Archive for the ‘family’ Category

CLICK HERE for Forced Exposure Write UP! ARTWORK on album cover is by Zin Taylor. This vinyl solo album by musician John Also Bennett was released just this month (March 2019)  by SHELTER PRESS

walking-and-talking-#6Ben Bennett as heard/documented by C. Mehrl Bennett:
CMB notes are written in both first and third person while watching and/or listening to a section of Ben’s YouTube video project, Walking and Talking, which you can also watch and/or listen to by clicking here: Walking and Talking #6:
I shouldn’t worry about worrying about something.
If there is humor then I want it to arise completely naturally out of the process of being sincere.
I’m empty of things to say. I don’t have anything to say. I’m trying to keep my mouth and vocal chords moving in order to form words in the English language.
It’s not necessary to bring about newness, especially not in an un-natural concerted effortful way.
It’s never the same experience over and over even if you do the same thing.
I’m not really trying to be boring either, I’m just trying to continue talking, that’s all.
I have some trust in this process of walking and talking that keeps me doing it, even though in many moments I don’t exactly feel pleasant or…. (continues talking about an idea he heard from someone else, in that art does not have to be socially valuable or entertaining, and he identifies with that, but now is he ‘mimicking’ that idea?)
‘cultural capital’ – then thinks “what do I really mean by that or am I just trying to sound smart?”
adopting certain sentiments or ideas or life styles (attitudes or practices) that would make me appear to be a more valuable person in some way or another… or maybe to make me seem like a better person in some way or another. … with an eye to what the people around me value. the people that I associate the most with in real life have values and lifestyles that differ from the majority of the people in my larger surrounding culture. a smaller, slightly more dissident circle)
you can notice more subtle changes (when you do the same thing over and over again) than if you do something different all the time.
Is there even an authentic me to begin with at all? ‘no’ in regards to ’cause and effect’… ‘I’ am no more than all the causes and circumstances that I’ve interacted with in my life. no new perspectives than the last time he made walking and talking a couple days ago, but he still wants to do this, that boredom is part of his engagement and a pressure (challenge) to work harder despite the absence of external stimuli. I’m not sure if you were excepting boredom, that it would continue to be boredom.
walking increases his physical energy = capacity to focus and to keep talking, not worried about his performance, desires to put effort into this and make it a good experience for me and for you.
being able to intentionally talk with the same inflection (assertively), where I’m almost yelling… then wonders what his ‘natural’ inflection would be? performance means speaking in a certain way on purpose. seeing two people on bicycles made him lose his focus, but feeling generally satisfied with the rate of talking and the subject matter and feeling his physical energy level as being sufficient to keep on like this for awhile so wants to take the opportunity to focus in on what he’s saying, but to be expressing ‘nothing’ clearly. Doesn’t want it to carry meaning that is actually stimulating thought, but to convey ’emptiness’, but doesn’t want to convey any kind of ideas (which would include ’emptiness’)
when I said the word ‘awareness’ i felt a little self-consciousness — relates his exposure to Buddhist and new age spiritual teachers or articles advocating mindfulness — maybe he wants to avoid talking about that sort of thing and keep repeating it and making more of it. there’s plenty of that information out there “You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a guy who’s advocating mindfulness and awareness’
RE: ‘immediately’ let these things go, noticing calmer, less assertiveness inflection vs. motivational, moving forward, working hard, high energy talking. (notices decayed mushroom) Deliberately changing his inflection resulted in feeling more calm and happy. ‘pushing himself’ felt fine too, and one mood is not necessarily better than another mood. Being involved in his mental and emotional state and the way that he’s talking– that makes him feel engaged with what he’s doing. Then acknowledges audience involvement in what he’s doing right now. pushing self to be more revealing of everything that he’s thinking and be highly involved with talking. RE: ‘walking’ part, it’s pretty automatic and facilitates his focus on talking. The pleasant weather outside makes an ideal circumstance to dig in deeply and investigate how his words are formed, how he’s forming sentences, and observing his mind as he’s talking and notice how much he’s premeditating what he’s saying.
Is actual happiness a physical sensation? He decides Not – according to his furrowed brow but then thinks there must be some form of happiness on a higher level that comes from the satisfaction of accomplishing something. Is the distinction between his happiness and consternation or anger even necessary? Wants to try to stop relating those emotions and have a different kind of expression of the way that he’s actually feeling.
