So on Friday night, Diane and I drove down to Columbus to visit Joanna, a friend of ours from college (and venerable author of the blog Poetry Without Pity). Joanna was hosting the Haiku Death Match, a poetry slam, at the Kerouac Kafe.
I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve never been a poetry slam. (Queue David Anderson, former Hiram College English professor, saying in his pseudo British accent, “Heidi… you’re an English major and you don’t like pooooetry.” I was admonished in American Lit class for admitting that I didn’t understand a poem because I wasn’t very good at interpreting poetry.) This was a great slam to attend as a virgin for haiku is short and sweet–just 17 syllables. You might think the short length makes it easy to write haikus. It isn’t actually. Trying summarize a larger idea (for all ideas start off large) into a few short syllables is truly an act of creativity. Especially for someone like me who does not know the definition of brevity when it comes to writing (even my poetry is long-winded). The poets participating in the slam were really creative with their use of this–as Joanna kept reiterating–ancient, sacred art form.
The guy who won was hilarious. He didn’t even try to make his haikus have a real point or say anything deep. Someone compared his haiku to those Jack Handy segments from 1990s Saturday Night Live episodes. I used to love those. It’s easy to get me to giggle.
The “headliner” poet was a man named Logic who was apparently a national legend of haiku. He was quite creative. He especially got me rolling with a set of two haikus which he titled “To the lady in Pennsylvania who claimed she was beat up by Obama supporters who had carved a B on her cheek and really pissed me off.” Of course, the haiku was much shorter, but hey, the title made it all the better. Logic also got the audience charged up right before the death match with a series of “battle haiku.” I think I learned that the spoken word is definitely mightier than the sword!
I got inspired to write some haiku of my own and I promised Joanna that I would write an epic series of haiku in honor of the last half season of Battlestar Galactica. Having watched the first episode on Sunday afternoon, I found my muse, inspired to write the following haikus:
The gods bless poor Dee
Who took her life with a gun
Mourning old Earth’s fate.
Tyrol found his home;
Anders played guitar; Tigh swam;
Past lives remembered.
Happy day, Starbuck!
Hybrid prophecies of doom
Made Leoban run.
Apollo, who are
you? Caught between two worlds–old
and new. Lost your way.
Diane was also inspired on the spot to write two haikus about her “Thelma and Louise” experience in college, where she was pulled over and, I think, nearly arrested for speeding 90mph on a highway and conveniently not seeing the cop car following her with flashing lights for several miles. You’ll have to ask her for the details of that “adventure”–or maybe she’ll grace my blog with the haiku–because I wasn’t there. Louise, in this case, was our friend Michelle. Diane performed her haiku during the open mike portion of the show and I was glad to hear the peels of laughter and claps of pleasure that followed her performance. Great job, Diane! Now you need to write some haiku about the time you got caught in the Flats for underage drinking one hour before your 21st birthday! ;) (I was there for that one!)
Kafe Kerouac was really cool. All the drinks were named after writers. I had a Franz Kafka, which, ironically was a vanilla peppermint espresso. Funny, but when I read The Metamorphesis in high school, it didn’t strike me as very peppermint. Existentialism is hardly a peppermint experience. I instinctively wanted to order the Kurt Vonnegut, but it had raspberry in it, which if a flavor I’m not very fond of. In addition to coffee, KK also sold alcohol. Rock on! I didn’t order any, but it was cool to have both the evils of caffeine and alcohol with which to wash down the poetry.
KK also sold books. So, of course, I ended up buying something–Douglas Coupland’s Microserfs. It was a hardback for only $9.50. I couldn’t resist. I promise not to read the book until the spring, though, since we all know Coupland has a negative effect on me.
After the slam, Joanna and her sister Erin, a celebrity from Joanna’s blog, and Diane and I all went out to dinner at a restaurant called The Blue Danube. Joanna, Erin, and I bored Diane with our discussion of the final Cylon and other Battlestar Galactica plots, and then the conversation shifted to my lack of gay-dar (even in the land of fictional characters). We caught up on what we’ve all been doing lately–details not divulged on our blogs, except Diane who had more details to share because she doesn’t have a blog (*hint, hint*).
