Wednesday, March 25, 2015

PHOTO ESSAY COMMEMORATING THE TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF SPILLING A BEER ON ROD SMITH.






How to make friends. Does anybody know? You hang out in the vicinity of others and trust to luck. You kick a pebble. The wind harries you thereafter; you suffer a windborne harry. Lesser hoodlums than you have achieved swifter triumphs in the quest for common fellowship. Vim, you have, and vigor; vim, you have, and vinegar. Someone invents beer. This helps. You walk toward a table where new acquaintances await your contribution to the daily topics—(1) Does everything suck or have we overlooked a key detail? (2) Just who the hell do people think they are? and (3) [censored]—that people bat-about in the ruckus of taverns. Only, you’re not in charge. The earth, in its subtle tectonic shifts, is in charge. The slope of the ill-paved concrete floor, is in charge. The rickety nature of the table, lacking some sort of basic buttress, is in charge. Internally, you blame these forces the moment your glass topples, heaving an impressive pond of house amber onto the seated figure of the fellow you know the least, Rod Smith. He’s cool; he lets it slide. The two of you get to be friends. The circle widens. He keeps talking about “Sonny” and “Bird”. (You say Sonny who? Sonny Criss, Sonny Stitt, Sonny Sharrock? because this aggravates him—there is Sonny and no greater Sonny!) He puts books into your hands and the hands of others. In time, he puts your books into the hands of others. He reads his nutty poems. He invites others to read their nutty poems. In time, you come to wildly believe in this nuttiness. You throw a pitcher of “American adjunct lager” onto a fellow sporting a suburban haircut in a billiards tavern, as Johnny Cash sings “Folsom Prison Blues” though a jukebox. The fellow topples off his barstool. You will not be friends with him! One night, Rod Smith drives you home, up hills, through a tough layer of ice and snow, while you’re shivering with the early stages of the flu. This is a car ride for which you will always be grateful. In time, you imitate Mike Tyson. (“Thnookid!”, you say.) In time, you imitate Theofanis Gekas (“MREAGH!” you say, after the missed penalty versus Costa Rica.) You now converse like “Up the Swans!” and “Roy Brown is the greatest jump musician” and “I think it’s gonna be Rory’s year on the links” and “I’d sure like to see Doug Lang and Tom Raworth give a reading.” You’re up on the roof of your building drinking a Heather Fuller Brewing Co. Ale out of mason jars with Rod Smith, A Righteous Fellow, but today let’s just say he’s one of the greatest poets the world will ever have the privilege to read, to hear, to appreciate. Do you know about this? He has a new book, TOUCHÉ, that you could order, dig, etc., fuff. Do you know about this? “Doot dew” goes the world. “Doot dew.”



13 comments:

DAN / DANIEL GUTSTEIN said...

The middle picture. Could never figure that out. Rod was standing in the same place, but was invisible for a moment.

------------------------B.A.

M. C. Zito said...

I sure as thitting am proud that we've stuck to imbibing, and not spilling, Irish Tenured STOUT instead, and stouts of "sondry londes", as well--

A hale n' hearty, and even a Laurel & Hardy (of course), hail hail to the International Man of Poetry himself, your friend and mine--

mark wallace said...

Can you recall the location of this 1995 event?

DAN / DANIEL GUTSTEIN said...

M.C. --

Sundry stouts have included these foreign blonde beers of late. Ah well, we can pardon The Poet if he tipples a bitteen of the ipa from time to time. Your friend and mine, indeed. Although with the pint-glass-hiccup, I'd like to think that I did all the heavy, er, spilling.

---------------------------BA

DAN / DANIEL GUTSTEIN said...

Mark --

Red Room Bar, Black Cat. You were there!

------------------------------BA

mark wallace said...

I also recall an early incident at the Elvis Happy Hour (I forget the name of that bar) and can't now recall which was which.

DAN / DANIEL GUTSTEIN said...

That may have been The Flying Elvis Happy Hour, at which numerous incidents transpired. I was not a card carrying member at that point? Dante's? You're always going on about Dante's.

----BA

mark wallace said...

I have a feeling Dante's had closed by the time I knew you. It was down on 14th Street, right in that area near the Whole Foods that would later on explode, although there wasn't much there then except closed store fronts and big blank walls.

DAN / DANIEL GUTSTEIN said...

your old stomping grounds. well, that area is still a mix of old decayed businesses and new "bright" expensive crappy businesses. i never patronized dante's. i knew not of its inferno. infer no final information, therefore, and i do not.

----------------------------------------------------------b.a.

Heather Fuller said...

The 1st rdng I encountered in DC was Lang/Raworth, back in the 90s, and yet I still, w/some frequency, incant that I'd sure like to hear a Lang/Raworth rdng. A lovely post, BAG, on numerous fronts.

DAN / DANIEL GUTSTEIN said...

Thanks for your kind comments, Hthr. It's no accident that your farmhouse ale was in our mason jars when we immortalized our hooliganism in photographs. I too have been fortunate to attend a Raworth / Lang reading. Soon again, I hope.

----------------------------------------------------------------BA

Anonymous said...

two bad-asses! great pictures.

DAN / DANIEL GUTSTEIN said...

hello anonymous, it is a tradition at b.a.g. to leave some sort of identification behind, but we'll cut you some slack owing to your stellar description of these activities. thank you -- whoever you iz -- for visiting the blog & for holding us accountable in this era of great tumult.

-----------b.a.