1 00:00:02,840 --> 00:00:07,004 These festivals just don't happen. 2 00:00:07,004 --> 00:00:09,614 Not by accident. 3 00:00:09,614 --> 00:00:11,340 Not because somebody has 4 00:00:11,340 --> 00:00:15,429 an idea that it'd be nice to have something. 5 00:00:16,340 --> 00:00:19,290 This is the 22nd. 6 00:00:19,290 --> 00:00:24,010 And each one has been directed by somebody. 7 00:00:24,500 --> 00:00:27,329 And what's particular and unique 8 00:00:27,329 --> 00:00:29,460 about the way that we do festivals 9 00:00:29,460 --> 00:00:33,690 here is that a festival director 10 00:00:33,690 --> 00:00:36,044 from the English department 11 00:00:36,044 --> 00:00:38,950 directs it for two years. 12 00:00:38,950 --> 00:00:41,239 And during that time, 13 00:00:41,239 --> 00:00:44,029 the director in cooperation 14 00:00:44,029 --> 00:00:45,499 with discussions with 15 00:00:45,499 --> 00:00:47,690 brainstorming with other people, 16 00:00:47,690 --> 00:00:51,079 shapes and creates the direct festival in 17 00:00:51,079 --> 00:00:54,785 his or her own sensibility. 18 00:00:54,785 --> 00:00:57,349 So what have we had for 22 years? 19 00:00:57,349 --> 00:00:59,975 We've had a tremendous variety 20 00:00:59,975 --> 00:01:02,329 of literary festivals so that we just don't 21 00:01:02,329 --> 00:01:05,675 have the same kind of Festival every year 22 00:01:05,675 --> 00:01:07,310 that you can predict what's going to 23 00:01:07,310 --> 00:01:09,469 happen from one year to the next, 24 00:01:09,469 --> 00:01:12,244 given the imagination of the director, 25 00:01:12,244 --> 00:01:14,254 we don't know what's going to happen. 26 00:01:14,254 --> 00:01:17,270 So the rest of us who have been with us for 27 00:01:17,270 --> 00:01:21,229 22 years are always surprised by the newness. 28 00:01:21,229 --> 00:01:23,219 Each year. 29 00:01:23,320 --> 00:01:25,670 We do come together 30 00:01:25,670 --> 00:01:27,979 collectively because we have 31 00:01:27,979 --> 00:01:31,864 as much love for the word or for the image, 32 00:01:31,864 --> 00:01:33,710 or for the juxtaposition 33 00:01:33,710 --> 00:01:35,690 of the word and image. 34 00:01:35,690 --> 00:01:40,234 Is somebody going to a basketball game or 35 00:01:40,234 --> 00:01:42,859 a rock festival or whatever 36 00:01:42,859 --> 00:01:44,690 might have in a slam dunk 37 00:01:44,690 --> 00:01:46,264 or race or whatever. 38 00:01:46,264 --> 00:01:51,900 We have that love for that kind of image. 39 00:01:52,280 --> 00:01:59,059 Mike Pearson has directed them. 40 00:01:59,059 --> 00:02:01,069 And each one of 41 00:02:01,069 --> 00:02:03,380 Mike's festivals 42 00:02:03,380 --> 00:02:05,840 have been shaped differently. 43 00:02:05,840 --> 00:02:07,909 Mike's gonna direct the for 44 00:02:07,909 --> 00:02:09,920 next year and we 45 00:02:09,920 --> 00:02:12,424 have no idea what he's going to do. 46 00:02:12,424 --> 00:02:18,079 But I think we have all loved this festival. 47 00:02:18,079 --> 00:02:19,820 In my specific purpose, 48 00:02:19,820 --> 00:02:21,754 purpose in being here this evening 49 00:02:21,754 --> 00:02:23,945 is to encourage us 50 00:02:23,945 --> 00:02:26,614 all to thank Mike Pearson 51 00:02:26,614 --> 00:02:29,969 for the wonderful job that he has done. 52 00:02:45,520 --> 00:02:49,624 Thanks a lot. Welcome to the final evening. 53 00:02:49,624 --> 00:02:52,879 And Phil use the word unpredictable. 54 00:02:52,879 --> 00:02:56,060 That's the word spin that. 55 00:02:56,060 --> 00:02:58,070 But unpredictable in 56 00:02:58,070 --> 00:03:00,139 a very specific technological sense, 57 00:03:00,139 --> 00:03:04,010 but unpredictable in the good sense though, 58 00:03:04,010 --> 00:03:06,454 in terms of human matters, 59 00:03:06,454 --> 00:03:10,399 It's been a wonderful festival for me. 60 00:03:10,399 --> 00:03:13,190 I took it over halfway through from 61 00:03:13,190 --> 00:03:17,059 Scott Cairns and so as half mine, 62 00:03:17,059 --> 00:03:20,254 half his, but it became fully mine. 63 00:03:20,254 --> 00:03:23,554 And one of the highlights 64 00:03:23,554 --> 00:03:25,070 of my really my ten years 65 00:03:25,070 --> 00:03:27,110 at ODU was the Wednesday night 66 00:03:27,110 --> 00:03:29,659 reading, October 13th, 1990. 67 00:03:29,659 --> 00:03:30,530 Now I'm going to come back to 68 00:03:30,530 --> 00:03:31,430 that at the end after 69 00:03:31,430 --> 00:03:33,694 Rida finishes her read youngest step up, 70 00:03:33,694 --> 00:03:35,329 just for about 30 seconds 71 00:03:35,329 --> 00:03:37,520 and say thank you once again. 72 00:03:37,520 --> 00:03:38,390 So I'm telling you that, 73 00:03:38,390 --> 00:03:39,260 so you don't run away. 74 00:03:39,260 --> 00:03:41,989 Now thinking that series, It's takeoff. 75 00:03:41,989 --> 00:03:43,310 I just want to say one other thing, 76 00:03:43,310 --> 00:03:46,295 but it's been inspiring. 77 00:03:46,295 --> 00:03:47,600 Of course, word is 78 00:03:47,600 --> 00:03:49,279 upon in the context of this festival. 79 00:03:49,279 --> 00:03:50,899 But I really, I personally 80 00:03:50,899 --> 00:03:52,340 have been inspired and I 81 00:03:52,340 --> 00:03:53,869 know that might sound 82 00:03:53,869 --> 00:03:55,805 a little force given the, 83 00:03:55,805 --> 00:03:56,720 given the fact that I'm 84 00:03:56,720 --> 00:03:57,680 the one who directed it. 85 00:03:57,680 --> 00:03:59,510 But I really have been 86 00:03:59,510 --> 00:04:02,119 both a director and also a participant, 87 00:04:02,119 --> 00:04:03,784 but somebody in the audience. 88 00:04:03,784 --> 00:04:07,025 And this festival has felt great to me. 89 00:04:07,025 --> 00:04:09,590 And not only that Wednesday night, 90 00:04:09,590 --> 00:04:10,940 but that was really the highlight of 91 00:04:10,940 --> 00:04:12,949 my of my time here. 92 00:04:12,949 --> 00:04:15,979 I want to thank a few people myself. 93 00:04:15,979 --> 00:04:17,570 Thank Phil for thanking 94 00:04:17,570 --> 00:04:19,729 me and David that applause. 95 00:04:19,729 --> 00:04:22,850 But I have this, 96 00:04:22,850 --> 00:04:24,950 this page I've been carrying around with 97 00:04:24,950 --> 00:04:25,700 me that people probably 98 00:04:25,700 --> 00:04:26,929 getting sick of seeing. 99 00:04:26,929 --> 00:04:28,369 He's going to thank them again, 100 00:04:28,369 --> 00:04:29,629 but it's sort of tattered 101 00:04:29,629 --> 00:04:32,389 and I'll put this away now. 102 00:04:32,389 --> 00:04:34,069 And actually this tattered page, 103 00:04:34,069 --> 00:04:35,449 this is the last time you'll 104 00:04:35,449 --> 00:04:36,949 see it in this century. 105 00:04:36,949 --> 00:04:40,280 So first and foremost, 106 00:04:40,280 --> 00:04:42,500 I'd like to thank the English department, 107 00:04:42,500 --> 00:04:43,879 which as I said the other day 108 00:04:43,879 --> 00:04:45,230 is the source in the heart 109 00:04:45,230 --> 00:04:48,320 of this festival and fill made make clear. 110 00:04:48,320 --> 00:04:50,584 I'd like to thank the president's office. 111 00:04:50,584 --> 00:04:52,864 The College of Arts and Letters, 112 00:04:52,864 --> 00:04:54,545 prints books, 113 00:04:54,545 --> 00:04:56,599 International Programs, 114 00:04:56,599 --> 00:04:57,949 the Institute for the 115 00:04:57,949 --> 00:04:59,779 Study of minority issues, 116 00:04:59,779 --> 00:05:01,924 the foreign language department, 117 00:05:01,924 --> 00:05:04,054 Women's Studies Program, 118 00:05:04,054 --> 00:05:06,679 Multicultural Student Services, 119 00:05:06,679 --> 00:05:08,570 sigma tau delta, 120 00:05:08,570 --> 00:05:11,404 the Old Dominion University Bookstore, 121 00:05:11,404 --> 00:05:13,550 the Norfolk commission for the arts and 122 00:05:13,550 --> 00:05:15,769 humanities in Mrs. ED. 123 00:05:15,769 --> 00:05:17,869 White, who's made an endowment 124 00:05:17,869 --> 00:05:18,649 to the festival and 125 00:05:18,649 --> 00:05:19,939 the memory of her husband, 126 00:05:19,939 --> 00:05:23,660 Forrest PY, attempt to make this into a poem. 127 00:05:23,660 --> 00:05:24,319 But actually I guess if you 128 00:05:24,319 --> 00:05:25,010 read it the right way, 129 00:05:25,010 --> 00:05:26,449 it sounds like it's 130 00:05:26,449 --> 00:05:27,814 going to sound like a poem to me now, 131 00:05:27,814 --> 00:05:30,649 I don't like it. 132 00:05:30,649 --> 00:05:33,514 A few students, Judy Mercier, 133 00:05:33,514 --> 00:05:36,545 Kurt bulletin, students and faculty. 134 00:05:36,545 --> 00:05:39,229 Petty La Rosa, when needed comfort. 135 00:05:39,229 --> 00:05:41,810 Charles Wilson, Pierce, Tyler, 136 00:05:41,810 --> 00:05:44,660 MTS hubby, fill razor, 137 00:05:44,660 --> 00:05:49,039 Karen Vaughn, and Peterson in Chuck Burgess, 138 00:05:49,039 --> 00:05:52,264 and a whole bunch of other people as well. 139 00:05:52,264 --> 00:05:54,440 We're very honored, of course, 140 00:05:54,440 --> 00:05:57,229 to have a Pulitzer Prize winner 141 00:05:57,229 --> 00:05:58,595 in the former Poet Laureate 142 00:05:58,595 --> 00:05:59,689 of the United States, 143 00:05:59,689 --> 00:06:01,774 Rita Dove is our final reader. 144 00:06:01,774 --> 00:06:04,534 And I'm also pleased that Gary short, 145 00:06:04,534 --> 00:06:05,839 or newest addition to the 146 00:06:05,839 --> 00:06:07,370 creative writing faculty in 147 00:06:07,370 --> 00:06:08,689 a former student of Ms. 148 00:06:08,689 --> 00:06:11,249 Dove will introduce her. 149 00:06:19,500 --> 00:06:21,549 Well, it's my privilege 150 00:06:21,549 --> 00:06:22,734 to introduce Rita Dove, 151 00:06:22,734 --> 00:06:24,295 and I've been granted 152 00:06:24,295 --> 00:06:26,200 this honor tonight because it was 153 00:06:26,200 --> 00:06:27,804 my privilege to have 154 00:06:27,804 --> 00:06:29,739 have read as a teacher in 155 00:06:29,739 --> 00:06:30,910 the mid 1980s and 156 00:06:30,910 --> 00:06:32,560 the MFA program at 157 00:06:32,560 --> 00:06:34,885 Arizona, Arizona State University. 158 00:06:34,885 --> 00:06:36,684 And in truth, since then, 159 00:06:36,684 --> 00:06:38,739 she has continued to instruct through 160 00:06:38,739 --> 00:06:40,149 her work ethic and through 161 00:06:40,149 --> 00:06:42,234 the quality of her writing. 162 00:06:42,234 --> 00:06:45,819 When Rita won the Pulitzer Prize in 1987 for 163 00:06:45,819 --> 00:06:47,500 her stunning and uniquely 164 00:06:47,500 --> 00:06:49,390 American book, Thomas and Beulah. 165 00:06:49,390 --> 00:06:50,949 I remember joking with her at 166 00:06:50,949 --> 00:06:52,449 the time that she 167 00:06:52,449 --> 00:06:54,069 would never have to update our resume. 168 00:06:54,069 --> 00:06:56,895 You can just put Pulitzer Prize winner. 169 00:06:56,895 --> 00:07:00,694 But Rita didn't rest on her Pulitzer laurels. 170 00:07:00,694 --> 00:07:01,789 And since then she has 171 00:07:01,789 --> 00:07:03,290 added many awards to her 172 00:07:03,290 --> 00:07:06,395 via a national metal in the humanities, 173 00:07:06,395 --> 00:07:09,350 Poet Laureate of the United States to name2. 174 00:07:09,350 --> 00:07:11,929 But more importantly, and I'm sorry, 175 00:07:11,929 --> 00:07:13,399 it's October and I can't 176 00:07:13,399 --> 00:07:15,260 resist a slant comparison with 177 00:07:15,260 --> 00:07:18,229 baseball after the great accomplishment 178 00:07:18,229 --> 00:07:19,640 of our early books, 179 00:07:19,640 --> 00:07:22,759 like Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, 180 00:07:22,759 --> 00:07:24,500 who provided an encore this year 181 00:07:24,500 --> 00:07:26,285 to their previous great season. 182 00:07:26,285 --> 00:07:27,979 Rita Dove has continued 183 00:07:27,979 --> 00:07:30,320 to hit literary homeruns. 184 00:07:30,320 --> 00:07:33,124 Her career, her body of work, 185 00:07:33,124 --> 00:07:35,210 the last two books of poems, for instance, 186 00:07:35,210 --> 00:07:38,479 motherly love and on the bus with Rosa Parks, 187 00:07:38,479 --> 00:07:41,690 continues to take on muscle and definition. 188 00:07:41,690 --> 00:07:44,329 She was one of our most important poets. 189 00:07:44,329 --> 00:07:45,785 She's a treasure. 190 00:07:45,785 --> 00:07:48,064 What you're about to hear is writing. 191 00:07:48,064 --> 00:07:50,524 There can be at once harsh and beautiful, 192 00:07:50,524 --> 00:07:55,160 wise and true writing that is so vivid and 193 00:07:55,160 --> 00:07:57,110 vital that the words lift from 194 00:07:57,110 --> 00:07:58,519 the page and become 195 00:07:58,519 --> 00:08:00,560 worlds in which we wander. 196 00:08:00,560 --> 00:08:01,954 So please welcome 197 00:08:01,954 --> 00:08:03,770 University of Virginia professor, 198 00:08:03,770 --> 00:08:06,109 Pulitzer Prize winner, former poet 199 00:08:06,109 --> 00:08:09,659 laureate and valued writer, reader does. 200 00:08:21,550 --> 00:08:23,944 Thank you. 201 00:08:23,944 --> 00:08:26,270 Thank you. 202 00:08:26,270 --> 00:08:29,660 It's great to see you everywhere. 203 00:08:29,660 --> 00:08:31,415 Hello. 204 00:08:31,415 --> 00:08:34,130 It's wonderful to be back in Norfolk. 205 00:08:34,130 --> 00:08:35,719 We were trying my husband and I 206 00:08:35,719 --> 00:08:36,619 were trying to figure out when 207 00:08:36,619 --> 00:08:37,520 we were here last, 208 00:08:37,520 --> 00:08:40,700 I believe we've been back 209 00:08:40,700 --> 00:08:41,989 several times in 210 00:08:41,989 --> 00:08:44,000 the last decade and beyond that, 211 00:08:44,000 --> 00:08:45,559 so that it always feels like 212 00:08:45,559 --> 00:08:47,119 a little bit of coming home and I 213 00:08:47,119 --> 00:08:48,590 get nostalgic when I come back. 214 00:08:48,590 --> 00:08:50,390 And so though originally 215 00:08:50,390 --> 00:08:51,949 I was going to only read 216 00:08:51,949 --> 00:08:55,759 from my latest book on the bus of Rosa Park. 217 00:08:55,759 --> 00:08:57,080 I thought I would sprinkle in 218 00:08:57,080 --> 00:08:59,239 a couple of older pumps as well. 219 00:08:59,239 --> 00:09:03,394 And they'll first, I'd like to start with a, 220 00:09:03,394 --> 00:09:06,949 a poem that does come from the latest book. 221 00:09:06,949 --> 00:09:08,930 But in a way, it's the oldest poem of all 222 00:09:08,930 --> 00:09:11,030 because it's the poem that started it all. 223 00:09:11,030 --> 00:09:13,670 It's about how I started to write. 224 00:09:13,670 --> 00:09:16,520 And really the way 225 00:09:16,520 --> 00:09:18,530 I started to write with my reading, 226 00:09:18,530 --> 00:09:20,390 I read everything I could get my hands 227 00:09:20,390 --> 00:09:21,619 on and thank goodness, 228 00:09:21,619 --> 00:09:23,390 I had parents who let me read 229 00:09:23,390 --> 00:09:25,699 whatever I could get my hands on so 230 00:09:25,699 --> 00:09:31,070 that when I wanted to go into 231 00:09:31,070 --> 00:09:33,380 the adult section of 232 00:09:33,380 --> 00:09:35,150 the branch library in 233 00:09:35,150 --> 00:09:36,889 our hometown because I 234 00:09:36,889 --> 00:09:38,510 wanted to read Francoise saw gone. 235 00:09:38,510 --> 00:09:40,565 That was the biggest thing right then. 236 00:09:40,565 --> 00:09:41,960 Not that I would have known what to 237 00:09:41,960 --> 00:09:43,580 do with it and I was like 11, 238 00:09:43,580 --> 00:09:46,219 but In the librarian 239 00:09:46,219 --> 00:09:47,585 wouldn't let me go there at first. 240 00:09:47,585 --> 00:09:48,889 They wrote a letter saying 241 00:09:48,889 --> 00:09:50,314 let her read whatever she wants. 242 00:09:50,314 --> 00:09:54,590 So reading was a place of freedom. 243 00:09:54,590 --> 00:09:56,780 And writing became way 244 00:09:56,780 --> 00:09:58,610 of writing one's freedom. 245 00:09:58,610 --> 00:10:00,590 So this poem is really a love poem 246 00:10:00,590 --> 00:10:01,729 for librarians. 247 00:10:01,729 --> 00:10:04,009 It's called Maple Valley 248 00:10:04,009 --> 00:10:07,609 Branch Library, 1967. 249 00:10:07,609 --> 00:10:11,900 For a 15-year-old, there was plenty to do. 250 00:10:11,900 --> 00:10:13,879 Browse the magazines, 251 00:10:13,879 --> 00:10:15,889 slip into the adult section to 252 00:10:15,889 --> 00:10:18,095 see what vast twists tests 253 00:10:18,095 --> 00:10:20,284 was born of rush hour traffic. 254 00:10:20,284 --> 00:10:22,010 That coal tes and 255 00:10:22,010 --> 00:10:24,139 the plague of too much money. 256 00:10:24,139 --> 00:10:26,239 There was so much to 257 00:10:26,239 --> 00:10:29,194 discover how to lay out a road. 258 00:10:29,194 --> 00:10:31,204 The language of flowers, 259 00:10:31,204 --> 00:10:33,379 and the place of women in 260 00:10:33,379 --> 00:10:37,205 the tribe of most equations. 261 00:10:37,205 --> 00:10:39,724 Elegant as a French twist. 262 00:10:39,724 --> 00:10:43,564 Fractal geometries unwinding maple leaf. 263 00:10:43,564 --> 00:10:46,745 I could follow step-by-step, 264 00:10:46,745 --> 00:10:48,919 the slow disclosure of 265 00:10:48,919 --> 00:10:51,335 a pineapple Jell-O mold, 266 00:10:51,335 --> 00:10:53,930 or take the path of heralds, 267 00:10:53,930 --> 00:10:56,990 Purple Crayon through the bedroom window 268 00:10:56,990 --> 00:11:00,965 and onto a lavender spill of stars. 269 00:11:00,965 --> 00:11:06,034 Or I could walk any aisle and smell wisdom, 270 00:11:06,034 --> 00:11:09,365 put a handout to touch the rough curve. 271 00:11:09,365 --> 00:11:14,224 Bound leather, the harsh parchment of dreams. 272 00:11:14,224 --> 00:11:17,029 As for the improbable librarian with 273 00:11:17,029 --> 00:11:19,669 her salt and paprika upsweep, 274 00:11:19,669 --> 00:11:22,879 her British accent and sweater clip. 275 00:11:22,879 --> 00:11:25,490 Mom of a kid I knew from school, 276 00:11:25,490 --> 00:11:28,579 I'd go up to her desk and ask for help 277 00:11:28,579 --> 00:11:32,255 on bareback rodeo or binary codes, 278 00:11:32,255 --> 00:11:36,110 phonics, Gestalt theory, lead poisoning, 279 00:11:36,110 --> 00:11:38,149 and the late Roman Empire. 280 00:11:38,149 --> 00:11:39,695 The play of light 281 00:11:39,695 --> 00:11:41,869 in Dutch Renaissance painting. 282 00:11:41,869 --> 00:11:43,939 I would claim to be researching 283 00:11:43,939 --> 00:11:45,545 pre-Columbian pottery 284 00:11:45,545 --> 00:11:47,239 or Chinese foot binding. 285 00:11:47,239 --> 00:11:48,980 But all I wanted to know 286 00:11:48,980 --> 00:11:51,634 was tell me what you've read 287 00:11:51,634 --> 00:11:54,620 that keeps that half smile of float 288 00:11:54,620 --> 00:11:58,969 above the color of your impeccable blouse. 289 00:11:58,969 --> 00:12:02,270 I read Gone With the Wind because it was 290 00:12:02,270 --> 00:12:06,259 big and haiku because they were small. 291 00:12:06,259 --> 00:12:08,660 I studied history for its Rhapsody 292 00:12:08,660 --> 00:12:10,700 of dates lingered over 293 00:12:10,700 --> 00:12:13,325 cubist art for the way it showed 294 00:12:13,325 --> 00:12:16,505 all sides of a guitar at once. 295 00:12:16,505 --> 00:12:19,025 All the time in the world was there. 296 00:12:19,025 --> 00:12:23,630 And sometimes all the world on a single page. 297 00:12:23,630 --> 00:12:25,909 As much as I could hold on 298 00:12:25,909 --> 00:12:28,174 my plastic cards in print. 299 00:12:28,174 --> 00:12:31,504 I took greedily six books, 300 00:12:31,504 --> 00:12:33,214 six volumes of bliss. 301 00:12:33,214 --> 00:12:35,570 The stuff we humans are made of 302 00:12:35,570 --> 00:12:39,080 words and size and silence. 303 00:12:39,080 --> 00:12:42,979 Ink and whips, Brahma and cosine, 304 00:12:42,979 --> 00:12:46,624 corsets and poetry and blood sugar levels. 305 00:12:46,624 --> 00:12:49,850 I carried it home past five blocks of 306 00:12:49,850 --> 00:12:52,414 aluminum siding and the old garage 307 00:12:52,414 --> 00:12:54,950 where on its boarded up doors, 308 00:12:54,950 --> 00:12:57,560 someone had scrawled, I can 309 00:12:57,560 --> 00:13:01,130 eat an elephant if I take small bites. 310 00:13:01,130 --> 00:13:05,584 Yes. I said to no one in particular. 311 00:13:05,584 --> 00:13:08,369 That's what I'm gonna do. 312 00:13:15,000 --> 00:13:20,900 Thank you. So that's how it started. 313 00:13:21,330 --> 00:13:24,264 My daughter is 16 now, 314 00:13:24,264 --> 00:13:30,234 and she also berries herself in books. 315 00:13:30,234 --> 00:13:31,810 The books have a different kind. 316 00:13:31,810 --> 00:13:34,449 She's interested in both science and theater. 317 00:13:34,449 --> 00:13:37,150 So sometimes it's a Genetics book 318 00:13:37,150 --> 00:13:38,859 or something and sometimes it's theater. 319 00:13:38,859 --> 00:13:43,044 But when she was born, 320 00:13:43,044 --> 00:13:45,309 my husband, I really didn't 321 00:13:45,309 --> 00:13:47,560 know how she was going to come out. 322 00:13:47,560 --> 00:13:49,135 My husband is German, 323 00:13:49,135 --> 00:13:53,094 and it was a great role of the genetic dice. 324 00:13:53,094 --> 00:13:58,455 So we were living in Phoenix at that time. 325 00:13:58,455 --> 00:14:02,399 When I was teaching at ASU, as Gary told you, 326 00:14:03,160 --> 00:14:05,675 we had this wonderful, 327 00:14:05,675 --> 00:14:08,839 wonderful midwife who was 328 00:14:08,839 --> 00:14:09,920 stationed in the hospitals. 329 00:14:09,920 --> 00:14:10,880 One of those things where you can have 330 00:14:10,880 --> 00:14:11,899 a midwife until something 331 00:14:11,899 --> 00:14:12,770 goes wrong and then you 332 00:14:12,770 --> 00:14:14,225 can call him the doctor. 333 00:14:14,225 --> 00:14:16,339 But the midwife was 334 00:14:16,339 --> 00:14:17,510 we couldn't figure out 335 00:14:17,510 --> 00:14:18,709 exactly where she came from. 336 00:14:18,709 --> 00:14:20,510 Three Tucker as a good 337 00:14:20,510 --> 00:14:25,350 omen incarnation in Phoenix, 338 00:14:25,420 --> 00:14:28,804 into this paradise of pain. 339 00:14:28,804 --> 00:14:31,400 She's strides on the slim tether 340 00:14:31,400 --> 00:14:32,869 of a nurse's Belle. 341 00:14:32,869 --> 00:14:36,410 Her charcoal limbs emerging from crisp white, 342 00:14:36,410 --> 00:14:40,129 unlikely as an envelope issuing smoke. 343 00:14:40,129 --> 00:14:43,700 I've run because my breasts have risen. 344 00:14:43,700 --> 00:14:45,230 Artesian. 345 00:14:45,230 --> 00:14:48,544 I'm not ready for this motherhood stuff. 346 00:14:48,544 --> 00:14:50,540 Her name is Raven, 347 00:14:50,540 --> 00:14:53,449 and she swoops across the tiled wilderness. 348 00:14:53,449 --> 00:14:56,419 Hair boiling thunder over the RAM part 349 00:14:56,419 --> 00:15:00,095 of bobby pins spoken her immaculate cap. 350 00:15:00,095 --> 00:15:03,065 She dips once for the baby, just waking, 351 00:15:03,065 --> 00:15:06,635 fist punching in for work right on schedule. 352 00:15:06,635 --> 00:15:09,979 Bends again to investigate what should be 353 00:15:09,979 --> 00:15:13,399 natural milk signing into 354 00:15:13,399 --> 00:15:16,850 one tiny vociferous mouth. 355 00:15:16,850 --> 00:15:22,430 She whispers ambrosia, shaming me instantly, 356 00:15:22,430 --> 00:15:24,995 but no nectar trickles forth. 357 00:15:24,995 --> 00:15:27,379 No manner descends from the vault of 358 00:15:27,379 --> 00:15:30,244 heaven to feed this pearly syllable, 359 00:15:30,244 --> 00:15:32,764 this package of leafy persuasion 360 00:15:32,764 --> 00:15:34,519 dropped on our doorstep and 361 00:15:34,519 --> 00:15:36,170 ripening before us 362 00:15:36,170 --> 00:15:38,870 a miniature United Nations. 363 00:15:38,870 --> 00:15:41,719 Just like me, Raven says, 364 00:15:41,719 --> 00:15:43,010 citing the name of 365 00:15:43,010 --> 00:15:46,009 her mother's village somewhere in Norway. 366 00:15:46,009 --> 00:15:48,980 Her father, a Buffalo Soldier. 367 00:15:48,980 --> 00:15:52,729 Now, of course, we can place her, 368 00:15:52,729 --> 00:15:55,609 an African Valkyrie who takes 369 00:15:55,609 --> 00:15:58,310 my breast and her fists grunting, 370 00:15:58,310 --> 00:16:01,444 this hurts you more than it does me. 371 00:16:01,444 --> 00:16:04,099 Then my last squeezed to 372 00:16:04,099 --> 00:16:08,130 a whimper and the milk running out. 373 00:16:09,550 --> 00:16:14,210 The book before this one, 374 00:16:14,210 --> 00:16:16,865 which goes to show you that the muse 375 00:16:16,865 --> 00:16:17,930 comes when she's getting 376 00:16:17,930 --> 00:16:20,249 ready to book before. 377 00:16:20,440 --> 00:16:23,239 The most recent one was called mother love. 378 00:16:23,239 --> 00:16:25,205 And it's based on 379 00:16:25,205 --> 00:16:26,780 the Greek myth of 380 00:16:26,780 --> 00:16:29,405 Persephony and diameter, which. 381 00:16:29,405 --> 00:16:31,669 Yes, you probably remember as a store is 382 00:16:31,669 --> 00:16:34,189 a classic story of loss. 383 00:16:34,189 --> 00:16:36,274 And a mother's love. 384 00:16:36,274 --> 00:16:38,269 Persephony was out picking 385 00:16:38,269 --> 00:16:39,709 flowers of her friends when she was 386 00:16:39,709 --> 00:16:40,850 kidnapped by the god of 387 00:16:40,850 --> 00:16:42,859 the underworld and her mother who just 388 00:16:42,859 --> 00:16:44,749 happened to be the goddess 389 00:16:44,749 --> 00:16:46,535 of agriculture and the Earth, 390 00:16:46,535 --> 00:16:48,365 helps to have that kind of cloud 391 00:16:48,365 --> 00:16:49,939 decided to go on 392 00:16:49,939 --> 00:16:51,680 strike until her daughter was returned 393 00:16:51,680 --> 00:16:53,720 to her without her working, 394 00:16:53,720 --> 00:16:56,210 without her doing her job to Earth began to 395 00:16:56,210 --> 00:16:59,284 wither until the God, until Hades, 396 00:16:59,284 --> 00:17:02,825 who had never knuckled 397 00:17:02,825 --> 00:17:05,089 under to anyone consented 398 00:17:05,089 --> 00:17:06,920 to let the girl come back. 399 00:17:06,920 --> 00:17:11,030 What happened, however, was 400 00:17:11,030 --> 00:17:13,070 that stephanie had eaten 401 00:17:13,070 --> 00:17:16,910 six pomegranate seeds while she was inhale. 402 00:17:16,910 --> 00:17:18,199 And because she had eaten 403 00:17:18,199 --> 00:17:19,550 something in the underworld, 404 00:17:19,550 --> 00:17:21,454 she was not allowed to come back 405 00:17:21,454 --> 00:17:23,180 for the entire time. 406 00:17:23,180 --> 00:17:25,040 She could only come above ground for 407 00:17:25,040 --> 00:17:26,404 six months out of the year 408 00:17:26,404 --> 00:17:28,325 when we have spring and summer. 409 00:17:28,325 --> 00:17:29,929 And when she went back, 410 00:17:29,929 --> 00:17:31,010 her mother mourned and we 411 00:17:31,010 --> 00:17:32,195 have fall and winter. 412 00:17:32,195 --> 00:17:35,525 So we're entering the mourning period now. 413 00:17:35,525 --> 00:17:37,609 But I was writing 414 00:17:37,609 --> 00:17:39,919 these poems when my daughter was young. 415 00:17:39,919 --> 00:17:41,659 And as I said, they came out first, 416 00:17:41,659 --> 00:17:42,499 the Pullman bought her birth, 417 00:17:42,499 --> 00:17:43,654 came out much later. 418 00:17:43,654 --> 00:17:46,475 But as I was writing these poems, 419 00:17:46,475 --> 00:17:49,174 she was studying Greek myths and in 420 00:17:49,174 --> 00:17:51,604 elementary school and came up to me one day, 421 00:17:51,604 --> 00:17:52,579 showed me a picture of 422 00:17:52,579 --> 00:17:54,110 Persephony in diameter and said, 423 00:17:54,110 --> 00:17:55,610 you're writing about us 424 00:17:55,610 --> 00:17:56,869 bounded out of the room. 425 00:17:56,869 --> 00:17:59,284 There was no more writing that day. 426 00:17:59,284 --> 00:18:03,049 This poem that I read to you from 427 00:18:03,049 --> 00:18:05,239 that book is told 428 00:18:05,239 --> 00:18:06,259 from the mother's point of view. 429 00:18:06,259 --> 00:18:07,940 It's a more contemporary version 430 00:18:07,940 --> 00:18:10,340 because it's the loss of a child. 431 00:18:10,340 --> 00:18:13,474 As for course, not only 432 00:18:13,474 --> 00:18:15,499 restricted to Greek myths, 433 00:18:15,499 --> 00:18:16,729 it happens to all of us all the 434 00:18:16,729 --> 00:18:18,275 time in many different ways. 435 00:18:18,275 --> 00:18:19,865 In this particular case, 436 00:18:19,865 --> 00:18:22,189 the daughter is not truly lost, 437 00:18:22,189 --> 00:18:27,620 but she is moved out of the house, 438 00:18:27,620 --> 00:18:28,835 has moved to Paris. 439 00:18:28,835 --> 00:18:29,990 And it's taken up with a rather 440 00:18:29,990 --> 00:18:32,405 mediocre artist in Paris. 441 00:18:32,405 --> 00:18:36,090 Which is my idea of how I think. 442 00:18:36,450 --> 00:18:39,069 Hence the title of 443 00:18:39,069 --> 00:18:40,975 the poem is the Bistro sticks, 444 00:18:40,975 --> 00:18:43,314 mother and daughter a meeting in the cafe. 445 00:18:43,314 --> 00:18:47,720 And the mother is talking The Bistro sticks. 446 00:18:47,880 --> 00:18:50,440 She was thinner with 447 00:18:50,440 --> 00:18:52,269 a mannered continous as she 448 00:18:52,269 --> 00:18:55,239 paused just inside the double glass doors 449 00:18:55,239 --> 00:18:56,754 to survey the room. 450 00:18:56,754 --> 00:18:59,290 Silvery cape billowing dramatically 451 00:18:59,290 --> 00:19:01,780 behind her. What's this? 452 00:19:01,780 --> 00:19:05,155 I thought lifting your hand until she nodded 453 00:19:05,155 --> 00:19:07,629 and started across the Parquet. 454 00:19:07,629 --> 00:19:08,710 That's what I saw. 455 00:19:08,710 --> 00:19:10,390 She was dressed all in 456 00:19:10,390 --> 00:19:13,719 gray from a kitten ish Kashmir skirt 457 00:19:13,719 --> 00:19:15,730 and call down to 458 00:19:15,730 --> 00:19:19,214 the graphite signature of her shoes. 459 00:19:19,214 --> 00:19:20,839 Sorry, I'm late. 460 00:19:20,839 --> 00:19:22,520 She painted though she 461 00:19:22,520 --> 00:19:25,009 wasn't sliding into the chair, 462 00:19:25,009 --> 00:19:26,539 her cape tossed off in 463 00:19:26,539 --> 00:19:29,210 a shutter of brushed steel. 464 00:19:29,210 --> 00:19:32,029 We kissed. Then I leaned back 465 00:19:32,029 --> 00:19:34,670 to peruse my blighted child, 466 00:19:34,670 --> 00:19:38,495 this wary, aristocratic mole. 467 00:19:38,495 --> 00:19:40,280 How's business? 468 00:19:40,280 --> 00:19:42,169 I asked and hazard 469 00:19:42,169 --> 00:19:44,884 a motherly smile to keep from crying out. 470 00:19:44,884 --> 00:19:46,339 Are you content to 471 00:19:46,339 --> 00:19:48,634 conduct your life as a cliche? 472 00:19:48,634 --> 00:19:51,560 And what's worse, an anachronism. 473 00:19:51,560 --> 00:19:54,860 The brooding artist's demo around near 474 00:19:54,860 --> 00:19:56,570 the loop plan says they had opened 475 00:19:56,570 --> 00:19:58,700 a gallery come souvenir shop, 476 00:19:58,700 --> 00:20:00,649 which featured fuzzy off-color 477 00:20:00,649 --> 00:20:03,785 Monet's next to his acrylics, no doubt. 478 00:20:03,785 --> 00:20:06,710 Plus bearded African drums and 479 00:20:06,710 --> 00:20:08,179 the occasional miniature 480 00:20:08,179 --> 00:20:10,010 gargoyles from notre Dam, 481 00:20:10,010 --> 00:20:11,885 the great artists had carved 482 00:20:11,885 --> 00:20:14,660 at breakfast with a pocket knife. 483 00:20:14,660 --> 00:20:16,789 Tourists love us. 484 00:20:16,789 --> 00:20:18,514 The Parisian is, of course, 485 00:20:18,514 --> 00:20:20,794 she blushed, are amused, 486 00:20:20,794 --> 00:20:23,870 though not without a certain admiration. 487 00:20:23,870 --> 00:20:26,299 The chateaux Briana arrived 488 00:20:26,299 --> 00:20:27,844 on a bone white plate, 489 00:20:27,844 --> 00:20:31,400 smug and absolute in its fragrant crust of 490 00:20:31,400 --> 00:20:33,710 black plugs steaming like the heart 491 00:20:33,710 --> 00:20:36,664 plucked from the chest of a worthy enemy. 492 00:20:36,664 --> 00:20:38,615 One touch with her fork, 493 00:20:38,615 --> 00:20:41,645 send pink juices streaming. 494 00:20:41,645 --> 00:20:44,369 Admiration for what? 495 00:20:44,369 --> 00:20:47,560 Wine, a bloody Pino Anwar 496 00:20:47,560 --> 00:20:49,660 brought color to her cheeks. 497 00:20:49,660 --> 00:20:51,880 Why the plum with which we've 498 00:20:51,880 --> 00:20:54,279 managed to support our art. 499 00:20:54,279 --> 00:20:56,604 Meaning he'd convinced her to pose 500 00:20:56,604 --> 00:20:58,914 nude for his appalling canvases. 501 00:20:58,914 --> 00:21:01,720 Faintly futuristic landscapes strewn with 502 00:21:01,720 --> 00:21:03,699 car wrecks and body is being 503 00:21:03,699 --> 00:21:07,029 chewed by Rabbit Cocker Spaniels. 504 00:21:07,029 --> 00:21:10,495 I'd like to come by the studio. 505 00:21:10,495 --> 00:21:13,360 I ventured to see the new stuff. 506 00:21:13,360 --> 00:21:15,624 Yes, if you wish. 507 00:21:15,624 --> 00:21:18,294 A delicate rebuff before the warning, 508 00:21:18,294 --> 00:21:19,810 he dresses all in black. 509 00:21:19,810 --> 00:21:23,035 Now me, he draped some blues and carmine. 510 00:21:23,035 --> 00:21:24,850 But even though I think it's 511 00:21:24,850 --> 00:21:26,865 kind of cute and company, 512 00:21:26,865 --> 00:21:29,705 I tend toward more muted shades. 513 00:21:29,705 --> 00:21:31,999 She paused and had 514 00:21:31,999 --> 00:21:34,264 the grace to drop her eyes. 515 00:21:34,264 --> 00:21:36,634 She did look ravishing, 516 00:21:36,634 --> 00:21:38,870 sparkly insubstantial. 517 00:21:38,870 --> 00:21:41,375 A lipstick ghost on tissue, 518 00:21:41,375 --> 00:21:44,089 or as if one stood on a fifth floor. 519 00:21:44,089 --> 00:21:46,430 Terrorists pairing through a fringe of 520 00:21:46,430 --> 00:21:49,579 rain at paresis, dreaming chimney pots. 521 00:21:49,579 --> 00:21:51,830 Each city issue wobbling 522 00:21:51,830 --> 00:21:56,509 skyward in an ecstatic oracular spiral. 523 00:21:56,509 --> 00:21:58,849 And he never think the food, 524 00:21:58,849 --> 00:22:00,320 I wish I didn't have to 525 00:22:00,320 --> 00:22:02,269 plead with him to eat. 526 00:22:02,269 --> 00:22:04,819 Fruit and cheese appeared. 527 00:22:04,819 --> 00:22:07,610 Arrayed on leaf green dishes. 528 00:22:07,610 --> 00:22:10,280 I stuck with Kathy Cram. 529 00:22:10,280 --> 00:22:13,804 This common bears so ripe, she joked, 530 00:22:13,804 --> 00:22:15,755 it's practically grown hair, 531 00:22:15,755 --> 00:22:18,110 mocking a Golden Globe complete with 532 00:22:18,110 --> 00:22:21,064 parsley sprig onto a heel of bread. 533 00:22:21,064 --> 00:22:23,615 Nothing seemed to fill her up. 534 00:22:23,615 --> 00:22:26,494 She swallowed, sliced into a pair, 535 00:22:26,494 --> 00:22:29,210 spirit each tier shaped lavalier and 536 00:22:29,210 --> 00:22:30,545 pop the dripping mess 537 00:22:30,545 --> 00:22:32,539 into her pretty mountain. 538 00:22:32,539 --> 00:22:35,720 Nowhere. The bright Tough did fields, 539 00:22:35,720 --> 00:22:37,849 weighted vines and son 540 00:22:37,849 --> 00:22:40,370 poured down out of the South. 541 00:22:40,370 --> 00:22:42,920 But are you happy? 542 00:22:42,920 --> 00:22:47,235 Fearing, I whispered it quickly. 543 00:22:47,235 --> 00:22:50,589 What, you know, mother, 544 00:22:50,589 --> 00:22:53,815 she bit into the story rows of a fig. 545 00:22:53,815 --> 00:22:57,190 One really should try the fruit here. 546 00:22:57,190 --> 00:22:59,935 I've lost her, I thought, 547 00:22:59,935 --> 00:23:02,510 and called for the bill. 548 00:23:19,380 --> 00:23:23,589 A few years back. There was a show on 549 00:23:23,589 --> 00:23:25,300 PBS that dealt with 550 00:23:25,300 --> 00:23:27,880 big band from the 30s and the 40s. 551 00:23:27,880 --> 00:23:31,759 And they were interviewing in 552 00:23:31,759 --> 00:23:33,800 this particular moment of 553 00:23:33,800 --> 00:23:35,929 a gentleman from South Carolina, 554 00:23:35,929 --> 00:23:36,514 white gentleman 555 00:23:36,514 --> 00:23:38,030 South Carolina who was talking 556 00:23:38,030 --> 00:23:39,050 about the bands had to come 557 00:23:39,050 --> 00:23:40,174 down to his small village, 558 00:23:40,174 --> 00:23:44,104 use town in the forties early 40s. 559 00:23:44,104 --> 00:23:46,369 And he said that in 560 00:23:46,369 --> 00:23:47,840 this one case it was a black man 561 00:23:47,840 --> 00:23:49,129 that had come down to perform. 562 00:23:49,129 --> 00:23:51,979 And because things were still segregated, 563 00:23:51,979 --> 00:23:54,364 there was the dilemma of what to do 564 00:23:54,364 --> 00:23:56,794 with separating the audience from the band. 565 00:23:56,794 --> 00:23:58,700 Since the ban had to be on the bandstand, 566 00:23:58,700 --> 00:24:00,080 they couldn't put the black 567 00:24:00,080 --> 00:24:02,060 audience members in the peanut gallery, 568 00:24:02,060 --> 00:24:05,435 up in the balcony, up there. 569 00:24:05,435 --> 00:24:08,210 But what they did then was 570 00:24:08,210 --> 00:24:09,710 to put all of the white audience 571 00:24:09,710 --> 00:24:10,775 into the peanut gallery. 572 00:24:10,775 --> 00:24:11,945 And the black audience 573 00:24:11,945 --> 00:24:13,639 got to be on the dance floor and dance. 574 00:24:13,639 --> 00:24:15,229 And so for change, 575 00:24:15,229 --> 00:24:17,000 he said there he was standing behind 576 00:24:17,000 --> 00:24:20,329 the balustrade looking down on the action. 577 00:24:20,329 --> 00:24:23,015 And he said, I thought to myself, 578 00:24:23,015 --> 00:24:24,289 it would be great because he 579 00:24:24,289 --> 00:24:25,865 watched all the couples dancing. 580 00:24:25,865 --> 00:24:27,109 It would be wonderful to be 581 00:24:27,109 --> 00:24:28,969 black on a Saturday night. 582 00:24:28,969 --> 00:24:31,189 And I thought, what a wonderful, 583 00:24:31,189 --> 00:24:33,199 what a wonderful phrase because he didn't say 584 00:24:33,199 --> 00:24:33,740 anything about 585 00:24:33,740 --> 00:24:36,035 the other six days of the week. 586 00:24:36,035 --> 00:24:39,275 Black on a Saturday night. 587 00:24:39,275 --> 00:24:41,525 This is no place for 588 00:24:41,525 --> 00:24:45,529 lilac or somebody on a trip to themselves. 589 00:24:45,529 --> 00:24:48,015 Hips are an asset here. 590 00:24:48,015 --> 00:24:50,515 And color calculated to flash 591 00:24:50,515 --> 00:24:52,840 lemon bronze service in 592 00:24:52,840 --> 00:24:55,104 the course of a dip in turn, 593 00:24:55,104 --> 00:24:57,415 beauties been caught lying 594 00:24:57,415 --> 00:24:59,604 in the truths rubbed Raw. 595 00:24:59,604 --> 00:25:02,065 Here, you get your remorse 596 00:25:02,065 --> 00:25:04,449 as a constitutional right. 597 00:25:04,449 --> 00:25:06,490 It's always what we don't fear that 598 00:25:06,490 --> 00:25:08,410 happens always not now. 599 00:25:08,410 --> 00:25:10,809 And why are you people acting this way? 600 00:25:10,809 --> 00:25:13,539 Meaning we put in Petunia does instead of 601 00:25:13,539 --> 00:25:16,119 hydrangeas and reject accrue 602 00:25:16,119 --> 00:25:18,129 as a fashion statement. 603 00:25:18,129 --> 00:25:20,454 But we can't do it now 604 00:25:20,454 --> 00:25:23,114 because the wages of living our sin, 605 00:25:23,114 --> 00:25:25,239 the wages of sin, our love, 606 00:25:25,239 --> 00:25:27,789 and the wages of love, our pain, 607 00:25:27,789 --> 00:25:29,170 and the wages of pain or 608 00:25:29,170 --> 00:25:30,919 philosophy that 609 00:25:30,919 --> 00:25:33,349 leads definitely to an attitude. 610 00:25:33,349 --> 00:25:35,480 And an attitude will get you nowhere fast. 611 00:25:35,480 --> 00:25:37,880 So you might as well keep dancing, 612 00:25:37,880 --> 00:25:39,815 dancing till tomorrow gives 613 00:25:39,815 --> 00:25:41,390 up with a shout because 614 00:25:41,390 --> 00:25:43,445 there is only Saturday night 615 00:25:43,445 --> 00:25:45,064 and we are in it. 616 00:25:45,064 --> 00:25:46,834 Black as black can. 617 00:25:46,834 --> 00:25:49,309 Black as black does not a 618 00:25:49,309 --> 00:25:51,905 concept nor a percentage, 619 00:25:51,905 --> 00:25:54,420 but a natural law? 620 00:26:02,890 --> 00:26:06,480 Reminds me of an earlier poem. 621 00:26:07,750 --> 00:26:09,979 Those of you, do you all know 622 00:26:09,979 --> 00:26:12,124 who champion Jack do pre? 623 00:26:12,124 --> 00:26:16,775 Wonderful blues singer died a few years ago. 624 00:26:16,775 --> 00:26:21,035 I had the luck to get dressed, 625 00:26:21,035 --> 00:26:24,650 chance to hear him sing and play in Germany. 626 00:26:24,650 --> 00:26:28,219 And this was about 15 years ago or so. 627 00:26:28,219 --> 00:26:30,110 He was playing to a small group of 628 00:26:30,110 --> 00:26:33,874 college students in Munich beer cellar. 629 00:26:33,874 --> 00:26:36,229 And they didn't quite know who he was. 630 00:26:36,229 --> 00:26:37,355 They just knew that he was 631 00:26:37,355 --> 00:26:40,054 a black musician from the United States. 632 00:26:40,054 --> 00:26:44,450 Um, he had a wonderful kind 633 00:26:44,450 --> 00:26:46,279 of running pattern that he 634 00:26:46,279 --> 00:26:48,649 kept up in-between songs and sets. 635 00:26:48,649 --> 00:26:50,029 And instead of saying, Confucius 636 00:26:50,029 --> 00:26:51,259 say he would say Shakespeare, 637 00:26:51,259 --> 00:26:54,995 say, Shakespeare say. 638 00:26:54,995 --> 00:26:58,535 He drums a piano would crowing, 639 00:26:58,535 --> 00:27:02,270 champion Jack and love and in debt in a tan 640 00:27:02,270 --> 00:27:04,040 walking suit with a flag on 641 00:27:04,040 --> 00:27:05,899 the pocket with a red eye. 642 00:27:05,899 --> 00:27:08,900 For women with a diamond studded ear 643 00:27:08,900 --> 00:27:11,630 with sand and a mouthful of mush. 644 00:27:11,630 --> 00:27:13,685 Poor me, poor me. 645 00:27:13,685 --> 00:27:15,185 I keep on drifting 646 00:27:15,185 --> 00:27:17,480 like a ship out on the sea. 647 00:27:17,480 --> 00:27:20,090 That afternoon to students from 648 00:27:20,090 --> 00:27:22,504 the academia showed him the town. 649 00:27:22,504 --> 00:27:25,070 Munich was misbehaving, whipping 650 00:27:25,070 --> 00:27:27,545 his asked to ice while his shoes, 651 00:27:27,545 --> 00:27:29,869 so through his guides 652 00:27:29,869 --> 00:27:33,155 pointed at a clock in a blue tiles house. 653 00:27:33,155 --> 00:27:35,930 And tonight, every song he's sings 654 00:27:35,930 --> 00:27:37,459 is written by Shakespeare 655 00:27:37,459 --> 00:27:38,990 and his mother-in-law. 656 00:27:38,990 --> 00:27:40,489 I love you baby, 657 00:27:40,489 --> 00:27:42,754 but it don't mean a god **** thing. 658 00:27:42,754 --> 00:27:44,630 In trouble with every woman he's 659 00:27:44,630 --> 00:27:46,175 ever known. All of them. 660 00:27:46,175 --> 00:27:49,235 Ugly, skinny legs lie gap, 661 00:27:49,235 --> 00:27:51,919 waiting behind the lips to suck them in. 662 00:27:51,919 --> 00:27:55,010 Going down slow chronic Shakespeare say 663 00:27:55,010 --> 00:27:56,269 man must be careful 664 00:27:56,269 --> 00:27:58,144 what he kits when he drunk. 665 00:27:58,144 --> 00:28:00,320 Going down for the third set, 666 00:28:00,320 --> 00:28:02,434 pass the stragglers at the bar, 667 00:28:02,434 --> 00:28:03,860 the bourbon in his hand, 668 00:28:03,860 --> 00:28:05,900 some *******, cold wet heart, 669 00:28:05,900 --> 00:28:07,550 the whole joint stinking on 670 00:28:07,550 --> 00:28:10,370 beer in love and winning now. 671 00:28:10,370 --> 00:28:13,655 So even the mistakes sound like jazz. 672 00:28:13,655 --> 00:28:16,459 Poor me moaning, so no one 673 00:28:16,459 --> 00:28:19,309 hears my homes and Louisiana, 674 00:28:19,309 --> 00:28:20,974 my voice is wrong. 675 00:28:20,974 --> 00:28:23,884 I'm broke and can't hold my ****. 676 00:28:23,884 --> 00:28:27,390 My mother told me there'd be days like this. 677 00:28:36,810 --> 00:28:38,830 To counter that little bit 678 00:28:38,830 --> 00:28:39,910 of massaging isn't let 679 00:28:39,910 --> 00:28:44,659 me read this poem. 680 00:28:48,180 --> 00:28:51,339 The female vocalist and 681 00:28:51,339 --> 00:28:53,809 the group was often called a canary. 682 00:28:54,330 --> 00:28:57,490 I think not only for the song of the bird, 683 00:28:57,490 --> 00:28:59,410 but also I can't 684 00:28:59,410 --> 00:29:00,459 help but think what I think of 685 00:29:00,459 --> 00:29:01,690 so many crashed lives 686 00:29:01,690 --> 00:29:04,300 of singers and musicians 687 00:29:04,300 --> 00:29:07,884 that I always think of the kidney area 688 00:29:07,884 --> 00:29:11,934 that's taken down in the caves of the miners. 689 00:29:11,934 --> 00:29:13,899 They took them down to see if there was 690 00:29:13,899 --> 00:29:15,715 a gas leak and if the bird died, 691 00:29:15,715 --> 00:29:16,869 then they knew that the Mayans were 692 00:29:16,869 --> 00:29:18,714 no longer safe for men. 693 00:29:18,714 --> 00:29:23,215 Canary. Billie Holiday is 694 00:29:23,215 --> 00:29:27,325 burned voice had as many shadows as lights. 695 00:29:27,325 --> 00:29:29,440 A mournful candelabra 696 00:29:29,440 --> 00:29:31,599 against the sleek piano. 697 00:29:31,599 --> 00:29:34,044 The gardenias, her signature 698 00:29:34,044 --> 00:29:36,564 Under that ruined face. 699 00:29:36,564 --> 00:29:38,620 Now you're cooking, drummer 700 00:29:38,620 --> 00:29:40,840 to base, magic spoon, 701 00:29:40,840 --> 00:29:42,234 magic needle, 702 00:29:42,234 --> 00:29:44,079 take all day if you have 703 00:29:44,079 --> 00:29:45,985 to, with your mirror. 704 00:29:45,985 --> 00:29:48,850 And your bracelet of song. 705 00:29:48,850 --> 00:29:53,440 Fact is the invention of women under siege 706 00:29:53,440 --> 00:29:55,030 has been to sharpen 707 00:29:55,030 --> 00:29:58,764 love in the service of myth. 708 00:29:58,764 --> 00:30:04,020 If you can't be free, be a mystery. 709 00:30:21,310 --> 00:30:27,320 The, I'm thinking of 710 00:30:27,320 --> 00:30:28,970 Tim's EvoS poem today 711 00:30:28,970 --> 00:30:31,654 where this afternoon was a wonderful reading. 712 00:30:31,654 --> 00:30:34,579 And we talks about 713 00:30:34,579 --> 00:30:35,689 the malls and how we have to 714 00:30:35,689 --> 00:30:37,355 get the most out of our lives. 715 00:30:37,355 --> 00:30:39,409 My mother has the mall 716 00:30:39,409 --> 00:30:41,209 in her life had been a very interesting way 717 00:30:41,209 --> 00:30:42,710 and that she goes to the mall to 718 00:30:42,710 --> 00:30:44,810 jog in the morning, 719 00:30:44,810 --> 00:30:48,170 say open up the malls early so that 720 00:30:48,170 --> 00:30:50,359 senior citizens can have 721 00:30:50,359 --> 00:30:52,399 a safe place to exercise. 722 00:30:52,399 --> 00:30:55,370 And I've been out there, 723 00:30:55,370 --> 00:30:57,390 they can really move. 724 00:30:58,390 --> 00:31:01,189 I thought I hope I like that. 725 00:31:01,189 --> 00:31:03,440 At least half that energetic. 726 00:31:03,440 --> 00:31:05,614 When I'm her age. This poem 727 00:31:05,614 --> 00:31:07,339 is told is a persona poem. 728 00:31:07,339 --> 00:31:09,754 It's told from the point of view of 729 00:31:09,754 --> 00:31:12,020 an elderly woman in the title of it is 730 00:31:12,020 --> 00:31:15,419 good to demo or twilight of the gods. 731 00:31:15,670 --> 00:31:20,809 Gerta demo. A straw reed climbs 732 00:31:20,809 --> 00:31:23,210 the car antenna beyond 733 00:31:23,210 --> 00:31:27,230 the tinted glass golden waves of grain. 734 00:31:27,230 --> 00:31:30,290 Golly, I can't help exclaiming. 735 00:31:30,290 --> 00:31:32,479 And He smirks, my born 736 00:31:32,479 --> 00:31:34,100 again naturalists son with 737 00:31:34,100 --> 00:31:35,869 his soup up laptop. 738 00:31:35,869 --> 00:31:38,210 Dear prodigy who insists on 739 00:31:38,210 --> 00:31:40,715 driving the two hours to the jet. 740 00:31:40,715 --> 00:31:42,679 He insists, I take 741 00:31:42,679 --> 00:31:45,875 no turbo prompts for this old lady. 742 00:31:45,875 --> 00:31:47,630 On good days, I feel 743 00:31:47,630 --> 00:31:51,005 a little meaty bad a few degrees 744 00:31:51,005 --> 00:31:53,660 from rancid **** knee. 745 00:31:53,660 --> 00:31:55,069 I used it this morning to 746 00:31:55,069 --> 00:31:57,244 retrieve a spilled colander. 747 00:31:57,244 --> 00:32:00,784 Now every cells blowing whistles. 748 00:32:00,784 --> 00:32:03,439 At least it's still a body. 749 00:32:03,439 --> 00:32:05,810 He'd never believe it's son of mine. 750 00:32:05,810 --> 00:32:08,090 But I remember what it's like to walk 751 00:32:08,090 --> 00:32:10,985 the world with no help from strangers, 752 00:32:10,985 --> 00:32:12,650 not even a personal 753 00:32:12,650 --> 00:32:15,904 trainer to make you feel the burn. 754 00:32:15,904 --> 00:32:17,795 Most of the time, 755 00:32:17,795 --> 00:32:19,340 it's flutter heart and 756 00:32:19,340 --> 00:32:21,950 her royal celestial mustache. 757 00:32:21,950 --> 00:32:23,359 Most of the time I'm 758 00:32:23,359 --> 00:32:26,584 broth instead of honey in the bag. 759 00:32:26,584 --> 00:32:30,949 So I wear cosmetics maliciously now. 760 00:32:30,949 --> 00:32:32,765 I like my bracelets, 761 00:32:32,765 --> 00:32:34,254 even though they sound. 762 00:32:34,254 --> 00:32:36,870 Ridiculous, clinking as I sculpt through 763 00:32:36,870 --> 00:32:39,044 the mall store to store 764 00:32:39,044 --> 00:32:42,074 like some ancient iron Claude griffin. 765 00:32:42,074 --> 00:32:44,609 But I've never stopped wanting 766 00:32:44,609 --> 00:32:47,129 to cross the equator or touch 767 00:32:47,129 --> 00:32:49,305 and elks horns or sing 768 00:32:49,305 --> 00:32:51,780 Tosca or screw James Dean 769 00:32:51,780 --> 00:32:53,864 in a field of wheat. 770 00:32:53,864 --> 00:32:56,055 To **** with wisdom. 771 00:32:56,055 --> 00:32:57,554 They're all wrong. 772 00:32:57,554 --> 00:33:00,789 I'll never be through with my life. 773 00:33:19,990 --> 00:33:24,365 This poem has a lot of 774 00:33:24,365 --> 00:33:28,445 awesome debt and gratitude 775 00:33:28,445 --> 00:33:29,930 to two different situations. 776 00:33:29,930 --> 00:33:32,165 One of them is the influence of the raven 777 00:33:32,165 --> 00:33:34,849 of Edgar Allan Poe on my life. 778 00:33:34,849 --> 00:33:36,140 I think when I was a kid and I read 779 00:33:36,140 --> 00:33:37,789 that as many of us, 780 00:33:37,789 --> 00:33:38,330 I think you read 781 00:33:38,330 --> 00:33:39,439 the graven and you just can't 782 00:33:39,439 --> 00:33:40,610 believe that someone can keep 783 00:33:40,610 --> 00:33:42,319 up that rhythm for that long. 784 00:33:42,319 --> 00:33:45,184 And it's absolutely hypnotic. 785 00:33:45,184 --> 00:33:47,090 It's one of those beats 786 00:33:47,090 --> 00:33:48,665 that you carry with you. 787 00:33:48,665 --> 00:33:51,079 And Poe is continuing 788 00:33:51,079 --> 00:33:52,474 to haunt my life because 789 00:33:52,474 --> 00:33:54,170 he went to the University of Virginia where 790 00:33:54,170 --> 00:33:56,299 I teach for short time. 791 00:33:56,299 --> 00:33:57,860 They still have his room, 792 00:33:57,860 --> 00:34:00,365 kind of a shrine. You can look at it. 793 00:34:00,365 --> 00:34:01,490 It's pretty tacky. 794 00:34:01,490 --> 00:34:03,079 They have a little stuffed Raven in 795 00:34:03,079 --> 00:34:06,259 there to see it sometime. 796 00:34:06,259 --> 00:34:08,584 But that's the one that the other 797 00:34:08,584 --> 00:34:12,049 is to an actual ghost. 798 00:34:12,049 --> 00:34:14,329 And this goes to my husband. 799 00:34:14,329 --> 00:34:18,169 I met a few years back when we were invited 800 00:34:18,169 --> 00:34:20,750 to help figure out 801 00:34:20,750 --> 00:34:22,700 how to make a house into a writer's colony, 802 00:34:22,700 --> 00:34:23,930 which was such an unusual 803 00:34:23,930 --> 00:34:25,655 request that we couldn't resist it. 804 00:34:25,655 --> 00:34:27,199 The house and question was 805 00:34:27,199 --> 00:34:29,120 a villa in Switzerland 806 00:34:29,120 --> 00:34:30,589 and a very small village. 807 00:34:30,589 --> 00:34:32,750 And it had been bequeathed and they 808 00:34:32,750 --> 00:34:35,149 wanted it to be made into a writer's colony, 809 00:34:35,149 --> 00:34:36,169 but it was a house. 810 00:34:36,169 --> 00:34:37,220 And so they invited about 811 00:34:37,220 --> 00:34:38,540 five writers to come 812 00:34:38,540 --> 00:34:40,549 and stay there for 813 00:34:40,549 --> 00:34:41,570 residency and tell them 814 00:34:41,570 --> 00:34:42,604 where to put the desks. 815 00:34:42,604 --> 00:34:44,209 And which meant that I was 816 00:34:44,209 --> 00:34:46,385 working on the dressing table 817 00:34:46,385 --> 00:34:48,349 in the master bedroom 818 00:34:48,349 --> 00:34:51,529 and and other people working in libraries. 819 00:34:51,529 --> 00:34:54,019 And one woman took her table out to 820 00:34:54,019 --> 00:34:56,390 the gardens because he didn't like 821 00:34:56,390 --> 00:34:58,925 the 24th China porcelain, 822 00:34:58,925 --> 00:35:00,965 porcelain dogs that were in her room. 823 00:35:00,965 --> 00:35:04,039 And at the end of this experience, 824 00:35:04,039 --> 00:35:06,259 it was about for a few weeks, 825 00:35:06,259 --> 00:35:08,929 we all decided that it was so wonderful. 826 00:35:08,929 --> 00:35:11,990 Making do with this space 827 00:35:11,990 --> 00:35:13,834 that had been conceived us. 828 00:35:13,834 --> 00:35:16,099 I'm an entire married life 829 00:35:16,099 --> 00:35:17,179 together that we didn't 830 00:35:17,179 --> 00:35:18,620 want them to change it anyway. 831 00:35:18,620 --> 00:35:19,939 So you have to keep the sense 832 00:35:19,939 --> 00:35:21,635 of the lives that were here. 833 00:35:21,635 --> 00:35:23,030 I don't know how happy they 834 00:35:23,030 --> 00:35:24,019 were with that suggestion, 835 00:35:24,019 --> 00:35:26,599 but I do think that all of us were really 836 00:35:26,599 --> 00:35:30,154 happy with making do the woman, 837 00:35:30,154 --> 00:35:32,179 the woman who had lived in the house who died 838 00:35:32,179 --> 00:35:34,549 after her husband haunted castle. 839 00:35:34,549 --> 00:35:36,590 We were warned by the by 840 00:35:36,590 --> 00:35:38,884 the villagers that she 841 00:35:38,884 --> 00:35:40,685 would wander room to room. 842 00:35:40,685 --> 00:35:41,929 You didn't see her, but you 843 00:35:41,929 --> 00:35:45,095 felt her ghost walk. 844 00:35:45,095 --> 00:35:49,049 Chateau de loving knee, August 1996. 845 00:35:49,240 --> 00:35:51,379 The neighbors who never 846 00:35:51,379 --> 00:35:53,029 set foot in the castle, 847 00:35:53,029 --> 00:35:55,520 never tasted the truffles are chateau 848 00:35:55,520 --> 00:35:59,540 Rosie say she walks room to room all night, 849 00:35:59,540 --> 00:36:01,145 turning the lights on. 850 00:36:01,145 --> 00:36:03,394 And by day, a cold wind 851 00:36:03,394 --> 00:36:05,690 blows through the tiered gardens, 852 00:36:05,690 --> 00:36:08,705 pinching leaves from the withering rows. 853 00:36:08,705 --> 00:36:10,775 It is said in the village, 854 00:36:10,775 --> 00:36:13,129 she died of pure heartbreak. 855 00:36:13,129 --> 00:36:14,960 Not a love turned away, 856 00:36:14,960 --> 00:36:17,720 but I love lasting only as long as 857 00:36:17,720 --> 00:36:20,209 a lifetime his life and 858 00:36:20,209 --> 00:36:23,074 no longer not enough for the lady. 859 00:36:23,074 --> 00:36:25,010 Hair red as a brush fire 860 00:36:25,010 --> 00:36:26,750 that refused to go out, 861 00:36:26,750 --> 00:36:28,550 though had faded with years to 862 00:36:28,550 --> 00:36:30,154 the orange of the coral 863 00:36:30,154 --> 00:36:31,970 that lives in the sea. 864 00:36:31,970 --> 00:36:34,729 And still she was lovely. 865 00:36:34,729 --> 00:36:37,010 Pale beauty became her. 866 00:36:37,010 --> 00:36:40,085 Like pearls, music box, 867 00:36:40,085 --> 00:36:43,535 like cafe image, schlock, slim. 868 00:36:43,535 --> 00:36:46,610 In an era when slim wasn't in fashion. 869 00:36:46,610 --> 00:36:48,785 She climbed into her tub 870 00:36:48,785 --> 00:36:51,725 lined with bath salts and mirrors. 871 00:36:51,725 --> 00:36:53,195 Chin deepened sense. 872 00:36:53,195 --> 00:36:54,229 She would dream of 873 00:36:54,229 --> 00:36:56,090 a body that could hold all of 874 00:36:56,090 --> 00:36:58,189 her keeper afloat on 875 00:36:58,189 --> 00:37:01,984 this ocean of good sense and breeding. 876 00:37:01,984 --> 00:37:03,904 She told no one, 877 00:37:03,904 --> 00:37:06,920 not even the one man she lived for. 878 00:37:06,920 --> 00:37:08,900 She put on her lipstick. 879 00:37:08,900 --> 00:37:10,789 She combed her hair, 880 00:37:10,789 --> 00:37:12,859 which she bore like a lantern, 881 00:37:12,859 --> 00:37:15,499 into the murmuring parlor where they 882 00:37:15,499 --> 00:37:17,900 waited with smiles and 883 00:37:17,900 --> 00:37:20,225 champagne on their lips. 884 00:37:20,225 --> 00:37:23,360 All night, the waves pitching all day. 885 00:37:23,360 --> 00:37:26,240 The crows wheeling through sky's blue as 886 00:37:26,240 --> 00:37:30,064 his eyes bright above the stunned lake. 887 00:37:30,064 --> 00:37:31,999 When he died, she laid down in 888 00:37:31,999 --> 00:37:34,084 their bed of silk tassels. 889 00:37:34,084 --> 00:37:36,079 And they're better fringed curtains 890 00:37:36,079 --> 00:37:37,910 and rose colored satin. 891 00:37:37,910 --> 00:37:40,850 She laid down without tears in 892 00:37:40,850 --> 00:37:43,010 that blushing cradle and 893 00:37:43,010 --> 00:37:44,629 slept in that rocking, 894 00:37:44,629 --> 00:37:46,775 that cargo of size. 895 00:37:46,775 --> 00:37:48,470 Each night, the BED 896 00:37:48,470 --> 00:37:51,500 creaking cast onto the waves. 897 00:37:51,500 --> 00:37:53,929 Each dawn roses flaunting 898 00:37:53,929 --> 00:37:56,720 their loose tongues of flame. 899 00:37:56,720 --> 00:37:59,225 She's a kind spirit. 900 00:37:59,225 --> 00:38:02,359 They assure us down in the village. 901 00:38:02,359 --> 00:38:04,460 Poor soul left behind 902 00:38:04,460 --> 00:38:06,080 when the party was over, 903 00:38:06,080 --> 00:38:08,120 searching the rooms for 904 00:38:08,120 --> 00:38:12,840 his laughter and the last glass of wine. 905 00:38:21,760 --> 00:38:24,390 Thank you. 906 00:38:25,240 --> 00:38:27,589 You need and feel compelled 907 00:38:27,589 --> 00:38:28,520 the club after each one, 908 00:38:28,520 --> 00:38:29,180 of course, if you want. 909 00:38:29,180 --> 00:38:31,129 I mean, I just I don't know how to say that, 910 00:38:31,129 --> 00:38:33,525 but once it gets started, 911 00:38:33,525 --> 00:38:36,030 you think, oh gosh, I got to keep going. 912 00:38:41,490 --> 00:38:47,019 I've, I've never read this poem aloud before. 913 00:38:47,019 --> 00:38:54,865 So I'm going to do it a little background. 914 00:38:54,865 --> 00:38:58,464 It's based on a painting by 915 00:38:58,464 --> 00:39:01,510 an American artist named 916 00:39:01,510 --> 00:39:03,969 Alvin, named Ivan Albright. 917 00:39:03,969 --> 00:39:05,469 Who painted this painting. 918 00:39:05,469 --> 00:39:07,509 He was at the turn of 919 00:39:07,509 --> 00:39:10,659 the century and into the, 920 00:39:10,659 --> 00:39:11,919 into the 30s and 40s. 921 00:39:11,919 --> 00:39:16,150 And he, he was for awhile. 922 00:39:16,150 --> 00:39:18,145 Well during World War one, 923 00:39:18,145 --> 00:39:19,269 he earned his living as 924 00:39:19,269 --> 00:39:20,739 a medical illustrator, 925 00:39:20,739 --> 00:39:22,770 which meant that he was out in the field. 926 00:39:22,770 --> 00:39:25,640 I'm drawing the wounds and 927 00:39:25,640 --> 00:39:28,819 drawing illustrations of the operations 928 00:39:28,819 --> 00:39:30,785 which affected him for the rest of his life. 929 00:39:30,785 --> 00:39:35,494 He had a very morbid imagination 930 00:39:35,494 --> 00:39:37,759 and he was really 931 00:39:37,759 --> 00:39:39,050 pretty much of an expressionists. 932 00:39:39,050 --> 00:39:40,069 So you could say that for 933 00:39:40,069 --> 00:39:41,809 an American expression is so 934 00:39:41,809 --> 00:39:44,869 that his paintings rarely reflected reality, 935 00:39:44,869 --> 00:39:46,670 but were some distortion of that. 936 00:39:46,670 --> 00:39:48,529 In this particular painting, 937 00:39:48,529 --> 00:39:50,779 which was called into the world, 938 00:39:50,779 --> 00:39:52,790 there came a soul called IDA, 939 00:39:52,790 --> 00:39:53,449 and you can see it at 940 00:39:53,449 --> 00:39:56,659 the Chicago Institute of Art. 941 00:39:56,659 --> 00:40:00,409 It's a painting of a follow-on 942 00:40:00,409 --> 00:40:03,140 old woman sitting on 943 00:40:03,140 --> 00:40:04,880 a chair with no real sense 944 00:40:04,880 --> 00:40:06,184 of what the room is like. 945 00:40:06,184 --> 00:40:09,709 But the model for this painting was 946 00:40:09,709 --> 00:40:14,099 a 20-year-old woman who was anything but old. 947 00:40:14,380 --> 00:40:17,669 There came a soul. 948 00:40:17,740 --> 00:40:20,689 She arrived as near to 949 00:40:20,689 --> 00:40:23,855 virginal as girls got in those days. 950 00:40:23,855 --> 00:40:25,595 That is young, 951 00:40:25,595 --> 00:40:27,289 the requisite Dewey cheek 952 00:40:27,289 --> 00:40:29,209 flush that its own daring. 953 00:40:29,209 --> 00:40:32,030 He had hoped for a little more edge. 954 00:40:32,030 --> 00:40:33,589 But she held the newspaper 955 00:40:33,589 --> 00:40:35,029 rolled like a scepter. 956 00:40:35,029 --> 00:40:37,130 His advertisement turned up to 957 00:40:37,130 --> 00:40:40,145 prove she was there solely at his bidding. 958 00:40:40,145 --> 00:40:42,830 And yet the gold band, 959 00:40:42,830 --> 00:40:45,139 the photographs, a mother. 960 00:40:45,139 --> 00:40:48,199 Then he placed her in the old garden, 961 00:40:48,199 --> 00:40:49,985 share the same one he went to 962 00:40:49,985 --> 00:40:52,190 evenings when the first tug on the cord 963 00:40:52,190 --> 00:40:54,230 sent the bulb swinging like 964 00:40:54,230 --> 00:40:56,599 the lamps and the medic tent over 965 00:40:56,599 --> 00:40:58,760 the wounded swaddle shapes at 966 00:40:58,760 --> 00:40:59,960 moaned each time the 967 00:40:59,960 --> 00:41:01,850 screaming Mimi is let loose. 968 00:41:01,850 --> 00:41:05,045 They're calculated shrieks So far away. 969 00:41:05,045 --> 00:41:08,704 He thought of crickets while all around him, 970 00:41:08,704 --> 00:41:10,610 mad at gauze and ether 971 00:41:10,610 --> 00:41:13,039 picked up an inch so bad he could 972 00:41:13,039 --> 00:41:14,419 hardly sketch 973 00:41:14,419 --> 00:41:17,869 each clean curve of tissue opening. 974 00:41:17,869 --> 00:41:19,564 I shut my eyes, 975 00:41:19,564 --> 00:41:21,499 walk straight to it. 976 00:41:21,499 --> 00:41:23,600 Nothing special but it's there 977 00:41:23,600 --> 00:41:28,219 wicker frame under my calming fingers. 978 00:41:28,219 --> 00:41:30,170 What if he changed the 979 00:41:30,170 --> 00:41:32,494 newspaper into a letter, 980 00:41:32,494 --> 00:41:33,950 then ripped it up and tuck 981 00:41:33,950 --> 00:41:36,050 the best part from view, 982 00:41:36,050 --> 00:41:39,770 how much he needed that desecrated scrap. 983 00:41:39,770 --> 00:41:41,839 The red comb snarled with 984 00:41:41,839 --> 00:41:43,999 a few pale hairs for God in 985 00:41:43,999 --> 00:41:45,679 His infinite greed to ****** 986 00:41:45,679 --> 00:41:49,295 upon like a hawk targeting a sparrow. 987 00:41:49,295 --> 00:41:51,590 He could see, couldn't say 988 00:41:51,590 --> 00:41:53,765 at least I let you keep your hair. 989 00:41:53,765 --> 00:41:56,330 So he kept to his task applying 990 00:41:56,330 --> 00:41:59,929 paint like a bandage to the open wound. 991 00:41:59,929 --> 00:42:02,210 Pretty IDA out to 992 00:42:02,210 --> 00:42:04,729 earn a penny for her tiny brood. 993 00:42:04,729 --> 00:42:08,255 He didn't mask the full lips or the way 994 00:42:08,255 --> 00:42:09,799 all the niggling fears of 995 00:42:09,799 --> 00:42:12,109 an adolescent century shown 996 00:42:12,109 --> 00:42:13,925 through her hesitant eyes. 997 00:42:13,925 --> 00:42:15,470 But he painted the room 998 00:42:15,470 --> 00:42:18,185 out black and every casement, 999 00:42:18,185 --> 00:42:20,705 every canvas drying along the wall, 1000 00:42:20,705 --> 00:42:22,550 even the alien coffee pot 1001 00:42:22,550 --> 00:42:24,469 whose dim brew she politely 1002 00:42:24,469 --> 00:42:26,720 refused until she was 1003 00:42:26,720 --> 00:42:29,674 seated as he had been dropped, 1004 00:42:29,674 --> 00:42:32,120 bleak and thick onto 1005 00:42:32,120 --> 00:42:35,520 the last chair in the world. 1006 00:42:37,000 --> 00:42:40,895 Um, thank you. 1007 00:42:40,895 --> 00:42:42,239 Thank you. 1008 00:42:54,160 --> 00:42:56,989 When I was Poet Laureate, 1009 00:42:56,989 --> 00:42:59,435 well, one of the questions I often get is, 1010 00:42:59,435 --> 00:43:01,054 is as poet laureate, 1011 00:43:01,054 --> 00:43:02,299 do you have to write poems 1012 00:43:02,299 --> 00:43:04,939 for socks or something like that? 1013 00:43:04,939 --> 00:43:08,119 And thank goodness you don't. 1014 00:43:08,119 --> 00:43:11,029 But when I became Poet Laureate 1015 00:43:11,029 --> 00:43:12,409 and came down to Washington 1016 00:43:12,409 --> 00:43:13,790 to see the poetry office, 1017 00:43:13,790 --> 00:43:18,694 it seems like such a paradox poetry office. 1018 00:43:18,694 --> 00:43:19,820 But 1019 00:43:19,820 --> 00:43:22,429 It's a wonderful office on 1020 00:43:22,429 --> 00:43:23,240 the third floor of 1021 00:43:23,240 --> 00:43:24,980 the old library of Congress. 1022 00:43:24,980 --> 00:43:26,450 And it looks down on Congress, 1023 00:43:26,450 --> 00:43:27,740 which is rather nice. 1024 00:43:27,740 --> 00:43:29,419 And as I stood 1025 00:43:29,419 --> 00:43:30,800 out on the balcony looking down, 1026 00:43:30,800 --> 00:43:33,395 I notice that the statue, 1027 00:43:33,395 --> 00:43:34,849 lady freedom, which had been up on 1028 00:43:34,849 --> 00:43:36,920 the dome of the Capitol building, 1029 00:43:36,920 --> 00:43:38,779 was in the parking lot. 1030 00:43:38,779 --> 00:43:41,150 They had taken her down for repairs, 1031 00:43:41,150 --> 00:43:42,259 which I thought was 1032 00:43:42,259 --> 00:43:43,400 also really wonderful that 1033 00:43:43,400 --> 00:43:45,860 lady freedom needed to be cleaned up a bit. 1034 00:43:45,860 --> 00:43:50,375 This. And so she looked homeless, 1035 00:43:50,375 --> 00:43:52,400 really there with the tourists 1036 00:43:52,400 --> 00:43:54,065 milling about and taking photographs. 1037 00:43:54,065 --> 00:43:57,679 And I began to write a poem for her 1038 00:43:57,679 --> 00:44:02,299 about that was in May and then in October. 1039 00:44:02,299 --> 00:44:03,709 One of the first things I 1040 00:44:03,709 --> 00:44:05,180 did when I became Poet Laureate, I was, 1041 00:44:05,180 --> 00:44:06,620 while I was called up by historian 1042 00:44:06,620 --> 00:44:08,240 of Congress who said that they 1043 00:44:08,240 --> 00:44:10,759 were about to have a celebrations celebrating 1044 00:44:10,759 --> 00:44:12,350 the 200th anniversary of the laying of 1045 00:44:12,350 --> 00:44:14,299 the cornerstone of the congress building. 1046 00:44:14,299 --> 00:44:17,014 And what I care to say a few words. 1047 00:44:17,014 --> 00:44:19,249 I would come to learn that that phrase 1048 00:44:19,249 --> 00:44:21,484 say a few words was a euphemism for it. 1049 00:44:21,484 --> 00:44:22,685 Do you have a poem? 1050 00:44:22,685 --> 00:44:24,154 They were not allowed to say, 1051 00:44:24,154 --> 00:44:25,609 can you write us a pump? 1052 00:44:25,609 --> 00:44:28,459 But as it turned out, I did have a few words. 1053 00:44:28,459 --> 00:44:31,834 And this is the pole. 1054 00:44:31,834 --> 00:44:34,879 I got a great kick 1055 00:44:34,879 --> 00:44:35,630 out of the fact that I 1056 00:44:35,630 --> 00:44:36,859 was reading the pulmonary, 1057 00:44:36,859 --> 00:44:37,849 but they aren't going to 1058 00:44:37,849 --> 00:44:38,900 really understand what this poem 1059 00:44:38,900 --> 00:44:41,240 is about until later. 1060 00:44:41,240 --> 00:44:42,980 They're all going to smile and realizing 1061 00:44:42,980 --> 00:44:46,609 that what it really 1062 00:44:46,609 --> 00:44:50,960 is about Lady freedom among us. 1063 00:44:50,960 --> 00:44:53,345 Don't lower your eyes 1064 00:44:53,345 --> 00:44:55,099 or stare straight ahead to 1065 00:44:55,099 --> 00:44:56,389 where you think you ought to 1066 00:44:56,389 --> 00:44:58,850 be going. Don't matter. 1067 00:44:58,850 --> 00:45:01,084 Oh no, not another one. 1068 00:45:01,084 --> 00:45:03,140 Get a job, fly a kite, 1069 00:45:03,140 --> 00:45:05,494 go bury a bone. 1070 00:45:05,494 --> 00:45:08,120 With her old-fashioned sandals, 1071 00:45:08,120 --> 00:45:09,905 with her lead and skirts, 1072 00:45:09,905 --> 00:45:11,629 with her stain cheeks and 1073 00:45:11,629 --> 00:45:13,714 whiskers and heaped up trinkets. 1074 00:45:13,714 --> 00:45:17,569 She has arisen among us in blunt reproach. 1075 00:45:17,569 --> 00:45:19,340 She has finished her hair under 1076 00:45:19,340 --> 00:45:21,814 a hand-me-down cap and spruce it 1077 00:45:21,814 --> 00:45:23,419 up with feathers and 1078 00:45:23,419 --> 00:45:26,375 stars slung over one shoulder. 1079 00:45:26,375 --> 00:45:28,130 She bears the rainbow, 1080 00:45:28,130 --> 00:45:31,414 the layers of charity and murmurs. 1081 00:45:31,414 --> 00:45:35,450 All of you, even the least of you, 1082 00:45:35,450 --> 00:45:39,095 don't cross to the other side of the square. 1083 00:45:39,095 --> 00:45:41,300 Don't think another item 1084 00:45:41,300 --> 00:45:43,970 to fit on a tourists agenda. 1085 00:45:43,970 --> 00:45:48,890 Consider her drenched gaze, her shining brow. 1086 00:45:48,890 --> 00:45:50,599 She who has brought mercy 1087 00:45:50,599 --> 00:45:52,414 back into the streets 1088 00:45:52,414 --> 00:45:53,960 and will not retire 1089 00:45:53,960 --> 00:45:56,764 politely to the potter's field. 1090 00:45:56,764 --> 00:46:00,110 Having assumed that thick skin of this town. 1091 00:46:00,110 --> 00:46:02,329 It's gritted, exhaust, its 1092 00:46:02,329 --> 00:46:04,580 sun's scorch and blare. 1093 00:46:04,580 --> 00:46:08,150 She rests in her weathered plumage. 1094 00:46:08,150 --> 00:46:11,405 Big boned, resolute. 1095 00:46:11,405 --> 00:46:15,109 Don't think you can ever forget her. 1096 00:46:15,109 --> 00:46:19,369 Don't even try. She's not going to budge. 1097 00:46:19,369 --> 00:46:22,594 No choice but to grant her space. 1098 00:46:22,594 --> 00:46:24,500 Crown her with sky. 1099 00:46:24,500 --> 00:46:27,020 For she is one of the many, 1100 00:46:27,020 --> 00:46:30,299 and she is each of us. 1101 00:46:39,730 --> 00:46:42,259 The final sequence of 1102 00:46:42,259 --> 00:46:44,990 this book is the title sequence 1103 00:46:44,990 --> 00:46:46,279 on the bus with Rosa Parks. 1104 00:46:46,279 --> 00:46:46,939 And I'd like to read you 1105 00:46:46,939 --> 00:46:48,455 a few poems with that. 1106 00:46:48,455 --> 00:46:50,855 From that to close out. 1107 00:46:50,855 --> 00:46:52,940 It's, it's a meditation 1108 00:46:52,940 --> 00:46:55,024 really not only on Rosa Parks, 1109 00:46:55,024 --> 00:46:56,239 but also on the meaning of 1110 00:46:56,239 --> 00:46:58,699 being an icon as she is. 1111 00:46:58,699 --> 00:47:00,890 Also a question. 1112 00:47:00,890 --> 00:47:02,239 I think we all posts 1113 00:47:02,239 --> 00:47:03,649 ourselves when we see that 1114 00:47:03,649 --> 00:47:05,179 famous photo 1115 00:47:05,179 --> 00:47:06,799 of Rosa Parks sitting on the bus, 1116 00:47:06,799 --> 00:47:08,794 what would we have done at that moment, 1117 00:47:08,794 --> 00:47:10,849 when you recognize that this might be 1118 00:47:10,849 --> 00:47:13,670 a moment of history, 1119 00:47:13,670 --> 00:47:16,970 would we have refused to get up? 1120 00:47:16,970 --> 00:47:20,419 The title on the bus with Rosa Parks was 1121 00:47:20,419 --> 00:47:22,969 actually given to me 1122 00:47:22,969 --> 00:47:24,994 by my daughter when she was about 12. 1123 00:47:24,994 --> 00:47:26,059 And we happened to be at 1124 00:47:26,059 --> 00:47:27,380 a conference where 1125 00:47:27,380 --> 00:47:29,134 Rosa Parks was also attending. 1126 00:47:29,134 --> 00:47:31,235 And we were being ferried around from 1127 00:47:31,235 --> 00:47:33,260 one conference place to another 1128 00:47:33,260 --> 00:47:35,974 by bus and she sat in the front of the bus. 1129 00:47:35,974 --> 00:47:37,865 We sat in the back 1130 00:47:37,865 --> 00:47:40,220 and my daughter leaned over and said, 1131 00:47:40,220 --> 00:47:43,079 Look, we're on the bus, Rosa Parks. 1132 00:47:43,900 --> 00:47:47,044 I was I was thrilled that first of all, 1133 00:47:47,044 --> 00:47:49,669 to recognize the importance of that and also 1134 00:47:49,669 --> 00:47:52,039 just that that she said that. 1135 00:47:52,039 --> 00:47:54,154 So I'll read a few of these poems. 1136 00:47:54,154 --> 00:47:55,159 They go in and out. 1137 00:47:55,159 --> 00:47:56,645 Some of them are from bearing 1138 00:47:56,645 --> 00:47:57,709 people's points of view 1139 00:47:57,709 --> 00:47:59,165 and in different times, 1140 00:47:59,165 --> 00:48:01,619 more contemporary or not. 1141 00:48:02,080 --> 00:48:03,875 Let me start. 1142 00:48:03,875 --> 00:48:08,240 The first one though. Sit back, relax. 1143 00:48:08,240 --> 00:48:10,640 Lord, Lord. 1144 00:48:10,640 --> 00:48:13,055 No rest for the wicked. 1145 00:48:13,055 --> 00:48:16,100 Most likely, no heating pads. 1146 00:48:16,100 --> 00:48:18,455 Heat some gravy for the potatoes, 1147 00:48:18,455 --> 00:48:20,059 slice a little green pepper 1148 00:48:20,059 --> 00:48:22,054 into the pinto beans. 1149 00:48:22,054 --> 00:48:26,974 Sometimes a body just plain grieves. 1150 00:48:26,974 --> 00:48:31,589 Stand by me in this my hour. 1151 00:48:33,400 --> 00:48:37,380 The situation is intolerable. 1152 00:48:37,390 --> 00:48:42,560 Intolerable, that civilized word. 1153 00:48:42,560 --> 00:48:44,285 Are we civilized? 1154 00:48:44,285 --> 00:48:48,409 Two shoes shined, each starched cuff, 1155 00:48:48,409 --> 00:48:50,209 fun yielding each dove 1156 00:48:50,209 --> 00:48:52,145 gray plotted trouser leg, 1157 00:48:52,145 --> 00:48:54,409 a righteous sword advancing onto 1158 00:48:54,409 --> 00:48:57,740 the field of battle in the name of the Lord. 1159 00:48:57,740 --> 00:49:02,479 Hush. Now, say the terrain all around us, 1160 00:49:02,479 --> 00:49:04,429 dark and the perimeter in 1161 00:49:04,429 --> 00:49:06,650 flames but the stars, 1162 00:49:06,650 --> 00:49:09,530 tiny missionary stars on 1163 00:49:09,530 --> 00:49:15,080 high serine studying the inky brow of heaven. 1164 00:49:15,080 --> 00:49:16,940 So what if we were born up 1165 00:49:16,940 --> 00:49:19,339 a creek and knocked flat with the paddle? 1166 00:49:19,339 --> 00:49:20,629 If we ain't got a pot to 1167 00:49:20,629 --> 00:49:22,010 **** in and nowhere to put it. 1168 00:49:22,010 --> 00:49:25,550 If we did, our situation is intolerable. 1169 00:49:25,550 --> 00:49:28,070 But what's worse is to sit here 1170 00:49:28,070 --> 00:49:31,309 and do nothing. Oh, yes. 1171 00:49:31,309 --> 00:49:34,109 Oh mercy on ourselves. 1172 00:49:35,200 --> 00:49:40,789 Freedom ride. As if 1173 00:49:40,789 --> 00:49:42,560 after High Street and 1174 00:49:42,560 --> 00:49:44,405 the left turn onto exchange, 1175 00:49:44,405 --> 00:49:48,335 the view would veer onto someplace fresh, 1176 00:49:48,335 --> 00:49:50,480 killed our soul, or a mosque 1177 00:49:50,480 --> 00:49:52,775 adrift on a milk fed pond. 1178 00:49:52,775 --> 00:49:54,980 But there's just more cloud cover 1179 00:49:54,980 --> 00:49:56,989 and Jeremy air condensing on 1180 00:49:56,989 --> 00:49:59,599 the tinted glass and the little houses with 1181 00:49:59,599 --> 00:50:00,950 their fearful patches of 1182 00:50:00,950 --> 00:50:03,994 yard rushing into the flames. 1183 00:50:03,994 --> 00:50:05,930 Pull the cord has stopped too 1184 00:50:05,930 --> 00:50:07,970 soon and you'll find yourself 1185 00:50:07,970 --> 00:50:11,675 walking a gauntlet of stairs, daydream, 1186 00:50:11,675 --> 00:50:13,849 and you'll wake up in the style dark of 1187 00:50:13,849 --> 00:50:16,069 a cinema Dallas playing It's 1188 00:50:16,069 --> 00:50:18,830 mistake over and over until even 1189 00:50:18,830 --> 00:50:21,800 that sad real won't stay stuck. 1190 00:50:21,800 --> 00:50:23,900 There's still Bobby and 1191 00:50:23,900 --> 00:50:26,840 Malcolm and Memphis at every corner, 1192 00:50:26,840 --> 00:50:31,355 the same scorched brick, darkened windows. 1193 00:50:31,355 --> 00:50:33,259 Make no mistake. 1194 00:50:33,259 --> 00:50:35,239 There's fire back where you came 1195 00:50:35,239 --> 00:50:38,240 from to pick any stop. 1196 00:50:38,240 --> 00:50:41,090 You can ride into the afternoon singing with 1197 00:50:41,090 --> 00:50:43,340 strangers or rush home to 1198 00:50:43,340 --> 00:50:46,549 the scotch you've been pouring all day. 1199 00:50:46,549 --> 00:50:48,470 But where you sit is 1200 00:50:48,470 --> 00:50:50,525 where you'll be when the fire 1201 00:50:50,525 --> 00:50:52,199 hits. 1202 00:51:00,760 --> 00:51:03,334 To other women. 1203 00:51:03,334 --> 00:51:07,639 The very year that Rosa Parks arrested, 1204 00:51:07,639 --> 00:51:09,380 had also refused to 1205 00:51:09,380 --> 00:51:10,564 give up their seats in the bus 1206 00:51:10,564 --> 00:51:13,955 and had been arrested for varying reasons. 1207 00:51:13,955 --> 00:51:17,209 They were not chosen as test case for 1208 00:51:17,209 --> 00:51:19,730 the segregation laws and 1209 00:51:19,730 --> 00:51:23,929 public transportation system of Montgomery. 1210 00:51:23,929 --> 00:51:28,535 But both of them are still alive today. 1211 00:51:28,535 --> 00:51:31,489 And one of them, 1212 00:51:31,489 --> 00:51:35,600 her name is caudate Colvin is now a nurse in 1213 00:51:35,600 --> 00:51:40,309 an aged care facility in New York City. 1214 00:51:40,309 --> 00:51:42,409 This poem is told from her point of view. 1215 00:51:42,409 --> 00:51:43,910 It's called Claudette Colvin goes to 1216 00:51:43,910 --> 00:51:45,619 work and has an epigraph from 1217 00:51:45,619 --> 00:51:46,969 the boycott flyer that was 1218 00:51:46,969 --> 00:51:49,340 distributed after Rosa Parks was arrested. 1219 00:51:49,340 --> 00:51:51,589 And I quote, another ***** woman 1220 00:51:51,589 --> 00:51:53,359 has been arrested and thrown into jail 1221 00:51:53,359 --> 00:51:55,159 because she refused to get out of 1222 00:51:55,159 --> 00:51:56,300 her seat on the bus 1223 00:51:56,300 --> 00:51:57,739 and give it to a white person. 1224 00:51:57,739 --> 00:51:58,940 This is the second time 1225 00:51:58,940 --> 00:52:00,604 since the Claudette Colvin case, 1226 00:52:00,604 --> 00:52:02,629 this must be stopped. 1227 00:52:02,629 --> 00:52:05,970 Claudette Colvin goes to work. 1228 00:52:06,880 --> 00:52:11,300 Menial twilight sweeps the store fronts along 1229 00:52:11,300 --> 00:52:13,729 Lexington as the shadows arrived to 1230 00:52:13,729 --> 00:52:15,079 take their places among 1231 00:52:15,079 --> 00:52:16,580 the scourge of the earth. 1232 00:52:16,580 --> 00:52:19,475 Here and there, a fickle brilliance, 1233 00:52:19,475 --> 00:52:20,839 light bulbs coming on 1234 00:52:20,839 --> 00:52:22,475 in each narrow residents. 1235 00:52:22,475 --> 00:52:23,869 The golden wattage of 1236 00:52:23,869 --> 00:52:25,970 bleak interiors announcing 1237 00:52:25,970 --> 00:52:30,949 anyone home or I'm beat, bring me a beer. 1238 00:52:30,949 --> 00:52:35,269 Mostly I say to myself, still here, 1239 00:52:35,269 --> 00:52:37,264 lay my keys on the table, 1240 00:52:37,264 --> 00:52:39,890 pack the perishables away before slipping, 1241 00:52:39,890 --> 00:52:42,109 before flipping the switch. 1242 00:52:42,109 --> 00:52:44,149 I like the sugary look 1243 00:52:44,149 --> 00:52:45,905 of things in bad light. 1244 00:52:45,905 --> 00:52:47,750 One drop of sweat is all it 1245 00:52:47,750 --> 00:52:49,579 would take to dissolve an arm, 1246 00:52:49,579 --> 00:52:53,164 chair, pillow into brocade residue. 1247 00:52:53,164 --> 00:52:55,699 Sometimes I wait until it's 1248 00:52:55,699 --> 00:52:58,384 dark enough for my body to disappear. 1249 00:52:58,384 --> 00:53:01,325 Then I know it's time to start out for work. 1250 00:53:01,325 --> 00:53:03,814 Along the Avenue, the cab startup 1251 00:53:03,814 --> 00:53:05,660 heading towards Midtown, 1252 00:53:05,660 --> 00:53:08,180 neon stutters into ecstasy 1253 00:53:08,180 --> 00:53:10,459 as the male integers light up there, 1254 00:53:10,459 --> 00:53:13,714 smokes and let loose a stream of brave talk. 1255 00:53:13,714 --> 00:53:15,829 Hey mama, souring quickly 1256 00:53:15,829 --> 00:53:18,770 to your mama when there's no answer. 1257 00:53:18,770 --> 00:53:21,290 As if the most injury they 1258 00:53:21,290 --> 00:53:23,629 can do is insult the reason you're 1259 00:53:23,629 --> 00:53:25,939 here at all walking and your whites 1260 00:53:25,939 --> 00:53:28,789 down to the stop so you can make a living. 1261 00:53:28,789 --> 00:53:31,010 So ugly, so fat, 1262 00:53:31,010 --> 00:53:33,110 so dumb, so greasy. 1263 00:53:33,110 --> 00:53:36,740 What do we have to do to make God love us? 1264 00:53:36,740 --> 00:53:38,450 Mama wasn't made. 1265 00:53:38,450 --> 00:53:40,655 My daddy mowed lawns like a boy. 1266 00:53:40,655 --> 00:53:43,249 And I'm the crazy girl off the bus, 1267 00:53:43,249 --> 00:53:45,244 the one who wrote in class, 1268 00:53:45,244 --> 00:53:47,749 she was going to be precedent. 1269 00:53:47,749 --> 00:53:50,059 I take the number six bus to 1270 00:53:50,059 --> 00:53:52,069 the Lexington Avenue train and 1271 00:53:52,069 --> 00:53:53,569 then I'm there all 1272 00:53:53,569 --> 00:53:55,925 night adjusting the sheets, 1273 00:53:55,925 --> 00:53:58,490 emptying the pants, and I 1274 00:53:58,490 --> 00:54:02,104 don't curse or spit or kick and scratch, 1275 00:54:02,104 --> 00:54:03,229 like they say I did, 1276 00:54:03,229 --> 00:54:07,310 Then I help those who can't help themselves. 1277 00:54:07,310 --> 00:54:09,484 I do what needs to be done. 1278 00:54:09,484 --> 00:54:14,159 And I sleep whenever sleep comes down on me. 1279 00:54:14,590 --> 00:54:17,299 The second woman was a woman by 1280 00:54:17,299 --> 00:54:19,864 the name of Mary Smith, 1281 00:54:19,864 --> 00:54:21,439 who was very young at the time. 1282 00:54:21,439 --> 00:54:23,135 And she, when she was asked, 1283 00:54:23,135 --> 00:54:24,724 what did she feel like not 1284 00:54:24,724 --> 00:54:26,929 having been Rosa Parks 1285 00:54:26,929 --> 00:54:28,489 were not being chosen as a test case. 1286 00:54:28,489 --> 00:54:29,960 She simply said, I'm 1287 00:54:29,960 --> 00:54:32,269 just a girl who people were mean to on a bus. 1288 00:54:32,269 --> 00:54:34,430 I could have been anybody. 1289 00:54:34,430 --> 00:54:39,814 The enactment can't use no teenager, 1290 00:54:39,814 --> 00:54:41,959 especially no poor black trash, 1291 00:54:41,959 --> 00:54:43,040 no matter what our parents 1292 00:54:43,040 --> 00:54:44,704 do to keep up a living. 1293 00:54:44,704 --> 00:54:46,339 Can't use any one without 1294 00:54:46,339 --> 00:54:48,544 sense enough to bite their tongue. 1295 00:54:48,544 --> 00:54:50,419 It's gotta be a woman, 1296 00:54:50,419 --> 00:54:52,085 someone upstanding, 1297 00:54:52,085 --> 00:54:55,084 preferably shy, preferably married. 1298 00:54:55,084 --> 00:54:57,769 And she's got to know when the moments right. 1299 00:54:57,769 --> 00:55:00,725 Stay polite though her shoulders aching, 1300 00:55:00,725 --> 00:55:02,359 bus driver, the same one through 1301 00:55:02,359 --> 00:55:04,789 her off 12 years before. 1302 00:55:04,789 --> 00:55:07,729 Then all she's got to do is sit 1303 00:55:07,729 --> 00:55:11,749 there quiet till the next moment, finds her. 1304 00:55:11,749 --> 00:55:14,525 Only then can she opened her mouth to ask, 1305 00:55:14,525 --> 00:55:16,609 Why do you push us around? 1306 00:55:16,609 --> 00:55:18,800 And his answer, I don't know, 1307 00:55:18,800 --> 00:55:20,510 but the law is the law and 1308 00:55:20,510 --> 00:55:22,699 you are under arrest. 1309 00:55:22,699 --> 00:55:24,979 She must sit there and not 1310 00:55:24,979 --> 00:55:27,709 smile as they enter to carry her off. 1311 00:55:27,709 --> 00:55:29,419 She must know who to call, 1312 00:55:29,419 --> 00:55:30,889 who will know whom else to 1313 00:55:30,889 --> 00:55:33,110 call to bail her out. 1314 00:55:33,110 --> 00:55:37,460 And only then can she stand up and exhale. 1315 00:55:37,460 --> 00:55:40,130 Can she walk out the cell and down 1316 00:55:40,130 --> 00:55:42,769 the jail steps into flash bulbs and 1317 00:55:42,769 --> 00:55:45,544 her employers white arms 1318 00:55:45,544 --> 00:55:48,995 and go home and sit down in the seat. 1319 00:55:48,995 --> 00:55:51,900 We have prepared for her. 1320 00:55:53,410 --> 00:55:59,825 Rosa, how she sat there, 1321 00:55:59,825 --> 00:56:04,205 the time right inside of place, so wrong. 1322 00:56:04,205 --> 00:56:05,914 It was ready. 1323 00:56:05,914 --> 00:56:07,819 That trim name with 1324 00:56:07,819 --> 00:56:10,729 its dream of a bench to rest on. 1325 00:56:10,729 --> 00:56:13,610 Her sensible coat. 1326 00:56:13,610 --> 00:56:16,610 Doing nothing was the doing. 1327 00:56:16,610 --> 00:56:18,890 But clean flame of her gaze 1328 00:56:18,890 --> 00:56:21,800 carved by a camera flash. 1329 00:56:21,800 --> 00:56:25,129 How she stood up when they bent 1330 00:56:25,129 --> 00:56:28,745 down to retrieve her purse. 1331 00:56:28,745 --> 00:56:31,860 That courtesy. 1332 00:56:39,070 --> 00:56:41,609 Three more. 1333 00:56:47,020 --> 00:56:49,339 This afternoon, my husband gave 1334 00:56:49,339 --> 00:56:52,894 his reading and Wilson, who introduced him, 1335 00:56:52,894 --> 00:56:56,540 revealed the secret that we had danced away 1336 00:56:56,540 --> 00:57:01,139 across the Atlantic on the QE2 last summer. 1337 00:57:03,970 --> 00:57:06,440 I would recommend it for anyone who wants 1338 00:57:06,440 --> 00:57:08,810 a vacation of a lifetime. 1339 00:57:08,810 --> 00:57:09,829 It's really wonderful to 1340 00:57:09,829 --> 00:57:12,065 be a float for that long. 1341 00:57:12,065 --> 00:57:14,600 But you also feel vaguely guilty the whole 1342 00:57:14,600 --> 00:57:15,709 time because it seems 1343 00:57:15,709 --> 00:57:18,060 like such an extravagant. 1344 00:57:18,670 --> 00:57:20,990 This poem takes place pretty much in 1345 00:57:20,990 --> 00:57:23,749 the middle of the middle passage. 1346 00:57:23,749 --> 00:57:29,279 Qe2, transatlantic crossing, third day. 1347 00:57:29,290 --> 00:57:34,699 Panel of gray silk, liquefied ashes, 1348 00:57:34,699 --> 00:57:36,650 dingy per cow tugged over 1349 00:57:36,650 --> 00:57:39,424 the vast dim Earth ill fitting, 1350 00:57:39,424 --> 00:57:41,779 softened by eons of tossing and 1351 00:57:41,779 --> 00:57:44,749 turning, unfurling its excesses. 1352 00:57:44,749 --> 00:57:46,700 We calling its losses, 1353 00:57:46,700 --> 00:57:48,529 no seam for the mending, 1354 00:57:48,529 --> 00:57:50,360 no salvage to catch in 1355 00:57:50,360 --> 00:57:52,880 a line from where I sit and 1356 00:57:52,880 --> 00:57:54,740 look out from this rose 1357 00:57:54,740 --> 00:57:57,919 colored armchair along the gallery. 1358 00:57:57,919 --> 00:58:00,799 I can hear the chime of the elevator, 1359 00:58:00,799 --> 00:58:03,680 the hush of trod carpet beyond 1360 00:58:03,680 --> 00:58:06,530 the alcove, escorted widows, perfect. 1361 00:58:06,530 --> 00:58:08,225 A slow rumba. 1362 00:58:08,225 --> 00:58:11,540 Couples linger by the cocktail piano and 1363 00:58:11,540 --> 00:58:13,249 meshed in their own delight 1364 00:58:13,249 --> 00:58:15,439 as others stroke paths. 1365 00:58:15,439 --> 00:58:17,990 Pause to remark on the weather. 1366 00:58:17,990 --> 00:58:21,095 Missed calm seas. 1367 00:58:21,095 --> 00:58:23,089 This is a journey for those who 1368 00:58:23,089 --> 00:58:25,070 simply wish to be on 1369 00:58:25,070 --> 00:58:29,044 the way to lie back and be rocked for awhile. 1370 00:58:29,044 --> 00:58:30,379 Dangled between 1371 00:58:30,379 --> 00:58:33,469 the silver spoon and Golden Gate. 1372 00:58:33,469 --> 00:58:35,689 Even I'm thrilled who 1373 00:58:35,689 --> 00:58:37,624 never learned to wait on a corner, 1374 00:58:37,624 --> 00:58:39,245 hunched and bad weather, 1375 00:58:39,245 --> 00:58:41,240 or how many coins to send 1376 00:58:41,240 --> 00:58:43,460 clicking into the glass bowl. 1377 00:58:43,460 --> 00:58:45,469 I can only imagine what it's 1378 00:58:45,469 --> 00:58:47,900 like to climb the steel stairs and 1379 00:58:47,900 --> 00:58:50,089 sit down to feel the weight of 1380 00:58:50,089 --> 00:58:54,260 yourself sink into the moment of going home. 1381 00:58:54,260 --> 00:58:57,319 This is not the exalted fluorescence 1382 00:58:57,319 --> 00:58:58,775 of the midnight root. 1383 00:58:58,775 --> 00:59:01,474 Exhaustion, sweetening the stops. 1384 00:59:01,474 --> 00:59:03,094 There's no money here, 1385 00:59:03,094 --> 00:59:05,479 just chips and signatures. 1386 00:59:05,479 --> 00:59:08,224 No neat dime or tarnished token. 1387 00:59:08,224 --> 00:59:10,640 No exact change. 1388 00:59:10,640 --> 00:59:11,435 Here. 1389 00:59:11,435 --> 00:59:14,510 I float on the lap of existence. 1390 00:59:14,510 --> 00:59:17,539 Each night I put this body into its sleeve of 1391 00:59:17,539 --> 00:59:19,520 dark water with no more 1392 00:59:19,520 --> 00:59:21,680 than a teardrop of ecstasy, 1393 00:59:21,680 --> 00:59:24,079 a thimble full of ache. 1394 00:59:24,079 --> 00:59:27,274 That friends is the difference. 1395 00:59:27,274 --> 00:59:30,649 I can't erase an ache I never had. 1396 00:59:30,649 --> 00:59:33,350 Not even my own grandmother would pity me. 1397 00:59:33,350 --> 00:59:35,359 Instead, she'd sucker teeth at 1398 00:59:35,359 --> 00:59:36,919 the sorry sight of 1399 00:59:36,919 --> 00:59:40,430 some ***** actually looking for misery. 1400 00:59:40,430 --> 00:59:46,950 Well, I'd go home if I knew where to get off. 1401 00:59:56,280 --> 00:59:59,380 Another more contemporary one. 1402 00:59:59,380 --> 01:00:00,789 In the lobby of 1403 01:00:00,789 --> 01:00:03,799 the Warner Theater, Washington DC. 1404 01:00:05,250 --> 01:00:09,310 They'd positioned her to attendance flanking 1405 01:00:09,310 --> 01:00:11,109 the wheelchair at the foot 1406 01:00:11,109 --> 01:00:12,580 of the golden escalator, 1407 01:00:12,580 --> 01:00:14,710 just right of the movie director 1408 01:00:14,710 --> 01:00:15,850 who had cajoled her to 1409 01:00:15,850 --> 01:00:19,255 come elegant in a high-strung way, 1410 01:00:19,255 --> 01:00:20,649 a twitch in his tux. 1411 01:00:20,649 --> 01:00:22,989 He shoved half spectacles up 1412 01:00:22,989 --> 01:00:25,750 the non-existent bridge of his nose. 1413 01:00:25,750 --> 01:00:28,720 Not that he was using her to push his film, 1414 01:00:28,720 --> 01:00:31,059 but it was only write wasn't it? 1415 01:00:31,059 --> 01:00:34,290 That she be wherever history was being made? 1416 01:00:34,290 --> 01:00:37,324 After all, she was the true inspiration. 1417 01:00:37,324 --> 01:00:39,485 She was living history. 1418 01:00:39,485 --> 01:00:41,660 The audience descended in 1419 01:00:41,660 --> 01:00:44,585 a capital case of murmuring sequence. 1420 01:00:44,585 --> 01:00:48,290 She waited, she knew how to abide, 1421 01:00:48,290 --> 01:00:52,055 to sit in cool contemplation of the expected. 1422 01:00:52,055 --> 01:00:53,690 She had learned to travel 1423 01:00:53,690 --> 01:00:55,400 a crowd bearing a smile. 1424 01:00:55,400 --> 01:00:58,190 We weren't sure we could bear to receive. 1425 01:00:58,190 --> 01:01:00,244 It was so calm, 1426 01:01:00,244 --> 01:01:03,800 a suturing, scrolling Earth word, 1427 01:01:03,800 --> 01:01:06,320 buffed brands and the reflected glow. 1428 01:01:06,320 --> 01:01:07,640 We couldn't wait but 1429 01:01:07,640 --> 01:01:09,454 leaned out to catch a glimpse 1430 01:01:09,454 --> 01:01:11,060 and saw that the smile 1431 01:01:11,060 --> 01:01:13,445 was not practiced at all. 1432 01:01:13,445 --> 01:01:16,204 Real delight bloom there. 1433 01:01:16,204 --> 01:01:17,885 She was curious. 1434 01:01:17,885 --> 01:01:19,729 She suffered our approach, 1435 01:01:19,729 --> 01:01:22,279 the gushing coup, the babbling, 1436 01:01:22,279 --> 01:01:24,200 the director bending down to meet 1437 01:01:24,200 --> 01:01:26,239 the camera flash until 1438 01:01:26,239 --> 01:01:28,189 someone tried to touch her, 1439 01:01:28,189 --> 01:01:29,765 and then the attendance 1440 01:01:29,765 --> 01:01:32,720 pushed us back gently. 1441 01:01:32,720 --> 01:01:37,249 She nodded, lifted a hand as if to console 1442 01:01:37,249 --> 01:01:42,064 us before letting it drop slowly to her lab. 1443 01:01:42,064 --> 01:01:45,140 Resting there. The idea 1444 01:01:45,140 --> 01:01:47,720 of constellation soothing us, 1445 01:01:47,720 --> 01:01:50,119 her gesture already become 1446 01:01:50,119 --> 01:01:53,525 her touch like the history she made for us, 1447 01:01:53,525 --> 01:01:55,820 sitting there waiting for 1448 01:01:55,820 --> 01:01:58,439 the moment to take her. 1449 01:01:59,350 --> 01:02:04,949 I'd like to end with a new poem, fairly new. 1450 01:02:06,700 --> 01:02:09,890 Now that I've confessed that we were dancing, 1451 01:02:09,890 --> 01:02:11,060 we've been taking ballroom 1452 01:02:11,060 --> 01:02:16,220 dancing lessons, furious dancing. 1453 01:02:16,220 --> 01:02:18,079 And since this is a Friday 1454 01:02:18,079 --> 01:02:19,339 and I read a poem about Saturdays, 1455 01:02:19,339 --> 01:02:21,659 I think it's only fair to read a poem 1456 01:02:22,540 --> 01:02:24,800 about today as well. 1457 01:02:24,800 --> 01:02:27,540 Foxtrot Fridays. 1458 01:02:28,210 --> 01:02:30,440 Thanks for stars. 1459 01:02:30,440 --> 01:02:33,200 There's a day each week to tuck in the grief, 1460 01:02:33,200 --> 01:02:35,614 lift your pearls and strive. 1461 01:02:35,614 --> 01:02:37,160 Brush, stride quick, 1462 01:02:37,160 --> 01:02:39,604 quick with a heel ball toe. 1463 01:02:39,604 --> 01:02:41,539 Smooth as Nat King Cole, 1464 01:02:41,539 --> 01:02:43,519 slow sat and smile. 1465 01:02:43,519 --> 01:02:46,579 Easiest taking one day at a time. 1466 01:02:46,579 --> 01:02:50,360 One woman and one man, rib, two ribs. 1467 01:02:50,360 --> 01:02:52,610 And no heartbreak insight. 1468 01:02:52,610 --> 01:02:53,990 Just the sweep of 1469 01:02:53,990 --> 01:02:56,915 paradise with the space of a song. 1470 01:02:56,915 --> 01:03:00,270 To count all the wonders in it. 1471 01:03:43,950 --> 01:03:46,735 I'm sorry to be the one to 1472 01:03:46,735 --> 01:03:48,460 start speaking prose 1473 01:03:48,460 --> 01:03:53,809 and break what was spellbinding performance. 1474 01:03:54,240 --> 01:03:57,160 I'm already missing the five days 1475 01:03:57,160 --> 01:03:59,019 that now and now gone. 1476 01:03:59,019 --> 01:04:01,420 It seems like they've gone so fast, 1477 01:04:01,420 --> 01:04:03,550 but let me just make this quick statement 1478 01:04:03,550 --> 01:04:05,379 ten seconds and then there's 1479 01:04:05,379 --> 01:04:08,230 refreshments out there and 1480 01:04:08,230 --> 01:04:09,939 double assigned books 1481 01:04:09,939 --> 01:04:11,934 and anybody will assign them. 1482 01:04:11,934 --> 01:04:12,639 I mean, there are lots 1483 01:04:12,639 --> 01:04:14,245 of writers around here. 1484 01:04:14,245 --> 01:04:16,480 For me, this has been a memorable festival. 1485 01:04:16,480 --> 01:04:18,309 As I said, Murphy's law has 1486 01:04:18,309 --> 01:04:20,499 been in effect with microphones and 1487 01:04:20,499 --> 01:04:21,984 other sort of 1488 01:04:21,984 --> 01:04:24,670 ornery forms of technology teams. 1489 01:04:24,670 --> 01:04:26,410 But the human spirit and I 1490 01:04:26,410 --> 01:04:27,700 apologize to William Faulkner 1491 01:04:27,700 --> 01:04:28,660 for what I'm about to say here. 1492 01:04:28,660 --> 01:04:31,959 But, but the human spirit, as Faulkner hoped, 1493 01:04:31,959 --> 01:04:33,729 not only endured but 1494 01:04:33,729 --> 01:04:35,605 prevailed in a small way. 1495 01:04:35,605 --> 01:04:37,939 During this week, we 1496 01:04:37,939 --> 01:04:38,990 made it work through 1497 01:04:38,990 --> 01:04:40,624 the sound of the human voice, 1498 01:04:40,624 --> 01:04:42,665 through the spirit of the word. 1499 01:04:42,665 --> 01:04:44,059 I'm going to remember this 1500 01:04:44,059 --> 01:04:45,590 night for a long time. 1501 01:04:45,590 --> 01:04:47,180 This was really a 1502 01:04:47,180 --> 01:04:48,964 beautiful, beautiful reading. 1503 01:04:48,964 --> 01:04:51,095 And I'm going to remember, as I said, 1504 01:04:51,095 --> 01:04:54,440 the faculty reading, it's not on tape. 1505 01:04:54,440 --> 01:04:56,450 Back to Murphy's law, 1506 01:04:56,450 --> 01:04:58,790 but in my imagination and 1507 01:04:58,790 --> 01:05:01,040 that's probably where it should be anyway. 1508 01:05:01,040 --> 01:05:02,450 And thanks for coming. 1509 01:05:02,450 --> 01:05:04,169 I'll see you next year.