Monday, January 12, 2004

reading at the reading that wasn't mine 

saturday was another of the Segue readings at the Bowery Poetry Club in New York. scheduled to read were Jennifer Coleman and Frank Sherlock at 4pm.

i rode up with Matt, Nicole and Alex, and arrived a little early, just in time to see a poet dressed in a bird suit--long beak--presenting a scroll of drawings of the history of racism, or something...something. and that was fun.

Laura Elrick soon announced that Frank Sherlock had broken down somewhere in New Jersey and wouldn't be making it. and this was reported to be the coldest day in the Northeast in seven years! BRRRR! Frank and Heather sitting in a truck on the side of the turnpike with 4 degree winds rubbing the doors and windows! it made me think about Nicole saying that Matt brought a sleeping bag in case we broke down.

Jennifer went on to read her super-real journey for us, beautiful as always, this time including a peculiar Tella Tubbie poem. she is allowing me to post a fantastic piece she wrote dedicated to poet Ethan Fugate. it's a great poem, see for yourself:

Ode to the south wind
(for Ethan Fugate)

I'll love you, dear,
industrial-sized hog
where the hog-wild wind
floats unseen among us, visiting
shit droplets on inconstant wing

Pork, I'll love you
the white meat, nightmare naked
by the brimming river
shadows of ten thousand sow
with hues and harmonies of blue babies,
dear, and yet dearer for its bacon grace.

I'll love you, dew of a thousand hog houses,
in whose unseen presence underground water
stews like a ghost from drinking wells drawn.

I plunge my hands in your
open air lagoons
the stench
and wonder.

(thank you Jennifer, for that!) after Jennifer read, Laura asked if someone else would read. someone yelled my name, and a man i don't know yelled for me to read Frank's poems. but i didn't have any of Frank's poems, i said. then Greg Fuchs came up behind me with copies of my FRANK poems. that's when i thought that the man up front who i'm sure i've never met had actually meant for me to read my FRANK poems. so i did.

it's WONDERFUL reading at a reading that isn't your own because you don't know you'll be reading. it's the first time in my life i didn't have time to get worked up and nervous and need a ... small drink ...

so i tried to exit, but the man i'm sure i've never met thrust papers in my hand, and they were Frank Sherlock's poems! that's when i realized that the man i'm sure i've never met had always wanted me to read Frank Sherlock's poems, which i thought was the case, but then Greg handed me... you get it...

one of the two poems was "Elementals With A Suggestion." and true to form as the juice, the magic, produced when read, at the line with the color YELLOW, a glass smashed to the ground somewhere in the room! it's this force, YELLOW. Frank put something in the line here he's not admitting to, or unaware of, and the YELLOW causes disruption. read the poem out loud whoever you are reading this, and report back about what breaks in the room.

but to tell the truth, i explained to the audience how something always happens at the YELLOW point in the poem, when i had finished reading it, thinking that nothing had happened--my deaf ear (Neil Young you BASTARD not drowned at birth!) kept me from knowing. but everyone later thought i had heard the glass smash at YELLOW and that that was why i had said what i said about the power of Frank's YELLOW, but i only said it thinking nothing had happened. when in fact...

you get it...

of the rest of the hours following, Allison Cobb gave me a copy of her new book BORN TWO. i'm looking forward to reading the whole thing. it includes her marvelous J POEMS.


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