(AV17965) Kinship of Rivers: Readings

(AV17965) Kinship of Rivers: Readings


welcome to the final event of the ninth
annual symposium on wildness wilderness and the creative imagination this is our
last event and it is an exciting one this is a kinship of rivers reading with
Ric bass and then winged ping and Alex Alex wond before we get started I’d like
to thank our major sponsors the MFA program in creative writing and
environment the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences the Committee on lectures
humanities Iowa and WWC I I think that’s the wild wildness wilderness and
creative imagination student organization all right first is Rick
bass so last May a group of us MFA students can you all hear me I don’t
know where this is okay good a group of us MFA students drove two
days straight in one of those big white 15-passenger Iowa State fans to meet
Rick bass at his home in the Yaak Valley after a few days of postholing through 5
feet snow up a mountain and then bounding back down faster than we’ve
ever been propelled by our own legs before illegally crossing the US Canada
border on foot and then trying and failing to carry a large rock back
because Rick thought it looked really cool
twisting knees busting our boots literally breaking them in half and
eventually losing a wheel on an ISU trailer while driving down the road in
search of huckleberry ice cream we learned there that Rick bass is in love
with the forests the mountains the animals and the people of his adopted
home in the north wet in Northwest Montana and in more than 20 books of
fiction and nonfiction many of which take the yak as their setting he has
proven that he possesses the perfect voice to tell that valley story born in
Fort Worth Texas and raised in Houston Houston
Rick attended Utah State University and worked as a petroleum geologist in
Jackson Mississippi then in 1987 he moved with his wife to the remote yak
and began his lifelong commitment to writing and environmental activism
though recently he’s shown he’s not afraid of a little time in a Hellena or
Washington DC jail his choice his choice defense against the encroaching logging
and development interest has always been his writing he’s got a quarter century
of Awards and publications to his name so I’m
not going to start listing all of them there’s a lot there’s some books over
there that you can you should buy but he has been a finalist for the story prize
and the National Book Critics Circle Award has won multiple pushcart prizes
and O’Henry awards a Penn Nelson book sorry a Penn Nelson Algren special
citation for fiction and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and I
just learned this he’s he’s been included in best American short stories
among the most of any writer ever and that’s that’s pretty impressive
so please help help welcome me help please help me to welcome sorry I
actually have a typo here so I messed that up please help me to welcome a
great writer a great man Ric bass and can y’all hear me that was so so
lovely and quick like it’s painful to be having have nice things said about you
but it was over quickly thank you what’s up he was just joking about the illegal
stuff I really would like to come back here and work again someday he perceived
that it was illegal I mean Canadians are our friends it’s
it’s it’s it’s it was it was totally it was not not not illegal that’s so much
fun being back I really love the the gig where y’all come out to the Yaak and I
get to share my home and landscape and give some perspective on what I’m is I’m
trying to teach about wilderness and and and the environment Jiali and be
specific be specific that’s what I say every time I come out here and then you
get to be in the forest that has informed my riding and see see what I’m
talking about in smell and hear what I’m talking about in touch in the case of
that big rock which you thanks for the help toting it I think it’s a really
important and unique part of the program I’m thrilled and honor to be a part of
it and also thrilled and honored to come out here every other year and get to see
y’all in your home home setting and here what here what’s up you know with you
guys it’s a really enjoy the relationship
thanks thanks Deb for putting me you know into this this spot a few years ago
now really really are grateful for it and Steve Steve likewise thank you all
for taking me out to the KC property that was sweet sweet woods I don’t want
to disintegrate my credentials as an environmentalist but those are some
good-looking woods you could kill some things out there I mean that was really
really sweet country pretty and great to meet meet alacant and weighing and share
some art and music with it really really honored to be with you guys and also
shares some meals that Wayne pain you are an eater and and there is no higher
compliment in my book really admire your relationship with
food it’s it’s it’s all I can think about I’m gonna read to two very short
pieces thanks Molly for forgetting uh getting me lined out here and also the
bookstore for having having books and this this weird little music CD that
I’ve got it’s not weird it’s a fine little music CD that I’m working with
this band on in the end of I want to read a piece of nonfiction you know
that’s kind of what a lot of us do is environmental agitprop and then I want
to read a piece of law fiction was what the rest of us do who don’t do porn this
home.this this I’ll get the the work out of the way first the business of
environmental activism the great thing about getting older is you get to live
