The Poets’ Forum starts its new year in September, like school children. Actually, I read somewhere recently that many of us, because of our formative years centered on the school calendar, also seem to begin anew in September. So, we had our first meeting of the new poetical year on September 16. Jeannette Maes gave an excellent presentation on the new Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith, and read all of her four books of poetry as research. There were various opinions about Smith’s style and meaning. Some of us really liked her (me!), others not so much.
Some of us brought poems by other poets we had recently discovered or re-discovered or just simply wanted to share. And, we also had gentle critiquing of member poems.
The food was great, the company superb, and the poetry lovely, mostly! See you all in October when Maggie Harney and Joan George will present a program with a spooky (maybe) theme.
Before I leave, here’s a poem that I brought to the meeting by poet Mary Karr that I saw in Poetry.
A Perfect Mess
I read somewhere that if pedestrians didn’t break traffic laws to cross Times Square whenever and by whatever means possible, the whole city would stop, it would stop. Cars would back up to Rhode Island, an epic gridlock not even a cat could thread through. It’s not law but the sprawl of our separate wills that keeps us all flowing. Today I loved the unprecedented gall of the piano movers, shoving a roped-up baby grand up Ninth Avenue before a thunderstorm. They were a grim and hefty pair, cynical as any day laborers. They knew what was coming, the instrument white lacquered, the sky bulging black as a bad water balloon and in one pinprick instant it burst. A downpour like a fire hose. For a few heartbeats, the whole city stalled, paused, a heart thump, then it all went staccato. And it was my pleasure to witness a not insignificant miracle: in one instant every black umbrella in Hell’s Kitchen opened on cue, everyone still moving. It was a scene from an unwritten opera, the sails of some vast armada. And four old ladies interrupted their own slow progress to accompany the piano movers. each holding what might have once been lace parasols over the grunting men. I passed next the crowd of pastel ballerinas huddled under the corner awning, in line for an open call — stork-limbed, ankles zigzagged with ribbon, a few passing a lit cigarette around. The city feeds on beauty, starves for it, breeds it. Coming home after midnight, to my deserted block with its famously high subway-rat count, I heard a tenor exhale pure longing down the brick canyons, the steaming moon opened its mouth to drink from on high ...