Kick It Old School by J.I. Abbot09 Jul 2018, Posted by Poetry in
Art: Robert Ferrier
KICK IT OLD SCHOOL
‘87 an island summer of sexually ripe worship. The days began at my old school, with waves of full-length prostrations in the room provided to me as student guide to a poetry conference. June, post semester. In a ‘50s-era dorm, far older prayers. Poetry invoked as what it really is: the life-force in the body—become livelihood, worship, coitus. A panelist’s quip: “Olson had no love for literature—that is, if you meant the literature that stood in the same relation to writing as the hall of records to the marriage bed.”
My weekend of soon-overdone, swiped liturgical meters…then walks across Tewksbury Field Swamp accompanying veteran chant priests and young lyric hunters to the mic. Caught wind of a great “Old School” Tibetan teacher in the city for those feeling the sun in bloom in their bodies, in the world, in the open sky. Lift to NYC with Anne Charters, biographer of Beats, with whom my buddy Steve Beatty just studied at UConn. Then solo: bookstore near Columbia—purchased first book by 8th century “Old School” sexuo-spiritual feminist; on to big assembly full downtown with the teacher thought to be the remake of her consort. Slept in urban monastic nook two streets away, missing Yvonne terribly in time with Smokey Robinson’s sweet melodic chowder & march to buy Drupten a loaf of bread across the street. Then ten hours of buses from Port Authority to Woods Hole trying to keep photographic icon free of wrinkles.
Now on the Vineyard, indelible days of loneliness: debates with an outspoken uncle about religious statistics; the page missing from the liturgy; the one empty beach at Chilmark after finding several full. July. Young Icelandic woman, flirting with the faux-transgressive air of the island, uncovers her lovely breasts; covers them up again. I’m flirting lightly also with this woman to fill empty discussion, page, beach, heart. Hauntings of sadness, spirit, sex, few limits obvious but still those few…mingle. I wasted so much on overpriced speakers to give voice to the mix of moods: Coltrane’s “Central Park West”; Steely Dan’s “My Old School” and “Any Major Dude.” Arguments with Yvonne over the pay phone near Granny’s cottage about—God knows what—return date; psychically sensed Nordic breasts; fidelity saved; my inattentiveness. First big thought of the link between all freedoms and others’ pains. It is a pulse and it is primal: kick it old school. Waves at Oak Bluffs the forever coitus of this liberty and those pangs.
(1998 and 2018)