Tuesday, August 31, 2010

August 28, 2010, Queen Anne Uptown Art Stroll Redpen Poetry Showcase

Aaron Dietz, Caroline Albert, Ronnie Porter, William James, Nancy Penrose, and Barbara honored the greats with our minds. It seems where ever I go (the ghosts of) Charles, Harvey, or Dylan are always there. I met Harvey Goldner in the Seattle open mic scene. The first time was at the homeland open mic emceed by Tom Ring at onthe house.

(Here's a Tolkienesque sidenote:
In 2004-08, onthe house was a community living room operated by a young Nazarene couple who also ran a store front church and a photography studio out of that spot. The church is now located on 21st and Union. The pastor Benji, graduated from the same college as my mother. And one of their friend's father was in or near my mom's class. At the present moment, an ice cream shop called the Blue Bird has set up shop in that space).

After Harvey passed away from mouth cancer, he was hailed as the Bard of Belltown in the PI. He made his living driving a cab and earned just enough for beer, rolling tobacco, food, and rent. When he wasn’t out cutting mics, I used to see him at the Central branch of the library out front on the fifth avenue side twisting up a cigarette. He never put on airs and he like Jack McCarthy actually listened to the blatherings of other writers. It would have been nice if all the people who participated (whiter they were invited or not) stayed to hear all us poets read.



It always seems to happen at open audience affairs. When I had an open mic and public access show in McMinnville, Oregon, I was always having to silence out the four letter words from people’s poems and stories. If we have anything to learn from Charles Bukowski or Harvey Goldner is that life ain’t PG (or at least their living of this life wasn't). So, why should we expect our poems to be?



We honored Charles Bukowski today. We honored Harvey Goldner today. We honored Dylan Thomas today. We honored Carl Sandburg today. We honored Robert Frost today. We honored Isaac Asimov today. We honored Henry David Thoreau today. We honored Shakespeare today. We honored Jesus today. We honored Kabir. A dead poet is more alive in the living than they were when they lived.

I’m pleased that Ronnie invoked the spirit of Charles when he offended the ear of a listener. If he hadn’t, I would have with a poem glorifying the lifestyles of these scoundrels. The line that would have jarred their ear off would have read like this.

Waking to write another article, story, or poem that will never sell on:

Woe is me
This is my life
I am living
It sucks
Let me ram this poem cockwise into you
so that you may see how crappy it is
after I pull it, bloodied, out of your dry stinking rectum.

I have no idea what the word “cockwise” means. I lifted it from the Dylan Thomas poem, Foster the Light. The word doesn’t exist in any dictionary that I’ve ever laid my hands on. So, I can only assume that he made the word up or that it was some kind of Welsh / English vernacular.

Dylan Thomas, FOSTER THE LIGHT, Stanza 4:


Roll unmanly over this turning tuft,
O ring of seas, nor sorrow as I shift
From all my mortal lovers with a starboard smile;
Nor when my love lies in the cross-boned drift
Naked among the bow-and-arrow birds
Shall you turn cockwise on a tufted axle.

I wonder if it has something to do with how cocks turn? I wonder if cockwise is a boat term or part? Dylan, from context, is mixing feathered fowl and boats together. Anyway, moving on.

Each of us has a song inside that we've spent our entire lives trying to articulate just what it is. Writers do this in words. Athletes in actions. Tradesmen in trades. Parents through children. Artists through expression. Musicians through songs. Scholars through study. Workers through work. Drunks through drinking. Poets through poeming.

I wonder if insanity is the denial or the repression of this song?


At this poetry read it was Ronnie Porter whose tongue let slip the offending words. I didn’t even notice. His words were balanced like a gourmet dinner salad. But one of the visual artist at counter balance park complained about the “F” word or was it the “Vagina,” that instigated the offense?




Document O from Super by Aaron Dietz
Ronnie, Friend, & Nichole at the Mecca After Party















Aaron & Ronnie

1 comment:

  1. It was a fun event! Had fun with you all afterward, too.

    ReplyDelete