Oregon Tavern Age: Poetry

I sat in a booth in faux OTA country, Clackamas County proper.

Outside rain fell what seemed like the 30th straight day.

I waited for a poet to meet me. Speaking of poetry, I’ve tried reading the poetry in three straight issues of The New Yorker and didn’t understand, or worse, feel a thing. Why write poetry like that? I’d rather read the poems written by homeless men and women that appear in the weekly newspaper advocating for the homeless. At least these poems have blood and try to move you.

It was unremarkable joint with unforgettable décor consisting of screens and advertisements for tasteless corporate lagers favored by men who hate transgender people.

I drank a creamy Oregon ale and took stock of the joint’s clientele—Trumpian to the core. How did I know? How could you not anymore in this sinking ship of a nation?

It had been a fairly nondescript day up to this point. The one exception was the hour I spent stocking street libraries with copies of The Old Crow Book Club. That almost daily routine pretty much sums up social life, but it does make me happy getting the book out there. It doesn’t go anywhere unless I hustle it and I have been hustling. I just need more readers to support that effort.

Some irrelevant NBA playoff game played silently on a screen. It’s always funny to think that some players make more in one quarter than I did my entire 25+ year teaching career. Like I said, a sinking ship of a nation.

The poet arrived. He would doubtless share one of his new poems with me. It would engage me and we would discuss it. But not talk of its craft or opacity.

As it turned out, we talked about the exquisite detail of Chevy Astro. A neighbor of the poet dropped dead while trying to repair this mini van. He was doing a favor for another neighbor, the last act of his 44-year-old life. A Chevy Astro!