The Works of Philip Kaveny
Poetry Class Preparation 02/22/2017
Dr. Pace “Everything Is Everything”
I am sitting at a computer prepping for Dr. Pace’s poetry class in my office at Hedgehog & Otter Internet Bookseller in Bunbury Place in Eau Claire WI, which is in the one million square foot former headquarters complex of the of the, closed in 1993, Uni Royal Tire Plant. My office is also the home of my media and publishing empire Post-Apocalyptic Promotions and Productions. Reflecting on yesterday when I was working with my intern editor and friend who is a twenty-two-year-old a Senior at UWC and about a third of my age. The events keep rebooting like a record player stuck in a groove. I was working on the other computer as I played the video for Lauryn Hill’s “Everything Is Everything”
By the fifth time through I felt as if I was the greatest living exponent of the orange juice squeezer school of poetic meaning. Because I had done poem, song, and video for the several classes that Dr. Pace, has allowed me to take. Okay now even with the computer off I can see still see the image, form the video of New York City as a huge Vinyl record turning with its great arm across the city, in some strange form of persistence of vision. Since I am hard into Eastern Philosophy that record evokes the Great Mandela and evokes dread in those of us who have lived on the white side of the easy street we call white class and race privilege, that we must pay the boatman the next time we cross the river, and this time around we may find ourselves in steerage. Since Samsara tells us what goes around comes around.
I won’t look up all the references in the song, but Abyssinian Street Baptist Church is in Harlem New York, which had its own renaissances in the 20s and early 30’s in which African Americans could perform in but not participate; it was really just another white hack job. At its worst embodied in the line from old blue eyes, “she doesn’t go to Harlem in ermine and pearls, that’s why the lady is a tramp. Lest we forget it had its best too, in the form of Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, Billi Holiday, Paul Robeson, Zora, Neil Hurston, Nella Larsen, Angelina Weld Grimke, Georgia Douglas Johnson, Gwendolyn Bennett, and Alice Dunbar Nelson.
All this got me into a monumental fugue and I started talking to my intern Serena about how I don’t really have friends only comrades, and nobody, gave a rat fuck about what I was interested (I had spent three hours watching three parts of a PBS series on The History of The Zeppelin (not the lead one), and I had five more to go. I think I may have even said something about hating those little furry footed Hobbits, even though I am a Tolkien Scholar with an academic bestselling book to my credit.
In the back YouTube was running and the next set came on, and I said to Helena is that Lauryn Hill singing “You’re just too good to Be True”
You’re just too good to be true
I can’t take my eyes off you
You’d be like heaven to touch
I wanna hold you so much
Lauryn Hill’s power and versatility as an artist had rescued me from J Alfred’s Wasteland, and the chasm of self-pity. She is a Mermaid who sings a song to empower us, and share our courage and pain. Don’t forget as the catholic bishop Fulton J. Sheen said, “Lift your Hearts”. As left my office to pick up my professor/wife, it was as if I had un-strapped the refrigerator that was strapped to my back, which was one way I used to earn my bread when I met her forty-five years ago, when she was twenty-two and too good to be true.