The month of LOVE is upon us, apparently. Two upcoming readings to tell you about. I'm reading this weekend at Oxygen Art Centre in Nelson as part of their Ideas Café series.
FRIDAY FEB 15
Day-After-Valentines Poetry Night for Wounded Romantics and other Non-Believers
It’s the Valentine's Day Revenge readings! Poetry that won’t let you cry in your beer no matter how much you really want to.
Jane Byers, Linda Crosfield, Timothy Shay and Natasha Jmieff.
Wounded Romantics? Non-Believers? Valentine's Day Revenge? I'm already looking forward to this one! I remember a Valentine's-related reading in Silverton in the early 90's. Caroline Woodward was MC, as I recall, and after everyone had read, goofy prizes were awarded to all. I was still very nervous about reading my own stuff then, but managed to get up and read this:
Loving you, love,
was like walking
across Niagara Falls
on a tightrope.
I swayed in the wind
dropped the balance pole
finally fell to the rapids.
But I didn't drown, love,
I didn't drown.
It was awarded the "Shortest, most hopeful poem" prize.
And if there isn't a blizzard (and one can never be sure these days), I'm also hoping to get to this one, at the Vienna Café, the following night. Tim Shay is the force behind these monthly readings where a small but loyal and enthusiastic crowd gathers to listen and read—and to enjoy a coffee or tea. This is a great venue to try out new work, or to muster up your courage to read if you're not in the habit of doing so. Thanks, Tim!
The first time I made it to one of the Vienna Café readings was last February, as it happens. I didn't know about the erotic/love theme and was therefore challenged to find something appropriate to read in the poems I had with me. I find I'm just as challenged this year, as I don't happen to have a lot of erotic poems (my mother is still alive!). Guess I'll haul out a couple of poems from my chapbook, ways to get to here, a collection of love poems written over the years that I cobbled together for Ted's "will you still need me/will you still feed me" birthday in 2004. I guess I could write a new one for the occasion, but I'm ever mindful of Sheri-D Wilson's Relationship Poem about how r-ships are good for two poems: one at the beginning and one at the end!
Here, then, is a love poem written for Ted. I'm very fond of it as two very special people in my life, Bronwyn and Gareth, asked me to read it at their wedding in 2006.
ALL THE UNPRETENTIOUS WORDS
I want to memorize your face
the way it looks the moment
you tell me how the morning glories
have pushed through the earth
in that corner of the garden
where we walk every morning.
I want to capture it, a picture,
hold it up for all to see
like a birthday balloon
on a crimson ribbon
or a mirror I can step into.
it will be mine, your face
not to imply ownership, never that,
and I’m free to fly to the light
that illuminates your face, your eyes.
I want to memorize your face
the way I would a poem—
see how all the unpretentious words
attract no attention, are dismissed
until summoned they reappear
arranged in such an order
that every sense is filled with wonder
at the joy the words bring
as they turn into a poem,
and the poem is your face.
Here's a link to an absolutely beautiful piece about love—the way it is— by Susan Ito, whose column Life in the Sandwich is a regular feature over at Literary Mama.
Happy Valentine's Day to all you jaded/hopeful/trembling/happy lovers out there! And for those who are still looking, I'm mindful of what my Irish grandfather used to say: Every pot has a lid.
I hope to see some of you at one or both readings.