Wind in the Willows Event at Axleart

Please join us for this special performance-reading in the mobile gallery:
Madelin Coit: The Wind in the Willows
Three days only!
Opening at Santa Fe Railyard Plaza, May 6th, 5-7 pm

Coit will seat herself inside the gallery and read from Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows at The Railyard Plaza, Farmer’s Market, San Isidro Plaza, and The Downtown Library. People will be able to see Coit through the vitrine and hear her reading through roof-mounted speakers. This performance/installation is sure to please art enthusiasts, literati, and children of all ages.

Friday, May 6th
Railyard Plaza, 5-7 pm

Saturday, May 7th
Santa Fe Farmer’s Market (north side of the Railyard Plaza), 9am-1 pm
San Isidro Plaza ( near Stadium 14), 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm

Sunday May 8th
Downtown Library, 1 pm – 5 pm

Artwork and location is always at:
axleart.com

Star Axis

Star Axis

We’d been hearing about it for years–a sculptor was building a monolithic pyramid out in the desert, behind Santa Rosa. It was a naked eye observatory, focused on Polaris, the north star. Like Smithson’s Spiral Jetty or the Lightning Field out by Quemado, Star Axis was an earthwork–heroic, shamanic, a huge vision built not by pharoh’s minions but by a crew with bulldozers.
There was a tour and we set out to join it, meeting at the intersection of highway and dirt. We passed a WIDE LOAD, one of those fabricated houses on a flatbed that my husband seemed oddly fond of, perhaps because he loved transportation and was less enthusiastic about home owning.
I was a bit dubious–maybe we’d show up and no one else would. Maybe this would go on the list of things I’d missed seeing in my life (the cathedral in Milan because I was asleep in the van, the eclipse of the moon on an overcast night).

blue mosque at Akko
chained shut Friday afternoon
I passed on a bus
what crusaders called Acre
so many years ago

But the tour was here. So up a steep dirt road, barely clearing it in the Toyota. And then, literally in the middle of nowhere’s scrub of juniper and pinon, a partially built pyramid and below it an enormous gateway of stone with a flight of stairs up the cliff.
Procession is the astronomical term that explains why the night sky looks different than it did a thousand years ago. The earth moves in an ellipse, repeating the pattern over thousands of years. The staircase of Star Axis, when finished, will let the observer walk through time, look at the sky from a specific step and see what Sappho saw, or Genghis Khan. Polaris is only our north star for five hundred years.
Everyone climbed up into a cool chamber to listen to sculptor Charles Ross speak about his work. My bad leg kept me below and I talked to the intern, a young woman my daughter’s age, from Seoul. “Which side of the river?” I asked, and she was amazed I’d actually been there.

in the women’s baths
I stared at them and they
at me–
our foreign bodies
so similar

Beautiful views in all directions. This landscape was once a sea. The sculptor came down and I had one question–about the three-legged black dog sprawled in the shade.
On the way home we saw another WIDE LOAD, a house on the move. My husband said no, he didn’t like them, he actually feared them.Yet he seemed happy to be living in a time when we have a north star.

the three-legged dog
lying in the shade
of the pyramid
with her nose on her black paws
is named Star.

Modern Haibun & Tanka Prose — Issue 2, Winter 2009.

Real Fake & Fake Real: Thinking About Las Vegas

I was intrigued to discover that the post office made a mistake with the most recent Statue of Liberty stamps. Instead of the Lady Liberty who stands in New York Harbor, they mistakenly replicated the fake Statue of Liberty from the Las Vegas casino New York New York.
What is real? After 9/11, people left tons of flowers and offerings at the casino, as if it were not just a Hollywood style representation but a magical link to the real Big Apple.
William L. Fox writes, in his book about Vegas IN THE DESERT OF DESIRE, “The Hanging Gardens (of Babylon) were the world’s first known theme park–that is, an attraction meant to distract people from reality by representing in miniature another environment for them to enter.”
No wonder I like things like the Taj Mahal built out of sugar cubes. Or a snow globe of southern Florida with flamingos. Or white confetti falling on the tiny Manhattan skyline.

Feral Chickens of New Orleans

Feral chickens have proliferated in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina

By Katy Reckdahl, The Times-Picayune


Since Hurricane Katrina, Ruby Melton’s 9th Ward enclave has welcomed a new species of neighbor: clucking, crowing, prancing chickens that dart across streets and nest in the trees.
Chickens of New Orleans Wild chickens roam the streets of many downtown New Orleans neighborhoods.
“We don’t have stray dogs any more,” said Melton, 68. “But everyone I talk to has stray chickens.”
Most people figure that the wild birds descended from domesticated fowl that escaped backyard coops after the storm. Since then, the population has boomed, with the local SPCA chapter now dispatching officers weekly to catch feral chickens, spokeswoman Katherine LeBlanc said.
Most calls hinge on neighbors’ irritation with ear-piercing squawks, she said, rather than complaints about chicken droppings or attacks on pets or children. The birds don’t appear to be fugitives from the growing number of New Orleans homesteaders who raise chickens for eggs and meat.
Animal control officers place the stray chickens with a farmer they call the Chicken Man, LeBlanc said, noting that capturing the creatures is “extremely hard” and often requires the effort of several officers.

