This is one of the many cadavre-exquises Ted made people to do, must be more than thousand…note the small text he wrote in it: “cadavrexquis is not dead.” Laura Corsiglia, Ted and I made it 19 June in Amsterdam 2001.
At best, or at the very least,
Be – Bop – Beatnik and Beatitude
Concern subterranean acts
Divining the Ted Joans of things –
Everything else is straight no chaser.
Here’s a spontaneous poem for the great Ted Joans!!
Riff for Joans
blee blee blee bop bop
blee blee blee bop bop
music has a way
of devouring me
limping up my sleeves with
it’s lonely salvages,
transfusing the brown
blunderbuss of my lips,
excavating the jazz juice
that threatens to let loose the line.
yeah, let loose the line,
like you did Ted, still do, my due
oh no baby tell me every-
thing will be alright blee
We’ll sing a song of Ted
blare the blue words
from our beautiful throats.
peace. Ted Lives!
Living in Paris off and on around 1988-90, hungry for surrealism, I’d be lucky enough to see Ted Joans from time to time. His arrival in his favourite café on the Boulevard St Germain always seemed to be that of a rare migratory bird just flown in from the far end of the globe, unexpected and longed for at the same time; but it seemed he was living in a tiny room at the time, so crammed with boxes of beloved books (so he told me) there was barely room for a bed. In his efforts to make just a bit more space, he sold me a book – or, rather, he most insistently refused to exchange money for it, and accompanied me to FNAC instead where I bought him some film for his video camera; a fair swap, only the conversations as we walked from Left Bank to Right were what he’d really traded. What would I have to exchange to get that beautiful day back ?
Vision of Ted Joans on the other
side of the Wadi Draa
By the Wadi Draa
at the end of the road
just outside M’Hamid
the sign said “Timbuctu 2000 km”
and beyond it the endless Sahara.
In arabic it means desert.
On that day in the oasis
2000 km away Ted lives.
He walks by the banks of the Niger,
a wind blowing from the north
makes the palm trees bend by its force.
The sounds of this city
much like they have been for
millenia. The university there is
2000 years old. The tea houses
even more ancient.
The cat from America
reads poetry in the desert.
In english it means Sahara.
I had a few chances to share a Vancouver poetry stage with Ted and he served as loving, poetic and cultural inspiration. What a sweet sweet mirror he is! I know that his energy has transferred itself elsewhere – but I will miss that streetwide smile, original honesty and surprise surrealism that poured forth from a True Poet. Love, thanks and salaam alekum Ted, next time I’m in Timbuktu, I’ll read you.
for Amiri and Ted
once the product of combustion
our energy is now low.
no tarbaby broom would even do! to clean up our mess,
sweep away crying moon fingernails slicing into chest.
once the product of devouring,
we is now sand through sheet, through warm earth fires.
so i will go South to find me some heat
and maybe even some Black people to eat.
we are branching out! through hemispheres
only, i remember the indigenous geography of lands of oceans of fears.
of we / we of / di-cho-to-mize / sweet grind, smooth pelvic grater
and my cloven cunt becomes a musky metaphor for our future.
how do i forget my category
when it is sometimes i – who put me there.
spanked outta my own rooms with your smooth glow of hand
on the skin of my class.
my s.o.s. is your breathing. that quick-split emotion.
right under that swelled curve of neck into blade of yours
the magic of you
‘the magic of me inside you like a lung’
love is energy that does not die
so i let it fly
i let it fly
i let it flyyyyyyyyyyyy yy y
what happens when we come to the last breath,
when the machine does no good.
how will i grip the event
when i can’t even grip the coming.
I created this promotional flyer for Ted’s book launch in June 2001 at Bukowski’s here in Vancouver. Actually, this photo of he and Laura (so beautiful) also appeared on the cover of the Georgia Straight weekly newspaper. It makes me smile. YOU make me smile TED ! There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the ground and so I will hide in my poems to kiss your mouth as you read them.
all of You
all of Them. thank you Ted.
This year was the first time I actually read a collection of Ted Joans’ work (Afrodisia). I have read his work in various publications and poetry collections. I was disappointed in myself for not having read his works earlier. His path of play and exploration is a kick in the ass to the dull regimentation of society which seeks to extinguish and subdue the flames of each of us. Ted’s flame was obviously too hot for even their best oven mitts.
CRACK THE CRACKER SCHEMES
Take it straight from the hip
Shoot the straight shit
Call the colors like it is
Call the all to order
then dismiss them to Adventure
Sweet Mother AFRICA
I owe so much
The poison she endures
infects all her sucklings
Like life in a zoo
the bars attempt to diminish
our desires and dreams
CRACK THE CRACKER SCHEMES
To Ted Joans (1-9-2003)
I wrote this after reading Afrodisia
Thank you for notifying me of his passing.
Long live the torch he carried to reignite the world’s flame
Ted Joans was a one-of-a-kind “hep cat” who will be much missed. I have a brief reminiscence of Ted in a recent entry for my online web-log, at http://www.textsandpretexts.com/archives/2003/05/ted_joans_lives.html.