23 December 2014

Bertie Koller - Old Black Crow - song for James Koller

Performed at a Winter Solstice celebration at my neighbor's house.
Accompanying me are Jamie (bass) & Sean (percussion) Oshima.


Old Black Crow

cold cold river
cold cold ground
I'm gonna lay this body down
but I can't stay
no I've gotta go
I'm gonna fly away with that old black crow

old black crow
old black crow
I'm gonna fly away with that old black crow

I've got rye whiskey
& cold ice cream
I've got all that I need
but I can't stay
no I've gotta go
I'm gonna soar away with that old black crow

old black crow
old black crow
I'm gonna soar away with that old black crow

these nights are long
cold & dark
but there's a sliver of moon & so many stars
to guide my way
let's go old black crow

old black crow
old black crow
let's go old black crow

hey blue sky
I won't forget
it is what it is
you get what you get
& that's just fine
it's the way things go
I'm gonna fly away with that old black crow

old black crow
old black crow
I'm gonna fly away with that old black crow

19 December 2014
for James Koller

Theadora Koller - Finishing the Road Trip

Homage to poet James Koller...

Homage to poet James Koller on the Web site of the Regional Nature Park of Monti Lucretti (Italy), where James had frequently visited since 2002 and shared his poetry with students from local schools. A heartfelt thanks to Stefano Panzarasa and Mariagrazia Pelaia for their years of working with Dad in sharing poems about nature with those children. This work meant a great deal to him. 
The homage includes videos and translations in Italian.

Bobby Byrd - BIRDS for Jim

Winter Solstice 2014
El Paso, Texas
—for Jim Koller

Couldn’t sleep. Reading Gary Snyder.
“Essential nature is not female or male.”
So surprising, so obvious, so revolutionary.
Woman and man. Good and evil.
Like golden aspen leaves fluttering to the earth.
It’s been years since I lived in the mountains.
I woke up at 4:30 and waited until
The night skies began to turn
Pinks and blues. A grey cloud
Stretched across the Rio Grande to Juárez.
We moved to this house almost 40 years ago.
We have grown old inside these walls.
Blood pressure 133/86. I am 72 years old.
My friend Jim Koller died last week.
Room 124 of the Motel 6, Joplin, MO.
A stroke scrambled his brain into darkness.
A few days later the rest of his body
Followed to the other side.
A road runner stared at Cirrelda
Through her Albuquerque window
That same morning. The bird
Preened its beautiful feathers.
“Jim Koller,” Cirrelda said.
Her body warm under the covers next to J.B.
She makes those connections.
A very human gift.
We have a mockingbird always
Screaming at me to open the gate.
“Nothing to it. Just let go.” Jim
Killed an elk on San Antonio Mountain,
The horses snorting and whinnying
At the crack of his rifle. It pierced
The peace that passes all understanding.
That morning likewise was years ago. Was ice cold.
Death steam rose fresh from the elk cavern
As Jim, kneeling like a priest,
Sliced into the dark center of life,
The bloody knife razor sharp,
Hands trembling in the terrible cold.

“CAW, CAW, CAW,” the crows screamed.

Beauty at the beginning
Man and woman. Good and evil.
Aspen leaves rotting into the cold earth.
Beauty at the end
No beginning. No end.
Beauty all around

That day and for weeks to come
Jim, his lover, his friends feasted on elk meat.
“Delicious, “he said.

Goodbye, Jim. Goodbye.
We’ll keep it real as long as we can.

Giuseppe Moretti - Remembering Jim Koller

Remembering Jim Koller

I came to know James Koller thanks to Gary Lawless, who told me “you must know this guy” and he gave me his email address. I wrote him and he answered sending me The Bone Show text, one of his masterpieces. I answered back “whow, this is good medicine!”. And there it started our friendship which lasted till the day of his passing away. Before that I knew him through occasional reports from the Sixties & Seventies’ counterculture press (he had a few of his things published in Italy, thanks to his friend Franco Beltrametti, in the rather famous Fernanda Pivano’s anthology “L’altra America degli Anni Sessanta”) and the perception I had of him was of a man hard to locate, perpetually on the move.

Eventually we met, during one of his frequent visit to Europe, and we started journeying through the Italian watersheds for poetry readings and talks. He has been very instrumental and supportive to our work of promoting the bioregional vision in Italy and I owe him lots of discussions and deepening on the concept. His points were always acute and accurate as they reflected years of study on culture and nature. Although at ease in every context he was perfectly comfortable when he was on the road (a pleasant anecdote: every time we were about to leave, we approached the road singing “On the road again / just can’t wait to get on the road again…” of Willie Nelson), I would say the road was his daily bread, an open door to new possibilities, alliances and new territories. His bioregion reflects the map of his travelling and spoke in terms of poems, landscapes and stories around the fire. Over the years he build up an extensive network of people and situations over which he could count for hospitality and a chance for sharing poems and thoughts, and I’m very proud to have been a little nod in his net.

Thanks Jim for your art, your exquisite poems, for the little Coyote book of mine “Watersheds of the Mind” you did (in three languages!!), for hosting me in your home in Georgetown and for the walk in the Maine woods to see the beaver dams and later along the shore of Walden Pond in Concord, Massachussetts, to visit Thoreaus’ cabin site. For the journey along the northern coast of California to see Mount Tamalpais, Bolinas, Point Reyes and up to Mendocino County, and before that the ride to Kitkitdizze where I attended to a memorable conversation between you and Gary Snyder on the good old days, and thanks very much for offering your time to edit the translation in English of my writings. This is the first without you… and the difference is evident. 

Giuseppe Moretti
(on winter Sostice’s day)

22 December 2014

Winter's coming - from Stefan Hyner


There never was a more honest place to be
as when Jim was riding 
the road of this Saha-World with me

these photos for Jim from Dianella an Livio with love

Dear all,  these photos are our "gathering in time"
Dianella and Livio from Selva Malvezzi ( Italy)

21 December 2014

James Koller (winter solstice 2014) - Bob Arnold 21 December 14

Rita degli Esposti 19 December 14

part of a poem I really loved to hear from Jim's voice, for Dario Villa, and now, sadly, for Jim...

...immacolato, spirit
from il cielo
an immaculate
segreto della notte
agitates the secret
agitava the stars
la brezza della night
my passion
fuso con luce
in this country


Fred Wah 19 December 2014

From the blog, Red Log, by Fred Wah:

"I met Jim, after many years, at the 70’s event at Orono several years ago. His attention and energy seemed still as he had been in the early 60’s when he and I, at Robert Duncan’s suggestion, talked of publishing a book of his poetry as a SUMbook. We were living in Albuquerque and had just published Duncan’s Writing Writing. Though Jim and I explored the possibility of doing his book, it didn’t happen. It was published as Two Hands in Seattle in 1965. I was attracted to Jim’s poetry in pretty much the same way I had taken to Snyder’s: northwest, mountains, rivers, trees, animal spirits, etc., a poetics of place I felt aligned with. We published Jim in SUM #2 (February, 1964) and in the final issue (#7, 1965). I’d like to honour Jim’s poetic presence through the years by offering these pages of his from SUM #2."

Giuseppe Moretti 14 Dec 14

... Thanks Jim, for all the journey through the Italian watersheds we had together. For all the books and booklets we did together, for all the poems shared and the readings you generously gave for us all. You’ve been such a good friend and a great poet.

I’ll keep you in my heart forever.

from Po river watershed to the Blue Sky...

Giuseppe Moretti