Wednesday, February 1, 2012
On giving anarchism to the anarchists & Cherokee Street before superfluous hipsters
Today I went to Black Bear Bakery on Cherokee Street to drop off a few things.
Last year my friend Paul Reiter was shot dead interrupting the burglary of his neighbor. I helped Paul's sisters clean out the bachelor's house and sell some of his stuff. I held onto a book called Anarchism Today -- the "today" in question being 1972 -- thinking Paul would like it if I took it to our local anarchist bakery. More than eighth months after Paul was taken from us, I finally put that book into anarchist hands.
When I grabbed the book from my trunk, I also snagged a copy of my new chapbook, The Shape of a Man (Intagliata Imprints). A friend who is a successful businessman paid for this printing, so I am doing my very best to sell the little books rather than give them away, as is my wont. But my publisher is a far-left progressive and student of philosophy, and I just knew he'd like the thought that our first library copy was donated to the library at an anarchist bakery.
And then there is the example of Roque Dalton to think about. The great Salvadorean poet and revolutionary -- one of my most important models as a poet -- wrote, "Poetry, like bread, is for everyone." Roque Dalton approved of this donation.
The man at the bread counter accepted both donations. So, if you want to read up on anarchism ca. 1973 or read my new poems, Black Bear Bakery is the spot.
I also brought a copy of the CD Outstandingly Ignited: Lyrics by Ernest Noyes Brookings Vol. 4. This 1995 compilation of bands making songs from a nursing home resident's poems features my band, Eleanor Roosevelt. I've kept in touch with the producer David Greenberger, who recently mailed me a box of these discs.
Some neat-looking young Asian woman at the Black Bear counter liked the looks of the CD, her eye drawn first by the cover art work, drawn by Daniel Clowes.
She has her own copy now.
Walking up and down Cherokee Street, which I no longer visit as much as I'd like, I was struck by the things one hears about "The Street" nowadays, namely, the influx of so-called hipsters. I have a soft spot for hipsters, having lived in St. Louis at a time when one would have killed to have thousands, hundreds, even dozens of strangers running around who liked weird music, tattoos and comic books.
When I see this new Cherokee Street in formation, in fact, I am reminded of the years that I lived in the neighborhood, when there was no such thing as superfluous hipsters on Cherokee Street, or any other place around here. I wrote a song one day after walking up and down Cherokee Street right about when Eleanor Roosevelt was appearing on this hip compilation in the mid-1990s.
It's pretty grim, but this is what "The Street" looked like then.
"Song from Home"
Recorded by Roy Kasten
Song From Home by ChrisKingSTL