Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Many Maniac Faces

Poetry out loud in your face is my favorite thing to do, and even though it's not Eddie's favorite thing to do, he accompanied me to two readings in one week.  TWO!  That's like, double the pleasure, double the fun, in that "this is not pleasurable or fun for me" kind of way.  He actually doesn't mind going to places and listening to poetry all that much. He simply minds awkward encounters, which we always have.

Reading 1: Astoria
I know my way around Astoria in the same way one knows the way around a dream.  It's like, I totally know where I'm going, but I also, at the same time, have no clue. Thankfully, Eddie drove as I navigated, and I got us to the right parkways and correct exits, and then we were under the El. I can't drive under any elevated trains ever because I get confused as to where is the lane and where is the place you park and how do we turn the car without hitting pedestrians or cyclists or hoverboarders or other people or animals that might be getting across the street in some new-fangled way.

Astoria Coffee was the easy find. We drove right past its big bright window and saw it was about the size of a walk-in closet, which was adorable! And a bit frightening simply because that meant the reader would be really in someone's face, and while I love poetry out loud in your face, I didn't mean it incredibly literally.  I like my face to be several feet from the faces of strangers because, you know, germs.  And smells. Anyway, we found it easy-peasy, and then we drove around for about a half hour looking for parking.

This was like parking in Bensonhurst and Bay Ridge.  Many a time we've driven in widening circles around Brooklyn, looking for parking.  Once we drove into Brooklyn for a drop-in appointment at the chiropractor, and after driving around for 45 minutes looking for a spot, I was like, We need to go home now, and we did.

We found a spot because I noticed a few blocks ahead of us reverse lights go on.  This never happens.  I never see anything blocks away.  This was a proud moment.

Astoria Coffee offers hot chocolate.

Eddie was one happy camper.  That and a croissant meant heaven.  I had green tea and it was uber delicious green tea.  The only drawback was that the place was about 105 degrees so I ended the tea drinking for a while to cool off.  I'm never hot.  Ever.  I peeled off layers of layers and then held up my hair for a while.  It was that warm.  No one else was that warm.  Maybe I'm getting hot flashes already.

So about the poetry.  The Risk of Discovery series puts on a fantastic show.  We were four features, two of whom were more performancy than me and the other poet, which meant for a lot of variety.  But before that, there was an open mic, and that was really interesting.  One poet read a pantoume (I THINK it was a pantoume, but it might have been a villanelle--I can't remember which at this point, but anyway, both forms involve repeating lines and usually are done horribly) and this piece was excellent.  It was so very well done, and at the end, I asked the poet to email it to me so I could read it again.  Other open-mic-ers were fun to listen to, and the other most memorable was a poet who learned that a publisher wants to publish his book but he has yet to put his book together.  That's not why he was memorable though.  What made him memorable is that he talked a bit about how summer was ending, and then he whisper-sang two lines from that song Summertime Sadness before  his poem, and it was all kinds of amazing.

That aforementioned awkward moment was later on when this poet came over to talk to me and I couldn't answer anything he said at first until I hopped myself back up on a stool because he was about six feet tall and that's simply too far away from my ears for me to have any kind of normal conversation.

I read for a bit under 10 minutes.  I did not use the mic because the room was small and I have a big mouth.  Also, the mic was over my head and I didn't feel like playing with the stand to make it lower.  And I made these faces.
Stank face

Contemplating my collection face

Waving around a post-it note face

Hey! I'm smiling!
I walked away from that reading with a book and a CD from one of the singer-poets who agreed to exchange books with me, and I also sold two other books.  Oh, and somehow it cooled down and I finished my tea, which was, again, delicious! It was a good night.

Reading 2: Hicksville
Finding the room for the reading in Hicksville Public Library poses a challenge.  We asked the librarian who gave us two options, one for stairs and one for the elevator, and both sounded confusing, especially for two people who get lost in parking lots.  We took the stairs and found that we couldn't follow the directions well.  However, we did find a door and surprisingly, that door led us to the right room, and we had to walk down the stairs of a stage to get to the seats.

After meeting and greeting and picking out seats, I opened my bag o' books to put out some candy I'd gotten previously in the day (more on how I made an ass out of myself when I got the candy at some other time!), I found a spider in the bag.

Earlier that morning when I pulled my car out of the driveway, I found a spider web connected from the dash to the passenger seat.  Along that web I found a teeny-tiny spider. I grabbed him up in a napkin and swept away the web.  I think that maybe he had a large spider friend lurking who made its way into my bag.

OR I'd picked up the spider in my travels throughout the week.  Or it came in with the money exchanged for the books.  Or it crawled into my home office, where I've found large cave crickets before, and into my bag.

Really, it didn't matter where it came from. All that mattered was it needed to get the fuck out of my bag.  (Sorry for the language--spiders and I don't get along ever since one bit me and I had to go on keflex for a week when my hand blew up and I had scarlet striations from the back of my hand all the way up my forearm). Eddie, who also does not like creepy crawly things, decided I should remove all the stuff from the Ziplock that it had crawled into, and he would throw out the plastic bag with the spider in it.  Okay, fine.  That actually worked, but not without my freaking out in silence as I pulled each item out of the plastic bag and put it into the larger bag that contained the plastic bag, each time the spider moving more towards me rather than away from me.

Crises averted, I put out the candy, and people went nutso over it--especially the host who was quite fond of BubbleYum. What made this even better was the mom of the usual host who was out for the night attended and brought cookies.  She's a fantastic cookie baker, and at the end of the reading, upon insistence of the host who held out the tray of cookies and said, You have no excuse, I ate an oatmeal cookie that was delicious.  Actually, I ate half of it and gave the other half to Eddie to hold when someone came up to ask me to see my book and he stood there holding the cookie until I told him, You can throw it out, and he was like, Why don't you just eat it?  And I was like, Oh, yeah, I can do that, and I did. See? I sometimes create my own awkward moments for him.

The reading went well.  There was another event happening on the other side of the folding accordion wall, so I again relied on my big mouth teachery voice to get the audience to listen to me.  I read from both collections. I made the following faces.

Mid-poem face

I'm so drunk right now face

Sleepy reading face

Hey! I'm smiling again!
Then the host ran the open mic. That was again interesting because there were poets there whom I had never met before (ooh, that reminds me! the host said she was impressed with my correct use of whom versus who!).  Then, as aforementioned, a bunch of people came up to me afterwards to chat, and I sold some books.  I also chatted a little about how to get published, and I made this face.
I'm clearly a maniac, and my husband thinks this is funny even though he's trying not to laugh face.
There you have it. Poetry things are happening, and I cannot bluff my way through poker. And now to get a feel of what all this sounds like:

See? Poetry out loud in your face.  It's all the rage.

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