Murray Mednick’s THE COYOTE CYCLE — The Documentary Film

THE COYOTE CYCLE: A Documentary Film
World Premiere – Sunday, July 30 at 4:00 p.m. (PDT)

LINK TO RESERVING YOUR SEAT:–2/x/2682414?fbclid=IwAR3RCnVVX_aTXlTfSzPVU-7GzufalRYVYGSAVWyhzmaNLCy1Sqy8sCnfrPk#/

The first public viewing of a documentary film about Murray Mednick’s THE COYOTE CYCLE will take place on-line as a fundraiser to complete all the loose ends needed to launch this film into full distribution. Admission, however, is not contingent on your ability to pay. A donation at any monetary level will give you a virtual seat.

Padua Hills was a crucial turning point in my life as a poet. In point of fact, I am probably the only American poet to have a poem about a major underground theater festival as the subject of a poem in her or his first full-length book of poetry. To a large extent, much of the writing I have done since my first attendance at Padua Hills in 1979 has involved a dialogue with its theatrical poetics. While this film focuses on a cycle of plays that deserve to be set alongside other canonical cycles, the first assessment should be about establishing the context of Mednick’s encounters with indigenous myth as it once again permeates the domain it emerged out of. This is not done in a theatrical vacuum. If one is not aware of the other plays done at Padua, the Coyote Cycle loses some of its impact. Among the most memorable productions that accompanied the annual installments of THE COYOTE CYCLE, I would in particular cite the following:

Martin Epstein – “The Man Who Killed the Buddha”
John O’Keefe – Don’t You Ever Cal Me Anything But Mother
Maria Irene Fornes – Fefu and Her Friends
Maria Irene Fornes – Mud
Martin Epstein – Mysteries of the Bridal Night
Leon Martelll – Hoss Drawin
Leon Martell and Elizabeth Ruscio – El Dorado 1961
Walter Hadler – Alive
Connie Managhan – Guys in Black Leather Jackets Stepping into Phone Booths
Susan La Tempa – Sunset Beach
John Steppling – Neck
Kathleen Cramer and O-Lan Jones: The Man Whose Brother Was Eaten by Wolves

Although THE COYOTE CYCLE as a published script is available in a stand-alone volume, I would argue that an ideal reference volume would be to have entire script by Mednick interspersed in a volume with the scripts from the above plays. Only then could you begin to understand the significance and meaning of Padua Hills as a cultural project. There were other playwrights who contributed work to the Festival, too, such as Michael Monroe.

Finally, I would note that Murray Mednick is also a poet, and I included him in POETRY LOVES POETRY, my anthology of Los Angeles poets that I published in 1985. Other poets included Paul Vangelisti, James Krusoe, Bob Flanagan, Dennis Cooper, Amy Gerstler, Suzanne Lummis, Lewis MacAdams, Brooks Roddan, Jack Grapes, Bob Peters, Charles Harper Webb, Ron Koertge, Charles Bukowski, Laurel Ann Bogen, John Doe, Doren Robbins, Wanda Coleman, Exene Cervenka, Kate Braverman, David E. James, Jed Rasula, Bob Crosson, Max Benavidez, Paul Trachtenberg, and David Trinidad. This, too, is one context within which THE COYOTE CYCLE should be absorbed.

Here is the official announcement from Padua Hills about the documentary film on THE COYOTE CYCLE.

“This feature-length film provides an in depth look at the seminal theater production (1978-1985) by Padua’s founder, the playwright and director Murray Mednick.

“Created by Guy Zimmerman and Bradford L. Cooper, The Coyote Cycle features a narration by Ed Harris, interviews and performances by the original cast of the plays—Darrell Larson, Norbert Weisser, Priscilla Cohen and Christine Avila—along with interviews with Peter Stathis and A. Martinez.

