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Thursday, July 5, 2007

Hookahs and Poetry: Bad mix?

Decided to go to Natura, a small coffee house near the University of Central Florida in Orlando on Thursday night. This is a very cute place and quite possibly the only place in the South that serves my tea, Yerba Mate! Long before energy drinks were invented by westerners, the Indigenous folk in the Amazon had cultivated and perfected this tonic for energy, the prevention of disease, and general health...but I digress. Poets have to sign up early in the day for Natura because it is a popular place. Not knowing this, I got stuck with the only slot left for people who call up the night of the gig in search of a open mic slot: 8:15.

At 8:15 Natura is full of disgruntled 20 year old boys smoking hookahs filled with flavored tobacco. They are young, they are surly, they are without dates, and they are coming as close to getting high as they legally can given their age and various state and federal laws. Maybe not the best crowd for poetry?

Turns out Natura does not get hoppin til 9 or so. Who knew? Apparently all the Indie Musicians, poets, artists, alternative, progressive t-shirt wearing, and healthy types in Orlando. Standing room only. Some good music. Too bad my spot was over by then.

Earlier in the evening, since it was not clear that my audience was more than vaguely aware there was even a stage in there muchless a performance going on, I read a really long poem, Names, which talks explicitly about the crimes white Floridians committed against Native Americans (Seminoles) in Florida. I figured I had nothing to lose.
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