San Francisco, 11/12/13

It’s an hour or two before our scheduled reading at Viracocha and the San Francisco sky is already dark. I’m lying on the couch in my friend's guest room staring out the window at the half moon and thinking about the poems I've been reading this afternoon. This is a house that loves books – the books live and breathe here in floor to ceiling shelves in every room – I can barely finish a thought before another one calls to me, and the poetry section happens to be in my room. So I am reading these wonderful poems and wishing I wrote like this one or that one and the realization returns – the only poems I write are my own.

Viracocha readers
Viracocha readers

And I think about this, feel this, sharing the stage with the brilliant writers featured by great weather for MEDIA, as well as several local writers who dazzle us on the open mic. The diminutive Kit Kennedy with her "damned good boots," as Jane Ormerod comments in her introduction, and killer "blink”"poems – "Everything in French is an invitation." BAM!

Richard Loranger delights and surprises us with a spoken word memoir in which he channels his disillusioned three-year-old self – "The first dead dream is a heavy corpse." BOOM!

Mary Mackey, dressed in black, turns out to share an outlaw history with me, but her poems today are exotic, bring us to the Upper Amazon, to the jungles of Brazil. From Mary, we learn, among other things, that there are 25 word for "hitman" and that the we can accomplish the deed for a mere fifty dollars! BANG!

Jane introduces Joan Gefland as "naughty, sexy, with a twinkle in her eye" and Joan is game, switching up her set on the spot to bring us the sexy. "Your tongue is a tool….kiss me with a surgeon’s precision…make this our tongue's religion: the place where words live…Silenced" BADDA BING BANG!

Jane Ormerod closes the set with three pieces. This is the first time on the tour she has been able to a bit of a longer set and she entrances with her word portraits, including the poem that has become, to me, the tour's anthem – "And I Belong."

And I did what I did, which is what nobody else did in this space and time.

We are all ourselves, and we all belong.

Thursday, November 14, on to Berkeley and the Art House Gallery and Cultural Center, 2905 Shattuck Ave, 7:30 PM (doors 7:00 PM). Same troupe with the addition of Julia Vinograd and special guest poet Tina Yang. Hope to catch you there.

Puma Perl