Friday, August 19, 2005

Took BART--I'm always tempted to say "the" BART, announcing myself as an intruding Ephraimite-- across the bay yesterday (my first trip to SF since arriving) to check out SHAMPOO's 5th anniversary extravaganza reading in a commodious gallery with mediocre art in, of all places, a shopping mall. Everyone read for five minutes or so, often not long enough to get a real sense of a poet's work, especially in the case of those with whom I'm not very familiar. "Has trouble listening" was a frequent remark on my childhood report cards. But from about the third line on, Alli Warren had me hooked. It always gets me when someone starts the poem before starting the poem, in the middle of introductory remarks or without any introductory remarks, as it almost never happens that I'm reading idly along in, say, New American Writing and then suddenly exclaim, to no-one in particular, "oh, this must be a poem!" This should happen more often in life. Not sure if she wrote the poem for this particular occasion, but she had this uncanny way of referring not only to the physical location of the reading--The Embarcadero--but also the act of reading or speaking itself. This made it feel as if I knew exactly what she was talking about, even when I had no idea what she was talking about, as in a dream phrases like "the logical hands of the positive clock" shine with an mundane transparency that fades upon waking.

I liked Ronald Palmer, too, and Kevin Killian, who moved his hips suggestively during the reading. By the time Stephanie Young came on, I was feeling skittery and sitting off to the side on a wobbly stool and squinting one eye to push the lighting around the room, like something liquid in a tube.

Feeling shy and very hungry, so I didn't introduce myself to anyone, just headed up into North Beach for some undercooked rigatoni.


Been drawing with Noah lately: "momma" and "baby" are his favorite subjects, a bramble or tumbleweed of lines, and then as an afterthought, "daddy," a kind of not-to-code rollercoaster. I especially like his double-fisted technique--green in one hand and blue in the other. It's very AbEx, very baby.

Noah hasn't figured out pronouns yet--refers to himself as "Noah" or "Baby." But we're doing three and four-word sentences-- noun-adjective-noun or noun-verb-noun noun, and even comparison. He's got the idea that describing the impossible is funny. Now, what would give him that impression?

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