Posts tagged: North Portland

St. Johns Booksellers’ Market Day Poetry Series #5 with Tommy Gaffney, Ric Vrana and Astrid the Asteroid

Tommy Gaffney

Tommy Gaffney

“Such a sad day for all of us,” opined Tommy Gaffney, regarding the imminent departure of Astrid from Portland, in anticipation of which Splice Finders trundled down to his local St. Johns Booksellers to capture the August 15 installment of this weekly Market Day Poetry Series curated by Dan Raphael.  The series is running in conjunction with the recently-inaugurated St. Johns Farmers’ Market.

Despite this impending mutual loss, it was another good day for local poetry in North Portland, with Ric Vrana leading off this enjoyable noon event, and Tommy, holder of head thusly (as Ric lovingly points out), carrier of The Reading at Tony’s business cards, and with book for sale at the counter, working the middle innings.

Ric Vrana

Ric Vrana

A planner by trade, Ric comes prepared with “reserve” into which he must dip – in fact they’re all reading too fast, no doubt because this caffeine hour flies by in a room already full of words, augmented by supporters Patrick Bocarde, Mike G and David Matthews who’ve made the journey North from their close-to-the-city climes for this modest gathering – “No Subway in My City,” “Queens Return,” all of Ric’s pieces now graciously cyanotyped upon the blueprint of our market day commute. Tommy generously previews the blurry lucidity of his forthcoming Whiskey Days (Daze? – again, the surfeit of words) but it’s his “Larry The Cantankerous” and its iconic, yellow-tinged “abandoned glass of milk” that truly disturbs our diurnal Prussian blue reverie.

However it was the ephemeral Astrid, brandishing electronic keyboard – and the prospect of her mid-day performance under the fluorescence amidst cookbooks and pulp mysteries within distance magnifique de vibration – whose promised presence piqued les intrigues de ces heures cassées. Words, though, are only words, so to these words we’ve appended a recording of this happening.

Astrid the Asteroid

Astrid the Asteroid

While it is possible to fill any geographic realm with a plethora of words, it falls to the truly gifted to achieve a potent concentration of imagery, and in discussing same it is often best to enter the imagery itself into evidence: “Where has your electric eel gone?/ Grant me the right-of-way to private pockets/ Read me those crusty old stories with wide eyes/Opalescent women raise from the dead their intuition/With the desire to rupture the salad sea/Prance along as tiny mice living in the air.”  (Close enough for mass transit, anyway.) In a candid moment after the event Astrid enthused that this was a particularly good performance and that she was grateful that it had been recorded.  Would have been a shame to miss out; enjoy the podcast.

Nena

Nena

And here’s to more such events in the months to follow long after the farmers have brought the last of their bounty to the Plaza (N. Philadelphia at N. Lombard in St. Johns, Portland, Oregon).  Thanks to the performers, to Dan Raphael, and to Nena, the proprietor of St. Johns Booksellers.   The Market Day Poetry Series continues through September 26.

(This podcast is no longer available)

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