Spoor of Desire: Selected Poems
is available for $16.00 from FootHills Publishing, P.O. Box 68, Kanona NY 14856 or see www.foothillspublishing.com.

Tourist Snapshots is available for $8.95 from Randy Fingland, CC Marimbo, P.O. Box 933, Berkeley CA 94701 or see www.ccmarimbo.com.

Dada Poetry: An Introduction was published by Nirala Publications. It may be ordered on Amazon.com for $25 plus shipping. American buyers may order a copy from me for $23 including shipping.

The other books are also available from the author William Seaton. Write seaton@frontiernet.net.


A categorized index of all work that has appeared on this site is available by looking under the current month in the Blog Archive section and selecting Index.

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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Documents of the Fifth Surreal Cabaret

1. press release (in fact acts numbered 2 and 8-11 did not appear due to snowfall the day of the event)


Surreal Cabaret in Sugar Loaf – One Night Only!

The fifth Surreal Cabaret will be presented at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 3 at the Seligmann Studio, 23 White Oak Drive in Sugar Loaf. Admission is free. The event will feature a series of short performances by local artists produced by Steve Roe with the assistance of William Seaton.

Acts may cross genres, mixing poetry, drama, dance, and music, while featuring conceptual play, experimentation, and improvisation. Several projection screens will provide a variety of visual stimulation in an environment of new word patterns, sounds never heard before, and suggestive theatrical gestures.

The event is part of an ongoing series of exhibits, readings, lectures, and workshops presented by the Seligmann Center for the Arts. Kurt Seligmann was a Surrealist artist who lived in Sugar Loaf, and the Center offers a rare Hudson Valley venue for avant-garde painters, writers, and performers.

This particular show, titled “On Thin Ice,” will memorialize Seligmann’s death from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, deemed to be accidental, on January 2, 1962. The extraordinary program, involving a wide circle of performance artists in the region, is detailed below.

For further information contact William Seaton at seaton@frontiernet.net or Steve Roe at sroe33@optonline.net . See www.kurtseligmann.org for details on other programs.

1. The program opens with a benediction from Surrealist chaplain Lama Swine Toil.
2. The Surreal Cabaret house band Mr. Sexy and the Hot Chicks warms up the audience.
3. “Lamp,” inspired by 1964 lamp subculture and other new wave consumerism is staged.
4. Spreaders offers “SoftError\\\drenched electronics::: damaged cassette loop junk media disruptions.”
5. “Dada Frolic” features Dan & Detta Andreana- speaking in their native tongue (Jibberish) and making sound art on the Bow Box and The Micasonic String Board.
6. William Seaton and the voice of Patricia Seaton alert the audience to “The Metaphysics of Everyday Life.”
7. Steve Roe performs “I Am Strange,” a work inspired by the work of Sun Ra.
8. The New York Pop Conceptualists, featuring Julie Mejia on bass, synthesizer, and vocals and Matt Luczak on drums, create “a response to the event itself.”
9. “Caution Horses,” from Jeffery Justin Van Dunk, is an experimental audio visual performance.
10. Jonas Bers offers an “abstract audiovisual improvisation using handmade electronics and modified consumer equipment to produce projected images and corresponding sound.”
11. The “23rd Toad Psalm” by the Orchestra de Fou, a long standing noise orchestra led by Dr. George Omara, with the assistance of members of Ohms of Resistance and Council of (Poetic) Experimentation will close out the evening.
For further information contact Steve Roe at sroe33@optonline.net or William Seaton at seaton@frontiernet.net. See www.kurtseligmann.org for details on other programs.


2. posters by Steve Roe



3. The Lineage of the Lama Swine Toil

I am the Lama Swine Toil and, like each of you, though singular, I am not alone.

I knew the divine madman Gundam Raul who played with Vishnu in the temple babbling and sticking his fingers in the statue’s mouth: “he’ll bite, he won’t bite, he’ll laugh, no he won’t, he’ll talk, but be silent”

And my neighbor next door is that Christ of the Gospel of Thomas who warned that buyers and merchants could not enter the kingdom and said to dance naked and unashamed, trampling on one’s clothes once and for all.

I am descended from Shi de, whose janitor’s broom swept his own mind clean, wiser than all the learned monks at the Guoqing Temple

And the illiterate Huineng who was delivering firewood when enlightened and who stole away in the night to avoid the envious when he was named Sixth Patriarch

I am at one with Muhammed who cut the sleeve of his robe to avoid disturbing his dear cat Muezza who slept and later the cat bowed to him in thanks as my own latter day cats have been known to do.

