Paintings coated the walls depicting celebrities and statesmen of all eras in unusual and potentially compromising positions (was this some kind of time travel cult?).
Around one year and a half ago, I received a cryptic message from a mysterious and vaporous personage. The message read, “If you ever wish to see your precious Poetry again, come still, to the cellar.” Using my superior poetic reasoning skills, which I had trained diligently for years at Naropa University and which fully manifested in my body like a mutant power on the day that I received my MFA, I determined that the location where Poetry was being held was Still Cellars, a micro-distillery and arthouse at 1115 Colorado Ave in Longmont. I quickly printed out a paper copy of the message, then crumpled it up and ate it. When I returned to my digital communications device to delete the original, however, it had already disappeared without a trace…
I journeyed on foot, taking a long route with fraught with zig-zags to throw off any would-be pursuers, and, arriving at a stark, gray building emblazoned with silver letters, stepped through a translucent glass door. Inside I was confronted by a dizzying scene! Round wooden tables with well-dressed Longmontsters about them sipping apple cinnamon whiskey and ginger vodka filled the space. Paintings coated the walls depicting celebrities and statesmen of all eras in unusual and potentially compromising positions (was this some kind of time travel cult?). A merchandise table provided literary offerings and art books next to a wide open briefcase full of money. And, presiding over the stage, a bear wearing only a hat and scarf stood nobly beside a small sandwich-board which declared to all the world, “Don’t Yell At Me.”
From the strings of the throat to the strings of the guitar, all manner of those talents unique among the animal kingdom to Homo-Poeticus were on display. Music and language, performance art, costumes and masks, electrical soundplay.
I looked around for Poetry, but she remained hidden from view. The room was lit in a soft, golden light, like a cellar filled with torches. I wandered then to the bar and ordered for myself a Halsey, a shot of single malt barley whiskey poured over a frozen coffee cube (sourced locally and brewed in-house), named for local poet and photographer Jay Halsey, whose work I would have the pleasure of witnessing at this same locale a few weeks hence, and took my seat. The evening revue was then introduced by Mssrs. Dustin Holland and Conor Magyar, poet and a singer-songwriter respectively, following which, one after another, the performers proceeded to transmute alchemically the space of the stage.
Ah, what an evening! What an array of explosions and colored lights from the mouths of these marvels! From the strings of the throat to the strings of the guitar, all manner of those talents unique among the animal kingdom to Homo-Poeticus were on display. Music and language, performance art, costumes and masks, electrical soundplay. Dustin regaled us with tales of the insuperable “eddie goode-shaman,” whose life and times were among those depicted in the portraits upon the walls. Conor sang haunting, soul-breaking love songs while the audience hung from his very lip. Rachel Palmateer took us to the reddest places in our hearts, the suffering, the steamy, the sinful. Many others performed as well, including William Seward Bonnie, the latter of whose new book, “World Series Christ,” has just been released. It was at this moment that it dawned on me: Poetry was in no danger here. In fact, it was she who had invited me!
“now I’m bill murray’s
reckoning stowing away
on rimbaud’s trip to
africa. doing push-ups
and eating rice w/ hot sauce
till it burns a hole in
my cheek and the neighbor
kids can try to flip
coins thru it for good luck”
– Dustin Holland, from “eddie goode-shaman conquers his demons”
Don’t Yell At Me, which takes place once every month to two months, has since added a wide selection of rotating performers, including the author of this report (I sometimes write and perform under the nome de plume, “Eric Fischman”) and writer Steven Dunn, whose debut book, “Potted Meat,” was a co-winner in the Tarpaulin Sky Book Prize and is currently available for pre-order. In addition, DYAM’s poets have helped launch the Last Fridays Poetry Night at Longmont’s Firehouse Art Center, which functions simultaneously as a gallery and as a performance and artmaking space, providing an open mic for Longmontians on the last Friday of every month. The Firehouse has also begun hosting writing workshops, which will be occurring regularly on the third Friday of each month, starting right now. Both events are open to all ages and persons.
Conseil, ready my possessions, and do not forget to arm yourself! For I fear this enemy beast may indeed be no narwhal at all…
There have since been ten Don’t Yell At Me’s, and Episode 11 will take place this Saturday evening at 7pm at Still Cellars, one night after this month’s Last Fridays Poetry Night at the Firehouse, with readings by Eddy Jordan, Gracie Hortonopoulos, Vincenzo Collitti, Arielle Lyric, Taylor Marie, William Seward Bonnie, Jay Halsey, and Ella Longpre, and featuring music by Xavier O Luain. This correspondent, however, will unfortunately not be in attendance. For I have just received a desperate communique informing me that another ship has been sunk in the waters off Oceania by the mysterious giant narwhal! I have been asked for my expertise to join the expedition to uncover the truth of this monster! Conseil, ready my possessions, and do not forget to arm yourself! For I fear this enemy beast may indeed be no narwhal at all…
No matter. Longmont swells in these days with the living green light of Poetry. But the moon is high, and the depths call out to me! I must fly!
The Last Fridays Poetry Night open mic will take place from 7pm until 9pm on Friday, February 26th, at the Firehouse Art Center in Longmont.
Don’t Yell At Me: Episode 11 will take place beginning at 7pm on Saturday, February 27th, at Still Cellars Distillery in Longmont.
Eric Raanan Fischman is a Boulder Poetry Tribe correspondent, contributor, and calendar updater for the Boulder Poetry Tribe and a graduate of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics MFA program. His first collection, “Mordy Gets Enlightened,” is forthcoming.