“Murray Menick and his cast delve into the formal investigations that fueled this groundbreaking theater project, as well as Murray’s relationship with prominent indigenous activists such as Leonard Crow Dog, who embraced the project as a way to draw attention to the Hopi prophecy of environmental destruction and collapse. Prophetic and profound, the film brings us back in time to draw inspiration from a more hopeful cultural moment–come join us in celebrating the positive energies of revolution and renewal!”–2#/


Paul Vangelisti Reviews “OUTLAW THEATRE”


In 1977 and 1978, I wrote three full-length plays that all received public readings, the first of which was at a venue organized by Oliver Hailey. He liked what I had written well enough to attend the second one, which was held at Beyond Baroque. The play was about a serial killer in a small beach town in California whose victims were children; that part was read by Leland Hickman. Hailey and his spouse left after the first act. “You don’t have children, do you?” they asked me as they left. “If you did, you would never have written this play.” Jim Krusoe’s reaction after the reading was different: “I kept wondering why all these poems were in a theater script.”

Shortly after I finished the third play, I saw a notice in the L.A. Times that I wish I had seen the summer before: a project called the Padua Hills Theater Festival was looking for participants. I ended up spending a month in the foothills of Claremont, taking workshops with Marie Irene Forces and Michael McClure and helping out with production work. One of the playwrights I grew close to that month was Walter Hadler, who was also an actor as well as playwright.

My own experience at Padua was transformative in ways that were different from anyone else’s who ever took part in that experiment. After that summer, I realized that I would never fit into the world of theater. I wasn’t a theater person. My life was in poetry, though I have hardly been someone who fit comfortably in that world either. To be a poet on the West Coast of the United States is most often to remain at odds with the prevalent canon of the east coast. Even as I began a renewed dedication to publishing the books of other poets in the late 1970s and early 1980s, I still couldn’t resist the pull of Padua. Every summer I attended their festival of plays and I began to regard my attendance as a kind of sacred pilgrimage. It was at this festival that I was introduced to playwrights such as John Steppling, whose play “The Shaper” remains one of the most important plays I have ever seen, Martin Epstein, and Leon Martell. I had always known of the work of Forness and Mednick, though their plays I saw at Padua (Mednicks “Coyote Cycle” and Fornes’s “Mud” and “Fefu”) were astonishingly hypnotic.

Padua Hills, in its first incarnation, lasted until the mid-1990s, and I recollect at least four other sites where the festival took place. It has since resurrected itself closer to the center of Los Angeles, but I have been too busy with my late-in-life academic career to visit it. What recently stirred my heart, though, has been the publication of a book about the Padua Hills Festival founded by Murray Mednick in the late 1970s. It is collection of essays, poetics, commentary and memoir that deserves to be read by anyone who aspires to commit themselves to a life permeated by the imagination. My sense was that the best person to review this book, “OUTLAW THEATRE,” would be another poet, and so I asked Paul Vangelisti to take a look at it. His essay has just appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books and it is the best possible introduction I can offer you to this book.

My only wish about this book is that Walter Hadler could have been more present. The plays he had staged as part of the Festival are not even included in a list of the work presented over the years.

“Off-Off-Broadway West: On Guy Zimmerman’s “Outlaw Theatre” by Paul Vangelisti



BERT MEYERS (edited by Dana Levin and Adele Elise Williams)

(Amy Gerstler hold the Unsung Masters book, BERT MEYERS; clockwise, Daniel Meyers; Ari Sherman; Quentin Ring, director of Beyond Baroque; Michele Raphael; Dana Levin, co-editor of the book.)

A little over a week ago, Beyond Baroque presented a celebration of a volume of writing by and about Bert Meyers (1928-1979), edited by Dana Levin and Adele Elise Williams. This book is one of the essential collections of verse and commentary to be published in 2023. Meyers was one of the young poets who studied, at least informally, with blacklisted poet Thomas McGrath in Los Angeles in the 1950s as part of his apprenticeship as a poet. Like the poet Hart Crane, Meyers was a high school drop-out, but he read enough on his own to eventually be appointed a professor at Pitzer College, where he taught young poets such as Garrett Hongo, Amy Gerstler, Dennis Cooper, and Maurya Simon. Several of these poets contribute short essays to this volume, which also reprint several of Meyers’s best-known poems. In Simon’s case, a longer version of her essay can be found on-line, and it’s worth looking up.

The gathering was particularly memorable for the speech given by Meyers’s son, Daniel Meyers, whose resemblance to his father was so strong that it startled me when Daniel rose from his seat in the front row. Daniel spoke of the close bond they shared as father and son and the entire audience could feel how the warmth of that relationship still was present in his life.

As far as I know, Meyers’s poems only appeared in one major anthology in his life, which was titled with a rare sense of humor: JUST WHAT THE COUNTRY NEEDS, ANOTHER POETRY ANTHOLOGY. If you want to understand part of the context for the reception of Meyers’s poetry when he was alive, you should look up the anthology, which contains several other poets whose work has not received enough attention.


Sesshu Foster on Amy Uyematsu

Wednesday, June 28, 2023 — 5:00 p.m.

This morning’s edition of the L.A. Times contained a column by Sesshu Foster, one of this city’s most incisive poets, in which he pays tribute to Amy Uyematsu. It is the best thing I have read about her in the days since her passing, and so I am posting the link to it with the hope that those of you who don’t tend to read the L.A. Times will learn of it.

(This photograph taken on Ohio Avenue in Long Beach, June 20, 2023, three days before Amy’s passing. Let the burgeoning blossoms of two of L.A. best-known plants serve as my floral offering to her passage.)


Amy Uyematsu (1947-2023)

Saturday evening, June 24, 2023

I just received an email from Phil Taggert that Amy Uyematsu has died. As a poet and cultural worker, Amy earned the respect and admiration of all who had the good fortune to work with her in any capacity.

Amy and I attended U.C.L.A. at the same time, but we never met there because she was a mathematics major, whereas I specialized in theater arts. She went on to teach math at a high school in the Los Angeles area for several decades, but that was merely her profession. By the beginning of this century, her writing had attracted national attention. I remember being in John Lowney’s office at St. John’s College when I was working as an adjunct there in the Fall, 2005, and picking up an anthology and perusing the table of contents. A lot of the usual suspects, and then suddenly …. there was her name… Amy Uyematsu. When I say that Amy had gained the attention of serious poets, I am not merely referring to some so-called “local” scene. She may have often focused on what it meant to be a sansei, but her imagination expanded that domain into the shared experience of truthful transformation.

I have taken the liberty of including some of the links Phil provided in his notice to recordings of Amy reading over the years

ARTLIFE reading at Museum of Ventura County

Art City Gallery “Water and Stone” reading

Miramar reading at the Art City Gallery

Day of Remembrance 2017 – EP Foster Library

Three – Beyond Baroque

On Poetry – EP Foster Library

Ave 50


Here is a poem I wrote for Amy two years ago.

for Amy Uyematsu. (born, 1947)

the bunchstem of
greater than / lesser than

the number of grains of sand
on the beaches of all continents:

must have had fabulous curls

apocatastasis with its tambourine in tow!

or the totality of pedicles of all the grapes ever eaten
and being eaten in the future
perfect tense


I dreamed two nights ago I was still a typesetter even though all
I remember of the Compugraphic 7500
Is that the cursor had to be below the typed text,
You could sit there working for a half-hour
And if you waited until you finished to create a file
And the cursor was not below
What you had typed, you lost it all
In weary haste, I sometimes forgot
to check where the cursor
Was. There was no afterbirth
Of monotony, In 1995, I lost my job
And didn’t have a clue as to what my next move
Should be. To pass a test to be a substitute
Teacher, I had to study math. It seemed more elegant
Than I remembered from my high school classes.
Maybe if I had had Amy Uyematsu teach me algebra
I would loved the art of numbers. Instead I memorized
“some equation given” //// It is too difficult a Grace
To justify the Dream” – Since then, I count
The missing ones born in 1947: Jerry Estrin; Len Roberts,
Jane Kenyon; Ai; Ron Allen; Leslie Scalapino;
I saw William Oandassan in the lobby where I typeset
Six months before he died. His foot was broken,
But he was in good spirits. Tonight, I read your poems, Amy,
And think of the strength of that which has yet to be proven:
The Collatz Conjecture asks you to pick a number.
Any number. If that number Is even, divide it by two.
If it’s odd (1947), multiply It by 3 and add 1. Keep repeating
The process. Whenever a number is even, divide it by two;
if odd, multiply by 3, add 1. Divide or multiply until one
Attains an inevitable reduction to singularity,
As when we ponder how many thousands
Of syllables we start with, and how many we need
To utter what each most needs to share
Like the simplifying contractions of a spiraling cone:
The quietness of admiration with no need to compare.


