I have just returned from Taos, New Mexico, where I was invited to read at the Jazz & Poetry event produced by the Taos Bebop Jazz Society and Analog Eric and Judy Katzman. I had first gone to Taos in 2000 for the Taos Poetry Circus, produced by Peter Rabbit, Anne McNaughton and Amalio Madueño, and felt immediately at ease. In my short sleeve shirt, shorts, sandals and straw hat my first year someone asked me: “How long have you been coming here?” (The Circus happened from 1982-2002.) I told them it was my first time and they said: “You fit right in.” I did, with the exception of the altitude and its affects on my tendency to be dehydrated, but I went the next two years much to the chagrin of my oldest daughter Rebecca, as the event culminated in the Heavyweight Chapionship Poetry Bout which was the night before Father’s Day each year, so I was AWOL in Slaughter.
So I was accompanied this year by Bhakti Watts and we were hosted by Amalio, who may be the most under-rated poet in the U.S. He was on the bill at the Taos Mesa Brewing Company along with Annie, the Greg Abate Quartet (which ably backed the poets who read) and Lady Laurie Buckley, the daughter of the infamous Lord Buckley and Lee Boeck, the emcee, who had Lord Buckley’s old hipster rap down pat. I read First, Breath (For Bud and Monk), some American Sentences and a poem tribute to Frank Morgan, all of which were well-received by the audience that braved an April 16 snowstorm to attend!
Some photos of the trip: