I wrote this poem not too long after September 11, 2001. It was inspired by the events of that day, the resulting emotions and the world as I experienced it in the aftermath. A trip to California to visit a friend that November has a starring role in the poem. Traveling that soon after was a memorable experience with the armed soldiers in airports and all the heightened security. As usual, I’m a little late with my tribute, but here’s remembering all the loved ones lost that day and their families. Also, may we honor them by striving for peace, tolerance and understanding so that one day such acts of brutality will only exist in history books.

Jungle Love (Asphalt Swamp Version)

Originally recorded by the Steve Miller Band
Words and music by Lonnie Turner and Greg Douglass

Here’s my low-fi living room tribute to one of my favorite songs from the seventies, the Steve Miller Band classic “Jungle Love.” I would like to think of these video projects that have become my latest hobby as the B-movie equivalent of internet cinema, but they’re really just the visual ramblings of a single, forty-three year old with a camera phone.

That said, I humbly submit my latest effort, complete with bad lip-syncing, fingers in shots and a hat that has seen better days. I don’t think I’m ready for my close-up.

Ten Thousand Miles from the Perfume River

The latest in my Frustrated Director with an iPhone series, this video features footage I took with a digital camera during my 2007 trip to Vietnam with Tours of Peace as well as video shot with my phone. The poem in the middle is “Eyeliner.” Special thanks to my friend Karen for the inspiration for those words.

You might want to take some Dramamine before watching this one. There’s some pretty shaky camera work.

In this video:
Belcourt Avenue Musicians (audio only)
Dinner boat Singers, Perfume River, Hue, Vietnam (audio only)
Sandal Maker and Radio, Cu Chi Tunnels, Vietnam (audio only)
Buddhist Nuns, Hue, Vietnam
Gina Lollobrigida
Kurt Vonnegut
Nashville Dragons
Hue, Vietnam Dragons

Stupid Summer

This is a poem I wrote thirteen years ago around this time of year. The details were different, but that was a difficult year for some people, too. The weather that season also vacillated between monsoon-like and scorching. Accompanying my reading are sounds from a night at Ken’s Sushi and a backwards version of Dr. Zhivago’s “Lara’s Theme” as played by a music box owned by my mother.

Photo: “Dancing During the Flood” by C. Cha Ramone