Welcome to Crisis Chronicles blog number 200!

Of course about 90 of these were merely copied from MySpace after I created this site around January 1st of this year.  But there are 200 here.  Wanted to do something special on this occasion… but indecision about what to do, as well as a lack of time to do it and to get all the other things I need to do done, helped me decide to keep it simple. 

And anyway, I’ve been wanting to tell you about the Deep Cleveland poetry reading Geri and I attended Friday the 13th of June at the Borders bookstore in Strongsville (a southwestern suburb).  So here goes.

The featured reader that rainy night was Ray McNiece, who you might remember from my Barking Spider blog.  His performance started late and a bit cloudy.  But his poetic storm gathered quickly, as he swept us up in waves of words, washing us in the flood waters of his gripping New Orleans epic and then whisking us back north to soak in his engaging “Love Song for Cleveland.”  He also treated us to a healthy dose of humor and “Irish frivolity” (his words).  But my favorite moment came when Ray invoked Jack Kerouac’s ghost in a poem called “Whither Goest Thou, America?,” inspired by Ray’s residency at the Kerouac House.  It gave me chills when I heard him perform it – and it keeps popping back into my mind at the strangest times.  Haunting….  And obviously Ray was haunted, too – which only added to his poem’s power.

Did I mention there was an open mic as well?  Hosted by the purple bathrobed Joshua Gage, it featured close to twenty unique participants including Dan Smith, Anna Ruiz, T.M. Göttl, Dianne Borsenik, Michelle Cooper, Steve Thomas, Hart Cramer (sp?), J.E. Stanley, and two very good poets whose full names I didn’t catch (a teacher from Dayton named Matthew and a Zen-ish 20-something woman).  [Added note: I just learned that Matt’s last name is Estvanic and the Zen chick’s name is Laraine Seidl.]  I read my poems Rapists and John Cage Engaged and Uncaged,  and they seemed to go over well.  Folks expressed surprise that this was only my fourth public reading.  But I could not still my shaking hands while performing.  Too much pre-reading cafe americano on an empty stomach made it look like I was experiencing the DTs (not necessarily to be confused with the Dylan Thomases).  Where’s Holy Moses pale ale when you need it, anyway?

I broke another self-imposed cardinal rule and censored myself… but only because it didn’t seem to detract from the poetry.  Josh was very clear that the venue had strict rules prohibiting “four-letter words,” including the biblical “ass.”  After he winced when the reader before me said “piss,” I remembered that the Cage poem I planned to present had this in it:

        Said disharmony does not exist
        And the peaceniks are pissed.

I was able to preserve (somewhat) the integrity of the poem, as well as that rhyme, and even get an approving chuckle from the audience by reading it this way instead:

        Said disharmony does not exist
        And the peaceniks are pee eye double essed.

* * *

Though most of the poets I’ve mentioned have been published multiple times, not all of their works are available on Amazon yet.  Hopefully that can be remedied.  But some of their works are available, and can be found in these must-read volumes.


And remember that a percentage of every purchase you make from my Amazon store helps support the upkeep of this site (but does not add to the price of the book).  I’m grateful for your continued support.

If any poets would like to share links/information regarding where we can buy your works, I encourage you to do so in the comment section or send me an e-mail (jc@crisischronicles.com).  I’d like to have the hows and wheres on file for future blogs, shopping, et cetera.  Thank you!

[Added note: other books by Ray McNiece, Matt Estvanic, Dan Smith, Joshua Gage, and many others may be purchased at http://www.deepcleveland.com/deepclevelandbooks.html.  If I’ve missed anyone, I apologize.  That happens to me sometimes when I don’t take notes and then I wait four or five days to write a blog.]