Pissed off Poets

For the first time in months & months I went to the Wibberly poets thing. It’s in the big quaker meeting hall in Polo Alto and runs to maybe 50, 60 people usually. I always take notes and over the last 4 years am very familiar with people’s work!

I heard some good things tonight amidst the humdrumitude, the lackluster prose, and the downright awful. There’s always something super good or interesting that makes my night. This time, my buddy Antzen was missing, alas. Just being in the room with him cheers me up because you can feel his crackling livewire sensitivity in the AIR. His poetry rocks my world… I heard 2 new people tonight who were good and one a great possiblity for reading at WWD. Also, my favorite people who are always good, and they know who they are, read and it was a pleasure… and it torments me that they don’t put their stuff out into the world!!! 2 people I have been watching get to be better and better poets over the last few years… one really coming into her own as if bursting through a wall so that it is a joy to hear… the other, well, she is awkward at times but has lyrical moments that drop into that venue almost unnoticed, and getting steadily better and more interesting. There is a person who WOULD benefit from good teaching and a little directed reading. I know, who am I to judge! Well, I’m the judge of it, that’s all!

I’d like to talk about the work but first I have to get something off my chest. I’m so steamed up! A few times I’ve brought Moomin with me for the first half hour, or the first 45 minutes, and Rook gets him on the break or I leave at the break. It goes well. I’ve been doing it since he was 3. And you people without kids, I can hear your sarcasm about people who ruin your fancy dinner out with their illmannered brats. And I guarantee you that is not our Moomin. He sits quietly! Unfidgeting, even. In the back of the room on the floor with my laptop and headphones in, watching a video. FOR TWO HOURS. He spoke aloud, like, maybe 4 times the whole evening!

So, a couple of times his piping little voice did pipe up and he asked me for a juice box, and then at one point an hour in, he was making K’nex creatures with his knex thingies, which are tinkertoy-like objects, and he handed it to me and said that he wanted me to have it as a prize because I was so nice.

This earned me a dirty look from some freaking bitchwad 4 rows up. For god’s sake, that golden 10 seconds of poetry that was interrupted, fuckin’ ask them to repeat it. Because you know what? Without being interrupted once in a while by real life, what is your fucking poetry? Nothing!!! Oh my god! I would say 80% of the people in the room were beaming sweetly down upon Moomin and patting his head and wondering how it was possible. And people have often photographed him with the laptop and headphones surrounded by books in the corner saying that he is the beloved mascot, he is welcome, and what a good parent I am, etc. (Okay, I know that’s only because they think I’m 24 and a single mom, they make assumptions based on how I look.)

I blogged this a year or 2 ago when I was at an open mic at a cafe.. and this with people all around talking and chess games and … loud espresso machines … and MUSIC… and Merry-Mushya Casseroly gave me a giant pustulant snitfit about how it was Unfair of me to bring Moomin because he was Disruptive. Oh fuck her right up the earhole six ways! with one of those cast iron hedgehogs people use for bootscrapers! and call it a poem! It was a time when Moomin was being particularly good and actually, was listening and interested in the poems and was asking a question. Rook took him home 5 minutes later, anyway. And then to make it worse… I know I blogged this… Merry-Mushya talked loudly right behind me all the way through someone else’s poem! I had an epiphany at that moment that she was used to being the Youngest in a scene. You know what I’m talking about. She is the one who is the youngest, and can misbehave, and is all quirky or something, and gets attention for that, and she lost her shit that an Actual Child showed up.

But this time, I am even madder and more perturbed. Oof Certain, who is always a bit acid to me as if I annoy the living fuck out of her just by existing, was going last after like 35 readers. Unfortunately Moomin’s video ended at the 3rd to last poem and so I was shushing his definitely obvious interruption plus a bunch of sudden theatrical coughing, and I didn’t get to hear the woman who was reading at all as Moomin was, after his loud question and my shushing, whispering something complicated to me. (Whispering!) So, Oof, making rather a big deal out of how she must Go Last in the lineup, went around handing out slips of paper from a basket and told us all to read the slip of paper to the person next to us out loud, simultaneously. And as she gave me my slip of paper she said, “Do you THINK you you KEEP him QUIET during this please.” Meanly.

And so i figured after everyone did the reading-aloud — the room was loudly abuzz for the next few minutes — there must be some very serious solemn part mostly likely about the Disaster and so during the loud reading-aloud, I explained whispering to Moomin that it was important that he be totally silent. But then – that was it! There was no poem afterwards. I got the point of the slips of paper, which were printouts from the hurricane housing site or maybe Craigslist, of people offering to help, and that the point was about decentralized communication, that’s very lovely… got it… So I thought SURELY Oof must have been joking? Maybe it was sarcasm, a sort of backhanded compliment at how amazingly quiet he had been the last two hours? BUT NO. Because I went up to her and asked and she meant it and bitched at me that he was several times disruptive and distracting! I said I thought not, and people could repeat their line, and I had done my best. And why when other people were all simultaneously talking was it so important that he be silent?

Not to mention the rudeness to him as she said that thing about him being quiet to me right in front of him. (When she did I apologized and said that actually for me to leave at that point was louder and more difficult than staying as i would have to pack up a million k’nex, a laptop, and all those books. And she shushed me and went off.)

She can totally blow me! OMG what a bitter, nasty little wench! So, snarkily I will say to the world that her poetry (when it’s not snipped from craigslist) is what I think of as the product of competent writing that is clever but facile; in fact often over-clever and over-constructed. It’s witty but embarrassingly, even nauseatingly, limited, as if she never quit being a child prodigy or something, but you can’t make really good original poetry with mental tinkertoys… How self-righteous and self-important… Her poetry sucks … And by the way she’s a total cunt and so is Merry-Mushya!

I might add that I didn’t read anything myself since I forgot my printouts and tending Moomin as we came in, getting him settled, meant I was number 33 or something on the lineup, and I wasn’t going to unsettle him off the laptop so i could read off it at that late point. Hmmph.

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One Response to “Pissed off Poets”

  1. toobeaut

    > I had an epiphany at that moment that she was used to being
    > the Youngest in a scene. You know what I’m talking about. She
    > is the one who is the youngest, and can misbehave, and is all
    > quirky or something, and gets attention for that, and she lost
    > her shit that an Actual Child showed up.
    That’s hilarious — I know exactly what you mean. People who
    are the youngest sibling in their family (as I am) have a
    deep-seated sense that others will always tolerate their
    outbursts. It’s something I’ve had to learn in my own quest to
    grow up, but it’s always enlightening and sobering when someone
    else does it around me.

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