– Notices large turtle – shows us on video. “a little treat, short little break away from the work of paying attention to words, to keep us motivated and going.”
He sees his physical, mental, and emotional states as all being related to each other, if not being the same, and wants to describe the sensations he’s feeling in his body. In the middle of his torso, on the right side, in his back, is a feeling of the muscles contracting, only enough to alert him to their presence, and so he adjusted his posture a little more upright … doesn’t know why exactly he did that, except remembering being told to keep posture straight… seems ‘generally like a good thing to do’. He is noticing his feet and the subtle difference of the feeling of the ground through the sole of his shoe, such as gravel. He tries to relax his forehead every time he notices his furrowed brow. – Notices the feeling on his back of his back pack as just a slight discomfort (carrying water this time). Takes ‘neutrality’ as an opportunity to observe things without filtering his thoughts through positive or negative emotions.
– Notices swarms of red bugs (also appeared in the last video) on different posts.
He feels a twinge of sadness at feeling ‘neutrality’, still desiring to feel happier than he feels and thinks of past happiness and the prospect of perhaps never feeling that happy again.
– Notices huge squashed bug. tomato horn worm or luna moth caterpillar but not sure.
Describing his own neutrality as a lack of suffering or pain but also the absence of happiness. Maybe he wasn’t exactly feeling happiness before? He describes happiness as a physiological, emotional joy that makes one smile genuinely and enters one from outside rather than working to generate it oneself, which might negate it in some way. He sees his future = less intense, small doses of that happiness. Circumstances of that past happiness also involved a tremendous amount of pain and suffering, and not sure he can have one without the other, and it seems like if he ever feels ecstasy, that at some point he’s going to have to feel intense pain and suffering. If he tried to regulate into neutrality, less intense on both ends, then does it really matter? He feels sad about this, not neutral. The area around his heart, the bottom of his breast plate, draws his attention towards it = feeling sadness or longing. It’s calling for resolution of some sort but he doesn’t know what to do to achieve more equilibrium. He has faith in process of continuing to live and that the area around his heart will feel better, a fullness, effortless joy coming in from outside. He tries to remember when he’s feeling sad or negative that perhaps he’s storing up emotional capital that he can cash in on, in the future, for positive feelings.
RE: this video, feels novel as opposed to previous videos. He sees a value to what he’s been saying, as it’s a sincere and candid expression of his experience, resulting in some form of connection. He feels vulnerable right now, in that he’s being as honest as he can in a way that’s not referencing outside causation, but simply describing what he feels right now. His neutral emotional state and steady energy level is conducive to expressing his emotions clearly. (long pause) Thinking about what to start saying next. Feeling an attachment towards his way of expression, in retrospect, an emotional tone, judged it in a good way.
– Notices elderberry-like plant with spiky stem, could it be ‘Devils walking stick plant’ which is related to ginseng? It has compound pinnate leaves.
He wonders if the preliminary feeling of getting choked up (crying), affected his voice in any noticeable way? Maybe had some effect. This video’s emotions came out as a result of his controlled focus on talking, and he did not become attached to that emotional state, still feels fine about how the video is going right now. Wants not to direct his way of talking, but let it just happen in a way of ‘discovery’. Continues to walk on the paved trail instead of ‘enchanting’ woods trail so the realm of discovery is more focused on what he’s actually saying rather than letting it spill out into the outside world. Drinks some water. Filters his tap water with a process of reverse osmosis. Seaweed added for minerals and lemon makes it refreshing, and backpack no longer on his back also feels refreshing = ‘gross level’ topics, but still wants to be aware of more subtle experiences happening underneath those ‘gross level’ topics.
– Notices frog in area where he noticed frogs before. Good video shot of it. – Notices jewel weed and squeezes pods, spring loaded with seeds. “Bam!” “…feels like a wriggling salamander. Popped a duzie!” “It exploded with the force of two tons of dynamite!” ..He spoke of his nihilistic brushing past frugmentice(sic?) grass, feeling mild apathy towards the grass.. maybe his feeling of longing caused him to yearn for the physical contact with the frugmentice grass, the same with the jewel weed pod bursting… plant companionship, not quite the same as human companionship “Let me tell ‘ya!”
