Poets For Peace in Boulder

POETS FOR PEACE
Tour no. 4
Day 3 – Boulder: recap
on the road with Julia Daye and Anthony Carson

The night in Boulder ends at a pizza place. The table filled with poets old and new. Poets For Pizza. It’s the history of the town that puts this in context. Here we are, the Allen Ginsberg’s, Jack Kerouac’s, Neal Cassidy’s of our generation hovering around our slices of pizza like coffee mugs, discussing the politics of the day.

I look around at my peers and am in awe of the power of these individuals around me. Journeyers and dreamers. Wordsmiths and musicians. Voicing the concerns of the oppressed. Creating a more intersectional reality. Serving their community inwards and outwards.

Earlier there was a poetry reading at Innisfree Poetry Bookstore & Cafe, one of the only poetry-specific bookstores in the country. Full of beatnik and meta-beatnik flare, as well as so many other incredibly powerful voices.

The reading begins with the words of Jona Fine. Taking us back to the shooting at a night club in Orlando last year. The outcry of the LGBTQ+ community. The fear that beckons at our door again. The strength of those who have been through it before, coming together and raising each other up to face another day.

Matt Clifford follows. Honoring the inner clown. Espousing through satire, 2nd amendment laws and the way government polices us all. His truths that we all die, most of us relatively soon, are met with bursts of laughter. Jaws dropping. Turning over this bleak reality. And yet the joy inside a moment so fleeting.

More and more students and vagabonds begin marching in. Fellow peaceniks and curious townsfolk. Carrying signs and songs of the rêvelution. The room swells for the Poets For Peace.

It creates the space for two clowns and the voice of the mother earth to take to the microphone and shed applause and laughter on the atmosphere. The room evolving from poetry to vaudeville. The clowns laughing so hard, they’re not sure if others laugh with them, at them, or maybe are all silent, their own laughter being so loud it serves to seem like it’s everyone’s. The voice of the mother earth giving soothing, healing vibes with her groundedness.

A round robin of poetry from each one of them. Haikus that sing. Prayers to Mother Earth. Songs of enlightenment.

The one clown with a guitar makes faces that cause some clowns in the audience to burst out laughing. He says, “Oh, you like that? You like my face?” and continues with more eccentricity in his expressions and voice acting.

The voice of the mother earth blows wind into the two clowns’ fires. She speaks eloquently and passionately about the plague of toxic masculinity on her surface. On her terrestial body. It causes the clowns to settle down with their horseplay and focus on how they too are a part of the problem, but can also be part of the solution.

The other clown reads of the Hayukka. The Sacred Clowns of Lakota legend. He talks of direct action and nonviolent protest. Something of a skit like The Three Stooges that took place at Standing Rock, involving clowns in a canoe and police following along the shore in a professional golf cart.

The night almost lasts too long. But it’s just perfect. Short enough to be a dream. Long enough to leave everyone feeling complete.

To finish it off, one of the clowns pulls out a kaleidoscope and shares his psychedelic visions with the peaceniks who have amassed around him. One of them drops it and it shatters into a million pieces. Confetti for the breeze to take away into the infinite star dust above. When the clown picks it up and looks back through this kaleidoscope monacle, the vision is even more twisted and satisfying.

Everything in rainbows and ecstatic multi-colored light.

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Poets For Peace in Boulder

Rocky Mountain High

(Written on 9/11/2016)

I’m familiar with Crow on every fence post, but it’s been a while since I’ve flown along his path. Soaring across the highway when we pass. The way the sky changes at sun down when it has more room to express itself. How Rocky Mountains are actually quite rocky when they begin to populate the horizon. Passing towns have signs like “historic” and “preserving the west” with pictures of cowboys and yet they’re only 100 years old. I begin to see sunsets followed by sunrises. Having completely fulfilling days.

Fox greets us at the first campsite. He stares nonplussed into the headlights waiting for us to make our move first. When we remain stunned he moves back to his lean-to stores. A pile of packaged meat, left by some wayward wanderer. Fox carries off ham, ribs, turkey wing, one at a time. His bushy tail sailing behind him especially pompous.

We decide on a campsite less occupied, a little further down the road. There’s a feeling of darkness in the night but we seem pretty much untouched by it. In the morning, Fox transformed back into his human form, comes and collects money for the campsite from us. He has a bit of a Southern drawl and is generally well-humored.

