In the Beginning — Joseph Bottone
Oriental Blue Streak, an anthology, a gas
station, a New Jerusalem
There was a time, poetry like the Beautiful Youth of my
age, moved in and out of my life much as everything else
I took for granted. My earliest memories of nursery
rhymes, besides Brahms' lullaby, given to me by my
mother, logged in my brain and had a great influence on
my love for poetry it was the sixties, awash with
revolution. Allen Ginsberg's "Howl" was the catalyst for
my exodus and joyful liberation from a crushing
traditional family. And then the lower East Side,
Manhattan happened for me. St. Mark's Church poetry
readings, where "World" poetry anthology was produced in
which I published my first poem.
met Robert Creeley, who later became a mentor to me in
Placitas New Mexico. Diane De Prima, Ginsberg and
Gregory Corso, The Fugs and the MC 5's where kicking out
The Vietnam conflict, Martin Luther King, and
Social Awakening was tearing down the status quo.
It was during this time I hitched a ride to California
and stopped in Bernalillo, New Mexico where I read in
the Placitas Village newspaper "The Sign Post" of a new
community forming, gathered around Buckminster Fuller's
geodesic domes, alternative communal housing. I decided
to spend a few days….
During this time I met Larry Goodell and asked him: "are
there any poets living around here?" He looked puzzled,
kinda smiled, and we soon became close friends. He, the
poet of nuclear passion, as Creeley would say, and
outrageous brilliant performance artist, he took me in,
and we read our poems to large audiences, hungry to hear
the good news. It was during this time of our
relationship that he suggested we create a poetry
magazine of New Mexican poets and named it "ORIENTAL
BLUE STREAK" after the gas station I worked at part time
and where this photo was taken.
Placitas then, was a stopping place, a Mecca of many
sorts of seekers and pilgrims, artists, famous and
notorious, wild people of a New Jerusalem, came and
went, all gathered at the Thunderbird Bar where we
danced, talked, shared ideas and dreams. The dear faces
in the photo (Larry Goodell, Kell Robertson, Gene
Frumkin, Bill Pearlman and others with myself standing
at the pump) were some of the poets presented in the
"Oriental Blue Streak Anthology", now a classic.
An adventure in a dream we so dearly loved.
—Joseph Bottone, 2011