Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Poetic Life Aquatic

So Coyote and I actually interrupted our usual Friday write night to attend a poetry reading.

Apparently this poetry gathering has been going on in the KC area for over 14 years, with a standing, open invite to the writing community. The original host was unable to continue running the show for some reason, so the torch has been passed to a pair of roommates. This Friday was the first time at the new venue, an uber-hip apartment with a spectacular 9th floor deck overlooking Midtown, clouded with cigar smoke.

Like most poetry readings, quite a motley crew had assembled: a stocky guy with a long red beard wearing a pendant shaped like a double-bladed axe that looked like he would have been right at home in a kilt-- Coyote swore he’d met him somewhere before. (“At the Ren Fest?” I supplied dryly.) Standoffish lesbians in matching Converse sneakers. A hipster with a fedora on his head and spools in his ears. Some regular joes. A guy in black. A hippie couple with an adorable baby. The reading started at midnight, so more people milled in and out closer to then.

There was an exposed brick wall on the balcony, with a painting of an octopus with a human brain. Inside the apartment was a painting of a bug-eyed fish that also had a large, throbbing pink brain.

“Aquatic creatures with brains,” I mused at one point. “I get it now. It’s like, a theme.” And promptly burst into giggles. It’s possible that I was a little inebriated by then.

“Maybe you should have some water,” Coyote suggested.

I followed him into the kitchen. “Dude. It’s kind of amazing that I can walk right now.” My own little pink brain was spinning, dancing an Esther Williams number in a bath of cerebrospinal fluids.

I’ll tell you what else was amazing. When midnight rolled around and it came time to actually stand up and share poetry, that strange and disparate group became a single organism, shifting and flowing into itself. It didn’t matter how fucked up anyone had been before. It dissipated. Because there is no intoxication like the intoxication of words once they start coming, washing everything else away.

There were only about eight of us who actually stood up and performed, and, as usual, I am humbled and blown away by the enormity of talent in our little corner of the Midwest.

I really liked the format of the reading, too. We read for about forty-five minutes, then the lights go off and people stand up and recite from memory only.

One of the poets read, “I Wanna Love Ya,” by comedian/slam poet Shane Hawley—a beautiful, hilarious piece that I instantly wanted to read to Patrick.