Last night, I had the pleasure of reading at the Eagle Rock Plaza Mall for the Light the Sky Poetry series. I was the first one up, and felt quite nervous since I hadn’t read in a while. Going up there felt natural though. I was able to read some new poems for the aswang series, and I like being able to publicly read poems that aren’t quite ready because it helps with my revision process.
I’d never read in a mall before, and that was fun and also challenging. Teenagers walked by, talking on their cell phones, speaker systems in the mall corridors went off, the occasional delivery guy hauled carts full of boxes. Lots of noise, although the organizers, Cece Peri and Gina Garay, were able to quell the distractions. I actually didn’t mind it. It was a good challenge to be able to read in a place where folks are LIVING, eating, shopping. It was nice to think of how accessible the venue, the Metro Cafe, is to non-poetry folks.
The line-up of poets — Jamie Asaye FitzGerald, Lory Bedikian, and William Archila — was such a treat. I loved Jamie’s love poems, which reminded me a lot of Neruda’s; Lory’s emotional precision and imagery of family; William’s evocation of living as an immigrant and exile in Los Angeles. I hope to have these poets on The Blood-Jet next year, hopefully sometime in the spring.
It’s readings like these that remind me of how lucky I am to be a poet and to be part of such a welcoming community of poets. There were many familiar faces there, many I’ve never met officially but have seen around at other events. The air electrifies with such beautiful, haunting, powerful words; it’s hard to not be inspired.