Songwriter Poets in Search of Vinyl Classics

By chance, I had two young poets who are also songwriters in my MFA seminar this past semester, and their interests in the work of other songwriters whose lyrics at the very least overlap with poetry, if not in fact constitute a part of the contemporary canon of poetry, led me to offer them a chance to peruse my personal collection of recordings on vinyl. Shortly after the semester ended, I invited them over to the front porch of the house Linda and I rent and gave them a chance to pick out which records they would most like to own. I haven’t yet decided how many of their choices I will actually be able to bestow on them, but we had a lively, memorable conversation about music and our favorite songwriters.

I hope their choices as well as the list of the records they had to pass on because of budgetary limits serves as a reference tool for other young poet-songwriters. “Put Your Ears On!”

Jacob Belkin (left); John Mroc (right)


Pat Methney / Ornette Coleman – Song X

Arthur Blythe – Basic

Memphis Minne – I Ain’t No Bad Girl — $21.00

Holst – The Planets

Sonny Rollins (Featuring Jim Hall) – Quartets

Kenny Neal – Big News From Baton Rouge $60 – $75

Ahmad Jamal – Live at the Montreatl Jazz Featival. — $25.00

The Beatles at Hollywood Bowl

Rolling Stones – Beggars Banquet; Exile on Main Street

David Bowie – Scary Monsters

David Bowe – Double Album (LIVE)

David Bowie – Ziggy Stardust

Dire Straits – “Down to the Waterline”

Simon & Garfunkel – Bookends

XTC – Drums and Wires

Aretha’s Greatest Hits

Harry James – Vol. 2

Pioneers of the New Age


The Roots of Rock n Roll – Rockabilly

Round Midnight – Various Artists

Sugarcubes – Life’s Too Good

Joni Mitchell – Miles of Aisles

Cream – Wheels of Fire

Elmore James – Oriinal Folk Blues

Leonard Cohen – The Best Of

John Prine – Sweet Revenge

Pere Ubu – Dub Housing

Talking Heads – Three Albums

The Clash – London Calling

The Clash – Give Em Enough Rope

The Minutemen – Double Nickle on the Dime

Tom Waits – Nighthawsks at the Diner (Douhle Live)

The Blasters

Rolling Stones – Got Live If You Want It! (LIVE)

Sonny Rollins – Way Out West

Patti Smith – Horses

Devo – Are We Not Men

The Zombies

X – Los Angeles

R.E.M./ — Fall on Me

Brian Eno – Ambient 3

Oingo Boing – Dead Man’s Party

The Fall – Telephone Thing

Stevie Rauy Vaugh – A Double Trouble

Bob Dylan – Infidel

X – Live Double Album at the Whiskey

The Screaming Blue Messiashs – Totally Religious

The New Percussion Group of Amserdam

Billy Bragg – Help Save the Youth of America

Green on Red – Down There


Morton Gould – Billy the Kid/ Rodeo

The Teddy Charles Tentet

The Allan Botschinsky Quintet – The Night

PUBLIC ENEMY – What Kind of Power We Got

Danny Gotlieb – Whirlwind

John Kilzer – Memory in the Making

Frank Morgan – Mood Indigo

Hayden – Symphonies No. 88 and 100

Psychedelic Furs – All of This and Nothing

Psychedelic Furs – Should God Forget

Lyle Mays – Highland Aire

Deborah Harry – I Want That Man

Fine Young Cannibals – Suspicious Minds

Was/Not Was – “Walk the Dinosaur”

Herbie Hancock – Vibe Alive

Xymox – Blind Hearts

Witchcraft — The Book of Love

Tiny Lights – Hazel’s Wreath

Anything Box – Living in Oblivion

Brad Eisenberg – Songs that Nice People Won’t Sing

Figures on a Beach – Accidentally Fourth Street

Patti Smith – Easter; Wave

David Sylvan –Holger Cukay – Plight Premonition

Jean-Loup Lognon and His New York Orchestra

Oingo Boingo – Out of Control

Bangles – Different Light

Steve Earle – Three Song EP

Rickie Lee Jones – Chuck E.’s In Love

Joni Mitchell – For the Roses

Rolling Stones – Hollywood RCA Sessions

Phyllis Nelson – 1986 – I LIKE YOU

Judy Tenuta (November 7, 1949 – October 6, 2022)

