Saturday, October 11, 2008

Dancing to the music of poetry

I am not sure where I am but I am in Massachusetts in an old mill, converted to gathering space. There is a bar. There are people, talking. And there is music here. Jazz. Poetry.

I am feeling the warmth of all of the above, including the low hum of one plastic cup of chardonnay. I am missing the words to this poem: they are playing the "da-daa da-daa" baseline of "Billie Jean," and it makes me smile.

I see Robert Pinsky talking with some bearded man I don't know. Really. And I think, "how different to be a poet." A rock star would not have this breathing room. He is alone now in the crowd, Mr. Pinsky, that is: the man with the beard is laughing with a woman now. I wonder if the Poet Laureate is alone out of respect or his fans' introversion. I suppose both.

There are drums now and woodwinds to charm a snake. I move my hips -- Mom used to call them "snake hips" -- and think, "this is the closest I will ever get to Java Joes," and I'm ok with that. This man is singing in bright exotic jazz tones about "the word."

I think of God.

The instruments have stopped, but the music continues with the buzz of conversation to soften it. My ears will ring when I leave here, filling the silence in the streetlight lit streets. The weight of words in my limbs.


Jenn said...

I so wish it would have been possible to get up there this weekend but alas life decided to get in the way after all :( Sounds like you are having an amazing time and really absorbing everything about this event! One of these days we will get a chance to meet each other in life outside of the keyboard :) Travel safely today!

artjewl said...

Jenn, I so wish you could have made it, especially to this after-hours thing. It was SO cool. At the end of this event, Mr. Pinsky went up and read with the saxophone & drums... it was very "beatnik" and so much fun! I think the best part about it was that it was obvious that he thoroughly enjoyed it, and I couldn't help but think "This is what poetry is about."

I wish we could have met up, but I totally understand how life happens sometimes. If all goes well, I'll be back up there next year. Either way, I highly recommend you take the trip next year. :)