A few days ago I spent some time at the Cafe Gallery. It was a night of
weirdness, in the W4tB sense of the word. The feature for the Evening was my poetic partner in crime, Esteban Colon. He kicked ass like he always does. The nigh was marked with a sadness as we talked about the departed Matt Barton. Those wounds haven't quite healed for many of us, and the folks in the room could feel it.
I guess the strangest part for me was when I was asked to define the W4tB Collective. It is an entity that has always avoided being pinned down by definitions. I've always thought that ,ideally, it was a polymorphic group of artistic persons sharing the work, ideas, and struggles of being a poet in modern times.
In my head, being a W4tB Weirdo means several things and those things may vary from Weirdo to Weirdo.
I think respect for the word is an important part of it. When it is all said and done, at the end of the day it has to be about the poetry. Not awards, or prizes, or books. Those things are nice but not integral to what we do.
Respect for other Weirdos. I have never had a formal initiation rite to join W4tB. It has always been about the willingness of an individual to join, hang out, etc. that determines membership. Membership is (with rare exception) permanent. I respect the fact that poets need to do their own thing, but that never negates the fact that they have a home with us.
Working as a collective. It's been a while since we've followed through, but the biggest part of W4tB is working together. There has been a lot of restructuring going on in our recent history, and that as made things difficult, but I'm sure that once things settle down and we start bouncing around ideas thngs will become collectivey again and new projects will make them self known.
Everything else you need to know about us is directly in out Dope Hype, Yo. Check it!
This cynical age is sending poets to the same scrap heap as full service gas stations and penny candy. I have become nostalgic for the days when you needed exact change to buy something from a vending machine, make a telephone call or ride a bus, the days when pockets were for more than cell phones and credit cards. We the upholders of an ancient tradition have become living anachronisms, bards, and matchstick men. A collection of misfit kids standing on the corner, waiting for the bus with exact change in our pockets.