the microphoneOne of my passions is reading/performing poetry, spoken word, the words I write. While delving into the culinary world took me away from the microphone, I’ve finally found my way back.

It’s been a slow re-entry, with an introduction into the modern world of zine life back in 2015, and after having a few pieces published in a Phoenix zine, I decided to step back into Poetry Open Mics. I started with Caffeine Corridor Poetry Night held at {9} the Gallery, listening to Featured poets and reading a few older pieces. As I progressed I finally started writing and reading newer pieces at the open mics. I had to learn all over again how to get over the fear, the gut-wrenching-I’m-gonna-puke anxiety prior to any performance.

At the same time, I was climbing the stage at Yarn Ball Storytelling hosted in the backyard of Lawn Gnome Publishing and Books located on Roosevelt Row in Phoenix, AZ (now defunct-both books and events). I exercised my somewhat rusty performance skills telling stories with a time limit of 6-8 minutes. This gave me the opportunity to move an audience to laugh and cry, to invite them in and spend a little time in my world. Both these events helped refuel my passion of wordsmithing, of crafting a finely told tale. The hosts and organizers of these events continually encouraged me to return and speak my truth.

speak easy poetsAnd then, AND THEN, we made the decision to return to Kansas. The move to the Midwest interrupted the progress I was making in my poetry career, but I didn’t let it stop me. Once settled, I found the poetry scene both in Topeka and Kansas City. I started showing up and have become part of the SpeakEasy Poets in Topeka. A group of poets who meet on the first Wednesday of the month and spew forth words and lines of poetic merit. This has led me to other events, reading at an open mic at the Topeka Shawnee Library; taking part in a local Poetry Slam (I missed placing in the final round by 1/2 a point). I had not slammed in over ten years. This event was hosted by Matt Spezia, the 2016 National Poetry Awards Slam Poet of the Year.

On a recent trip to Denver, I was able to participate in the Poetry Open Mic night at The Mercury Cafe. This is one of the longest running open mics in the country, held in an almost fifty-year-old establishment.  I really wanted to try some of the vegan food on the menu, but this was a late night of poetry (starting at 10 pm), and I wasn’t really that hungry. Remember that fear I mentioned? It was hitting me hard. When I finally got up to read, I rocked the house. I heard clapping and cheering as I came off the stage. When the poetry was over, I stopped to talk to a table full of young people. A couple of them asked for hugs, cried on my shoulder, and told me how much they appreciated my candor and honesty. Then they bought zines. I walked away feeling grateful that I had a chance to share on this night, at this venue. And I understood, once again, that I do the poetry for the hugs! And that words have power!

mercury cafe sign

My adventures in Kansas have opened up other opportunities. I was the guest on a podcast, “Talk with ME,” hosted by Marcia Epstein, a suicide prevention Counselor, for the internet radio station The Voice of Lawrence. Here’s the link to listen to that podcast. I talk about choosing the Path that Chose me, and poetry as part of that path.

I was also a featured storyteller at Outwords: LGBTQ Storytelling at The Outburst KC in May. The show went up on the night of a tornado watch. We had a small and intimate crowd braving the thunderstorms to listen to the five storytellers.

By the time you read this I’ll have headed into Kansas City to read at Poetic Underground, at the Uptown Arts Bar. I’ll get to meet more poets and connect with someone I met a few weeks ago. I will have turned 56.

Clearly, Kansas has been very good to me for poetry and creativity. In all the ways I was angry and resentful last time we lived here, that is how grateful and happy I am now. And willing to follow where the Universe is leading at the moment, while carving a niche in a place I never thought I would enjoy. I’m pretty much falling in love with this region of the United States.

I’ve also created more zines and I continue to publish #braindump, the vlog that talks about the creative process, and what it is like being an over 50 genderqueer.

You can follow me on the usual social media channels. I do announce the events I’m attending over on my Facebook page DieCast Poetry. Be sure to follow me there. Who knows I might be coming to an event near you!

If you would like to book me for your event as a featured poet or storyteller, please drop a note in the contact form.

Don’t forget to look at my Books page and my Zines! page.