We see Coyote in the road. Several times. He’s snooping after Wild Turkey. Later on the trail, Wild Turkey leaves behind his tail feathers for us to gather. I find Hawk’s feather as well.

The trail to the pictoglyphs is still one of wonder. We drift through ruins, along canyons hundreds of feet deep, with bird faces and elder faces set in the stone.

Mule Deer comes and visits our camp in the morning. She realizes we’re friendly and invites her newborn fawn. And then her sister too. Turkey Vulture circles above. We wonder if she found Turkey for a meal.

The ancients visit our dreams. They visit our conscious conversations. We talk of existence and the story we all tell. We envision the effect of humanity on the ecosystem. We express intelligence is probably not humanoid, but rather a much larger system. Aren’t moons intelligent? Aren’t whole planets? If intelligence were to grow to its full potential, wouldn’t it want to go some place it couldn’t be found?

The landscape is serene. It is the definition of serenity. There’s some days where it’s even more pretty. But every day the sun sets and the sun rises in the most dazzling of colors.

Rocky Mountain High

Working on the Novel

(photo by Ras Jiro)

I’ve been writing poetry for 3-12 hours a day for the last week and a half. Sometimes working on a novel. Sometimes just working. Not always for myself. Sometimes behind a typewriter in the plaza and getting paid. Other times at home and in the backyard at my writer’s desk and drinking tea.

When I’m in the middle of writing the novel, I fill with envy for my future self who can say he is almost done and has less to write than he has written. Sometimes my head spins with how much I have left to write. Other times my head spins with all of the other novels I have left to start writing.

When I’m in the street, my mind taps into something outside of myself and I see the words typed in front of me come out cleaner and clearer each day, giving me this sense of pride for the poems people walk away with.

When I’m at home, I’m filled with this desire to share with someone what I’m writing. To just have it done and published already.

Sometimes I wonder how Kerouac did it. I wonder how Miller did it. I wonder how Thompson did it. No one ever taught me how to do any of this. I feel like I’m past the point of making it up for myself, and almost at the point of finding the things that actually work.

Today I bought 4 poems worth of groceries. It’s enough for the week. I’ve been thinking about upping the rate I suggest. People really value spontaneous poetry. I see the romance it inspires. I see the hope it gives. I feel first hand the connections to the earth it creates. I’ve written birthday poems to people’s grandmothers. I’ve written love poems to people’s wives. I’ve written surrealist poems to old beatniks who tell me about the time they saw Gary Snyder walking a purple poodle. One guy asked me to write a poem to his enemy and I wrote an apology. None of this can be translated to dollar signs.

Someone has been leaving pennies underneath the rosebush where I write in downtown Taos. The first time I thought it was odd enough. The penny was old and dirty. It looked like it had been sitting there for a while. But I’m there 3 to 4 days a week, so I would’ve noticed it before. Oddly, this was the first or second penny I’ve found in months.

The second and third time, the pennies were even older and dirtier, as if they had sprouted from the ground and were young seedlings. And there were more of them. 

They weren’t there when I first sat down.

I found the pennies after writing a poem that really struck a chord. A poem about heart consciousness. A poem about spreading abundance.

Perhaps the rosebush has been tipping me. 

I believe in magnetism. I believe in abundance. I feel absolute gratitude. I wish there was more time in the day. I wish I had more energy. I wish my focus was stronger. I wish I had the words to describe everything I dream.

Some days I realize this is the life I lead. I realize it is leading to something greater. I realize if this is all I have at the end of it, I’m okay with that.

My words continue to give smiles. These smiles continue to give me what I need to continue. 

My dream is to finish writing these stories I’ve lived, so that I can again be an open slate and experience new ones. Until then, I write endlessly.

Working on the Novel

A-Politico Absurdia

A few days ago, I stopped by the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics in Boulder, Colorado. The campus was pretty quiet and at first look, everything was a little too typical of a college campus. 

But then tiny blips of magic began to pop out to me: a stencil of Allen Ginsburg spray painted on the library drop off box, a sculpture of Kali hiding on the windowsill of the administration building, a geodesic dome greenhouse, a tattered poem about oneness with environment hanging from a willow tree. The students left offerings to the spirits and fairies of the Colorado wilderness. Their administration seemingly encourages this.

