Thursday, May 14, 2009


After the high of last Sunday's benefit reading at the Bowery Poetry Club, today I was invited to read my poetry at the Lunch and Business Meeting of The New Jersey Rheumatology Association Annual Spring Meeting at the Woodbridge Hotel and Conference Center (following morning sessions on things like "Antiphosholipid Syndrome").

No kidding.

The organizer for the conference is a Rheumatologist, Andy Weinberger, who heard me read my work at the Ethical Culture Society in Maplewood NJ twice over the past few years. He thought it would be interesting and unique to have a poet (listed in the program as "New Jersey Poet and Actor") read for ten or so minutes during dessert.

I started with that short seventeen syllable poem I quoted in the post about Sunday's benefit. I figured it would be a good test of the audience to see how much of a sense of humor they had. Nobody laughed. Though as I commented on that, I noticed one older gray haired gentleman leaning into another man at his table explaining how the title "Most Memorable Movie Mothers" related to the final line of the poem: "SHAFT"—and they both chuckled.

But once I warmed up, so did they. In fact, they became an incredibly receptive audience, especially when I read a poem just written last night on the theme of arthritis, mostly about how my Irish grandfather and my own father and my brother the ex-cop who passed last year dealt so stoically with theirs (though with the protection of a petrified potato in my grandfather's case and the old copper bracelet in my father's), with a final nod to John Carradine who played my grandfather in my second starring role in a horror movie a few decades ago and at the time had hands totally deformed from his arthritis, though they didn't stop him from being as forceful as always, at least when the cameras were on.

Afterwards I chatted for a while with two doctors about pain and poetry and getting older and the Irish and Ireland and Jersey and Brooklyn backgrounds and it was a lovely time. I made it home just as my eleven-year-old was getting out of school, in time for me to change into more comfortable cloths (in respect to the business atmosphere I wore a suit coat with my Krew skateboarder jeans and boots and black custom made shirt (a gift from fellow actor Scott Johnson several years ago) and a tie with bleeding books on it (another gift) and get his bike from his mom's and take it to the bike shop for needed repairs after a spill he took last week.

Ah, the life of a poet, I mean, New Jersey Actor (mostly retired) and Poet.


-K- said...

Maybe I'll be able to come back later with an explanation as to why I enjoyed this post so much. Maybe it has something to do with the humor and the directness or maybe covering so much territory - poetry, arthritis, relatives, bikes in just a few paragraphs. Anyway....

Miles said...

I share -K-'s feelings about this post. I especially responded to the humor of the mash-up of the poetry reading and the professional conference. I could picture it clearly, and it made me chuckle aloud.