poetry • art • marriage • momhood • faith

Dancing to the music of poetry

I am not sure where I am but I am in Massachusetts in an old mill, converted to gathering space. There is a bar. There are people, talking. And there is music here. Jazz. Poetry.

I am feeling the warmth of all of the above, including the low hum of one plastic cup of chardonnay. I am missing the words to this poem: they are playing the "da-daa da-daa" baseline of "Billie Jean," and it makes me smile.

I see Robert Pinsky talking with some bearded man I don't know. Really. And I think, "how different to be a poet." A rock star would not have this breathing room. He is alone now in the crowd, Mr. Pinsky, that is: the man with the beard is laughing with a woman now. I wonder if the Poet Laureate is alone out of respect or his fans' introversion. I suppose both.

There are drums now and woodwinds to charm a snake. I move my hips — Mom used to call them "snake hips" — and think, "this is the closest I will ever get to Java Joes," and I'm ok with that. This man is singing in bright exotic jazz tones about "the word."

I think of God.

The instruments have stopped, but the music continues with the buzz of conversation to soften it. My ears will ring when I leave here, filling the silence in the streetlight lit streets. The weight of words in my limbs.


  1. Jenn Jenn
    October 12, 2008    

    I so wish it would have been possible to get up there this weekend but alas life decided to get in the way after all 🙁 Sounds like you are having an amazing time and really absorbing everything about this event! One of these days we will get a chance to meet each other in life outside of the keyboard 🙂 Travel safely today!

  2. artjewl artjewl
    October 13, 2008    

    Jenn, I so wish you could have made it, especially to this after-hours thing. It was SO cool. At the end of this event, Mr. Pinsky went up and read with the saxophone & drums… it was very "beatnik" and so much fun! I think the best part about it was that it was obvious that he thoroughly enjoyed it, and I couldn't help but think "This is what poetry is about.”

    I wish we could have met up, but I totally understand how life happens sometimes. If all goes well, I’ll be back up there next year. Either way, I highly recommend you take the trip next year. 🙂

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torch bearing quietly

I will not act out, will not
yell or curse or slam doors,
will not make a scene -- you
do not deserve such a chance
to make an example out of me
to be proven right since you
are not. Instead, I'll stand
at this street corner, raise
my hand high and clench that
light which yet remains. It
will burn brightly, quietly,
fiercely before fading as I.

Then I'll be gone but found.

©JAC 2005

Poetry by Julie Ann Cook!

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