Michael Rosen

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May 2009 Archives

I am pasting, UNEDITED, a Clayton email he sent today to friends, acquaintances and not. I love this neighborhood. Yesterday Clayton wrote to me: "...your tone, syntax, and writing style is one that that they [SoHo people] would flow with- my point is your writing is not for the average person- it is too stiff and academic."

Clayton is a TREASURE, the subject of CAPTURED, and then....
"Placing a creative work out there has none of the protection of the business world, or the academic world.  There is a place where education, money, power, the penthouse all stop being assets to the creative process."   

and today....
"I am looking for people interested in literature to make a comment on a couple of people's writing- in most ways these two people are completely opposite- both are about the same age- around 60-  both are people I have spent a reasonable amount of time documenting- (much of which is not public at this time- maybe after we are all dead)  both people I try and support-  both have equal status in my world- both are friends of mine- and naturally both are people I have had fights with- but that is another story- I love and respect them both.  They are both just entering the water of discovery-  I am looking for comments on their writing.  

Michael Rosen you can read his bio on his blog- he has just had a book published- Michael without question is a successful person- highly educated.  Michael and I started off on completely different sides of the political spectrum- meaning completely different sides of the spectrum- opposite positions- if anyone knows anything about my TSP Police Riot Tape- Michael lives in the penthouse of the Christodora- the ending of the tape-   however intelligence- creativity- a warm and open heart- becoming a part of the community- love and understanding- eventually washed away ill will- and to my good fortune we became friends- friendship, understanding, and reasonable debate is bigger and more important than political differences- besides Michael came to the point of  joining in helping to save our devolving community- Michael will make it with or without us- but since we are community we should give our impute- I would like to have peoples comments. 

The other is a poet and an old friend of mine- limited education- a part of her history:  we have had our wars- but in the end I always love and support her-- as she was bitching something about me I took her to the hospital when she was deathly ill- kicked some things up to Code Orange to get her a bed- she got a bed-  she survived and rather than to die she got off drugs- after years of searching she has just recently discovered:  it seems that her mother was a criminal and when Anne was born her mother was in jail- she was given up for adoption.  Anne for many years was a street prostitute on some of the most dangerous L.E.S. strolls- and contrary to most public perceptions- she did not hate men or her job- she saw what she was doing as a needed public health service- Anne was a junkie- she shot both coke and dope for most of her adult life- for all the bravado and glamorous bullshit attached to the male Beats and their scoring stories- truth be told- there were a number of times that Anne- is the one-- at 4 AM who would ride her bike down to Ave D and score dope for Marty Metz (not a Beat but an interesting poet from this period- early on he went to Mexico and ended up in jail as all his poet friends became the Beats), Gregory Corso, Herbert Huncke, Roger Richards (rare book dealer of Beats) and others- Anne has always been a poet- her poetry may not in the same vein as a Robert Frost- but she speaks from the heart for the people- she speaks from the guts for the people- I am a people- she speaks to me- it is my life and my space and Anne means much more to me than most recognized poets- she has been given a chance to have a Chapbook published.  She needs some writers to give her some comments- she wants to be published before she dies- this is not a public service this is for the dignity and respect of a creative person who has struggle her whole life putting words together- one of my favorites Suck Death the Chapbook person will not publish- anyway whatever- she is about words- you are word people=

both have been in the NY Times



both have websites dedicated to their work-


...or, "What will my 2 minutes be like?" Tomorrow afternoon, 100 or so community representatives from around the country will listen to 50 or so writers give 2 minute presentations about our books. Speed dating. I'm imagining the writers lined up, moving slowly yet always moving along like a line of taxis at the airport waiting for customers. It's the annual Jewish Book Council meet&greet, and I'm thrilled and anxious, wanting to participate. Writers can be booked discuss their works at JCC's, synagogues, book fairs around the country. My friend Michael always says "shmooz leads to shmooz." There's a dinner after the presentations, when community representatives can talk for more than 2 minutes with the authors they liked. It's encouraging that people care about books.

