Why yes yes I do.
When a stranger asks to use your knife do you let him? He wanted to cut two new holes in his belt the better to hold his pants up with. He was doing ok but at one point slipped and cut his finger and I did not equip myself with bandaids for the ride so I could not help hime with that but at least his pants stayed up.
He handed me back my knife and I apologized for not having anything to help his finger stop bleeding. It wasn't bad, but it was definitely red, like blood is.
Then we all got on the bus and I got off at Gilman Street to walk down to the SPD warehouse and the first hurdle was introducing myself to the right party so that I would then be led to the Person in Charge of Poets not that we were all poets but I like the idea that someone might be in charge of us even though such a thing would never go over.
When I walked in the door a woman welcomed me and I said Hi I'm one of the readers and before I could say my name she said my name for me and I thought to myself oh my god I've become famous without having noticed! Seriously I have no idea how she knew who I was just by looking at me but given that I do not hide myself at all on the intarwebs it should not be so shocking I suppose. I am certain enough that she was not a former student that I don't feel I need to apologize just in case she was. Students always ring the former student bell. I might not know which class or even which school but I remember that they were students.
Probably because I spent most of every semester I ever taught in the sort of panic in which time slows down and everything about the scene is etched on your memorty forever. Except, apparently, which students I saw in which classrooms. So I guess that is not an accurate view of how I remember students but it is something like that so I am going to leave it that way.
My god it was a warehouse full of independently published books. And one of the first things they did before pointing towards where all the books were was to hand me a gift certificate as their appreciation for my willingness to stand on the stage and make a fool of myself so not only did I have a couple of bucks in my wallet but now I had a budget that had fairly doubled in size.
The cool thing was that the books were arranged by publisher or imprint. So there was no telling what you would find on any given shelf of which there were dozens floor to ceiling and although they have reprints of all the Re/Search issues and I was going to bring a couple home they are bigger than the bag I brought so I decided I would come home and order those online a little later and no I was not thinking of bringing the industrial culture handbook home because I am pretty sure I memorized that back in the day. I was going to bring one of the Zines! issues home for inspiration and also the Search and Destroy anthology but as I said bigger than bag and raining outside so mail later or perhaps an expedition to the East Bay on a sunnier day and/or with the largest bag.
I found instead some poetry by people I knew and did not know and a book about the Muscogee Creeks who were some of the people living in Georgia who were sent out to Oklahoma under Andrew Jackson's administration and thus erased from Georgia history fairly effectively and so I know very little about how they lived and adapted to the Deep South's becoming the Deep South and then to a place with less rain but yet more tornadoes.
I had to put back an anthology of theater pieces by poets but I will get that one later too. Really it was very hard not to set up camp back there. Imagine a warehouse full of brand new books representing the cutting edge of publishing. Suddenly my own stacks of books seemed pitifully inadequate to the task of what needs still to be written.
And now I am going to read. I hope not to fall asleep immediately.
It was raining on the way back and the bus to BART was full of interesting people like most city buses but they do their seats over there even weirder than we do them over here. Most of the seats in the front of the bus faced backwards. Why? Why would you want to sit in the front of the bus facing backwards? I found a seat that was very low that made me feel like I was five, stretching up to peer out the window to see where we were.
Oh the reading itself was fine. People were friendly and seemed to enjoy what I read and the other readers were very interesting and it was all so nice with everyone being so nice. I wouldn't mind doing that about once a week, if everyone could always be that nice.