24 March 2006

@ The Mercury Lounge

After all-day brain-drain exploring gray matter folds in the virtual filing cabinet drawer of what skills a book publisher should/must possess to "edit books manuscripts," almost all of us brought to Ottawa for the working group meet in the Courtyard Marriott lobby to walk to nearby Domus Café for a pricey and high-quality meal. I had Alberta-raised Black Angus sirloin with a Felline red wine.

At 8:30 I bowwed out, before desert, to scoot through the Byward Market area streets to The Mercury Lounge above some eatery. Climbed the stairs, turned the corner into the lounge to see Stephen Brockwell on stage underneath a small planet-sized, currently still, mirror ball.

I took off my coat and ordered a pint of Steam Whistle. Walked over to tuck my coat under rob mclennan's table of above/ground press stuff. rob asked if I'd be interested in reading a few poems as an instant special surprise guest poet. Brockwell was almost done—on his second-to-last poem. I dug out the one copy of casemate poems with me. Minutes later I was at the mic reading a copyedited "if there is time . . ." from my journal followed by the last three "casemate poems (part two),: 23, 24 & 25."

L-R: Stephen Brockwell, Lea Graham, rob mclennan. Photo by Joe Blades © 2006.
Brockwell reading was a scheduled hook, a bonus for the audience. The real purpose of the "small press action network-ottawa (span-o) presents . . . ." reading was to launch above/ground press chapbooks by Ottawa's Nicholas Lea—light years, and Calendar Girls by Lea Graham currently of Worster, Mass. and visiting Ottawa for an in-person rob experience.

Heard the worst-ever introduction by rob. It went flat then got worse as he failed to extricate himself. But they were good poetry readings all around. Nicholas Lea read sitting down—feeling sickly and not up for standing at the mic. Lea Graham read from her new chap and from a larger work-in-progress, "Crush." Good crowd [but they didn't buy enough chapbooks to pay for rob's beer or past due February rent . . . needs a help fund worse than I do . . . to send money, subscribe to above/ground press].

"Oh, authors! You could write a book about them."
—God, in Emily of New Moon tv series
based upon L.M. Montgomery novels
T: Little Feat, Smooth Sailin'
loc: Rm 353, Courtyard Marriott, Ottawa
temp: 1 C
sound: Emily of New Moon & The Outer Limits

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