Adam Donaldson Powell’s latest print book

The tunnel at the end of time

Treat yourself or someone you love to two great reads …

Why wait until Christmas or Chanukah to treat yourself or someone you love to an unforgettable read?

“Under the Shirttails of Albert Russo” modernizes the concept of the biography away from Boswellian “every ladder rung is vital” structure, and straight to “the good and meaningful stuff — that defines who a person is … and why.”

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

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With laser-like precision, Adam Donaldson Powell bores into Albert Russo’s psyche, while in parallel he analyzes the work of a lifetime. But more often than not, there is a process of cross-fertilization, whether it is clearly identified or on the sidelines. He interviews his subject, not always in a linear fashion, scanning the latter’s important stages of life: there is first Central, Eastern – the former Belgian Congo (now, DRCongo), Ruanda-Urundi (now, the two countries of Rwanda and Burundi) and Southern Africa – Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and South Africa, where the author was raised, completing high school at the Interracial Athénée of Usumbura (now Bujumbura), studying with European, Congolese, Hutu, Tutsi, Asian and American classmates, both in French and in English (he also went to an all-boys’ school in Salisbury, now called Harare). We then find him in the Big Apple at the age of seventeen, attending New York University, after which, he pursues his studies in German at the Collegium Platinum in Heidelberg. The subject is asked very intimate questions about his private life, with which he is faced for the first time. And he reveals facts he never thought could one day be thrust into the open. But still, he complies, candidly. Mr. Powell illustrates with excerpts of the author’s novels, poems and short stories, which are all either clearly or subconsciously related to Albert Russo’s life, as well as photos, letters and book reviews from Albert Russo’s personal archives. Mentioned are his AFRICAN QUATUOR, the collected poems in the CROWDED WORLD OF SOLITUDE, volume two, his collected stories and essays in the CROWDED WORLD OF SOLITUDE, volume one, and finally, his GOSH ZAPINETTE! series, of which David Alexander writes: “… Be warned, Zapinette’s gems of insouciant wit tend to become infectious. This wise-child’s deceptively worldly innocence takes the entire gamut of human endeavor in its compass. Hardly anyone or anything escapes unscathed. Michael Jackson,Vittorio de Sica, Freddy Mercury, Mao Zedong, Bill and Hill, the Pope, Fidel Castro, and even Jesus of Nazareth all come under Zapinette’s delightfully zany fire as she “zaps” from topic to topic in an irrepressible flux. As the century of the double zeros is with us, we have seen the future and the future is sham. As a healthy dose of counter-sham, Zapinette should be on every brain-functional person’s reading list.” After America, the subject moves to Northern Italy where he will reside nine years, then to Brussels. He spends half of his life in Paris, France, before finally settling in Tel Aviv Israel. When asked what his roots are, he replies that he is a humanist born in Africa, with his virtual roots being the languages which he speaks: English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, vernacular Swahili, as well as those he can only read: Portuguese and Dutch. He will soon add Hebrew. Those cherished languages are much more than forms of speech, they are his planet, from which he extracts much of the sap of his writing. So, don’t be shy. Get Under the Shirttails of Albert Russo. See order details HERE!

originals of letters + journals re AR 1

DO WATCH ‪”The Age of the Pearl”, extracted from my new biography “Under the Shirttails of Albert Russo”

READER COMMENTS … regarding UNDER THE SHIRTTAILS of ALBERT RUSSO:

UNDER THE SHIRTTAILS of ALBERT RUSSO ‘can perhaps be likened to skipping a small rock across a pond – creating ripples and reverberations which both reflect the greater omnipotence of the water and temporarily alter its periphery and identity.’ Such is Adam Donaldson Powell the master weaver behind the literary tapestry that is the life & times with a view into poems, novels and picture gallery of one brilliant international award-winning multilingual poet, novelist, essayist, historian and photographer – Albert Russo – a man with a claim to no country yet a citizen of many soils – in his sensitively scripted yet profoundly penetrating work unveiled as ‘an alternative biography’.

— Jeanette Skirvin

This biography crowns five decades of my father’s very prolific writing. Both my brother Alex and myself are immensely proud of our father’s literary achievement. From his very deep insights on the history of Africa, to the birth and struggles of the Israeli state, his poems and immensely entertaining short stories, humorous novels for teenagers, short stories covering the complexities of human nature, there isn’t one topic that my father hasn’t masterfully addressed in his writings.

— Tatiana Russo

We have the pleasure to see all the beauties of literature, poetry and photography of Albert Russo in Adam Donaldson Powell’s brilliant and memorable book “Under the Shirttails of Albert Russo”. Russo’s profound and well-ordered imagination helps him to create great works of literature. Russo never writes his great poems and novels according to any mechanic rule. He has perfected his writings due to “the existential qualm for which my heritage is responsible: Africa, Judaism and Italy. They exist and coexist in cycles, in a fashion so inchoate that I am never quite sure which will take the upper hand.” Powell, the immortal poet famous for his classic “Three-legged Waltz”, points out that Russo “began life as an outsider; the offspring of refugees to Africa from Nazi and fascist persecution then became an outcast via his self-proclaimed ‘gaytude’.” No doubt, this fact has provided the perfection of tone in all his creative endeavors, and this will certainly entice all readers. The true essence of Russo’s writings and photography is revealed by Powell in this unique book. Adam Donaldson Powell’s latest powerful book “Under the Shirttails of Albert Russo” is a tour de force in biography and literary criticism.

— Dr. Santosh Kumar, Editor, Cyberwit.net

​To avoid any doubts or confusion, this book by Adam Donaldson Powell is NOT just a biography of the life of Albert Russo, nor is it a synoptic overview of his massive and prolific collection of works of prose, poetry, and photography. This book is something far more than either of these literary vehicles could ever be. Through literally decades of conversations, correspondence, and collaboration between these two very talented authors/artists, Adam Powell gives us a glimpse into not only the very diverse heritage and globe-trotting life and experiences of Albert Russo, but also a glimpse into his very psyche and incredible intellect. In other words, this book lays bare for the world to see what makes Albert Russo one of the few true renaissance men of our times. Russo’s collection of works bridges gulfs of heritage, culture, philosophy, and more – often with more than a hint of his sometimes quirky and off-beat sense of humor. For anyone who has ever read and enjoyed ANY of Russo’s works, this book is a must-read to fully understand the man behind the true art of his words, ideas, and imagery.

​– J. Richard Davis, B.A., J.D.

 

Adam Donaldson Powell, author

 

 

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Review of Adam Donaldson Powell’s book “Entre Nous et Eux”, by C. Richard Mathews, USA.

Adam Donaldson Powell’s new collection of works, Entre Nous et Eux, displays his multiple talents and concerns in a series of brilliant and engaging pieces. Powell is an activist, essayist, fiction writer, visual artist, poet, who writes in four languages, though English is the predominant one in this volume and an inability to read French, Norwegian or Spanish will not detract from a reader’s understanding and appreciation of any of the pieces.

The book is divided into four sections: poetry, a novella titled “Entre Nous”, a short story titled “Death Poem” and another, longer novella called “The Stalker”. While the works deal with many themes, the overriding one for this reader was the issue of how societal and political forces affect — often adversely — an individual’s development, sometimes to the point that she or he does not or cannot understand or accept who she/he is. A major factor in this, it is suggested, is the inability of others in her/his family and in greater society to respect and accept a person’s differences (the “other”).

The book begins with Powell’s great strength: his poetry. Interestingly, in the three works of fiction poems appear as well. In both the stand-alone poetry and the fiction, poems allow Powell to focus the reader’s attention immediately on his themes and concerns. The first group of poems involves children in a presumably Western European (Parisian?) context and their shock at how the world interacts with their innocence: a child playing hopscotch confronting a pedophile, a young girl taunted because she has “two mothers”, a young hijab-wearing Muslim girl also subject to jibes, problems for a child of “color”, a presumably Muslim boy’s trauma at the hands of police after talking of ISIS, the treatment of gypsies and their plight and ostracism, the shock of exploding bombs in an unnamed war zone.

Although much of the poetry deals with “social issues” in one sense or the other, there are purely lyrical moments as well, such as the poem “Jeux d’Eau”.

At a number of points the issue of suicide is introduced: the inability of the characters to accept themselves or others’ perceptions of them. Thus, in the first novella, “Entre Nous.”, a friend of one of the main characters dies of an overdose (deliberate?) days after they’ve had sex with each other. And the beautiful short story “Death Poem”, concerning two young Japanese men, involves the presumed suicide of a father over his son’s homosexuality, and the son’s own subsequent suicide himself. As noted above, the use of poetry, and references to poetry, permeate Powell’s fiction writing and in this moving story he introduces us to a specific Japanese form of poetry relevant to the taking of one’s life.

Both novellas involve casts of characters that are followed through some years of their lives. “Entre Nous.” is presented partially in an epistolary form. The story involves the interaction of several gay friends and various sexual escapades in a number of Western cities — Paris, London, New York — that the author is obviously familiar with. As in some of the poetry, especially the collection of interlocking erotic poems “tu sais je vais….t’enculer (love letters)”, the writing about sex is explicitly detailed, a means for the author to “épater la bourgeoisie” in the mode of Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Genet and other French writers. Their cumulative effect is, ultimately, powerful and meaningful. These passages are part of his subtle analysis throughout of various types of love and physical and emotional attraction.

The second, longer novella, “The Stalker”, concerns a young woman and her lover, a transgender man who, at one point discovers that he may be “a lesbian in a man’s body” (294). The overriding theme is one of identity — despite society’s pressures, finding it or creating it and then having the flexibility to change it or allow it to modulate as circumstances and feelings may urge or dictate.

The reader should not miss the great amount of humor and wit, and pure literary pleasure, in Powell’s writing which, as in Proust, may be overlooked if one focuses merely on “the story line” or themes. Be ready for a wonderful turn-of-phrase, or the startling juxtaposition of images. For example, in “Une Lettre d’Une Prostitue…” the letter writer states, “J’aimerais parfois me mettre dans le peau de quelqun d’autre…” Or, “mots doux et traitres a la fois…” (37). Or: “lips part revealing your lizard tongue” (63). Or: “blood-red sugary tension of domestic rape” (55). Or: “the relentless fantasy is more than the sum of reality’s individual parts”. (78)

Especially delightful are the “echoes” one finds between different parts of the works through the use of literary devices similar to Wagner’s leitmotifs. Thus, there is a reference early in “Entre Nous.” to Donald O’Connor and Marilyn Monroe singing “a man chases a girl (until she catches him)” and then much later the reader comes upon a scene of Karol/Mariusz showing his poetry to a closeted priest in which he has written “I delight in chasing straight boys until they catch me” (172).

It should be noted that in both his poetry and fiction Powell’s writing style is clear and precise without being pedestrian or boring. It is a style that is able to draw in and engage the reader quietly and without showiness, leaving one with a sense of pleasure, even when the subjects at hand are very serious ones.

Powell’s book is highly recommended for its many pure literary pleasures but also for its profound insights into aspects of modern life that are often obfuscated or ignored by other writers and media in our contemporary world oversaturated with often meaningless written and visual distractions.

C. Richard Mathews
New York-based art historian, writer and attorney

Recension du recueil ‘Entre Nous et Eux’ de Adam Donaldson Powell,

Le nouveau recueil de Adam Donaldson Powell intitulé Entre Nous et Eux reflète les talents multiples de l’auteur et comprend une série de textes aussi brillants que jubilatoires. Powell, l’activiste, est à la fois écrivain, poète, essayiste, peintre et photographe.  En outre, il écrit en anglais, sa langue maternelle, mais également en français, en norvégien et en espagnol.  Le lecteur découvrira dans ce volume des textes dans ces quatre langues, ce qui, dans notre monde hyper-connecté est encore une rareté, mais en même temps une grande richesse.

