground, so you step lightly. Or did I? Or was it merely “up” that I was seeking - and hating the way?
            Yes, I once sought the sky; to put my brand on it, stripe it, circle it, bore holes in it. But that was then. Now I leave it alone.
            In 1985, I traveled to Toledo, Ohio, to do an Aerial Theater performance. I made numerous drawings preparatory to that event which I called “Sky Dances of the Maumee,” the Maumee being the river that sliced through the city’s downtown. My program was wedded to that river, the only space I was permitted to fly over. If the airplane was to go down it must be only me who would be injured, or perhaps die. Thanks to a requirement of the FAA, the sponsors provided a rescue boat with a doctor in it cruising below. I later found out that the “doctor” had been a veterinarian, the only person they could find who would volunteer his services. Toledo was not my destination, only a stop on what I thought at the time was my great journey.
For my performance in Toledo I had dancers on the ground, the Valois Dance Company, accompanied by musicians, the Tower Brass Quintet. All went well. It was probably the most coordinated event I have ever presented. But Toledo is not a destination for major art critics, unless you bring your own. There were nice articles in the local newspapers, and on television. When it was all over I was paid $2000.00. The woman from Chamber of Commerce said that this was as much as they usually paid rock stars. I was also taken out to dinner at a restaurant owned by a popular actor, who hailed from Toledo, and whose name I have forgotten, who once played Corporal Klinger on the TV series MASH.
In 1986, Kassel, in Germany, was a grander destination. I would be going farther on the great journey. I had a whole room filled with of my drawings in the Kasseler Kunstverein. I also did a thirty-three foot tall “sky drawing” on the museum’s main stairwell wall with blue chalk. The wall drawing was erased after the exhibition, just as my drawings in the sky were dispersed by the wind. There were drawings in the sky, but I was not allowed to fly the airplane. Instead they were executed by a professional skywriter from Hamburg.
A year later I was invited to participate in Documenta, a major international art exhibition also held in Kassel, but at a different venue. Then my invitation was suddenly withdrawn. I subsequently learned that the organizers had been unaware of my previous exhibition when they had invited me. Documenta needed to have the latest thing, at least for Kassel, where I was last year’s stuff.
Now I am headed in a different direction. I have no idea how far I shall go, but the destination, as always, is up. The one thing I am sure of though is that this time I have fewer days remaining to get there.
From a piece written by Stephen Poleskie, Ithaca NY, 21 July 2007

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Stephen Poleskie’s writing has appeared in journals in Australia, Czech Republic, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico, the Philippines, and the UK, as well as in the USA, and in the anthologies The Book of Love, (W.W. Norton) and Being Human, and been twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize.  He has published seven novels. Poleskie has taught at a number of schools, including: The School of Visual Arts, NYC, the University of California/Berkeley and Cornell University, and been a resident at the American Academy in Rome. His artworks are in the collection of the MoMA and the Metropolitan Museum in New York and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, among others. He currently lives in Ithaca, NY, with his wife the novelist Jeanne Mackin.

Stephen Poleskie's web site:

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Sunday, January 10, 2016

Two Poems - Mike Foldes

The best time to read poetry

So, when is the best time to read Poetry?
In the morning, I think, when mind
is clear as the sky at night, dark space
to be filled with the light of Poetry’s fire.
Where else can one find inspiration
set like a lens over the wandering eye?
The focus, there, is on the meaning behind
the words, the float a lender takes between
sleep and dream, that willfully unconscious,
self-inflicted unguent of parallelism.
In the afternoon, I think, when the words
like rain settles dust settle doubt
raised in rooms of ambition and conflict.
We are strung like amber beads in the thread
from breakfast table to work, and home again.
At night, in blue chair’s pocket beside stones
warm from the hiss and crackle of orange flame.
And, wherever one is astride the jealous universe
whose hands cup the beating heart
dripping sparks into mouths of caves,
the existential uterus where
galaxies and amnesia mix
in sweet harmonics that direct
the dance of mating dragonflies.

leave me alone

the beauty of the land,
i think from the edge of the road
between cut cliffs that rise
left and right, a man-made crevice
clefting the horizon,
is the freedom they evince.

an elder shepherd rugged
as the land admires
snow-covered peaks, takes
comfort knowing it is his land;
he has learned to live with it
hand to mouth, mother and moth.

i walk into the morning mist,
a low-hanging cloud
that scrapes the earth
like a zeppelin’s belly
scrapes treetops,
breathe deeply my damp air.

i love this dreary december
that feels like october.
am as refreshed by it
as the man on horseback
is refreshed by a calm cold
sea of stars in a desert sky.

leave me alone, each of us
says soundlessly. leave me
alone to live the life
i’ve been given. i made this
choice before i was born.
leave me. let me alone.

Mike Foldes

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These poems originally appeared in the French magazine Francopolis

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Mike Foldes is the founder and managing editor of Ragazine, an online literary magazine. He is also the author of "Sleeping Dogs, A true story of the Lindbergh baby kidnapping," and "Sandy: Chronicles of a Superstorm," with artist Christine Devereaux." 
Download at www.Smashwords.Com and www.Amazon.Com

Join Mike on MySpace & Facebook

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