Thursday, April 24, 2014

Seventeen Syllable Bliss

Haikus start my night
Honky-tonk, poet joins me
Did you want to dance?

After my sheer pleasure in last month's Hand to Hand Haiku, I couldn't resist asking if a poetically inclined friend would be there.

"Um...YES! (She wrote, totally pretending like she knew about this event) Thanks, Karen. My zeitgeist conscience."

Part  of my delight in tonight's event was that there were three times the attendees of last month, not the least of which was my friend and her date.

Also joining me at my table was one of last month's haiku battle winners, who, sadly, had not written any new haikus for tonight, a shame given some of the brilliant 17-syllable combinations she'd put together last month.

Our smart and hysterical host, Raven Mack, led off with a monologue about having been to multiple funerals at a junkyard, "Where they play 'Free Bird' non-ironically."

My friend and I were laughing louder than anyone else in the room.

I'd ordered dessert, a devil's food cake with coconut creme anglais, a grown up take on a Hostess Snowball, minus the artificial pink color, but embracing two of my very favorite dessert components, chocolate and coconut. All I know is I got some longing looks from those near me as I ate it.

After Raven warned us, "If you hear someone repeat a haiku, boo the shit out of them," Aaron and Elizabeth were our first competitors.

I should be glad it
doesn't cost anything to
just sit and think...yet

Albert and Scott battled it out 21st century style with haikus about Instagram and hashtags. Not my thing, but I get it.

Follow the right shows,
eat at the right restaurants
Get your little hat

There were so many more people competing tonight that the rounds seemed to go much more quickly, with my friend and I laughing frequently at Raven's running commentary, things like, "Y'all ain't read one sex haiku yet!" an accusation if ever there was one.

Visit for a while
Take a selfie by the back
Friends see I'm fearless

RVA's resident anarchist Mo battled with host Raven for a death match of epic proportions. Mo led off.

I don't want to fuck
a redneck boy, I want to
be a redneck boy

Raven volleyed back.

For record store day
I lack discretionary 
income like always

Scott and Ellie had a match and Ellie got seasonal.

Rabbit flesh, peanut 
butter for the dog. Feast on
this. Happy  Easter.

I don't know how many times my friend turned to me and exclaimed, "I love this so much!"

That's what Hand to Hand Haiku does to a thinking person. And if tonight was any indication, next month will be even more crowded with haiku readers and rabid fans like us.

Sadly, they had to leave because the poetic one had to get home and grade papers, but I hung around for the second act, J.P. Harris and the Tough Choices, an extremely tight Nashville country band (two guitars, bass, pedal steel, drums) who create way too much fun for a school night.

My earlier date was replaced with the second shift, this one also a poet, but with no school night obligations. Passing the front bar, someone had asked him about what was going on in the back and the best he could say was that there was a band playing and he'd been told they were tight.

Sometimes you just have to listen to your zeitgeist conscience.

There were more tattoos than cowboy boots in the audience. Multi-instrumentalist Josh Bearman and his lovely wife showed up and were soon two-steppin' to the music, getting the party started.

The band got a couple of songs in- I think they were doing "White Lightening"- when the pedal steel player realized his amp wasn't working and began frantically trying to get amplified.

While he investigated, J.P. told a joke about an instrument-playing octopus at a bar that eventually involved a sex punchline.

J.P. told sad stories about the great songs he'd written, some for a Zac Efron movie, another for NPR's "Car Talk" and how his musical brilliance had been squandered when neither went anywhere.

There were divorce songs, truck songs, drinking songs and Waylon Jennings songs and the crowd danced to almost all of them.

Late in the evening, J.P. said it was time to "hose off the dogs" and slowed things down so people could stump and drag, or whatever you call slow dancing in the country music world.

I have to admit, as a woman, it's always nice to be asked to dance, whether we accept the offer or not.

But when a dance isn't possible, there's always haiku.


  1. I'm just fine, if up a lot earlier than usual. Saw the VMFA's new "Posing Beauty" exhibit at 9 a.m. this morning. Definitely worth seeing, by the way.

    Thanks for sticking up for me with yesterday's hater. It's nice to know that some people can just take what they enjoy of my writing and leave the rest behind. You've been a long and faithful reader and for that I'm grateful.

  2. ..and you have consistently put your thoughts & observations to words that others may share, partake-- mull over or disregard if they choose. At times entertaining, informative, witty, opinionated, [we're all human aren't we?], and always on the go...without seeming to be on the make. If anything I'm the one who's taking from you --absorbing your thoughts, getting an eyeful, etc. True there may at times be an exchange of thoughts, ideas...some form of connection, intellectual dialogue, (OK --maybe just arty chit-chat) but that's OK. Hey by the way...did I say thanks for being on the other end.


  3. Back at you. It's good to know someone is reading and reacting, which is why your comments are always appreciated.