This (this blog) is partly written as a method for countering doubt, paranoia, invisibility and anger. As the days accrue, my translation of specific op-ed pieces and essays from Venezuelan newspapers becomes a way for me to read certain writers more closely and to think about the slow-motion disaster that's engulfing Venezuela.

Writing for a daily practice, since I rarely meditate and I haven't been running recently. But even when I'm running, the desire for words continues to grow. There's probably a belief in the value of nakedness, in being as honest as possible in public. Ginsberg's precise and helpful slogan: "Candor ends paranoia."

The poems I posted yesterday were part of a longer series of e-mails, poems and fragments my friend J. and I were sending to each other across the country. He had just gotten his degree at Hampshire College and I'd just finished at BU. We were both jobless, semi-homeless and had complete faith in writing as a form of survival. Still do.

J. will be recording his first solo album as a saxophone player this summer here in Massachusetts. He's invited me to record some of my poems for this LP, which he'll then mix into one or two tracks. I'll probably try to write some improvised pieces in the studio, as he and his band (a quartet) develop their arrangements.

While he was at Hampshire, J. studied musical composition and theory with Yusef Lateef at UMass. He's continued to tour and record with Lateef and some of that work can be found here (click on "Listen" link).

In 1998, my father, C. and I drove out to Amherst to visit J. for the weekend. The night we drove back to Providence, we went to see J. play with Archie Shepp at a bar in town. J. had made two wooden flutes (based on designs he had learned in Guatemala as a child) for the occasion and played a weird, fantastic piece which I imagine was improvised. All three of us were mesmerized during the drive home to Providence.

In many ways, I find myself imitating J.'s ideas for music whenever I'm trying to write poems. Knowing how grace sounds and feels. Using sound as a form of endurance, protection and guidance. Allowing the music to guide one's fingers and mind. So that eventually there is no mind, only song.

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