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Poetry Reading After Action Report 7/12/2007

For last nights poetry reading, I managed to whip up some haiku about three recently departed souls. Frankly , I have been thinking about chucking the whole memorial haiku thing and concentrating on more substantive poetry, but there were a couple of recent deaths I couldn't let go unnoted. I refer to the deaths of Dean Colvard, former chancellor of UNCC, and Doug Marlette, former Charlotte Observer cartoonist and author of the comic strip Kudzu. I didn't know them, but they were such a strong presence in my neck of the woods I felt like I did. I even went out with a couple of the same women Doug Marlette did.

The third haiku was for Lady Bird Johnson. I imagine a lot of people were surprised she hadn't died earlier when they had heard of her death. I would have been, but a few months ago I saw someone say on a discussion board that she was an early stockholder in Haliburton, and went snooping around the net to see if there was anything to that. It turns out there wasn't (although her husband had some connections to parent company Brown and Root.) Of course I went to Mrs.Johnson's wikipedia page to see if there was anything there, and was very surprised to find out she was still alive at the time. It was one of the worst cases of Abe Vigoda Syndrome I'd ever seen.

Jonathan opened the reading with a poem from the last issue of Iodine Poetry Journal about Lady Bird Johnson. It was about a chance meeting the poet had with her in a grocery store. It was very beautifully written, and it put both my haiku and my own contribution to Iodine to shame. I hated to follow it.

Here are the haiku I read:

Ladybird Johnson

You will be remembered
Not for your husband, but for
Beautiful highways

Dean Colvard

There at birth, you raised
A baby school to a great

Doug Marlette

Pastor Will B Dunn
Has lost his voice. That’s why I
Must eulogize you

For the first time in a long time, I had a new poem that was not a haiku, called "Walking To Graduation With Geese", which I read and will include here:

Walking To Graduation With Geese

I left early for commencement
To avoid the traffic
But there was still so much traffic
I turned around and went home
And walked to commencement
I took a shortcut down a nature trail
Where I was joined by a gaggle of geese
Some were mature
And some were still young enough to be plump and fuzzy and cute
They were good company
I felt just like Tony Soprano
When the ducks came to his swimming pool
And he smiled and laughed
Like a baby with a new plush toy
He forgot for a moment
About whacking people and the fear of being whacked
Just as I forgot
About how annoying the gooses poop was
Or how tasty pate from their livers might be
For once I did not think of them
As a New York mob
Threatening my New Jersey fiefdom
For once
They were my friends

I got some compliments about the poem. One lady said I should read more poems like that, since some people only know me for my haiku. It was nice to hear a compliment from someone who appreciated my other poems