Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Aimless Reading: The T's, Part 8 (David Trinidad)

Plasticville
Trinidad, David
Plasticville

I think this was sent by the author, but I am not certain. We brought David to read at Just Buffalo sometime in the late nineties or early aughts. This book was published in 2000. It's possible he sent it to me in anticipation of his reading. It's also possible he sent it afterwards. It's also possible that I bought it separately.

Anyhow, that was one of the most embarrassing readings of my career at Just Buffalo. Not because of David, who was sweet and funny and a pleasure to entertain, but because we so utterly failed to get an audience for his reading. I had read David's work while taking a workshop with Elaine Equi in New York and thought that his campy humor and clever uses of traditional form would please an audience.  Unfortunately, I never got to find out.

At the time, the Just Buffalo reading series was called Writers at Work. It retained the format of my predecessor, which meant that the readings took place on Sunday afternoons, often in the middle of a Buffalo Bills game. I think this format came about as a way to get cheap airfares by having the writer stay over on a Saturday night. They'd fly in, have dinner, read on Sunday, visit schools on Monday, then fly out Monday afternoon. The format had run its course. Fewer and fewer people were coming out to these Sunday afternoon affairs, but we hadn't changed the format.

Not a single person showed up. The only people there were myself, Mary van Voorst, who recorded the readings for her radio program, and Ed Taylor, then the director of JB. It was truly embarrassing. We asked David to read for us and he obliged and gave a lovely reading, but we all felt terrible afterwards.

I have presided over readings with say, one, two or three audience members, but that was the only time in my 14 years of putting together readings that no one showed up. I cringe just thinking about it. Sorry, David!

from Plasticville

Chatty Cathy Villanelle

When you grow up, what will you do?
Please come to my tea party.

I'm Chatty Cathy. Who are you?

Let's take a trip to the zoo.
Tee-hee, tee-hee, tee-hee. You're silly!
When you grow up, what will you do?

Pme plus one equals two.

It's fun to learn ABC's.
I'm Chatty Cathy. Who are you?

Please help me tie my shoe.

Can you come and play with me?
When you grow up, wat will you do?

The rooster says, cock-a-doodle-doo.
Please read me a bedtime story.
I'm Chatty Cathy. Who are you?

Our flag is red, white and blue.

Let's makebelieve you're Mommy.
When you grow up, what will you do?
I'm Chatty Cathy. Who are you?


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