[Lux Lounge at 666 South Avenue, Photo: David Kramer, 9/20/21, see Impromptu poetry slam at Lux Lounge]
Today, Bill Pruitt offers his sixth magazine birthday poem. To mark the sixth anniversary, I visited Lux Lounge at 666 South Avenue.Lux is an especially appropriate location because there 6 years ago, Talker held an impromptu poetry slam. Bill missed the slam, but has been slamming us with poems on baseball, elections, life and — like clockwork — Talker of the Town.
Happy birthday, Talker. By the way who are you?
There’s a secret here. Maybe more than one.
You may think it a given Talker is David Kramer.
Or is Talker the Person who David Kramer gets to talk?
Which would be just about anybody he finds in his path.
Because David Kramer is interested in everything.
Which brings us to the second secret. Peruse the masthead.
Sports Education Cultural Life Social Issues Politics History
Human Interest Human Interest Human Interest Human Interest ¹
What if all these are the same? What if all these bleed into each other?
Because it sure feels like that’s what Talker makes them do
Because Michael J. Nighan’s piece on Hawthorne’s travels
During the cholera pandemic of 1832 is about life and death,
In addition to history and literature, and pandemic dirty tricks, or what about
Pittsburgh’s Team of All Brothers, a story which seems to have
No local relevance except for David Kramer’s baseball card collection
And the ineluctable circumstance that Blacks live among us in Rochester and
There is still— fifty years after an all-Black lineup took the field
For the Pirates— a racial distinction whites make and force the Blacks
To make as well— which affects Black people’s quality of life— sometimes
Even whether or not they’re allowed to keep their lives—so it matters here.
There’s wise advice from Miss T ² about complex relationships and how
To finesse them, what does that guy who keeps changing his act really mean?
And what are those people doing clearing brush on the Highland Crossing trail,
This first day of spring? The leader will tell you, and it’s not just for the brush.
There’s always more than what you see, there’s always an angle,
Never more prescient than Nighan’s warning from May of last year
(Remember May of last year, when the former guy was President?)
That the former guy would not concede, no matter what the results were,
Because we were listening to one who made believe he always got what he wanted,
And we let him jabber and give him a platform so he can keep the body politic
Split, keep enough of the population in doubt and unvaccinated and unasked,
Determined to make sure the pandemic that undid the Republicans will bring
The rest of the country to its knees. and Nighan tells it straight, unlike others
Who thought that after the election we wouldn’t have donald to blame anymore,
But he’s still with us. I’m glad Talker is too, who is among us,
who is the writer, the traveler, the good friend of Melville,
Who is the woman clearing brush to heal herself, who are
The people who keep paying with their lives for centuries,
But insist on getting payback when they take the field.
Talker warns, explains, counsels, comforts, Talker reveals.
Talker is among us. Who is Talker. Maybe it’s you.
— Bill Pruitt, Rochester, NY 9/27/21
¹ Bill rightly delineates the major Talker categories. Another category, Talker of the Town, does not appear on the masthead, but is found at the bottom of the home page. This meta category is for stories about Talker and Talkers and the one in which I placed “Human News.” But, of course, as Bill’s poetics prove, I am not Talker. It may be Bill; it may be you.
² As seen in Miss and Ms. T go Tête-à-têt, Miss T has changed her appellation to Ms. T.