One week from tonight (Tuesday, 3/1) I’m featuring at Da Poetry Lounge in LA, one of the Meccas of spoken word!
They will be gone in a month!
Metaphorically yours,Taylor P.S. Sent from the road so forgive odd spellings & apparent curtness.
I was one of those kids who stayed up just to see the clock turn to 11:11. And I still call 12:34 the “Magic Minute of Childhood.” So imagine my delight when I noticed today that I owe my credit card company $1,234.56. That’s a bill I will almost enjoy paying!
Tonight I have a performance at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, CT, which was founded in 1929 and named (actually renamed in 1951) in honor of the Quinnipiac Indian tribe that once inhabited Greater New Haven. I don’t know what Quinnipiac means, and that reminded me of a poem I wrote in 1990 about a camping trip to Yosemite that my brother and I went on. We climbed to the top of Half Dome and celebrated the moment by taking our clothes off and dancing around. Although I suggest in the poem that we shocked the other visitors, the top of Half Dome is deceivingly large, occupying an area equivalent to several football fields; no one saw us. I can see in this poem many themes and tricks that I still use today, most notably the willingness to go to the edge of appropriateness (and political correctness) and do a little dance right there.
Screaming Naked at the Top of Half Dome
for Peter Mali
The Native Americans had a special name for this sacred place,
I don’t know what it is,
but it was probably something cool like
Mountain That Looks Like Half A Dome.
I crawl to the edge of the overhang and everything
while Peter holds my feet.
I won’t let you fall, he says.
In fact, I won’t even let you jump.
And he’s right.
Staring at the valley floor, I see
it’s not the point past which I would fall
that scares me most,
but the one past which I might as well.
So it must be to keep from jumping
that we strip and scream fake incantations
to the sun and every foreign hiker,
American or otherwise.
And maybe everything we do, we do to keep
from jumping off a mountain.