Thursday, July 19, 2012

Aimless Reading: The S's Part 36.2 (Rod Smith)

Protective Immediacy
Smith, Rod
Protective Immediacy

I am not sure about this one. If I had to guess, and that is what I am doing here, I'd say that I bought it at Talking Leaves Books in 1997 or 8 when Rod and Heather Fuller read at the Wednesdays @ 4 Plus series. But that is only a guess.

Well, today is the last day for Rod Smith. I am sad to see Rod go. I have found his presence on the blog particularly fruitful. Rod's one of those poets that I always hate to say goodbye to after I see him. I think the last time was in Washington. I could be wrong about that. He may have been in Buffalo once since then. In fact I am pretty sure he was there this past spring. Yes, he was.

We went to Allen St. Hardware and sat at the foremost table in front of the window. Kaplan Harris was there and Divya Victor and several current poetics students. I remember that every few minutes Rod and everyone else would stand up and head outside for a smoke, leaving the two non-smokers, Kaplan and myself, alone at the table together. It was during one of these smoke breaks that Kaplan leaned over and told me he was getting divorced.

I saw Rod about a year before that in DC. I had a job interview at the Library of Congress. It took place late in the day -- at five o'clock or so. I stayed in the apartment of Cathy Eisenhower and Ken Jacobs. The two of them went off to work during the day, so I decided to walk down to Bridge St. Books to visit Rod fairly early in the morning. I almost got hit by a passing caravan of black SUVs with smoked glass coming out of the parking lot of a fancy hotel near the store.

Anyhow, Rod took me to the deli next door for coffee and a bagel, then we sat at the front counter chatting over coffee, exiting now and again into the January chill so Rod could smoke. At one point, apropos of nothing I'd said in the moment, he said, I've got one of those anthologies. I said, Which one? He said. Here Comes Everybody. He'd read my blog post about having one of the only extant copies of that book, whose publication had been ceased by a couple of poets that did not want their work published in it. I remember I bought a copy of a book of poems by Japanese poet Hiromi Ito.

Turned out I didn't get that job, and I was kind of sad because I would have liked to have been able to hang out at the bookstore with Rod more often.

from Protective Immediacy

Rick.

Dice and then try
The character developed a sincere expression
"In life" as more motley arranged the room
recedes          Some attempt at singularity
They say grandiose about a bank guarontee
If seems slightly distracted it's because
The birds lost again

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