Laura Nyro –(in concert) Season of Lights

EUGENE CHABOURNE – The President He Is Insane

Stan Ridgeway — Camouflage

Suzanne Vega – Solitude Standing

Jill Sobule – Things Here Are Different

Cheryl Wheeler – Half a Book

Devo – Fredom of Choice

Revenge of the Killer B’s

John Cougar Mellencamp – Scarecrow

Dave Samuels – Living Colors

Lions and Ghosts – Mary Goes Round

George Winston – Winter into Spring

Joan Armatrading – The Shouting Stage

John Welsey Harding – God Made Me Do It

Prefab Sprouts – Two Wheels Good

SPK – Machine Age Voodoo

The Creaturees – Standing There

Stephen Sills – Stephen Stills

Boz Scaggs – Moments

Jon Stewart – Punch the Big Guy

Neil Young – Neil Young

Kim Kashkashian and Robert Levin – Elegies

Timbuk Three – Greetings from Timbuk3

Deborah Iyall — Strange Language

John Hiatt – All of a Sudden

John Hiatt – Two Bit Monsters

Talking Heads – Fear of Music

Talking Heads – Little Creatures

Los Lobos – La Pistola y la corazon

Michael Hedges – Aerial Boundaries; Strings of Steel; Watching My Life Go By; Live on the Double Planet

Breakfast in the Field

WALL OF VOODOO — Dark Continent; Call of the West

Wim Mertens – Maximizing the Audience

Wim Mertens – Struggle for Pleasure

Biko Drum

Arthur Brown – The Crazy World of Arthur Brown; Glactic Zoo Dosier

Keith Richards – Talk Is Cheap

Devo – Duty Now For the Future

B-52s – Wild Planet

It Bites – The Wild Lad in the Winill

Warren Zevon – Bad Luck streak in Dancing School

Red Kross – Teen Babes from Monsanto

Phil Woods Quartet – Warm Woods

Joni Mitchell – Dog Eat Dog

Patti Smith – Dreeam of Life

Laura Nyro – The First Songs

Bob Dylan – Sam Shepard – Brownvsville Girl

Tim Buckley – Blue Afternoon

Gordon Lightfoot – Don Quixote

Gordon Lightfoot – Sundown

Bruce Springateen – Darkness on the Edge of Town; The Wild, The Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle;
Born to Run’ Greetings from Asbury Park; Tunnel of Love; The River

X – Ain’t Love Grand

Brian Eno – Music for Films III

The Alley Cats

John Hiatt – Slow Turning

XTC – Black Sea; White Music; English Settlement

K.D. Lang – Shadowland

K.D. Lang – Angel with a Lariat

The Pretenders

The Steelye Span Story

Paul Simon – Still Crazy After All these Years

Elvis Costello – Trust; Get Happy; Taking Liberties; Imperial Bedroom


“The John Ford Chapel” — a poem by Harry Northup

Harry Northup’s decades of acting in films directed by some of the canonical directors of the past one hundred years, including Martin Scorsese and Jonathan Demme, has provided him other rewards than just a gratifying career replete with admiration for his skill in embodying characters on the screen. He now lives at MPTF, a very well-tended residential facility in Woodland Hills that accommodates retired actors, cinematographers, directors, editors, and the myriad technical assistants whose efforts and life-long commitment to the art of cinema have made Los Angeles the center of that culture industry. For years, Harry has additionally been a member of the Motion Picture Academy, and from comments he has made about the amount of time needed to view the films up for award consideration, I know that he takes the responsibility of his franchise very seriously.

