Monday, January 01, 2007

The New Years Reading at the Bowery Poetry Club

What a wonderful place is the Bowery Poetry Club. What a disastrous, torturous day is this reading. Hour upon hour of poetry. Good, bad, smug, political, dull, overlong, read in the face of alarms and sirens. Why read one poem when you can read two. Or three? I was supposed to read between 6 & 8 but asked Danny to intercede and get me moved up. He was successful.
My friend Joe Weil was not and at some point came up to me around five cursing his fate and stormed off into the preternaturally warm global warming oil industry friendly Saddam hanging streets of New York. Oh, I think the verse got the better of me.
He just stomped outside and bitched and then came stumping back in. The world needs more Joe Weils and less bad poets. In fact if Joe Weil was president we would never have invaded Iraq. We might not have done much else but you got to take what you can get.
I'm kind of being a little mean here. I heard a bunch of funny, cool poems. Taylor Meade, an 82 year old man, was more hip than anyone in the room. Regie Cabico and his crew of actors were funny and cool and Eve Packer did a nice tribute to James Brown. Steve Cannon was thankfully and blessedly brief. The world's greatest poetry critic.
My friend Karen asked for more Mario... here's a new one:

Mario Infirme Takes a Drink

Mario Infirme is at the end of the bar.
It’s two in the afternoon and there’s no one
In the bar but the bartender, Mario, and an old guy reading the Post.
Mario says, sit down, sit down.
I sit down and he says what’s your pleasure?
I say bourbon he says one turkey on the rocks
And then he leans forward and says
What do you know?

I say Mario I know almost nothing.
He says, that’s what everyone says.
Everyone says they no almost nothing
But in the end they know everything.
He says while I was in the bureau we interviewed dozens
Of people who knew nothing but time
after time they gave it all up.

They knew things they’d forgotten,
Things they’d put in the back of their minds.
He says that with a little gentle persuasion
They could be led to the truth and it was always
Dirty, always incriminating, always
and here he takes a sip,
always what we were looking for.

Take the Rosenbergs.
Maybe they didn’t know shit about the bomb.
But they gave us dozens who did and if
they’d had a half a brain they could have walked
but instead they take the pipe.
and still they told us all they knew.

People want to talk says Mario.
Even me.
I hate having no one to talk to, no one to hear my stories.
Oh yeah, I can sit in this bar and fill your ears with shit.
But it’s just that.
It’s just shit.
I can’t tell the truth because I don’t know anything either.
I know I want to talk but there’s nothing to say.

So I sit here in this dusty bar sipping shitty whiskey
and think about what I would say if I were asked.
Talk of bombs and guns and deals and broads but
really most of the time I was just an accountant
poring over the books of men like me.
Men who thought they knew everything but really
really knew absolutely nothing.

I thought I knew who was right and who was wrong.
I thought I could look in a man’s eye and know
he was dirty but it turns out I was the one who was
dirty and now I’m in this dirty bar drinking
with you and feeling sorry for myself.
Who knew?
Who knows anything anymore.
All we know is what we’re told and no one
tells a good story anymore.

That's all for now. Sleep tight America:)

1 comment:

Ms. K said...

I spent the day at St. Mark's. Sounds like many of the Poetry Project crew also played the Bowery. It took Steve Cannon longer to walk to his place at the piano than it did to perform. We also had Philip Glass and Patti Smith. There was a lot that was cool. Blessings for the new year, Jack.