I revere the memory of the great Ji Gong who crazy and drunk was expelled from his monastery and thereafter practiced compassion in wine shops and low dives up and down the dusty streets crowded with suffering souls.

And in France my brother, the tumbler of Our Lady outshone the learned monks when he leaped and danced in love before the altar and heaven’s queen found his offering most sweet.

Not a hair’s breadth separates me from Johannes Tauler who knew Mechthild’s Flowing Light and knew as prophets and physicists alike will say that all without exception returns in the end to the source.

I am cousin, so I think, to Zhuang Zi who preferred his “filthy ditch” to the sovereign’s court and said, “I have determined never to take office, but prefer the enjoyment of my own free will."

I would scratch Diogenes that dog upon his hoary head, Diogenes who when he saw the shepherd boy drink from his own hand, then tossed away his begging bowl and said, “Fool that I am, to have been carrying superfluous baggage all this time.”

I strain my ears to hear the strain that came one night to that most annoying lady Margery Kempe as she lay with her husband in bed and “herd a sownd of melodye so swet and delectable, hir thowt, as sche had ben in paradyse.”

I think of dear Ikkyu who was brilliant with his flute entered brothels in his monastic robes and insisted his time with pavilion girls deepened his enlightenment.

I am as one with Hakuin Ekaku who, when asked about the afterlife, said, “Why should I know?” and when the questioner cried out, “You are a great teacher!” replied, “Yes, but not a dead one.”

Xuefeng Yicun tells all we need to know: “The Buddha is a bull-headed jail-keeper and the Patriarchs are horse-faced old maids!”



4. a further fit of "The Metaphysics of Everyday Life"

And a birth releases widening waves rolling fugue-like in four dimensions or more throughout fields known and fields awaiting a viewer and further yet where sight is unnecessary altogether;

For a death as well makes waves of an inverse character but no less graceful and potent, and were some gifted eyes to view from time’s back end they would see the end as the start spelled backwards, though the symmetry escapes us now,

And just as the truth of a birth is concealed behind jubilation that, in spite of mortality, we are keeping abreast of the game through efforts strenuous and strongly felt through the entire human race,

So the truth of a death is folded in self-pity and vain attempt to grasp at the straws that felt the summer sun so many years ago and, though we knew this moment was coming, we were nonetheless hard hit.

And we wept not for the departed but for ourselves, and not for our loss and raw loneliness torn open but as well for our own death lurking in a distant hallway awaiting most patiently our approach ever closer past the dusty doors of abandoned offices until we come upon it all at once.

For to be immortal would be like being of infinite height and would surely prove an inconvenience and hardly a thing to be wished for though it is true that one’s finiteness does not always seem to fit even after squirming and stretching!

And great flares of transformation arise and stars pass out of existence in the blooms of supernovae and think quiet afterthoughts of cosmic rays, world without end,

For there is always a further readjustment to be sought whether in the passing of stormy galactic clouds or some sac of eggs suspended in swampy water, restless and wriggling, or patterns of pencil marks on paper, and things never come wholly to rest.

And what Socrates called wind-eggs may not be without value in the end, for the church and the film industry and indeed all the advertisers likewise trade in images, and enjoy good custom indeed, though poets may go begging.

For liberation as well as manacles must be mind-forged, though the meadow breeze in one’s hair is none the less palpable for that, nor the dizzying sight from the peak, and we must be glad of our bargains and catch them where we may.

And the sum of all things is precisely nothing at all, when positive charges meet negative and matter meets antimatter and finds annihilation perfect and sweet and a most elegant end,

For we can only think that the primary concerns of the kosmos are aesthetic in spite of baryon asymmetry and other pebbles of ignorance that cramp our walk and give us blisters;

And Kurt Seligmann has gone off to join the many, for a single slip on a January morning may overpower a legion of intentions and halt the burgeoning of a host of futures each full of fresh promise,

For like him it is all we can do to pursue the vermin that annoy and the nightmares that trouble our sleep and the furtive darting threats that circle about seeking to gain advantage in this imperfect light.

And we can only breathe together and think of him and gaze each other in the eye and know we walk also a path that can only end in drama and alarm.

For the pot will continue to boil and sometimes to boil over and sometimes to simmer and in it the currents are drifting describing lovely patterns that never repeat and the dance cannot come to rest and in this it is like feet when the music plays.

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