A Night in Busy Town

From L to R: Andrea Cohen, Me, Chloe Garcia-Roberts, & Kevin Barents

What a great time in Cambridge last night! We made good driving time, and met up with my brother, Ed, who got to experience his very first poetry reading (and I’m pretty sure was not scarred for life by it, or at least not in a bad way). It was the perfect introduction, actually. Kevin Barents began us off, and he had a wonderfully animated style that really carried us into his persona poems, and then Chloe Garcia-Roberts read. She has a soft, inflective voice which my husband compared to eating chocolate flowers. To which I’d add chocolate flowers whose centers hide little frosted barbs. I read last; the audience was very responsive and attentive and friendly — many came up afterwards to tell me how much they enjoyed my poems, which is the best, these off-the-cuff and honest reactions.

The reading was followed by mochas and long-overdue conversation with a dear college friend (thank you, Facebook!) who missed the reading but caught up with us after. Nothing could have closed my evening better.

I’m looking forward to reading more of Kevin’s & Chloe’s work out there in po-world — big thanks again to the multi-talented  Andrea Cohen, director of the Blacksmith House Poetry Series, for the invitation and getting me out into the big city, or, as Vincent would say, Busy Town. Oh so tired today, but still smiling.

[Oh, and tremendous gratitude to stepson Cassidy, who graciously fell on his sword & babysat the 8 hours we were gone. He had a hard night, poor guy.]

Wood Smoke & S’mores…& Frog Legs.

My brother took our nephew camping not too far from Shelburne Falls this weekend, to a campground where we spent most of the summers of our childhood, so we went to visit them on Saturday.

Vincent went out on a canoe, splashed around in the lake, toasted marshmallows for s’mores (which he then spit out, deciding he prefers the ingredients individually, leaving me to eat the remaining s’mores alone, alas), watched fireworks, and ran his little legs off.

The boy was literally unspeakably exhausted by the end of the night: when he tried to tell me something as we were driving away, his words came out garbled.  He was asleep before we turned onto the road.

The day was a wind-swept sunny gift.

I reconnected with one of my oldest friends (and Vincent made a new friend in her sweet-hearted daughter).  We had lost touch when our lives flowed down separate streams.  Well, my life flowed.  Hers was always more akin to whitewater rafting.  But now, a confluence, an even keel.  Our re-meeting was perfectly timed.

Lance finagled a few stories from her about our youth — old friends seem to be an endless repository of memories you’ve forgotten, or wished to forget — and it reminded him of his own boyhood summers.  S’mores did not figure.

His family stayed in a cabin off the coast of New Hampshire, or Maine, [Note: in a cabin on an island in a lake in Maine.  “Off the coast? There aren’t any frogs in the ocean, Sweetie.”  Details, details.] and his father hunted frogs with a bb gun.  But the frogs sank.  Ever resourceful, his father then began to shoot the frogs with darts devised of bicycle spokes on a wire, which he pulled in.

Then he sat at the end of the dock and cut the legs from his bucketful of frogs for that night’s dinner.

Little Lance wouldn’t go near them.

He didn’t want to go near that dock, scene of the carnage, ever again either.

I guess it depends on where you stand in life whether you find this story horrifying or hilarious.  It reminds me of “The Triplets of Belleville”, whose plot also features bicycles and frogs.  In a word, hilarious.