Went to tonight's memorial reading for Artie Gold at The Word bookstore here in Montreal -- even though, as I've said, I didn't know him. I'm convinced by people's testimonies that he would have been a great guy to know. At least I got to know about the man from those who did. There were at least 50 people crowded into the little shop, many of them standing, including moi; when the entrance way got packed as a rush-hour bus, the owner had to turn people away at the door. A lot of familiar faces from the Montreal Anglo poetry scene: Endre Farkas, Stephen Morrissey, and Carolyn Zonailo, who helped put on the event, along with others from his inner circle; Robyn Sarah, Carolyn Marie Souaid, Elizabeth Robert. George Bowering, a personal friend of Art's, was also there and talked a bit about him. Like another Glenn Gould, Art, it seems, would call friends up in the wee hours and regale them with wildly eclectic monologues -- one said something to the effect that he was the only person he knew who could string together bubblegum wrappers, Picasso's Guernica, Henri Bergson's theory of mind and quasars all in one sentence. His poetry certainly leaps and crackles with that kind of free-ranging oddness. Before the evening was through, there was an open mike and I got to read this poem. (I hadn't expected to read, but I was prepared.) Although the owner, out of decorum, didn't make a big point of it, there were a fair number of Artie Gold books on display; this was a chance to stock up. I picked up before Romantic Words and his selected, The Beautiful Chemical Waltz, reasonably priced at $10 each. Interesting memorabilia on the walls: letters, photos, eviction notices, an elementary school report card saying if he only applied himself, he could do well, and he really should work on his synonyms and homonyms. Here's a link to a memorial piece by Stephen Morrissey with a recent photo. And here's a quote of an AG poem before I'm done. I transcribe for the pure joy of it:
Sun filters through my window
velvet like bat's bellies the shadow it casts
flutter about my room. I share the unrest
the sun is doomed with; the movement
sunup sundown moving around; ground sky ground
its only comfort the habit of its orbit.
We are orbs whatever we do is behaviour
the truth of our moment is too predictable
yet I delight in the sun. it is monumental
in the sky with certainty rising, setting
looking to the greater cycle, there is colour,
a yellow angel pedals about the world.