Gus 1969 © Arthur Lazar
The Intellectuals at Okie’s Bar for Gus Blaisdell
They are lovers of their own distortions who sit in such darkness music steaming about them beer swelling their muscles / sense and temperance tortured into hours of speech to dowse their minds’ reflection Ocean at night leaps up in tongues of green illuminated spume and dies on sand A residual humor flaps its wings evacuates into air The bar is headquarters for difficult gymnastics
There is nothing outside but stars and a sliced moon cold now in Novermber that arrogant Heaven peopled by the dead Cars wearing holsters cruise the boulevard at one with those harmonious seasons and cycles to which the balls of drunks aspire: to be contained in Purpose molten fluid pouring through strict cylinders to arrive at the laurel bush at last completely relieved done with hessian duty into the arms of a goddess more woman than ghost
We are not the mob that coils around Fortune’s rim Snake eyes inhabit our bones seeing fumes canopy all gay processions (prophesy also the pit where brains are buried) so we refuse to march hippity-hop through Hell instead our toes quick as red coals spend our laughter in heads of foam matching the need for bright occasions
Gene Frumkin (1928-2007) from Clouds and Red Earth Swallow Press
***First published in The Only Journal of the Tibetan Kite Society, 1969 edited by Howard McCord , The Tribal Press
Join editors William Peterson and Nicole Blaisdell Ivey for the final GBC book event.
In 2002, a year before his death, Gus wrote the bio below to accompany his poems included in IN COMPANY: an anthology of New Mexico Poets after 1960
photo by Nicole Blaisdell Ivey
Gus Blaisdell for twenty-seven years ran an “alternative to an absence,” the Living Batch Bookstore, always close to the Frontier Restaurant. He continues to teach film at the University of New Mexico. He runs a small press, Living Batch Books , that continues to present his alternative to absences. A special line of his books is called Drive, He Said, after Creeley’s poem “I Know A Man.”
A note from Pulitzer prize-winning author,N. Scott Momaday, discussing GUS BLAISDELL COLLECTED (Gus was editor on Momaday’s second book, The Way to Rainy Mountain, published by UNM press).
Dear Nicole,The book is a clear mirror of the man. It is beautiful and moving. Gus and I made a legendary journey to Rainy Mountain in the hard weather that shapes mind and memory. It was a quest, a journey eminently worth making.With deepest thanks.Scott
DISCUSSING GUS at UNM bookstore Wednesday December 5th at 4pm
From Vincent Borrelli, Bookseller
I met Gus Blaisdell about thirty years ago – a chance meeting in a bookstore. I was photographing on my first cross-country road trip and I landed in Albuquerque at The Living Batch. Gus showed me Park City by Lewis Baltz. What he didn’t mention is that he wrote the essay for the book – one of the most brilliant essays I’ve ever read about photography and art.
Park City (and a few other influential books) heralded a seismic shift in photography. This astonishing work, which came to be known as the New Topographics, allowed us view the landscape with a new sense of passion, longing, and dread. The style continues to be widely emulated, letting some of us forget the vitality and authority of the original images.
Cover photo by Nicole Blaisdell Ivey