oh, the cool living within the shade of the big oak! The girl swinging On a high branch Looks down And sees my bright Pink and yellow petals, Jumps down to smell me And lies beside me To listen to the music Of the oak leaves Playing with the summer breeze.
All my life I have been sheltered By my friend the oak, Being protected from Hard rain, Gusts of cold wind, And hot sun, So that my gentle beauty Can grow strong & bright Within the circle Of vibrating shade… Refreshing shadows of living together, Rooted together Within just being together. Ah, my friend, The oak tree!
a mat is on the otherwise bare performing area. harsh bright lights. jim lies in his world of the mat.
I lie here in my universe of the mat, my bed. I always have been here lying in my universe forever, forever. My mat, my pillow, my sheet, my blanket…for countless force-fed meals, enemas, baths, shaves, haircuts, pissed-on sheets…many many harsh-lighted days, many, many semi-dark nights. Outside my universe there are bony fingers, blotch-skin creatures. Sometimes they invaded my universe…the sickly-sweet smelling ones. They “take care of me”…they handle me like they handle my pillow. Their voices are high, loud, flat. Sometimes they lie on beds beside mine, moaning and crying for alone many many, then they get quiet and others of them carry the still ones away. There are always new ones, but they are always the same. There are different bony fingers who invade my universe, who strip me, probe me stretch me until it hurts…do strange things to me like rubbing ice on my body then brushing me hard. They talk to me in funny ways…loud and flat. They say, “We are doing this for your own good.” They don’t think I understand what they are saying. I don’t understand most of their words. But I understand enough, I understand I am not a Mister, a Mrs., a Miss, a Nurse, a Doctor. I understand I am not bony fingers. They can keep their universe of bony fingers. I am not going out of my universe of the mat. I understand enough. A long long, when I cried out, they made me numb. I do not like being numb. In my universe of the mat, I am not numb. But they said crying out was not “appropriate behavior”. I do not think appropriate behavior is good.
Everything that is not appropriate behavior makes me feel. But I understand enough to stop crying when the bony fingers are around. Stop making any sound, any move when they are around. They stopped making me numb. I understand enough. I discovered a way of rubbing myself that makes me warm, makes me feel good. Bony fingers slapped me away from feeling good. Not appropriate behavior. I understand enough. I do appropriate behavior in the harsh light when they are around. I am still, quiet. In my universe of the mat. I do not even look into their world. I am busy creating within me. But when the harsh light goes and the semi-darkness comes…when only the still or moaning bony fingers are around…I move, I laugh, I cry, I rub my body and good feeling comes. Not so loud or so much that the harsh light, the bony fingers, and their numbness come back. But just enough. And by rubbing, I know I am not bony fingers.
In the harsh light, they treat me just like my pillow. They change me just like they change my pillow. Always fast like they need to move on. Sometimes, the special bony fingers, the prodders, stand over me and say I should come into their universe, what they are doing to me will help me. They talk like they talk to my pillow. Why should I want to go into their world of greys, where everyone wears white? In my universe of the mat, I lie on smooth warm softness and create the brightest colors and the sweetest sounds to surround me. But I am not worried. Bony fingers never really believe I ever can enter their universe.
I only wish I was not the only soft fingers…I wish there was another soft fingers in my universe of the mat…someone to share in the bright colors and sweet sounds…someone I could laugh with, cry with, move with, share good feeling with…someone who would be with me on the mat, touch me not like touching my pillow, not like pulling things out of me or to make me different. But just because we are the only soft fingers in the universe of the mat.
There is a new prodder. Do not look at bony fingers. But catch sight of same white. Miss Roberts talking to a pillow called Mr. Merrill. Same words about “to make you better”. But sound of voice is somehow different, softer. The touch is still changing the pillow of me. But not bony fingers! I sneak a peak. Same white, but different. The skin is soft like my skin. The smell is almost like my smell. Almost enough to try to open my universe to this new soft fingers. But words came, the same words as bony fingers. The prodding soft fingers strips me bare just like she is changing the pillow of me. Easier to probe my pillow of a body. The prodding fingers does the same hurting “make you better” exercises on me as the other bony fingers before. And then the going somewhere else fast. And the touching the pillow of me, instead of touching me.
