Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Eve West Bessier and Francisco X. Alarcon—Feb. 4, 2008
After Art Mantecon did his celebratory introduction for Eve West Bessier, she stepped in front of the podium and rattled off a scat, then headed into her first poem, wearing her leopard skin hat [this on a night when Francisco X. Alarcon would later remark that the Guarani word for jaguar was the same word for The Milky Way]. Eve riffed her way through several poems with an exquisite sense of timing and phrasing, much of it inspired by Beat and jazz inflections and rhythms. However, she did read a concrete poem entitled “Bite” that was arranged on the page into the shape of an apple with a bite taken out of it. She also read a few pieces inspired by the painting “Portrait of my Father” by Stephen Kaltenbach in honor of her recently deceased father-in-law. Of course, there was Zoo You, Boogaloo
Francisco X. Alarcon read in his impassioned manner on the subjects of the animals taking refuge in the forest around Iguaçu Falls, the spirits at Macchu Picchu, children’s poems (after admitting he had given up on adults), erotic Latino poetry, and a letter to America imploring her for more tolerance and inclusion. He implored us all to vote for Obama the next day [“Go beyond the drama, vote for Obama”] because he was the only candidate who supported giving drivers licenses to undocumented workers. Alarcon empathized with the plight of today’s immigrant workers from Mexico who could be deported at any time because his own family suffered a similar fate back in the 30’s. His grandfather lost his job in LA back then and had to bring his family back to the small town in Mexico where they were from. Alarcon talked about how it was a disenfranchising experience for his family, and he didn’t want that to happen to a new generation of Mexican immigrants.