By Ella Longpre
On Friday, September 27, the Jack Kerouac School’s chapter of the global event, 100 Thousand Poets for Change, saw a low-lit room of writers, performers, and artists, gather together to share their work, to take chances, and to make a lot of noise supporting each other.
Thank you to Jaclyn Hawkins for organizing the reading, for hosting, for emceeing, for creating a space of welcome and intimacy for all of the poets and performers who courageously read/performed, and for the participants who courageously abstained from performing.
Thank you to Chris Kepple, for reading to us from your notebook, and for sharing Frank Stanford’s work.
Thank you to Katie Dyer, for your quiet valediction and conjuring, for the colorful scarves of your rhythmic back-up dancers.
Thank you to Reed Bye, for reading one more poem after asking, “if that’s OK?”
Thank you to Jason Burks, for sharing your post-flood experience, and for the lake that’s a heart.
Thank you, Amy Lukau, for giving us, “a man does not go on four legs in the morning.”
Thank you, Kyle Pivarnik, for the song about the clarity of water.
Thank you, Heather Jeanne VandeRiet, for insisting both “fuck this, it’s mine, not yours,” and “emerge. it’s time. it is time.”
Thank you, Ethan, for pausing, for telling us “I can wait.” For pausing again.
Thank you, Hannah Kezema, for your meditation on water, for “emergency—stay on your island.”
Thank you, Matt Pincus, for giving us the image “stone-sexy in nightshade.”
Thank you, Karthik Narasimhan, for teaching us “how Red Bull ingredients fight with each other in an office.”
Thank you to the participant who told us “I am not a liar. I do fibers.”
Thank you, Brooke, for suggesting “dark is becoming.”
Thank you, Ariella Ruth, for the image of “linoleum. hard wood. plate glass over the Grand Canyon.”
Thank you, Carla, for “I am sometimes nurtured to become satisfied, lest my tears become powder.”
Thank you, Toni, for reminding us “shed your weight of what you think you are, of what you think I am.”
Thank you, all, for listening to me sing, “the tip of this mountain will be an island,” on repeat.
Thank you, Michelle Naka Pierce, for incanting “the water the water the water the body the water.”
Thank you, Natural! for reminding us, “the theory of intersectionality is both real, and wrong.”
Thank you, Matt Clifford, for telling us about “a tee-shirt Christmas, like Grandpa talked about when he read science fiction.”
Thank you, Janelle Fine, for delightfully transgressive statement “the water isn’t clean—but I want to.”
Thank you, again, Jaclyn, for giving us “the sound of a church bell under water.”
Thank you, Domingo David Canizales III, for the line in “La Petite Mort,” your poem: “you thought I died, only a little, I said.”
And thank you, Shawn McDaniel, for asking, “industrialism’s all about me, do I take a piece?”
Ella Longpre is the author of the chapbook, The Odor of the Hoax Was Gone (Monkey Puzzle 2013). She is a writer and musician, currently living in Boulder, Colorado, and practicing gratitude daily.