I hope to God "Mia" has come into its own and last night wasn't some kind of a fluke because last night was one of the rockin'est nights of poetry I've heard. Anyone who wasn't there missed a damn good reading.
I came in about 40 minutes late to a standing-room only house -- it was as full as I've ever seen "Mia" -- and the night just rocked.
The open mic was great -- not uniformly great, but the average was quite a bit higher than I've been used to at "Mia" (or most other places). Frankie Drayus of LitRave read a very strong piece that includes a quote from Raymond Chandler that's one of my favorite lines about Los Angeles:
There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen.
She read it Thursday night at the Autry and I liked it even more this time -- one sign of a good poem is that you hear new things every time you listen to it.
Adam Cowis read a piece I heard him read on Friday, and on second hearing on that one as well I heard new and neat things I had missed previously.
Charlotte did a great piece on motherhood and her daughter, Mia. ("Mia" in quotes: poetry reading. Mia without quotes: Charlotte's daughter. Both produced by Charlotte.)
Maitreyana read and (as usual) was excellent. She'll be featured at "Mia' next Saturday, and I'll definitely be there.
Finally we come to Reverend Dave, the feature. I've heard Dave read three or four other times, and he's always been good, but last night he set the place on fire. With a style and a tenor ranging from preaching to pleading and everything in between, he really captured the audience and didn't let them go until he was finished. Dave got the warmest closing applause I've ever heard an audience give a poet.
I read a new piece (first time anywhere) that doesn't as yet have a title (a series of anecdotes on the theme of bribing Mexican cops) that went over really well. I got a lot of positive feedback on it. That was really welcome, as it was a piece I wasn't entirely sure about. Although I know that I have more work to do on it, I'm sure now that it will end up a good piece -- a great feeling. I was pleased with my performance as well -- not overacting, not speed-reading through it, just reading it and feeling it as I read it.
All in all it was a tremendous night of poetry. In fact, the last three days have been some kind of "harmonic convergence" of good poetry, starting with Thursday night at the Autry, continuing Friday night with the weekly poetry part at Rev. Dave's, (more about that in a sec) and last night with "Mia." I keep thinking I must have done something really cool in the last few months to have built up my Karma -- this was the kind of poetry week you rarely are privileged to witness.
Friday night I couldn't decide whether to go to Rapp Saloon or Midnight Special, and ended up getting an emergency service call from an animation company on a deadline and going to neither. I got freed up around 11 and went over to Rev. Dave's weekly after-reading poetry reading at his apartment overlooking the Santa Monica Pier. It was a strange night, with almost as much chatting as poetry, and some pretty damn oddball stories from some of the people in attendence. What poetry we did read was on fire. I'm afraid all the details have been pushed from my mind by last night's "Mia," but I remember walking out of there feeling blessed.
After "Mia" on Saturday we went back to Dave's again for a combined poetry reading / birthday party for Dave and a friend of his, Aeyla. The highlight of the party was Dave very gracefully losing control of the birthday cake and sending it in an arc ending upside down on my shoe. Gotta be the longest sustained group laugh I've had in a while. (A great feeling.) Michelle, the co-host of "Mia," cleaned my shoe and pants leg off, for which I will be eternally grateful. (She had to use a spoon to scrape the worst off.) There was no one highlight to the reading, although a poet I've never heard before read a piece that was masterful both in performance and in finely crafted words. (That was Christmas, who inexplicably attends readings all the time and never shares her work.) The night in general was very strong, and we were all still floating when the night broke up just before 3am.
At the two readings at Dave's this weekend, I read some combination of the following: "The God Man Says," "Dem Bones," "Palenque," "I Write," "The Sky Is Clear," and "Practice."