Is there a danger of blaming his emotions on his circumstances rather than exercising his agency in directing of his emotions towards a more productive mode of being and more positive thoughts? The more broad goal is to not feel suffering in his self. …or maybe to look at that suffering directly and pick it apart to see if he finds directives about what to do. Not to bury them in some sensation like eating ice cream.
– Notices mild smile in person he passed. This gave him a small talk expression “Oh it’s such a nice day out today” though he did not say it aloud to her. “Hello” or “Hi” or “Beautiful day out today” seemed possible but he’s trying to stay faithful to you, the viewer. But he didn’t honestly really feel like exchanging pleasantries. Has thoughts of looking forward to turning around and finishing this video, maybe from having congested sinuses from allergies. Reading, internet, or eating food would distract him from those allergic reactions, plus he could blow his nose in private.
Walking and Talking puts distance between him and distractions like eating, internet, etc. but forces himself to deal with his experiences in a way that is socially acceptable to the viewer, but he can’t use the viewer as a kind of experience to avoid unpleasant feelings or stimulus. He observes and expresses his thoughts as opposed to ‘complaining’ to someone who might respond with sympathetic feedback. He only has his own mind there, not ours, and must use his mind to direct his thoughts in a constructive manner. If he were only thinking to his self instead of talking to the video camera, it might be less productive towards having a good experience.
He sees this video in a constructive light with a possible social utility, though not immediately recognizable as such, though he does value social utility. His own experience isn’t totally separate from the thought of ‘helping people’, because that heightens his own experience. But he is uncomfortable with even thinking about that, as that is a distraction from the actual content and process. He hopes this ideas passes soon. Feeling positive and slightly happy, though body still feels a little heavy, though it doesn’t interfere with his focus on talking.
Memory of previous videos where his train of thought was continuous and flowing and being expressed in rising levels as opposed to the present being expressed differently as a flatter straighter line, [but also the same?]. Level jumping occurring within phrases of sentences, a self-reflexive process that might be contrived but only half-consciously. … just letting it happen. A question of agency is always present.
– Tastes some sour grapes. “What should I say now?” is always the question, but repetition of that phrase is not honest but an automatic expression. Judging himself as self-centered/vain in these expressions but imagines an alternative creative process that involves an external factor or limitation on his own personal emotions that gives a broader and more objective view and draws less attention to the creator himself and so has more social value/integrity.
– Notices a mother yelling in anger at her child, who is crying. Wondering if he should’ve intervened, though fears his ability to skillfully deal with that anger or redirect the anger without getting emotionally involved himself, to the point where he can’t help because of his feelings of pain. He wants her to express her compassion in communicating her desire for her child to be safe, rather than punishing him with her anger. Also he doesn’t know the child’s pattern of behavior and maybe the mother knows best and the child’s behavior warrants such anger. But that anger didn’t seem to be helping the situation as the kid can’t reason out the situation when he’s so upset. He sees it as socially abhorrent for him to intervene, but would like to talk to his friend, Sam, some more about it, as he’s more skilled and experienced at dealing with that sort of thing. Though he may never do interventions in those situations while focusing on his video, as there’s an ethical dilemma with filming such an intervention and making it public due to ‘invasion of privacy’.
– Going back to discomfort with expressing himself vs. objectivity, and so placing certain parameters on creative or visual work. “Confining structures” to reign in human emotions are an expression in its self, and he sees a value in that. The other side is to focus in on emotions without limitations and treat it as an extended process, enabling ‘discovery’ in that four hours of time in the video. Narrowing his talking down to a self-reflexive process is freeing, and is a parameter in its self – using self as a generative engine.
(long pause) …alters the way that he perceives himself at least during those four hours… feels de-personalized. Slight sadness triggered by autumn coming on – describes natural surroundings as past their apex, leaves starting to fall. He has thoughts about death, like the terrifying experience of extreme cold. Becomes mad at self for saying something insightful about life and death. Prefers to be distracted by little turtles on log in stream, until they jump into the water.