all these different lives you get to die rot be born again you get to make
mistakes try again you get to try to live by reason and if that doesn’t work
out by instinct you can try a mix of the two in one of my previous lives I was an
earth diver an oil and gas geologist descending into worlds that were a
beguiling beguiling mix of the deeply physical sandstone shales and lime
stones a quarter of a billion years old gritty and stinky with the sweet green
black rotting oil juice of old death and yet it was a world of deep imagination
too for it was your dream that led you there first this was in the days before
computers so that you drafted the maps with your bare hands drawing the
contours that would determine your path into those unseen lands below if the map
you dreamed had integrity was correct in all the important ways you would pass
through those gates and down into the buried landscape you had seen or
prophesied you had not made that landscape but you had definitely created
the route and once you got there if you got there the treasure would be waiting
that was a long time ago I found so much of it
I was good at it I had an eye for it a heart for it and as I traveled those
hills and beaches in my imagination I developed a mind for it the searching
built within me an architecture of electricity that combined reasoned and
imagination sometimes you could get to the oil by one path other times you took
a different path that was one of my old lives there were others one of which was
fire breathing local environmental activists working long hours to try to
protect as wilderness the last roadless lands in Northwest Montana as Yaak
Valley a million acre little garden of wild eden snugged right up hard on the
Canadian border my passion in that particular life was for the farthest and
farthest places lands were no humans were to be found I think it’s fair to
say that while I was not out to abuse the poor they were not much on my mind I
was too busy abusing the rich during the timber Wars they were ruining the
community where I lived and ruining the incredible wilderness that is the
essence the signature of the American West
Beauty still matters I lived a lot of different lives and hope that more
remain but germane to this story I once was an earth diver i exalted in leaving
the company of mankind in a way more complete than any leave taking I have
ever known I thought those old days of oil and gas
had died and fallen away it seemed strange to me that they have returned
that I’m feeling the desire and instinct to dive and dive deeply as I did back in
the long-ago the completeness of the dive the impassioned thrill of the
roller-coaster descent was perhaps similar to the letting go of death
except in those Paleozoic plunges those pin your ears back and go hurtling down
into the caverns of treasure you always knew you’d be coming back and there was
always something to come back to this time I don’t feel that way
this time I worry that everything that is beautiful will not be there when I
come back up when any of us come back up this time then we must all go down
together when bill mckibben and the folks at
350.org asked if I’d come out and get arrested with him at the White House to
protest and draw attention to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline I jumped
at the chance it seemed to me as natural a response is dropping a postcard in the
mail which for these first 55 years of my
life has pretty much been the extent of my efforts on behalf of the beautiful
green world I’ve done all the obligatory stuff that we do as environmentalist
joined organizations wrote books and magazine articles attended half a
lifetime’s worth of meetings gave talks and lectures all the boring old
necessary ground and grunt work that has led us to where we are which despite
some fine days is still a very bad spot fundamentally a spots so bad that we
must remake everything within us I think must toss out our own hopes and
fantasies and instead reach into a place and what an old-fashioned word this is
of reckoning in that place where you look finally and not just the true state
of things but the what comes next well the science of it is a bitch it hasn’t
at all been an overnight change bill for instance has been talking about what’s
happening for over 20 years but it’s here now we each help to bring it we all
help to bring it and now we each have the moral chance of trying our best to
unmake it to send it away I for one and grateful to Bill for preparing a path
cultivating a heart of furious and abiding love as if tending a garden I’m
grateful to him for keeping the gates open so that those who choose to walk
through them and in that passage becoming more beautiful are able to do
so maybe we will win or maybe we will fail spectacularly but how wonderful how
liberating to discover that the more dire this
situation becomes the more powerful and creative our hearts can become as if for
all those years of sleeping of not being much used those hearts have not been
atrophying but waiting resting getting ready I’ve been arrested before the
previous summer at the Montana State Capitol protesting the state’s
willingness to sell at a thousand percent loss toxic coal to China coal
too dirty to burn in our own country surface mined from South Eastern
Montana’s bucolic Otter Creek in tongue River Valley a
business plan exists to get investors in China hooked on building coal plants
which will then raise the world’s demand for coal so that investors who own
