A four-hour drive to New Orleans in which I caught up on Ezra Klein's podcast and revved myself with excess configurations of Lady Gaga and Slackwax.
Thanks to Maureen "Wonderful" Thorson, I got to sleep in an Airbnb filled with female poets and located blocks away from the New Orleans Poetry Festival's location.
After the drive, wandering those blocks between building, getting a little lost, retracing steps, agreeing to lose a little more.
Reprieve from the sustained visual banality of the interstate.
Then discovering amazing publications by Tinfish Press and others at the book fair.
Can I pause for a second and plug the magnificence of Timothy Dyke's Atoms of Muses? Incredible book.
....and hearing the incredible poetry performance of A Scribe Called Quess.
Being blown away.
Tweeting as much.
Buying a book. Asking him to enscribe it for Max, my teenage son.
Asking him to speak through the anger Trump has unleashed into our lives.
Being blown away again. Blown and blowing.
Running into Brooke Champagne on her home turf.
Vaguely discussing French politics.
Wandering again. Eating soup from the co-op.
Pausing to hear open mike performances made possible by Dusie Press.
Coveting babies slung on hips, babies in strollers, babies making the poetry festival rounds with their mothers.
Feeling less awkward while eating.
Feeling perpetually awkward and too self-conscious to write it. Around writers.
Remembering the only other time I visited New Orleans was with my mother. Her joy all over the place. Her joy oozing from banjos and street speakers.
Drinking a Trappist beer alone near the waterfront at sunset. Vowing to be social. Failing.
Finding out that every bookstore in New Orleans closes at 5:30 pm!
Drinking another beer. Calling it even.
Watching kids do P.E.-like things in a dirt courtyard. Wondering why.
About all of it.
Putting on deodorant.
Putting on my mother's special necklace from Taos.
Deciding what to read while sitting at a table with Maureen, Jessica, and Michelle. Being grateful.
Being grateful again for the beautiful mammals from Negative Capability Press.
Missing the presence of Sue Brannan Walker.
Eating alligator cheesecake.
Meeting Carlos Matos, poet pugilist.
Meeting so many incredible poets whose work inspires and provokes me.
Jessica Smith's enchanted Coven Press hosted a two-hour reading on Friday, and Claire Trevien (fuck typepad's lack of accent marks) was amazing enough to record it for Sabotage Review.
At which point she is grateful to the audience that remains at the end of the 2-hour reading marathon.
I read bits and pieces from a forthcoming prose poetry collection, Stories to Read Aloud to Your Fetus, set to be published by Finishing Line Press in September 2017, and felt generally drained by my own lukewarm performance. On the other hand, I was invigorated by readings from Heidi Lynn Staples, Vane Pacheco, Lisa Samuels, Ginger Ko, Maureen Thorson, and Michelle Detorie.