He’s trying to avoid ‘content’ (meaning subject matter, not contentment) in his expressed thoughts? …though he then sees his expressions as filler or cheap ploys that let him avoid being fully accountable for what he says, so he can be uninvolved and free to behave in unproductive ways himself, letting the process take care of itself.
– Notices that different sized turtles hang out with others the same size. Judges his expression, “Itty bitty turtles”, as descriptive of a clinging affection, as it is a cute or infantile description. Does that introduce a preference that isn’t really necessary or helpful? Notices bigger adult turtles, and a guilt of not expressing affection equally. Still, he doesn’t want to have a pet turtle, name it, and cry a lot when it dies. Thinks about ending the video to avoid a ‘lackluster’ ending, but still has trust in the process of going to 4 hours, even if his energy level wanes towards the end. Feeling hips, feet, and back, slight pressure in his head, equilibrium drifting towards being more quiet, so will exert more effort and will-power to speak until the end of the video. The process of talking without knowing what to say is something he has to accept. He remembers expressing thoughts which take multiple sentences and could be complex thoughts, even though he thinks he doesn’t know what he’s going to say ahead of time. Wants to join two or three complex thoughts together:
1. Disequilibrium, tiredness, so will exert more effort and will power to speak until the end of the video so he can feel satisfaction at reaching his goal.
2. He remembers expressing thoughts which take multiple sentences and could be complex thoughts, even though he thinks he doesn’t know what he’s going to say ahead of time.
3. He might have been observing himself a little more closely while relaying that thought, and could be the general structure of that train of thought was all in his head as a rough draft when he began to express it in words. Rapidly choosing options and forks in the road and specific verbiage as he’s laying out that thought.
– Notices Japanese knotweed with blue seeds, which he’s never seen before, and then notices blue on the nearby wall. Wondering if someone sprayed herbicide on it, since it’s considered an invasive plant. He will look at it again in the future to see if it’s withered and dead. – Notices turtle with moss on its back, a carp, and a road cone in the water.
Looking for the chance to zone out and let his thoughts run wild, as he feels exhausted by constantly monitoring his thoughts. Maybe he will observe his mental state after the video is over. . Saying that aloud may act as a kind of reminder for when he turns off the video. The viewer may feel a similar type of fatigue with paying attention to his stream of thoughts. Will he continue to think verbally, or more just perceiving, or engage in unproductive rumination? RE: rumination, turning a thought over and over in your head, feeling angry or sad, etc.
Desiring other people not to rely on him for answers but to exercise their own agency and problem solving abilities and so making a mutually engaging experience. So his invitation to ‘thought exercises’ is making him feel a little more engaged with his interaction with the audience. Noticing his furrowed brow as related to bright sun, and does that physical action make him more likely to feel ‘consternation’? He feels humored that ‘furrowed brow’ = ‘consternation’ in his mind. He remembers walking past a person sitting in front of a coffee shop in a sweatshirt that says ‘karma’. He’s not sure if that woman was wearing a sweatshirt that says ‘karma’. (Actually I don’t think he caught her in the video, as I went back & looked.) Said he’s been trying to point the camera upwards and not at the ground, though he hasn’t been focused on the video image in this episode, aside from turtles, frogs, certain plants, or that huge flattened caterpillar, as he’s been very focused on what he’s been saying. He’s thinking you may have been bored with the video aspect, but wanting to pay attention to the audio aspect. Imagines disinterest in the viewer after he suggested other activity while just listening to audio. He felt a pull towards rest and silence and then he put aside negative thoughts about viewer’s disinterest. Feeling anticipation or anxiety being mirrored by audience RE: what will he say next? …and himself mirroring that back, with a blossoming interest in that thought, giving him a nice feeling if only for a few seconds, letting his focus on talking slack a little bit. Wondering if these feelings were fabricated after the fact, with a desire to have something to talk about? Then he has thoughts about ‘Walking and Talking‘ process not having any esthetic qualities associated with art or music or poetry, then it immediately became a positive judgment… as not existing in the world in any other form, at least that he’s aware of.
– Notices a road cone on its side with electric power lines going into the bottom (“Like an electric road cone…that’s just kind of like joking”… video ends)


