I just wanted to write about tonight a bit while it’s fresh in my mind… I was running from a speaking engagement at USC to meet up with my co-founders of DPL-Da Poetry Lounge at a spot called Bakery Poetry Lounge in the Noho Arts District, apparently they were going to honor us… I guess, for being some of the pioneers who helped create the modern poetry scene in Los Angeles. Anyhow, I rush to the spot and of course I’m the last one to arrive and find my old friends and partners, Shihan, Poetri and Gimel, together, we are the founders. I walk into the waiting room, to smiles, thankfully it wasn’t time for us to be announced, and I’m like, “So what are we doing?” Shihan laughs and says, “I don’t know.” And the whole crew is in chuckles and what not, showing the looseness of the situation. Gimel pretty much set up the situation and we all came to be apart it.
I’m only writing about this, because, although I didn’t know exactly what the plan was for the evening, it managed to turn into a special night. We figured we’d go onstage and rock a few poems and take some questions from the audience and… I guess be honored. But the thing is, we haven’t all been onstage like that together, rocking poems for many years now. Yeah, we still all attend our poetry venue, but usually not all there at the same time, and sometimes, we don’t even hit the mic to perform, leaving space and room for all the other worthy poets to tell their stories. But tonight, we we’re all back together again, rocking poems, old and new… and telling stories about how this whole thing got started, how we kept it going and how it not only shaped what we now know as the poetry scene in LA, but how it’s shaped us individually.
See, a lot people out there only know me as an actor, a profession and craft that I am ferociously proud of, but being apart of the LA poetry scene and creating something out of nothing… with these guys, well that remains as one of my most prized accomplishments in my life. I don’t often think about it, writing poems and telling stories is just apart of how we communicate. Culturally, I guess, it’s just the way we’ve always communicated, but when I look back over the last two decades and we talk about all the things we went through as young struggling artist, from Shihan living on my couch, all the way to Poetri winning a Tony on Broadway and the beginning of it all, it was us getting together, inviting friends… and friends of friends to a theater on Tuesdays night to hear some poems and share some stories. We worried if anyone would show up… But they did, and they always do… Every Tuesday night. And in some small way, it feels like we help change the world… at least every Tuesday night at Da Poetry Lounge.