Last night was Stone Soup's tribute reading for Walter Howard, organized by Joan Kimball, who along with Debra Martin put together Walter's posthumous collection, Reflections in Moonlight. The poem I came up with last night was compiled from both the selection of Walter's poem read by the speakers and the small open mic that followed afterward.
I was suffering from a head cold last night, so I wasn't up to my usual standards. I took almost no pictures and no notes from the event. I was able to take videos of each reader (which helped enormously for the writing of this piece), but sadly the videos were riddled with sounds of me breathing erratically, coughing and unwrapping lozenges.
In a lot of ways, it was a more ephemeral experience than poetry readings normally already are, which is what Walter probably would have liked. He defied posterity, which is why I'm glad we have people like Joan and Debra to give Walter's poetry the respect and the opportunity to be read that it always deserved. Let this poem be my own overdue tribute to his life and work.
Where We'll Gather Again
Meet me at the sidewalk cafe
that all the hipsters shun,
where the roses unironically wait
to be placed as a crown
for your favorite cousin
or a wreath to throw dcown
by the latest fallen poet.
We can come together
before another Russian winter
invades our hard won spring
to cover the trampling tracks
of terrible trendy feet
that barely miss their mark.
While the coast is clear,
we can translate the last
words of the crushed, left behind
as unintelligible tongue speak.
Later on, Mr. and Mrs. Moon
can quarrel over coffee
over which of them attracts
more unwanted attention
from anthropomorphic-starved acolytes.
Let them reach Mount Katahdin heights
of tension, until Deacon Blackbird
serves the final soothing brew
of last rites and well wishes
while he withholds his ever-present plea
for us to never leave.
|Joan Kimball's program for last night.|
|The short open mic list. Walter would have wnated an open mic.|
Special thanks to Cheryl Perreault, Regie O'Hare gibson, Steve Glines, David Miller, Joan Kimball Sandra Storey, Nancy Messom and Beatrice Greene.