We were up pretty late, just like our Hiram years, without the obligatory run to Taco Bell. But it felt really good to hang out again with my sisters in the Hiram Experience. We don’t need no stinking sorority to feel solidarity or sisterhood, sucka!
The next morning, we had brunch at a great cafe called First Watch. I had this wonderful strawberry and banana crepe with yogurt and granola sprinkled on top. It was so good I had trouble believing it was really on the healthy portion of the menu. After brunch, we spent a few hours ogling books at an independent book store called The Book Loft. That’s what we Hiram girls do for fun–window shop for books. I didn’t buy anymore books, but I did pick up a “Vineyards of the World” 2009 calendar which was on sale for half price. Hiram girls like a good bargin, too!
All the frigid wintry weather made us crave for a little bit of summer so Joanna took us to the Franklin Conservatory where we thawed out in the rain forest and high dessert displays. We ran quickly through the alpine room as we had more than enough alpine outside.
I took some pictures at the conservatory. Shown below is a funky glass sculpture in the tropical room. I think this is what I look like in my Martian form.
This display was called “Sticky Buns” and was apparently a part a series of artistic uses of furniture with horticulture. Personally, I think this chair would be great to have in your home if you are into acupuncture.
While admiring some Macaws, we noticed this familiar Ohio bird hanging around. I remarked that it was just like an Ohio bird–one particularly known for its appearances in winter time–to know how to take advantage of warm shelter when the climate turns subzero. We Ohioans ain’t stupid! This little guy was taking his own vacation in Florida.
As a side note, I see these guys all the time at the bird feeders in my parents’ wooded backyard and not just in the winter. When you stop to look for them, they are quite in abundance. I guess that’s why they are the state bird.
Aw, look, it’s Di and Joanna by waterfall in the rain forest room. It even looks like there is some sunlight! Are they glowing? See what a little green and warmth can do?
The trip to conservatory was definitely a refreshing break from the snow and cold. It was nice to actually see Columbus from an insider’s view. In that aforementioned software company for which I used to work as a trainer, I did have a month stint at the Franklin County courthouse, training employees with my former boss. But I never really visited downtown Columbus much and I stayed at a hotel in Hilliard during that experience. So it was kind of cool to get a sense of our state’s capital, which seems to be a bit of a happening place (whoddathunk?). Enough time has passed since the bowl game Ohio State–eh-hem, excuse me The Ohio State University, great emphasis on the “The”–lost so I didn’t really encounter any rabid fans on the streets. I guess I’m going to have to make the trip down again sometime. And I don’t mean just for TOSRV.
Speaking of TOSRV, on our way to brunch Saturday morning, I was bombarded with pleasant and painful memories of TOSRV as we passed the Hyatt on Capitol Square where TOSRV begins and ends. As I looked at the snow lining the streets, I reminded myself that in five short months, I’d be starting the mighty TOSRV from that very spot, hopefully in warmth and sunlight, though probably not. Though it was a “tropical” 20 degrees on Saturday, I know that I had no desire to take off for 105 miles to Portsmouth at that particular moment. I told myself that at least I knew the weather in May would be better than it was that moment. I hope.
Well, I know it’s Inauguration Day today. In a few short hours, Barack Obama will become our 44th president and, as you know, I couldn’t be more excited. I plan to listen on the NPR web streaming. I am a little put off at the amount of partying that accompanies these inaugurations. Wasn’t Garfield or someone sworn in hurriedly from his home during a dire moment? I wonder what the founding fathers would say to all this pomp and circumstance. But, oh well, I guess we 21st century folks just enjoy blowing a lot of money on frivolous celebrations… I’m not saying this to put down Obama. I know this sort of circus accompanies all swearing in ceremonies these days. I generally think it’s kind of stupid, but whatever. I’m also the girl who hates on baby and bridal showers, so I guess I really am in no position to comment.
That said, I do recognize the historical implications of this moment. It gives me hope that we’ve moved forward as a society when an African American man has been elected to president. Maybe we’re not as backward as my doom-and-gloom view always screams. Call me Chicken Little. The sky is falling, but maybe this time it’s a good thing.