Small but inspired crowd welcomes poet Raindog

DOWNEY - If you didn't come to the Downey Arts Coalition's monthly Poetry Reading, this past Thursday, March 15, at Mari's Wine Bar, you missed a great happening.The crowd was small but the inspiration was great. Asked if he preferred a respectful silence between poems, or applause after each, the poet who is known as Raindog said, "I need feedback," which brought instant whistles, claps and cheers. He interacted freely with the audience while reading, answering questions and responding to laughter and comments. Raindog said he always reads better when he is in touch right away with his audience. So he began to read with a head of steam and by the time he finished he was jovial and running on high octane. He knew Charles Bukowski, the San Pedro poet who has become a cult figure. Raindog told us he could write exquisite poetry, but that was the man he knew and called friend and emulated was not the drunken sot he allowed himself to become before he died in 1994. Then Raindog read his own "Mozart at 22, "which he said was received by the editor of a journal to whom he submitted it, as a "great poem, probably the greatest poem of the twentieth century," if Raindog would just omit the first 14 lines of the 28 line poem. Raindog read us his full version, with his usual kind of punch line, "Mozart at 22 /had already lived two thirds of his life...In parts of Eastern Europe/ old men of twenty-two were manning the easy, kid it's always darkest/just before it goes/ completely black." By the end of the evening we had a poet going full throttle with a sympathetic audience along for the ride. Those who bought his book and got his autograph knew they had had an evening with "the master." Next reading, April 19, features Laurie Soriano, a poet from Palos Verdes reading from her book, Catalina. Soriano has been called "a sensualist of the tongue," who crafts poetry that "translates intimate relationships, desires and frailties into compelling poems that keep the fiery self alive."

********** Published: March 22, 2012 - Volume 10 - Issue 49