Posted: November 28, 2014 in family, video, YouTube
Tags: ,

oh me oh my
REPETITION is a video composed of four short videos made up of repetitive images, movements, and sounds; allowing time for reflection in a deeper, less hurried manner upon the subject matter; and also for rhythm to occur, with variations (or not). Kudos to Paul Baker for two cello soundtracks, and to my cousin Cindy and my dad for serving as my beloved video subjects.

Click arrow to view this video on YouTube.



Use your hard earned money to buy staples and take time for home economics 101: bake, garden, cook, preserve food by canning and freezing. Organize potlucks or other exchanges with friends, and maybe the occasional hunting or fishing trip. Budget for genuine needs and avoid impulse spending. ‘Settle’ for a ‘used’ house in an affordable neighborhood with local shops and destinations you can walk or bike to, and without a long commute to your work place.
Avoid cheap sugary and salty junk food. Don’t allow low prices to blind you to empty calories, saturated fats, preservatives, and the addictive nature of so-called ‘convenience’ food.
Big banks and fly-by-night payroll store fronts offer fast credit. Corporations advertise “necessities of life” like big screen TV, the latest communication devices or technical innovations, brand name trends in shoes and clothes, etc. Some newlyweds immediately focus on building a new house in the suburbs, and if they aren’t already far in debt for school loans, then they’ll soon be stressed to the limit to meet the monthly mortgage.
Don’t mix up commercially advertised lifestyle choices with what should be a natural transition into the wonderment of independence: being responsible for one’s own food, shelter, and companionship, and discovery of sources of exchange within newly formed communities. Home economics is life economics. Commercials and advertisements and the ultimate goals of banks are business economics. Choose life or be led by a nose-ring by big corporations and banks. In addition, healthy diet and life style choices mean fewer medical bills and more awareness of self, friends, and family. Does any of this make sense?

Staten Island Flux Walk



















































CMB 12/13/2015


Do Not Buy Fruit
rubber stamps
or a gun

Do Not Buy Olives
or a photograph

Do Not Buy Fish
or a hat

Do Not Buy Bread
or a cat

Do Not Buy Envelopes
or a suitcase

Do Not Buy Art
or a bus ticket

Buy a House instead.

C. Mehrl Bennett Jan. 3, 2013 (Revised Dec. 13, 2015)

Published by Luna Bisonte Prods 2013

Published by Luna Bisonte Prods 2013

Luna Bisonte Prods is proud to offer (alas, posthumously) a vast testament of humorous ramblings and scramblings by none other than one of the 14 Secret Masters of the World!, Blaster Al Ackerman, as well as works he wrote under eighteen different pseudonyms. Click on the title to preview a small selection from the beginning and end of the book.

THE COMPLETE WORKS from LOST&FOUND TIMES 1979-2005 Introduction by Jack A. Withers Smote – Compilation and Afterword by C. Mehrl Bennett

By Blaster Al Ackerman

“This anthology includes the complete works of Blaster Al from Lost & Found Times 6/7 through 54, 1979-2005.  It includes every appearance of his inimitable column, Ack’s Wacks, and all of the Ack’s Hacks published in the magazine, in which he created poems and other works using as source material poems by John M. Bennett and many others. His processes for doing these works were lunatic, wonderful, and constantly varying and unpredictable. Many of these accounts are included as they are often as interesting and hair-brained as the results.  The anthology also contains many drawings, paintings, poems, texts, and wide swaths of other material from an acknowledged master artist, mail artist, writer, and prankster; one of the great minds of our times,” …description by LBP editor, John M. Bennett.

My husband (JMB) and I had been part of Blaster’s mailart network since the late 70’s, but never met Blaster Al in person until he stopped by sometime in the 90’s while touring with Catherine Pancake. Below is a photo with The Blaster inside a Catherine sandwich.

