Sunday, October 01, 2006

Dodge 2006

Finally after all these years I got the chance to attend the Dodge Poetry Festival. I left Atlantic City at 3 Am Friday morning on my way to NYC, where I changed buses at Port Authority and caught an express bus to the DPF. I got there around 9:30 am on Friday and went straight to the Border's tent. I was browsing the books and came across Ross Gay's "Against Which". I had never me the brother, never heard him read and had only read one or two of his pieces before. I gave his book my personal litmus test, which is to read the first and last poems in the book. The first poem was so good I decided to buy the book right away, $120 later i wobbled out of the tent looking for something to eat. Went past the main tent where Jorie Graham was droning on about hedgehogs? (actually 'Hedgerows") The first panel I attended was Sekou Sundiata, he read some new poems and talked a little about his process, good poems good talk. Next up was the CC panel, it was lively whith Terrance playing a little of a Devil's Advocate role. The Q + A session afterwards was dominated by a woman who was obsessed with the idea that only people with Masters Degrees got accepted into CC. She refused to be convinced otherwise despite several testamonials from CCers in the audience. The high points of the whole Ferstival for me was dinner Saturday night at Applebees with 14 other CCers. Kamilah Aisha Moon was nice enough to give me and Aracelis Girmay a ride out there and back. While waiting for our food the three of us composed a group poem which follows:


Is it true that Shiraz is Arabic for Cabernet,
is it true that rain falls down, my heart,
is it true that words have crushes on each other,
is it true that the moon is the bottom of God's spoon,
is it true that fog rides the hill like a horse,
is it true that bluejays gossip in the trees,
is it true that poets crack questions like sunflower seeds,
is it true that the one I love sweetalked honey from the bees,
is it true that a cab will carry you through tunnel vision
to a field of ghosts pushing back into home.

This was followed by the 15 CCers in attendance writing a group poem on a piece of paper we passed around the bar.


I have heard that dactyls dance like daffodils in a downpour,
the heart jerks jackals from the jukebox,
sinners sing the prettiest in church,
true love is the only myth we desire,
when the heart sings the eyes must close,
children ease away then come barrelling back,
the end times come only when we let them.
I have heard there is nothing to wait for, no permission to give or get,
the dead do rise to greet us in the great beyond,
our living swims around our heads like heat,
outside that window, other windows . . .
words are savages ripping meaning from this world,
inside poems, writers live lifetimes of bliss and grief.
I have heard it is true to listen to the fluttering steps
into the sound of speech when silent walls might pinch,
the things we must do call to us,
begging crisp relief in a sudden summer storm.

Pretty cool, Huh?