Paul Haeder, Author

writing, interviews, editing, blogging

Simple communitarian spirit, tied to serendipitous moment listening to this artist a month ago talking about climate change, tide-pools and new earth emerging. His name is Bill Kucha, 74, originally from Cleveland. He was trained as a classic artist in Boston, BU, and he married at 18, had a child, and ended up on his walkabout single again. He ended up in Portland years later, new wife, Dorothy, two children, a grandchild, and more than 47 years later, Sitka roots and multi-variant artwork with creator, artist, struggling with the weight of climate like a storm over humanity, over all of nature and over his personal connection to mother earth.

He talks a lot about this new time of chaos, the opportunities for change, pushing the old — fossil fuel “economy,” dreaded Capitalism — into the dustbin of history . . . with the energy of new minds, new ideas, new sense of identity. Where ego desiccates and a new giving gift society rises from the ashes of the Phoenix that once carried the tools of greed and war for the elite.

Here, a piece I wrote about his talk along with a conservation biologist’s posted on several places on the Internet — Tidepools.

I was invited by Bill and his wife Dorothy to their home overlooking the Pacific, north of Depoe Bay, near Newport.

Paul Haeder, photographer, Depoe Bay

Their home in 1972 was once a broken-down old drafty ramshackle of a beach house, and then 47 years of TLC and a dramatic setting down of roots — spiritual, creative, and holistic. Bill has worked the land, the side of the hill sloping toward the Pacific, moving rocks and pilings and earth to make an amazingly healing place, terraced, gardens, swales for graywater and rainwater for consumption.

The transformation of a man who has gained friends galore but who has worked in solitary brushing on paints and chipping into basalt and welding metal to stone, Bill has been intersecting with youth and old, playing his guitar and composing songs. He helped found 350.org Central Oregon Coast.

The talk we had Sunday Feb. 17 was anchored in transference, a new or very old expansion of the universe talk about evolutionary principles tied to the noosphere, the creative connectivity of humanity in this time of crisis.

I’ll be writing about Bill and Paul’s Lightness of Being Adventure, but yesterday, Dorothy opened up, first a teacher in Portland and then a social worker. Her parents fleeing Austria under the saber of Hitler. Her father has been featured in Portland historical news for his own migration to this new land.

Gentile and Jew, Bill and Dorothy live in balance, as the artist Bill is tied to his mistress: the land he has sculpted nail by nail, stone by stone, shadow by shadow. Their own relationship and lives in Mexico, the lightness of being now calm in a state of upheaval, great lessons passed forward to their family and friends. He is unsettled by the crisis in climate and politics and humanity.

We talked about story, about narratives, and then, bam, we headed in our separate vehicles to Newport to be with Kim Stafford, Oregon Poet Laureate, who talked with around 50 people crammed into the Newport library.

Kim talked about story, too, and my interpretation of that two hours will be written about in another blog here soon. For now, read about his father and me here, at Cirque Journal: A Poet, the Pacific Flyway, and a Sonora Flash Flood here!

Kim was kind enough to pair up some of his poems with my non-fiction piece a few years ago in the Cirque issue, which if you open up and read my piece from the hyperlink above, you’ll see it is largely about my own poetic rites of passage tied to his father, William Stafford, and my own life moving from point to point in my as of yet revealed journey back to some imagined place in my literary soul. Three poems, Kim Stafford, Cirque Journal.

Kim Stafford, Newport Library, 2/17/19

Much of what Kim said in his Newport, Oregon, talk I have been practicing all my life — writing, thinking, inventing my perceptions of life, and the daily practice of writing, photographing, teaching, giving, struggling. I look to words as lamentation and personal narrative. The poem below is my spiritual word journey, after Bill and Dorothy shared their lives and home, and ruminating from that point where I listened to and talked with Kim among all these Central Oregon Coast writers and writer-wanna-be’s.

I sent the poem to Bill and Dorothy. I also sent it to Kim, now on a busy schedule as Oregon’s poet of record, a two-year stint where he has to meet with people throughout Oregon; Kim still has his gig as professor at Lewis and Clark University.

I am now intersecting with much of my own scattershot history, unfolding narratives, collapsing beliefs, a new revised personal relationship, and I am about to be married, yet we’re looking for some solace in Mexico, maybe, but now, living and breathing in Otis, Oregon, near Cascade Head, the shape of life molded into the refracted light dancing in my cones and rods. I am teaching now, and working on a couple of book manuscripts. I am beach combing and photographing and just pushing out some terrible times as a social services professional in the Portland arena for more than a decade. Read at your own peril below!

