Wednesday, November 14, 2007
QUINTON DUVAL and LISA DOMINGUEZ ABRAHAM—Nov. 12, 2007
Quinton Duval and Lisa Dominguez Abraham appeared before a packed crowd at the Sacramento Poetry Center that saw several attendees pulling their camping chairs, still there from the previous weekend’s soccer game, out of their trunks in order to get a seat.
Quinton Duval mentioned that he was currently a member of a writing group that had all female members, and he announced that it was the first time he had experienced such a group dynamic since he was once in an all-girl jug band. He jokingly said that he would be reading some pieces from that period in his life.
From his most recent book, Joe’s Rain, he read “Humble Pie,” “Swan,” “Weep,” “Into The Shining Sea,” and “Joe’s Rain.”
Within this set he drew attention to his “lucky postcard from William Wordsworth’s grave” that served as a bookmark. He said he got the idea from John Hawkes, whom Duval had escorted many years before during graduate school. The picture Hawkes kept as talisman was of Faulkner in red riding gear.
He then read a poem that was influenced by his mother who lives in western North Carolina. In the piece he imagined his mother at the stool in her kitchen where she does everything from peeling carrots to talking on the telephone. That image endured through the poem.
Then Duval read some recent poems that will be coming out in the spring from Kathy Kieth’s Rattlesnake Press. There was “Time’s Arrow,” “The Fabulous Future,” “Among Summer Pines,” “Old Friend,” and “Morning Tea.”
Lisa Dominguez Abraham then took to the mic. She read from her new chapbook collection entitled Low Notes. However, the first pieces she read were not from Low Notes. The initial piece was dedicated to the iconic song “Devil with a Blue Dress.” Then she read “Bentley’s Lingerie and Dance Supply,” “Toshiko Kikazu’s Close-Mouthed Vase,” “Christmas Concert.” Then she read from Low Notes: “Rainmakers,” a poem in the voice of a jellyfish, and “On Seeing a Family Cemetery.”
A poem made from lines culled from the evening.
We Descend from Refugees
Into the sea everything goes.
We descend from refugees. Their refrains fitted with wings.
How many songs have you known with pilgrim inside?
Notes chosen over 300 years ago.
Let end note fade into prayer.
I practice every day being still,
a bird in the alluvial scatter.
Do you feel time’s arrow working itself out the other side of you too?
We live a simple life among summer pines.
Random images help keep me upright in the black squeeze:
women anxious to pee and get back up there
the hang of scrotum
(the measurable is where Mrs. Bentley will begin)
that bowl full of blue speckled eggs
that big Q in Bar-B-Q.
Memory is my crew.
Time is different for all of us solitary travelers.
We let the syrup of the day thicken.
Love survives in neon water as well as anything else.
Bury us all on water.
Tell them to bring rope and a sheet of plywood.