You gotta get gone, you gotta get going
Hey, the world ain't slowing down for no one
It's a carnival callin out to you
It sounds like a song,
Hits you like scripture
You paint the picture
With colors squeezed from your hand
Weren't you the kid
Who just climbed on the merry-go-round
Hey look, the world ain't slowing down
Hey, hey, the world ain't slowing down
Hey, hey... -- part of Paul Ellis.
That's writing - Boston School. Something about New England. Were the Taylor brothers part of that?
I'm going with Saint Mary to BEA today, a paying customer. I do wonder how that big stage went last night, all rocked and rolled? Junot Diaz, Peter Matthiessen, they're Main Stage to me.
Rabbi Charlie conducts a good reading. Thank you Sixth Street Community Synagogue for bagels and cream cheese, cheese cake in three varieties, for coffee with milk, for listening. I have to get that reading aloud part down a bit better. Like hitting off a tee, the batting cages.

it's drizzly rainy here, heading to more. BookExpo America (BEA) begins at the Jacob Javits Center, our huge convention center. On the main stage, in the Special Events Hall, the Opening Night Keynote will be given by rollers and rockers Steven Tyler, of Aerosmith fame, and author of Does the Noise in My Head Bother You? (Ecco) and Clarence Clemons, saxophonist-god for the E-Street Band, and author of Big Man (Grand Central Publishing / Hachette Book Group). They'll hold sway. They're BIG.
On just a little bit tinier stage, I'm reading for the first time tonight (if I could Twitter, I'd Twitter and Tweet that) at the Shavuot study holiday evening at the Sixth Street Community Synagogue, (the "xth" of that looks wrong to me, but I can't spell), where Rabbi Charlie Buckholtz has asked a few community authors to read and talk about "revelation", since Torah was received from Sinai tomorrow/tonight (the Jewish way of marking days) about a lot of years ago. Charlie is the author of In Heaven Everything is Fine: the Unsolved Life of Peter Ivers and the Lost History of New Wave Theater (and a Ripton book club member). It's a tradition to study Torah tonight, some people all night, some much of it, and Charlie wants a contemporary books aspect as well. It'll be late, 10:30'ish, and really not an EVENT, but community....

Today is Memorial Day. Though our sons consider the day canonized as a mark towards school ending, and us too many times as a three day weekend for summer clothes and those lucky for their beach houses (we stay in our city save for Fay Howard memorial boules tournaments--more on that someday), we regularly ignore the dedication, commitment and sacrifice, often ultimate, of those for whom the day is truly memorialized.

In a different struggle, but with far too many lives at risk, I want to send love to a very living friend, Davon Russell, proud graduate of Kingston College, Kingston, Jamaica - "Fortis Cadere Cedere Non Potest" - "The brave may fall but never yield." And in memory, Davon's grandmother, raising him and his sister in a two room home dedicated to love and learning.

Davon was coached for speed at Kingston by George Thompson, of legend (know to KC boys as George T or Mr. T.), who taught him the 100 and 200 meters and an unrelenting striving for excellence marked by a love for humanity. Davon later ran for George Walcott at the University of Oregon.

And he has dedicated his waking hours since to minimizing, dare we think "erasing"?, poverty among the next generation here in New York. Davon is the Vice President of Programs at WHEDCo.

He is also a guiding part of summer at Camp Excel, another true effort to break the learned cycle of urban poverty.

Davon thinks Leslie and I are nuts (that's not a technical term) for opening our family to our five bigger boys. But people like Davon open the years of their lives to thousands of children in silent, salient, singular ways, re-tracking lives to participate in the depth of this country.

So today, to Davon Russell, and to his grandmother, his mother sending half barrels home, to George Thompson. To every human being, who helps. May inner-city, class based poverty become a bad memory.


They're huge now, to me, growing up-fast. These baseball cards are Ripton and Morgan Rosen, back in the summer of 1999 - the year after we met the bigger boys in Tompkins Square. My two sons led their Brooklyn Friend's high school baseball team to the playoffs this year. Ripton was an extraordinary captain. He played first (yes, still his true position) and third bases, and sometimes catcher. Morgan played center fielder, the team's best outfielder. Ripton, 6'1" and about 230 pounds, became "House"- a team full of players cheering "H-O-U-S-E", call and response, Morgan leading it all. Last year and this, Ripton's bat led the team to the playoffs (am I a proud father?). And now, he's finished his high school classes, high school baseball is over, and he's heading to North Carolina next year for college. Oh my.


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