Art Music Poetry #41

Opus 688, Tarppon Springs, 1980

Opus 688, Tarppon Springs, 1980

Sarah & Ed

A glass apple shines in light so pale you

Hardly remember to breathe.

Twenty three seconds later you notice

A car noise and remember it’s Wednesday.

Uncomfortable plastic chairs pass for décor

At cafes that lure sweaty walkers.

Banter floats up four stories in time to

Stop you from crying.  Who’s out there?

You pull on some shorts and fly down

Stairs, forget the bad knee.  Human contact.

It’s Sarah.  She’s lost her hat.  She sits

Politely waiting.  You walk slowly.

She walks slower.  Finally you stop.

You think about stroking her.

You think.  You think.  Which stops

You from crying.  Think on young man.

#Chapelhill is About Peace (and brotherhood movement)= CHAPS

Deah with, from left, his wife, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha

in a Facebook image.

Let’s all be chaps. I mean friends,not some division of the underpaying, overcharging Ralph Lauren Polo products. First, another prayer (we all pray to the same God ok?) for Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21; her husband, Mr. Barakat, 23; and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19.

The real enemies, if anyone at all, are those decimating the earth, getting a major profit from the hard work of underpaid labor in Asia, South America, and, um the USA, not to mention India and the Middle East in Specific.

People of all denominations and spiritual beliefs need to come together to save the earth, demand a living wage, replace the hogs at the top of the status quo, and use democracy (when available) to change the laws to create a system of social safety nets and RESOURCE PRESERVATIION everywhere from the Amazon rain forests to the entire oceans of the world.

Why not take the world’s massive underemployed and unemployed population and have them scoop plastic out of the ocean.

Why not ban plastic, not just plastic bags?  What’s wrong with glass?

The chance now, to not just honor the lives of the victims, but to use this to unite EVERYONE on the planet in a movement to save the planet and create *peace* for everyone not just the gated community people.

For international reader: There is no place better than Chapel Hill to start an NGO, to start an activist movement, to take back the planet for everyone.

Massive changes of laws must occur for this to work out. GATT 2, GATT 1,NAFTA and almost any other free trade agreement is set up to profit from cheap labor.

Labor unions which brought us the best pay and best working conditions and best lives possible, are now powerless as any strike can be met with “ok then we will just move the entire line of manufacturing abroad.”  No More strike ,and no more jobs at all in the USA.

Everyone except the shareho0lder class has been hurt by these pernicious WTO rules which supplant national sovereignty with “all-the-money-to-the-rich” schemes that resemble feudalism.

Fundamentalsim is scary in the Christian world and not exactly helpful anywhere else.  Fundamentalism means “my way or the hiway” or “my way or death to infidels” but that means perpetual war, and the USA has attacked 91 times since World War II, notably in Korea, Vietnam, Nicaragua, Serbia, Iraq (1,2,3) Afghanistan, Pakistan, (where next, Ukraine or Korea again?)

As an American I’m willing to give up my time to prove that as human beings we are as nice as anyone else, and that it is our GOVERNMENT that smells out loud.

This is true for everyone I’ve met either on the International Peace Walk in Russia in 1987 and again in the USA in 1989 or in my work in South Korea, or in the 31 other countries I’ve been in.

But this is about the movement, that should be larger than Occupy because the goals are even more radical in the face of this divided world.  DO NOT LET THE BIG WIGS AT THE TOP DIVIDE US ANY LONGER!

It’s our PLANET, God help us make CHAPS a reality.

Genocide, Slavery, Greed

We cry for the slavery that led to such wealth,

This is not just  the land of the free.

We witness genocide all over this earth.

What can we do to end greed?

We cry for the land, full of modified crops

We must work to save human life.

What will our grandchildren have to live through

Since our appetite causes such strife?

The oil wars that started a decade ago

Have moved toward the Caspian Sea.

We are the dissidents, loud, without fear,

Even if we are cut at the knees.

We cry for the news they keep off TV,

The grapevine could snap any day.

Disinformation is the age we live in,

So who’s going to show us the way?

The answer is simple, we grow as a team,

A new brotherhood in the light.