C. Mehrl Bennett, Blaster Al Ackerman, and Catherine Pancake

C. Mehrl Bennett, Blaster Al Ackerman, and Catherine Pancake

Around and after 2000, we’d travel to Baltimore MD and visit Al when he worked at Normal’s Books & Records. Later in the evening, John and Al would perform with others at a “Shattered Wig Night”, a monthly venue organized by Rupert Wondolowski. After Al moved to Austin TX to live with his daughter Stephanie and her family (his health was becoming more frail), we visited him for a few days in 2011. Al returned the favor a year ago in May 2012, spending a week with us in Columbus. When not socializing or collaborating via art/words, we watched THE THREE STOOGES on video – as this was Al’s favorite pastime. (Note that “Ngg-Ngg-Ngg” and “Woo-Woo-Woo!” gags were used by Eel Leonard, one of Al’s pseudonyms, in a two of his poems.) We took him to a theatre to see The Three Stooges: The Movie (2012), which he enjoyed but he regretted all the walking he had to do. We never saw Al in person again after leaving him at the Columbus airport, though he’d hoped to visit us again to see  “The70Project” mailart exhibit and a performance event at a gallery when John turned seventy in October. He was moved into hospice care in an Austin nursing home in the autumn of 2012 with terminal brain cancer. Stephanie (“Stevie”) obtained his verbal permission for LBP to republish his L&FT contributions in this anthology. Today, the official wikipedia spiel begins, “Blaster Al Ackerman was the most commonly used name by an American mail artist and writer born as William Hogg Greathouse. Ackerman had been active in various subcultures since the early 1970s. He died on March 17, 2013, in Austin,Texas.”

Blaster, you were the king. We’ll miss you.

The following three paragraphs are from an online post by John Berndt of Baltimore, which precedes the schedule for the latter two weekends of the June 2013 BLASTERTHON memorial events in Baltimore, for which John Berndt and Rupert Wondowloski were hosts extraordinaire:
“Blaster” Al Ackerman (C.A.S.F.C.) was one of the greatest absurdist and black humor writers of the 20th century (not to mention being a great, inscrutable visual artist) and one of our very own here in Baltimore. His medium, MAIL ART was one of the least respectable art forms–which entirely suited him. After living in Baltimore (and working at Normals books and Records in Waverly with us) for about 15 years, he passed away from a brain tumor while convalescing with his family in Texas on March 17th, 2013.

To say that Blaster had a huge impact on the lives of creative people throughout the world, and especially in Baltimore’s avant-garde demi-mode doesn’t begin to cover it. He was a living, breathing fountain of ineffable inspiration. Despite his announced pessimistic philosophy that “we are all ghoulish fools,” his extraordinary imagination, literary ability, ability to love, and sense of humor were utterly transcendent of his situation and perhaps of any artform he engaged in.

Hardly a follower of anything (except perhaps Ray Palmers sci-fi pulps), Blaster was an utterly unique person, he was a huge influence on extreme characters as diverse as Genisis P. Orridge, Andre Stitt, Istvan Kantor, John M. Bennett, Rupert Wondowloski, and myself (John Berndt)–not to mention the founding of the NEOIST movement and mail art in general. Some of his writings have been compared to language centered writing, only, in his words, “to a bad end.” — John Berndt

GO TO: AND to view as slideshow, go to tool bar to click a little box with arrow (left of little speech balloon) — These are my photos from our trip to Baltimore in June 2013 for the first weekend of THE BLASTERTHON; More specifically from June 21st through the day we drove back to Ohio, Sunday, June 23rd, at a rest stop. Regretfully, during the first half of the 14 KT Cabaret Blasterthon on Saturday, I could’t find my camera (it was in my pocket the entire time I frantically searched my purse!). But during that time Rupert Wondolowski (MC), Francis Poole, Megan McShea, John Eaton, and Courtney McCullough performed readings (Courtney sang a song about THE KING). Laure Drogoul did a participatory performance which I did not photograph, as we were blindfolded the majority of the time. It was an auditory and olfactory piece, with candles for lighting and it resulted in a wonderful feedback soundtrack slowly developing. I did short readings on Friday & Saturday from a little book I’d made (and passed out to audience) with Al’s BAWA hacks of my fluxus scores.

CLICK on THIS LINK to view films online at VIMEO

wedding photo 1980Mail Art Romance is a documentary about the avant garde poets and artists John M. Bennett and C. Mehrl (“Lady C”) Bennett’s courtship through mail-art in the late 1970’s and early 1980s. Shot on 16mm film by John McClintock, the film is both a document of the DADA / Fluxus related underground mail-art movement of the period and a unique testament to the power of “true love”.