When the soft fingers and the harsh light were gone, I cried louder than before. I do not care if they make me numb. Maybe numbness is better if soft fingers are the same as bony fingers, if soft fingers also want me to go into grey and white, if soft fingers does not want to be with me, then numbness is better.
Soft fingers keeps coming back. At first, rushing to somewhere else, trying to pull me into the grey universe. I know how to fight against that bony fingers trick. But I like her soft warm skin touching me…like my soft warm sheet under me. Sometime soft fingers forgets about helping me, about making me a better person. For that moment we are the only ones in the universe…together. Then soft fingers remembers the bony fingers and starts touching me like a pillow again.
But the moments of being together grow. I like when she forgets and makes mistakes and comes closer into my world. I like when she just sits on my mat…on our mat…and just looks at me, just listens to me. I feel more and more like I can show her my moves, show her my sounds. I like when soft fingers became Jane and I became Jim. I like when Jane just lies on the mat and we just look at each other, listen to each other, even when we really don’t understand what meaning…but we feel. I like it when Jane starts making her own noises, not just bony words. I like when Jane holds my hand. I like when Jane comes into my world of dim light, when she wears colors bright, soft, smooth flowing…not bony fingers white…and even her hair is flowing strangely soft. I like when Jane comes wearing the colors soft even in the harsh light. I like when Jane makes the harsh light go away for a while, when Jane rocks me, when Jane rubs my head. I like when Jane slowly takes all the colors off. She is soft everywhere. She lies next to me on the mat. She makes soft sounds and soft moves, just like me. She is just like me now. Two soft fingers on the mat. I like when Jane lets me rub Jane’s back, when Jane calls me Jim. I like it when we are in our universe of the mat sharing not appropriate behavior…laughing, crying, making good feeling come. Rocking or holding hands made different good feelings come together, making soft sounds together, together making good feelings come.
But suddenly Jane was gone. I was alone in happiness. Jane would come back into the happiness with me on the mat. So I was happy.
But when Jane came the next day, she was in bony white. Jane had become like bony fingers again. She said what we were doing was not appropriate behavior. She used words like romance and sexual that I did not understand. Jane left. The numbness came back without the bony fingers giving me anything.
Jane came back as bony fingers. I kept rising out of the numbness in hope whenever Jane came, but then fell deeper and deeper.
Jane came. I could not hold the crying back. I cried in the harsh light. Then Jane cried too. She made the harsh light go away. She came back into our universe of the mat and rocked me. Jane told me to teach her the noises and the moves of our universe of the mat. Now I have another soft fingers, Jane, on the mat, in the universe with me, together with me.
Together we can expand the universe beyond the mat. Jane can bring other soft fingers in. The bony fingers begin to fade. I can see, begin to see colors beyond the mat, begin to hear laughter beyond the mat. Jane says she and I together will explore the universe that is outside. She and I are happy.
Frank wrote this poem about/for Kenneth Atchley (K.A.) right before the “Voices from the Underground” event on June 27, 1997 at Modern Times Bookstore in San Francisco. It was read as K.A.’s introduction before his performance. From the poster:
THE CHEROTIC (r)EVOLUTIONARY, a zine of all possibilities, presents VOICES FROM THE UNDERGROUND, an evening of readings and music by a wide range of agents of cultural subversion … featuring Dorothy Jesse Beagle, Barbara Golden, Noni Howard, Jack & Adelle Foley, K. Atchley, Frank Moore … plus special surprise guests. If that is not enough, everyone will get an autographed xeroxed piece of art by LaBash!
Frank had published one of K.A.’s written pieces in his zine, The Cherotic (r)Evolutionary. K.A. also played with the Cherotic All-Stars several times and even travelled to Seattle to perform with Frank in 1996.