We must build the village, invite all your friends,

This is no time to give up the fight!

They have all the bombs, the juntas abound,

Monsanto is spraying the poor.

We must dig our hands into arable land

Or genetics will foul every spore.

Profit mongers have sucked the earth dry,

We must reclaim all that we can.

Industrial China, the last frontier,

Soon money will own every man.

The kids on the streets are locked-down together,

Push a bike, and you could get ten years!

All this is forced because we stopped caring,

Yet some offer blood, sweat and tears.

We couldn’t stop bosses from shipping our jobs,

The replacement is for-profit jails.

Our schools are rotting, so teach if you can,

Where it counts, not Harvard or Yale.

The time is upon us, united as friends

We can make anything grow.

Come join the party, sing and dance all the day,

Tomorrow we get out the vote.

We cry for the genocide, slavery, greed

That persists after thousands of years.

It’s late, but there’s time, if we really work hard

We can stop the torrent of tears.

Harold Lear’s Swan Song

Lear Dancer Lear passes Microphone to Norbert Lear Sings

Harold Lear’s Swan Song

Dr. Bob and the Disco Beaver played its last show ever at Speakeasy on March 6.  It was packed like sardines, which was appropriate, since many were initiated as “Honorary Newfoundlanders” by “kissing the fish” and slamming an insane Canadian whisky named “Screech,” at the end of the night.

Also onstage was the G-Jay band, with a recently revamped line up of Tim Crawford (saxophone), Norbert Morvan (vocals and MC “Royale”), Tony Boyd (bass), Gordon MacKay (guitar), Caleb MacIvor (keys, vocals, songwriter, originator, bandleader, task master and booking agent), Ed McEntee (drums), and Carlos Gentile (percussion).

The packed bar had barely enough room for dancers to improvise.  Couples were spotted doing the Mashed Potato, the Bus Stop, and the dance that has made Speakeasy famous, the “your-place-or-mine?”  And who could resist a swing around the dance floor with the blues-driven, hard-driving guitar riffs of Harold Lear and his accomplished band?

You could see the emotion of playing his last gig in Korea on Harold’s face, but he scored a tenured professorship in New Brunswick, Canada, and could not resist teaching sociology, though his PhD is in Eastern Philosophy. “My masters degree is in sociology, so it’s not a big stretch,” he said with his characteristic smile.  His music and merry-making will be much missed.  He named the night “Saturday Mayhem,” and it was not shocking that many who knew him from his latest stint in Suncheon made the trek to bid him adieu.

Not to be outdone (except notably on drums and guitar) the G-Jay band also got our feet moving, as Norbert toasted the crowd, and the band played funk, reggae and rock numbers from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, as well as Caleb’s soulful originals.  You couldn’t be faulted for thinking this band was formed at a catholic church, what with the Macs and Mcs, and it turns out bassist Tony Boyd hails from Scotland itself, thus not one of the millions that are part of the Irish and Scottish Diaspora.

As a music critic, I’d pick Tim Crawford as the undisputed star of the G-Jay band.  His sax riffs began halfway through the Disco Beaver’s first set (he was in the upstairs pool room, or precisely, in the kitchen/storage room next to it at the time).  His runs, more Charlie Parker than Eric Dolphy, kept going non-stop, except for a brief breathing period to walk downstairs and set his microphone height.  Did he “warm up” during the stage preparation? Yes.  Did his hyperkinetic, beautiful, lyrical alto sax solos continue through everything but other solos?  Indeed.  Was it a distraction to Norbert’s singing? I think not.  Why not?  Because Crawford is good.  Very good.

You can tell these guys love having a gig outside the realm of teaching English, as the pre-show banter was flowing like earth-rumbling splashes emanating from Viagra Falls.  “One night we had a small crown, maybe 12 people, but all 12 were dancing. One dude fell, broke our mike stand and knocked himself out.  We picked him up and he kept dancing,” McIvor said.  “We’ve made it into a Korean documentary, and play just about everywhere we can find.  On the originals I write the music, and Norbert writes the words…the songs grow organically.”