“Insanity of Social Work as Human Control”

Paul K. Haeder, photographer — Horsing Around with Geese, Otis
Paul K. Haeder, “Rooting into Beverly Beach Wayside”

Rodea Point, Broken Circle, and a Nautilus Shaped from Basalt and Pig Iron

( comiéndose tortillas y frijoles negros en Otter Crest Trail con Bill y Dorothy Kucha

By Paul Haeder, 2/17/19

Related image
Bill Kucha art

words like slow trowel

wet alabaster, cupped hands

incantations of synesthesia

as loud as basalt

prodded by lichen

he comes to me with law of time

universal expansion, he feels

cosmogenesis transmuted

drawn into climate crisis

his sensuality cuts, chips, digs

stone, earth to loam, stone to bricks

patterns shaped into lamentations

*–*

the weight of geological time

expands, he expresses yin yang

Chinese character “crisis”

a point where things happen

or change

artist from Cleveland flays

canvas with acrylics

the ebb like spiritual

floe, trapped in vortex

this synchronicity, the calcifying

old world new world noosphere

emancipation for him

*–*

transmogrifying nature, he paints

biological fractals, polygons of betrayal

conjures up seeds as ghosts-

dances, perennials perma

culture as long as soil

finds impregnation, Gaia

increasing complexities

he culls crisis in triptych

weight of Egyptian prophecies

curses, earth flagellated for a new

creative evolution

he covets hope

*–*

he watches river burst

flammable memories,  Cuyahoga

dreams, Cleveland boy

“jawbone” for Seneca

“crooked river” for Mohawk

white man’s trash heap

emblematic of a million

trails of tears, eviscerated river,

time

space entropy land of holy

benedictions as interlopers

condemn new rivers to oil slicks

dams slough off unholy

metals, fossil hunters’ distillates

*–*

now slower in his gait

overlook of Pacific more

than germination, gestation

new age ancient he holds

paint brush hammer trowel

welding stick

old hands pushing yanking flogging

weight of 4 billion years

earth lifts to 74-year-old touch,

he flavors temporary home

in poppy lilac cruciferae

abundance

bounty shared by wife

friends

air soil water soul

*–*

she comes from Diaspora

Austrian Aryans finding

Hebrew enemies

her parents fled in 1939

warnings of Crystal Night

broken glass Kristallnach

weight of futures

death camps

*–*

she parts words between teacher

social worker, life flowing from

Mexico, weight to his fanciful

ruminations Jew with Gentile

family prayer Shema Yisrael

inscribed on grave of a Jewish

infant in Halbturn 3rd century

Roman slavers tossed Jews

into all corners of empire

Austria, land remembered

now she finds father

recriminating her to

not marry artist

you’ll be working for his art

not a dime he’ll make

*–*

migration from Cleveland-Portland

New York-Depoe Bay

islands in the stream

couple’s migratory passage

monogamous galvanizing

I his poet one step away

into pure light of chaos

she asks me if pain

of bearing witness

of finding center in political

turmoil takes joy from

living . . . the smile on my face

*–*

a million light years back

my future written when

I was nine, earlier

vision quest long walkabout

dreamtime more than

weight of ions breathed in

the soiling people

are minor actors

this artist comes to me

fielding a new love

old passions

*–*

he calls me brother

we part for another beach town

as we hold another poet’s words

speak to all his relations

we share the amen

as laureate reshuffles our

game, moments trapped

between cerebral connectivity

and laws of co-evolution

harmonic convergences

sharing food, opening spaces

we stay as one

momentarily, Pacific high tide

receding for another passing —  

I want to thank all my relations

for this chance to be on Earth

in her time of flourishing; to thank

the First People of this place,

to honor their sovereignty in long

and continuing relation, still teaching us

how we might be here together; to thank

my mother and father, moon and sun,

for setting me forth before their own

passing on; to thank my grandmother

who listened to me so eloquently I learned

to listen to my own heart and mind, to find

stories and songs there; to thank my family

and friends, and all citizens and travelers

who study and work for deeper kinship

in this place, with one another, and with

all creatures, one Earth, visible, palpable,

fragile, intricate, resonant, in need of our

better stories. I want to thank you

who have gathered to receive what I have

carried here—in hope that something

I have may meet something you need,

so all our relations may be strengthened

for this life we live together.

Amen. – Kim Stafford, “All My Relations”

Related image
Bill Kucha art

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