Kendra Steiner Editions

December 12, 2007

reprint of STOP AND YOU WILL BECOME AWARE (KSE #28) now available

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 9:34 am

The December 2007 entry in our limited reprint series (the collab with Stuart Crutchfield WINDOW ON THE SEA was the November reprint–we still have a few of those left) comes from October 2006 and is called STOP AND YOU WILL BECOME AWARE, originally KSE #28. Named after the 1968 single (and Northern Soul monster) by Helen Shapiro, this chapbook was something of a breakthrough piece for me in that it was featured at my readings supporting POINT LOMA PURPLE and went over very well in-person (it deals with some local issues and personalities), and also I distributed about two dozen of them in the San Antonio area as a bonus gift for people who bought PLP at a reading or bookfair signing. The title phrase—-STOP AND YOU WILL BECOME AWARE—-really sums up many different things, among them poetry. STOP, and realize what’s around you. STOP, and look at your environment the way you look at an artwork. STOP, and realize the bullsh*t that’s being gotten away with in your community and in the world at large. STOP, and realize how much of life we tend to live on automatic pilot. That’s certainly among my responsibilities as a poet—-and when I think about some of our other KSE poets such as Christopher Cunningham, K.M. Dersley, Misti Rainwater-Lites, Doug Draime, Michael Layne Heath, that (IMHO) is exactly what they are doing. Stopping to analyze and document the combination of elements that come together at a certain place at a certain time that we consider “reality” and viewing that combination from a certain perspective, as a painter does.

STOP AND YOU WILL BECOME AWARE contains six short poems:

1) a meditation on the subject of windows—-that which stands between us and what we think we are viewing;

2) a fictional narrative about a dollar store. At the time I wrote this, a Dollar General store was the “anchor” of our neighborhood, but it went out of business in early 2007 and now the aging strip mall where it was located sits almost vacant (2 of the 10 slots occupied by businesses). The Dollar Store phenomenon—-like the check-cashing and payday loan outfits one sees everywhere—-is an interesting one and the perfect symbol for life during this curious age of Bush/Cheney/Clinton;

3) a brief STOP to recharge the spiritual batteries;

4) a portrait of someone (based on a neighbor) who listens to right-wing hate radio all day. We see daily the tragic effects of violent video games and violent pornography and violent gore films and the post-Tarantino violence-can-be-an-ironic-joke-haha! attitude, but there are also effects from a steady diet of right-wing hate programming and disinformation (this theme again appeared in my new 44 HARMONIES). Perhaps if you live in Boston or Madison, Wisconsin, or Boulder, Colorado or England, you are not exposed to this. However, if you live in the South or the Midwest or the West or the Southwest USA, it’s everywhere. You hear it in small mom-and-pop stores, you hear it at intersections coming out of cars, you hear it coming from people’s backyards and homes, you hear it on the hour and the half-hour when you tune into an AM radio station for traffic or weather. It’s part of everyday life here, alas, and it should be documented as part of our environment. I’ll leave it to future historians and sociologists to analyze its impact and the damage it has done, how it has been used in such a cynical manner by corporate and military-industrial-complex and Republican interests to further their agenda. Broadcast historians can analyze how it evolved from Father Coughlin and Walter Winchell through Joe Pyne and the like–but living in Texas, I FEEL its influence every day;

5) a brief narrative poem based on a pioneering punk musician I once knew whose life was permanently cracked after he did a prison term. He was a broken and defeated man, a shell of his former self, when I visited him about a year after his release. He was one of those people who’d been to hell and lived to come back from it, but while his body went through the motions, the core of his being was no longer there, like someone who’d been through a course of electro-shock therapy or who’d had a lobotomy;

6) a portrait of a local psychotic fundamentalist minister who has been a major champion of both the US occupation of Iraq and the Israeli bombardment of and incursion into Lebanon in July and August 2006. I’m embarassed that my fair city, San Antonio, has produced a dangerous hatemonger such as this, taking the name of Jesus (who, last time I checked, represented peace and love and tolerance) and using it to justify war and carnage and inquisitions. Yes, someday he’ll have to answer for all this, but I want that day to be NOW!

So there’s an introduction to the new reissue. Only 18 copies are available, so act fast. The original issue of 40 copies sold out quickly.

Try the following link for a 30-second excerpt from the title song as performed by Helen Shapiro and featured on the UK compilation TALCUM SOUL, VOLUME 5 (you’ll also get excerpts from the rest of the album, but what the heck, it’s free, and it may be the perfect musical background for skimming the articles on this blog!):

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/recsradio/radio/B0009UCEP0/ref=pd_krex_dp_001007?ie=UTF8&track=007&disc=001

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