681 North Venice Blvd., Venice, California 90291
I am very excited to read at Beyond Baroque. It will be my first time reading at this historical and mythical locations; this will be a dream come true. Perhaps this is why I can’t sleep; or maybe it is too hard to sleep with an entire can of Aqua-net in my hair. No amount of pillow can save me from the helmet that my talented friend Melanie has cocooned me in.
I like costuming (if you couldn’t tell). Sometime I get criticized and questioned for not giving a “straight” reading. Often people want to know why feathers and rhinestones. I can’t think of why not feathers and rhinestones, so I do it.
I dress the part of the poem. When I read from Becoming Judas I’m layering generations of women’s stories. Tonight, I have to learn how my grandmother slept sitting up–dreamed without disturbing her new up-do; this ritual connects me to poems (and to her) in ways I never anticipated. If I can’t directly talk with the dead, I can channel them–learn from them by “becoming” them. My grandmother was a brave and charismatic person. She is the last time I felt like I had a home. When she abruptly and unexpectedly died from carbon monoxide poisoning, my whole world fell a part. This event carved wounds I feared would never heal. I even doubted that healing was possible on any level, until there was honey.
Over four thousand years ago, honey was used as a traditional ayurvedic medicine, where it was thought to be effective at treating material imbalances in the body. It has been found that honey does have healing properties–it is a natural magic that mends wounds and lengthens life. A street miracle–honey.
For this reading I want hair that reaches for heaven, want a dress made of gold, want to give everyone a spoonful of honey. I am very happy to say that I have a beehive hairdo stacked under a scarf, waiting to be released for Beyond Baroque along with rivers of honey.
The honey came from my hometown’s Poppy Festival. (Yes I live in a place that celebrates flowers.) Along with jars of honey, I received my first Chick book. I’d never seen one of these mini gospels, until a representative of Lancaster Baptist Church handed me a copy while I was stuck in the line for a camel rides. The Chick title he handed me was, “This Was Your Life.” In this terrifying miniature comic book, a man is shown his entire life before being tossed into the Lake of Fire. (Scary.)
I fell in love with Chick reads. Fortunately, my friend who was at the festival with me, is obsessed with Chick lit. He showed me his collection of these religious handouts and a documentary about their origins. These strange little books both delight and offend everyone. They are too religious for the non-religious, too non-religious for the religious; they are also sexist, racist, and strange–yet oddly forgiving and compassionate. They are so very human.
I couldn’t help myself–I had to make one.
SO…all of this 2 am typing is to say, if you can make it to the Beyond Baroque reading I will give you honey and my own version of a Chick pamphlet. I will give you all my gold and human. I will dress like a hive. I will do all that I can to believe (and deliver) the magic of honey.