At LAX dealing with a flight cancellation waiting for a flight back to the bay area. Much boring standing in lines, but it’s giving me a chance to reflect on the high of this short sojourn. Not only is Joseph Mosconi a gracious curator & host, but he also inhabits a house with his wife Rita that is a paragon of simple & beautiful retromodern design, and I got to stay there, in what he called “the friction room” [fiction] so I woke up early this morning and read The Sorrows of Young Werther (I realized I hadn’t actually read it, just Barthes on it), and it made me think (of course) about the regrettable and ridiculous particularity of love, and about the ruboff of the beloved onto intermediaries (as when Lotte’s bird takes food from her mouth) (ah that I were a glove upon that hand, that I might touch that cheek, etc.). It struck me that Lotte really did lead Werther on terribly, and she did in fact regret the loss of him when she thought of the finality of actually marrying Albert. But you know, I digress ( as if, really, there were anything to digress from.
Well but LA. I kind of love LA. It would be fun to live here for a while, and take a million pictures of its kitsch and clutter. It’s a thing, LA. The reading was right near Madame Wong’s, I guess the former Madame Wong’s, where in 1979 I saw The Germs and The Middle Class and wore my hair like a rooster and Penelope made fun of me and I hung out with Billy Zoom and we put our beers in the freezer so we could have beer slush for breakfast. I recall wearing a burgundy suede fringe coat. Also a party at a rich person’s house and Scott who wore one of those cool oversize striped mohair sweaters.
The reading was in the incredibly cool space of The Public School, a utopian venture indeed, and the reading series goes by the endearing name of Poetic Research Bureau. A small platform stage with a circular rug I sometimes knelt on.
Lorraine read first a very alert work, so smart and located, I mean it seemed to be about situating herself in a cultural space and coming to terms with being there. I showed three videos in between readings of poems from the new book.
Although the weather was cold and rainy miserable there was truly quality turnout: Vanessa Place, Brian Kim Stefans, Teresa Carmody, Matt Timmons, Ara Shirinyan, Andrew Maxwell, Christine Wertheim, Aaron Kunin, and several others too; I was honored by everyone’s presence braving the weather and holiday fatigue for the sake of poetry.
Afterward, many of us went out to eat in Little Tokyo. I had to forswear the pickles, but managed the pretty delicious unagi rather well since I am regaining some chewing skills on the right side. I guess that means there is some hope for the future?
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