Monday, October 09, 2006
RICHARD BEBAN Oct. 9 2006
Richard Beban headed out on the road from LA and arrived at HQ on Monday evening. Voyaging was still on his mind. The first poem he read was called “The Voyage” and it was dedicated to Li Po in which Li Po, “He knew the river merged with something grander.”
The second poem picked up the voyages theme also. It referred to the homonym via the word tao (the way) and dhow (a boat in southeast Asia). In the poem Beban confessed,
All problems occur in boats and I am not a swimmer.
Beban then related that he had spent a night or two in a Super 8 Motel and lamented the fact that in the drawer where there should have been a condom somebody stashed a Bible.
Beban read a poem about Noah and a poem where Noah had trouble naming the things that departed from the ark. Beban mused that perhaps if there had been more women in on the naming, then we would have had more interesting names for animals.
He read "Mental Block" from Young Girl Eating a Bird
Then he dedicated a poem to the parents of a young child named Isabella who was punctuating the reading with shrieks of delight every time Beban said the word “joy” The poem/song was deidicated to children who don’t have parents who look out for them. It was entitled “Canaries.”
He read “Fooling a Living” about his father in which Beban offered that his father was “changing into a stranger. . . something he perfected when I was a kid.”
He read another poem about boyhood and his father entitled “The Impressionable Boy on the Bridge;” then he read a poem for his mother entitled “For My Mother the Movie Lover in Intensive Care” where he wished his “magical childhood myths godspeed.”
Beban then waxed nostalgic about how all the old Lucky’s had been replaced by Albertson’s (a very unpoetic name to be sure). The poem about the old Lucky’s was called “Customer Satisfaction.” In it he stalked about the smoothest riding grocery carts, how carts were like small cages, how he danced with one like it was a partner he had long desired. The cart contained morning oatmeal, fat free turkey, and when it was time for him to part, he wondered if that was all there was between them. The speaker noted that the place where he once was lucky, and he set it free.
Beban read a series of love poems. One was a triolet, a mash note to Medusa. Another one was “Dinner and Conversation, Athens” where the speaker tells of the spilled guts of fish. The fish cleaners are talking of ex-lovers. At the end the speaker notes that the old lovers are picked clean as the fine bones
A love poem was dedicated to his wife, Kaaren Kitchell. Beban held an image of her (waving goodbye as he left on his tour). The poem was called “Aubade,” and in it Beban recalled the sight of her “in her leopard skin silk pajamas.”
the last poem of the evening was a delightful little exercise given to Beban by Richard Garcia at Antioch College in LA. Garcia had given his students a series of 1000-year-old Old English words, but he had not given them the meanings. They were then supposed to create a poem using those words (though their usage of the words was based mainly on sound). So he wrote the poem he read in a sort of Jabberwocky style. The poem was entitled “Wifthing” (after one of the words from Garcia). Beban was sure that this would have some relevance to wife. The subject matter was a rather spicy love poem. Only after he had finished the poem did Garcia reveal that “wifthing” really meant something like “side woman.”