putting your money where your poetry is

if you have been checking the ‘upcoming events’ box then you know i went to exoterica last night. exoterica is the name of rick pernod & elizabeth bassford’s reading series. i’ve heard about it for a while and have been meaning to check it out.

one of the reasons i wanted to check it out is because it is in the bronx, well, not really. it’s in riverdale which is like a piece of suburbia transplanted into the north bronx.

the journey begins with me and fish driving through some seven-figure neighborhood and accidentally coming up someone’s high driveway and inquiring if their home is the community center. (that’s how big this house is) it’s not and the lady was equal parts friendly and cautious, good to know that she has some bronx in her, and points us in the right direction.

the center that exoterica uses is DOPE! straight out beautiful, add some candles and the thermostat set on high and you have an incredibly cozy setting for poetry. the reading went well for ‘off the cuffs’, a poetry anthology filled with work form cops, perpetrators and onlookers that comment on/for/against the police. an ambitious project and I commend jackie sheeler, the editor, for getting it together. after the reading we had a brief break and then the open mic. fish and i represented and did well, made some new friends and promoted Acentos.

while still on a poetry high, we decide to hit kay’ kafe in the bronx. the south bronx. no suburbia here. kay’s is run by ebony washington, who also hosts the barnes&noble reading in the bronx. ebony has always been warm and receptive to both me and fish. we get there and see ebony, r l the gifted one, nocturnal roots and some other cats who I don’t know. just like exoterica, we chill for their reading, hit the open, promote and bounce.

the only regret of the night is that there aren’t enough hours in the night to check out the semi-final slam at urbana, which promised to be kick ass.

Author: Oscar Bermeo

Born in Ecuador and raised in the Bronx, Oscar Bermeo is the author of the chapbooks Anywhere Avenue, Palimpsest, Heaven Below, and To the Break of Dawn. He lives and works in Oakland, CA.

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