A Poet Named Open
By David Shapiro
We make mistakes
For example, I'm reading
The NYC Poetry Calendar
for April on this
metropolitan spring afternoon
And I read that today Cookie Mueller
whom I slightly know from an
argument with another poet
and also a review she did of
my Melancholy show
and Bernadette and Phillip Good
plus Open will be reading
I don't know Open
I think it's not Oppen who's dead
and unfairly objectified
I guess it's a young graffiti
Poet, perhaps taking a single
name, in 19th Century excess
They're reading at the Anarchist Cellar
It's a perfect name for a young
perhaps slightly jejune ethical anarchist
Then I see on the 16th Open is reading
again, this time with my friend Joe
Ceravolo and my former student Joe
Now I'm really intrigued
It seems like a blitz, an Open blitz
perhaps he's publishing his first
fundamentally daring volume
I think of my translation of
Baudelaire's Luxe, calme et volupté
Rich calm and open
Why haven't I thought of a decent
nom de plume like Open
Why settle down with four David
another living just a few blocks away
another painting in a style not mine
Perhaps this Open is the new
Rimbaud and uses my poems for
toilet paper, or perhaps we could
be friends, friends with Open
Again he appears at the Manhattan Public
this time in lower case letters
and than again at Maxwell's for $3
But my brain adjusts itself to the light
It's simply an open reading that's implied
This poet does not exist, though he should
Open a young poet I should have invented
as when I thought all of conceptual art
would have been decent as one short story
Oh, Open, you whom I would have read,
and you who would have read me!
We spent all day Wednesday driving through southern Idaho along the Oregon Trail, crossing and recrossing the Snake River, surrounded by lava formations nearby and white-capped mountains in the distance, with pronghorn antelope and a marmot at the side of the road. We stopped at EBR-1, the world's first nuclear reactor, built in the middle of nowhere in the desert, now decommissioned and turned into a museum. Then we went to Craters of the Moon National Park, so named because it passes through a volcanic field of cinder cones and lava flows. We had lunch under a tree near huge volcanic boulders and walked around paths where little chipmunks and birds darted into the crevices formed by the dried lava.
From Craters of the Moon, we went to the Hagerman Fossil Beds, whose visitor center has an intact skeleton of an extinct North American zebra. It also has a little museum about the Minidoka World War II Japanese internment camp. We arrived in Nampa around dinnertime, took the kids for a quick swim in the hotel pool, then went to dinner with apaulled's aunt and uncle -- recently relocated here in May -- and his cousin Todd and family who have lived here longer, since Todd is the general manager of the minor league baseball team in Boise. It was lots of fun to catch up with them and the kids played with both Todd's kids and Jean and Bob's cat Sterling!
Spectacular ancient eruptions created the flows that mark the landscape all over this part of Idaho, but particularly within the park.
Small animals like pikas and these little ground squirrels (not chipmunks, though they look like them) hide in the crevices made by the crumbling lava rocks. This one had apparently stolen toilet paper from the pit toilet!
The control room at EBR-1, the first nuclear reactor in the world designed for peacetime energy use. The reactor core has been sealed off since the power plant stopped producing energy, but visitors can tour most of the facility and see engines from an experimental nuclear jet outside.
The kids try their hands at manipulating unused fuel rods.
The Hagerman Horse, an extinct animal that's actually closer to a zebra genetically, a one-toed equine species of which several skeletons have been found in the Hagerman Fossil Beds.
The kids practice digging for pieces of mastodon bone, turtle shells and other locally discovered fossils.
Sadly, this region also once housed thousands of displaced Japanese American citizens in the Minidoka internment camp. The crumbling structures can still be visited but most of the artifacts are in this museum in Hagerman.
Late on Wednesday a local group hosted early Fourth of July fireworks that we could see from our hotel room window. On Thursday, we will visit the Boise Zoo and go to a Boise Hawks game for "Where's the Beef?" night!