The job hasn’t proved as vexing for a band of swift, persevering kids who have invested countless hours stalking and nabbing the feathered bandits, said Ed Buckner, director of the Porch, a cultural organization in the 7th Ward. When Buckner a few years ago started a Mardi Gras Indian tribe for youth at the Porch, he wanted to call it “Akanka,” after the Choctaw word for chicken.
“Until they started sewing, these boys were running around chasing chickens all day,” Buckner said.
The boys opted to call their tribe the Red Flame Hunters, which they thought sounded cooler. But they admitted to a knack for capturing chickens that roost in nearby trees. They sneak up and grab the birds over their wings, and they try to avoid the roosters’ spurs, which can tear deeply into flesh, said Nas Jackson, 12.
Several 7th Ward chickens commute between two empty lots on opposite sides of Touro Street. Cynthia Stampley, who has lived on the block for 30 years, said that until Katrina, she’d never seen such a proliferation of wild chickens.
Other cities have waged high-profile battles with chickens. After neighbors complained last year, animal-control workers in the Bronx removed 35 chickens that were “believed to be the city’s largest brood of wild chickens,” according to a newspaper report.

For more–see NOLA.com

Poetry Steps from the Jersey Shore by Alex J. Worth

A single serving conversation changed the perspective in which I viewed my great Aunt Bette for a life time. I was visiting a friend in Santa Barbara, California who recently moved from New Jersey. The first stop on his presentation of the west coast lifestyle was a trendy Mexican eatery. He explained the recent staple in his diet which dominates his friends and the entire beach culture, was the, “flour tortilla wrapped burrito of heaven” located only at this eatery. The choices on the menu were endless and I was completely overwhelmed. Among the sand/sun crusted surfers was a couple, in their late 60’s ahead of us in line. I decided to make friends and ask them what was good on the menu. I introduced myself as a visitor from the east coast looking for some sound Cali advice. When I told them where I was from, I was stopped dead in my tracks. “Manasquan”! The women replied. “We absolutely love that quaint sea side borough”. “What an attractive place, you know there is a woman there that writes poetry and puts it on her steps”. “We have gone back just to see her new poem”.

That woman who writes poetry on wood planks gently set on her front step is my great Aunt Bette June. Bette June is a lifelong resident of Manasquan New Jersey and a beloved seaside philosopher. She grew up on the beach with a love of art, literature, and fun in the sun. For the last twenty years she has brought joy to the jersey shore by displaying decorative boards of singsongy poetry for all beach goers to see. A reporter from the Asbury Park Press, Shannon Mullen once wrote, “Bette June Worth is to poetry what, say, John Grisham is to literature. Light, breezy, meant for the masses-in short, ideal summer reading.”

Bette June has written many different types of poetry and prose. She has been featured in different publications throughout the years with national circulation. Big or small, she is most known for her poetic porch.

Why she does what she does is still a bit of a mystery. It may at first appear to be a self centered form of expression. That would be an easy explanation; however she is shy by nature. Most of her published pieces are under pseudonym. Not because they are edgy resistance declarations, because she’s not looking for the attention. She does what she does, to make you smile. Here is her first poem in 1991;

Step by step this Rhyme may reach

Into your Hearts from Manasquan Beach

Inlet, Jetty, Cove and Sand

Ocean shores of just bought land.

Resident poet – born and raised

Truly a clam digger – glad I’ve stayed

After years of people knocking on the door to meet the person behind the porch and countless letters from fans, I finally convinced her to let me make her a trial website. So she wrote a poem about it in 2005;

Twinkle, Twinkle little stair

Shining bright with words to share

Wish I may, wish I might

Have my very own web site

Visit these steps you’ve come upon

At Poemsofworth.com

The website ran for a year and received modest traffic. We kept the domain parked until 2010 when I decided to bring it back with a new idea. Global smiles J . If it makes a visitor headed to the beach smile, why not a person at home, work, or in a café. I also loved the concept of blogging, the idea of sharing individual commentary, descriptions of events, but most of all visitor interaction and user submission. This is the direction I intend http://www.poemsofworth.com to take. A digital community of artistic expression brought to you by decorative boards of singsongy poetry. Visit http://www.poemsofworth.com to share in the fun.

By Alex J. Worth

Worth Seeing: Matthew Morrow Photographs at the Santa Fe Complex

I spoke to Matthew Morrow last night at his festive opening at SANTA FE COMPLEX (623 Agua Fria).

His show, Friends and Other Strangers is essentially a gallery of portraits of twenty something folk.

Miriam’s Well: Do you see that you know them (the subjects) or that they are mysterious?

Matt: Both. The photographs are an exploration of relationships.
They express how I know the person and how I perceive them. And how they perceive me.

Miriam’s Well: So the subject also perceives the artist?

Matt: They are opening themselves up in some way to the camera…I’m hoping the mask is falling away.

The show will be up for several weeks–do go by.

To see more of his work, go to http://www.flikr.com/photos/matthewmorrow.