Ce volume est divisé en quatre parties: Poésie, une nouvelle intitulée “Death Poem”, et deux courts romans portant les titres suivants: “Entre Nous” et “The Stalker”.

Alors que ces textes évoquent de nombreux thèmes, le fil conducteur est celui des effets de la société et de la politique sur le développement de l’individu, au point où celui-ci ne comprend plus ou n’accepte tout simplement pas qui il est ou ce qu’il risque de devenir.  L’auteur suggère que les autres, c’est-à-dire, sa famille ou la société dans laquelle il évolue, est inapte à respecter, voire à accepter sa différence.

Le livre a pour prémices la poésie de Powell, poésie dans laquelle il excelle. Ses textes de fiction sont eux aussi parsemés de poèmes, plus ou moins longs. Les premiers poèmes traitent de l’enfance ayant pour cadre une capitale européenne, qui pourrait être Paris.  Et des conséquences, insidieuses ou cruelles, que le monde alentour peut avoir sur eux. Voyez cette gosse jouant à la marelle et qui s’éloigne précautionneusement d’un pédophile, cette autre que l’on moque parce qu’elle a ‘deux mères’, ou cette jeune musulmane malmenée à cause du hijab qu’elle porte. Que dire aussi de ce garçon basané que la police menotte dès qu’il prononce le mot Daesch, du traitement odieux que subissent les gitans, de leur ostracisme. L’auteur évoque également le choc que produisent les bombes explosant dans des zones de guerre.

Tandis que nombreux sont les poèmes traitant de problèmes de société, ils possèdent tous cette touche lyrique si propre à Powell. ‘Jeux d’Eau’ en est un parfait exemple.

La problématique du suicide apparaît ci et là: certains personnages ont du mal à s’accepter, d’autant plus lorsque leur entourage les rejette.

Ainsi, dans le premier roman, ‘Entre Nous’, l’ami de l’un des protagonistes meurt à la suite d’une overdose (peut-être délibérément), quelques jours après que les deux ont fait l’amour ensemble.

Dans la magnifique nouvelle ‘Death Poem’, qui met en scène deux jeunes hommes japonais, le père de l’un d’eux se suicide, apparemment à cause de l’homosexualité de son fils, lequel à son tour met fin à ses jours. Que ce soit dans ses textes de fiction ou dans sa poésie, Powell évoque le suicide en utilisant des éléments particuliers de la poésie japonaise. Y percevrait-on l’ombre de Mishima ?

Les deux romans mettent en scène des protagonistes sur des tranches de vie. ‘Entre Nous’ est raconté en partie sous forme épistolaire. On y parle d’amis gays, de leur interaction, de leurs expériences sexuelles vécues dans certaines grandes villes occidentales, telles que Paris, Londres ou New York, villes que l’auteur connaît bien. Powell, n’ayant pas froid aux yeux, n’hésite pas à écrire des ‘lettres d’amour’ contenant des mots crus, comme par exemple: “tu sais je vais….t’enculer”. Et cela pour ‘épater la galerie’, à l’instar de Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Verlaine – qui, à l’époque écrivaient sous des pseudonymes -, Genet, ainsi que d’autres écrivains français. Mais là, il ne s’agit pas uniquement de subterfuges, ces vers érotiques, voire pornographiques, participent de l’analyse subtile de ce qui constitue l’amour pluriel, qu’il s’agisse de la simple attraction physique et/ou des émotions qui peuvent en découler.

Le second roman, ‘The Stalker’, qui est plus long que l’autre, est l’histoire d’une jeune femme et de son amant, un homme trans-genre, qui se demande s’il peut être “une lesbienne dans le corps d’un homme”. Le thème principal ici est celui de l’identité qui, envers et contre tout, tente de s’affirmer et de trouver un équilibre.

Malgré la gravité des sujets abordés, le lecteur pourra apprécier, tout au long du volume, la veine humoristique et spirituelle de l’auteur, à l’instar d’un Proust qui se ‘moque’ gentiment de certains de ses personnages. Powell joue avec les mots et s’amuse à juxtaposer des images, comme dans ‘La lettre d’une prostituée’, où l’auteur écrit: “J’aimerais parfois me mettre dans la peau de quelqu’un d’autre…”, ou encore, “mots doux et traitres à la fois…”. D’autres  exemples me viennent à l’esprit, tels que “lips part revealing your lizard tongue” , ”blood-red sugary tension of domestic rape”, ou encore, ”the relentless fantasy is more than the sum of reality’s individual parts”.

L’on trouve des passages particulièrement jouissifs tout au long de cette oeuvre si singulière, rappelant les leitmotifs de Wagner. L’un des personnages écoute un ancien vinyle de Donald O’Connor et de Marilyn Monroe chantant “a man chases a girl (until she catches him)”. Plus loin, il y a une scène dans laquelle Karol/Mariusz montre l’un de ses poèmes à un prêtre, où il écrit: “I delight in chasing straight boys until they catch me”.

Dans ce livre, qu’il s’agisse de poésie ou de prose, le style est clair, précis, et à la fois engageant, sans jamais être pompeux, même lorsque l’auteur traite de sujets graves.

Cette oeuvre mérite d’être lue pour diverses raisons. D’abord pour la belle phrase, un plaisir purement littéraire, ensuite parce que Powell aborde ici des thèmes de notre société contemporaine qui souvent sont, soit ignorés par d’autres écrivains et les média, soit négligés en raison de la quantité phénoménale de distractions vaines, aussi bien pseudo-littéraires que visuelles, que l’on nous bombarde quotidiennement.

C. Richard Mathews, historien de l’art, écrivain et avocat new yorkais

ORDER “ENTRE NOUS ET EUX” (PAPERBACK & EBOOK) HERE!


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All about Adam.

 

the tunnel

REVIEWS OF ADAM’S LAST NOVEL: “THE TUNNEL AT THE END OF TIME”:

🔳 “LOOK INTO YOURSELF”
By Irene Brodsky on June 8, 2010
Format: Paperback
“The Tunnel At The End of Time” written in English/Russian by Adam Donaldson Powell and Rick Davis, with foreword by Adam Donaldson Powell and Azsacra Zarathustra.

It is an honor to review this most eye-opening, very well written and beautifully expressed book of poetry & drama that was written in two languages; and also includes a 14 Act Play! The book appears to be a serious look into one’s self, soul, being, spirit, surroundings, thoughts, reactions, and can be seen as philosophical, religious, mystical, spiritual, anger, reaching out for an answer, telling it like it is, no holds barred. I recommend this outstanding book for adults, age 18 & over because there is some strong language to express one’s deep feelings.

This book would be an excellent addition to the libraries and I am giving my own personal copy of this book to the landmark Brooklyn Public Library Grand Army Plaza Central Branch. It is my recommendation that the library catalog this book, and place it on their shelf where it can be shared by many readers. In this way, Mr. Powell’s magnificent book will be automatically added to The World Catalog of Books which is the greatest honor a writer can ever have.

It was my pleasure to review Mr. Powell’s book and recommend it very highly.

Sincerely, 
Irene Brodsky

Faculty Member Brooklyn College City University of New York
Teacher of Philosophy – adult education program
author of Poetry Unplugged
and The Adventures of Silly Kitty, Princess Jasmine and First Puppy

🔳 A New Way of Writing
By Isagani R. Cruz on March 5, 2010
Format: Paperback

The Tunnel at the End of Time is a masterful symphony of languages, religions, cultures, and literary techniques, all journeying to one inevitable destination: the individual wrestling with self. Covering our most human to our most divine urges and activities, the poetic, science fictional, experimental, even cinematic book leads us through words to what is beyond or behind words: the inscrutable mystery of our own being or, more precisely since the book revels in Emptiness, our non-being. In the process of stripping away the several skins that we use to protect our inner selves and to keep us from exercising our freedom to live a full life, the book also comments on writing itself, turning itself inside out, so to speak, so that we are forced as readers to become the writers themselves, merging our selves with theirs without meaning to and without remembering the meaning that we wanted to find, finding ourselves apparently in the future but actually in the present, or even more precisely, in the past, as time stops for us. In the end, the future humans, aliens, and angels turn out to be really us today, as we find ourselves aliens within ourselves, alienated not from the world as lesser writers would have put it, but from ourselves, as only the truly alive realize, perhaps as only angels really know. For those less inclined towards philosophy, the book offers gripping suspense, continuous action, and provocative scenes; the narrative scaffolding, however, is there only to lead readers to deeper levels of reading. I recommend this book to everyone honest enough to admit that we do not know ourselves or that we are not just nothing, but perhaps even Nothingness itself. Have fun, but be warned!

🔳 Powell’s great interest in spiritual alchemy and extra-sensory world inspired him to write THE TUNNEL AT THE END OF TIME
By Dr. Karunesh Kumar Agrawal on September 8, 2012
Format: Paperback

Powell’s great interest in spiritual alchemy and extra-sensory world inspired him to write THE TUNNEL AT THE END OF TIME (Feb 2010) in collaboration with Rick Davis, the follow-up novella to 2014 with a poetic introduction by both Powell and Azsacra Zarathustra a poetic dialogue with the Russian artist/author Azsacra Zarathustra, entitled: “Transforma und Vrebatima,” an English-Russian poetic follow-up to “2014: the life and adventures of an incarnated angel” TRANSFORMA UND VREBATIMA is an epic poem, written by Azsacra Zarathustra (Russia) and Adam Donaldson Powell (Norway), primarily in English and Russian.

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“Creating art and literature requires a creative imagination as well as the ability to get things done in a disciplined manner. Live in the moment, and plan for tomorrow.”
— Adam Donaldson Powell

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SHORT AUTHOR BIO:

ADAM DONALDSON POWELL (Norway) is a multilingual author, literary critic, and art photography critic; and a professional visual artist. He has published several literary books (including collections of poetry, short stories, and novellas, two science fiction novels, and essays) in the USA, Norway and India; as well as numerous works in international literary publications on several continents. He writes in English, Spanish, French and Norwegian. He has previously authored theatrical works performed onstage, and he has read his poetry at venues in New York City (USA), Oslo (Norway), Buenos Aires (Argentina), and Kathmandu (Nepal). His book “Gaytude” (co-authored with Albert Russo) won the 2009 National Indie Excellence Award in the category gay/lesbian non-fiction. Powell was also the winner of the Azsacra International Poetry Award in 2008, and the recipient of a Norwegian Foreign Ministry travel stipend for authors in 2005. Powell also took initiative to planning and organizing the “Words – one path to peace and understanding” international literary festival in Oslo, Norway in 2008. He has been an author under the Cyberwit label since 2005, and he has published 12 literary books since 1987.

 

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PERSONAL STATEMENT ABOUT EXTREME ART AND LITERATURE:

“Extreme literature” can be philosophical, political, religious, sexually-oriented, profane, or just downright ‘dangerous’ because it rocks others’ boat(s) personally. Not all literature is “pretty”, and even humour can be considered provocative. Many authors have works they (and others) consider to be “extreme”. All throughout the history of art and literature, artists and writers have pressed against and played with society’s tolerances – in both “liberal” epochs, “conservative” epochs and (as now) in states of “moral confusion”, where Western concepts of freedom of speech sometimes butt against national and local cultural mores and social politics; and where danger lurks and thrives on non-specific and situational social codes and fears.

