Of Poetry & Prose, and Then What Ever It Is I Do Pt. 6
May 31, 2012
Okay, alright so its been a couple of days since I had enough time to devote a few hours to a-writin’ more of these poeographical posts…and I know I have been bitchin here or there but I am glad to get a chance not only to share this with others….but in some ways share it with myself. ‘Cause ya see, I mean I don’t know how other peoples brains work, hell I can barely figure out my own damn brain, but writing these posts I have discovered that I not only have a habit of ‘forgetting ‘ my distant tumultuos childhood, but that even (many of my) more recent memory files are stored in dusty. rusty file cabinets in rarely visited. poorly lit. tiny rooms. buried deep in the basement of my psyche. So it is good fer me to once in awhile to grab a flashlight and head down there and poke around, I mean I usually am not going to do it on my own, lol, I have to be prompted, I mean need a reason (shit it’s scary down there) but am always happy(ier?) after making the grimy trek (even if I bitch a little on my way down and up the stairs lol) so thanks BB, for the original question, and thanks to all the others who have enjoyed this…madness and followed along on this journey…
A quick clarification though, or affirmation, or (well I could spend minutes doin that) what I mean though is that this ability to be so ocd regarding taking apart and evaluating and analyzing my own behaviors, (the same way I do with everyone oh my Cats & Kittens) to be brutally honest (with myself anyway)in my evaluations of the “hows” , “whys” and “therefores” of the things I do is just something that comes as naturally to me as does say public speaking (at least as early as I can remember) and fer years of course I thought everyone was this way (just as people who are responsible and pay bills on time can’t imagine how others just can’t do the same) we all have strengths, this just happens to be one of mine, and yes, it would have made me a great Psychologist (or etc [and yes I came close(though I may have mentioned that before)]…oh it is to laugh), well maybe next I will write a two part (that ends up being six part)post about my edugraphical history…but
In the early 90′s I am now a Dad again (my first son is what…mmm…thirty two and an artist living on the East Coast [and I was never much of a dad fer him] but lets not get sidetracked with my failings as a parent)…
Fer now though, I am house-husbanding two growing toddlers, living with (though not yet officially unofficially[due to SSI/SDI restrictions] married) their mom, and doin my best to figure out a way to provide by doin the only thing I really felt I was good at…writing down the crazy stuff in my head and then goin out and reading that stuff in front of people.
Again two things, first I’m not saying my poetry was the best being performed, or that two, I knew that I would be as popular as I was…it just turned out people liked it and I was popular(years later of course in Toastmasters, I learned that there’s just something about me[I know that this sounds egotistical...I don't care...it's a fact] people just like to listen to me talk [my dad was the same way])
So see, though a lot of poets regularly mocked not only my words but my performance…regular people loved me (amazingly enough regular people have money to buy cheap poetry books[where as poets are usually too poor]). So I was not only more popular with coffee house, book store and bar patrons than some of the more serious(pretentious?), deep(full of shit?), “arteests” (full of shit pretentiousness?[sorry lol only havin fun]), but when our books were on the table my $5 buck or less book prices(I made my first books on my mac 512k, sold ‘em fer a buc a piece and made hundreds of dollars lol)always far outsold their fancy $20, $25 or higher books
Okay and so f-ing anyway (on track, on track). Early 90′s reading everywhere, been published in a number of raggedy anthologies and ‘zines, self published two chapbooks, two more get published by raggedy presses. I am featured a lot, and very popular with the audience. During this times a lot of just people (as distinguished from other poets or weirdo artists types) attended readings(maybe this is still the case outside of where I live…lol). Anyway the scene is set for…the rest of the story
The first poet that I really hooked up with and started doing collaborative work was Gary Tomlinson (God rest his soul) “Big Daddy”. We started going to readings together but much more…Gary played the dulcimer, but he had taught himself to play it, so his style was a little unusual(very asian or middle eastern sounding [in my memory]). We wrote some rockin good pieces together, performed many of my pieces to music (including a crazy semi con [we claimed we were a band and then day of the event said our drummer couldn't show] to get $150 a piece for a half hour ‘lunch’ show at UCI)…so much more craziness, oh I love the guy.
