It has been an eventful and rewarding week. But I’m also worn out. Last night I was out way past my bedtime at the Literary Cafe… but that’s a story for another blog.
First I want to tell you about the awesome reading I was privileged to participate in at Mac’s Backs Bookstore in Cleveland Heights Wednesday.
The featured readers were Rashid Whatley, Frances Killea, and Deetsah (Sandra Eatmon). All three presented thought-provoking work. Rashid pulled a German accent out of his hat for a bitter piece about the Nazis. Frances had guest and friend Michael Marcellino (of the groovy group Split Pea/ce) read her poetry for us. And Deetsah gripped us and brought tears to our eyes with her powerful “Don’t Tell” piece.
Open mic followed, including poets Christopher Franke, Steve Thomas, Dianne Borsenik and a nice assortment of others whose names I didn’t get. I ended up reading John Cage Engaged and Uncaged, Allen Ginsberg Wants You, and Rapists. But the highlight for me was seeing friends Steve and Kathy Smith for the first time since last year and hearing some of their excellent work live.
Steve did his classic I Ain’t Got No White Boy Blues first – and Kathy followed with her haunting Unsustainable Point of View. They also took turns reading from Criminal, their excellent new book about Smith’s never-a-dull-moment life. Looking at Criminal as objectively as possible, I am convinced it is destined to be a classic, right up there with Catch-22 and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – but with one important difference: Criminal is 100% true. No fiction, no filler…. The writing is every bit as powerful, pointed, poetic and penetrating as Smith’s life has been. And my favorite part that they read at Mac’s had to be the book’s account of how young Smith first learned to masturbate. I can’t remember ever laughing so heartily. When this book comes out, you MUST get it. And I’m not just saying this because its authors are my friends. Criminal is one of the most compelling memoirs that has ever been written, and I guarantee you won’t want to put it down. As much as I love Smith and Lady’s blogs and poetry, this book could be the best thing they’ve ever written. No shit.
Here are a few photos from that night:
Rashid Whatley (damn – I didn’t get a clear one)
Michael Marcellino and Frances Killea
Steve Thomas and Smith
Suzanne DeGaetano of Mac’s with another poet
The cat who brought his kitty to the reading converses with Chris Franke
Photo Dianne took of me (thanks!)
Steve and Kathy Smith with Mrs. Jesus Crisis
Take the doorway to the end of the night
Tired in the dangerous kitchen after the gig (photo by Geri)
Post-poetry pre-sleep silliness (I’m going slightly mad)
Stay tuned… ASAP I’ll post an account of our Thursday night at the famous, raucous Literary Cafe – a poetry event like no other. Now I need to finish cleaning house and get ready to head to the Deep Cleveland poetry reading at Borders Books & Music in Strongsville. That is, if I don’t decide to take a nap instead…. I’m very sleepy.
To read Smith’s blog mentioning the Mac’s event, click here:
And to read my blog about last month’s (June’s) reading at Mac’s, click here:
Random Mac’s of Poetry (reading I attended on 11 June)
Peace, love and poetry,