Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Practivist of the Week - YOU! Help save The Forest Cafe!

The Forest Cafe is an Edinburgh arts community institution.  This is sort of oxymoronic in that no one involved would call it that, it is not funded like an institution, nor is it solidified in any way as such.  It is revered as one by the artists who have been showcased there and the people who have been lucky enough to see them.

The list of musicians, singers, poets and promoters I would not know if The Forest Cafe had not been among the pioneers of the Free Fringe movement in Edinburgh is easily in the hundreds.  Let me try some out on you:  Jonny Berliner, Kevin Molloy, Kal LavelleEd SheeranDavid Goo, Folk-A-Dot, Gideon Conn,  iKToms, Ali Whitton, Melv -- and so many more.  It would be heartbreaking for me to think about my life without the people I met there.

The Forest functions as a cafe, gallery, performance space, free Fringe venue, artist grant provider, record label, publisher, rehearsal space, darkroom, recording studio and just about anything else you might be able to come up with and propose to them.  It is an all-volunteer vegetarian collective.

Church Hall
Upstairs at 3 Bristo
The building in which The Forest resides is up for sale and the community is joining together to help them purchase the building.  This is both a radical and necessary move.  An old church, the architecture allows different spaces for different purposes - cafe/gathering space, gallery space and an upstairs with high-ceilings that feels like a sacred performance space.

Says Fundraising Co-ordinator Harry Giles:
"Forest's spirit of independence and free access has supported thousands of artists from across the world -- painters, musicians, poets, performers, and much else besides. It runs pretty much entirely on the love and dedication of the community, and that, to me, makes it an endlessly exciting and inspiring place to be."
LA's Brenda Petrakos at The Forest

This is not a last-ditch effort, but a proactive campaign to ensure the future a pioneering space that has served a community.  It is in fact a chance for The Forest to become even more independent, create more beauty and be even more meaningful in its community.

So how can you help?
Easy - click on any of the links.  You know you want to.

DONATE - This can be a one-time or a monthly donation - even a very small monthly donation.

SIGN THE PETITION - Speak out and be heard.

VOLUNTEER - Get involved!

And as always, pass the word along.  This is how we build a world that looks like us.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

26/30 - Best Friends


Inside my belly
lives a 6-year old
exuberant dark-haired
pig-tailed girl

I never met before

I know her now
because every time she thinks
I am going to see you

She starts jumping up and down
excitedly getting ready to run out

When we see you
she jumps out of my belly
hair bouncing
face smiling

Did you know
there is a really cute and sweet
6-year old boy who lives in your belly?

He jumps out smiling, too
She grabs his hand
They run off

They couldn’t be happier

We stand awkwardly
I stare off at her
I don’t know if you even see him

They don’t seem to need us
They don’t care that we don’t know
what to say to each other
or what to do

They only know
they were born to match
My spirit
and yours
they are best friends
they run and jump together
always holding hands
never breaking bonds
they are giggles and puddles
and rolling down grassy hills

They do not notice our cement
our look-aways
our unable to express

When called
She comes back reluctantly
they know it is time to go
She will jump back in my belly
and as I walk away
I can feel her telling me
this is not the way home.

c. e. amato

25/30 - The Laugh Dream


so far :

seduced me
with your smart

overwhelmed me
with your sexy

delved me
in your deep

in the dream:

you kiss me mouth hello
this has not happened before
you have decided something

people notice

you get up on a stage
do scene with a woman

come sit down next to me
now you are wearing white terry cloth robe
tied with belt why
before I can whisper in your ear
‘we need to shoot that’
you kiss me again longer like you can
I look at you not knowing

gossips are internetting
yes there is definitely something going on around here
nobody told them

you bow your head down to me
for some of that good white girl understanding slowly
reluctantly place right palm on your head
give you what you have not asked for

now they are sure we have been secreting for a good long time

(what they are seeing is conception
not birth conception)

you raise your head
I must look at you with confusion
you say something
you say something so damn funny
poke hot air balloon wide open
make fun of us both right there so well with so few words
say in my voice
‘I seen your sexy – it don’t impress me like that’
and we laugh
we laugh teeth

that makes them angry

if we can laugh like that it’s fine

if we can laugh like that together it’s all fine

So OK.


let them say what they like

c. e. amato

Monday, 25 April 2011

Monday's Quote - Roche

"You never know where your spiritual self is hidden. We’re told to find it through the discipline of practice. Because this is meditation, and not the Army, your impulse to rebel against discipline is as important as your desire to change yourself for the better. You may have noticed in the past that when you try to get yourself to do a self-help program, you wind up tyrannizing yourself. Then you rebel against the tyranny. The rebel becomes a saboteur of your program because you left her out. The way through this is to embrace the rebel right from the start."

- Dr. Lorin Roche

I've been reading Dr. Roche's columns in LA Yoga for a while now.  They are always interesting.  This one seemed especially appropriate for spring, when my inner rebel starts acting up!

Celebrate your inner rebel!

Sunday, 24 April 2011

24/30 - "La Luna"

“La Luna”
Overheard Conversation in Spanish 
Translated by E. Amato
(Who Does Not Speak Spanish)

He:  Work was really long.  And The Moon – she did not call me back.

