Sunday, January 25, 2009

She Made the Assholes Behind Me Shut Up

This is a first for me, y'all-- a truly happy post.

Laura and I went to Charm City Kitty Club last night at the Patterson. Laura's been to Kitty-topia before, but yesterday evening was a first pour moi.

The phallic-shaped desserts, free flavored condoms, and scantily-clad cupcake vendor did not prepare me in any way for the passion incarnate that was to take the stage near the end of the night. Who would have thought that in the hyper-technological world of 2009, that spoken word remains a power-house?

The poet and activist Andrea Gibson could make even my ex-Navy chief, Jews-are-going-to-take-over-the-world, Hemingway's-the-pinnacle-of-literature father love poetry. (And she might be able to teach me a thing or two about syntax, but hey, that's just semantics.)

The crew in the row directly behind me in the audience either naturally lacked tact, or had imbibed a few Bohs too many and in any case, were constantly babbling and cracking jokes through other performers' sets (including, unfortunately, the amazing songs of singer-songwriter Gina Young), but when Gibson spoke the first word of her first poem of the night, "For Eli", the loudmouths behind me became as still and silent as babies post-lullaby.

Gibson seemed to embody the very words that came out of her mouth as she spoke them, sending each audience member's ear a particle of her passion. Her poems were candid, honest, tear-jerking, thought-provoking and at times, really funny. Her stage presence dominated not only attention spans, but emotional capacities as well, and in kind, both Laura and I felt it difficult at times to refrain from tears.

Andrea Gibson's poem, "For Eli", which she prefaced by saying she hopes to retire it soon, is a good reminder to the world that charity bracelets, bumper stickers, and saying "oh, that's terrible" before turning off the news special on genocide isn't enough. Her words invoke an urgency for action that's much needed in the world's perilous state of affairs. She also discussed civil liberties, hypocrisy, and how as we grow older, we also grow more judgemental and less accepting of others.

Gibson is not only a memorable dynamo of wordsmith and performer, but she blends activist seedlings into her words that leave me with an unmatchable imprint. Each line of Andrea Gibson's poetry set off a mine in my dormant thoughts, and I'm left wondering, "who planted those explosive devices that one word can send me so happily home, and so inspired?"

You should take a bite out of some of that inspiration:

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