What a great day. With the Fourth of July holiday falling on a Monday, I was a bit off-kilter today. I'm not sure what it was, but it seemed like an extra weekend day, perhaps because it was.
I started off the day meeting up with some other local poets over at Virginia Beach's new Towne Center for a reading of poems associated with independence and our great country. Listening to Pete Freas, I was reminded that poets lead revolutions and that as great as our country is, it is still flawed... or perhaps that should be, as flawed as our country is, it is still great.
Anyway, I read a couple of my poems, including "The Road North" which connects a trip up Route 1 at night with slaves escaping on the Underground Railroad.
I arrived a bit late and found Nathan reciting one of his poems about militants... or should I say about someone claiming to be militant but actually a non-participant. It was a moving poem recited with intensity.
Bill, a retired English professor from Norfolk State (who reminded me of my old English professor and writing coach Jim Miller), read several poems, including one about a heart attack he had a decade ago. After recovering he was at home reviewing the list of visitors to his sick bed, and he discovered that 2/3 of the folks who came to see him were white... a heart, friendship, honor: all these have no sense of color.
Another poet reading today was Dave; I like his work. It's very narrative, and resonnates with person and place. One poem he read today was about his brother playing with toy soldiers and comparing this to an artist copying a great painting. I don't do it justice.
We also heard other voices. Pete read a letter from Lincoln, Nathan read King's "I have a dream" speech. Edith read a couple of poems that captured a sense of the times we face today, even though they were written thirty years ago; I don't remember who the poet was she read, sadly.Pete and the Chesapeake Bay Poets are going to sponsor the event again next year. I could see it becoming a yearly tradition: the spoken word reminds us of where we have been, where we are, and where we want to be.