Bits of whats gone on
Trip Start Nov 04, 2005
7Trip End Feb 04, 2006
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We've been here for about a month now and I've been downtown to NY a few times, read at a few Poetry nights and got invited to go to more. We've hit plenty of little bars and (almost) dominated a few pool tables. The roads are always an adventure in themselves. Chicago drivers and roads weren't too bad I thought, but by jesus the drivers here are nothing if last-minute decision makers....and lots of the free way we use daily isn't lit. Its a joy when it rains.
So a brief cut and Paste exercise follows - it is not as cool as DJ Yoda's voyage of the same name -
I went down to NY in the morning on Saturday - Dan and Nicky overdid it a bit on Friday and weren't up to getting the 10.30 train, but I was itching to go. Got into NY Penn station at 11.30 - right at Madison Sq Garden - and wandered up 7th avenue to Central Park...stopping in to a few shops and a diner along the way. Had a brief walk through the south end of the Park and got some pics of Horse drawn carriages, statues, and Columbus square fountain. Then I headed back down Broadway to Times Square and took some more pics of the Hershey's shop and the DOW shares ticker, and the NYPD station that has appeared in countless films, with the NYPD lettering lit in Neon lights. Then it was back to Penn Station to get the 3 o'clock train which got into Morristown at 4.30 (the train out stops at more places so it takes 1 1/2 hours rather than 1) Then back to the apartment to get changed, call for Nicky and head back to Morristown station again for the 5.30 train back into NY. Then we rode the subway to Canal St and walked round to the poetry thing.
There were about forty or fifty people (mostly women, where Belfast poet events are mostly men) seated in an art gallery type of space. We shared a table with two women, one was a poet the other a writer who works as a script editor. The poets at the start of the night were, to be honest, not very good. Some were sort of delibertately opaque in an effort to impress and none of them really engaged the crowd well. But all got a polite response. Then a guy from Milwaukee got up and did some Hip Hop influenced stuff and he was very good. He didn't use the mic or the lectern but just raised his voice and moved round the space at the front. (This had been my plan to make myself stand out then he went and did it better than I would have so I rethunk the plans) He got a brilliant response and then, as luck would have it, my name was called next.
During my set I did The bush, Christian, Coke Warner Conspiracy. I introduced it saying it was definitely a political poem, and that if it offended anyone, they should remember the first amendment, then I actually said 'freedom of speech, y'all'. That poem provided the only swearing of the night incidentally, which I'm quite pleased at and it went down a storm. I finished with a new one that I wrote since getting here, which is, if I say so myself, very good.
After the readings were over, the organiser took my e-mail so she can invite me to the next one, some other woman gave us flyers for a weekly reading she hosts on Sunday afternoons, and another one gave us flyers for a weekly Saturday night reading. All in all I poetically became the star of the show...and we obviously gave them all some of the old troubles chat - Nicky told them he was a poet but his stuff was very political and maybe a bit too specific to Belfast to travel well. So by 9 when that was over we were on a proper high - a great way to start the first weekend in NY.
After that we were dandering about a kind of Chinatown area trying to find the subway station but we missed the cross street and ended up finding a little non descript looking bar called Kingsize where we called in for a Guinness. After about two minutes in there, a coupe at the bar started chatting to us - the usual 'where are those accents from?' chat and we ended up having brilliant craic with them and the bar staff. The couple lived next door to the bar and they recommended some good non-touristy regular bars for us to check out so after a few drinks in there we headed off and then...well...there was a fair bit of boozing done and more random chat to strangers.
Finally we wended our merry way back to Penn station to get the last train back to Morristown at 1.30 am...back to the apartments by 3.15 am but I was that excited by the whole night I found it very hard to sleep and then the sun came up at 7 and there are no curtains in the apartmets so the room was bright and I was awake by 9...but it was definitely worth the tiredness