One of the other more popular poets at all the readings we attended was Tom Rush (also a student of Mallorinski, so we knew each other outside of coffee houses and restaurant bars). Tom wrote long depressing poetry, and (hopefully hes still alive and doing well)kind’a always looked down his nose at my…so called poetry…l and his fabulous o l’s my friends, of course structurally, strictly from a craft stand point he certainly comes from a position of strength, his poems being veritable masterpieces of poetic craftsmanship…and I’m sure it drove him crazy after pouring out his soul for five minutes about the desolate condition of man and the downfall of human nature in this post “flower power” world in the most darkly beautiful manner to light but well received applause, only to be followed by me getting up and stomping around ranting nearly unpoetically about my not taking acid anymore and nearly bring the house down in applause. I couldn’t help it. But Tom you were of course right, you are much better poet than I. So where ever ya’ are God bless ya.
Last but not least of course was G. Murray Thomas, if ya want to know a clearer, different version of many of these events, he in many ways would be the guy to roll with. G. Murray was much more intimately involved in all aspects of the spoken word and poetry world (not only in So Cal but world wide) than I could ever hope to be. Though our humor was closely related, and in some ways our approach to writing performance poetry was similar, G. Murray was the Michael Nesmith of our group, while I was more like (and still am in many ways) like Charlie on “Always Sunny”…the wild card. Fer Instance, see we all ended up one night reading together at Jams (and the thing about Jams is there was a lot of pre and post partying going on in the back alleyway) and we all started bullshitting and we decided to read together again (of course I’m sure that I was the driving force behind this idea[I wanted to do many multi-discipline projects] and am about 90% certain I was the one to come up with the 4 Tom’s ['cause that's how my brain works) just as I came up with the idea of "Big Daddy & Psycho Boy's readings"...but of course I'm getting distracted...and in the long run I honestly don't the f remember.
The point is the 4 Tom’s were born, out of the 4 Tom’s came “Next” magazine(we had regular brainstorming sessions[drinking and smoking and madness] I had wanted to start a zine, write an advice column, faux monthly astrology predictions etc. and brought it up. Weeks later G. Murray showed up with a mock up of his own version, “Next” a much better idea than the one I had and I thank him fer letting me not only write under a couple different pseudonyms, but hone my editing chops and learn how to meet deadlines..[Jesus am I still in parenthesis])…
Any the fuck way, we were reading together here and there, as well as individually, but even if one of us was featured another one or two of us might show up to help rock the house. The greatest thing was , especially once “Next” took off, was going to readings and hear people whispering about you when you came in…”They’re both in the 4 Tom’s” or “Hey those guy’s write for Next” or of course my favorite was “Isn’t that Psycho Boy?” very heady stuff lol…
So the 4 Tom’s were rockin, “Next” Magazine was rolling, Orange Ocean Press, run by G Murray, offered to publish my next chapbook “Homeless to Househusband” (which was a big deal even though we were also friends [I was the only other Tom he published at the time]). I felt it was a culminative work, and was proud of it, and happy that it was so well received. It wasn’t long after that I turned it into a one man “Poetry Play” the first of it’s kind (if I’m mistaken fergive me)that I’d heard of (though I know a couple other “big name poets” did it after me)….
Okay and alright, so then we get to slams, 1994 and my big crash and burn and escape to the frozen north…but, and oh it is to laugh Cat’s & Kittens, I’m well over a thousand words, so we’ll have to table that till Pt. 7…but I will get to it, as well as my poetry story in the So Dak (hosting Slams at Jazz fest, Mayor’s award, etc) Plus there’s the “What Ever it is I Do Here” aspect of the title and I do wanna get to that (how to her dismay and horror Lil Mouse spawned the parenthesis[...and elippsis can't ferget those] that occasionally pop up in my posts) and how my edits always cut 200 words while adding 500 more…oh it is to f-ing laugh, I mean I know I am, I can only hope that you are too