In New York City for the amazing gathering, reunion, readings, panels, and general love fest that is the Cave Canem 10th Anniversary Celebration. The readings have been glorious, the fellowship heartwarming, and its been thrilling to meet so many people I only know as words on the page, on blogs, or via e-mail. Last night's amazingly fleet (30+ poets in 2 hours!) and enriching Fellows reading on the 3rd floor of the NYC GLBT Center (as Leather/Fetish folk gathered for a dance on the first floor -- two aspects of my life in the same building at last!:) did what Cave Canem always does for me: The work took the top of my head off, made me feel honored to be part of such an extraordinary company -- and inspired me to stay up till close to 3 am writing and revising! Thank you (I think:) Cave Canem!
Reading with other GLBQ Fellows and Faculty at the Archive Section of the Schomburg Library in Harlem this afternoon. More on that, the weekend, and photos later. In the meantime, here's a poem I'll (probably) be reading there:
Basquiat's on the back steps with my niece
helping her to draw a picture of us all,
tossing back gray dreadlocks as they fall
into his eyes. My sister argues politics
with Martin and Coretta in the back yard
over ribs -- Romare Bearden's cooking --
Malcolm puts his two cents in between
bites of peas and rice. My grandfather
flirts with Billie as tey remember the old
days on The Avenue in West Baltimore. Pres
brushes off pork pie hat and stands, offers
to gey my grandmother something from
the desert table. She declines, full from her
second helping of Ellington & Strayhorn's home
made apple pie. Essex and Joe Beam line dance
with Audre and Pat Parker while Assotto Saint,
Melvin Dixon and my partner critique them
from the picnic table off to one side.
Shamefaced, my father shows up late,
as always, with Charlie Parker and Bud Powell in tow.
Where've you-all been? my mother asks.
She gets a kiss and sheepish grin, but no reply.