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Poetry Reading After Action Report 6/14/2007

Last night was quite a challenging poetry reading. Not one but two people (Kurt Waldheim and Ruth Graham) died on the day of the reading. This seems to have been happening a lot lately. When I got up to read I said "For any celebrities who happen to be in the office, if you must die, please have the courtesy not to do it on the second Thursday of the month". I read haiku about Edwin Traisman and Don Herbert (didn't want to let spookyelectric1 down) as well as Waldheim and Graham. Here's the haiku:

Edwin Traisman

Cheese whiz is yummy
So are McDonald’s French fries
Thanks for the goodies!

Don Herbert

After teaching kids
Science, the wizard is dead
Long live the wizard

Ruth Graham

Your soul flies away
And a bereaved husband looks
To heaven for you

Kurt Waldheim

From ex-nazi to
Secretary General
was a great big leap

I found the death of Ms. Graham especially poignant, even though she was 87 years old. Thinking about Billy Graham being a widower made me think about how hard it was for my father when my mother died. I hardly ever say things like this, but I hope he doesn’t have to live too long without her.

I also brought some other poems that I had written a while ago: The Quest, Nude At A Filling Station, and Insomnia. (You can read any of these poems by clicking the links).

I didn’t have time to read all of them, so I settled on Insomnia. I initially wanted to read The Quest, which was inspired by a visit to the hospital to see my father (and some other stuff as well, including Roy Orbison’s song Leah). But I couldn’t remember if I had read it recently or not, so I didn’t.

I decided not to read Nude At A Filling Station because I had a feeling Ruth Graham wouldn’t have wanted a naked lady poem to be read by the guy who just read her memorial haiku. So I settled on Insomnia.

One of the readers read a poem about the voice you hear in your head when you’re reading to yourself, and how different people’s inner voices sound different. (There was actually a Seinfeld episode about this…I wonder if he has seen it).

His poem made me think about how I used to create a world in my head when I was on IRC, and how being online doesn't exercise the imagination as much as it did in the early 90's when I first discovered IRC. I dashed off a quick poem about it. I'm including it here. Please keep in mind it is a rough draft.

Days Of IRC

I often wax nostalgic for simple times
Of green letters on a black screen
And meeting my friends on my favorite channels
(We didn't call them rooms back then)
I miss the paucity of images on the screen
And the way it allowed my own images
Of sitting and chatting with Overlord23 and Cyberman37
On the banks of the creek
Behind the house I grew up in
I miss the way all the ladies
Looked like all the pretty girls
I knew from high school and college
Even the ladies who were in fact bored ugly men
Today dark powerful forces
Would put me in a sterile world created by
People who don't know me
Who have never been where I've been
I want no part of this cruel new world,
or it's warcraft
It would only make me long more
For the simple days of IRC