The film features interviews with both artists as well as their Columbus, OH post-man, reenactments of collaborative poems by the couple, examples of their mail-art and footage from their July 4th, 1980 wedding in rural Mount Vernon, Ohio.

TIME’S T-BONE is a 1982 16mm film by John McClintock in collaboration with the poetry of John M. Bennett. The film is a excellent realization of the Columbus, OH based avant garde poet’s vision, filmed on a blistering hot day in a junkyard off highway 71 with surreal imagery inspired by Bennett’s poetry.

Created with the support of the Ohio Arts Council, the film also features John M. Bennett’s fiance and collaborator C. Mehrl wearing a plastic mask in the back seat of a junked car.

-John Also Bennett, December 2012

Mailart Exhibit October 2012

About The 70 Project : John M. Bennett, poet and head of Luna Bisonte Prods, turned 70 in October 2012. John likes skulls and October is the month for All Saints’ Day/Day of the Dead/Halloween. John performed his poetry with other sound artists & we displayed this mailart on his birthday in a gallery. 70 PROJECT mailart is all documented at . THANKS to all the artists listed in labels at the blog for contributing mailart to/for John’s 70th birthday bash. About 200 people from 22 countries contributed mailart!

I did a fluxus performance during The70Project intermission at It Looks Like Its Open gallery on JMB’s birthday.
HERE IS A VIMEO LINK to a video of my performance (camera held by Don Rice, a friend and local writer).
Aside from the disclaimer at the beginning of my performance, I also need to add a correction to address the mistake I made in the performance.
(Yes! I lost my marbles!) When speaking about the yellow marbles I refer to the U.S. Senate, but should’ve said U.S. Congress, because the House of Representatives (with it’s current Speaker John Boehner – unfortunately from Ohio, though note Ohio DID go blue this year for Obama and Sherrod Brown!) has been a BIG problem, though after the 2012 election the Democratics still do not have the 25 extra votes they need to overcome a filibuster in the Senate — so gridlock will continue to occur in the Senate as well.

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Three collaborative cinquains by John M Bennett, Jean Kusina, Tammy Kinsey, Al Ackerman, and Ben Bennett

Eat what
Did I step in
On my way stumbling home
Less than eight but no worse than those
Sweet gums

Creepy one go
Towards rolling cherry
Sticky on the leaky tombeau
In time

Cheese helps
Underneath those
Quick mother seave me over
And broil this dark scenario
With teeth


Shoot out
The window when
Overhead the bird zooms
In and out of many craters
Too much

By John M Bennett, Jean Kusina, Tammy Kinsey, C Mehrl Bennett, and Al Ackerman

Help Help
Belt comma belt
Tight on the cottage cheese
Rotting watermelon head is

By Tammy Kinsey, C Mehrl Bennett, Al Ackerman, Ben Bennett, and John M Bennett

You’re so funny
Dragging on tar paper
Counting the same nail fourteen times
Dead weight

By C Mehrl Bennett, Al Ackerman, Ben Bennett, John M Bennett, and Jean Kusina

A crayon box
The country location
Bucolic wax and molded herd
Is milk

By Tammy Kinsey, C Mehrl Bennett, Al Ackerman, Ben Bennett, and John M Bennett

Lung foam
Further terror
Light a candle for your
Pear I love more than waste be

By Jean Kusina, Tammy Kinsey, C Mehrl Bennett, Al Ackerman, and Ben Bennett

Iowa Nun Is Dentist In Uganda

By Jerald Heth (Published in the mid-1970’s in the Dubuque Telegraph Herald)

The woman sat in the dentist’s chair, her eyes wide with fear, her mouth tightly closed. She was in Dr. Martha Mehrl’s dental clinic in a village on the Mountain of the Moons in Western Uganda and the pain in her mouth was severe. She lived near the village with the other wives of her husband and she didn’t know anything about dentistry. In a few minutes, she fled. Ten days later, the native was back in the chair, relaxed and smiling. She opened her mouth and Mehrl extracted a decaying molar.