Harry is also one of the most widely respected poets working in Los Angeles, although he is very modest about that well-earned appreciation. Fortunately, his devotion to poetry has found an outlet in the production resources made available to those living at MPTF. “Harry’s Poetry Hour, Creative Chaos MPTF,” is streamed live on an on-campus Channel 1390/9996 to the residents’ & staff’s TV screens as well as broadcast through the internet. His guests on the show have included dozens of contemporary poets, who read both their own work as well as the work of other poets. Recently, Harry featured Iris Cushing, the daughter of co-featured poet James Cushing, with whom Harry established Cahuenga Press along with Cecilia Woloch, Phoebe MacAdams, and Harry’s late spouse, the poet Holly Prado. This is hardly the first time that Harry has curated a poetry reading series. He was the founder of the important reading series at Gasoline Alley coffeehouse on Melrose Avenue in the late 1980s, which kept the focus on poets in Los Angeles at a time when Beyond Baroque had diluted its emphasis on poets in favor of presenting more prose writers.

Harry continues to write new poems, one of which was recently installed on site at the very topic of the poem: The John Ford Chapel at MPTF. Ford, it turns out, is Harry’s favorite American director. The poem, however, is not an homage to “Stagecoach” or “The Searchers.” Instead, it is a prayer of enfolding gratitude. I, for one, am grateful that Harry has given me permission to reprint it.

May you be able to repeat the words out loud, in the chapel of your heart, as you read his poem a second and third time.


No roses on bushes outside chapel
A simple, almost New
England place
Three stained glass windows
floor to ceiling
Ten wooden pews with long,
Beige pillows tied at one end
Blue carpet, a place to pray
I pray for continuity,
breath, line, devotion
I pray for understanding
to learn to forgive those hungry,
ambitious souls who see not others
I pray for the health of my neighbors
I give thanks for their generous spirits
I pray to be a good person
& not offend others
I pray to departed love
& the chapel bells startle me
eleven times
I ask to recognize times
to see others in a more human array
I pray for forgiveness
for my limited vision
I pray to see the white wings
in sunshine which hold both death & love



Harry Northup is the author of over a dozen collections of poetry, including “Enough the Great Running Chapel” (Momentum Press, 1982); and “The Ragged Vertical” (1996), “Reunions” (2001), and “East Hollywood: Memorial to Reason” (2015), all of which are from Cahuenga Press. His most recent book is “Love Poets to MPTF.” His poems have also appeared in ten anthologies, most recently BEAT, NOT BEAT, edited by Rich Ferguson and published by Eric Morago’s Moontide Press.


“Why go on without such a family”: Poets Reading at Page Against the Machine

After visiting three art studios in Long Beach on the first day of a weekend “Open Studio” tour, Linda and I sauntered over to Page Against the Machine. It was the shortest trip I’ve ever made to read poems in public. Less than a hundred and fifty yards. This gathering of poets was organized by the primary editor of BEAT, NOT BEAT, Rich Ferguson. It was a special pleasure to be reading with Eric Morago, the publisher and chief editor of Moontide Press.

Rich Ferguson asked each of the readers to start with their own poem and then read a poem by another poet in BEAT, NOT BEAT. After reading “Good Work, If You Can Get It,” I chose to read Cassandra Dallett’s “Jails Have ATM Machines Now.” I’d never heard of Dallett before encountering her poem in BNB, but her poem is one of the truly memorable poems I have read in recent years. From henceforth, I will never see a tube of chapstick and not think of Ms. Dallett’s poem. Rich Ferguson also asked me, toward the end of the evening’s presentation, to read one additional poem, Jack Hirschman’s “Path.” Other poems that were selected and read included Yvonne de la Vega’s “I Write and I Fuck”; Wanda Coleman’s “O Soul Concealed Below”; Larry Colker’s “Crossing Over (Exhibit 204)”; Gerald Locklin’s “Iceberg Lettuce”; and Holly Prado’s “For Poets in Autumn.”

Kevin Ridgeway read his “Social Distance” with such passion that I was too startled to take a photograph of him, but in the group photograph afterward, we stood alongside each other with gratitude for having been part of such a fine reading. The only thing that was missing is for Rich Ferguson to read his own poem, “When Brought In For Questioning.”