June 23, 1997
A southern gentleman, gentle being, creates a noise fountain, a gate to a dark erotic motel of razor blade cutting blonde white skin in love. Time going backwards into a shamanistic perverseness, floating back into a pipeline of a sustained note, a sexy machine whine, strangely human, strangely divine.
This gentleman puts pictures in my head too taboo.
This gentleman with his noises super real spray opens up caverns of possibilities like a knife ripping open a child’s belly.
And I always have wondered what is in southern comfort! A gentle spirit unbounded.
A poem by George Kauffman published in the Anderson Valley Advertiser, Boonville, CA 95415, June 11, 1997.
-for Frank Moore
She took off all her clothes, then she took off her skin. I had never seen such bones! Her legs crushed me while her tongue darted out of her skull. I got out of my skin and we made love. Who says there’s no life after death? -George Kauffman
People sometimes ask, “Where is your work heading? What do you want to do next?”
It is not my work. It is not my choice.
For me, it is not a question of a next thing. It is a growing, evolving vision. I am carried along in this vision of life, of art. A performance does not have a beginning or an end. It is just a tiny bit of the vision. The vision braids around itself, flowing on. I do not know where the vision is taking me. I have not been down this vision before.
One thing’s for sure. We humans are not the end of evolution.
A family friendly poetry reading? Really? Do you mean like READERS’ DIGEST? MMMM… I suppose some poets would go along with it… The kind in READERS’ DIGEST The kind who don’t see Don’t mind The command For “self” censorship Tucked neatly in the warmly caramel apple Phrase Of FAMILY FRIENDLY There ain’t no “self” censorship You are censoring art, Words, Intensity, Truths, The Audience Down into nice mellow Fascism
I suppose some are willing to accept this…. The kind who don’t question Questions like Which family? It definitely ain’t my family Not any of the expanding rings Of my family In fact It is down right hostile To my human tribal family Which teaches our kids How to use words To communicate with all kinds of people In all kinds of contexts Openly Deeply Freely Exploring all life With a passionate honesty, Sitting together In the yummy smelling kitchen Of Life Sitting together Around the tribal fires Generations sitting together Passing the talking stick around Telling their stories Revealing their desires and fears, Wisdom and folly Exploring myths… Listening and telling Into the center of respect and acceptance… All the family listening All tell In their own ways… Silly little sister Wise grandma Hot angry brother Mother finding new words Dad listening to family voices… All beyond taboos In this sacred ritual of telling.
I don’t really know what to make of this Hostile FAMILY FRIENDLY… Ok, I do. This is making poetry, All art, Into a hallmark lapdog Of the brainwashing “socialization” Of little lily and billy Reinforcing SCHOOL/CHURCH/CORPORATE shallow Dogma, Using us poets To be the shallow virus dogma carriers, Thinking FAMILY FRIENDLY can ever be Anything but enforced shallow reality On everyone
Sure, When I read at schools I play by THE RULES Not because of the kids
But to get into the brainwashing camps To slip the kids A subversive potion of Words/ideas/images
But shoot me If I ever read at a FAMILY/KIDS FRIENDLY POETRY READING… No… Shoot the fascist’s parents!
I came to play! Came to the table to play I don’t care what I have to do to get a seat at the table
I play every hand dealt to me not really caring about winning or losing or about skill… just playing hands to stay in the game
Yes, I am a dangerous player, keep on playing
I came to play! Came to bed not to fuck you but to melt with you enjoying mutual surrender washing pleasure swept away into oneness exploring skin from the inside, beyond time, beyond self, into the fun of being into exploring the furry cozy sweating love that can’t be confined to the bed, but claims the whole life as its playpen I came to play to mix things up to see what unexpected will appear, to jam with playmates, to lose ourselves within one another, within the playing, the dancing, the touching, the music… into listening and melting
I came to play… playing life the best way I can… always playing against the house, against the odds… not a smart player… never in competition… just keep my eye on the ball, on each hand, on following the every move of Lady Luck
I came to play… often in the lonely fields beyond taboo, breaking thru THE WALL to new possibilities… but I am a team player… always looking for playmates to get muddy or sweaty with… because… truth be told… playing with myself for myself has never been fun, only lonely
I came to play with colors, noises, realities, bodies, words, characters, limits, dreams, images, life, death, symbols, magic… and with you
I came to play and I’m a dangerous player because I don’t play for money, fame, power, or from anger, bitterness, hatred, emptiness, or to win… so I can’t lose can’t be beaten!
