Went to the Gears Turning Poetry Reading at Adobe Books on 24th last night. Three excellent features - Josiah, Tony, and DL, wonderfully hosted by poet laureate Kim, and a houseful of amazing open mic-ers. Lifted my spirits, blew me away. Bay Area open mic circuit is a real deal groove. Afterwards, connected with Tony for his b-day beer & dinner at Picaro on 16th - 30 years ago it was a bohemian cafe - when I was cruising the Mission selling ads for the Bay Guardian - their slogan, 'you can wear a beret but you gotta pay for your refill. ' Now it's a packed Spanish restaurant with roving mariachis. Definite upgrade. Had a blast. Found parking on 14th St., in front of this joint, icing on the cake.
This Too A Poem
Speaking truth at the mic with notebook, with guitar, with typed page,
with iPhone, with hands shoved in pockets, with 2am approaching
with knowing anything done after midnight is art.
The madness in the moment,
the self haircut, the can of beer, the fighter,
the math teacher, the queer poet whose voice
is pure song . . . the geometric performance of truth and what
we say is the truth.
Rocking in your back row chair you go to the front to
lend your voice, sing your song, speak your life, join
the fiber of this night, this midnight mic, this pure grain
flow you come to know when you look this close & listen,
the lives you see, the colors you feel, rhythms alive in the air,
people like you
people not like you,
poets off the street,
army of letters, word delivery,
bringing it, winging it, singing it
behind the mic tonight at midnight.
Or, How we know we're alive.
photo by Dennis Bayer
We got battered pretty good in last night’s storm - usually our paintings start swinging, this time the paintings were stable but the eyes of the characters were moving back and forth.
I ended up out in the bay around 9:00 on Dancer’s Whaler trying to help red haired Stephen whose anchor-out broke anchor and was perilously headed for the rocks on Strawberry.
Somehow it got caught up by Dancer’s houseboat - English Allen’s, and that’s the only thing that held it up.
So we got out there in the driving wind and pouring rain and there was Stephen in his rain gear siting on a bench on Dancer’s anchor-out.
I understand the true anchor-out’s code of staying with your boat in a storm. Being out there in the teeth of it, trying to help, getting knocked around - I went down, bloody knees, but didn’t get wet, helping Dancer so he wouldn’t have to single hand and helping Stephen, well that was a good thing.
Intense, I remember thinking well, it’s been a good life and i did get my book published and I am getting my West Marine rain gear broken in and covered in bay mud. . . surreal because in the teeth of the storm out there in the bay, I could see the skyline of the city in the foggy light beneath the vast dark canopy and it was quite extraordinary.