Saturday Nov 18

Barnstone photo Tony Barnstone is The Albert Upton Professor of English Language and Literature at Whittier College and the author of 12 books.   He has won fellowships and poetry awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the California Arts Council, the Pushcart Prize, and many others.  His third book of poems, The Golem of Los Angeles (Red Hen Press), won the Benjamin Saltman Award in Poetry, and his fourth, Tongue of War: From Pearl Harbor to Nagasaki (BKMK Press), won the John Ciardi Prize in Poetry. He is also a distingushed translator of Chinese literature and an editor of world literature textbooks. He holds a Masters in English and Creative Writing and Ph.D. in English Literature from U.C. Berkeley and teaches at Whittier College. His website is can be found here.  
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Eldridge photo Alexandra Eldridge is an artist with an inborn appetite for the numinous. Her work is mined from the richness of her inner worlds. Here reason is abandoned and paradox thrives. She spent many years living in an art community inspired by the ideas of William Blake. Today she lives and travels a great deal from her home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA. Alexandra’s work is exhibited widely around the globe. Visit her website here.  
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The Tower

 
I spent a lifetime building up my craft
of building, learning my materials,
and how to join, and so I built high walls
around myself without a crack or rift,
till, trapped in the material, my mind
took on the architecture of the tower.
I built a life, but didn’t have the power
to speak or see my own stone walls: two blind
windows for eyes, door of a mouth clapped shut,
a basement full of monsters and an attic
of dusty paradigms, so when my static
life was electrified, was lightning-struck,
a plank in reason broke, I dropped through worlds
with every plunge. Who spoke then, without words?
 
 
Tower Tarot 
 
The Tower (Reversed) 
 
I dropped through worlds. The plank of reason broke
as if the tower of words were struck by lightning,
so that cast down and babbling I spoke
a tongue I didn’t know, the way you might sing
in dream. “My god,” I called, “what’s happening?”
Was it a nightmare, acid trip gone wrong?
Perhaps I’ve had a schitzoid break? I sing
while driving, washing dishes, but this song
of silly syllables, this Holy Roller
snake-handling stuff, this crazy-making won’t
do, it just won’t. See, I believe in caller
ID. God, if you’re calling what’s this rant?
I guess they call it ecstasy. I don’t
trust it. Enlightenment won’t pay the rent.