The concept of ‘EXTREME ART AND LITERATURE’ changes all the time. What is actually ‘extreme’ today – in a mixture of globalised, regionalised, nationalised and localised perspectives? My own opinion is that ‘extreme art and literature’ today takes its starting point in the accepted banalities of everyday life, experiences and consciousness on the respective and combined levels (social, philosophical, political, economical, sexual and spiritual). Contemporary ‘extreme art / literature’ no longer attempts to shock in an obvious way, but rather entices the public to feel that he / she is a ‘member’ of the experiential understanding and consciousness, only to interject a “triggering” aspect that creates a sense of uncomfortableness caused by the realization that one has been busted by a banality. These “trigger mechanisms” are (in fact) integral parts of the art itself – often passing by in fleeting moments, sometimes blended in with an obsessive and “flat” (journalistic or photojournalistic) expression or a long tirade of banalities that do not even pretend to be surrealistic. These small “electrical shock” triggers will hopefully ignite an inner experience within the public so that the viewer / reader begins to investigate his / her own personal reality, his / her actual contributions to a collective reality and hopefully to re-evaluate his / her own concept of what one prefers to create as an individual and collective reality. The illusion of spiritual and emotion separation (the illusion that we are all separate, individual and self-sustaining entities that can determine our roles on Terra or in the Interlife totally without contact or influence with / from others) is a vital element here, and that common illusion is therefore “fertile ground” for artists. Here we artists and authors can play, provoke, prevaricate, entice, seduce and fool the audience to believe in us as a part of “themselves”, and then trigger the reader / viewer to consider the possibility that there might be (in fact) a miscommunication or misconception running loose … a sense of everyday reality that is inconsistent or which has consequences that one was never aware of.

Perhaps the most meaningful and interactive way to help another person to ‘wake up’ from their perceptual drowsiness is to enter into their everyday dreams and illusions (their banalities) and suddenly say “BOO !!!” Artists and authors who attempt to shock through their art with the blatantly obvious, often thus fail to explore and exploit the deeper, symbolic depths of the subconscious and the more mystical elements that make up our everyday and banal thoughts, activities, attitudes etc., and therefore are denied “personal access” by some viewers / readers who may consider the art to be too intellectual, too elitist, too directly confrontational, or too foreign. Sex and religion are often used today in art and literature as “shock elements”. It is not necessarily sex or religion which are provocative or interesting in themselves, but rather the unspoken and quietly accepted perceptions that we chain ourselves to unquestionably, and which can totally be set in chaos just by the artist and author changing or adding one simple element or context that we do not feel belongs in our reality-defining “picture”.

‘Extreme art and literature’ is thus not blatantly provocative in itself; it rather shows the audience the possible ramifications of acceptance, non-involvement, personal meanings and behaviour by confronting us with triggered or mixed in ‘extreme’ moments, and then lets the audience choose to begin its own personal creative life process of evalution and re-creation (if desired) … without commentary or guidance.

When I recently presented myself to Marina Abramovic as a “retired activist” she responded by asking me if an activist can ever be finished with activism. Of course, she is right. The process of rebellion is nothing more than one intermittent set of activities and actions in a constant redefining and assertion of the Self, both individually and collectively. Art is the ultimate expression of the process of rebellion. If an artist loses that quality, he/she “dies” in a certain way. My art and literature are not just extensions of me … they are my created persona: a sweet mixture of heaven and hell, with a pinch of mediocrity for flavoring.

Adam Donaldson Powell, Norway

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NEWS! EXCITING NEW BOOK NOW AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD ON AMAZON.COM AS PAPERBACK, AS WELL AS AN E-BOOK:

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“ENTRE NOUS ET EUX” is my latest book, and it is now available in print form at Amazon.com: ENTRE NOUS ET EUX – CONTES DE FÉES POUR ADULTES, 347 pages, Cyberwit.net, ISBN 978-93-85945-48-9, © 2017, India (LGBT – Novellas and poetry, Fairytales for adults – in English, French, Spanish and Norwegian).

Purchase the e-book version online here  ⤵️
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this book is
dedicated
to my Rodo

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BOOK FOREWORD BY ALBERT RUSSO

If there is one poet who will mark this 21st century, I ask you, dear reader and lover of literature, to discover, or rediscover an artist named Adam Donaldson Powell. I use both words purposely: literature and art, because this “Esprit Universel” is a multi-talented man who excels in whatever discipline he tackles: poetry, fiction, essays, photography, painting, and goodness knows what else. He probably has other hidden secrets that will enchant the aesthete, once he pulls them out of his magic hat. By the way, he also writes in several languages. And proficiently, what’s more! 

It is much too restrictive to call Adam Donaldson Powell a gay poet, or gay whatever. And yet, he describes love, gay or not, with the most sensual, elegant, compassionate, but also at times crude, vengeful and downright poisonous words. He wears ‘no gloves’ as the French say, when it comes to telling a story – yes, his poems have themes too, which makes them reachable to the adult public, even to those who don’t care much for poetry – of abused children, scorned transvestites, sons and daughters of mixed blood, or prostitutes who are prey to the most despicable whoremongers, roaming the streets of every capital and city, large and small, of our planet. But, oh lovers of beauty and eroticism of the finest quality, delve into some of his romantic poems and you will dream that you are the hero or the heroine of these verses! It has often been my case. 

There are millions of scribblers on the Net who think they are poets. Some excellent poets do exist, but here I urge you to read these humble lines, for you will never regret having tasted the equal of our century’s Verlaine, Rimbaud or Baudelaire. Adam Donaldson Powell’s own FLEURS DU MAL are flowers to be treasured a lifetime. 

  • Albert Russo 2017

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➡️ ADAM DONALDSON POWELL’S AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE ⬅️

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MY PUBLICATION HISTORY:

I have published various literary works: poems, stories, novellas/short novels, literary criticism, essays, art photography criticism; and also work with painting and photography. I was born in the USA, and reside in Norway. I have been a professional visual artist (since 1995) and a writer (since 1987). I have published 12 books, in USA, Norway and India, as well as 4 e-books and several short works in literary publications. Among my many literary and artistic themes are multilingualism, the transcultural, spiritual development, societal development, LGBT issues, hiv/aids etc. I have written, performed and published works in English, Spanish, French and Norwegian. My poetry and essays have been translated into several languages, including: Spanish, French, Russian, Japanese and Bengali.

I have had one-man and group exhibitions at art galleries and public institutions in Norway and Sweden. My art serves as book cover art and internet art as well as fine art.

Adam’s profile at Saatchi Online Gallery

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MY TWO LATEST PRINT BOOK PUBLICATIONS:

“ENTRE NOUS ET EUX” is my latest book, and it is now available in print form at Amazon.com: ENTRE NOUS ET EUX – CONTES DE FÉES POUR ADULTES, 347 pages, Cyberwit.net, ISBN 978-93-85945-48-9, © 2017, India (LGBT – Novellas and poetry, Fairytales for adults – in English, French, Spanish and Norwegian).

The e-book is already available at amazon.com:

Purchase the e-book version online now ⤵️
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SEE MY AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE: AT AMAZON!

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My book “JISEI” is available for orders at CYBERWIT and AMAZON.COM

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Paperback: 245 pages
Publisher: Cyberwit.net (May 2, 2013)
Languages: English, French, Spanish, Norwegian, Japanese, Russian, Filipino
ISBN-10: 8182534038
ISBN-13: 978-8182534032

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COMMENTS ABOUT “JISEI” FROM AUTHORS AROUND THE WORLD:

J. Richard “Rick” Davis (USA):

This book of poetry, is more than just a collection of poems, on life, death, and AIDS. It is a guidebook for anyone struggling with the meaning of it all – whether it’s AIDS, or cancer or any travail that is causing one to question the meaning and purpose of why we’re on this planet.

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Albert Russo (FRANCE):

Qui est Adam Donaldson Powell? Ce poète rare qui parle de la beauté, de l’amour, de l’amitié, comme l’homme découvrant le monde à l’aube de l’humanité. Avec angélisme, direz-vous? Aucunement, il en parle avec la poésie du philosophe et du mystique. Il traite la maladie et la mort, non comme des ennemies, mais comme des connaissances, avec sérénité, presque avec sympathie, il va même jusqu’à causer avec elles comme l’on cause avec des passagers lors d’un voyage. Il se mets même à blaguer avec ces trublions, sachant qu’au bout du compte, il retrouvera la dernière.

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Maria Cristina Azcona (ARGENTINA):

Adam es el esclavo líbero, el que rompió las cadenas y nos golpea con su martillo de oro las nuestras, incluso aquellas que volvemos a crear a cada momento, enfermos pero de la cabeza mientras él, enfermo del cuerpo está cada vez mejor de la lucidez mental, cada vez más cuerdo y descarnado. Su poesía es cada vez más aleteo y menos cuerpo, más alma y menos carne, más verdad y más arte hasta que llegará el momento ese sublime en que el hombre se hará poema, para siempre, en nuestra mente que ahora, tarde, podrá ver en el interior de su alma.

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Lisbet Norderhaug (NORWAY):

I disse vidunderlige, dype og mørke diktene kan vi synke inn i oss selv og la oss treffe av lyset som gjennomstråler mørket. Adam har satt ord på den gjenkjennelige fortvilelsen over å måtte forlate livet, men han beskriver også gløden som skinner til oss fra den andre siden. Han har hevet, ja, transformert, historien om ett menneskes dødsprosess til en sang for oss alle.

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EXCERPT FROM BOOK INTRODUCTION:

AIDS has changed the world in more ways than we may possibly know. We will never fully comprehend the impact of losing so many people taken by this disease. Their contributions could have altered the face of humanity, the world of art and literature, the rearing of future leaders, the impact on communities, and the hearts of countless individuals. And this is all looking at the impact of AIDS in a broad perspective. It is a disease that, regardless of our own personal admissions, affects us all. However, behind the public fray of communal loss, social change and medical advances, lies the experience of the individual who must still awaken each day with the acknowledgment that they carry inside of them an evident ticking time bomb. No different from the rest of us who live with our own mortality, but distinct in that their clock has a name. That name is AIDS.

— Christina Landles-Cobb (USA)

COMMENT BY THE AUTHOR:
My first public performance of my poetry in New York City was at a trendy art gallery in the SoHo district, back in 1986. The place was packed, wall-to-wall, and the audience was enthusiastic. I was reading from my soon-to-be-published first book of poems, entitled “Notes of a Madman” which was an illustrated collection of mystical poetry from Pagan and Sufi traditions. The gallery owner, an enigmatic young man, was particularly obsessed with the poems and spiritual messages in the slender volume of verse, and he read the book over and over again. Some months after the reading I again called the gallery to say “hello” and another young man answered the phone, saying in a somber voice: “Didn’t you know? He passed away shortly after your reading.” He had died of AIDS.

That beautiful young man hung onto my verse in a time of deep personal transformation. I have never forgotten the awe and sense of responsibility I felt after that telephone conversation. Since then, I have always written and painted with the intent of inspiring creativity and transformation in humanity. And now that I have — myself — lived with the AIDS virus for twenty years it feels appropriate to inspire once again through writing about one of the greatest transformations Mankind can ever know. It does not matter what we die of … every Soul and Life Expression is precious, and to be celebrated.

I die (and I am reborn) just a little bit each day of my life. Should any given moment be my last, then my epitaph will surely be the sum of all my thoughts, poems and tears of joy and sorrow … from day to day, over the course of eternity. Perhaps just one of these short daily poems will touch upon a few readers and lend a bit of realization of the magic that each of us creates in our personal and collective transformations.

