Last night I was mercifully invited out from the cave of my own making to the poetry library at the South Bank Centre for an event kicking off this Poetry Parnassus deal they're having all summer long. Obvs, I love poetry, and the South Bank, but mostly, I was happy to have the excuse of hanging out with my new pal Maria, who's amazing and works for the Arts Council.
In a way, there were signs it was going to be bad. There were no buses out of Dalston for ages, and when I finally did get one, a weird sick lady wedged in beside me, even though there were masses of empty seats, and coughed all over me. She kept crowding me on the way down the stairs from the double decker, making me panicky. (Remember that time I was drugged, mugged, & slugged? Yeah, I don't like people coming up too close behind me.) Then then bus driver slammed on the breaks at Waterloo and even though I was holding onto the rail, I flew forward and fell ALL the way down the stairs hurting my knee pretty badly as I slammed into various stairs and the eventually the floor at the bottom where a (very) handsome man helped me to make sure I was ok. I was too embarrassed and trying not to cry at the time to realize just how hot he was in the moment, but as I walked towards the water, tears welling, I realized I should have tried to compose myself. The city is hard, ya'll.
It was about to get harder. So listen. I love poetry and I try not to participate in schadenfreude-esque situations whenever possible, but sometimes.... I mean... so you either have to have a wicked-cool new idea (in which case you can chill on the fancy language) or you can talk about all the same stuff (love, the city, RACE [ugh] , your anger [double ugh]) in a way that DAZZLES me with your mastery of language. PREFERABLY, both your idea AND your language will dazzle me. But in the absence of one, I'll take a skew on the other. Those are the terms. If you come at me with anything else, I will be angry with you. So after a few too many about the "flame of creativity" and the magic that is London, Maria and snuck out to talk. We also felt we deserved a beer.
In a way, stuff like that is good for me to see at times like this. Someone is publishing these people. And awarding them prizes. My turn is coming. And I am genuinely excited about the rest of this Poetry Parnassus international event in honor of the Olympics with over 100 free events and 204 poets. Check it out! And thanks to Maria for being awesome and reminding me about community.