Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Readings by People Named Jack
I am OK.
I was born OK.
I will die OK.
Last night I went to Moe's to see Jack Hirschman. I like Jack Hirschman very much. I don't like politics poets very often. Usually, their nonpolitical stuff is amazing, and their political stuff comes off preachy. That was the case this time, too. The last time I saw Jack Hirschman, we were singing and dancing at Specs almost a year ago. Last night, his voice sounded like razor blades and violin strings in a vita-mix 5000, and it was interesting and beautiful and sad and gritty. He read a very raunchy piece that said "wipe my ass with your kisses."
Why do famous old-timer poets bring out the wannabes? Not that everyone there was a wannabe, but there were a few seated way in back, the kind of people whose greatest aspiration is to get into an MFA program. And that was funny because Hirschman said he never wanted to teach poetry at a university again, for universities are corporations.
ªºªºªºªºªºªºªºªºªºªºªºªDon't you wish you were as cool as Britney Spears?
My reading was weird for me. It was very much a theater, so there was no real way to interact with the audience or read them. The lights and acoustics in a theater are a lot different from those in bookstores and galleries and bars and cocktail lounges. I thought that I had bombed, but Daphne Gottlieb commented on the weirdness of the crowd when she got up, and then I got a few emails from people I didn't know telling me how great my reading was. Some of my friends told me that I was crazy to think that I didn't do well, and I appreciate that, but it's hard to believe sometimes, especially when you have such a weird feeling.
The theater was sold out, and the music act, Steven Clark &c., was surprised that poets had brought in such a big audience. I read some unpublished chapbooks that people have told me they love. I like reading things that haven't been published anywhere. And I read a cycle called "The Berenstain Bears Go to Church." I hadn't read that one before, and some people really liked it.
Daphne Gottlieb was awesome. She read a line that said something like "No one's going to care that you're 5 when you're dead, JonBenet," and I burst out laughing. I feel a little guilty about laughing about poor little JonBenet now, but it's a good line. I like Daphne Gottlieb. I feel sorry for JonBenet.
Steven Clark &c. performed their "Amok Time," which was one of the most delightful performances I've ever seen at a reading or anywhere else. It's an opera of the Star Trek episode when Spock needs to get some Vulcan poo-nanny or he will die. So much fun.