Under a giant sycamore, I found this little fairy altar. A small box with a poem about Hologram Reality on its roof, sheltering a little metallic angel and a giant quartz crystal. It felt more than appropriate to leave a copy of A-Politco Absurdia behind in this tiny fairy home for someone else to find.

A-Politico Absurdia is a manifesto written by Jozef Maguire and myself about the coming dream punk rêvelution of consciousness. It was released earlier this year, and took the last 5 years to assemble into its current dream-inspiring form. 

You can read more about it and download a digital copy here: http://bit.ly/APoliticoAbsurdia

A-Politico Absurdia

BECOME A PATRON TO MY POETRY!

Donate $1 a month to my Patreon campaign, and have full access to my forthcoming release, Travel By Haiku: Still Trippin’ Across the States. It’s as easy as that!

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Happy New Year, everyone!

Just a little update for 2016: I’ve got good news from the writing room! All 5 volumes of my next book, Travel By Haiku -> Volumes 1 through 5: Still Trippin’ Across the States, are officially drafted. Now, they’re not quite done or nearly as pretty as I’d like them to be, but all those hundreds and hundreds of haikus written from my travels over the last year are finally narrowed down and organized onto the page, ready for editing. Also this means I‘m ready to move on to sifting through the thousands of photos I took on the road to find the 10-20 best to accompany the pages of the book. It feels great to be taking a break from sculpting words and moving onto the images of all these landscapes that inspired me so much this last year.

In the meantime, I’ve added all five volumes of Travel By Haiku to the documents section of my Patreon account. For $1 a month you can have full access to these rough drafts and watch the writing process unfold, as I continue to update them. $1 a month goes a really long way, as I save up for my next trip across the country. All donations will go towards expenses encountered while making merch for the next tour. This includes the production of new books, new t-shirts, mix tapes, etc.

There are other rewards too, if you’d like to donate a little more. For $5 a month you’ll have access to all of my previously published and soon-to-be published short stories. This includes all of the stories from Fire. Sun. Salutation., as well as short stories that you might’ve heard during my last book tour, about travels in California, but aren’t actually published anywhere yet.

I’ve tried to make these rewards make a little more sense, as well as add to them. Essentially, I’ve made it so my writing is behind a “paywall”, which is exciting to me because it means I can share it, without devaluing it, and yet with the power of crowdsourcing the overall price is very little for each individual.

There’s other rewards too like me helping you write and edit your next short story/novella and monthly postcards sent to you or someone you love. And I don’t think anyone will take me up on this, at the moment, but for $50 a month, I’ll even take you on your next road trip! That’s right, I’ll be your Neal Cassidy to your Ken Kesey magic bus ride. Together we’ll live out the story of our generation and find the American Dream!

So take some time and check things out. Volume 1 of Travel By Haiku is available now for anyone to check out, as a free sample. It’s the shortest chapter of the forthcoming book (the other chapters are double and triple in length), but it also has some of my favorite haikus. For example:

The Sea: Never in
any rush to get any place
but always on time.

You can read through the rest by going to my Patreon campaign page and clicking “Creator Posts”, then scroll down, and you should find it.

Thanks all and much love,
Marshall James Kavanaugh

BECOME A PATRON TO MY POETRY!

Become a Patron to my Poetry!

Donate $1 a month to my Patreon campaign, and have full access to my forthcoming release, Travel By Haiku: Still Trippin’ Across the States. It’s as easy as that!

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Over the last year, I’ve gone on 3 separate poetry tours, traveled across about 35 of the 50 states in the US, been through a few dozen national parks, and met all sorts of incredible creators from around the world. I really couldn’t have done it without the help of so many generous people on the road. It’s been a fun time with life’s typical ups and downs, and I’ve tried my best to take everyone else along for the ride, to share with them all the stories and all the magic I’ve encountered. I can say honestly, I have grown in so many ways, especially as a writer.

Travel is certainly tough, though. There’s a lot of expenses from paying for gas to general upkeep on my car to camping fees and buying food. Beyond that, traveling for 3 month stretches means I don’t have a regular income for that time and I’m mostly living off of my savings. I’m far from starving, and I think I’ve almost got this traveling thing figured out as far as being efficient and living on the cheap and busking when I need to pick up some extra gas money. But every little bit really goes a long way.

