Maria Bacardi’s company, OddFellows Playhouse, commissioned me to write the following pages of poetry for the 2007 LongHouse Gala in honor of Yoko Ono. The gala celebrated the founder, Jack Lenor Larsen’s, 80th year and LongHouse Reserve’s 15th anniversary. Yoko Ono was presented a medal for her efforts at promoting peace. The poems were written over a two week period on retreat at the Surf Hotel in Block Island, RI. The end result was three separate works of poetry, represented here: “The 12 Alchemists,” “Four Narratives,” and “Your Wait in Gold.”
At Oddfellows’ request, these poems were written to be performed by both children and adults, and so, accordingly, my attempt was to have the poems appeal to both. I later learned that each of “The 12 Alchemists” were to be represented by an orator reciting the poems and a dancer interpreting the words. These performers were to be placed in strategic locations around the LongHouse grounds to entertain guests. “Your Wait in Gold” would then be orated and performed by the same dancers on Ono’s life-size white chessboard sculpture, “Play it by Trust,” also located on the LongHouse Reserve’s grounds. Due to time constraints, only “Your Wait in Gold” was performed.
The theme for each poem was “alchemy” and loosely inspired by the traditional Japanese “Tanka” form.