One of the many things that drives me crazy (and it’s a wonder I’m not completely insane) is when people confuse me for my poetry. Thursday night I read in Houston. It was great. Dark bar. Lots of people. Rain outside. Organizers and audience warm and friendly. Except one person was too friendly. A fellow South African expat who thought that since we’d shared some common experience (so long ago) that we were now naturally and immediately blood brothers. (I also get this sort of thing for being Jewish). And he kept talking in Afrikaans which was cute at first.
“Your poetry made my balls tingle,” he told me, drunk, insistent, strange. But at least in English now. He just wouldn’t go away. Spoke about his mentor/teacher who’d just renounced everything and gone off to Tibet for a year. He’d be following soon. Not soon enough, I thought to myself. How about right now? And then things became more uncomfortable.
“But i didn’t like it when you made yourself a woman. That surprised me. That puzzled me.” And he looked so disappointed. And had also the look of a dangerous and unpredictable drunk who might at any moment start beating me up or even kill me. (I’m not a small person but it was nice at this point to have at my side the tall and solid figure of Gene Morgan).