leases on the United States vast coal reserves in the West will have a market
for their poison the dirty coal from Montana is being subsidized almost given
away to facilitate the development of this addiction sound familiar
a moral issue then though to be absolutely honest what first caught my
attention was the potential loss of a beautiful corner of my expanded backyard
in Montana I just can’t seem to shake my old addiction to beauty and in the Otter
Creek protest I was surprised by how easy it was and how good it felt the
police asked you to leave you say something like no thanks not until the
State Land Board denies the permit to give away the dirty coal at Otter Creek
and next thing you know you’re wearing cuffs and going for a little ride paying
a little money and it all feels good feels a hell of a lot better than just
being quiet and letting the rough beast of Exxon or The Carlyle Group a Warren
Buffett pass on by uncontested being arrested in DC was as might be expected
a little more intense and yet even more joyful the support crews people on your
side who try to take care of you make calls for you et cetera are always
fantastic random images I have from the DC arrests are leaving the Sierra Club
office in a caravan of black Escalades tinted windows using a police escort
with sirens wailing why how and bill looking down at his feet and
shaking his head and saying this just doesn’t feel right the junior senator
from Rhode Island shouting at exhorting 40,000 people to no longer stay asleep
while the fossil fuels industry continues to dictate the world’s
economic and political policy don’t be chumps don’t be chumps Daryl
Hannah waving the peace sign as she giraffe walked to her arrest what if I’d
handcuffed myself to her instead of the White House gates focus the Mercurial
Bobby Kennedy pounding the pulpit in that so famous so familiar beautiful
voice stem winding and then riding out to the jail with him and the little
paddy wagon five of us jammed in there like so many bird dogs in a two small
wire mesh kennel listening to him regale the rest of us with the most wonderful
if often politically incorrect jokes me trying to hang with him offering up one
of my own what did one snowman say to the other Bobby I don’t know what Rick
do you smell carrots Bobby’s smiling weakly then continuing
on with his great jokes none of which as they say can be printed
in a family newspaper his son Connor riding in the wagon with us in his first
arrest my own 17 year old daughter Lowry came out to join me for the big march on
the White House that subsequent weekend I’ve got great and lasting memories from
the March as well bill coatless at the podium and the 15 below wind chill and
weather having forgotten a code our knowing that he’d be much photographed
and then ridiculed by the fossil fuel industry apologist for wearing a heavy
puffy coat I don’t know Bill radiant and shivering both saying
how he’d waited 25 years to see this saying with no irony holy heck as he
looked out at the sea I remember Larry’s exuberance at being swept up into a
larger thing the passion and hope of unity the discovery the witnessing of a
family larger than our little one in the Yaak we’ve handed her peers a shit
sandwich but if we awaken we can at least show them
the deep passion of our reawakening if she is any representative of her
generation it seems they might be overjoyed to be given the encouragement
to reach deep and dredge to the surface that which has been asleep in the rest
of us for so long that they will do so with or without our
encouragement but are glad to have us old folks along with them
I remember Reverend Lenox Yearwood saying this is our Birmingham this is
our lunch counter moment I remember the way we flowed whoa
braided old and young and in between I remember the exuberance and exhilaration
the wild and colorful costumes and the handmade posters I recommend it
protesting and being arrested highly I’d like to see several million even a
hundred million experience the joy and pride of ownership that is to be gotten
by attacking directly the most powerful man-made force on earth the earth eating
force of the major oil and gas companies when I was a young man and playing
football and lifting weights I used to kind of brim with a certain fears I was
a little on the small side certainly compared to my brethren in the trenches
I was tiny but I had a philosophy of going straight out the biggest guy in
the fight figuring that that was where the scrap was probably going to end up
anyway and better to get in there while fresh then exhausted we are still fresh
in this struggle and it is will be the struggle of all of our lives and those
who come after us we need to wire as if laying down electrical pathways the
examples the models of how to fight it’s going to be a long one and we’ll
determine the future and fate of our species and most others I can’t tell you
how rewarding and empowering you’ll find it after a lifetime of failing or at
best treading water to be truly playing for everything with everything to win
and nothing to lose for everything is already on the Descent to loss it feels
good at the March when the speeches were over and the 40,000 plus of us were
really into the streets boozing and flowing
like waves of light are like the largest one organism in the world lifted up and
carried along by one shared hope the belief that we could stop the pipeline
from coming through the heartland on its way to the Gulf where ships were waiting
to take the heavy tar to Asia it occurred to me that about one in a