“What scared the woman the first time was that she thought
Mehrl, a graduate of Brie pain was from totem, a forbidden religious food that she might have eaten unknowingly,” said Mehrl. “She was healed by a witch doctor between the two visits. I don’t know what little psychological drama he used to get rid of the psychological disease, but he cured something I couldn’t.” The witch doctor might have read the cure in the way chicken blood was sprinkled on the ground, she said. Mehrl, a Roman Catholic nun as well as a dentist, said the incident occurred 10 years ago shortly after she arrived in Uganda. She’s been treating patients-with the help of witch doctors-ever since.

Mehrl, 47, was at her parents’ home in Dubuque recently, resting from a flare-up of lupus, an incurable and relatively little known disease that’s fatal unless controlled by cortisone.
She talked, sometimes with amusing irreverence and always with modesty, about how she got to Uganda and how she would be traveling around in the region in a mobile dental van when she returns in a few weeks.

Mehrl, a graduate of Briar Cliff College in Sioux City, was working as a chemist at a Dubuque packing plant and enjoying her swims across the Mississippi River when she decided to become a nun. “I just decided to try it,” she said. After taking her vows, she decided to become a dentist, becoming the first woman to enroll in Georgetown University’s Dental College in Washington, D.C. “It was no big deal,” she said of accomplishing a first. “It just happened.” And it just happened that she was the top student of her graduating class in 1958. “In another class, I may not have been number one,” she said.

Her first assignment was Rawalpindi, West Pakistan, where she set up the first dental clinic and where she learned she had lupus in less than a year. “It was hot there, and heat affects lupus,” she said. Lupus attacks muscles and joints in any part of the body, she explained. She was near death when she was flown back to Philadelphia, Pa., home of her order, the Medical Mission Sisters. The disease finally was brought under control by cortisone. Too much cortisone can be fatal, too, she said, adding, “but you don’t waste sleep over it; you do what you can.” While she was recuperating in Philadelphia, she did dental work for other sisters and for two years served as administrator of a home for unwed mothers.

After five years, she decided to return to dentistry full time. She took a crash course in Swahili after deciding to go to Uganda. “It’s near the equator and it’s 65 to 70 degrees year-round,” she said. “The cool weather is easier to survive in with lupus.”In the early days,” she said, “I’d go on safaris, carrying a portable (dental) chair and a bunch of forceps. I’d stay out a couple of days, pull a bunch of teeth and then go back. It wasn’t very satisfying.”

In 1972, the Ugandan government ordered Asians and some Europeans out of the country. The American Embassy was closed and departing officials warned Mehrl and other missionaries of the dangers if they stayed. “We were not there for our comfort or for politics,” she said. “We were there to serve the people. Women are safe from local trouble,” she said. “Local people look out for us professional people. They know who we are; our white faces stick out pretty good.” Mehrl said her missionary work does not interfere with the tribal religions. “We didn’t go there to sing songs and preach,” she said. “We went there to give them good medical care.” She walked through army roadblocks on her way to work and soon Ugandan police and army officials became her patients. One of the generals gave her eggs that were hard to come by, she said.

The daily routine became tougher. Mehrl said she was the only dentist in the western regions to serve hundreds of thousands of people and treated at least 30 patients a day.
“I worked five days a week and I did the books for the (sisters’) house,” she said. “I did some shopping and looked after the car and still got my prayers in.”

When Mehrl returned to the United States two years ago on a regular leave to rest she brought with her an idea that pleased Ugandan health officials. She would raise the money to buy and convert a van into a completely equipped mobile office. She would travel the western regions treating difficult dental cases and helping dental auxiliaries who, in Uganda, perform simple extractions and clean teeth.

She got what she wanted, soliciting money and help to finance the $48,000 project. Part of the project included the work her brother, Robert Mehrl of Dubuque, provided in converting a Mercedes Benz van into a dental office that now is on its way to Uganda.
As soon as she gets approval from her doctor in Philadelphia, Mehrl said she is heading back to Uganda.

Asked if reports of war and unrest in Uganda would make it difficult to get back there, she replied: “They are anxious to have medical personnel. I’ll probably have more trouble with the American government than the Ugandan government in getting back there.

“It’s really pretty routine there,” she concluded. “I get a vacation, eight hours of sleep and go swimming or fishing on holidays.”

Here is a LINK to a PDF file of photos mailed from Pakistan and Africa by Sr. Martha Simon in the 1970’s. (CLICK ON “LINK” in previous sentence.)