Sometimes it's a Friday
In New York I often say that something strange or unexpected will come and get you on a Tuesday. Someone might die or you might get good news, but the idea is that in every way, there is no exact way to be prepared for what comes next. Life is good like that; sad or happy, irrespective of emotional outcome, surprises line up to move life along.
Now, as for last Tuesday I was happily attending to the poetry circuit as I had been for just over a month. Gordon a Southern man of manic and mystical talent was to feature at the Ruta Maya performance space. I like the man and I like his catharsis, so with video camera in hand I made it to the performance. Proper, like his mother taught him a light soul who has endured dark times spilled out his words, rapping not exactly. Slam, not really...he read somewhere between hip hop and the preacher. Blazer on and lips licked he lit the room with his intention and his demons became notes, resonance filling the air above the coffee grinders and the musicians whose open mic would follow. He owned the room. He occupied his space and that space was in the tradition of mystic, madman and muse. About Gordon, I could write many things.
Of course I've written almost nothing since I got here. I read and I read. I write lines daily in a journal but the journal is a heavy tool. I realize now I like my tapping keyboard much better. I like my journal for it is portable and eases my carpal problems when I am drawing or spilling some intimate information that I don't ever want trolled by a hackerbot, but despite the intimacy of my poetry, it is still a different kind of work.
I like no feel of the pen. I like a direct and immediate transfer which can only come from years of typing at a pretty good clip. Faster than I can write, faster than I could ever type at a big old Olivetti, the kind I tend to covet, the technology and I are one. Denying this has made me slow and unable to produce anything consistent. But to some extent, like Gordon I have also come to live for the performance. Here, in Austin, community, with all its problems and gossip, tends to rise above and keeps the process fresh in a completely different way that ambitious New Yorkers don't always afford themselves, cramped into tiny apartments, staring at emails from galleries and cultural tip sheets fueling their need for recognition; New Yorkers tend to work first and exhibit the finished product later. I have fallen to this other type of pettiness many times, myself. Although professionalism and perfectionism is not wrong, sometimes it's just good to use the public forum for shaping and developing. Sometimes it's just so freeing to spit and to stutter in front of a room full of people and hold them with something that rides between polished performance and spiritual possession.
Last Friday I met a man named Fred. Because of this meeting I will curtail many of my regularly scheduled readings. I didn't go to the Monday and I won't go the Tuesday, where last week Gordon read and the week before a local giant named Glenn kept me spellbound for his raw restraint that makes Clint Eastwood seem a bit like his clone. No, due to Fred and the other musicians I met I will be working to understand and work with music unlike the electronic stylings in which I am often immersed. Coal miner's daughters and taxation of beer, towns left silent after they were stripped of their worth to large corporations, these are the strains with which I'll be surrounded. Sometimes, it hits you on a Tuesday. But ever since I met Fred and attended the longest ran jam session in Austin, I've realized that sometimes Tuesdays become Fridays and that strange beauty can not only hit like in a gentle thunderclap, but it can be transposed just like any repeating note.