Tag Archives: poetry

The Inner Loop reading series

I had a great evening under twilit stars – and frequent, seemingly aimless helicopters –  with The Inner Loop, a monthly DC reading series for poetry, fiction and non-fiction writers, at Colony Club. The headliner was Jennifer Atkinson, a poet drawn to human disaster, with readings by Joel Goldberg, Matthew Moniz, Alyssa Oursler, Alex Aronovich, Peg Alford Pursell, Alan C. Page, Leila Rafei and Sam Mahone.
Standing room only!
I’m firmly in the camp that writing is an art for the ear. Studying other languages’ poetry let me hear the latent music in my own writing. I always want my work to sound good aloud and I love to hear other authors reading. It’s a happy time for this viewpoint, with the growing market, and quality, of podcasts and audiobooks. I’ll be fascinated to see how English prose style changes for a world where most of it is heard not read. (Prediction? Dialogue tags will lose “said.”)
The evening had a warm, friendly feel. I talked shop with other writers, books with readers. A writing event is quieter than a band, with no dancing or chatter and surprisingly little phone use other than recording videos. The vibe remains casual and attentive. Even for the writers – 5 minutes, and you’re back in the audience.
There will be a bigger market for these. Already the Moth series has spread to live events in several cities. Reading for performance will be the new penmanship.

Trash sonnet (shout out to Bud Glory)

A couple weeks ago someone left a Pyrex liter measuring cup outside the apartments across the street. I was tempted to take it to keep it from becoming trash. But, whoever forgot it might soon remember it, so I left it. Of course the next morning it was broken. Now the street has this instead. It’s slowly being pulverized into smaller and sharper bits, and has already spread back up the curb-cut onto the sidewalk my dogs and I cross to get to the dog park. Our own little Peter Greenaway film, with real injuries.
Last week on Doctor Who Amy and Rory were home between adventures, cleaning out the fridge. Amy smelled an old leftover, wrinkled her nose and tossed it. I think this act will become a dramatic shorthand for the 21st century, as cigarettes are for the 20th, six-shooters the 19th.
Shout out to prolific profane poet Bud Glory!
I’m appalled by how much garbage I make,
haunted by wrappers, boxes, plastic trays,
bags of vegetables (organically raised!),
yogurt cups, the styrofoam with my steak.
A coffee drink comes with a cup, straw and
lid — I buy three a week. Catalog stores
ship boxes, packing peanuts, more
clothes and computers. My old PCs stand
dusty in closets, now too slow even
for charity (which still accepts old clothes).
Soap pump-bottles, toothpaste tubes, all trash when
they are empty. Whatever I buy, I dispose
of some part. I know better but want trumps
reason. All my desires end in dumps.
It has unhinged me. It’s a craziness.
My shame at my trash won’t leave me alone.
If I throw away one can, I atone
later by recycling two more. A mess
of sports-drink bottles near the basketball
court, lonely beers forgotten on the curb:
uncapped mouths, pleading for rescue. I’m disturbed
and getting worse. Soon the children will all
point. “Neighborhood wacko. Picks up trash.” Not
enough, alas, to ever compensate
for what I’ve thrown out. It will never rot,
never disappear or evaporate,
my garbage. It just sits, useless, inert,
somewhere out of sight, buried in the dirt.