thousand of us forty-six among that crowd were perhaps remembering the
arrest of a few days previous the two paths you can go by we each had to be
wondering what if everyone agrees to get arrested until we bring the giant to its
knees the March was jubilant making but I
can’t forget the arrest either which was equally empowering that form of civil
disobedience being the farthest one can go against the terrible aggressor
without actually participating in violence indeed it occurs to me that
being quiet and remaining asleep even silent is the greatest act of violence
one can perform at this moment in history on the March 46 of us were
carrying within us the palpitating memory of the cuffs the loneliness and
isolation including that strange part where upon being liberated we walked one
by one across the marshy Meadowlands in the spitting snow and rain and fog to
the pickup point a quarter mile distant that had been
great but solitary lonely the March was the opposite when it began it was like
nothing I’d ever been a part of it’s not rabid like a rock concert or sporting
event it’s not mind unification like yoga or some deeply felt religious
experience it’s joyous and possesses to it the
quality of being released as if from a long imprisonment as if the prisoners
had been in captivity for so long that they had forgotten how to imagine ever
being free again as if someone however had encouraged them to dream again to be
courageous enough to resurrect and embrace hope and had then gone a step
further and opened the gate for them at the protest standing shoulder to
shoulder on the grassy mall we had not been able to see beyond our
we knew there were a lot of us we could sense it all of us cloaked in parkas and
we could hear the sea roar of cheers and great masses of applause but no single
one of us below the speaker stage could witness the expanse of us for that we
had to watch the reflection of that sight in the odd gaze of the men and
women up on the stage it was only when we began to move to flow through the
barricades and into the streets with 40,000 different travelers from all over
the country singing and chanting in various clusters connected but
unconnected random but coordinated by the jauntiness of hope and the love of
effort that the fears that the speakers had been emoting about most fully filled
us became ours we wound through city blocks and passageways like one living
thing we traveled in mass through the city for hours there was music singing
chanting cheering we wreathed and wrapped the city in our hope it was a
bummer that the president was playing golf that day in Florida with Tiger
Woods regrettable that he missed such a great civil rights action but hopefully
his aides were able to explain it to him and hopefully when the arrests start
again in larger numbers later in the year
arrest by the thousands the last and only nonviolent thing remaining that we
can do and a time-tested successful American tradition has proved in the
previous civil rights struggles hopefully he will get it then we have it
in our power to get his attention right now
he appears distracted he appears almost to be in denial
we need force and imagination to get his attention back no one person can do it
but together all of us and everyone in a family can get his attention let this
coming year be the year of arrests let it become a wholesome family activity
like bingo or bowling the president understands family let us meet him where
he is we won’t know the effectiveness of this
March until many years into the future but we will know immediately in our
first step of being arrested the sweet joy of being on the right side of a
thing rather than in the damning and ultimately deeply regrettable unseeing
middle on a moral issue that is the largest of our time the largest of our
combined generations living today it feels good to wake up thank you uh I’m
dead serious it is so much fun I hope that everybody in here has that pleasure
that joy and that you’ll have the Opera I’m sure we have the opportunity this
year I just you’ll see what I’m talking about him I know a ton of y’all know
what I’m talking about and those who don’t might be a little hesitant about
it it’s just flat fun you feel good for weeks it’s better than chiropractor but
read a real quick little story about water and rivers again that was so
wonderful and powerful to have you all blessing the river yesterday it was
really an honor to be part of it thanks thanks for coming out here to do that
and and this is one of those stories that’s that this this band has made
music for me reading it’s it’s talk about it later but I’ve got some CDs
there Edward and Brenna and the bright shirt is helping me move them for which
I thank you and as well as other other things it’s a tie tie it’s not a tie-dye
shirt but it looks like it the story’s called the canoeist the two of them would go canoeing on any
of the many winding creeks and rivers that braided their way through the woods
and gentle hills to the north they would drive north in bones old truck and put
the boat on the Brazos or the Colorado or white oak creek or even the faster
running green waters of the Guadalupe without a care of where they might end
up and would explore those unknown seams of water and bright August light with no
Maps knowing only what lay right before them as they rounded each Bend they
would take wine and a picnic lunch and fishing tackle and a lantern they
drifted beneath high chalky Bluffs beneath old bridges and past country
yards where children playing tag on the hillsides among trees above the river
