Saturday, July 17, 2010

Last Night's Nightmare: On My Non-existent Poetry Career (at times) and Lack of Restraint (at times)

dateline: an indeterminate time last, night's slumber. Columbia University had moved and was greener and serpentinian and what was I doing there anyway? It was near a subway and a freeway and not necessarily Columbia. I knew it was uptown though it felt eastish while Columbia is on the westside. I wondered if it was Cornell-Weill Hospital although I couldn't remember the name.

I didn't begin uptown and can't say how I got there except I'd been with a group of poets downtown, maybe downtown Long Island (hah!) and we had disbanded with the intent of rebanding. A reading was in the works and I was to be the final of three featured readers.

A simple walk was called for, crossing of a street, nothing a New Yorker can't handle. This New Yorker couldn't handle it apparently because I was mysteriously and suddenly uptown and near-desperate to get downtown. Everything had changed and there were buildings from other dreams and landscaped mazes.

Those two young women were so nice to me. Those two! They were undergraduates. Columbia, I think or maybe they were patients at Cornell. They tried to help me get to the subway which had moved and was more like a mossy racetrack in the approach. I was thinking I might get a cab but the cost is silly high and I can usually get to my destination by subway or walking. Immaterial. No subway no cab. The poetry reading was underway. I was dreaming third-person omniscient. Carol Novack, head minstrel mistress ringmaster editor publisher inventor of Mad Hatters Review was in charge of the reading at which I was not. Would they wait? Would they be angry?

Along the way which somehow I got to be, along the way, I met up with a young man with whom I had an appointment about something cool something young man-cool you now those young things. I had to cut it short and reschedule because of the reading for which I was late. The End.

Does this qualify as a nightmare? It was mine last night. Here is the correlative reality:
--I was in a reading on Thursday night, one of three featured readers. I was last. (Though totally on time.) I was told it was my best reading ever. It was a good night. (And therefore anxiety provoking?) The attendees were open mic-ers.
--After the reading, over pizza, we talked about other readings. One friend mentioned the time we read at KGB Bar and how lucky we were. I didn't tell him I'd read there another time, with the Carol Novack Mad Hatter's crew.
--About a month ago I attended the first day of a conf. on Rethinking Poetics (theory) at Columbia. I didn't not fit in and I wasn't uninterested but I wasn't inspired.
--I am feeling enormously frustrated about my poetry career. Yes. Career. And Friday morning I emailed a load of self-pity to my poor publisher about my frustration. Man do I need to learn restraint.

Blogging: Here I am laying out my nightmare, frustration, one-time map of New York City. Nightmares: The joy is they represent feelings. They are not (so far in my life) predictors. Nightmares are Rogerian, reflecting back to me what it is. It is frustrating but it may not be that way tomorrow. The other nightmare (and this rare, believe me) was cooler but I only have images and I will use those elsewhere.

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