“The scene is memory and is therefore nonrealistc. Memory takes a lot of poetic license. It omits some details; others are exaggerated, according to the emotional value of the articles it touches, for memory is seated predominantly in the heart.”
~Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie
The day passed in a blur of pure sweetness and before we knew it, late afternoon arrived. We headed to T.W. Fest headquarters, to the fountain as instructed. We looked around us. Dressy/ Arts Casual was the dress code. We might have been a tad more dressy, less casual but better over than under.
That night’s volunteer’s were in for a treat. It was the opening Gala at Le Petite Theatre. The volunteer coordinator looked toward me and Breezy and said, “The two of you…I need you to go to One Eyed Jack’s for the Poetry Slam.”
I felt an amazing connection to Uncle Allen who nestled in the bag hanging from my shoulder.
As the volunteer group dispersed, we saw them– The Bad Influence and his wife. We took a step in their direction and she smiled the smile of recognition while his eyes sparkled with perpetual mischief. “Who’s having more fun now?” we asked them. “We are!” they answered in unison. We made the formal introductions that we forgot to make in Houston while we sipped Texas Water Coffee and they enjoyed margaritas. We let him know that we had been referring to him as The Bad Influence. He told us that we could call him B.I. for short. They were excited about the dinner party they were about to host at K Paul’s. We were excited about the Poetry Slam.
We headed back home to pass an extra 45 minutes. Just outside of the entrance, a frat boy spotted Breezy from his third floor balcony at Hotel St. Marie and shouted down, “Hey…I really need to share you with my penis.”
…followed by the somber, mumbled realization of, “oh….they live across the street.”
I had mercy on his pathetic soul and that young man is still alive today.
At One Eyed Jacks, the judges were chosen and we took our positions as time-keeper and score-keeper. What we couldn’t possibly know was that we were in for a huge treat. Sign-up is only as certain as a gamble. Those in charge hold their breath and hope for the best.
The best is what happened that night.
Chuck Perkins…a poet, a marine, a beautiful family man…an enigma…hosted the event.
The night was filled with incredible talent and a very appreciative audience.
He sealed the deal with his final round titled On Your Hands.
He made me fall in love with poetry when I wasn’t looking for something else to love.
Something beyond mere knowledge poured from the deep well of his soul–wisdom so profound it must have come from biochemical messages passed from mother’s milk at least two generations back–grandmother to mother, mother to son–then poured from his soul in beautiful words.
And in the end, he won.
He graciously posed with Uncle Allen, telling us, “I love Allen Ginsberg. I just read Howl the other day.”
We headed to Angeli for a late supper. We went home completely fulfilled–spirit, mind, body, and soul.
The nasty frat boy who had called down to Breezy from the third floor balcony at Hotel St. Marie earlier in the night was running the streets drinking beverages named after natural disasters and deadly weapons. We knew he’d wake up in complete, utter misery.
All was right with the world.
“I can’t stand a naked light bulb, any more than I can a rude remark or a vulgar action.”
(Center photos taken by Ride Hamilton).
(Top and bottom photos by Bry).