i went to the bear's den at 6 with bill and nanc and mark and we met jennifer there and her husband is out of town so she was lonely. we had pizza and wine and beer buckets that came with ice and four beers in them. At 7 andrei and laura came in from the holiday inn and everyone hugged and laura has an email address now, she's gotten connected, her life has changed, and she showed us pictures of her dog wearing a red sweater. she gave me a pair of earrings from florida which i put in my holes which are still open even though i haven't worn earrings in years.
then mark got up on stage and read a poem about fish and then another one about the religious right and then terry came into the den. turns out he and bill knew each other years ago when they both played in punk bands but they're in their fifties now and aren't punks anymore but they still got attitude. they were students together in Fayetteville, and it was funny because they each had new wives, but each thought the new wives were the old wives they once knew, which of course couldn't be true, so it was a little awkward. and then andrei got up and read some poems and there was trouble with the PA, the bar was getting loud and he was talking soft and there was feedback, but then sujith walked into the den and he didn't stop to order a beer or get a table, he went straight to the PA and set to fiddling with knobs, and he stayed there all night, sensing we needed him and and we did.
bill read--he and nanc drove from hot springs but they live in new orleans and they told us stories about katrina, how they stole their neighbor's boat and paddled to the superdome because their house was an island, everyone else was under water but theirs is raised up off the ground so was spared but they were trapped. they didn't leave until the plumbing stopped working and when they left they took another neighbor plus two dogs and a cat in a carrier. they hit dry land and abandoned the boat and later gave their neighbor a kayak as compensation, and their neighbor didn't mind, who would? it was self-preservation.
so bill read some great poems wearing his skull cap and then more people read and drank and the bar got loud and you couldn't hear the poetry or stories anymore, it was just noise and the roaring in your ears. and then andrei left, they were tired, and he gave me a nice long hug and told me i was a fox, which i liked to hear, because what woman doesn't? and i hugged laura too and they went back to the holiday inn to take a bath. and then john read a story no one could hear and the reading was over.