The late, long March into spring . . .

Three or four weeks ago N & I broke up. I suppose it may have been coming, but that did nothing to assuage my ensuing state of shock. I won't say it's one of those situations always like the first time, but age and baggage definitely don't make things any easier. Perhaps why I've neglected this weblog so. Do forgive me.

Again, that was three or four weeks ago, and it's been quite an eventful change of seasons here in Scott-land.

I received, courtesy of Dale Smith at Skanky Possum, an edition of my old friend/teacher Carl Thayler's new book. I got a deal (I think) on the book in return for a review, so I have been doing my best to digest all 328 pages in order to concoct a decent review. It's pretty good stuff -- I may attach an excerpt.

Last Wednesday I read at another poetry to-do. This was at the Bourbon Cafe in Lincoln Square. A funny thing -- I sidled up to the bar, ordered a bourbon and the bartender (a dyed blonde E. Euro-type) asked me "how do you make that drink?" Anyway, I talked and pointed my way to the proper beverage. I had a few and only paid for one. Sat with Tom and Jan, talked a bit with Todd and Kristy (with whom I'm doing a May 6 reading at DvA Gallery in Lincoln Park) and then with David and J.J. I didn't know then it would likely be the last time I'd speak with J.J.

A couple days later, on Saturday, I carried my guitar and my Pignose Hog 20 amp to the Green Door Tavern to play another solo gig (see archive for another Green Door story). Having invited at least 20 friends to this event, I was happy to see my friend Brad and his brother, Brett (what is it with sibling alliteration?), actually accepted my invite. My friend Stephanie was also on the bill, which we shared with a bad Dave Matthews clone who brought a 4-ton acoustic amp (the green door is *tiny* -- my pignose was nearly too loud). I drank a bit, rocked out some songs. I broke a string and the Dave Matthews clone offered to replace it for me, but he used an acoustic string and strung it the wrong way through the peg. I really should do those things myself.

I decided to skip Tuesday's Cafe series, as the feature had cancelled and 2 or 3 hrs. of open-mic was more than I was willing to endure by this point. The weather had been shitty and I was broke.

Wednesday I was somewhere in River North and I caught a headline in the window of a 'Sun-Times' vending machine: "Killer Poet Caught on West Side." Being a poet (or so I think) myself, I was intrigued and imagine my surprise when I read the lead and found out J.J. Jameson was this so-called "killer poet." Yes, the goofy old New Englander I'd been calling my friend for the last year or so was really an escaped fugitive and #1 on the state of Massachussetts' most-wanted list, for escaping from a minimum security institution where he was doing life for an execution-style killing. Days later, I'm still in shock. I imagine everyone who knew J.J. here is still in shock, too.

Easter was quiet. Brunched at Hearty Boys, a very good spot in Boystown. Never too crowded even on Sundays, but may change soon as reps from the Food Network were dining there today. Also witnessed a double date of yuppie jagoffs drinking Veuve Cliquot mimosas. I'm quite irked by folks who imagine there's something attractive about ruining a very decent Champagne with orange juice. It's like ruining your single-malt with cola or soda, or leaving the label on your cigar just so everyone else can see how much you spent on it. I'm just not about that, I guess. I blow the extra loot on Veuve Cliquot (as opposed to my usual $3 Chuck), I'm gonna get it nice and cold and drink it as is. I want a mimosa, I'm using some crap spumanti. And you sure as hell won't find me hoarding a cigar-label over anyone. Whose pleasure is the experience about, anyway?

From Carl's new book, 'Naltsus Bichidin 2:'


Lucent with the light
of those salad days

the Boulevard that stunted
summer with its rain &

a voice stolen
from the bookstore

down the street
between a workout &

the aisle of the Pantages
Theater poems seeking

a hero without
the flashlight

followed to a seat
my breath sweetened

with Sen-sen &
a candle-thin sputter

of talk
to keep my cool

on a matinee ticket
head bowed to the

girl's neck
in the dark &

scared &
gone to hell

the voice
that was Rilke

spoke its dread
which was only

it said
the sap in the tree

welcome welcome
to poetry.

-- Carl Thayler, 2004