So yeah, Friday's reading at the no name event. Interesting.
First, let me say that the two local groups Cinders and -h (pronounced 'bar h') are both really good. Cinders are a string trio who do classical and improve. Very structural, often minimal, but usually building to complicated crescendos. Mesmerizing. Moving. I could have listened to them all night. If you get a chance to see Cinders, do. -h is a more rudimentary slowcore pop band, reminescent of early REM. Pretty sounds, touchy feelie. I think this show marked a debut of sorts for them though I am not sure and what I was told I cannot remember. I will definitely look forward to hearing them again though. Sweet stuff.
So, this place Red's Scoot Inn. When Doug and I found the place we were amazed at the amount of cars/trucks/motorcycles parked around the joint. When we opened the door it was like stepping onto the set of some bordertown honkytonk movie. Belt buckles and wide brims in a thick mist of smoke. Beer bottles were clinking/smashing, tejano music blasting, some people danced, everyone in, squeezed wall to wall. I stumbled over some dude's boot and nearly knocked over a card game in progress. I thought I was going to get shivved. I was rethinking reading Kent Johnson's inflammatory 'Get the Hood Back On' poem which I had planned to finish my set with. (Because I wanted people to hear it in its sacasm and tone, do I need to even say that?)
Then I was motioned to a door. I ducked some flying darts and wiggled my way to the door and behold, outside, a pleasant garden patio, a small waterfall scultpure well lit, an awning and underneath it tables and chairs, and a large, raised stage from which the The Archivist spun soothing lounge tunes on a turn table. It was like a different place. On the patio everyone seemed so clean, so educated, so, um, white. And I was disappointed, I wanted to read to the blue collars and the vatos and the bikers and the cow pokes and to their women! They seemed more like my people anyway. I wanted to be there when the bar fight broke out, and surely, I thought, it would.
And funny, all night long, the people inside stayed inside. Outside was a cool breeze and fresh air. Inside an ocean of smoke and stink. But the regulars inside knew what they wanted and had come for it, like they do each Friday I am sure. Can't blame em for that, nope.
So yeah, I lubed up with Corona and lime while Cinders played. Then I was introduced and I read my set. All was fine. There were catcalls and whistling between some pieces. Nothing unusual. I read some fast things, some of the more metrically complicated poems, ones that zigged and zagged. Some laundry poems, some tv poems, some from the Fieldbook rewrites and some in between.
And then I pulled Kent's little dirty bomb from my back pocket. Of course this poem isn't a total shock and shouldn't be. But for some of these people it was. A car alarm behind me went off toward the end. My voice got louder. I stayed sweet at the beginning of each section then hammered home the "here's what I'm going to do to you" parts. Doug says I was half yelling. And then I was done.
Blank faces. A few claps. The happy crowd I was reading to now looked like someone pissed on their shoes. I was pleased.
After me, -h played and after that somebody started projecting old 16mm prints on a sheet hung on a fence.
It's a cool thing what these organizers did, putting together different kinds of artists for the sake of culture and having a good time. I joked at some point between poems that I would be escorted out of the place so people best not fuck with me. I was only half joking. In the end a few people approached me to say nice things. Most people just stayed away, which afterall was quite fine by me. And there were a few people, a couple of girls, that curled their drunken mouths in disgust. One simply couldn't find the words to put me down and just shook her head, looking at me like I'd kicked her pet bird. The other girl gave me some choice criticism and asked me what right I had to read such things which is a very easy question to answer and I did, though not to her satisfaction nor that of her boyfriend.
So, really, a success of sorts. Definitely a good time. Many thanks for those that invited me. I'm sure you'll think twice next time though, ha ha. But seriously, thanks.