– Adam Donaldson Powell

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The tunnel at the end of time (co-written with Rick Davis and Azsacra Zarathustra), Cyberwit.net, ISBN 978-81-8253-160-4, © 2010, India (LGBT – gay characters, extreme sci-fi).

REVIEW BY DR. ISAGANI R. CRUZ, THE PHILIPPINES:

The Tunnel at the End of Time is a masterful symphony of languages, religions, cultures, and literary techniques, all journeying to one inevitable destination: the individual wrestling with self. Covering our most human to our most divine urges and activities, the poetic, science fictional, experimental, even cinematic book leads us through words to what is beyond or behind words: the inscrutable mystery of our own being or, more precisely since the book revels in Emptiness, our non-being. In the process of stripping away the several skins that we use to protect our inner selves and to keep us from exercising our freedom to live a full life, the book also comments on writing itself, turning itself inside out, so to speak, so that we are forced as readers to become the writers themselves, merging our selves with theirs without meaning to and without remembering the meaning that we wanted to find, finding ourselves apparently in the future but actually in the present, or even more precisely, in the past, as time stops for us. In the end, the future humans, aliens, and angels turn out to be really us today, as we find ourselves aliens within ourselves, alienated not from the world as lesser writers would have put it, but from ourselves, as only the truly alive realize, perhaps as only angels really know. For those less inclined towards philosophy, the book offers gripping suspense, continuous action, and provocative scenes; the narrative scaffolding, however, is there only to lead readers to deeper levels of reading. I recommend this book to everyone honest enough to admit that we do not know ourselves or that we are not just nothing, but perhaps even Nothingness itself. Have fun, but be warned!

MY RECENT AND PREVIOUS PRINT BOOK PUBLICATIONS:

ENTRE NOUS ET EUX – CONTES DE FÉES POUR ADULTES, 347 pages, Cyberwit.net, ISBN 978-93-85945-48-9, © 2017, India (LGBT – Novellas and poetry, Fairytales for adults – in English, French, Spanish and Norwegian).

Jisei: death poems and daily reflections by a person with AIDS, 246 pages, Cyberwit.net, ISBN 978-81-8253-403-2, © 2013, India (LGBT – HIV/AIDS).

The tunnel at the end of time, 233 pages, Cyberwit.net, ISBN 978-81-8253-160-4, © 2010, India (LGBT – gay characters, extreme sci-fi).

Malerier og fotokunst, is a short 38-page retrospective overview of some of Adam Donaldson Powell’s best known oil paintings and photographic art works. Published by Cyberwit.net as a special limited and numbered full-color, soft cover edition (55 copies only), ISBN 978-81-8253-154-3, India, © 2009.

Gaytude: a poetic journey around the world, gay poetry in English and French by Albert Russo and Adam Donaldson Powell, 335 pages, published by Xlibris Corporation, © 2009, Library of Congress Control Number: 2008907964, ISBN: Hardcover 978-1-4363-6396-9, ISBN: Softcover 978-1-4363-6395-2, USA (LGBT).

KASSA’S REVIEW OF GAYTUDE:

Gaytude is a collection of poetry that appears in English in the first half and then translated into French for the second half of the book. There is also a collection of pictures depicting homoerotic images throughout history as well as personal images of Albert Russo. The timelessness of these pictures is repeated as a theme within the elegant and often poignant poetry collected. The authors are two very accomplished writers who tackle a wide variety of subjects and themes that affect gay men with surprising depth and meaning. These topics will hit home especially for like-minded individuals but anyone with compassion will understand the beauty and heartache these issues bring to mind.

The poetry is divided by region of the globe, from Africa to Americas to Europe and Asia. The variety of styles changes from short and simple to longer, and even haiku. The tone runs from sweet, sexy, and often humorous to intense and moving. Frequently the language of Russo’s poetry is simple and direct, taking away nothing from the intensity of the message and meaning, yet easy for even the most novice reader to connect and appreciate. Russo’s creativity is unquestionable as he spans numerous taboo subjects and makes no apologies for his desires or sensuality. These themes range from open sexuality to disease, hypocrisy and violence; including one nightstands to long-term relationships, breakups, makeups and admiration of the male form.

An example of Russo’s poignant writing is from Prayer:

“let him love that boy
without shame;
let him love him
in broad daylight
for his sentiments are
stronger than
your malicious gossip,
more generous than
your shrunken hearts”

Blending well is Powell’s poetry, which has elegance to the words and gives weight to each one, seeming as if nothing is wasted. Not a thought, an idea or a desire is anything more than necessary as he speaks of a love he yearns for. Yet Powell also delivers strongly worded poems regarding the hypocrisy of governments, penis enlargement spam emails, prostitutes, and casual violence. A great example is this excerpt from Let’s Get Something Straight:

And for God’s sake don’t you ever
Tell anyone about this…
(if you know what is best for you)
Agreed ? Good ! Now ‘manhandle’ me bitch…

There are few topics these authors feared to invite in for speculation ~ transsexuals, persecution, random sex, AIDS, family pressure, lies, promiscuity, marriage, children, oppression, prejudice, orgies. Taken together this is a look into the lives of any and every gay men and the issues they deal with that create an aura of “different” around them. This celebration of gay life spans globally and encompasses all aspects proudly and openly.

Gaytude is a wonderful collection by two powerful authors that have offered thoughts on timeless themes. Although I can’t claim to be an authority on poetry and perhaps the authors themselves will cringe at my amateur review, I hope to have captured the spirit of this collection.

DR. SANTOSH KUMAR’S CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF GAYTUDE:

A review of GAYTUDE: a poetic journey around the world / Tour du monde poetique, bilingual poetry by Albert Russo and Adam Donaldson Powell – Xlibris 2009, 335 pages.

Book orders – 888.795.4274 -Orders@xlibris.com

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4363-6395-2 – $22.99
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-4363-6396-9 – $32.99

Library of Congress Number: 2008907964

Albert Russo and Adam Donaldson Powells Gaytude, a poetic journey around the world, makes it evident that the gay poems always have a distinctive voice, because a gay poet suffers from a sense of ostracism, of being excluded by others due to difference. The tradition of celebrating Platonic friendship with a boy has always been there in world poetry. Gay poetry from Sappho to Michelangelo has always idealized the homoerotic world. Catullus (ca. 84-54) loved sex with young men.

Shakespeare’s sonnets have been described as gay sonnets by several critics. It is well known that Derek Jarmans film The Angelic Conversation (1985) shows gay elements in Shakespeares sonnets. Lord Alfred Douglass gay poems appeared in 1896 in English and French translations. In the twentieth century two great poets: W..H. Auden and Ginsberg wrote gay poems. The publication of The Penguin Book of Homosexual Verse (1983) reveals its popularity and marketing needs. It is difficult to agree with the critics who condemn Whitmans gay poetry. The Boston Intelligencer declared that Whitman deserved no better reward than the lash for vulgarity and violation of decency. Both Whitmans Leaves and Emersons laudation had a common origin in temporary insanity (Bucke 201). Walt Whitman is as unacquainted with art as a hog with mathematics (Canby 327). One should never forget that according to several biographers Whitman did not engage in sexual relations with men.

It is true that a poets gay identity does not quite fit into the traditional morality of the world. This is the main reason behind vituperative hostility towards homoeroticism and gay-themed poems. But one may remember Nietzsches assertion that sexuality extends up to the very pinnacle of the soul. The queerness of Russo and Powell both to stand at a different angle to the universe, their desire for an outsider image, and a subversive quality enticing them to overthrow conventions makes Gaytude a classic. Taboo creates its own power and energy in a creative work like Gaytude. This is also true about other gay writers such as Walt Whitman, Elizabeth Bishop and James Merrill. Russo is a great poet with a passionate impulse, and he expresses it with a natural intensity devoid of any kind of laborious artistry:

I shall spoil you as no lover
Ever has or will

(SURPRISE PARTY, 35).

As we made love
Our bodies were on fire
You were insatiable
I was submissive

(ONE-NIGHT STAND, 102)

Russo does not hanker after limited joy but rather for the illimitable in the loveliness of the human body. Due to his ardor, he bursts with joy:

Our bodies commingle
In a Pacific splash of ecstasy

(UNDERCURRENTS, 42).

Russo tries to forget the stern realities of life, and his idealized love seems to be the only permanent reality for him on the altar of passion, he has chosen to fall off the cliff although there are several obstructions:

Theres his age, you see
And theres my career, too
Then theres that awesome responsibility
Towards my class
Towards society
And I am highly respected by my peers
Yet, my attraction to him is gravitational
One of these days,
I shall fall off the cliff

NO TRESPASSING, 51

The above lines are a testimony to the fact that Russo arrives at the complexity by accumulating a number of concrete images interfering with his fantasy, and this fantasy is intensified in the last line revealing the utmost limits of passion, not obliterated by the terrestrial impediments. Russos poems in Gaytude are marked by a tremendous burst of creativity.

Adam Donaldson Powells poems reveal that the poets mind and imagination are fused with the white heat of ardor. He is obsessed with two moths / Playing with fire (BLADE, 24). In his poem IDENTITY, Powell expresses his desire to be loved, and looked up to. He seems to be in the quest for the sumum bonum of life, that immortal instant and great moment which will unravel his identity. With quiet determination, Powell declares:

I want a real lover
Like Arthur Rimbaud or Jean Genet
And I want him now

PUNK, 61

Powell shows such a deep and lofty feeling as to be in love with love (STILL HORNY, 153). This is the state of the lover as Powell depicts it. Apart from love, nothing else in life is significant. Such is the consecrated passion of the poet that he is able to write with such ecstatic outbursts:

Creamy overcast skies,
Thick as yoghurt,
Remind me of
Youand me

CREAMY OVERCAST SKIES 154

Setting the real world at nought, Powell decides to thrive on the diet of surrealism by

the technique of transference:
Real briefly becomes surreal,
Through transference

INSTANT RECALL 88

In another poem, Powell expresses his inner heart in reacting against monstrous mechanization. The present climate is not in favour of rich heritage. Individual isolation in an / Out-of-control jungle (149) is the sordid gift of modern heritage marked by Wars, / Lies, /Plastic reality-show idols, Virus, / Global warming, /Uncertainty, /And all too easy access to drugs (HERITAGE? RIGHT! 149).

The poems by Russo and Powell are marked by outsiderhood, the sense of being different from a fashionable or straight mode of writing. Walter Pater aptly comments that in the poetry of Dante Gabriel Rossetti the dream-land with its phantoms of the body, deftly coming and going on loves service, is to him, in no mere fancy or figure of speech, a real country, a veritable expansion or addition to our waking life (Pater 223). This comment is fully applicable to the poems in Gaytude by Russo and Powell. Gaytude, bilingual poetry at its best, written, translated and adapted by Russo and Powell, also includes wonderful photographs by Russo. Several poems of Russo included in Gaytude were first published in the poets own French version in the collection Tour du monde de la poesie gay (2005). The poems in English, Italian and Spanish have been translated and adapted into French by Russo. The poems in French have been translated and adapted by both Russo and Powell.

Works Cited

Russo, Albert & Adam Donaldson Powell, Gaytude. Xlibris Corporation, 2009.
Pater, Walter. Appreciations. London: Macmillan, 1931.
Bucke, R. M. Walt Whitman, Philadelphia, McRay,1883.
Canby, H. S. Walt Whitman, N. Y. Literary Classics, 1943.

