Unmask

When I was in love with you, I felt at times like I had your face – not just the thought of it, but your actual, physical face. I would walk down the street with your cheeks, your mouth, your bone structure, your brow. It was a shocking sensation that shattered my pillar of self. It came and went for weeks, then occasionally surfaced as our love grew on and faded, and, decades later, occasionally still does.

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UPCOMING EVENTS  ::  October has shaped up to be Monthis Festivalis, at least for me this year. Finished September with a read at the finely feted Beat Museum Poetry Fest, and now this.  ::  Join us on Saturday, October 6 for Alt Beast, where about fifty poets will pay homage to the absent-this-year Beast Crawl, and have a romp at the Amphitheater in Mosswood Park in North Oakland, just a couple blocks from my place. Runs noon to 5, and has a pot luck if you wanna contribute. Click on the name for a full list of readers.  ::  Then on Saturday, October 13, I’ll be headlining at the 11th Annual Davis Jazz and Beat Festival up, yes, in Davis, CA. There will be two stages of jazz running from 2:30 till 10 at the John Natsoulas Center for the Arts, and I’ll be the only poet, so you can come and chill in the Central Valley autumn heat and sip something perfect while listening to terrific music all damn day, and put up with me briefly at 7pm. Oh, and it’s FREE.  ::  Next, on Saturday, October 20 (Sabado! Sabado! Sabado!), Babar in Exile returns to Lit Crawl in conflicted ol’ San Francisco. We’re in the 2nd Leg of the Crawl this time, starting at 6:30 sharp in a shoe store (yes, believe it) called Intentionally Blank. A bunch of the old crew will be there, including Bruce Isaacson, Jan Steckel, Tarin Towers, Margery Snyder, Julia Vinograd, David Gollub, and Kathleen Wood, with Paul Corman-Roberts as the Honorary Babarian. Like last year, we will be recreating an open mic from the original Babar series. I will host and read a poem if there’s time. Come on by!  ::  Thus endeth the Festivalis part of the Monthis, but not the Monthis itself. Deets for all these on the Events page…but there’s MORE…

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How many yous are there? Is that the sun leaking through your face? How can you live this way? Let’s go down to the pond and dissolve. I mean seriously. Are you a parade or a peacock? A runny, drippy thing? A delta? Now that’s more like it. Love fresh water pouring into my brine. Love feeling the mix of living things inside me, fresh and brine inside and out. Their motion. Ebb and tide. The surge. The sandbar of my jaw. The cold stream of my brain. My flesh of spreading reeds. The sun leaking through my face.

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MORE UPCOMING EVENTS  ::  My month of festivals flows seamlessly into the great weather for MEDIA 2018 West Coast Tour, running this year from October 21 to November 2. Yayayay! We will be celebrating the release of Suitcase of Chrysanthemums, their new international anthology of poetry, prose, and everything in-between and out-of-bounds, with a cast of thousands. Well, hundreds. Well, dozens. But a very excellent dozens. Here are the dates and places in brief, with full deets as usual on the vents page.  ::  Sunday, October 21, 4:30 – 6:30 pm at Beyond BaroqueVenice, CA  :: Tuesday, October 23, 8 – 10 pm at Stories BooksLos Angeles, CA  ::  Friday, October 26, 8 – 10:30 pm at The WaypostPortland, OR  ::  Tuesday, October 30, 7 – 9 pm at Vermillion Art Gallery & BarSeattle, WA  ::  Thursday, November 1, 6:30 – 9 pm at The Octopus Literary SalonOakland, CA  ::  Friday, November 2, 7 – 9 pm at Alley Cat BooksSan Francisco, CA  ::  And finally, on Saturday, November 3, in My Apartment in Oakland, CA, I will be taking a nap.

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You laugh so hard your teeth drop out. As they fall, some of them keep laughing. Down and down they go, past rock, past strata, past magma to the core of the earth, singing all the way. Your teeth! And where does that leave you? Toothless and laughing, at the edge of the world. Ecstatic and mammalian, vibrating rapidly. A bulb of flesh plunging forward, trailing a lineage. Chemical reactions tasting the air and grinning.

Sincerely,
Richard

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