Friday, August 15, 2008

The Fountain of Youth

Late post today. I'm sorry. I wanted to post about something that happened last night and then somehow, late last night spilled into early this morning.

Needless to say, I'm getting a later start today. It's already past noon. Geez.

There are still certain places within my neighborhood that haven't been struck with the lighting bolt of gentrification. One of those places is the Literary Cafe. I've mentioned Andy and Linda's bar in postings on a number of occassions. Their venue boasts an interesting menu of sorts, and one of those menu items is Open Mic Poetry. This event is hosted monthly by Steve Goldberg, aka Poet Steve and Nick Traenkner.

Last night was my second visit to the open mic poetry reading. I had gone last month, and had a great time, but like Cinderella, I snuck out long before the clock struck midnight, because I had things to do the next day. Well, I had things to do today too, but I didn't get home until well past midnight.

The open mic forum gives poets the opportunity to read their work, or the work of someone else in front of their peers. After listening to Michelle Krivenek, one of the featured poets last night, I wandered outside and onto the Lit's back patio area with John Ettorre, Steve Goldberg and others. As we sat, talked and drank (of course, we're writers) we began to find ourselves surrounded by several of the twenty something poets.

It was spectacular.

One of the featured poets canceled that day, via e-mail and set Steve Goldberg into a tailspin of debauchery. His poison was Irish Whiskey with a Corona back. "Interesting choice." I thought as I nursed my vodka soda. Words to the wise: If you must cancel, don't send an impersonal, loaded with excuses e-mail message. Pick up the telephone for God's sakes. Is this deja vu? Haven't we covered this topic in another blog posting already?

In between Steve's fits of rage, I was listening to the words of these young poets. John and I started conversing with them. Quite simply, their conversation was more interesting. We were like reporters gathering information for a hot story: What do do? What are you reading? Where do work? What kind of sex do you like? (okay that was just me asking, not John). And finally, Why do you write poetry?

Youth. It's so beautiful. These young men and women are tainted just enough around the fringes, which in my opinion makes them that more fascinating. They're just slightly weathered, patina'd if you will, after a rainy season.

I suddenly felt very paternal. I was giving advice. Here, go this way. Have you tried this? Well, it doesn't have to be that way, go here. I wish I had a me around when I was their age as I struggled with trying to figure out what the hell the meaning of life is.

Okay, maybe not. Maybe they wished I would just shut the hell up. They listened to my porn writing wisdom ways though.

I'm not suggesting that these twenty-something poets don't have their shit together. They're very, very bright, well read and well informed. They beam with a passion for life, and the meaning of. I'm sure their lives will continue to grow, flourish and prosper with or without meeting me last night, but I was touched by this experience... I feel as if I drank from the fountain of youth....



Kirsten Monroe said...

Reading your post, I feel as though I've sipped from the fountain of youth myself. Wonderful! A peek into another world -- two worlds actually, yours and theirs. Thank you!

Neve Black said...

You're sweetie, KM. Thank you.

I love the younger folk. Selfish as that is, it keeps my old soul young.

jesuscrisis said...

Interesting observations about the young poets. I'm 41 and was there that night - and my wife and I seemed to have a similar conversation on the way home. Without the young folk, I suppose the vehicle of poetry would at some point run out of gas, if not hot air. ;)

MilesB said...

I was there that evening, too. And the place was buzzing with a youthful energy, as it so often does. But it's also a great mix of age groups, from late teens and 20-somethings to 70-something Loren Weiss, ex-poet laureate of Cle Hts. There's no other place like it in town, IMHO.