Santosh Kumar (b. 1946) is a poet, short-story writer and an editor from UP India; DPhil in English; Editor of Taj Mahal Review and Harvests of New Millennium Journals; several awards; member of World Poets Society (W.P.S.); member of World Haiku Association, Japan; presented papers in the seminar, interviews as special guest at international literary festival WORDS – one path to peace and understanding Oslo, Norway in September 2008; published poetry in Indian Verse by Young Poets (1980), World Poetry (1995 & 1996), The Fabric of A Vision (2001), The Still Horizon (2002), The Golden Wings (2002), Voyages (2003), Symphonies (2003), New Pegasus (2004), Explorers (2004), Dwan (USA), Promise (Purple Rose Publications, USA), Taj Mahal Review (2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 & 2008). He has also edited sixteen World Poetry Anthologies, and four books of World’s Great Short Stories. He is also the author of a collection of poems entitled Helicon (Cyberwit , India , ISBN 81-901366-8-2), Haiku collection New Utopia (Rochak Publishing , India ISBN 978-81-903812-0-8), and Critical Essays in collaboration with Adam Donaldson Powell (Cyberwit , India , 978-81-8253-110-9).

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PREVIOUS BOOK PUBLICATIONS – continued:
GAYTUDE WAS THE 2009 NATIONAL INDIE EXCELLENCE AWARD WINNER FOR THE CATEGORY GAY/LESBIAN NONFICTION!

2014: the life and adventures of an incarnated angel, 135 pages, Cyberwit.net, ISBN 978-81-8253-118-5, © 2008, India (LGBT – gay characters, extreme sci-fi).

Critical Essays, literary and photobook criticism by Adam Donaldson Powell and Dr. Santosh Kumar, 108 pages, Cyberwit.net, ISBN 978-81-8253-110-9, © 2008, India.

Le Paradis (Paradise), 80 pages, Cyberwit.net, ISBN 978-81-8253-103-1, © 2008, India. Includes a booklet with symbols from The Universal Language of Light, as seen by Laila Holand.

Rapture: endings of space and time (86 pages), Cyberwit,net, ISBN 978-81-8253-083-6, © 2007, India.

Three-legged Waltz, (80 pages), Cyberwit.net, ISBN 818253058X, © 2006, India.

Collected Poems and Stories, (175 pages), Cyberwit.net, ISBN 8182530288, © 2005, India.

Arcana and other archetypes, (special limited edition – hardback collection of poetry, 80 pages), AIM Chapbooks ANS, © 2001, Norway (now out-of-print).

Notes of a Madman, (hardback collection of poetry, 35 pages), Winston-Derek Publishers, Inc., © 1987, ISBN 1-55523-054-7, USA (now out-of-print).

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Other publication experience (selected):

Essays, literary criticism and photobook criticism by Adam Donaldson Powell have appeared in many literary magazines, literary websites, newspapers etc., including but not limited to: Small Press Review, Ginyu, Los Muestros, Inyathi, Lynx Online Literary Magazine, Skyline Review, Taj Mahal Review, Samora Magazine, Kritya: a journal of poetry, Writer’s Cramp, Portugal News, Skyline Magazine’s and Hudson View Poetry Digest’s literary criticism website etc. Adam has reviewed many talented authors and art photography book artists, including: Albert Russo, Pradip Choudhuri, Jan Oskar Hansen, Shirley Bolstok, Robert P. Craig, Mary Barnet, Literary House Review 2007, Orania Hamilton, AZsacra Zarathustra and Jgor Pyatinin, Geert Verbeke, Barbara Elizabeth Mercer, Alan D. Busch, Fernando Rodríguez, Victoria Valentine, Vijaiganga, Marie Mappley, Robert M. Wilson, Linda A. Peters, Ban’ya Natsuishi, Sayumi Kamakura, Moshé Liba, T. Wignesan etc.

Adam has written prefaces for books, and edited novels and books of poetry, as well as individual poems and short stories, written by several other authors.

Adam’s own literary works and artworks have appeared in several literary reviews and journals, anthologies, online magazines, literary websites etc. on several continents.

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Distinctions and memberships:

GAYTUDE WAS THE 2009 NATIONAL INDIE EXCELLENCE AWARD WINNER FOR THE CATEGORY GAY/LESBIAN NONFICTION!

Adam Donaldson Powell på Wikipedia Norge

Steering committee, WORDS: one path to peace and understanding, Oslo, 2008. Read the ONLINE REPORT.

Winner of the AZsacra International Poetry Award, 2008

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Recipient of Norwegian Foreign Ministry’s travel stipend for authors, 2005.

QUOTE:

“There is no doubt that Powell, Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Bishop, Sylvia Plath, John Berryman, Randall Jarrell, and Delmore Schwartz are the most talented American poets of the modern age.” — Dr. Santosh Kumar, Allahabad University, 2010, from his book entitled: Adam Donaldson Powell: the making of a poet.

ABOVE QUOTE FROM A BOOK BY DR. SANTOSH KUMAR, INDIA:
“Adam Donaldson Powell: The Making of a Poet”, a critical analysis of the published works of Adam Donaldson Powell. Order the book from Cyberwit.net: NOW!

Read excerpts from this book HERE!

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MEMBER OF:
BONO
World Poets Society
Poetas del Mundo
Norwegian P.E.N.
Bilingual MCA
IFLAC-Argentina

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DEGREES AND EDUCATION:
New York University, Master of Public Administration, 1985.
Goddard College, Bachelor of Arts, 1974.
Language studies in Norwegian, Spanish and French in the USA and Norway.
Post-graduate studies in international business administration (BI School of Management).
Private piano studies with several renowned concert pianists, including: Jacob Lateiner, Arminda Canteros, Berenice Lipsen-Grüzen and John Ranck.

Adam Donaldson Powell and Cathy Craig

(Violin-Piano duo: Catherine Craig and Adam Donaldson Powell, NYC; photo courtesy of Catherine Craig.)

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POETRY PERFORMANCE:

Adam has performed his poetry in English, French, Spanish and Norwegian, and at various venues from New York City to Oslo to Buenos Aires to Kathmandu.

(above photo courtesy Blikk Magazine, Norway)

SLIDESHOW: ADAM IN PICTURES

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MY FIRST TWO POETRY BOOKS:

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Notes of a Madman
Winston-Derek Publishers, USA
ISBN 1-55523-054-7
1987

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Arcana and other archetypes
AiM Chapbooks, Norway
2001

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MY LIFE AS AN ACTIVIST.

My own activist career began when I was a teenager, and – in spite of both my parents being careerists in the United States Air Force – I became an anti-war activist (Vietnam War) and conscientious objector. That activism had many expressions: from silent Quaker vigils to anti-war marches and rallies to getting thrown out of the courtroom of Judge Julius Hoffman (famous from the «Chicago Seven» trials) for civil disobedience while supporting a draft dodger. My activism has including working as an employee of organizations such as the American Friends Service Committee (a Quaker social service and peace education organization), the Partnership for the Homeless, Amnesty International Norway etc., working for the Norwegian government in support of the unemployed, immigrants, the disabled etc., establishing my own activist organizations in Norway in support of immigrants, artists/authors/dancers/actors/filmmakers, and also representing organizations that lobby for the rights of persons with HIV/AIDS. Being an activist has required me to constantly weigh whether my own convictions and interests are best served by working for or representing an existing organization, political parties, agency or institution OR working alone so that I may set my own specific agenda and choose my own methods of working. The latter has given me special satisfaction. In that regard I have used my talents as a speechwriter and public speaker, as a book author, as a musician, as a linguist, and as a visual artist to promote my ideas and my support for those who do not themselves have the possibility of getting their voices heard publicly. In 1994 I arranged Norway’s first World AIDS Day art exhibition (a tradition which I kept going until 2009), I have promoted the rights of immigrants and of performing, literary and visual artists, and debated with top politicians in Norway on television, radio and in the tabloids, I have represented persons with HIV/AIDS on behalf of the Norwegian government and otherwise at UNGASS (United Nations General Assembly Special Session – Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS) as well as at international conferences in Norway and in other countries, I have initiated one-man protest demonstrations against individuals and government agencies that I felt abused the dignity or rights of the disabled and persons with HIV/AIDS, etc.; and I have been critical of other individual activists, government institutions, politicians, and also of activist organizations in the media. At times I have also worked within the «system», and as an advisor and cooperative partner to the system, and publicly defended specific government policies, and I have held office in a major political party. All this after personal analysis of the best ways to bring my activist ideas into government and organizational policy frameworks.

All my formal education and life experience comes into play in my activism: including my master degree in international and developmental public administration, my years of working for the government in Norway and as a university administrator and corporate writer/editor in the United States, and even my college bachelor of arts thesis (on the legal rights of minors {young persons} to consent to acquisition of contraceptives and to psychological counseling) which resulted in my own draft legislation eventually becoming state law in Vermont, and then later in Ohio.

I have also served on the board of directors of several organizations in Norway and in the USA which work in the areas of LGBT rights, the rights and needs of persons living with HIV/AIDS, the arts, and religious expression. And finally, I have organized international conferences for persons working in support of persons living with HIV/AIDS, as well as international and bilingual authors. I have held many speeches and been a high-profile spokesperson at conferences and in the media, and my visual art exhibitions and my authored books often address themes related to my areas of activism.

My most current expression of activism involves supporting and informing others through social media and the internet, as well as in my visual art and in my work as an author and editor – herein encouraging the voices of contemporary activists through literature.

~ Adam Donaldson Powell

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Death poem …

DEATH POEM … (a story about gay suicide)

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Buddhist monks, Street photography, 2011.

 

Death Poem is dedicated to the many gay men, all around the world, who take their lives each year .. because they cannot cope with not being accepted for who and what they are…..

DEATH POEM: the story of Keiji and Ichiro.

Red on red - Luck is fleeting, oil on canvas, 50 x 50 cm., 2013.

Red on red – Luck is fleeting, oil on canvas, 50 x 50 cm., 2013.

PART ONE: ICHIRO’S JOURNEY TO TOKYO.

Ichiro had just boarded the Nozomi train from Osaka to Tokyo, a trip that would take approximately two and a half hours. Ichiro lived with his parents in Ashiya, a residential and industrial suburb of Osaka. He would meet his long-time friend Keiji at Narita Airport the next day, and together they would embark upon the adventure of their lives: a two-week journey to Norway – the land of salmon and fjords. Neither Ichiro nor Keiji had been to Europe before, and Ichiro had never even been outside of Japan. Ichiro could hardly wait to see his friend again. Keiji and his family lived in Yokohama, but Keiji could not leave for the airport before early tomorrow morning.

Ichiro was fortunate compared to Keiji. Keiji’s family (especially his father) considered him to be somewhat of a ‘disgrace’ and his father had more-or-less disowned him. Not only had Keiji chosen to study fashion design over a more practical and (in his father’s eyes “honourable”) profession like shipping, or even biotechnology (like his older brother), but after overhearing gossip about his son being “gay” Keiji’s father (Sadao) and his mother (Akemi) decided to confront their son straight out. This was quite unusual (especially in their family) as embarrassing issues were simply not discussed. The problem was that Keiji’s father (in the management team of a company with several important government contracts) was one of three persons in the leadership group being investigated under corruption charges. It was hell at work, and it seemed as if the internal search for a ‘scapegoat’ was getting more intense all the while. One of Sadao’s colleagues from work had commented to another at the job that he had seen Sadao’s son Keiji in Shinjuki ni-chome (Tokyo’s popular gay district). Aside from being an added threat to the already difficult situation at work, this rumour (which had quickly spread like wildfire throughout the executive offices) was also a personal insult for Sadao: he had not only “failed” at his job .. but also in raising his son. Sadao was so full of anger and consternation that he broke with his traditional rather stoic fatherly demeanour and confronted his son directly. Although Keiji dreaded the psychological abuse he knew would come from his father in the form of silence, avoidance of eye-contact and shortness of communication, he could not lie to his parents – as that would be the ultimate sin. So he confessed not only to being gay, but also admitted that his relationship with Ichiro, his close friend of many years (and who was much liked – especially by Ichiro’s mother) was more than a mere “good friendship” between two young men.

