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Poetry Reading After Action Report 1/8/2000

I read a couple of poems at last nights poetry reading. One was a fresh memorial haiku, the other was an old poem I'd found while going through stuff in my house. When I got up to read, I made a joke about it being a found poem. (If you don't get the pun, click the link.)

Jonathan mentioned to me before the reading that it was Elvis Presley's birthday. Damn. I wished I'd remembered that because I have actually written a blank verse poem about Elvis. I kicked myself for not bringing it. I can't believe I forgot about Elvis's birthday. Next thing you know I will be listening to NPR and eating arugula.

And I must put it out of my mind that there won't be another poetry reading on Elvis's birthday until 2015. Such thoughts are the way to insanity.

The haiku I wrote was for Betty Page, who died the day of the last poetry reading:

Betty Page
Your famous body
Now laid to rest, will live on
On the internet.

Here's the other poem I wrote:

The Fortune Teller
By the boardwalk of Venice Beach
A very pretty lady
With jet black hair
And a long blue skirt with flowers on it
Read my palm for five dollars.
She traced my lifeline with her index finger
"It is very long" she said,
"You will live for many years".
My mother lived to 62
My father not much longer
So she was probably wrong
About when I'll die
But that's OK because when I die
A very pretty lady
With jet black hair
Will have held my hand

After the poetry reading a guy came up to me and said he didn't hear all of the second poem. He asked if I could read it to him again. At first my teacher instincts kicked in, thinking he should have paid attention the first time. But I quickly softened. Somebody was explicitly asking me to read my poetry to them. That doesn't happen very often. And then a couple of his friends came over and said they wanted to hear it too. One of them was, ironically enough, a pretty lady with jet black hair. How could I refuse?

They really seemed to like it. I was flattered by their response and by the fact that someone had asked me for an encore.

It was a good poetry reading.