I once heard that the people involved in poetry, the people really involved, don't like poetry. Marianne Moore wrote a poem to that effect once, and I think that the statement is very accurate. Most poetry readings are not good or are just barely good. Most poems are bad. But every once in a while, hearing, reading, or writing a poem gives us a high. It makes us or allows us to do things in our heads that we love. It is a drug. We look for that, so we go to the readings, we keep throwing money at Pegasus for their books and begging for another Hippocrene. Or a heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night. We know it's out there because we've felt it, we've seen it. Junkies all of us. We don't love poetry but what it does to us when it is pulled off perfectly.
Last night was it. I came to Pegasus and Graham Foust said to me, "got gum?" I said, "You're Graham Foust." He said, "Yes I am." I said, "I am Jack Morgan from the Trainwreck Union, and I am going to get you some gum." I knew I could get him gum. Do you know why? Because I was with the Trainwreck Union, and when you're with the Trainwreck Union, anything is possible. It's not that we chew a lot of gum or anything, but when you put enough people together, one of them has what you need. Lisa Price was the one who really came to the rescue, having the actual gum, but he could have asked me for a tire iron, and I would have gotten him one––not that we carry tire irons everywhere we go.
Graham Foust read, and it was amazing. It was the first time many of us had seen him read, but we had all read quite a bit of his work. His new book is a work of art from cover to cover that can't help but inspire everyone who peers in. I love Graham Foust so much that I kissed him on the forehead. I didn't really kiss him on the forehead, but I would have if he'd asked me. The Trainwreck Union carries kisses in their pockets like tire irons. He sold so many books to the Trainwreck Union last night that I don't think that there are any left for anyone else. That's good, though, because we want him for ourselves.
David Larsen punched me in the head. He really did punch me in the head during the intermission. It was grand. Sometimes I need a punch in the head to keep me grounded.
Linh Dinh. Oh my fucking God. LINH FUCKING DINH! Can anyone tell me how to write about Linh Dinh without adding f-words for emphasis? You know when you get goosebumps or when your jaw drops when you see or hear something incredible? You know how right after you say something like, "I can't fucking believe that just happened"? That's what Linh Dinh does to people. Graham Foust almost fell out of his chair. Right after the reading, Gillian Hamel looked skyward and screamed Hallelujah at the moon while tears streamed down her cheeks. I was reading his book, Borderless Bodies today, and I never want to finish it so that I could read it forever.
After the reading, we were all so happy that many of us were bouncing, literally bouncing around the store. We decided to go to Becket's. Becket's is a nice pub.
There is a former member of the Union, who I will call Iago here. The thing about Iago is that he left the group even though everyone wanted him in. There are many theories as to why he left, but I think it is because he thinks that I was writing mean poetry about him. I wasn't, but Iago will never believe that. I think Iago is a talented person, and while he was in the Trainwreck Union, I was always begging him to stay in it because he always wanted out. If I thought he would come back as a contributing member, I would beg him all over again. Iago, though, has never really left. He pits members against one another, and he drives a division in the middle of the group. Iago always seems hell-bent on destroying the Trainwreck Union. I don't know if Iago means to do this, but it doesn't matter because it is, in fact, what he is doing. I don't know why you would ant to destroy something you helped create, Iago, but Iago's motives have always been unclear to me. And that is the reason why the party split.
It was unfortunate because four of us, Connie Coady, Elizabeth Howe, Nick Roth, and I, went to a party that was one of the coolest ever. EVER! It was the party that we have been waiting for all year.
There were hundreds of people. Organic wine made right there at the compound. There was a place called heaven. Another called hell. There was a bonfire. A band went around to each room making music with an accordion, a guitar, and a washboard contraption. They were everywhere. We sang, we cavorted, we were the masters of the universe. There were drums. There were vegetables and fruits. There was a kitchen filled with vittles that titivated everyone's evening. I wish that the whole Trainwreck Union had it instead of just us four. If the rest had come, there would have been chewing gum and tire irons.