Wednesday, April 06, 2011

One forgets just how thoroughly internalized the smell of fog can be, how entirely comforting, familiar. In spite of the rigors of travel – six different beds over a stretch of nine days – a return to one’s home town after a period of years triggers so many of the psyche’s pathways that it’s, if not rejuvenating, reorienting. And one’s “home town” has nothing to do with jurisdiction – mine stretches all over the Bay Area, from Bernal Heights in San Francisco, to Pleasanton & Alamo in the East Bay to Fourth Street in San Rafael. In Berkeley, the spate of larger buildings – not skyscrapers, exactly, but no longer just one or two storey structures – gives University a very different feel, while a string of “adult massage” parlors on San Pablo in Albany made me conscious that politics & policy had taken a turn there. Of the family homes I drove past while there, my great grandmother’s on Modoc in Berkeley appears to be better kept than the one on Neilson in Albany in which I grew up (way too many cars in that narrow driveway) or the one house in Berkeley, on Curtis, that I bought with my own money, its little front garden devolved into a jungle.

The trip constituted a loop of the region – from SFO to Sunnyvale for a day full of meetings & then the long drive up through Fremont & Oakland to get to Moe’s where I read to an all-star audience. Staying overnight in Albany, I met Richard Krech, the poet who first published me in 1965, at Mama’s Royal Café, then headed up to Sebastopol where I worked for two solid days with Cecelia Belle & Marcus Bennett going through the archives of David Bromige. We found at least 100 pages of material that we will need to be adding to the forthcoming Collected Poems. Then I headed back to Berkeley, where I caught ROVA’s concert at the University Art Museum. Great concert, great acoustics – the quartet spread out and used the entire building as a sound-box for their work. Finally, Saturday morning, I crossed over the Bay Bridge through San Francisco – my only time in the City – on the way back to SFO. It was exhausting, exhilarating, filled with sites & details that will take weeks, if not months, to process. Thanks to all who fed & sheltered me along the way!

Does the mailman read my blog? While I was gone, I received exactly one book and one magazine. Yesterday, 19 books showed up. I had not put a stop on my mail.

Also, before I left, I asked some questions about the nature of this blog, and got a good number of responses, the most important results of which seem to be the following. At least 80% of you want me to continue the blog, and maybe a dozen suggested that I should think about guest bloggers from time to time, an idea that I am in fact contemplating. There does seem to be a difference between who reads the blog and who reads my tweets, so switching from one to the other for links isn’t precisely a transparent process. I guess we’re going to be going with both/and rather than either/or for the foreseeable future.

Of the 20% who don’t think I need to continue, I could discern at least three subgroups: those who think I’ve “served my time,” those who think the blog format has run its course, plus those who think I’m an idiot or (my favorite) “in the way,” as tho the 1,300+ bloggers listed on my blog roll alone can’t speak their minds until someone shovels dirt over me. Good luck with that.