Last night, at a Feminism In Action Open Mic at the Delores Park Cafe in SF, I got up in front of a crowd of complete strangers and read a section of a freewrite/poem.
I felt some measure of security in that the room was full of self professed feminists raising money and awareness for domestic violence. A stranger to the Bay Area, I arrived early and an hour before the person who'd invited me. The venue was packed wall to wall with people. I stood for most of the performances I leaned on a wall near the bathroom and tried not to feel like I was in the way
The people at this event were all stripes of gorgeous. So many good looking queers and my goodness I wish I'd had the gumption to talk to more than a few of them. More than once during the music and poetry I would glance around the room hungry to watch the way people enjoyed and accepted the sounds into their bodies. En mass this collection of humans was exceptionally lovely. This audience was trusting and open and I knew it would be a delight to be in front of.
I had a couple printed off, toiled over poems in my pocket. A poem about being a fish and a poem about how animals navigate using the moon. Now don't get me wrong, I will stand the fuck by scientific poems as being poems of the people. But Graciela, the MC for the event was so thoughtfully insistent about addressing all the performers by their preferred gender pronouns that changed my mind. I did something raw and wild instead. I knew I had to read some of the words I'd drafted about gender and pronouns that very morning.
I am ashamed to say I spent several of the sets half listening frantically editing the freewrite on my iphone so it would be more cogent and have the ending I wanted. Despite being wrapped up in writing there were some unforgettable moment that made me snap out of the obsessive act of editing. The heat and unabashed to resistance to gentrification, racist/sexist/classist oppression kept pulling my eyes up from my own work. Again and agin I was reminded back into the shared discomfort of solidarity.
Even though I was too nervous and unfamiliar to join in, it warmed my heart to watch the small contingent of folks makeshift a dark grinning dance floor during one of the musical sets. The love was so apparent in the room that it overflowed and the streets I'm sure got messy with its healing. Even halfway down the block as I left I could hear its joyous laugher moving like honey in the air.
It was the most fun I've had in a crowded room this season.
I say well done to the organizers and I hope they pulled down a butt load of money last night.