If you like what I have been up to over this past year, and you’re looking for a way to contribute, you could help by becoming a patron to my poetry. For only $1 a month you will have unlimited access to various pieces of my work before they are made available elsewhere. This includes travel stories, haikus from the Travel By Haiku series, photography, and more. Like any crowdsourcing campaign there are bigger rewards the more you donate, so follow the link below and pick what suits you best: https://www.patreon.com/marshalljameskavanaugh

Thank you, everyone, for so many great experiences in 2015. I’ve had so many opportunities to meditate on gratitude towards all. In 2016 I hope the year brings even more in the shape of abundance for all of us.

Much Love,
Marshall James Kavanaugh

Become a Patron to my Poetry!

The Flight of the Crow

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It’s amazing how quickly one can skip across the country. One day acting a fool in the desert of Joshua Tree, the next day climbing desert mountains until finally i’m crossing the border of New Mexico and diving through colors so grand the sky is like nirvana unimaginable (to think some people see this every day and think nothing of it), then pulling over and sleeping in Pueblo ruins alongside ghosts of an old alien culture that transformed themselves long ago into the crows that follow my car to every rest stop and grand vista pull off. They bark at me loud orders and i think of something my friend Mariana said about how they signify that i’m going to say things that people won’t like. I see them as elders and they guide my dreams. I’m on a heist like in the old westerns, only somehow i’ve conned a moving company out of a truck loaded with gold money and with a crew we’re driving out of the city. I’m swimming in a lake of liquid lava and out of the flames of my own body a falcon rips to the surface soaring over us with red and purple colors streaking the skies behind her. I make love to a beatnik princess and after lovemaking we talk about the change of guard and how someday we’ll settle in the country and grow our own food but first we’ll make love more in our dreams together.

Did I tell you about how I followed two crows around in Joshua Tree? I was dashing through some boulders and moon temples and I heard one of them cawing but they kept flying further out of reach until finally I hiked through some arches and out of a wash to a clearer view of the mountain where they were gliding around. They cawed to me so I started climbing. The sides of the mountain were exploding with fragments of rose quartz as I got higher and at the peak I found a few dozen rock balances from past wanderers. Now the crows were below me and I slowly descended to where they sat laughing and pruning their feathers atop a giant round boulder kind of like a skull. They let me walk right up to them and they just sat there staring at me. Now was my turn to make silly noises so I howled and wooped  and yahooed as much as I could think to. Here’s where it echoed, surprisingly out into the valley and I wondered how, when I was so high and the ground so far away. It drove me practically crazy and I kept testing it. My woop followed by seconds of delay and then it coming back to me faintly almost as if my ears were playing tricks on me. The crows just stared at me some more, slightly alarmed but more just blase. I think they were just surprised to be cawed at by this silly ape below them. Not usually used to anyone paying attention to their own voices. Eventually they flew off and I caught one on film for a future TV installation. Cute couple gliding away and back into the boulders to bother some other tourist.

I wake in the morning and I’m as cold as a ghost myself with frost permeating from my blue lips and caking on the tent ceiling. I watch the sunrise and watch her colors streak all across the sky evenly filling it with the fire of my dreams. I do a quick sun salutation but i’m shivering like a wild man so I pack up and take the Willie Jeep route and head for Santa Fe grabbing at the sage brush with my hand held outstretched through the open window. The crows are around every bend, but i’m not paying attention to them anymore as the Rio Grande grows into a Grand Canyon beside me. Eventually there are snow covered mountains, Pueblo ruins, and painted canyons on every horizon. I pass Santa Fe (thinking of my friends there, bummed to miss them) and roll up to Taos taking the main street in, happy to see nothing has changed. I park at the Spot Cafe where all my last adventures began, and immediately feel like a wanderer returned home from the season of travels. Here a pretty punk chick smiles at me as I enter and an old hippy lady tells me, “Oh, number 11. That’s  a good number. The number for ‘peace’ in the I Ching.” when I receive my number for my breakfast sandwich. There’s a group sitting in the doorway and they remind me of everything I love about people in the mountains. Earthy vibes, with a little bit of elfish wonderment,  but here there’s also the vibe of the desert rat and a wild-eyed hippiness that got here 50 years ago and got so excited they stripped off all their clothes and dove right in. Soon i’m basking in hot springs, letting everything around me drift away and loosing my sense of identity. That flow of the earth breaking away at whatever worries I may have for heading home. Soon i’ll spend time with friends of the heart that I made the last time I drove through here. And then from there tomorrow I’ll make the last dash for the east where more friends and a series of readings awaits me.

The Flight of the Crow