Just Buffalo- Big Night!

Just Buffalo
Big Night Menu
November 12, 2009

Buffalo was cold but Mike Kelleher took excellent care of us.

Just Buffalo @ WNYBAC Western New York Book Arts Center 468 Washington St. @ Mohawk Place 2nd Floor Buffalo, NY 14203 http://www.justbuffalo.org/

The jazz trio, Other Side, with Kelly Bucheger on sax, John Werick on bass, and Doug Dreishpoon on drums was scheduled to open for us and provide some complimentary musical entertainment but it took only five minutes of talk with Doug Dresishpoon to decide we wanted to play together.

The ROCKPILE tradition of collaboration went into full tilt.

Just Buffalo Big Night from ROCKPILE on Vimeo.

Terri was great, great, great. Her second time reading with musicians, now she was really having fun. “Layovers”, her poem of snapshots from air terminals in the USA totally had me on the edge of my seat. It was composed in short shots, explosions, impressions, that allowed for lots of space between shots. It moved. And David was a proud papa. Teaching his kid to swing!

Then I stepped up and had a go with The Other Side. These guys know how to have fun. I read a few pieces that I worked with before but because I trusted the band and the atmosphere of the room tried a new one. “Be More Dying” is a poem that about Philip Whalen and the hospice/zen/health care reality I thought was too real, too much reality for a music collaboration but I guess because of it’s dark comedy, drama aspect it came off fine.

Then we broke for a magic buffet prepared by chef Geoffrey Gatza.

Snacks & Breads

Rice Crackers Rounds
Spicy Indian Bhel Mix
Persian Flat Bread & Roast Garlic

It’s simple. All readings should include great food, lots of booze and music. Don’t tire me out with overheady intellectual considerations and hypothetical expositions. Sometimes I want more than hermetic contemplation, sometimes I want poetry to make me want to get up dance. Ever since the New Orleans ROCKPILE Dirty Dozen performance, when people got up to dance, while David performed “Red Shoes” , oh that sousaphone had a groove! It has been my passion to see poetry happen this way again. “Gotta Dance!”


Roast Autumnal Vegetables With Rosemary And Thyme
Curried Potato Salad
Golden Beets, Caramelized Fennel And Leeks
Pear Tomatoes, Yellow Peppers And Orzo, Lemon Garlic Vinaigrette
Carrots, Parsnips And Chipolini Onions With Pickled Ginger

Good food (I went back for seconds) and music and good conversation…

I met Dave Hadbawnik for the first time in person. He’s working on a feature on Diane diPrima for Big Bridge online. And James Maynard from The Poetry Collection was a delight to talk to. I made sure he sat down with David and got a chance to chew the fat about his project on Robert Duncan. Jonathan Welch, proprietor of Talking Leaves, was there selling books, and keeping poetry alive.

Fruits of the Season

Asian Pears And Cranberries California Tart
New York State Macoun Apple And Bosc Pear Crisp
Watermelon Squares And Pomegranate In Spice Syrup

The Other Side played for a little while and then David took the collaboration to another place. David worked with some familiar pieces but when he got to the Lester Young selection the band just never started playing. The bass player tested a few notes but backed off. As far as The Other Side was concerned this was a solo piece.

The show was a great success. But David got so wrapped up in conversation he forgot to eat.


Chocolate And Blonde Pizzelles
Pineapple And Guava Wafers
An Assortment Of Fancy Biscotti
Colorful Gumballs And Jaw-Breakers

So Mike Kelleher, Terri and David and I headed over to Pano’s for a little fuel.

As soon as we walked into Pano’s I crashed. David ordered a glass of wine. Terri ordered a beer. I had a club soda. Mike Kelleher was drinking decaf. The main topic of conversation was alcoholism. Who does, who doesn’t, the do’s and don’ts. It was 2 am. I am a non-drinker, what’s there to talk about. Then someone mentioned some movie, some philosopher who fried eggs on some art critics ass. All I could think of was the movie Brazil, and pick at Terri’s falafel sandwich. Someone rescue me quick, David just ordered another glass of wine and Terri another beer. We had to get up early the next day and drive to Toronto and I wasn’t going to skip Niagara Falls. It’s 2 am, I’m tired. I’d never been to Niagara Falls. Please everybody, don’t hold it against me but I just have to go to sleep. I’m tired, I’m tired. “Everybody’s tired,” says David. “Yeah,” I replied, “If you’re so tired then why don’t you go to sleep already.”

I had an awesome time in Buffalo, I want to go back soon, but I am very tired.–MR


  1. Michael says:

    Thanks Marina, I did finally sleep. Keep the poem rolling. I want to publish more of it here!

  2. Marina Lazzara says:

    Sleep well, Michael. Here’s the last part to a longish poem I’m working on. Kind of a night time piece….

    Part 6.

    Take a bomb to the moon, yours not mine.
    Search water, condo credit, proper views.

    Good to be obscure, upscale,
    just vibing out
    visual success.

    I’m not one affording a moon
    vulnerable to be sighted as escape.

    our shared body water body

    constellation’s imprisoned coquette.


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