Sunday, October 27, 2013

That day I was the Wedding Poet

Yesterday I was humbled with the opportunity to read a poem at a friends wedding. It was not my poem, but one by Taylor Mali, and I was honored to carry it around with me for a few weeks so I could read it aloud and get to know it so I would not screw it up when the time came.

The night before, we were at the rehearsal when I read it in public for the first time and it went alright. I was worried about my pacing and tone but assured all was well.

Just before the wedding, the DJ came up to me and said the hand held microphone would be ready for me when I needed it. Gulp, I was not aware there would be a microphone but figured out how to hold the mic and paper so it would be ok.

The ceremony was lovely, a lot of love in the ballroom and when it was my turn I walked over, took the mic and bashed it out quite well. Had two pages and dropped one discreetly when necessary and one of the flower girls picked up the page and handed it to me when I was finished. Darn nice of her!

Cannot thank Alexis and Jaison enough for having me be a part of their special day!

Here's the text of the poem I read. Taylor Mali performs it a bit different than the text, especially in the beginning. It's his poem, a fine poem, he can do whatever he wants.

Earlier this afternoon, my wife told me of the death of Lou Reed. It made me sad for his wife, Laurie Anderson, but did not come as a huge surprise as he just had a liver transplant in May. Although no cause of death has been released, I suspect years of abuse, and possible complications from the transplant, finally caught up to him.

His music was raw and inspiring. It could also be odd and infuriating. He was an artist who frequently was at odds with the critics and his own fan base. The one time I saw him live in Fredonia in 1984 left a bad taste in my mouth about him. He was allowed to whine about the brightness of the house lights, but to berate his guitarist, the great Robert Quine (who did not deserve it, and did not work with Reed again) and his drummer (may have been Lenny Ferrari, who missed cues) while kissing the ass of bassist Fernando Saunders showed me an incredible lack of professional tact - the show did live by the creed of the Velvet Underground, it left me wanting less.

Gone now, his music has influenced generations of aspiring artists, and will continue to resonate.

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