Roy Anthony Shabla was elsewhere. But Eric Lawson was very much there. Dude, Eric Lawson got there at, like, Tuesday o’clock in October, he got there so early. Also there were host John Brantingham, his super wife Ann, lLöyd Aquiño™, Michaelsun Knapp, Michael Torres, Natalie Morales, Alexander Vogel, Luke Salazar, Marta Chausée, Kevin Ridgeway, Jason Brolliar, and John’s former RA Deron Grams, from England back in 1991. I don’t know how they found that last guy.
- Michaelsun started the open reading with a poem about his Irish or Irish-American grandmother. I forgot to pay close attention when he mentioned the title, so I just wrote down “[something something] Wild Irish Rose.” The poem involved Mikey periodically singing. He also read “Cartographer.”
- Alexander Vogel Alexander-Vogeled an Alexander Vogel from an Alexander Vogel of Alexander Vogels: “#12.” It was Alexandervogelacious. He also read “Hardcover Paperback” and Gordon Lish’s “How to Write a Poem.”
- I read “Operation: Overshare” and “Amity,” receiving a healthy response.
- Luke Salazar began with a poem I think is titled “Trash Digger.” Then came “To the Curb” and “Word for Windows Saved My Life.”
- After a brief announcement by John Brantingham about the upcoming (February 2013) San Gabriel Valley Literary Festival in West Covina and its audio-chapbook fundraiser, lLöyd Aquiño™ read one of his favorite poems that he hasn’t published, “A Boy Imagines Himself.” The Valentine’s Day-themed “Candy-Coated Hate” and “Solitary Dance” followed.
- Eric Lawson read “Residual Breeze from a Passing 747,”“Stunt Buffalo,” and “Hot Mess in a Cow Costume,” a true story about a very drunk woman in a cow costume.
- Kevin Ridgeway read “Comparing Imaginary Hit Men,” a poem from his new chapbook Burn Through Today. He also read “Sunday School Blues” and “Creepy Dolls.”
- Denise Weuve read “Chiwa Master the Palm Reader” (I hope I got the title right.), “Little Fifteen,” and “Iscariot.”
- Michael Torres read “The Coltrain” and “Remember Me Like This.” He had copies of his chapbook to sell, too.
- Natalie Morales read “My Mother’s Advice” and a poem describing a song she’d heard.
Adrienne Silva was the first feature. It was her first time as a featured reader and she acquitted herself quite well, despite the anxiety. Her set went as follows:
- “White Boi.”
- “A Slice of You.”
- “Broken Neck”
- “Paint,” which she dedicated to Mikey and lLöyd
- “If There’s Any Love in Me, Don’t Let It Show,” titled after lyrics from Noah and the Whale’s “Shape of My Heart”
- a piece that began “No man can serve two masters…” and was based on something her father tried to teach her
- a fifth-grade journal excerpt
- another fifth-grade journal excerpt
- “At the House of Plenty”
- a song, complete with guitar: “Sixteen to Nineteen”
Next up was G. Murray Thomas, whose first feature it was not. His set had a very cool feel-good energy augmented by haiku scrumptious lysergic acid (in the poems, not the poet):
- “My Typewriter Has Not Healed Yet,” inspired by a conversation about a tattoo
- “Life Is So Much Easier Now That I No Longer Know Everything”
- “Prejudice,” inspired by a true story about an open-mic he attended
- a piece that begins “In India, drunken monkeys have taken over an old plantation…”
- Someone next to me uttered something, so I missed hearing its title, but the next piece was about a trip Murray took twenty years ago.
- “Coyote on Acid” for his friend John Gardiner
- his friend Tom Foster’s “Why I Don’t Take Acid Anymore”
- “Butterflies and Bridges” about quantum mechanics, and probably acid
- “Dolls on Drugs,” definitely about acid
- a poem about recycling”
- “The Last Call Haiku”
- “The Morning After”
After the reading came the nominations for next month’s feature. Various people spoke up for lLöyd, Luke, and me. But I just featured last month and didn’t want to be greedy, so I demurred. Natalie Morales then became the third nominee. During a grueling session of rock-paper-scissors, lLöyd took out his competition and won the crown for March. Le roi est mort; vive le roi!