That time I read at the Christmas Poetry Jam at 15 Minutes club in DC on December 27, 1993. Looks like Silvanna Straw, Edgar Silex, and John Potash were also featured readers. And some guy named “Jeff Bogato,” which is actually me when people can’t spell my last name. Then there was an open mike, poetry games and a special guest. Of course, I don’t remember any of this, so it’s a good thing I saved these Washington City Paper advertisements.
Nothing kills a party mood like a poetry reading. That’s the main takeaway lesson for me after agreeing to read some of my work as part of a loft party in DC in 1993. The organizer (and loft owner) named Judy saw my featured reading at 15 Minutes Club on August 9 and asked me to come by her event a few days later on August 13, which she was calling Plaid.
The place was packed with revelers enjoying the rarity of an actual loft party in DC. A band calling itself Blue Teal Tory was cranking away at the tunes. I remember my friend Alberto Gaitan was playing keyboards, and he set me up with the microphone. Somebody (maybe me?) yelled over the crowd, and the voices slowly died down. At that point, the poetry went over a cliff like a bus full of concrete.
As soon as I shut up, the nattering resumed full force. Some guy buttonholed me to talk about Ezra Pound, convinced I was influenced by him. Or something. I actually know very little about Pound, and care even less. He’s not an influence on any of my work. But being ignored and misinterpreted are some of the penalties of taking one’s creative efforts into the public sphere.
That time I had my fifteen minutes of fame as a featured reader at the 15 Minutes nightclub’s poetry night on August 6, 1993. Looks like Husain Naqvi was also on the bill, and then an open mike, all for $3. This event is totally lost in time. I don’t even remember if I got any of the door money; it most likely went to support the DC Slam Team.
You can see by the poster that even in August, there was a weekly reading schedule. Even Reston, VA punmaster Dean Blehert had a shot!
Online literary journal The Five-Two focuses exclusively on poems about crime. Today, my poem “Like That” was published in the journal. The poem is sort of about a romance gone wrong. You can read the whole piece here. There’s also a clip of me reading the poem you can check out.