The great poet and occasional journalist K. Curtis Lyle came by The St. Louis American today to pick up a review copy of a new book of essays about the immortal Richard Pryor.
I was crunching business copy and no fun whatsoever to talk to, but when Curtis reminded me I still needed to show him how to upload new content onto the blog I set up for him, I took a break, found a poem he had emailed to me, and walked him through the simple steps here on blogspot.
Blog for a poet, and he has a very infrequently updated blog; teach a poet to blog, and watch the fuck OUT.
The piece I uploaded for Curtis this afternoon shares the same name as his blog itself: Downtown Atlantis, a phrase that has become a working mythos for Curtis, much as "Warrior Poet" worked for him throughout the 1990s, when he produced a set of performance pieces under that rubric. If only the likes of David A.N. Jackson, Adam Long, Josh Weinstein and Brett Underwood (to name a small subset of Curtis documentarians) had been around to catch his magic on media back then! As it is, we have a shoebox of cassettes, waiting for an angel to digitize and archive them and play them on the radio.
"Downtown Atlantis" the poem, as opposed to the blog or the poetic self-conception, was performed live in The Skuntry Musem, Library, Beer Cellar, Prop Shop & Studio (which looks a lot like my basement) during the Museum's summer mixer. This year, back on my spiritual jag, I wanted a homily for the mixer to sacralize the space, and Curtis delivered. Curtis does know how to do the sacred. Call it The Electric Church Slide. The photograph here is of Curtis delivering the homily, the poem "Downtown Atlantis," as captured by Thom Fletcher and published on his Flickr site.