Tom NattellTom Nattell, died as he lived, peacefully, in his home on January 31, 2005 at the age of 52. Tom is survived by his friend and companion, Mary Anne Winslow; his children, Noah Nattell and Leah Palmer; his granddaughter, Lillian Palmer; his mother, Susan Nattell and his brothers, Charles and Andy Nattell.

Tom graduated from Albany High School. He attended the University at Albany where he received bachelor’s and master’s degrees and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Tom was an active participant in many local groups including the Hudson Valley Writers’ Guild, Save the Pine Bush and the Honest Weight Food Coop. He was a founding member of the Albany Peace and Energy Council for which he organized and hosted the 24 hour Readings Against the End of the World every year for ten years. In 1988, Tom started Albany’s first regular poets’ open mic which was held on the last Monday of every month at the QE2. Tom worked closely with the Bread & Puppet performance group and performed regularly as one of the Three Guys from Albany. He was also responsible for Poets in the Park and a column entitled “The Simple Life” that appeared regularly in Metroland.

Tom’s passions included biking to work, archaeology, his garden, beat poetry, his compost, fighting for human rights, uplifting the downtrodden, exposing injustices, expanding his horizons, Native American art, speaking his mind, reducing, reusing, recycling, restoring, hosting poetry readings, announcing events, earthworms, chili peppers, tomatoes, fighting the man, advocating peace, growing flowers and starting revolutions.

Contributions in Tom’s name are welcomed to: Native American Rights Fund, 1506 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80302 www.narf.org

Tom loved Albany. We will miss him. Peace.

-Published in the Albany Times Union on 2/3/2005.

POEMS

 

TIANANMEN SQUARE

A jumble
of twisted bikes
and broken bodies,
blood gathers
and spreads
along the stones,
automatic fire
continues
continues
continues
tanks tread
on ancient stones,
students flee,
workers flee,
people running,
shots
shots
young bodies
crumble
into death
and disappear
as blood stains
spread across
the square
where Mao’s
giant face
looks down
upon the scene
as a thousand
red flowers
bloom.

 

CONFLUENCE

Calapooia, Willamette
rivers merge,
fast-flowing quiet water
rippling slightly with silt,
smoothing bank’s edge.
Geese squawk
and rush against current
like little steamboats,
seeking floating food bits,
gliding through a crash
of fallen trees,
pale trunks raise smooth limbs
without obstructing water’s flow.
Gray sky ferments light rain,
running down bare trees,
feeding rivers,
flowing north to great Columbia
where hundreds of rivers
join together,
seeking oneness with their sea.