Monday, March 21, 2005

The Purple Cow and Monkey Nuts

Although the majority of readings I have done for Alzhiemer's patients have been enjoyable and rewarding, like any endeavor sometimes things don't go as hoped for.
Today in Savannah the patients had bruised eyes, sores erupting from their skin,
they drifted in and out of focus mostly out. The facility was clean and seemed well run, just a sleepy time of day and a group on their last legs.

As I was reading them "The Purple Cow," one woman began screaming at me, "Does the Monkey want a peanut?" Then she would look around and yell, "Does anyone have peanuts for this monkey?"

On the positive side another woman mouthed the words of the poems along with me and clapped when I finished the poems and the woman with the worst facial sores knew most of the words to Psalm 23, "The Lord is my Shepard..." which she recited with verve.

Musical Hot Tub

The reading last night in Greenville, SC went well, good audience and a great local
retro beat band with growling lead poet, were they called, "Daddy Jack and the Paddy Wacks?" The reading is run by Kimberly and she packed the house. Wendy Loomis an old friend from Poetry Alive showed up and we went back to her house in the woods of North Carolina. We had crab stuffed pork chops, then ventured out to the hot tub, which included a rotating light show and old time jazz. The tub also had a water fall spout and foot jets, producing a full body vibration that bordered on illicit. While test scores continue to fall and today's headlines reveal that the pressure for schools to perform under the "Leave Know Child Behind," act has led schools in Texas to cheat- not the students but the teachers and administrators, America continues to lead the world in hot tub design! Soak! Soak! Soak!

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Kayaking Honey Creek

The Southeast Booksellers retreat is v. relaxing, all the food is fried, all the booksellers love books, yoga in the morning and wine at night. Wanda Jewell
who puts it on is welcoming and has the great idea to put writers and booksellers
together and see what sparks fly. It really is wonderful to meet people who own and manage bookstores and learn how hard they work to put the right book with the right person; how hand selling does still exist, even with the malling of America.
Every poet/writer should have the chance to chill with book people.

This morning I took a kayak out on Honey Creek, the water was still and flat, red headed woodpeckers pecked about and the living was easy.

Yesterday, all the attendees got massages. The novelist Elizabeth Flock (Me and Emma)
had the best line, when she looked up with her big green eyes and told the masseuse, "Anna, if we were both single, you would be my girl." To which Anna replied by increasing the pressure of her kneading.

Ah, life on Honey Creek. Late at night we danced to swing music. Are you old enough to boogie?

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Oak Trees and Spanish Moss

Honey Creek Georgia

Stopped at an old plantation and walked the grounds. The brochure talks about how after the end of a steady supply of cheap labor the plantation was no longer profitable-can you say reparations? Light rain and Spanish moss on the huge old oaks, it is beautiful here in the south. Did you know New Mexico had Indian slaves
as late as the 1920's?

Sylvia of Sycamore Gallery, in Atlanta pulled together a last minute gig, got a few people out, poured wine and made me feel at home. Jammed with the jazz band at the restaurant across the street from the restaurant. The gallery had realistic paintings by Suzy Schultz including a series of a flamingo, er Spanish dancer, not photo realism but she captures something of the person, makes you feel like you know them.

The Southeast Book Sellers Association meeting starts tomorrow. I teach a workshop, "How to Drink Coffee Like a Poet," with plenty of beatpoet slurping.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005


Last night got sucked into March Madness as the café that had been full all day emptied to just myself and the 3 baristas, the nearby college was hosting a game and playing that night in the tournament. I read the baristas a poem that was embarrassing for them and me; still they were nice about it and took the sting out of no one showing up for the reading.

I trusted a local poet who said she would get the word out, but on arriving no one had even bothered to put up the posters I had sent. You are vulnerable when you book a tour, hoping for the best when someone says, “Yes we’d love to have you come and read.”

Started off the day on television in Memphis, "Live at 9," with a trio of young star-search women in ball gowns, perfect make-up and high C voices, gorgeous young women and their nervous moms. Read “The Tyger,” and talked about working with Alzheimer’s patients. The hosts were great although shocked when I told them, "How to Make a Living as a Poet," is fiction.

