Tuesday, February 01, 2011

"I have been intimate with fish."

No. Not I. Joe Rosenblatt. At least, that's what he said last night at WordStorm in Nanaimo -- and who am I to argue? He certainly got my attention.

Yesterday was to have been a day off -- my Saturday, as it were -- but I ended up working for four hours anyway, then zipping straight down to Acme Foods for WordStorm. I had been looking forward to it for weeks, and nothing was going to keep me away. I ordered and ate dinner, then went downstairs to take one of maybe three chairs that remained empty -- and those were extra straight-backed chairs that someone had brought down from the restaurant to contain the overflow audience. In the end, some people listened to the evening's performances from the stairway. That was a treat in itself, to see a "standing room only" crowd for a poetry reading.

Joe wasn't the first reader of the evening. First there came eight poets/writers who read short samples of their work (as I did a few months ago) -- then the Lightning Readers came forward, more experienced, published folk all -- to entertain us. Kamal Parmar read from her new book of poetry, Fleeting Shadows. Kevin Roberts read from his novel, She'll Be Right.

The surprise treat of the night was a performance by Kendall Patrick, a singer-songwriter from Ladysmith, B.C. (just down the road a piece), and her friend Alex, who sang one of her own compositions as well. Alex never told us her last name, so I'm afraid I have no way of linking to her work. I understand that Kendall and Alex have a new CD coming out, entitled "See It Coming."

But I digress. Joe Rosenblatt. Delightful man that he is, he offered me his French fries at dinner. I declined, but it made me fond of him even before he started his performance. As I said, he started by saying "I have been intimate with fish," and proceeded to float from poem to poem, story to story, explaining along the way that you touch a fish when you take him out of the net, then you club him to death, then -- intimacy of all intimacies -- you eat him. He had his audience in the palm of his hand. From time to time I jotted down a line that struck me -- "My soul and I are now obese...I keep my feelings inside a sea urchin."

From fish,  Joe moved on to cats:  "I worship cats..." and off we went on another tangent -- I remember something about -- hollyhocks, was it? and a reference to "leafy lechery" -- "pellucid squid" and a cat speaking in fluent "Felinese, but in a dialect that was untranslatable..."  Then we ran out of time. "Can't I read some doggerel?" Joe asked. Our applause convinced the powers that were that yes, he could, so he began, but changed his mind and left the stage, and I was bereft.

I don't always understand what I'm hearing at these events, and sometimes I downright dislike it -- but there are moments when I feel as if I'm dancing in someone else's mind -- or someone else is dancing in mine. It's hard to tell.



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9 comments:

John Hayes said...

Sounds like a fun evening! Might this be the Alex in question?

Sandra Leigh said...

It certainly might. Thank you, John. It never occurred to me to search for her first name. Duh.

Karen said...

Sounds wonderful, Sandra. I am so sorry that we do not have such events where I live. It's just me and my Internet...

First50 said...

I enjoyed your notes on the evening. What a poet he is, but I also appreciate your comment about dancing in someone else's mind.

Kathryn Magendie said...

stopping by to see what's up wiith you!

Kim Goldberg said...

That was a great night at Wordstorm, wasn't it? About as packed as I have ever seen the joint! And leave it to Joe to be "intimate with fish" - and then tell the world about it in poetry. ;)
-Kim

Kathryn Magendie said...

I love this, and the image of someone dancing in your head or they're dancing in yours *smiling*

lines n shades said...

wonderful blog. so glad to be here :)

Barb said...

What a great evening. And a man that likes cats... well, enough said!

Hope you are well, by the way.