It made perfect sense.
I'm right in the middle of taking another big step in what is becoming a huge overall transition for me and my life: buying a house and moving from the coffeehouse district cool artisto hip liberal funky nonconformist character-laden character-rich neat-little-store Albuquerque Downtown to the (generally considered among denizens of the former) white snooty uncool too-polished anti-creative conservative espresso-substandard shopping mall mainstream and boring Albuquerque Northeast Heights. All of these allegations about the heights are really unfounded. There are many places to get a cafe mocha in the heights. And our new house (yes we got the house) will be a great place for us to live. Keep in mind, this is but one step in a huge overall transition that began when Lucy came to town a couple of years ago, yet somehow pivots around the fact that I now work for the Republican party. But more about the switch from downtown to uptown reflecting greater changes in a later column -- perhaps several later columns.
Yes it made perfect sense.
I'm right in the middle of another big step in a huge overall transition and Clebo Rainey comes to town.
He shows up to remind me of what I am, or at least what part of what I am.
Clebo is a poet -- a road poet of the highest order. We met a few years ago when he came to town with a friend on another performance tour. I wrote a poem about the experience. He showed me a lot of what I am then and this why we bonded so well. Read the poem. You'll understand.
Clebo lives in Dallas with his wife, but spends several months a year touring and doing multimedia poetry performances. He is something like 50+ years old, guzzles Dr. Pepper at the rate of a twelve-pack a day with the teeth to prove it, is a former rock-n-roll leadman and record store owner who started writing poetry in his late 30's after a divorce. He discovered the poetry slam somewhere in there. His Dallas slam team took second place in the Nationals last year.
I love Clebo because there's no bullshit. He's a self-absorbed egomaniac and doesn't try to be anything else. When he's not performing, he's still performing -- telling road stories, moving about frantically, and generally being the center of attention. He's got the spirit and innocent enthusiasm of a sixteen-year-old, yet with the wisdom generated by his rich life experience.
I have no desire to live the life Clebo is living -- reading his poems on the road for whoever may show up to hear it. I sampled that lifestyle. It was fun. But it really didn't take. I saw in myself what trying to please an audience night after night can do to your personality if you're not careful. I decided to just stay home and please myself. And I'm glad I did. So is Lucy. And so is the mortgage company.
Yet I admit to getting a little wistful when Clebo comes to town. And when he leaves right after his gig to make the drive to Phoenix, where he is usually gigging next. I can't help wondering. It's okay to wonder as long as I don't regret.
And I don't.
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