Join us every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in our Readers Bookstore Fort Mason for our weekly FREE poetry series!
Browse books and enjoy a glass of wine while listening to internationally acclaimed poets and artists such as Jonathan Richman, David Meltzer, Diane di Prima and California Poet Laureate Al Young. The series is curated by Friends’ Resident Poet Jack Hirschman.
Proceeds from our bookstores benefit the San Francisco Public Library.
This week’s featured poet(s): Mauro Aprile Zanett & Peter Yamamoto
Peter Yamamoto is still a new poet after just a few years. He writes from the life around him. Falling together without too much premeditation. And sometimes he remembers that the point is to create a little disruption/spark/empathetic moment/association in the mind of his reader and/or audience. And that it is time to speak about other people and how they make their lives and struggle in this world. Whether it be a snapshot(s) of life or a diatribe(!). And that his own life takes place in RELATION to others and that RELATIONSHIP and those conditions are important. Basically he feels that his writing, like his life, is a search, and a journey, from one set of circumstances and moment, to another. And he is constantly growing and coming to new and better awareness and expression. Pete makes his home in Chinatown San Francisco. He is a dialysis patient and volunteers at the National Japanese American Historical Society. He is a young 61 years old. Pete is a mixed race Japanese American. His claim to fame is that he lived for 3 years at the International Hotel in Manilatown/Chinatown and was evicted with the Manongs in 1977.
Mauro Aprile Zanetti is a San Francisco-based storyteller, filmmaker and writer—stringer for the Italian national newspaper, La Stampa. Born in Sicily (Italy, 1974). Thanks to his film critic paper on Martin Scorsese’s remake, Cape Fear, he is selected to join the national jury at the Mostra Internazionale del Cinema di Venezia. He writes the master thesis of his Italian Laurea degree on Gilles Deleuze philosophy, and his experimental docudrama, The Joy. Carnations and Siesta (2002). In 2004, Mille Piani publishes his homonym book-catalog. He writes and directs a docudrama on people with disabilities, DiversabilMente Uguali, editing a monologue after poet, Dario Tumino. In 2006, he collaborates with Italian singer-song writer, Vinicio Capossela for the creation of a video-clip series, Ovunque proteggi, and later directing the live-drama, Nel Niente Sotto il Sole. He writes La Natura Morta de La Dolce Vita—A Mysterious Morandi in the Matrix of Fellini’s Vision (NYC, 2008). In 2013 he moves to San Francisco, where he interviews poet and activist, Lawrence Ferlinghetti for the 2013 Year of Italian Culture in US. He creates and directs a short video series, Cultural Ambassadors Circle, dedicating one to Mr. Ferlinghetti. On 2015 he curates Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s painting exhibition: Fluxare – The European Connexion, editing the booklet, Il Verbo Fluxare.
THE SEAGULL IS AGAINST WAR
By Peter Kenichi Yamamoto
August 30, 2015
120,000 strong in Tokyo
The seagull breezes on the wind
300 rallies across Japan!
With the daily contamination in the Daiichi Plant in Fukushima
A small fish eating plankton contaminated
Eaten by a bigger fish
And by a bigger fish
Until the tuna is caught and
Cut up into sashimi
The restaurants in Tokyo
Neon signs and people moving quickly
The streets with young people
Abe tries to push a warlike Japan through
Demolition and gutting
Of the peaceful
The early dawn light with swallows returning
In the wooden ryokan in the countryside morning
Japan to fight together with the U.S. in offensive war?
Doing the bloody work for the U.S.?
Destroying the Japan Peace Constitution
And Article 9?
Old and young
Educators and bus drivers
Mothers and students
Nihonjin walk in the late afternoon and evening air
The building of the Diet in Tokyo
The signs say:
Friendship with Korea and China—
Give peace a chance!
War is over!
The breeze blows over the tumble of humanity here
Tens of thousands of Nihonjin
Take to the asphalt streets of Tokyo
All around Japan
A noose around Abe’s war plans
Who said Japan was a quiet monolith?