On his 22nd birthday, and after eight months of “sitting in the doghouse” Keiji decided to leave his family home and Yokohama. He and Ichiro had decided to move into an apartment in Tokyo together – enabling them to create and live a gay lifestyle together without the scrutiny and judgment of their families and neighbours. Ichiro, 21 years of age, had never been to Tokyo before but had always dreamed of one day living in the bustling city of hopes and dreams. Ichiro’s parents had known that he was gay for years, but had always hoped that it was just a “stage” in his life and that he would eventually marry and grace them with grandchildren. They knew from experience that to pressure Ichiro in any great way would only encourage him to do the opposite of what they wanted.

Ichiro was worried about Keiji. Keiji had been suffering from depression the past half-year, and he had told Ichiro that his symptoms had periodically ranged from agoraphobia (fear of leaving one’s safety zone) to obsessive-compulsive behaviour and panic/angst attacks. The worse the relationship between Keiji and his father became, the more Keiji was convinced that he would soon die: either of an accident or other disaster .. or from an act of violence. Sometimes Keiji would make appointments only to break them just a quarter of an hour before he was supposed to show up. When his panic attacks were at their worst, Keiji had to breathe into a paper bag to regain control.

Together, Ichiro and Keiji had agreed that Keiji must get out of Yokohama and away from the negative situation that his failing relationship with his father had created. For Keiji it was a question of sanity and survival, as well as self-respect. He felt “dirty” in his father’s presence, and constantly took showers and washed his hands in order to feel and be seen as “clean” .. but nothing helped. Things remained the same. No arguments .. no physical violence .. just silent shame that was re-warmed over and over, again and again, day after day, moment after moment. It was unbearable.

As the train pulled out of the station Ichiro leaned back into his seat, relieved that no one else was sitting next to or directly across from him. He reached into his knapsack and pulled out a novella that he had ordered over the Internet (and which he had covered with cloth in order to hide the original book cover). It was a homo-erotic gay fantasy about a group of gay friends in Europe, including their gay lifestyles, their adventures and their love affairs. The novella was written in English and French, which made it all the more exciting for Ichiro, as he had studied European literature at school and had also studied both English and French. It seemed like the perfect story to read before their journey to Norway as the novella took place in Oslo as well as other cities in Europe and the USA. Even though Ichiro had received the book in the post a week and a half ago, he had decided to wait until this train trip to Tokyo before reading it. He had actually ordered two copies, one of which he had sent to Keiji as a gift of inspiration for their journey and their new life as an “out” gay couple. If nothing else it would give Keiji something to read on the long plane ride to the airport in Oslo.

Ichiro opened the book and nestled into the world of fantasy. After reading for about forty-five minutes, Ichiro closed the short book and looked up at the man in his mid-twenties who was seated across from him. Ichiro knew that someone had gotten on the train and taken a seat across from him about twenty minutes earlier, but he was so engrossed in his reading that he hadn’t bothered to look up and see whom it was. The man was attractive and well-dressed; he looked like he must live in Tokyo. The slightly older man smiled, nodded to Ichiro and commented: “It must be a good book! You have been quite involved in your reading, and I could not help but notice that at times your face looked quite flushed – almost as if you were embarrassed – and at others you seemed to be snickering to yourself; and even looked a bit sad at moments.” Ichiro felt embarrassed at the attention, and by the stranger’s astuteness.

“Are you a writer .. or a psychiatrist?” he asked – half-joking, but also half-serious.

“Neither,” replied the man in amusement. “My name is Chokichi. I am an aspiring television actor. I have only had a few small roles so far, but things are looking up. I spend a lot of time studying facial and body expressions. They go right into my theatrical repertoire for future use. And you – are you studying in Tokyo?”

“Me, no! I am moving to Tokyo soon, but first I am off on a trip .. abroad”, said Ichiro in a manner characterised by boasting young men. Ichiro did not normally speak so freely with strangers, but he felt a slight affinity with this man. Nonetheless he thought it wise to watch his tongue.

“I see; how exciting! Are you by chance going to the USA? I was just there a year ago – in Los Angeles and New York City for two months.”

This caught Ichiro’s attention. “No, I do hope to travel to the USA one day. We are .. I mean, I am going to Norway – with my best friend – for a few weeks. It will be my first time in Europe. I am very excited.”

Just then they noticed that they were approaching Tokyo, and most people began scrambling to assemble their baggage before disembarking but Ichiro and Chokichi just remained calmly in their seats. Neither was in any rush. When the last of the passengers were about to walk out of the train car, Ichiro and Chokichi both gathered up their bags and stepped off the train onto the platform. They shook hands, and Chokichi gave Ichiro his card saying: “If you and your friend need help finding work or an apartment, you might want to give me a telephone call. Here is my number. I have a lot of friends and contacts here in Tokyo. By the way, have a wonderful journey and please bring a little European culture back with you when you return to Japan. Most only bring back photographs …”

And they both laughed and went their separate ways. Chokichi to the nearest taxi stand, and Ichiro in search of an inexpensive hotel room not too far from the airport since he would meet Keiji there at 10 a.m. the next day.

Japanesescreen

Japanese screen, Indoor photography, 2013.

PART TWO: ICHIRO AND KEIJI EMBARK UPON AN ADVENTURE.

Ichiro did not expect gay life in Oslo to be like it was portrayed in the sex novella. He barely believed the authenticity of the scenes portrayed in France and the USA. After all, who could really believe that policemen in New York City had sex in their uniforms, or that an electrical power outage in the Le Marais district of Paris could result in such free sexual behaviour? He certainly could not imagine such things happening in Osaka or Yokohama … or even in Tokyo. But then again, Ichiro had seen a television report on Gay Pride Day in several cities where some gays were dressed up as policemen, and he knew that several policemen in large cities in the USA and Europe now were openly gay. The homo-erotic stories of these “crazy” European and American gays were exciting to him – both sexually, and also in terms of the sense of freedom and personal identity portrayed. As he sat alone in his small hotel room Ichiro’s thoughts turned to his friend Keiji. He wondered how his farewell with his family had been; if Keiji would soon begin to feel better now that he had made the decision to leave Yokohama … and he wondered how it would be for them finally to be able to be together without pretending that they were just good friends. And then he thought about Keiji’s swimmer physique, his soft eyes, his perfectly-formed long fingers … and wondered if their relationship would grow or be challenged by the possibility of sexual openness and opportunity. They had never discussed having a monogamous relationship and Ichiro did not know if Keiji had sex with other men than him. He never told Keiji about his own escapades with strangers. Would they end up like the characters in the novella ‘Entre Nous’ – wanton, jealous and creating one scandal after another? The idea both frightened and excited Ichiro. He knew from the Internet and from television that morals connected with scandals and shame were changing radically in many countries in the West, and even in large cities in Japan. Young people all over the world were becoming part of the “free generation”, leaving the official old values of the previous generations to crumble in the dust. Recently Ichiro had even seen naked women reading the news and presenting weather forecasts on Japanese mobile TV.

Ichiro had trouble sleeping with all the excitement of tomorrow’s plane trip, of meeting Keiji … and all the thoughts and questions going through his mind.

He arrived at Narita Airport early, and ate a leisurely breakfast while reading the morning paper. The paper contained a disturbing article about sickly HIV-positive persons on Papua New Guinea who were buried while still alive … some screaming out to their relatives as the dirt was shovelled onto their not-yet-dead “corpses”. Ichiro knew of one person who had had HIV in Osaka. He had committed suicide by hanging shortly after his condition was confirmed. The “disgrace” to his family was too great a burden for him to carry. Ichiro thought to himself: ‘The world can often seem quite a cruel and cold place … beyond the realms of human justice and empathy.’ Just then Keiji called out his name and waved to him: “Ichiro! Ohayo! Good morning my friend!”

Keiji looked good. He was wearing a red shirt, white trousers and a black jacket. He looked as if he had spent the last week at a sun-tanning studio. “How healthy you look!” exclaimed Ichiro.

“Konnichiwa (hello)! Thanks – you too,” replied Keiji. “But do not be deceived … it is all clothes and make-up. Inside myself I feel like shit.”

“Well you could have fooled me … but I have always liked the way you look,” cooed Ichiro while pressing his palm firmly into Ichiro’s firm abdomen as he released himself from their salutatory embrace. “Now what is this about ‘make-up’?’” he asked, stepping back a couple of inches to observe more closely.

“Oh, just some cosmetic cover-up cream I borrowed from a girlfriend to help hide the bags under my eyes from not sleeping. The past week with my parents and relatives has been extremely stressful. So much suppressed emotion – and then there is my father who is still treating me formally, as if I were a stranger to him. I tried to talk with him one last time yesterday – that is why I could not be here before today – but it was no use. He cannot accept my being gay; and nothing will ever change that. ‘We are just not compatible’ he says. Imagine saying that to your own flesh-and-blood; to your own son!” Keiji had tears in his eyes, which he quickly rubbed away saying: “Damn it! There goes my make-up job…” Then they both laughed, and Ichiro bought himself another coffee … and Keiji bought himself breakfast.

Their flight to Oslo entailed a transfer in Paris. Unfortunately they would not have enough time to explore the city, and just as well that they did not try to either: they got lost several times in the Charles De Gaulle airport terminal. Heaven knows if they had made it around Paris and back to the airport in time – even with almost three and a-half hours layover before the connecting flight to Oslo.

While wandering through the tax-free luxury stores at the airport in Paris, Ichiro asked Keiji if he had read the novella he had sent him. Keiji blushed and said: “Yes … it was very hot. I had a difficult time keeping it hidden from my mother and my all-too-curious brother. The novella afforded me an opportunity to get ‘lost’ in some other (more pleasant) thoughts … ”

“Perhaps THAT is why you have not been sleeping, Keiji,” quipped Ichiro while putting his arm around his friend’s shoulder. Keiji laughed and commented back: “Not the primary reason, but it did help to take my mind off of other things for a couple of evenings. By the way, I hope you realize that that was just gay fiction … and that that stuff just doesn’t really happen in actual life … But an exciting fantasy all the same.”

“Yeah, you’re right,” replied Ichiro. “However, I am not so certain that all of the situations in the novella are so very far from gay reality in some big cities. Gays in large Western cities are much more free and open in their lifestyles than we are in Osaka and Yokohama, but I do sometimes hear stories about some crazy things going on in Tokyo. However, I do not expect to fall in love or lust with anyone other than you on this journey to Norway, Keiji. Think! We do not have to ‘sneak around’ anymore in order to be together.”

They both looked at each other, smiled and Keiji held Ichiro’s hand briefly. Almost instantly, Keiji then looked around to see if anyone had seen their momentary intimacy. Not only did everyone seem indifferent and self-occupied, but Keiji even noticed a “gay couple” not far from them – the one giving his friend a kiss on the cheek as they slowly walked in the direction Keiji and Ichiro had just come from, pulling their luggage behind them. Keiji looked at Ichiro, gave him a peck on the cheek and said: “No, Ichiro … you may be right. I am no longer in my father’s house.”

Ichiro was surprised at this sudden display of public affection … but inside himself he was glowing with pride and excitement for things to come.

