Went to The Bowery Poetry Club last night to see my friend Simon Pettet read his poetry.
If you have never seen and heard Simon read his poems, you’ve missed not only one of the most unique poetic experiences of our times, but one of the most unique performance ones as well.
It’s not that he’s a “performance” or “spoken word” style poet who has his work memorized and declaims it like it’s rap or a rant or an ironic monologue, or whatever.
He just reads it with the kind of English accent that only adds to his "elfin charm" (as I've heard it described, which to my mind—coupled with his female-attracting boyish good looks—proves there has to be Irish in his ancestry, one of those “wild geese” in his famliy’s woodpile, so to speak), and along with the repetition of each poem in a slightly different rhythm and with some variety in how he emphasizes the words and which ones, make for a kind of one man illustration of why poets write in the first place, their intense, though tender, even sensual and intellectual, relationship with words, as though they were actual physical objects of their devotion and sometime obsession.
Something like that.
At any rate, if you ever see that Simon is reading anywhere near where you are, be there.
Meanwhile, here’s a typically untitled Simon Pettet poem (he would read it very slowly, distinguishing every word, and then read it again starting the second time swiftly after ending the first time, as though ruminating out loud over the meaning of what he had just read, trying to get it right, eventually slowing down, but with a different emphasis on certain words to make it resonate with a startlingly newer meaning and intention) from back when our fiasco in Iraq was new (I may have quoted it before, since it is one of my favorites):
“There is a cruel, messianic, dim, tribal intransigence
That gains you nothing
There’s a bull-headed childish baby-tantrum
That can unleash untold consequences
I am appalled by the darkening of the sky
I watch my love
It is always my love that I watch”