What is a quest if the players ain’t willing?

Litcrawl at New College
Originally uploaded by Steve Rhodes

I am trying to figure out why my nervousness has been progressively increasing in my last three readings. This last reading had my voice so shook that it was pretty apparent to the audience that I was not comfortable up there.

Not that I don’t get nervous before and during a reading but I can usually transform that energy into something positive and feel real good about presenting the work in a style that befits it. Lately though, my voice is shaking and I am tripping over my tongue which means the work is not getting out there properly. And that’s a shame since I think I am writing some real strong poems right now.

Ok, nuff of the negativity. The positives are that the poems are pretty strong and while they may not be getting 100% stage love, they are getting some good publication love as first three poems of the set will be coming out soon in OCHO. Askin is over at spindle and I am on a mission to make sure the lone orphan poems gets to find a home.

Since I was short on time – five minutes was the alloted time – I went with a quote instead of a cover poem and also went through this with no banter whatsoever and this reading may also signal the end of the No-Banter experiment as I have proved that I can do it but have also found that I might be willing to cut short a poem in favor of some dialogue with the audience.

Despite my nervousness, the set went well. Got to the Mission on time, found the venue, settled in and then got to see the place get packed quick. I went up first and here is that breakdown.


“This is the city, and I am one of the citizens/Whatever interests the rest interests me” — Walt Whitman

• Psalm for Anywhere Avenue

• Sepia

• Sonnet for the Lexington Avenue Express—Mt Eden Ave Stop

• Political Theory

• I’m Jus Askin

Quick side note: Political Theory is the new title for my We poem and I think the title might just stick.

Also on the plus side, the crowd was very attentive and invested in listening to the writing which was a pleasant surprise since this is advertised as a literary bar crawl and the threat of someone walking out in the middle of a piece or randomly sticking their head in and declare “Where’s the beer?” is a real possibility. Luckily, this didn’t happen.

Afterwards, we went and hit the Mission Laundromat to support Tea Party, Craig Perez and Claire Light. I will say that I was very much looking forward to hearing lit inside a laundromat. I’m not quite sure why, but I was. What I was not ready for was pumping techno blaring over the laundromat loudspeakers and no sound system set up to compensate for that. Which meant hearing some pretty good to real damn good fiction to the sounds of Blondie and The Gorillaz. Yeah, ain’t we lucky.

Despite the less than optimal conditions Craig and Claire were awesome and so Lit Crawl ends with a bang plus some good post-reading food and the sounds of Hall & Oates’ “I Cant Go For That” blaring on the corner of 19th & Mission.

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