“For Amiri Baraka”

 ~ written by Diane Di Prima, January 10, 2014

 

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Holding their daughter

 

don’ matter was it

yr left foot went bad

or yr right

don’ matter yr lungs

or yr heart

don’ matter if that

mass

on yr liver was

malignant

or what’s been wrong

so long

w/yr kidneys

don’t matter

drugs

or herbs

or acupuncture

or why you didn’t

go

to those appointments

don’t matter how much you drank

or if you drank

don’t matter you did or you didn’t

take drugs

meaning meds

or take drugs

meaning drugs

what matters now

what matters &

what’s gonna matter

a hundred

a thousand years

what matters when

what we wrote

what we thought

is lost

(& don’t kid yourself,

Ginsberg

it’s all of it

gonna be lost)

what matters:

every place

you read

every line

you wrote

every dog-eared book

or pamphlet

on somebody’s shelf

every skinny hopeful kid

you grinned that grin at

while they said

they thought they could write

they thought they could fight

they knew for sure

they could change the world

every human dream

you heard

or inspired

after the book-signing

after the reading

after one more

unspeakable

faculty dinner

after that god-awful flight

& the drive to the school

what matters:

the memory

of the poem

in thousands of minds

that quantum

of energy

passed over

passed

all the way over

to the other

to thousands

of others

what matters

Revolution

what matters

Revelation

what matters

the poem

taking root in

thousands

of minds …

They Live by Night – Tokyo

 From Dangerous Minds:

 

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Kabukichō is the red light district in Shinjuku, a commercial and administrative ward in central Tokyo. Apparently Kabukichō took its name from plans to build a kabuki theater in the district sometime in 1940s. This never happened. Instead the area became a busy red light world of nightclubs, hostess clubs and love hotels. It’s estimated there are some 3,000 such enterprises operating in Kabukichō today. At night, the busy neon-lit streets thrive with the curious and the criminal—around a thousand yakuza are said to operate in the area. All this relentless activity gave Kabukichō its nickname as the “Sleepless Town” (眠らない街).

Among the curious drawn to Kabukichō was photographer Watanabe Katsumi (1941-2006). During the 1960s and 1970s, this seemingly quiet and unassuming character prowled the streets camera in hand offering to take pictures of the sharp-suited yakuza, the pimps, the prostitutes and the drag queens who lived and worked in and among this red light district’s narrow streets. Watanabe thought of Kabukichō as his theater and the men and women who posed for him as his actors.

He approached each of his subjects and offered to take their picture.  He took the pictures quickly. But whatever he said to make each individual sufficiently relaxed worked. His photographs captured something unguarded and utterly spontaneous about his subjects. The next night he would return, deliver three prints of each photograph for 200 yen—roughly around a dollar back then. This was how he made his living.

In 1973, the first volume of Watanabe Katsumi’s photographs The Gangs of Kabukichō was published. This book was reissued in 2006, details here.

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Via American Suburb X and Vintage Everyday.