The manatee swims idly in a warm Okinawan Bay
Remembrances of the bloody Battle of Okinawa
The Okinawan people used to shield Japan
The death and destruction
Not to mention 200,000 Comfort Women forced into sex slavery
During World War II also–
Raped several times a day by the Imperial Army soldiers
This is militarized Japan
As the seagull rises on vertical shafts of ocean air
Signs are held in strong hands
The look in the faces—
Sister and brother making the statement for peace–
The U.S. looking on at Nihon
Will Nihon fight her dirty wars for her?
Since World War II Nihon has lived with Article 9
Renounced war as the answer!
Japanese faces like the peasants’ faces in Seven Samurai
People gathering like the underworld street scenes in Stray Dog
Hontouni, takusan hito desu ne…….
The people of Japan speaking
For every individual moved to take to the street—
How many sympathizers staying at home?
And we in the United States?
Will we take the cue?
As the grey and white seagull gently lands on the wooden pier
Support our Nihonjin brethren?
They are speaking—
Do you hear them?
The Chronicles of the Skin
By Mauro Aprile Zanetti
1. We were asleep. Around ten pm,
then we heard a whistle, kinda big bang,
Enkidu roaring with a clang or Gilgamesh:
and it all happened so fast: as a light, as a thunder, a blast!
We collapsed, and I was shouting for help
after the clash of the bones and stones and hearts,
and only to find that other people were also in need of help,
oh people, how many left deaf, biting the dust!
2. And, I then realized:
my brothers and cousins all dead.
They were forty, and now they are dead.
My grandfather’s house, a tomb:
destroyed by an incandescent iron – oh bomb!
My grandmother was torn to four pieces in the air;
my aunt is missing, and nieces, with loose hair.
And still I do want to still understand
why you are attacking us, oh man!
Is it survival of the strongest?
Just like that? Like that? Like that?
3. Houses torn down like they are paper:
my cousins were all young,
and one of them was praying
when it happened.
They smelled good even after they had died
and they were smiling, smelling deaths, died
when we were shouting for their bodies with our bodies:
“Maria, Maria, Maria, Maria”.
4. And my cousin… he also had a son who had died;
and a pregnant woman in her ninth month:
a pregnant death giving no more birth, but calling for death;
and her husband who saved money to be prepared
for her giving birth, the birth, a birth, oh my second birth.
Gone, they are all gone!
5. What else could I tell you?
About my cousin Giufà?
His father lost his mind after he had died, alas Giufà!
Now a father sleeps next to his son’s grave.
No right, no left, close to less than a grave
to guard his own son and greet him.
“Allwombing tomb, omniwomb, his mouth”.
He is no longer sane, no longer with brains.
Something fell apart with his head.
And it all happened like it all was an earthquake:
we didn’t see anything, not a break.
I was hit and had lost consciousness,
and fortunately not my wheelchair.
And to my father, who is sensitive,
I had told him I was not harmed,
but rather swamped by a Leviathan of awareness.
6. My mother, majestic in her mountain pose,
resurrected from the rubble, went on dispensing endearment:
hope, fables, lullabies, and tenderness for all of us kids –
ill-concealing her blown up teeth
with her bleeding hand, doing voices for us –
she was dispensing smiles, care and caresses,
while trying with her trembling eyes to recompose
the landscape of the seasons of a whole life.
7. And so we carried on helping other people over there.
They were good people, still dreaming in their own stony sleep:
their houses in huge despair,
and those people, who were helping,
they needed help for themselves, waste.
Our world is a handful of whitish silent dust.
8. Son, which is your people?
Oh mirror, where do you come from, kid?
And what about your skin?
Which race do you belong to, little sun?
What is your faith, pal?
9. Sir, I come from the Earth, that blue planet, Madonna-blue.
And I do belong to that one-and-only race
which is only a human trace.
My people is the upcoming people, voilà!
Made up of my skin’s atoms for another hurrah!
My faith is you, oh dear:
hypocrite lecteur, mon semblable, mon frère!