It wasn't even a “Poetry Slam”, from what I gather, just the regular Thursday night session of poets reciting.
But the bare emotions displayed in verse have to be right up there with conversations overheard in a therapist's or psychologist's study.
Moving, raw, personal emotions aired in public for any casual spectator to tune in to.
Stories of infidelities and thwarted longings. Of pride and praise for a family raised and hopes dashed. Love crushed under a constant stream of abuse and scorn piled on the prime breadwinner of the family by an ambitious daughter and dissatisfied wife.
Stuff I'd normally only hear from close friends – he's or she's – when in their cups and inhibitions were set free by booze or dope. I'd warrant, more confessions are spilled in a bar than are heard by occupants of cubicles in houses of worship.
When I was finally dragged to a poet's night out, as a morale-boosting escort to a frequent recital cop-out, I was expecting "moons" and "Junes", butterflies and puppy dogs, puffy white clouds pinned on blue skies, rising sun rays lighting dewdrops on leaves or a green flash from the last glimmer of sunlight as the molten orb sizzles into the sea.
Not a laundry list of workaday woes, deep desires and tirades against everything from cell-phone usage to wars of conquest and assaults of corporate cash to buy elections.
Ginsberg's “Howl” would have felt right at home, inside the Gainesville university city Civic Media Center last night, after carefully stepping over and around recumbent figures of the homeless, They clustered in doorways and on the sidewalk wrapped in blankets, waiting for the benevolence of strangers to bring hot meals on the first cold-snap night of the winter of 2010.
Including, a poetry perfect tan puppy curled comfortably in the warm fetal cave provided by its new master, camped on the sidewalk.