Friday, July 20, 2007


Had a fun time at the Soulfood Books reading. A group of us went out beforehand for dinner at Spazzo in Redmond Towne Centre (great restaurant, but it is so bizarre how it is located in a mall -- "Towne Centre" is really just a giant mall). Great food and coversation. Dean and I shared a flight of Pinto Grigios.

Soulfood (also located in a mall, there is a theme here) has a nice large stage, well-lit, with a good microphone. Michael and Lana were gracious hosts. And there was a decent turnout (though thank god the people playing noisy dominoes at the front of the stage left before the reading started ~grin~). There was a lot of open mic at the end, including drumming and chanting and teen angst and performance pieces (one woman reading her poem/song from some sort of hand-held PDA or blackberry or something).

I had fun reading some newer work, as well as some pieces from WWOTB that I had not read in public before.

Nancy Pagh's reading from No Sweeter Fat was terrific. I just love that book, and if you have not heard of it you should really check it out. The poems in the voice of the "Fat Lady" are just so poignant and moving and funny and real.

Nancy also read a poem she had written recently in response to a poem of mine in WWOTB, "Ravenna at Dusk." She did her own riff off on it, using some of my lines/phrases, but making it all her own. (I believe this is called po-jacking?"). I was very honored. Don't they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?

Anyway, here are the two poems, hers first, and then mine:

Whatcom Falls Park Today

Today when I looked in the road
I saw the gray squirrel’s viscera
trail from its body and thought
is that why we call them entrails.
I like walking alone in the park.
One can be happy in cotton shorts
even though synthetic dries faster.
Dogs do not understand personal boundaries.
There are such things as red dragonflies;
I saw five rest on this iron bridge last summer.
What can you do about a creosote stain?
Rabbit! no rabbit: white grocery sack
handles tied up as ears. What’s with
the used doggie poop bags, twisted
and set on the trail like wrong dim sum?
I have always found that garter snakes
remind me of zippers, but not known why.
I would have cared more
if it had been a native red squirrel.
I know what that says about me.
That’s a thrush. It sounds
how I felt to fingerpaint when I was six.
Now I am glad I chose the caffeinated tea.
Haruspicy is the word I almost thought.
I will cook the rice in chicken stock.
I am thinking: will I cut the yellow squash
in rounds or cubes and
not of you, sorry man. Not you.


Ravenna at Dusk

Today when I looked in the mirror
I saw my father looking back.
I like walking alone at night.
One can be happy not only without love,
but despite it. It’s best to fertilize roses
in March, plant gladioli bulbs in October.
I love the sound of thunder before rain.
Country Western dancing can be fun.
Oak floors with a Swedish finish last longest.
Espresso after six will keep you awake
past two. Antique floor lamps are cheap
at Capitol Hill garage sales in summer.
What can you do to give your life meaning?
It’s useless to repair socks once the heels are out.
My married friends make babies because they can.
Bath towels stack best when folded in thirds.
I have always found the lives of mystics
and clerics more appealing. I still read
the funnies and sleep in late on Saturdays.
Life is not so much invented as composed.
In high school I loved my English teacher
and wrote my first poems for him.


Kinda fun, huh?
I need to try this now.


1 comment:

Joannie said...

Spazzo used to be on the top floor of a bank in downtown Bellevue (which might seem like a mall but is not, technically, a mall). Thanks for sharing the two poems.