I went to one of them New Year’s Day poetry marathons at St. Mark’s Church in the Lower East Side.  It was pretty cool albeit rather long.  12 hours of poetry is a lot to deal with in a single sitting.


Of course, you could slip out to the courtyard to smoke a bowl during the breaks.  There were also refreshments sold in the Parish Hall and they sold beer.  It’s also not that hard to sneak in a bottle of beer purchased from a deli.


They had a big pot of homemade chili selling at $3.00 a bowl.  I was stunned when I realized I was standing next to Jim Carroll at the refreshment table.  I had a copy of Living at the Movies which I timidly asked him to sign.  We talked briefly.  He drank 3 cups of coffee in about 20 minutes and was acting rather skittish.  He never seemed like the type to need stimulants.  He seems hyper enough without it.


He also made a major pitch for me to purchase a bowl of chili.  It didn’t look all that appetizing and I opted against it.  I figured I would stick to beer and my food outside somewhere else.  When a guy that drinks 3 cups of coffee in 20 minutes tries to sell me a bowl of chili, I get a little suspicious.  He wasn't getting a bowl for himself but seemed obsessed with getting me to buy a bowl.  


Of course, I didn’t fare much better with the gyro I got at a place across the street.  I should have made the extra effort to find a Bill’s Gyro.  Maybe next time, I’ll learn to put aside my paranoia and skepticism.  After all, strange or not, Jim Carroll was still a brother poet.  Maybe I should have trusted him all along.


Author's Notes/Comments: 

originally written on 10-20-95.  I changed the tense since Jim has since become one of those "people who died."

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