Balboa Poet House #5 (03-29-13)

On the evening of 03-29-13, I went on a wild goose chase trying to find the house of two of my compeers, Joe Montana III and Deborah Berman where I was to be one of the two featured readers for the Balboa Poet House. Since I don’t know the area well, I clicked the link that bore the message “Get Directions”. Damn that link! The directions as written would have sent me 40 odd exits out of my way! Fortunately, I realized something was awry when I was only about 10 exits further than I needed to be, so I called Joe and spoke to both he and Deborah, but they couldn’t figure out where I was exactly, since they don’t use the 202 as the directions suggested I do. In the end, I drove up and down Broadway for roughly two hours until I decided to get back on the 202 and found another exit for Broadway which took me to the correct neighborhood, where I met up with my good friend Ash Naftule, who missed out on the open mic to guide me to the house. Thanks Ash!

Left to right:  Paul Michael Dlouhy and Ashley Naftule

Left to right: Paul Michael Dlouhy and Ashley Naftule

Once there, I was greeted warmly and directed to the snack table, where I was handed a large glass of pinot noir. I had already missed the open mic, and everyone was taking a break before the featured readers. My friend Neil Gearns was to be the first poet up, which gave me time to relax and have a bite. This calmed me down considerably and I had a pleasurable time taking in the beautifully decorated surroundings and listening to Mr. Gearns delivering his very entertaining set. My favorite poem from his set list was one about a Star Trek red shirt. It was written somewhere between a rant and a lament. It was funny, but had a pathos which I found touching; especially the line where he says that he will try to live as long as he can, not so much for himself, but for the next red shirt to follow. Bravo Mr. Gearns!

Neil Gearns in a pensive moment.

Neil Gearns in a pensive moment.

Next up: yours truly! First off, Miss Berman paraphrased my bio as an introduction (I admit the original was a bit lengthy, so I fully support her decision there) and ended with a few kind words of her own. Thanks Deborah!

Deborah @ Deus Ex Machina 12-14-12

Deborah @ Deus Ex Machina 12-14-12

I started off with a poem by 19th century French poet, Arthur Rimbaud. Joe had asked us to bring a poem by a gay poet to read in solidarity for the gay marriage struggle which is in the news these days, so I chose Rimbaud’s “Dance of the Hanged Men”, which I had read about 20 years ago and had stuck with me ever since. For my personal set, I chose to do a retrospective, starting with “The Fallen Leaf”, a poem I wrote at 17 years of age and ending with my most recent one, “My Treacherous Heart”. As the final icing on the cake, I added “Tasty Little Muffins” from my Dark Young days. The majority of the crowd in the room seemed to like what I had to offer, although there were a few glazed expressions here and there, and I was glad to have the time to go at my own pace, talking in between poems and telling anecdotes as I went along.

Me, emphasizing some point of grave importance, no doubt.

Me, emphasizing some point of grave importance, no doubt.

Afterward, I returned to the kitchen to procure some more wine, but–alas– the bottle was drained to the dregs. I did have a nice conversation with some of the young people at the snack table though (I say young, but they were about college age) and also traded advice with some of the more seasoned poets who were being drilled for information by another young man who seemed eager to learn the craft.

Joe Montana III

Joe Montana III

Before I left Joe gave me a chapbook of his poems, which I had requested from him and I was deeply touched to learn that he had created it especially for me. Thank you Mr. Montana!
All in all, it was a fun time and I loved the crowd and the venue, which was decorated with a mixture of pop and folk art and posters featuring hip musicians and artists throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.
I hope to go there again some time with better directions and make it in time for the open mic!

The crowd at the Balboa Poet House #5, minus Joe and Deborah

The crowd at the Balboa Poet House #5, minus Joe and Deborah

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