It's Poetry Month! Did you know that?
Today I attended an Open Mic night full of poetry and good people.
I ordered me a salad with grilled chicken and a water, but then added a Sprite. I shouldn't have. Lord knows I need to cut down on the sugars (that's a whole other topic). I was quite pleased with the food. The salad looked beautiful and the chicken was juicy and added to the overall experience. Believe me, dry chicken or flavored wrong...it can kill the whole salad.
Looking around, there are only five people in the room at first. A lone gunslinger with a lot of facial hair. He's dressed the part of a writer with his suede jacket and t-shirt. A couple sits in the single booth eating and laughing. A pair of two older women, both donning scarves, drink wine and talk quietly. (I just can't do the whole scarf thing...makes me feel like a turtle.)
There are pictures of Bardstown lined across one wall, a huge picture of a peacock on another, and one single lonely abstract picture in the corner. The abstract art holds my attention for a minute. It's that solitary shadow painted on it that makes me think I like it. The theatre room is not a drab place but the tables and carpet are kind of blah. At least the air is comfortable.
The gunslinger looks familiar to me but don't all writers spirits bond? Maybe. Maybe not. It could be just me. Who knows?
Meet and greet occurs and more people are coming in. I talked with three people, all writers. Poetry, short stories, novelists...There is a list going around for the open call. My own insecurities prevent me from signing the list. I haven't dabbled in poetry very much in a while. But it's more than insecurity that prompts me not to sign up. It is my first time here. I want to take it all in. I want to see what type of poetry I hear; how the people present themselves and how they read. I can't help but think of that one movie So I Married an Ax Murderer. LOL
The first person reads. It's the gunslinger. He holds three sheets in his nervous hand. They shake while he reads. His body is sweating passionate nervousness. I've been there plenty of times. His poem is called Ode to Cynthia. It's definitely a coffee shop and dim lights kind of writing. I can't say it is bad. He blended abstract and realism. It was perhaps a bit too long though IMHO. Still, he was a brave soul, took one for the team, and for that I salute him.
The next poet is a young lady, maybe mid-twenties. She wears a plaid shirt and jeans. She looks comfortable and spoke slowly. She sweeps away her bangs multiple times and yet they always fell right back into their intrusive place. She reads with a deep voice and talks about thunder, booming crackling lightning, counting, and her next poem is about a man who splits on her porch and complains about her taking his parking space. And how he is arrested for fraud of the dead mother who still lived with him and how how cashed in her social security checks. Interesting stories in small pieces.
The third on was a young man with thick red facial hair, although groomed nicely. His words are pain and beauty, a crackle in my mind. I liked the way he spoke, and his words were music. He presents himself with a humbleness but also with a knowing understanding that his work has been and is esteemed by others in the literary field, journals and the like. One of his poems, he speaks about a nursing home and a dog barking, and living and dying. It is a good one. I chew on it even as he moves onto another, that I practically miss. His last is about small town living, accents, and reaches inside me and I yield to the calling of understanding. He is good. Very good.
The keynote poet is Richard Taylor, who wrote among his many books, a book called Rain Shadow. He speaks of many things, backyard wordage, Pompeii, dementia, and more. I feel like I am in a classroom listening to him (in a good way). Bits of amusing words tinted with knowledge. His words do not cause a rapturous awakening inside me. I find myself mentally comparing him to bitter elderly people who fuss all the time. They with their age, their existence on this planet, in my mind, earns them the right to be fussy and grumpy for they have lived for a long time, and sometimes I think it would make anybody grumpy. Richard, this poet, in my mind, has earned the right to hold my attention in the manner he does. He has experienced life and chooses to write about it with scholastic evidence as well as adventurous boredom...if that can exist. I like his work because I love learning and I feel I learn when I hear him speak. He shows humor in his poetry, a witty style that I envy. He speaks...
...a composite of the world
we know as much as it can be known,
cradle and coffin, resurrection and bloom.
The end comes with chocolate cake I digested while comfortable conversations with good people. To be among other writers was more heavenly than the decadent chocolate. I'll definitely repeat such an experience. Thanks to INKY for hosting the open mic as well as the Bard's Town for their fine food and atmosphere.