Post-Tennis Poetry Reading
Going to these poetry readings online, I longed for a time when I could attend one of these readings in real life. Finally my prayers were answered. Jacob Steinberg decided to prove the power of New York City’s poetry scene. A moment passed where I felt tempted to let my guard down and appear. When I looked at the sky, a concrete shade of grey, I decided against it. Besides, with all those ‘screen-shots’ that could be taken, I prefer to confine myself to text on the internet for now.
Jacob Steinberg graduated from NYU and he was the host of this Tennis-themed reading. The reading began with “Chocolate Milk” by Spencer Madsen. For a while they had a difficult time reading it. An arrangement formed where Jacob would consume a foul liquid as Spencer read his poem about Chocolate Milk.
Argentina received attention. I’d never heard any contemporary poetry from Argentina before but it was good. “PC” explained how the power of computers brings people together like a bonfire. By reading them in Spanish, we were able to get some attention outside of the United States. Hopefully this is the first small step towards a non-English international coalition of boykittens.
The individuals at the reading stated Steve Roggenbuck brought everyone together. When Spencer Madsen talked about the beginning of the lit scene he mentioned how difficult it was to find like-minded people. Once Steve added him, this entire online community was available to help him through. “James Franco” was one of Spencer’s poems. He read it with vigor. The poem reminded me of college. I miss college.
“There are all these girls. Why do none of them like me?” began one of them. This was perhaps the best beginning of any poem I’ve ever heard. It had a good self-depreciating sense of humor; a type of humor New York patented in the early 70s. Spencer Madsen wrote this poem. Actually Spencer Madsen read a lot of poetry based heavily around college, moving and unrequited love. Listening to it felt wonderful. One of his poems focused on a girlfriend who moved away to Florida to go to college, leaving him in the cultural wasteland of Staten Island.
The poetry reading was emotional. Spencer wrote extensively about trying to find love. Jess Dutschmann broke that focus. Instead, she wrote about the person she was dating, a man named Jim. Apparently she brought the only experience of happy relationships. Looking at her, I felt the sass. Listening to her poems end with “That’s it” confirmed it.
“Ode to Flatbush” was a sweet poem by Jacob Steinberg. Dedicated to Flatbush, a place that many New Yorkers feel uneasy about, it was extremely tender. Considering the harshness the neighborhood often receives, it was great to hear some positive words about the place.
Poncho Peligroso’s poem “Epilogue Part II” was read by Spencer Madsen. For most of these poems, Spencer ended up being the main reader. We hope that by reading more poems from Poncho, he’ll attend more ustreams. Whether or not there is any fact to this hope remains to be seen.
FM Stringer (a man I’d never heard of) wrote a long poem. Jess did the honors of reading the poem. It was a long poem. A three part series, she saved the other parts. She referred to him as a ‘fierce guy’. Other parts followed later.
Spencer speculated on relationship statuses on Facebook. By now, he had recovered from his drinking. To indicate his sobriety he stood up. Jordan Castro may or may not be in a relationship according to this poem. After that was a poem about his work in a bike shop, in case you weren’t certain whether or not he lived in Brooklyn. “I want to pet a pigeon” was one line. He counted toes.
Poetry can be flattering. A series dedicated to J R came up. This was the reason for the ustream. So much poetry is based off of the love of others. Jacob Steinberg wrote based off of the love for another. Unrequited love ended up being the theme of the night. Large amounts of space separated Jacob from J R. What I felt was the extreme rawness and heartfelt quality. I’d like to explain why I enjoyed this, but words fail me, especially in such an overwhelming series.
Happy time eluded the reading. I thought if I had attended the reading in person perhaps I could have brought some smiles. Rather than hearing about the constant sadness of failed relationships, I might have read about happy relationships. The humor of Spencer and Steinberg made it a bit easier to handle. Poets feel.
“I’m X” came up, continuing the theme of Argentine poetry. Jacob read it in English. The little books looked like passports. How a book or item looks is extremely important to me. “You” followed. Both of these poems were written by a mother of two in Argentina. We were advised she was beautiful, something none of us were able to independently confirm.
Jess Dutschmann went away to New Jersey. Before she left, she read some poems off of her blog. Recently she released an entire chapbook. You can read it all for free online at her blog. Hopefully at some point I’ll get around to reading it.
Steve Roggenbuck got read. Before Spencer read Roggenbuck he mentioned how he went on a date with someone from OKCupid, a favorite dating site of mine. As the date progressed, the date had not merely heard of Roggenbuck but had Steve’s chapbook in her purse. Unfortunately for Spencer, the date did not go well. While Steve has swag, it has its limits.
Allie read her own poetry. Finally we got to hear her voice. Her delivery was forceful. The poem itself had a certain rhythm. Once she had finished, everyone in the room felt overwhelmed. We wished we had heard more from her. In future readings (which Jacob and Spencer seemed keen on) we’ll get to hear more of her poems.
Finally it ended with a dance party. The song was a remix of Neon Indian’s “Should’ve taken Acid with you”. Drama ensued for a brief moment as Spencer’s laptop nearly died. Soon they realized it would live.
Next time I’ll bring hugs.