Saturday, October 20, 2012
Given to me by the author. Inscribed:
For Mike and Lori
With affection and friendship
April 15, 2007
Anne came to Buffalo in 2007 for one of the OlsonNow events we put together. She was a great supporter from the start, showing up to give a reading at the first event we did at the Poetry Project in 2005.
Ben Friedlander has some pictures of her in Buffalo here.
I remember after the event we had a party in Anne's hotel room. It was an interesting group of people: Steve Kurtz, the Buffalo artist who at the time was being persecuted by the government for his art; Myung Mi Kim, Ammiel Alcalay, Henry Ferrini, who was screening his film on Olson at the event; Ben, Jonathan Skinner, possibly a couple of other people.
I remember it being kind of a subdued affair. We mostly listened to Kurtz tell us the story of his saga with the post-9/11 government. He woke up one morning to find that his wife had died in her sleep. He called 911. When the ambulance and police arrived, they saw that Steve had all kinds of experimental equipment in his apartment that he used in his art, which at the time was investigating bacteria and the like. Police called Homeland Security, and before he knew it his wife's body, his dog, and all of his equipment had been confiscated and he found himself being prosecuted for terrorism.
He spent the next five plus years defending himself before the government finally dropped the case. I remember being surprised at how he could tell the story with a healthy does of humor, despite not knowing what his fate would be. I remember he also told us about an event he and his comrades in art had recently staged somewhere in Germany. I can't recall exactly what it was, though.
Surface reality is changing so quickly and we are living in such a scary and "endarkening" time. Thinking of the tsunami and our own shameful Katrina disaster here. The lyers of suffering, the extreme poverty, neglligence as the planet spins out of control. I've been living vicariously through my son Amrose of late, who recently visited Angkor Wat. He also went to the killing fields in Cambodia. I guess it's some kind of either genetic or karmic propensity in me – an urgency ensures just contemplating these places – the whole body and mind warms up. I want to be there as some kind of witness.