Many of the members are “lifers” in Korea, meaning, once they arrived here and discovered the gentle culture, sincere friendships and positive working conditions, they stayed for life.  Three are married, four are Canadian, two are from the US and one is Scottish.  They play out of Jeon Ju.  “Being right in the middle of the peninsula is an advantage when it comes to playing gigs all over the country,” MacIvor said.  He also said there were no “real leaders” in the band, and that they are “living the dream,” by being able to play so often.

“We changed a lot of songs this year, with new members.  Everyone brings in ideas for cover songs and then I shoot them down,” MacIvor said, laughing.  “We have an advantage because we can play sets of covers with just three members, so we’re flexible in case some people are too tied up to make a gig.”

Dr. Bob and the Disco Beaver played near-perfect renditions of classics like the James Gang’s “Funk 49,” Stevie Wonder’s “Superstitious” and, to allow a little improvisational guitar freedom, Hendrix’ “Voodoo Chile.”  G-Jay then kept the “Groove Thing” going with originals like “Faces,” and a memorable cover of the Specials “(a message for you ) Rudy.”  The trombones were not missed, with Crawford’s sax work, and the appropriate multicultural Specials were great to hear, as it had been a while, since there is nothing like a classic rock or rock station anywhere near Gwangju.  You would think GFN would cater to the tastes of the foreigners in town, with it being the Gwangju Foreigners Network, instead they play KPOP songs that are just as often from the bands managed by the director’s son than from KPOP itself.  There would still be plenty of time for a genuine rock hour or two per day, but helping foreigners feel at home is apparently not the goal of the station. I like what Pete Ross does, but his show is not rock either, but 75% mamby-pamby British obscurities.

This too is why the Disco Beavers will be missed, and why we hope the G-Jay band will be back.  Speakeasy impresario Derek does a great job locating Korea’s talent, and there is little doubt that new bands shall arise from the pool of English teachers.  There is no way any will touch the guitar mastery of Harold Lear though, as his musical resume includes a stint with Ringo Starr, and by golly, if Harold’s good enough to be a tenured sociology professor at New Brunswick, and has the musical chops to be Ringo Starr’s guitarist, that’s one mighty hard act to follow.

First Published in the Gwangju News:

Eunheungsa Two: 8 November 2011


Eunheungsa Two: 8 November 2011

This ancient
temple village gives
refuge to
city dwellers as
two monks do fall chores.

Five buildings
are reconstructed
already, but this place once
had thirty. Armies
stayed and burned.

Fifteen years
of dedication
yields modern
comforts, new paint, an
enlarged plan to show.

She sweeps leaves
with a branch found near
riverbed, clearing a way
through yellow to fruit
so healthy.

chicken clucks echo off walls
as the day’s
mating dance starts on
the yard. Two roosters

thrust necks at
each other, then chase five hens.
A chopper
disrupts natural
flow, soon disappears.

Copyright, Doug Stuber, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given, and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Nepalese friendship

Nepalese friendship courts climbers, collectors and some Buddhist thrill seekers: Lumbini,

the birthplace of Monk’s monk. Asian countries erected temples, mostly fancy ones with little

historical style, but panache with over-the-top architects winning sacred sites.

Rudra builds libraries, supports overseas workers who send back thirty percent of all cash.

If not for the generosity of mountain men like this, Nepal would not be well-travelled.

One woman Is late today, but only for dinner, plus, she took the bus, and here she is now.

Copyright, Doug Stuber, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given, and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Buddha’s No Rae Bang

Buddha’s No-Rae-Bang
cranks up one
more time in late May
to celebrate his
true birthday.

Lumbini swells as
Koreans rock out on a
stage high above the
Najuho Valley. One cute

Park Jin Hye
steals the show with a
song and dance routine
to die for.

Then, in a shocker,
esteemed visitors and the
seunim join
in minstrel making
merriment. Wouldn’t it be

nice if we
could see the creator smile,
but here on
a hot-dry Monday
we laugh together

each one of
us a god, able to solve
all earth’s
problems with what we
have. Peace now Peace now.

Copyright, Doug Stuber, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given, and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.