Saturday, September 17, 2011

For Gregory

I made a hand-made book today for my dear friend Gregory Blaine.

The book contains all the poems I read in my short, but exciting, capacity as The Resident Poet of The Blue Bayou Club, a now defunct blues bar in Hillsborough. It was thanks to Gregory that I got up on that stage and read my poems between music sets back in 2009. Twenty-three poems in all, some written just for the Bayou, some written way back in time. I was timid, but Gregory cheered me on. I was completely inexperienced, but Gregory was my mentor. Gregory had the power to quiet the somewhat rowdy bar crowd, and you know, because they respected Gregory, they listened to my poems quietly - it was very different from the usual raucous din that accompanied the great music that played there most nights. It was a lot to expect of the audience, to be silent, and listen to me stand up there and read my poems. But they did. And it was surprising to me and very thrilling really. I met some very interesting people in the Bayou, people who didn't seem like they might go for my poetry, but they connected with it. Gregory made that possible for me, and I'll never forget him for that.

Today was a special occasion - an all day, all night gathering of Gregory's friends to support him in his fight against cancer. The bands started playing at 1 pm and they will continue to play through the evening, til 1 am, including Gregory's own band, Rootzie. I was able to get some precious time with him tonight before he and his girl Dolie started their music set at 8 pm, and was so happy when he smiled at the hand-sewn book I made for him. I had never given him copies of the poems I read, so now, he has all of them.

Gratitude, and courage, and peace, and light Gregory, you are a treasure to so many.

Here is the first poem I read at the Blue Bayou - I read it so quickly and so quietly that Gregory came up on stage and asked me to read it again, more carefully, "It's beautiful, let the people really hear it." and so I read it again, and the little crowd hung on to my every word, and I felt so lucky.

with a lover in my mind
i ride a red horse
on the power line
and find the perfect wing of a hawk
lying torn at the shoulder
in the yellow grass
a flawless apparatus
without its owner
lost perhaps at midnight
in the clorox light of the moon
in a battle
with what?
i wish i knew
the great steel tension towers
whir in the wind
over me and my horse
and i unwittingly search the sky
for the glide of a one winged bird

No comments: