Back In The Swing Of Things

By Jorge Antonio Vallejos

Last week I got back in the game.  After getting an email from a publisher about a book launch downtown I decided it was time to get back to work. 

The last half of August was pretty much time off.  I wrote some things but had to take a break from  Posting three times a week on top of other writing can be tough sometimes.  I like taking five weeks off a year so I can relax and focus on other things, renew my mind; August was a chunk of that 5 weeks.

It felt good to load up my camera bag and make sure all is good with my tripod.  I had not filmed anyone, or myself, for my YOUTUBE Channel since the first week of August. 

Long time!

With my tripod in my left hand and my camera in my bag I walked down to the reading.  It’s an hour each way.  Transit is pricy and I avoid using it as much as possible. (I’m broke.)  The benefits are putting one foot in front of the other which is meditative and brings a sense of accomplishment at the same time.  Lots of my planning for happens on my walks.  And a lot of positive affirmations are said as my feet move me closer to my destination.

Five poets were reading that night.  Two were from Toronto: David Bateman and Kevin Irie.  I wanted to tape the people who were from out of town since I probably wouldn’t see them again.  Once getting to the place I was introduced to poets Lisa Pasold, Ali Riley, J. Fisher, David Bateman, and Kevin Irie.  All were sitting at a table sipping on drinks.  I’m not really a fan of readings.  I prefer reading poems as opposed to hearing poems, so I wanted to tape folk, take pictures, and get the hell out. 

After introductions and smiles and small talk I asked who from out of town was willing to be videotaped for future features on my site.  I explained what I do (a whole week on one writer: review, interview, video), and that I wasn’t staying all night.  Then I asked if people were willing to be photographed and taped reading a poem or two before the event started.  I arrived 30 minutes early, really 45 minutes because nothing ever starts on time in the poetry world. 

“Maybe later,” said someone.  Another poet agreed. 

J. Fisher jumped on it.  “I’ll go!” said Fisher.

Off to a laneway around the corner from the bar we went.

Fisher was the youngest and coolest of the bunch.  He sported tattoos on his arms and dressed really chill: jeans, runners, a t-shirt, and a hat twisted to the side.  All that was missing was a joint in Fisher’s mouth as he read. 

We chose a brick wall as a background.  I love brick walls.  Many of my VLOGs have a brick wall behind me as I talk about different topics. 

Fisher stood relaxed as I took photos of him reading, thinking, and posing with his book.  Writes are a bit narcissistic.  He loved it! 

And it’s rare that poets get real attention in the literary world.  So, most poets are appreciative of a whole week on them.

After the photos were done I set up my tripod to videotape Fisher.  He read one poem from memory and another from his book.  They were dirty poems.  Raw.  Funny.  And problematic!  Gloria Steinem and all her white first-wave feminist sisters would have had fits. 

After taping we checked the video and the photos.  Fisher was cool with all of it. 

As we left the laneway Fisher shook my hand and thanked me.  It feels good to be thanked.  Famed Detroit boxing trainer Emmanuel Steward says the most important words in his gym are “Thank you.”  His oldest student Tommy “The Hitman” Hearns, now is his 50s, says “Thank you” every time he trains with Steward and they’ve been training together for 35 years.

I watched Fisher read at the bar, got some review copies from the publisher, made arrangements with Bateman and Irie for tapings in future, and left.

With my tripod in hand and my camera in my backpack I hit the road the again.  One foot in front of the other, tripod swaying back and forth with each step, positive affirmations recited over and over, and a sense of accomplishment, I was back in the swing of things and feeling good.


About Black Coffee Poet

Black Coffee Poet is a mixed race poet, essayist, and journalist who focuses on Social Justice, Indigenous Rights, STOPPING Violence Against Women, Film, and Literature.
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