stopped to watch them pass they paddled on boned shirtless in the stern and
Sissy straw had it in the bow in her swimsuit when they reached Sun scrub
bars of white sand next to the deep dark pools around the bend from any town or
road shaded by towering oaks they would Beach the canoe and lie on blankets in
the Sun like basking turtles sweating nude glistening drinking wine and
getting up every now and again to run down to the river and dive in to cleanse
the suntan oil and grit of sand and shine of sex from their bodies hot
breezes would dry their bodies quickly again once they returned to the blankets
their damp hair would keep them cool for a little while they would lie perfectly
still on their backs looking up at the Sun hands clasped and listened to the
shouts the sawing buzz of the 17 year locust going insane
back in the forest choking on the heat later when the day had cooled slightly
when the tops of the trees were beginning to catch and block some of the
sun’s direct rays they would climb back into the green canoe and drift farther
downstream I’m concerned by the notions or constraints of time and the amount of
water that had passed by if anything they felt nourished and enriched by it
they would paddle on into dusk and then into the night falling deeper in love
and speaking even less as night fell paddling with the lantern lit and
balanced on the Bell with moths following them they had no idea where
they were while Boone would cast to fish sometimes
catching one / silver fighting and leaping just outside the glow cast by
the lanterns ring of light fireflies would line the banks illuminating the
route they should take the fireflies would not venture over water so the
darkness of their absence was a winding lane for them and they passed to
occasionally the bright window square blazes of farmhouses
of families tucked in for the night also lining both edges of the shore when they
came to a lonely bridge or railroad trestle they would finally relinquish
the day or that part of it to the river and Eddy out to the bank where sissy
would climb out with the lantern and bone would pass her the equipment and
then he would climb out and shoulder the canoe like some shell bound brute and
they would pick their way up the slope clamouring through brush and litter
tossed from decades of the bridges passers-by ascending to the road and
firm level ground while the river below kept running past owls would be hooting
and heat lightning like a pulse or an echo from the day’s troubles or like a
price that must be paid for the day’s bliss would be shuddering in distant sky
flash in all directions though it seemed like no price or debt or accounting to
bone and sissy only more blessing as the breezes from the far-off thunderstorm
stirred and cooled them as they walk through crickets song and darkness save
for those glimmers of lightning and the fireflies that dotted the meadows and
swarmed around the couple as if accompanying them they might be five
miles from their truck or they might be twenty how to get there they would have
no idea but neither would they be worried bone would not be due back at
work for another 12 hours they would walk down the center of the dark road
bone toting the canoe over his head like a crucifix are some huge umbrella
and Cissy walking beside him feeling love for him as a human but also with
the comfortable affection and unspoken communication one has with animals a dog
a horse a gentle bull a cat and she felt much the same herself part human but
part other animal as well and it was again the calmest she could ever
remember being after a while a vehicle would approach from one direction or
another almost always an old truck in that section of the country and the
driver would give them a ride they would lash the canoe in belly side down as if
it were still in the water and climb up into the cab with the old farmer and
ride back north into the night though other times when there was no rope they
would sit in the canoe itself in the back
slanted skyward gripping both the canoes gunnels and the side of the truck to
keep it from sliding out they would ride seated in the canoe wind rushing past
them at forty fifty miles an hour and would be unafraid to deep in love to
know anything beyond the beauty of the moment their hair swirling and the rolls
of lightening washed flashing sometimes their patron as he crossed a county line
would want to stop at the neon red of a bar only a handful of other old trucks
parked out in front and they would climb out of the canoe to go inside with him
to share a beer and perhaps a sandwich or ribs the sides of their green canoe
would be smeared with the wind crushed bodies from the swarms of fireflies they
driven through some of them still glowing gold but becoming dimmer as if
cooling and it made the canoe look special and pretty like a float in some
parade and people in the bar would come to the doorway and stare for a moment at
it thus decorated and at bone and sissy as if someone special are important are
simply charmed had come to visit they would drink a beer would shoot a game or
two of pool and would visit in the dark bar listening to the jukebox while the
summer storm moved in and thundered across and passed like the nighttime
passage of some huge herd of above and afterward when they went back
out and climbed into their canoe to head on back north with the driver searching
for where they had left their truck the air would be scrubbed clean and cooler
and steam would be rising from the dark roads and thus mirrors of fireflies
