On Friday, January 20, 2017, I witnessed what will from here on out be known as a National Day of Patriotic Resistance, or, a poetry reading.
All throughout last Friday, I would peek at social media (I have to be on the Twitter and the Facebook for my job), observe the juxtaposition of the incoming/outgoing administrations, and then jump off again. Luckily, in the afternoon I was required to journey to the Bronx for work, which thoroughly distracted me for the afternoon. Then, when 5:00 rolled around, I traveled to Lower Manhattan to be among the poets.
When my friend, poet Jen Fitzgerald and other New York poet Terence Degnan announced a Day 1 poetry reading for the night of the inauguration, I knew that I would definitely be there. Poetry is the most honest of writing forms: Poets, I think, leave less of a barrier between themselves and the reader. Or maybe the poets that I like the most strive to create a communion between themselves and the reader. The effect that this communion has on an audience replenishes my own writing soul; the poetry reading that unfolded last Friday was, as Jen said, truly magical.
The co-hosts, both writing teachers and published poets, had arranged a lineup of all New York-based poets and visual artists. Each borough was represented and Jen and Terence provided a few open mic slots for audience members who felt the need to speak. These thoughtful co-hosts also provided flasks of whiskey (of two varieties) to ease any spiritual anguish.
You can flip through the slideshow below to see a few snaps of these incredible poets, along with a quote or detail that moved me.
Afterwards, back on the slope of Green-Wood Cemetery, where I live, I grabbed a few essentials (chips and beer) for home-front consolations. My husband was around. After a while, I picked up the guitar and jammed out songs about survival, songs about losers getting lucking sometimes, songs about going back to the wild, and songs about working class heroes. Maybe my voice was a little frayed, but he bobbed his head along approvingly.
In the morning, we marched together.