Rich Ferguson

Bill Mohr and Rich Ferguson

Clint Margrave

Luivette Resto


Aruni Wijesinghe

Peggy Dobreer

Joan Jobe Smith Voss

Eric Morago




(The bottom two photographs, as well as the photograph of Bill Mohr reading, are by Linda Fry.

All other photographs are by Bill Mohr.


“BEAT, NOT BEAT” Reading at Page Against the Machine Bookstore

This Saturday, June 3, I will be reading with several other poets at a bookstore I love to frequent in part because I so often walk past it as I am doing other day-to-day things. And, frequently, it is the case that the right book is waiting for me there. For instance, I mentioned to Chris just yesterday that I was working on a paper for the PAMLA conference, in Portland five months from now, about William Faulkner’s complicity with the revisionist account of the Civil War that goes under the rubric of “The Lost Cause.” Chris walked over to a shelf and pulled out a paperback that was spot-on relevant: “Confederates in the Attic.” I opened it up at random, and at the top of page 291 found a paragraph that I could easily imagine quoting in my paper. And there are still over 400 other pages to read. Just as Papa Bach Bookstore and Chatterton’s Book Shop were in synchronicity with my youth as a poet, PAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE is aligned with me as an aging scholar.

However, this Saturday evening will be about my poems, as well as those of several other poets, including the publisher of BEAT, NOT BEAT, Eric Morago. I hope to see you there.

2714 E. 4th Street
Long Beach, CA 90814


Homage to Tina Turner (1939-2023) — David E. James

Soon after I published “POETRY LOVES POETRY,” I got a job as a typesetter at RADIO & RECORDS, an industry trade paper whose editorial and production facilities were in a ten story building in Century City. I had worked as a typesetter at other weekly newspapers, such as the Argonaut, but those weekly newspapers were local affairs. Radio & Records was not just nationally distributed, but also mailed overseas. I worked there for ten years, and during that time a number famous musicians dropped by to talk with editors. Michael Jackson took a break from his rehearsals to come by one night; Julian Lennon, and Tina Turner, who was the most surprising one of all. Tima Turner was much shorter than I expected. It was startling to realize how much energy must have continually been surging throughout her being in order for her to be so much more bigger than life on stage.

I wish I had had a copy of my anthology with me at work when she dropped by unannounced. I do remember that a photographer took a group photograph of the workers in the production room standing with Tina, but we never saw a copy of it. If I had had a copy of PLP, I would have shown her a poem written by David E. James in her honor, which I reprint in recognize the significance of her impact on our culture.

The Fourth Confrontation With Tina Turner

when among the many changes she performs:
Somethings got a hold on me
we share the ecstasy of her possession
& in the relief of her confession we accept
complicity we acknowledge that
through the power of her persuasion
she has made herself credible in all her self
representations the pretender to all parts
in the drama of loving we see her face
to face with the perfection we have found
in her perfect simulation

each morning she retrieves her role
form the heap of clothes on the chair by her mirror
where it lies wrinkled & small
belying what it will gain
with the strutting of her stuff
though itself without depth it defines
the extent of her occupation
she has put it on so many times
that it seems custom made
& tailored to her extreme habit
it is tight like a stocking
she smoothes over her calves
& through the tautness of her thighs
bracing her legs & pushing down
to accommodate it to her essential motion
which begins as she learns forward
slipping into it with a shake through her spine
that allows the fitting play
of her breasts her shoulders & her arms
at last stretching its web
from the spaces between her fingers
it is exactly superficial
& epidermic in its response
to the flex of her bodys dance
she moves absolutely within it
it contains her so completely
you wonder if she can breathe in it
it grips her like a nightmare

where she continuously relives
the opportunity of Annie Mae Bullock
naïve in St Louis & 17
she traded for the image
heralded now by posters on the streets
her apostasy was a churching
& from Ike she took her proper name
& began the history of her own
substantial fabrication the deliberate framing
of a being more intense in which to live
an act replete with arrogance & risk
that she observes over her cheekbones
as from behind her eyes she wakes
into the dream of her personal show

she puts on her face & her final smile
in the mirror is a sigh of recognition
to the public front she beholds
that it becomes her
the assumption is complete
that for her reality will always lie
in a confrontation with Tina Turner

— David E. James

(reprinted by permission)