Then this morning got a call from a radio producer that thought the Alabama reading was today! She still wants to do a story that will run in April for poetry month and I shall get my Alabama audience. Just after she called I pulled into Wyatt’s Bar-B-Que in Decatur. Ah, bar-b-que and sweet tea. Old shack, sauce been on the stove since 1829, greens and black-eyed peas for luck.

Monday, March 14, 2005

OK City Erotic Poetry and Art

Small but enthusiastic workshop in OK City, as usual Jonathan Bryant and his paramour Lindsey were great hosts! The reading was at a gallery performance space for Individual Artists of Oklahoma and they had just had their big fundraiser for the year- a fetish party. The gallery was still hung with erotic art and during the reading I stopped and had people write spontaneous interpretations of their favorite art work. We then went around the room and read the pieces. Lots of heavy breathing and whispers of, “Its getting pretty hot in here.”

More Police and Poetry

Read to 75 residents of an assisted living center outside of Little Rock this morning, including the one time chief of police of the city. Played the harmonica and got him up to dance. Got a good blues stomp going and we started to swing, twirling and doing a version of the cheek to cheek tango. He told me he didn’t like poetry when I came in and started to leave, but I think I won him over by letting him lead. Imagine someone telling him years ago when he was still on duty, that he would be dancing with a poet in an old folk’s home. One woman told me as I was leaving, “If I had known poetry was so fun, I would have paid more attention to it.”

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Police and Poetry

I saw him parked in the middle of the highway.
I tapped my brakes and slowed down to 65 from 80.
Looked in the rearview, too late he was pulling out,
I pulled over, rolled down the widow, got my license ready.
Poet: “Hello officer, how are you today, saw you slowed down,
Please don’t give me a ticket; I’m on a book tour.
Cop: “What’s your book called?”
Poet: “How to Make a Living as a Poet.”
Cop: Hearty belly laugh, “OK, no ticket.”
He invited me to his cruiser, checked my record, and interviewed me.
Cop: “How did you get started writing?”
Poet: “Dirty limericks in the 9th grade.
I asked him if he wanted a book, he did I signed it,
To Officer Sean, thanks for keeping the roads safe for
Poets and other people.

Friday, March 11, 2005

The Green Eyed Monster

The folks at Eureka Springs were great. Rita recited a poem she wrote called, “The Green Eyed Monster.” She remembered the whole poem, which she wrote 20 years ago. Russ went along and worked well with the patients. They group of had a great sense of humor, with one woman asking if I was married and when I showed her my ring, she turned and asked if Russ was married. Party at Doug’s after the reading at the Slam. So 00's to be at a party working on a blog.

One Couch Surfed

After an 11-hour drive and arriving at Doug Shields' place
in Fayetteville, he decided I needed to see Cat Fury's new band,
"All Else Fails," tame name, hot band. Cat and lead guitarist, Jessica
were dressed in plastic wrap skirts, held on by electrician’s tape.
The mosh pit was full on huge men; faces pierced primitively, slam dancing. In the corner the opening band celebrated with grrl on grrl
kissing and dunking for nipples, lit up with the mini DV camera crew. Is anybody not making a mini DV movie? It was the perfect
first night of the tour.

Now off to read poetry to Alzheimer patients in Eureka Springs.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Tour Kick Off

Welcome to the H2Blog.

It's early morning here in New Mexico, the car is packed and as soon as I finish coaching the Precision Poetry Drill Team, (PPDT) I leave for a 16 day, 19 reading tour. The big news is that NPR came and recorded a session on the PPDT that will probably air in April. I will post when and where to listen when I have the details.
Here is a little about the PPDT.

Desert academy's Precision Poetry Drill Team performs multi-voiced classic poems such as Blake's "The Tyger," freestyle, hip-hop takes on Poe's "The Raven," a chilling version of Szymborska's "The Terrorist He's Watching," a jazzy version of "We Real Cool," by Brooks and original spoken word. The ensemble draws inspiration from everything from jump rope rhymes, military chants, auctioneers of animals, gospel call and response to rap. It's synchronized swimming with words and Modern Greek Chorus and motor-mouthed youth spilling over with teenage angst. These kids are lettering in poetry! The Precision Poetry Drill Team is a rah-rah free zone.

What this blog is about is getting your responses to the "How to Make a Living as a Poet," book and publishing the best of them. Please write your ideas, takes, thoughts of bringing poetry to life. I look forward to hearing from you!