would be washed from their canoe so that all was dark around them again they
would find their truck eventually and would thank the old driver and shake his
hand and for the rest of his short days he would remember having given them a
ride as they would likewise remember it for the rest of their long days they
would drive home toward the big city with the windows rolled down listening
to the radio they would unload the canoe when they got to Bones house and climbed
the stairs without bothering to turn on any of the lights it might be 2 or 3 in
the morning they would undress and climb into his bed into the familiar clean
sheets warmer upstairs and opened the windows for fresh air and would make
love again both for the pleasure of it as well as to somehow seal or anchor
their return home and a daylight bond would awaken and shower and dress in his
suit and head to work leaving sissy still asleep in his bed their bed
swirled in white cotton sheets and asleep in a wash of morning Sun thank
you can you hear me this is the first time
I’ve held a mic and a sheet of paper in my hand so this may not go well
so our next keynote this evening is the fierce and wonderful writer artist and
activist Wang ping she is accompany tonight by musician Alex Wong with whom
she collaborates on the kinship of rivers project parts of which you see
strong about this room in the back miss Wang was born in Shanghai lived on a
small island off the coast of China studied at Beijing University and New
York University and currently teaches at Macalester College in st. Paul Minnesota
you all probably already know this if you’ve read her biography in our
symposium brochure what you might not know and what I found out today is this
is that miss Wang came to the United States with $26 in her pocket and a will
power so strong that she has become an exceptional prolific multi-genre writer
and artist a vocal advocate for issues of environmental and societal justice
and a respected professor who reaches and inspires hundreds of students each
year to pursue their passions to believe in whatever they hold to make $26
stretch into a lifetime’s pursuit of discovery and creation this afternoon
miss Wong reminded me and a small group of like-minded aspiring professional
writers why it is we choose our crazy goals in life she said that to have
belief and pride in what you care about is the thing that makes you warp your
life into purpose if you wish to write you write not only when you’re at your
desk with a laptop or a pen and paper but when you look through the branches
of a tree budding into spring when you feel the pebbles under your feet through
your boot soles and your socks if you wish to sing you sing in your head and
you sing in your dreams and you sing without shame or fear in the shower if
you wish to fight for everyone’s right to free and clean drinking water if you
wish to fight as Miss Wong does against gender or racial discrimination at work
or in your community you think about it all the time miss Wong transforms
thoughts into words into the art you see around you
these walls connecting the riverside communities of the Mississippi with the
Yangtze and into the poetry and music she will perform tonight with Alex wand
please join me in welcoming them both so much and what a beautiful place then and
this these two banners in the back will be my most favorite banners and they
already are usually like each place I go to I sprinkle water onto the flags and I
know we forgot but then I remember the rain has already blessed these flags in
the woods right and thank you so much Geeta yeah I’m trying to still get to
bring me to bring her along too to the Yangtze River we’ll see how it goes and
so the sauna Krong I don’t know if you know about sonic
crowns and 14 lines of sonnet right and then each the last line of the Sun it
becomes the first line of the next summit and because each sonnet has 14
lines so we write 14 sonnets and the crown is the last line and the first
line of each sonnet it tied them all together okay and I started this sonnet
actually is in 2010 2000 2010 I was invited to Edinburgh to do to do a
reading and I was also collaborating with a filmmaker
Isaac Julian he was making ten thousand waves and he commissioned me to write
poetry for for his film installation and when I when he heard I was going there
he just really like bucked me everyday to go to London to record the poems for
his film and I really didn’t want to because I wanted to walk around Scotland
and so I finally did it and then I had to fly back to Edinburgh and at the
airport I said I missed the Scotland and I’m going to reward myself with a scotch
a part of scotch so I went to the International shop and and I said give
me the best and the most expensive bottle of scotch
and she gave me she said guarantee you will love it it’s the smokiest you know
the best whiskey can ever get so I took that and I sat down at the airport then
literally like you know a really good-looking and energetic man sat down
next to me and we started talking and then turned out he was flying on the
same flight with me so we walked in and then the door closed and the plane
started and it’s oh my god I left my whisky at the airport and he’s all don’t
worry I’ll send you a whole case I said who are you and he said well I’m Bruce
and Charles Bruce anyone knows Charles Bruce he is the descendant of Robert the
Bruce he’s a lot Bruce and and so he said I would send you a case of whiskey
and so but he hasn’t sent me yet and when I came back and I said I’m going to
