Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Aimless Reading: The G's, Part 2.5 (Geoffrey Gatza)

Housecat Kung Fu
Originally uploaded by Michael_Kelleher
Gatza, Geoffrey
Housecat Kung Fu:
Strange Poems
For Wild Children

Given to me by the author. Not inscribed.

25 Random Memories of Geoffrey Gatza

1. My first meeting with Geoff at a poetry reading at Rust Belt Books. He wore a suit and tie and an overcoat and handed me his card and a CD-ROM full of his work. I thought he was a businessman.

2. Moving from Ashland Avenue to our first house in Black Rock. I had recruited an army of people to help us move. Geoff, who I did not know very well, offered to borrow his girlfriend's truck to help us move.

3. Geoff offering to publish my first book

4. Geoff publishing my first book.

5. Geoff offering to publish my second book.

6. Geoff publishing my second book.

7. Discussing with Geoff a poem he had written about helping me move, and which he had dedicated to me, whose conclusion I did not understand.

8. Geoff greeting my cat, "Hello, Miaomiao."

9. Geoff saying, "Hurray," instead of saying nothing.

10. Geoff finishing a story or bridging from one thought to another by saying, "Blah-did-dee-blah."

11. Giving Geoff a secret gift from Michael Rothenberg and David Meltzer and Terri Carrion which they could not carry across the border.

12. An appetizer Geoff once served of mangoes in chili oil served on white porcelain spoons all lined up in a row across the surface of a long, white, square porcelain plate.

13. Baked alaska.

14. Watching Geoff cook a thanksgiving Turkey in our semi-functional kitchen, which at the time had open walls with exposed pipes and wires and offered little shelter from the cold other than the warmth exuding from the stove and the chef.

15. Driving with Lori and Geoff and Donna to John Ashbery's 80th birthday party outside Rochester.

16. Driving with Lori and Geoff and Donna to Chimney Bluffs outside Rochester and eating a picnic wandering through the woods and along the bluffs and then the beach and then driving to Sodus point and on the way running into Ashbery Farms, John's father's orchard, and stopping to take a photo and then taking a tour of the Sodus point lighthouse and climbing up the narrow, vertiginous, spiral stair to the top to look out over Lake ONtario.

17. Geoff printing and giving me a large copy of the photo of the sign from Ashbery Farms.

18. Getting a Fund For Poetry grant in the mail the same day as Geoff did.

19. Driving with Geoff and Lori and Donna to Fort NIagara for a re-enactment of a French-Indian War battle and eating a delicious barbecue sandwich that we didn't have to pay for because Geoff knew the caterer.

20. Wandering around the craft fair outside the fort looking for a pipe for Geoff.

21. Just yesterday, Geoff offering to publish portions of this blog in book form.

22. Watching in horror as a man climbed on stage in the middle of a reading by Amiri Baraka, sat down at a piano and pretended he was going to play, then feeling Geoff's presence at my back and hearing him ask, "You want me to go get him?"

23. Geoff volunteering for just about every single Just Buffalo event.

24. Bowls and bowls of candy and sweets ever-present on tabletops in Geoff's apartment. How I can never seem to resist eating from them, handful after handful.

25. The phrase, "A Moveable Feast," and how it has to have been meant for Geoff.

from Housecat Kung Fu

My Cat Blaze

I want to be a potato purring, older
a cat of kindness, beauty
diversity and choice

a crouching luminous intelligence
lingering at home after work,
living summer nights watching

giraffes, understanding our living
fears, living in spectacles that surprise

wild fences are not like balloons
together, trumpeting feet resound

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