Apparently some of us were never born to be poets with green hair at eighty five, but we can still appreciate those who are. Thursday Jerry and I went to the Third Thursday poetry open mike at Pt. Arena featuring poet, ruth weiss. She is an eighty five year old beat poet who frequented the poetry circuit with Jack Kerouac, Alan Ginsberg and the like. She is still going strong with hair the color of her eyes.
The evening featured some random recitations by local poets, some of which contained some terrific imagery. The ex (re-called) Mayor of Pt. Arena, (she of the mermaids on her house,) did a lengthy poem entirely about brassieres. Our favorite poet turned out to be a schlubby looking guy in suspenders who was last seen unloading our donated goods at Pay n Take. I assumed he was a farmer down on his luck, which he may well be, but his words were magical.
I enjoyed a lengthy conversation with ruth’s accompanist, Hal Davis. He told me of their trips back to Vienna and Berlin, from which she escaped in the 30s, and how he had crafted his special companion drum from a log he found in the forest that seemed to call his name. His chief job seemed to be tending her beer and pimping her poetry books.
In this link you can see him accompanying her on his log drum and hear her read some of her work.
The evening reminded me of the evening my sister, Nancy, and I spent in Glasgow (our first night in Scotland), attending an open mike poetry festival frequented primarily, we concluded, by poets that had recently been released from insane asylums. Ah, but the stories they generate…
This week marks our halfway through the summer milestone. I made a note to myself, “how are you doing on your goals?” The answer is resounding silence.