OUTrageous SUCCESS AT OUTWRITE BOOKS!!!!
I can scream this headline, 'cuz it's so true! I've been a reader, and a listener at so many readings, open mics, performances, etc., over the past decde, that I've lost count. But last night took my breath away. First, a big-shout-out to Philip, who always supports us local writers, and us in the LGBT community in particular!
Franklin opened the evening with a couple of love poems, and made the observation that "this one was written when I was very young. I wrote love poems when I was young; in my 50's, I write about flowers..." The (huge!) crowd gathered was chuckling at every witty line, and C. Cleo Creech was up next(sidebar: Just before taking the stage, Cleo noted, giggling, "the poster for the event got my gender wrong..." and someone commented that he could claim he's transgendered, whereupon I commented, "Yes, Transgendered is the new gay."
More laughter.) And so it went. The laughter was punctuated by moments of edgy solemnity--Cleo read from a new group of poems about "empathy". He explained he wants to highlight empathy for those we cannot easily feel empathy for, and he gave a chilling account, in a very brief poem about an abused dog's abuser. He ended with a few "up" pieces that once again had the audience cheering.
Franklin read a bit, then introduced me as "actor, poet, peace activist, bisexual activist....with Lisa, you never know what to expect..."
I never decide until I'm at the actual reading, precisely what I will read, and last night was no exception....and I suppose I did not want to disappoint the very attentive audience, after all his hype-ing of me, and my work, so.....
I ended up starting with a few sex-y pieces("For Amanda W." and "The French Are Famous For") to begin with, then a few darker pieces, "Iraqi Haiku"(I spoke about the chapbook Cleo put together to highlight the injustice which continues in Iraq's Constitutionally-allowed killing of LGBT persons),then read a few from my book, Words From Water: Poems, "For Aunt Carolyn", "Grief" and then explained that I have a second book, "The Orgasm Poems", which will have 50 orgasms in it. "I've written 40 so far; I'm waiting for the rest..." which elicited a roar of laughter from the varied audience "I didn't realize that was funny, " I said...I then finished with the poem, "Orgasm II" which is the second in that series. As I prepared to sit down, I was shocked by the amount and the duration of the applause.
Franklin read a bit, and kept the vibe going with tales of "meeting" a goddess in the temples of India....then he introduced the man most of the enthusiastic crowd at Outwrite had been waiting for: Yolo!
Yolo performed with bravery:
a piece on "We Are Not The Boys We Want" had me biting the inside of my lip, as it rang true, and sad, and hard to hear...Near the end of his reading, Yolo said "I am going to do a poem I thought was too 'X-rated'---even for Outwrite, but Lisa has inspired me, so here goes my dream-poem. And he performed a poem about a universe of purple, and women riding men, and women riding waves in the ocean, and--stop reading here if you could be easily offended. I mean it, stop now. Okay, deep breath...
"...and dildoes..." "and titties.." And somehow, Yolo's words rose above anything plain, or vulgar. His phrases SANG--this poem had the eroticism of an Anais Nin(who I adore, btw).
I don't know whether to adopt Yolo(he's so CUTE, and YOUNG!), or wait 'til he's older, and drag him off to my house, to exchange dream images with him! WOW!
Needless to say, the group at Outwrite(it was standing-room-only, even out to the street, during the reading) was thrilled. I am so grateful to have been a part of this special evening. THANK YOU PHILIP! Hey kids, GET DOWN TO OUTWRITE and buy yourself a book or two. Take a look at the booksellers' recommendations.....and GET AN OUTRAGEOUSLY delicious cupcake while you're there, too!
Hollis Gillespie (you may know her through her weekly column in Atlanta's Creative Loafing newspaper) will be appearing at OUTWRITE BOOKS, on August 24th, and I plan to attend, to hear her, and meet her, and to get signed copies of her (fabulously funny,and tender) books!
Pictures from Tuesday's "Poetry With Franklin and Friends", will be posted at this blog,in an entry later this week! for now, check out:
To all of you who asked to purchase a copy of "Words From Water: Poems", I promise, I'll have it very soon. Honest. And I'll have "The Orgasm Poems" out, right after!