Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Tour Diary: Portland DAY THREE mini Book Tour of the Pacific NorthWest

Monday was day 3 of my Pacific Northwest trip and I had big big plans.

I was scheduled to read at the monthly Northwest Renaissance/Striped Water Poets reading at Auburn Station Bistro (about 45 minutes outside of Seattle) thanks to the wonderful organizer and current City of Auburn Poet Laureate Marjorie Rommel. 

Since I had never visited Seattle, Sally K. Lehman (written about in my Day 2 blog post) generously offered to drive Jessica and me up in the morning so we could all have lunch in the Emerald City, then check out all of the stereotypical touristy stuff before my reading. I vowed to do it all. Throw some Pike's Place Halibut from the top of the Space Needle against the Gum Wall while listening to Soundgarden's Badmotorfinger. Nothing would be too touristy for me.

Unfortunately, we didn't take into account that the Seattle Seahawks were playing a rare Monday night football game that evening, so traffic was horrendous and the 3 hour drive took over 6 hours! I felt so guilty for dragging Sally and Jessica into this roadtrip gone wrong. Lucky for me, they are two of the kindest souls I have ever met so they never even complained once. We actually had a good time just telling stories and laughing the entire time as we inched past an Alpaca Farm and all of the other points of interest along the coagulated Interstate.

We finally made it into town with about 45 minutes to kill before hurrying to the Auburn reading, so we had a delicious bite from a local sandwich shop and popped into a Starbucks Roastery and Tasting Room that was next door like a Willy Wonka factory for caffeine.

I had some kind of Black Pepper Butterscotch latte, so I was ready to perform. But first we detoured to see the Fremont Bridge Troll on the way out of town.

I had to climb up his shoulder to show scale, but keep in mind that he has a VW Bug car under his hand. Washington poet Kelli Russell Agodon tells me that the VW is a time capsule, so that makes it even cooler.

There was a Star Wars urban legend that these port loading cranes were George Lucas' inspiration for the AT-ATs in Empire Strikes Back:

Upon reaching the Auburn Station Bistro in the nick of time, we were informed that the bistro had gone out of business the day before!!! But the owners agreed to come open the doors for us to do that final reading. I know what it's like to lose several of my most beloved venues in Phoenix, so I completely understood what these regulars were feeling. It was sad but also an honor to read at this final event and try to send it out on a positive note.

A few people were dressed up since it was the Halloween month edition of the event,
so this happened upon entering the room:

There's a poem in my book called "Kentucky Freud Chicken" so I told my friend that it was like having someone cosplay my poetry.

The open mic was emceed by the multi-talented and charismatic Emilie Rommel Shimkus 

I was proud to co-feature with Philip H. Red Eagle:

After the reading, Cindy M. Hutchings and I proved that AZ Cardinals and Seahawks fans can call a truce and peacefully coexist in the name of poetry.

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