I came to play to play just for fun ….just to change everything!
I came to play… after all… I want to play with you… we are mammals, after all!
There are all kinds of art. There is art that calms, art that pacifies, art that sells, art that decorates, art that entertains.
But what I am committed to is art as a battle, an underground war against fragmentation. The battle is on all realities.
The controllers have always tried to fragment us. Fragment us from each other. Imprison us in islands of sex, color, religion, politics, classes, labels, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc. they fragment our inner worlds, they blow our individual realities apart, and play the pieces against one another. They are us, or a part of us. They are the controllers, the politicians, the sexists, the women’s libbers, the pornographers, the censors, the moralists, the church, the media, the businessmen, educators, the victims and the powerful.
They are us. They have divided us from our power, from our beauty, from our lust for life and pleasure. They have divided us from most of reality – divided dying from living – sex from living, sex from pleasure. We are kept in boxes of fear, of mistrust. We are kept waiting – kept waiting to do what we want – waiting for enough money, enough schooling, for everything to be right. We are kept waiting and protecting and hiding and suffering.
This is the time to do battle with the boxes.
As artists, our tools are magic, our bodies, taboos, and dreams.
This kind of art can be bubbles of childhood – hidden places where you can play and explore – it is the kids’ under-the-covers world, the playhouse, the treehouse, the cave, behind the barn, playing doctor, cars at drive-ins before going all the way, Huck Finn’s raft, tepees. People are afraid of this area of lusty exploring that they think they have out-grown — but they are sucked into it.
But this kind of art can have a more heavy-duty magical side to it that shocks, offends, and breaks new ground. This side is what is locked in, the subconscious, the womb, the underground, hell/heaven, pleasure/torture, the coffin, the grave, birth/death/rebirth, dream/nightmare, the hidden world of taboos.
Artists of this breed need to be warriors who are willing to go into the areas of taboo, willing to push beyond where it is comfortable and safe to explore and build a larger zone of safeness. They need to be idealists, willing to live ideals.
What we have here is only the first smell of fresh magic. Matter is hollow tubes containing fibers of packets of possibilities. Matter is symbol, is metaphor containing possibilities. These packets shape matter. These packets, in turn, are reshaped by each body /object they pass through. We are affected by the stars, and the stars are affected by us. We affect the Tarot cards and the I Ching coins we cast. The physicists affect the subatomic particles they observe.
By reshaping these inner packets, the material reality is reshaped.
The inner rivers of possibilities are two way on the linear level. The magical effects are always two way. The light of the sun warms us; but we affect the sun through the same channel.
We have entered the level of the dynamic web of relationships in which the individual does not exist. In place of the individual, there appear points of personal responsibility in a dance.
It is not the sun that warms, nor is it us who are warmed. It is the dance of no dancers, the dance of relationships that warms, and that is warmed.
Reality creation is a dance. We are the dancers. But in truth, it is a dance without dancers. If we really take on personal responsibility for the dance, we surrender to the dance, give up individual “control,” give up individual linking with the results. By taking on the personal responsibility for the dance, we are the dance. We melt with the dance. We are only the dance. We admit these facts. It is not a question of becoming, but of remembering and admitting. It is a question of being, living, dancing lustfully, without controls or limits in responsibility.
The life dance is beyond morals or limits. It joyfully digs into the dance to the juicy black core.