Once on the airplane en route to Oslo, Keiji pulled a sealed envelope out of his knapsack before putting the bag in the overhead carry-on luggage compartment. When he sat down beside Ichiro, Ichiro asked: “What’s that?”

“I am not sure,” replied Keiji. “My father handed this to me as I left the family home, and asked me not to open it before I had landed in Norway. My curiosity is unbearable, so I thought I would open it now. Perhaps it is an apology, or some sorely-needed loving words from father to son.”

Ichiro smiled and squeezed Keiji’s hand saying: “I am certain of that, Keiji. You are the most lovable and honourable man I know.”

Keiji quickly tore open the envelope and began reading the paper inside. His expression quickly changed from expectant happiness to horror and sadness. His eye ducts overflowed with tears as he shook his head and mumbled: “You x9@**+ … how could you do this to me?!! And who the hell do you think you are: Yukio Mishima?!!”

Ichiro – moved by his friend’s reaction, and quite concerned about what Keiji’s father had written – pleaded with Keiji to show him the letter. Keiji let the letter drop from his trembling hands, and Ichiro immediately scooped the letter up and began to read it. It was a traditional death poem (jisei) – announcing his father’s impending death. True to form, the poem was full of metaphors and images (autumnal references, sakura (cherry blossoms), setting suns, impending nightfall and softly falling snow on distant mountaintops). The word death or suicide was not written specifically, but the meaning was not to be misunderstood.

The most dramatic aspect of the poem was its form: Keiji’s father had elected to write the poem in the style of waka – five units consisting of five – seven – five – seven – seven syllables. Ichiro gasped and uttered: “This is a seppuku jisei – he has committed ritual suicide!”

Keiji’s swollen eyes, clenched fists and flushed cheeks expressed both sorrow and anger. “He might just as well have thrust the sword through my own heart – the effect would have been the same … or perhaps easier for me. Now I have to live with the shame I would not own – he has found a way to get me to feel the shame and disgrace he has tried to enforce upon me.”

Ichiro could not comprehend that Keiji’s father had written a seppuku jisei. Not only was it very old-fashioned, but it was generally only used by persons of extreme importance. He therefore understood Keiji’s remark: ‘And who the hell do you think you are: Yukio Mishima?!’ He had perhaps understood it better had Sadao chosen one of the more popular forms of suicide today, employed by the overworked and those who failed at their jobs. But seppuku was extreme.

Keiji continued: “If only I had not been seen in Shinjuki ni-chome that day … perhaps then … No, he is an arrogant, sick, selfish son-of-a-bitch – blaming me for his problems at work. And my poor mother … I can only imagine what she is going through …. “

Ichiro embraced his friend and asked a stewardess to please bring them some water, explaining that his friend had just received some very sad news.

When the stewardess had returned with the water Ichiro thanked her, and clasped Keiji’s hands insisting: “When we arrive in Oslo, you must call home immediately. Perhaps this is just a dramatic gesture; a warning. It may not be too late to stop him …”

Ichiro tried repeatedly to convince Keiji to call home as soon as they arrived in Oslo; and was prepared to cancel the trip and return on the first flight back to Tokyo. But Keiji pulled away, saying: “Never! Besides my father never bluffs. It is too late, and the worse thing I can do is to take contact now. The family’s shame is now doubled … and so is mine: not only have I caused this tragedy, but I have survived my father at my family’s expense. Let us not discuss this again, Ichiro. It is too painful. My family now consists of you and me.” And with that, Keiji folded the poem into a paper crane and tucked it into his wallet. He slept the rest of the way to Gardemoen Airport in Oslo.

Keiji awoke suddenly to Ichiro’s nudging and gentle voice: “Wake up Keiji. We are about to land in Oslo. We are in Norway!”

Sushi table.

Sushi table.

PART THREE: DISCOVERING NORWAY.

Both young men were exhausted – physically and emotionally – when they arrived at their hotel in the centre of Oslo. It was the thirteenth of May, and it was raining outside. While Keiji made his way to the hotel room bathroom, Ichiro moved the two twin beds together – making a full-sized bed – and closed the curtains. He was already half-undressed when Keiji stumbled out of the bathroom and literally fell into bed. Ichiro kissed him lightly on the forehead and then on the lips and whispered: “We both need some sleep – let me help you out of your clothes.” Keiji did not resist, and soon they were both sound asleep – with Ichiro’s lean body spooning that of Keiji. It was almost seven o’clock in the evening when Ichiro awoke. Keiji was already awake, sitting in his underpants at the small desk on the window side of the hotel room … with his back facing the bed.

“Have you been awake for a long time?” asked Ichiro from the bed, while rubbing his eyes.

“Only for about an hour,” replied Keiji. “I was full of thought and decided to get up and write a little in my diary. I was just about to take a shower … care to join me?”

“Wouldn’t you rather fool around here in bed a little first?” suggested Ichiro while kicking back the sheets to expose his aroused manhood showing through his briefs.

Keiji turned half-way towards Ichiro and smiled, saying: “I would like nothing more … but later. Right now I mostly want to take a long hot shower, and then to go down to the restaurant downstairs and try some typical Norwegian food.”

“I am also hungry. Go ahead … I will follow after you.”

After Keiji had closed the door to the bathroom, Ichiro stood up and stretched and pulled back the drapes – delighted to see that the rain had stopped. On his way to the bathroom he heard Keiji brushing his teeth and shaving. As Ichiro was about to walk past the desk he saw that Keiji had not closed his diary. He was very tempted to take a little peek at what Keiji had just written. He did, in fact, begin to read the first sentence on the latest diary entry page, but quickly pulled himself away realizing that it would be an imposition on his friend’s privacy that was well beyond the boundaries of their close friendship.

Ichiro felt a bit guilty as he opened the bathroom door … although they usually shared most of their thoughts with each other, Ichiro could feel an underlying uneasiness between them regarding Keiji’s private thoughts about dealing with depression. At moments Ichiro felt as if even an all too lingering glance felt like a transgression to Keiji. At the same time, he was relieved to see that Keiji was at least trying to express his thoughts in his diary, and was (therefore) not in a state of denial. He knew that Keiji had been diagnosed as “manic-depressive” (bipolar) and was familiar with his mood swings. He totally understood – especially now after the “mind trip” his father had put over on him – the effects of the traditional old-school of “shame and silence”. It was a murderous form of control which had destroyed many who could not accept the confines of social and familial expectations. They both knew of many young gay men who led double lives; who were married with young children and who still had their secret lives – which entailed sex with either other women … or men. No one made such a big deal about it as long as appearances were kept up; and as long as it was not put in others’ faces. ‘This was the big problem for many gays today, he thought … the segregation of life expressions and the shame of living a lie contra the fear of creating shame for one’s loved ones by being open.’ “The best thing I can do for Keiji is to just be there for him … exert no great pressure, offer no unasked for advice and to follow his moods as best as I can …” And with that thought in his head he put on his most endearing smile and opened the glass door to the shower, snuggling inside the one-man shower stall with the love of his life. After a bit of kissing, some fondling and washing each other’s backs they dried off and tumbled back into bed – not caring that the heavy drapes in front of the almost see-through white curtains were not drawn – and made love for the first time in weeks. They never made it down to the hotel restaurant, but turned on the television, and watched some American situation comedy re-runs as they devoured the smoked salmon with egg and the shrimp with mayonnaise sandwiches they had had delivered by room service. And that was how they spent their first evening in Oslo – sitting in bed together, eating, laughing, watching TV and drinking Norwegian beer. Ichiro had never felt happier; and Keiji managed to put the deepest reaches of his depression temporarily aside. Even his constant migraine headaches and backache seemed to be diminished for the moment. His emotional chains and shackles permitted him a bit of reprieve … he was on vacation with the love of his life; his newly-established “family”.

They enjoyed an early breakfast the next morning. It was excellent Spring weather, and they were advised by the hotel receptionist to buy the “Oslo Card”, which would enable them to gain free admittance to most of the city’s museums and free public transportation for either one, two or three days. This seemed perfect for them as they had planned to do sightseeing in the capital city and to enjoy the national day (“the seventeenth of May”) before travelling further to the western city of Bergen, where they would take a ship called the “Hurtigruten” up the coast, before flying back to Oslo from Tromsø in northern Norway and returning to their new life in Tokyo.

Ichiro asked the hotel receptionist if there had been any messages from Japan for either of them, but the receptionist said: “Sorry, not that I can see.” Ichiro looked at Keiji in puzzlement – certain that his family must be attempting to contact him. They had not brought cell phones with them on the trip but Ichiro had told his family where they had a hotel reservation in Oslo.

Keiji replied shortly: “Things were so tense when I left that I forgot to write down the name and telephone number of the hotel here in Oslo for my mother. But I just cannot deal with this right now; I feel so torn between anger and sorrow … and there is nothing I can do. So please stop nagging me about calling home. I will make a decision when we arrive in Bergen … Besides, my mother knows the name of the boat we will be taking up the coast. I can ask if she has sent me a telegram or left me a message when we check in.”

Ichiro was shocked at Keiji’s resolve. Keiji could be quite stubborn when he had made up his mind … ‘Like father, like son’ Ichiro thought; but would never dream of saying that to Keiji. It was a real tragedy … both father and son suffering from deep-seated depression; and with such dramatic consequences.

Ichiro must have dragged them to almost forty museums, and art and photography galleries in the course of the three days. Keiji’s favourite places were the Vigeland Park, with its fantastic statues by the famous sculptor Gustav Vigeland; and the Holmenkollen Ski Jump; whereas Ichiro was fascinated with the Kon Tiki and maritime museums, and the many exciting photography exhibitions about town. They enjoyed both Norwegian, Turkish and Indian cuisine … and even ate at a McDonald’s restaurant once. On the third evening they went to a Japanese restaurant recommended in the tourist guidebook. Ichiro thought it was ‘okay’, but Keiji … being the demanding cognoscente that he was regarding Japanese food traditions … was not particularly impressed … but enjoyed the experience of seeing and tasting “Japanese” food in a foreign environment.

While they did not see any “gay cruising” or transvestites in Vigeland Park (as described in the fictional homo-erotic novella they had read before leaving Japan for Norway) they did see many ‘gay-looking’ men on the streets, and read about the gay saunas in town. They ventured into the city’s oldest gay bar for a beer, but it was almost empty as they were there too early in the evening … and, besides, it was a weekday. But that did not matter. Ichiro and Keiji enjoyed each other’s company and needed nothing more than the personal freedom to be themselves. This also seemed to be great “therapy” for Keiji, whose headaches and back pain still seemed lessened for the time being.

Their last day in Oslo before the short plane trip to the western coast was spent watching Norwegians and persons who had emigrated from other countries to Norway celebrate “17de mai” (“the seventeenth of May”) which is the national day of independence. The entire downtown area was full of persons in diverse costumes – traditional dress from all parts of Norway – singing, eating hot dogs and ice cream, drinking beer, wine and coffee, carrying flags, and smiling to one another while saying “Gratulerer med dagen!” (“Happy birthday!”). Keiji was particularly amazed at how crowded the streets were, and at how connected everyone seemed – so different from the feeling he had had the days before, when most people seemed to keep mostly to themselves and their own business. This was a huge party!

They both got a little too inebriated from the strong Norwegian beer, and Ichiro got a bit of a stomach ache from eating too many hot dogs, and ice cream and cakes. They returned to their hotel around eight p.m., packed their bags in preparation for an early morning hotel check-out and crawled into bed – happy with their time in Oslo, and very excited about the impending boat trip up the coast – which they had read so much about. They had already taken almost one hundred photos between themselves, and there would certainly be many more before the trip was over.

