Last night's reading at the Clement Soto Velez Cultural Center on Suffolk Street on the old Lower East Side went very well. I read with poets Iris N. Schwartz (who kindly invited me) and her best friend Madeline Artenberg. They have a new book out, Awakened, and both of them are super readers. I read "On the Road with C.T. Savage," which is slated to come out in Appalachian Heritage in the fall. Iris even sang!
It was a small crowd, as these things often are, but I was delighted to see old friends and meet new ones. My friend writer and activist Shelley from writers group came, and there were people with connections to the past-- Brant who was a close friend of the late wonderful Maureen Holm who was very supportive of many writers, including me, published my work in her 'zine BigCityLit, invited me up to the Catskills for a lecture and workshop. It was such a pleasure to think about her again with someone who knew her. Also there was Bob Heman who was part of the Print Center in the seventies where we used to produce The Spicy Meatball and other books by kids. Wow! It's like you reach a certain age, and your past is this huge field with beautiful groves of memory to visit when you lift up your head to notice.
Iris and Madeline are also good friends of Aunt Ros Rabin, who wanted to be there and couldn't be.
Also strange to be down there on the Old Lower East Side strangely mixed now Chinese take out ("The Best Fried Chicken!") next to comidas criollas next to a nameless bar tiled black with very uptown looking white young adults drinking martinis (well, I couldn't really see what they were drinking, but they looked like martini drinkers.) Open fireplace sitting in the middle of the dark space. The Williamsburg Bridge dumping onto Delancey Street. But not the old Lower East Side at all-- all of Manhattan seems to be becoming a playground and affordable housing for affluent or at least middle class young adults.
Shelley has a story online that captures one person's changing Orchard Street.