Socialist Heart: ATL Post #1

26 May

After a few days’ rest in DC, my old friend Ven and I packed up his car (okay, Ven did all the packing, that’s his OCD) and headed south. Months earlier, I’d agreed to participate in one of Queen Sheba’s invitational slams in Atlanta.

I was flattered she asked me. People had given me great receptions on the road, but I still didn’t really feel like a rock star in a big way. Folks who get asked to do invitationals are usually either locals, friends with the band, or acknowledged as being worth widespread attention.

Of course, burnout had a serious hold on me. If New England had drained me something serious, WoW was the crowning blow. I had no business going back on the road so soon. Probably I would have lost my shit if I hadn’t been traveling with Ven.


Ven and I go back about fifteen years. He’s someone I’d trust with my babies and my bail bonds. We’ve been on several road trips together, mostly to West Virginia (one of Ven’s favorites), and he’s someone I call every time I return to DC.

We left our little city and headed south in a 95 way. The weather? So overwhelmingly gorgeous. DC was at the peak of spring, mild weather, lots of sun, cherry blossoms and flowers all over. I remember being happily dazzled by the crowds of daffodils.

DC daffodils blooming.

As we drove towards Richmond, though, oh, the heat began to dance. I swear the sun grew more yellow, and we went with the windows rolled down. I slept a lot. I sang. Ven played a bunch of music off his old cassette tapes, including The Police. We talked a lot, then we stayed mostly quiet. We caught some rush hour traffic, but it was a good trip.

Aforementioned sun had grown even fatter as dusk drew near and we got into downtown Richmond. Ven and I were super hungry at that point, so we met my brother, John S. Blake, and Ven’s friend Kevin at a diner with notoriously excellent burgers and shakes.


God’s Fucking Galoshes. I still cherish the feel of those foodstuffs. BURGER. CHARRED ON THE OUTS, RED IN THE INTERIOR. BLEU CHEESE AND BACON. THE BUN HELD UP WELL.

Saints have been martyred for less.


It even had sprinkles.

We went to a wine bar afterward, where Kevin and I drank to mild dizziness and Ven and John did not. When it became very late, we bade brother goodnight. I was a little sad. At this point, I knew I was moving to Chicago, and soon. No more spontaneous bus rides to DC or Richmond. The two of us have grown really close over the last year… I’ll never forget the afternoon I felt so sad, and John called me at random and I told him and he jumped on a bus that day just to get me to smile. He also somehow managed to make it to DC during one of the crazy blizzards we had this winter. We know secrets about each other. We read each other’s poems, too. šŸ˜›

John S. Blake.

I haven’t seen John since then, two months ago, which is about as long as we’ve ever gone without seeing each other since we became friends.

The rest of us drove back to Kevin’s house, where Ven inhabited the couch and I collapsed, as haphazardly as possible, fully clothed and perhaps without bedding, on the air mattress in the other room.

Now you KNOW I was tipsy, and you KNOW I was tired; I’m on some princess & the pea shit with air mattresses, but that night I was. out. cold.


One Response to “Socialist Heart: ATL Post #1”

  1. Sheba May 26, 2010 at 9:52 am #

    You are friends with the band. And I respect your work. Atlanta sees a lot of itself; we recycle a lot. I am not one for conforming or repetition. It’s important for me to introduce the Atlanta audience to new voices. Yours is one of my favorite.


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