Sunday, March 30, 2008

Good Poems, Good Riffs, Good Beans

It was a fine afternoon yesterday in Flint, where Grayce Scholt and I read to an overflow house in the Anteroom of Good Beans. Dan and Bob Gerics alternated with us, soothing our crowd with acoustic riffs, including Dan's own poignant break-up song, and taking us home with his adaptation of Will Shakespeare's "Sigh No More."

Here are a few couplets of Dan's heartbreak song, "You Keep the Bedframe":

If we go online we’ll avoid the lawyer’s fees.
We’ve both got iPods, we won’t fight over CDs.

We are being so goddamn mature.
(Man I sure let you off easy.)
I’ll go pack while you uncork and pour the wine.

I could have screamed and shouted, you could kick me out.
But in the end we’ve got a dog to think about.

Oooh, man, sweet stuff -- you should hear it with the music. Check

Another high point, for me, Grayce's powerful war poems -- dudes and dudettes, we need more of these -- and hers are available in her debut collection "Bang Go All the Porch Swings."

Between sets, I was sitting there thinking, "This is as good as anything else going on in this whole damn state today. This is as good as any poetry reading anywhere," and for some reason I had a rush of fiery....I don't know, vindication about how hard it is for something of value to be recognized. How hard it is for people outside of Flint to know what great things sometimes happen here, when nobody much on the outside is watching, like on a cold, sunny spring day when a bunch of people crowded to get into a little coffee shop on the north end for poetry at 2 in the afternoon, and, I'd like to think, weren't disappointed. Today, that feeling I had came around again and wrenched at me, and I crashed -- a combination of lingering performance endorphins and something like exhaustion from how hard we work here to accomplish our measures of redemption. My Saturday in Flint...a slice, I'm almost certain, of the human condition.

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