Two poems went up today at La Fovea, a nifty site with novel ideas about editorship, curating.
And no, I have no idea if the Tony in the 2nd poem is supposed to be me. There are plenty of Tonys out there.
I met Kristin one early afternoon. Memorial Day, to be exact. We were in a coffee shop across the street from a Circle-K and proceeded to have coffee for several hours. Until they kicked us out, in fact. I remember talking about poems and movies, mostly. Before we parted, she made sure to loan me copies of her CDs by Neutral Milk Hotel, M. Ward, and Bonnie "Prince" Billy.
It was still the first half of 2002 and people were still talking about 9/11 in hushed tones. I didn't know anyone with a blog and I'm not sure that iPhones or iPods even existed. The Willamette Valley was in the full-force thralls of pre-Summer, which meant humid sticky days followed by mornings and afternoons of temperamental showers, then clearing, then perfect spring afternoons. This particular Monday was overcast and muggy. Warm enough for iced tea but emotionally more suited to hot coffee in paper cups and useless stir-sticks. I had ducked into the shop because a) it was only a block from my uncomfortably large and mostly empty 2nd floor apartment in a "Historic House," and b) I needed a break from writing a paper that would, God willing, finally fully the requirements for my MA degree, by now about a half-year overdue. I'm pretty sure I was also under allergy attack and fairly hopped up on Real Suda-fed.
That year I lived with a hippie named Marty who was growing a 5 ft tall cannabis plant in our kitchen. Our kitchen with bay windows. No drapes. Me, I was of heavy body and sulky temperament. My face was bearded, I had thick black half-way down my back. I was hiding from something but didn't yet know what.
I don't think I ever figured it out, but I eventually came a bit out of my shell. That summer, Kristin and I wrote poems to each other at a furious pace, and emails even more quickly. By September I had a fully-formed book-length ms. of poems and more sadness than I had known in a very long time. By then, though, I had met Josh Edwards and we embarked on publishing a little start-up poetry journal that went on to do, I think, pretty great things. I soon began a poetry blog, and enjoyed a very tiny tiny perverse bit of internet "fame" as it were. I met some friends.
All that is far away now. I'm a different person. A smaller person in nearly every way. I don't know if I'll ever really "be a poet" again. I'm having a difficult enough time being a father, a brother, a son, a friend. I do thank Kristin, though, for the poems.