Monday, November 24, 2008

Nudged by Jack,

Who posted a thanks online for the Saturday night events at Gateway Gallery, I'm going to thank everybody, too. Especially those who organized & hosted events this weekend, & everyone who participated in what was, for me, a marathon (marathong?, maybe paratextual-gong-throng) of fun:

Jack Topht and Russell Pascatore for getting me on the Radical Onslaught bill of wildly divergent noise/punk/Dada/folk styles--so thanks to them & relatives (like Lindsay and Peter) and the Gateway Gallery and to the Buffalo weather for being so dominion-ative as it was FREEZING COLD outside. (the first fact of Buffalo is that "the weather asserts its dominion" ). I read what are, in my opinion, my most ethically questionable poems at this event. I did not feel comfortable reading them, and I don't think I was supposed to, because I didn't feel comfortable when I wrote them.

Thanks to Mike Basinski, Chris Fritton and Don Metz for the BUFFLUXUS 47 minute St. Francis of Assisi/Jerome Rothenberg/Charles Morrow deep-sea civil twilight 6:00 A.M. pillow/toaster freakout I experienced chanting animal sounds, Basinsk-ese, and a reverent Christian prayer until I was hoarse, all the while circling specimen jars depicting ominous intimidating historical icons and hoping the sun would rise just to spite them.

And thank you/thank you for the amazingly candle-lit, ginger-tea & hard liquor afternoon Before the Swallow: Kristi for asking me to read, Erin V. & Rust Belt Books for setting everything to that incredible frequency, & thanks to Martin Clibbens and David Tirrell for reading their works & returning me to scansion and prosody after losing them for 12 hours. So thanks to all involved, especially the audience. At the culmination of my 20-hour wander, the kind of poetry I love best felt at the center again--earlier it was capital-A Art that trumped poetry at the art museum, and it was sheer radical onslaughtedness that overwhelmed it at the Gateway, but both of these earlier events signalled movements towards poetry's verge (selvage) into other materials. Usefully. But somehow RBB asks & asks for a writer's best works, best offerings.

Thanks especially to Jaye for insisting on the continuity of it all--to go on and on as if it were all one continuous work: how I slept for two hours in a server/circuit power-source closet (that Cat discovered); contritiously ate pancakes ("so fluffy you could crawl between them and fall asleep") while overseen by my friend's jealous eyes; found a nice wristwatch hanging from a flower as I walked down a side street; drank endless coffees from ten different shops; went to a Church service and felt my heart break at the sound of a bell choir; walked and walked the streets for hours trying to not talk about sex; angered some aristocratic squirrels with reedy harmonica duets with my b'hoy JB; happily watched the Bills score 54 points over the Chiefs in A-low's hospitable homestead in the great B-lo; and was inexplicably dumbfounded by John Merkle's ability to cook delicious gourmet pizzas at the rate of four per hour (thanks John!). Thanks especially to Cat for wine, raspberries, heartfelt conversations and magic door-opening powers. And to anybody who made a point to be at the shows. I'm still basking in the glow (or is it a fatigue symptom?). I still wonder a wee bit why all these performances were overwhelmingly by men. Was this all "guy stuff'? I don't really think so--but I think it was the most gender-imbalanced large-scale series of performances I can ever remember taking part in.


  1. Thanks for the vicarious good times -- enjoyed the heartful post: with the exception of the last two sentences.

    This last Sat night Shane and I floated over to Lit Lounge to just you know grab a drink, but the bouncer apologetically told us he couldn't admit us because there were already "too many guys in there."

    After a couple seconds feeling vaguely insulted, we realized the good turn just done us by the noble fellow. If only! b,love bars had such stewards, I would have saved god only the lord knows how many wasted hours of my life. Why was there nobody to tell me!

    But yeah even when the dude/babe ratio at poetry readings was most skewed, it was never so bad as that of the bars, or at any buffalo punk-ish experience. I know some b-lovelies know how to party, but you gotta admit they're few who can keep up with the guys in that town. It's one reason so many ladies gotta leave -- but I don't think it's got jack to do with like a poetry bias or something.

    Sorry to be a bitch critic of a blogpost, but what else do I have to do? Just struck me the last two sentences seemed to come from somewhere different than the feeling provenance of the others.

    And hey, if you want gender parity, you know where you can get it -- for better or worse. . . . Alas.

  2. My question about gender ratios began even before the first reading, and not a result of it. I'm somewhat convinced about the "Full Monty" post-feminist critique of male groups.
    Maybe it was that we all wanted to be spectacles of ourselves, as men, for the "gaze of the other". I don't have much to say about "ratios" here or there--i didn't go into the whirlwind of streets and performances spaces thinking it a dating opportunity. But a lot of people did. If so, its a male display (and one act went very very far in the need to go "Full Monty"). Rather than "present" I guess I was there to participate, and glad that there were so many to do the same.

  3. catching up: there's a large swath of Johnny Appleseed lore in Pollan's Botany of Desire, he's an epci unto himself.

    Gesso Apprentice- great poems, Tim McPeek