write a sonnet to remind him the whiskey am i Rowan I sent him you letter like
that and the whiskey’s didn’t arrive so I kept writing reminding him the gifts
right so he I he said I should go there and you know
um to do a residency in Scotland they have a cos Oh Ricky should try that too
the Scotland they have a cousin so I’m going to go there and get my whisky
there and but meanwhile the SONET crown finished and and I was doing it it took
me two years to complete a sonnet and the kingship River was born around the
same time as I studied sonnet crown and then during this period I also paddled
the entire San Juan River the 2,046 River miles then and then I also during
the two years I completed the entire travel of the Mississippi River and and
then last December I was a paddle that the lower Mississippi River 356 river
miles and from Arkansas all the way to the X Berg
so all these sonic ran was kind of like all the images and sound you know that
through the travel and as I was writing these sonic crowns I kind of like bought
and certain content required me to do something different so I combined hazel
which is an Iranian Sufi poetry form and so you will see some poems some of the
sonnets puzzle form but it’s 49 s so it’s kind of cheat but it’s kind of
invention okay and then when do we meet November right October October October I
was invited to do installation in Nebraska and I walked in and he was
there was his steel guitar and I just said I’m going to use steel this this
man and this guitar to Duke in several rivers and I knew
immediately he likes he would like Chinese herbal and also I knew he would
like eating and Turner I’m right he’s a eating climatic so I gave him pulse and
I gave him a few diagnoses about his house what he needs and change I wrote
the music for the sonnets yeah that’s how we started collaborating you know
and yeah the broth Nebraska City Center they were kind of freaking out Kings
stole you know Alex wanted a within a few hours but I think it’s the Kingdom
rivers and it really has the magic power you know just brings everyone in right
away so another thing I want to let you know is he has been trying to encourage
me to sing part of the Tibetan songs and I think it’s appropriate because Tibetan
I’m trying to the Quinto rivers are one of the things I really tried to bring
the Tibetan the tibetan as indigenous the headwaters of the Yangtze River with
Native Americans at Minnesota and also the the river flags is also a borrow the
concept of the river flags is borrowed from Tibetan prayer flags okay so I’m
going to make a fool of myself to sing part of that Tibetan songs so all right the river in our blood
Masonic crammed the keys are painting the sky was a V my lord the Mississippi
laughs was its white teeth how fast winter flees from the lowland my lord
how’s the Highland were songs forever seethe at a conference I sing of the
Prairie My Lord my joy and sorrow saw was rolling spring its thunder half bird
half mermaid my lord no poppies on hills only ghost warriors
calling today is Java sheriff’s pray my god
two spirits one of Phoenix wings and one online seat across the sea king jerk
spirits my lord prayer through breath loving children
and streets let’s open our gift ACON of small things let’s River move us
without wants or needs cycad let river moves us without wants or
needs let cycads carry their food in naked
seeds no flower to adorn your heart roots pulling food from sand stones what
magic in your seat white flash burns the nerves of the
ignorant what desire wedged in your comped seat along colored things age of
Saturn’s rings of choose in your droid power an open seat naked to Sun and the
moon herbivores teeth carry you across the
chasm in the crown a seat running from pole to pole in the crown
as me the see was one body unhinged spoiling lava into your seat do not share oh you’re not shadows from
permian of China look at this view look at this beauty so simple in your a
guitar Rick no second right what cycad is
probably this mute is so simple in your agency Buddha calls from the roots blue but runs from flaws to the EC put one towards the north and spills
into the south that’s not on the Highland snow Henry winters muddyfeet dragged behind sweets
fun in the valley sounds of a world in pain
a wheelbarrow ravaged by the nine the river has broken the rain device taking
father’s trees keys of manners were swirling to the wastes of cottonwoods
Oaks will spice who can stop her riding on eagle’s wings can’t be drowned books or in winners lie rivers been long day of May fly first band Monday fine no sound from
Damascus desert limestone ridge along the Silk Route face of divine grumbles wind and hyssop time wild
mustard this flailing so parched only seeds fly
to take roots in the conquerors footprints dusk weeps sand through and
pull in first cry from azen’s throat a black slave is
God’s imprint darden swallow from hospitals roses on
broken walls shadows get all the Dervish whirls palm to earth palm to
sky who gave us the hand to feel your supply who gave us the hand to feel your supply
which hunter caught the fire in the birds oh my lord your fall can leads the
truth of Ice and Fire the gate is open for those chosen to
climb the volcano came alive this morning
glaciers slide into the womb of the earth how do you stop a heart from
trembling as ice cuts into the fire of new earth
along the way too has night of Thousand Eyes parts
in the ec maiden of cells pants list grabs the islands and year bolt of glass
