The morning after our interviews and reading in Pittsburgh, we woke up and drove back across town with Kelly to meet Kayla for Breakfast at O’Leary’s. Great breakfast! Cool place. I only spent, like, 5 bucks! After goodbye hugs, we drove with Kelly back toward her place, dropped Sarah off at church for Mass, and waited.
When it was time to go, we grabbed a couple wraps and coffee from the shop on the corner and took off.
Let me stop this narrative to say that I haven’t been on a poetry road trip without my navigator dropping the ball at least once. This trip had many of those. Jacob directed us out of the city, but we ended up on the scenic route. Jacob’s mistake was welcomed. We drove through the Pennsylvania landscape and right along the Maryland and West Virginia border.
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When we stopped after a few hours, Jacob got the chance to pump gas for the first time EVER. No joke. Ever. Look at that smile—he’s growing up right in front of us. Now, if he could only drive…
After around 5 hours, we rolled up this little hill and saw the monuments. We were like, “Whoa, we’re in DC.” We were cracked out on lack of sleep, and by the time we got there, we couldn’t sleep if we wanted to. We drove straight to The Big Hunt, found a sweet parking spot, and went inside.
The reading was great, and it was cool to see my friends from NMSU (Carrie and Camille) and make new friends.
Jacob and Sarah didn’t read, and I ended up leading off the night. At the end of my set, I read some “punk” poems from DIY. I always ask the crowd to gather around me like at a house show: gather around the band. They did. Every. Single. Person. I read a poem that talked about that DC. I was there, reading about the place I was writing about it. My whole book originated from the scenes in LA, NY, and DC. It was important to have everyone up there in the city where one of the most important scenes of hardcore punk happened. The other readers were great: Noy Holland, Sam Michel, Tim Demay!
Sarah and Jacob escaped for some food, and an hour or so after the reading, we said goodbye to DC and friends, hopped in the car, and got outta there. I drove halfway. Sarah took over somewhere outside Pittsburgh. Jacob was my navigator for most of the drive, then Sarah took over while I was her navigator for a few hours, then Jacob took over for me. We were a machine.
We drove through the night, through a mountain, past towns, and made it back to Chicago around 9am. I think. I don’t know. Probably. I dropped everyone off and returned the car.
Brad and Carrie: Thanks for bringing me out. Thanks for letting me read. Thanks for being so hospitable!
Carrie and Camille: Thanks for filling me in on what I missed at NMSU, catching up, and you know, being cool.
DC: You were cool. Next time, we’ll stay a bit longer, see what the fuss is about.
To Be Continued . . . (Tour debriefing up next week)