She  You know how she is.  Besides, I heard she was in Spain.

He:  Her feet are in Spain, but her heart rides the Galaxy.

She:  The moon has no feet.  Everyone knows this.

He:  Well, that’s clear, but then why doesn’t she call me?

She:  She has strong pulls.  Perhaps you are not one of them.

He:  Well, I would like to go to Spain.

She:  Of course, if only to see The Moon in her own light.

c. e. amato

23/30 - 5 Dresses

5 new dresses into trying to get you back

With the necessary accessories
the price tag for the first attempt alone
was well over 100 bucks

It was a bold statement
requiring red lipstick, going
against my current natural trend
while at least 3 people
used the word beautiful
It didn’t matter

You never made it to that party
their words fell hollow
I wondered if you’d view
drunken facebook photos
think beautiful too
or just:
she looks kinda faded

Something like 5 outfits
added to my bulging suitcase
have been texting you to say:
this is me trying to show you
I have changed

without benefit of red carpet
glamour squad
Harry Winston on loan
I keep trying to pull off
Oscar Night Stellar
just to get you next to me
long enough to see
that I am sorry.

That I fucked up,
done wrong,
quit too soon,
mistook your sincerity for naiveté,
your attention for neediness,
your excitement for weakness
and your Adoration

Well it invaded my Lonely
Asked me dream where I’d only been feigning sleep
Kept saying I have something to show you
to my seen it all before
Promised a kind of devotion that made me
Damned uncomfortable

I didn’t know
I would grow to love you so much
from afar or just almost close enough

the outfits empty soldiers
limbless cannot touch you
they stand to speak for me
yet utter nothing

I do not use my mouth
my hands are paper cranes that cannot unfurl
I spend too much time wondering
If I have the right
to Disturb you.  Again.
Spend gazes out bus windows
on how you could ever trust me
and why you remained friend

Want you back but so sure
there is another she better
hasn’t hurt you once already
doesn’t have my learning curve
or overflowing baggage.

Maybe I am not best for you
new outfits roll off you as
I imagine you wonder
why I don’t donate that shallow money
where it’s needed so deeply

If I were you, I’d untag me in all your photos.

So I keep not speaking.
They call me brave
but I have rendered myself fearful

Just keep planning outfit
after outfit
Hoping you’ll look through
all that armour
See me standing before you naked

 c. e. amato

22/30 - Write Me


strip me back naked
words your only tools
find me thesis topic sentence
line break

I want you
to write me

this lack of distance
myopiates my vision
renders efforts meaningless

but you
you could say what I mean
you could see through saran wrap
designed to burn flesh from these round hips
your vision of me could just be 20/20

I am not asking to be muse
just mirror me real time portrait
with flaws
show me my sentence
you know how to do this
you have literary prowess
truth me in black and white
proof me no edits

I am adrift in a sea of metaphor
fish me out
dry me off
set me down on a firm bed of
simple subject verb predicate

It gets so flowery out here sometimes
especially in spring
what I am craving is straight up meaning
If necessary go back to cave painting

As long as the weight of things
stops getting lost in translation

Write me Marilyn’s suicide note
Write me confession of JFK’s assassin
Write me the mind of an Israeli soldier
Write me everything I can’t grasp

This whirl is too much
Gravity is losing the center
I have lost perspective

So write me
you who really see
I beg your clarity
for something longer than a haiku
less arduous than sonnet
write me

one good solid paragraph

that’s all I ask

even one stanza of my obituary

something I can read
and understand
minus mental gymnastics
unreliable narrators
self-serving commentary
selective memory

Write me true reflection
like the first time
you saw your face in a lake
clear fresh wonder

Write me that
if you can if you will
write me trust exercise
fall and catch me with your words
I will submit to your precision

then watch me
and see if I bloom
in the eyes of your truth.

c. e. amato

Thursday, 21 April 2011

21/30 - man crossing street

(I'm running out of reserves and so many of the rest of the poemlets don't seem all the way's a shorty.)

man crossing street

sunday morning early on a sunny brisk
carrying glass cup latte and scent of bacon
drag of cigarette
across kentish town road

how nice to be a man
who smokes while drinking coffee
cooks and eats bacon
crosses street without looking
certain he will not be harmed.

i couldn’t do it.  not any of it.

c. e. amato

20/30 - Call Me Kate

Call me Kate

I am scared but receptive
I am a merger in the form of a body
I am not your mother’s princess

I am as perfect as normal allows
I am alright with the primping and preening
I even like the photo spreads
I am my mother’s princess

I strive for meta-normal
neither boring nor enticing
neither affectionate nor detached
too much grace or wit
can be dangerous

I will be wife mother
daughter I will always know my role
each room will tell me
each house has a script

I will not be sacrificed on any altar
as I will not totter in my heels
or slouch under weight of robes
I am a tiara

Make no mistake
I am not an agenda
nor anyone’s idea of
what has come before
or what must need be now

I will grow old with certitude
of events running as they should
of needs being consistently met
of the glory of the honoured bargain

How many people
get to say that

c. e. amato