the horse calls his master from distant lands the warrior jaws is sought from
arthur’s seat how do you keep the same back from the deep to die and live again
this constant change our heart just keeps beating at its own pace to die
live again this constant j-just keep beating at its own pace anger sorrow
stars beyond our bows and then for the news
today’s brings water across the Delta is opening
trees and puddle between heaven and earth how you follow this prime audio
pass the brain a wrinkled mess keep us at bay eyes on the black swallow from
businessí messengers through tall grass we split from the phone interview Oh thus to display this be this true you hold it to this place this beep this
truth while turkey for guests yam and sweet rice stuffing saw them spirits
suit straight ghosts in China there’s no Thanksgiving good words flow from class
to class ten thousand keys in the sky ten thousand ways from north to south sounds of flute a pining soul known can
appease a lover turned into a stone at the river’s mouth the crazed mother
crying for her burst bubble breaths a tight jeans circling the Phoenix flows
what arrow points in silence your fire true singer soars over the calling of
ten thousand crow feet goes to kill an inherited nobody claims rivers at the
end game no one claims rivers at the end of game
swans trumpets from head of the Mississippi along the trails snow dogs
woodpeckers same difference as children’s slide with
Whoopi love and rivers rumble like summer nights on sandstone Bluffs love a
watch both staff like exerts walking our water is not a sleight of hands but an
instinct edges of distant stars and sturdy is charging without food or sleep
keep going says the master one stroke at a time breathe between waves his voice
steep from the tumors yet he stands furious and sometimes what arrows points
us to grace here and now a swans touch neck bending into a a swans touch neck bending into a bow a
storm without prom initial Pines elders ancient dreams snapped at the waist
chopped trailers all the trees that should be down Adam set range above he’s
for snipping like wings of Falcon in the river muscles Rio for hungry fish
shooting eggs into their gills he’s to hang on and legs to walk home
the same for unfolds a silk ribbon our boat cuts no sound of humans of may
turtles bathing on rocks and horse flies taking chunks of meat our press moves
was the dance of flames their wings of butterfly neon turquoise and black so
sweet razor to follow summer flood fuck in our blood the river runs through us our King our
blood Big Dipper SolarWinds life in Tanana early Solan spring to Prescott 250 miles of
flood we follow clams will milkweeds oats from same birth we skid Rapids
glittered with gold the stars girth our names nama cockin home for sturgeon
dreams Mahnomen berries for fish looms our daily earth spirits of Minnesota
Wisconsin in salty streams we turn boats with boils and Eddie’s our
screams echoed by thrushes tents for of stubborn mosquitos thunders yet when
coffee steams through the rain and mist ties the river into a ribbon we said we see begins to unravel miss each blade of cry terms with its angel every blade of grass turns with its
angel every breath we make turns your heartbeats a child becomes father’s man
in the cradle a wave is a wave as a wave regardless our defeats alive bands and
bends around the purple night a twilight the mask unveils a scorched soul a cycle
of 64 days of riches from the Scorpio kite the way is open then shuts was a
gaping on the hammer anvil and stirrup the smallest bone in the sea of copyin a
spiral a million fingers brushing ecstasy to the seat upstream a ripple is
a river is a river forever seeking the seekers this is the gift I owed you from future
and past this is my I blindly in the river wild and fast next one is fortune gan-chan
she is a blind lawyer from China activating for women who don’t want to
be forced to have foster forced abortions and then he one night he
climbed the wall from his house arrest and now he’s studying law in New York
I’ve been following him and when he fled I wrote this puzzle sonnet for him watching watching the blind lawyer from
China this is my I blindly in the river wild and fast through the steely gaze
towards the promised freedom rumour storm back and forth between ocean
currents machines clink to grind a small man’s plea for freedom not for a silent
or paradise not for money or fame what I want is a room in this giant country a
freedom to take children to school to guide my sisters out of the maze free to
be mothers again free to raise the young grow old in peace a place where hunger
prison or death cannot blackmail freedom we are the poor the blind of the color
the small can live in dignity and joy freedom is never free must pay with eyes
here hence brick by brick with a heart
willing to bleed till it breaks free yeah let Rivers move without r14 need
this beauty is so simple in its agate seed you never spend long day of mayfly
who gave us the hand to feel your sublime our heart keeps beating at its own pace
back from the deep how do you keep the same you hold us to the place the steep
this beat this face nobody claims River at the end game the Swans touch neck
bending into a bow the river runs through us
I can our blood every blade of grass turns it’s angel my eye blindly in the
water wild and fast a heart willing to bleed till it breaks free my lord the
geese are painting the sky with a V you’re also not you’re sure seems all
your you’re also not you’re sure
tings uncle

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