In the resonant black-box theater space of DC Arts in Washington, Peter Davis & I read poems (duh) with M. (a.k.a. Magus Magnus), who's promoting his new book from Narrow House, Verb Sap.
Let me be honest here: It's hard to report retrospectively. The readings have started to blur together a bit in my memory. It's Day 10 and we've each read at least that many times, heard each other that many times, heard a dozen other poets as well. All with the buzz of the road in our ears and dulled by too many late nights/early mornings. Not to mention fraying bundles of nerves. This DC performance was 3 days ago and already evaporating. But I can say with absoluteness that M.'s reading was energetic and enjoyable, his book is strikingly designed, and I'm looking forward to spending some time with it once this crazy trip is over. Pete and I had fun with our readings too, and each read a poem by Jennifer L. Knox since she couldn't get back down for this one. Books were miraculously sold and swapped. DC's many friendly faces included Mel Nichols, Cole Swensen, Reb Livingston, Cathy Eisenhower, Leslie Bumstead, and other friends, poets, and former students, along with series hosts Maureen Thorson and Buck Downs. (Buck's also got a new book called Ain't Got All Night, coming very soon!)
Afterwards we did the usual drink-and-dine at the place next door (the name of which I can never remember), where the discussion turned to serious matters like...
There were so many poets, we couldn't choose just one to interview. Also, we were having so much fun we kinda forgot. (Please click those links above to meet them.)
Then Maureen solidified her status as World's Greatest Host by baking us a vegan chocolate cake. And as the afternoon turned into evening, the guys watched football while she and I talked poems in the kitchen. Somebody, I won't say who, polished off the Backpack Gin.
The next morning, triumphantly and in glorious weather, we jogged around the Capitol, to the left (which is to say clockwise), pointing out stray Republicans (evidenced by their fashion choices) and a couple of camera crews. We speculated re: the probability of snipers and hidden spycams. We identified a handful of fruit trees. Then we packed our bags for Baltimore...only to find an empty curbside where the rental car had been!
For a few moments, we panicked. BUT BLOOF CANNOT BE STOPPED. I took several deep breaths and called/emailed/texted Maureen's husband, critic/editor/photographer, Jeffrey Eaton.
I knew Jeff would know what to do. And I quote:
My neighbor said they probably did not tow it. Check around A Street and on 14th between East Capitol and Massachusetts. Basically a block/block-and-a-half radius around where it was.
I made a Google map shaded with the area they usually move cars to. The one thing that might not work in your favor is your out-of-state plates. But check this area out first.
Thus was the spirited-away Camry found. How do they do it? Cranes? Secret governmental master keys? Teleportation? No matter--the hybrid battery had not been engaged (so it started--oh joyous bonus!) and we piled in, headed for I-95, pretty soon laughing at the Mystery of the Disappearing Vehicle, hoping to have a less eventful afternoon.