The task proved far easier than expected, even for shy me. We quickly got used to our bodies standing on those crates. And surprisingly the lack of a stationary audience was quite freeing.
I have a new idea.
After a couple of our guerilla poetry groups returned to our museum starting place from our hour standing on our crates blasting it out into the traffic, I wandered back downtown to see if I could find Joan Clayton's group. (I also had in mind the two glaring deficiencies of Guerilla Poetry -- the lack of an interested audience and the street noise -- and, always looking to solve problems, I scanned everything with that in mind as I walked.) Well, last I had noticed, Joan's group was heading to the marketplace to set up. But no, it wasn't there now, which is fun to walk through nevertheless. A couple blocks further I got to the mall, went through its big centre area with its fountain, and with the the stools built in around it, and imagined us reading there to people on the stools, but no the fountain is too loud. Then I walked into the wide lobby which sides onto the Central Library, and which goes right on though the mall and out onto Dundas. In the lobby opposite the library is Wolf Performance Hall, which continually packs in crowds for various and sundry interesting topics.
And I thought, My God, here is the place, in this wide, quiet lobby, which is always streaming with interested people, people who are here not to get from A to B but because this is where it's all happening, man. There is plenty of unused room just past the Hall doors. We could put a sign on the wall. No need for any equipment. And we could read any poetry we wanted to. I could do my Lawrence Ferlinghetti. People could read their own poetry, An interested audience would actually stand there and listen. It really would. Without doubt. And they could hear us easily. We could do it maybe once a month. I even know the name of the Chief Librarian. I'll ask her.
Here's what I realized standing on my soapbox reading to nobody: There is no other place where you can read your favourite poets to other people. None. At regular open mics, like ours at Mykonos Restaurant, you have to read your own stuff. But I really enjoyed reading Ferlinghetti and Creeley. Actually I had never read them before. And I only did it now because I was looking for something good to read.That got me reading a lot of poetry I had never before looked at. And then to read those poems aloud at home to feel how they would go over. That alone was a wonderful experience. And then to go there and do it. I WANT TO DO IT AGAIN, but in a better setting this time.
One of the first poems I would read would be "Corner" by Ralph Pomeroy, from back in the 50s. It goes like this:
The cop slumps alertly on his motorcycle,
Supported on one leg like a leather stork.
His glance accuses me of loitering,
I can see his eyes moving like a fish
In the green depths of his green goggles.
His ease is fake. I can tell.
My ease is fake. And he can tell.
The fingers armored by his gloves
Splay and clench, itching to change something.
As if he were my enemy or my death,
(plus 7 more stanzas.)