Got out to Plasticine Poetry Sunday night. I haven’t been to a reading event for nearly two months. Not since I hosted Plasticine in December. I guess that’s part of the aging process – my unwillingness to bundle up warm and then drag myself out on cold wet nights to spots where there is barely room to sit at a table, let alone have a place to pile winter clothes. Paupers offers a bit of space for that in their booths so one doesn’t have to sit the entire night wearing the parka that you don’t want to throw on the floor.
No mic cord for the first set of open stagers & feature. But the room was good for hearing without microphone – though first feature Lynn McClory did have to move to centre of the room. Her set was, for me, a bit dry. I’ve never been a fan of poetry about language – her works captures emotional distancing with abstractions, language play and broken phrases. As much as I like phrases such as ‘deftly indifferent to the photographs’ I’m not sure how one is deftly indifferent. I did enjoy the irony of her closing piece about the Silent Majority.
During the break I connected with Adam Abbas – he did a great pean to Cathy Petch when he hit the open stage later. Also enjoyed running into and then sharing my booth with one of the Toronto Erotica guys. Thanks also to the organizers for cake to celebrate the recent launch of Cathy Petch’s book “Late Night Knife Fights” – which is already into it’s second printing.
Jim Nason started the second set – he read from his recent book “Narcissus Unfolding.” The pieces had a strong sense of place – the ocean, a back alley – that felt grounded and were emotionally inviting to me. Images like ‘the terrible flame of your father’s hand’ made sure I bought a copy of his book.
Final feature was Beatriz Hausner. When I featured with her at Plasticine a few years ago she read several surreal pieces about sewing the perfect man & that book – “Sew Him Up” – is now in print, so I bought it. The pieces she read from it were infused with a warm Latino sensuality the reminded me of my favorites Lorca and Arenas. She read some pieces from ‘Raccoon’ that were rich with magic realism balanced with powerful emotional response to the life and death of Amy Winehouse – a book I can’t wait to get.
I managed to get into the first round of open stagers – read a couple of comfortable older pieces. As usual the open stagers run the gamut of pure Canadiana nature poetry to closing with a Serge Gainsbourgh song.
Here’s one of the pieces I read:
Star Trek Subtext
an all day Star Trek marathon
the original series on Blue Ray
weird space plants
funky 60’s retro-futurist sets
Kirk Spock Bones Sulu
(Sulu who knew you were
the real queen of outer space)
we had nachos salsa
bags of sea salt-n-pepper chips
Hawaiian pizza fried chicken
diet coke real dr pepper
a 90 inch plasma TV
Trek in all its never to fade glory
as each episode started
we did a soprano unearthly dance
every time Scotty said
‘I’m giving it everything we got captain’
we’d eat chips as fast as we could
when Uhura said
‘we are experiencing interference’
we saw who could burp the loudest
every time Kirk took off or tore his shirt
we removed an article of clothing
every time the fate of a culture
was decided by a kiss from Kirk
we made moony eyes at each other
until someone said ‘phasers on stun’
each time human emotions
were a puzzle
we asked deep personal questions like
‘who has the bigger dick
Chekov or that guy
with his face painted black and white?’
when any alien said
‘what is this thing you earth people call kissing’
we gave each other alien tongue baths
every time Spock said ‘illogical’
we did the Vulcan grind meld
by the time the marathon was over
it didn’t matter
that neither of us really liked Star Trek
we’ll never forget this Star Date One
When I got home there was Sulu – George Takei – on Celebrity Apprentice – though I don’t think I’d want of these contestants to make me a sandwich.