Anthony walked to the front and thanked everyone for coming, did a brief introduction of what was going to transpire and then welcomed Bill Friday to the stage. Bill talked for a minute, or two, because that’s what he does. Then he flipped through A Death on Skunk Street before settling in and sharing three of his poems.
At this point I should say, read this book, A Death on Skunk Street. You will find something you connect with in its poems. If you’ve been a father, a driver, a worker, an observer of life, you will read something within this collection and have a “Yes. This.” moment.
Bill finished with a bow, and Anthony returned to the front to make the next introduction. In his hand was a copy of The Erratic Sun (written by myself and my most trusted Knight of the Matticus Kingdom, Revis)…
I don’t do a lot of public speaking. I’m not sure I’ve ever read something I wrote in front of an audience. I was nervous. But, Anthony called my name and I walked to the front all the same.
I introduced the piece I was going to share with a bit of back story on why I had written it in the first place, what Ra had asked me to have ready for the event, and how I had managed to bring the two purposes together in my mind and then in the words on the papers I held. The pages shook slightly as I moved down the pages, mindful of the notes I’d made for myself, mindful of the eyes watching me and the ears listening, and mindful of the experiences and emotions that had crafted the words in the first place. It felt good to read. It felt good to have read, bowed, and relinquished the spotlight once again to Anthony.
Ra came forward next and spoke in her style of confident truths, of love for all things not because it is how we should live but because it is the only way she knows. She shared three poems from Sack Nasty. They were brave and powerful.
Again, at this point, I should say, read this book, Sack Nasty. It is full of truth, and love, and pain, and courage, and beauty, and all the frightfully wondrous things that make us human. You will learn something about the world. You will learn something about yourself.
Ra finished too soon. She has a charisma that takes hold and demands your attention, and once she has that you never want to relinquish it. She could talk about dust bunnies and her passion and choice of words would have you believe to your very core that nothing is more essential or beautiful. Until, that is, she takes a tangent and changes the subject before you realize the conversation has turned.
But, she exited and Anthony once again came to the front. This time he introduced the final speaker, Joseph Gardner. Joe is part of The Last Sunday, a monthly poetry reading event/group and he also shared three poems. Two were from a book he has already published, In the Shadow of the Bomb. The third was from a new collection of poems he is working on. All three resonated in his powerful voice and I, for one, am certainly going to be picking up a copy of his book as soon as I can.
After the readings, there was a short break for mingling, and then this bit of awesome happened:
To all those who attended, in person, online, in thought or spirit, thank you for the support. You are all amazing. You are all loved.