They arrived in Bergen around noon, and therefore had a few hours to walk around town before finding their way to the boat which would take them northward. Bergen was a charming city, and they were fortunate to be there on a day full of sunlight – as they had heard that it often rains there. They had a delightful dinner at a small fish restaurant on a side street. Keiji had codfish with potatoes and vegetables, and Ichiro had fish soup with bread and salad. On the way to the boat they stopped at a store and bought some Norwegian dried fish, which Keiji had tried in Oslo and had become addicted to. The boat was due to sail at 8:00 p.m.

Once onboard, Keiji inquired as to whether there was a telegram or a message waiting for him from Japan. The smiling woman behind the counter replied: “No, I don’t find anything here for you right now … but check back a bit later, as things are rather chaotic at the moment.”

Keiji retired to their small sleeping accommodations, while Ichiro explored the ship. They had agreed to meet at the ship’s main bar at 10:00 p.m. Ichiro waited for Keiji until 10:35 p.m. and then walked back to their room to see if he was still sleeping, but Keiji was not there. Ichiro got an uncomfortable feeling inside himself … knowing that something was wrong. He searched all over for Keiji but could not find him anywhere. Suddenly he thought of Keiji’s diary, and ran back to the room to find it in Keiji’s knapsack. Frantically leafing through the journal to find the latest entry, he re-read the first sentence that he had begun reading previously:

“The softness of the approaching winter is apparent even in the quiet, cotton-like skies on the Norwegian horizon …”

Ichiro felt the first of many tears racing down his right cheek as he read the following words: “I can neither go back, nor can I stay away … for both choices would mean losing myself. The only real choice I have is to join my honourable father in quietude … and together can we perhaps find peace between us in eternal solitude.”

Ichiro was full of grief, inner rage and confusion – but he did not quite know where … or how to direct it. As he passed by the information desk the young woman smiled and waved, saying: “Please tell your friend that there is an urgent message for him from Japan.” Ichiro looked at her with tears in his eyes and replied: “Thank you … I will.”

He took the diary up to the Captain’s office, and avoided gazing out into the sea as best as he could.

THE END.

marina1

Marina, street photography, 2012.

JISEI: a new poetry book by Adam Donaldson Powell.

DECEMBER 1st IS WORLD AIDS DAY.


辞世

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JISEI

DEATH POEMS AND DAILY REFLECTIONS
BY A PERSON WITH AIDS

By Adam Donaldson Powell

First edition published by Cyberwit.net, India, ISBN 978-81-8253-403-2, 2013.

My new book “JISEI” is now available for orders at CYBERWIT and AMAZON.COM

Paperback: 245 pages
Publisher: Cyberwit.net (May 2, 2013)
Languages: English, French, Spanish, Norwegian, Japanese, Russian, Filipino
ISBN-10: 8182534038
ISBN-13: 978-8182534032

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COMMENTS ABOUT “JISEI” FROM AUTHORS AROUND THE WORLD:

J. Richard “Rick” Davis (USA):

This book of poetry, is more than just a collection of poems, on life, death, and AIDS. It is a guidebook for anyone struggling with the meaning of it all – whether it’s AIDS, or cancer or any travail that is causing one to question the meaning and purpose of why we’re on this planet.

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Albert Russo (FRANCE):

Qui est Adam Donaldson Powell? Ce poète rare qui parle de la beauté, de l’amour, de l’amitié, comme l’homme découvrant le monde à l’aube de l’humanité. Avec angélisme, direz-vous? Aucunement, il en parle avec la poésie du philosophe et du mystique. Il traite la maladie et la mort, non comme des ennemies, mais comme des connaissances, avec sérénité, presque avec sympathie, il va même jusqu’à causer avec elles comme l’on cause avec des passagers lors d’un voyage. Il se mets même à blaguer avec ces trublions, sachant qu’au bout du compte, il retrouvera la dernière.

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Maria Cristina Azcona (ARGENTINA):

Adam es el esclavo líbero, el que rompió las cadenas y nos golpea con su martillo de oro las nuestras, incluso aquellas que volvemos a crear a cada momento, enfermos pero de la cabeza mientras él, enfermo del cuerpo está cada vez mejor de la lucidez mental, cada vez más cuerdo y descarnado. Su poesía es cada vez más aleteo y menos cuerpo, más alma y menos carne, más verdad y más arte hasta que llegará el momento ese sublime en que el hombre se hará poema, para siempre, en nuestra mente que ahora, tarde, podrá ver en el interior de su alma.

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Lisbet Norderhaug (NORWAY):

I disse vidunderlige, dype og mørke diktene kan vi synke inn i oss selv og la oss treffe av lyset som gjennomstråler mørket. Adam har satt ord på den gjenkjennelige fortvilelsen over å måtte forlate livet, men han beskriver også gløden som skinner til oss fra den andre siden. Han har hevet, ja, transformert, historien om ett menneskes dødsprosess til en sang for oss alle.

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EXCERPT FROM BOOK INTRODUCTION:

AIDS has changed the world in more ways than we may possibly know. We will never fully comprehend the impact of losing so many people taken by this disease. Their contributions could have altered the face of humanity, the world of art and literature, the rearing of future leaders, the impact on communities, and the hearts of countless individuals. And this is all looking at the impact of AIDS in a broad perspective. It is a disease that, regardless of our own personal admissions, affects us all. However, behind the public fray of communal loss, social change and medical advances, lies the experience of the individual who must still awaken each day with the acknowledgment that they carry inside of them an evident ticking time bomb. No different from the rest of us who live with our own mortality, but distinct in that their clock has a name. That name is AIDS.

— Christina Landles-Cobb (USA)

COMMENT BY THE AUTHOR:
My first public performance of my poetry in New York City was at a trendy art gallery in the SoHo district, back in 1986. The place was packed, wall-to-wall, and the audience was enthusiastic. I was reading from my soon-to-be-published first book of poems, entitled “Notes of a Madman” which was an illustrated collection of mystical poetry from Pagan and Sufi traditions. The gallery owner, an enigmatic young man, was particularly obsessed with the poems and spiritual messages in the slender volume of verse, and he read the book over and over again. Some months after the reading I again called the gallery to say “hello” and another young man answered the phone, saying in a somber voice: “Didn’t you know? He passed away shortly after your reading.” He had died of AIDS.

That beautiful young man hung onto my verse in a time of deep personal transformation. I have never forgotten the awe and sense of responsibility I felt after that telephone conversation. Since then, I have always written and painted with the intent of inspiring creativity and transformation in humanity. And now that I have — myself — lived with the AIDS virus for twenty years it feels appropriate to inspire once again through writing about one of the greatest transformations Mankind can ever know. It does not matter what we die of … every Soul and Life Expression is precious, and to be celebrated.

I die (and I am reborn) just a little bit each day of my life. Should any given moment be my last, then my epitaph will surely be the sum of all my thoughts, poems and tears of joy and sorrow … from day to day, over the course of eternity. Perhaps just one of these short daily poems will touch upon a few readers and lend a bit of realization of the magic that each of us creates in our personal and collective transformations.

– Adam Donaldson Powell

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A FEW EXCERPTS FROM THE BOOK:

i am but a liar,
my Lover.
i promise to stay,
but you know i
will often forsake You.
i swear to friends and family
that i will bid them “farewell”,
but i will steal my way back to you
in silence, My Beloved …
like a thief in the night.

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une chaude journée d’été à marseille,
sans souci …
oh là là là là là là !
il a remarqué mon regard
il a l’air en colère
il vient vers moi
il demande une cigarette
nous allons à mon hôtel
il me quitte une heure plus tard, satisfait
le lendemain, je le remarque dans la rue à nouveau
et il a toujours l’air en colère

pour certains,
une vie avec le sida est une vie gâchée
ils n’ont rien à apprendre,
et rien à contester …
et ils ont surtout engendré la haine
envers le monde et envers eux-mêmes

… ouah, quel beau mec !
oh là là là là là là !

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Pienso en tí …
y muero
lentamente
en mis sueños.

Pienso en tí …
y ahora
lo único que queda
es la música,
unas palabras perdidas
y … quizás
una que otra lágrima
errante …

Pienso en tí …
la lluvia oculta
la arrogante apatía,
el retórico insoportable.
La apología
sin rostro
de los que piden perdón.

Despierto y descubro
lágrimas
que baten
ventanas con grietas
y sueños quebrados …

De súbito …
no puedo llorar más;
la lluvia ha parado.
Bajo el cielo desnudo
la vieja pintura se descolora.

Y yo pienso aún en tí …
hasta olvidar
el silencio que ya existía

antes de la muerte de mi amor.

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Ingen solnedgang for meg, takk.
Jeg vil reise til sjøs i vakre flammer …
midt på formiddagen.

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ANETTE TRETTEBERGSTUEN (Norwegian Labour Party Parliament Member) ON “JISEI”: “Break the sound barrier with art”, by Anette Trettebergstuen (Norway)

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Azsacra Zarathustra comments on Adam Donaldson Powell’s poetry book entitled “JISEI”

jiseilarge

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Adam Donaldson Powell

THE TUNNEL AT THE END OF TIME

a new extreme sci-fi novel, co-authored by Adam Donaldson Powell (Norway), Rick Davis (USA), and Azsacra Zarathustra (Russia)

new extreme science fiction novel

PRESS RELEASE: THE TUNNEL AT THE END OF TIME IS A CYBERWIT BESTSELLING BOOK!

Twentieth anniversary: living with AIDS

jiseilarge

August 12, 2013 marks my twentieth anniversary of living with the AIDS virus. I have just published a poetic journal documenting and describing the process leading up to that date. The book is entitled JISEI: death poems and daily reflections by a person with AIDS

More excerpts from “JISEI”: my latest book of poetry.

jiseilarge

do not promise to
be with me forever.
and do not tell me that
our love will last an eternity.
rather, meet me fully —
in this moment —
and dance with me …
dance with me.

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Écoutez le silence.
Il y a l’énergie du vide
qui aspire lentement la vie
hors de l’environnement.
Une par une,
toutes les entités
disparaissent … et bientôt
ne laissant que notre respiration.
Il finit par cracher
et s’arrête,
juste avant
les douze coups de midi.

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Pell deg vekk, din feige falske faen!
Du skryter av det at du “kjenner meg”
og at jeg skal være begavet og små-berømt,
og så slenger du dritt om meg
bak ryggen min
fordi jeg lever med AIDS.
Pell deg vekk, din feige falske faen!
Du har ikke særlig pent utseende, og
du har hverken status, penger,
eller sosial dannelse.
Pell deg vekk, din feige falske faen!
Jeg hadde aldri gått på deit
med deg som hiv negativ, og jeg
skal i hvert fall ikke gi deg noen
sosiale gevinster i kveld.
Du er alkoholiker og lystløgner.
Du er patetisk.
Pell deg vekk, din feige falske faen!

Pell deg vekk …

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La Recoleta está tranquila,
especialmente en un día lluvioso.
Pero si pones tu oído cerca de la lápida
donde está Evita — se puede escuchar
una banda tocando alegremente,
y voces instando a todos
a dejar de llorar …
y unirse a la fiesta.
¿Lo oyes?

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My new book “JISEI” is now available for orders at CYBERWIT and AMAZON.COM

Paperback: 245 pages
Publisher: Cyberwit.net (May 2, 2013)
Languages: English, French, Spanish, Norwegian, Japanese, Russian, Filipino
ISBN-10: 8182534038
ISBN-13: 978-8182534032

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Read what various authors from around the world have to say about “JISEI”.

Check out my books on AMAZON.COM