About a year ago, one of the earliest signs for working artists that we were living in a changed world was the almost wholesale cancellation of San Antonio’s usually overflowing calendar of National Poetry Month events. One of the few exceptions was URBAN-15’s Mega Corazón, a marathon broadcast of South Texas spoken word that survived by virtue of its already-online format.
Still, even Mega Corazón had to scramble to figure out how to film readings without bringing poets physically into URBAN-15’s online broadcast studio, and the solution it came up with was to have poets record themselves reading and then stitch these recordings together into a pastiche of nonstop poesis. While rougher around the edges, these little poetry home videos—shot from living rooms and on cell phones—in many ways had a poignancy and intimacy unmatched by the more polished production of previous years.
They plopped the Alamodome down right smack between the highway and the train tracks, so every couple hours the soundscape shatters, the massive horn of a slow moving rail convoy blasting the air apart. I briefly lived in the neighborhood just south of here, on the access road of the highway, and I must have gotten used to the trains like they say you do, because I don’t remember ever losing sleep as they passed.
It’s definitely annoying if you’re mid-conversation, but mostly we don’t small talk with the people rolling by inside their cars. Mostly it’s business. Asking for ID and checking their names off a list, or inspecting their paperwork to make sure every yellow highlighted section has been filled in. Most everyone is masked, but more than a few are unmasked, absentmindedly or perhaps defiantly in the wake of the governor’s repeal of the mask mandate. I’m double-masked and standing outside in wind as wild as Gulf Coast beaches, so I’m not too concerned about it—but if I could do it again I think I’d ask those unmasked to cover their faces before I checked them in.
A few weeks ago, I saw my grown baby officially leave the nest and venture out into the wide world to chart its own course and never call home. For those who missed the online release event hosted by FlowerSong Press, it lives on in perpetuity, here, with special thanks to Jo Reyes-Boitel for running tech for the event and preserving the recording: