Tree Reading Series: Featured Reader, A. F. Moritz
September 8, 2015, Black Squirrel Books, Ottawa
By Veronica Spade
The Tree has stood by the River, even through the coldest Moons, for 35 years. Mkade-Jidmoonh happened upon him four seasons past, his purpose: a union station for written art enthusiasts.
On the verge of panic, I arch the building doorways for the number 1073; six minutes before the ‘time’. I’m noticed in my haste. I decline an offer to pass. Familiarity cedes my desperation.
Their entrance felt grand, royalty-like, they revered as he entered; trailed by a pygmy mouse, angst for a place to hide. A glance to the right, a secluded nook instills peace, and I’m content.
There are not more than 20, but the atmosphere is calmly boisterous; Age of his majority, minus myself and a few new-comers. Our imaginations will soon develop into films.
The room’s essence lit by oil lamps with a hints of a neon glow. The volumes of souls reincarnated housed towards the rear. A quaintness of yesterday pleasured in the present.
I’ve gone to cafes, workshops in conference halls, and outdoor gatherings, but I’ve only ever attended one other reading in this setting. I am drawn into its expressive comfort.
I sit in quiet-eagerness, basking in the mysteriousness of what I’m about to learn? Why. Why was I so quick to jump and select this night? Especially when I’d still be in long weekend mode?
I’m feeling out of place, but exactly where I want to be! I love poetry. It’s a stranger sort of love. My history is 15 years to the day I must say! I’ve dabbled a glimpse, but to love them close – no.
Open-mic? Pygmy mouse scurrying for food, a fruitless search. I glance upon the souls lined neatly at the back, they urge an awe. Yes. I find a comfortable view and shift my mind to joy.
Poetry is a world of time, places and events. Realms of somberness, bliss and Yuk-Yuk’s. Its ancestry birth from “a child of a preacher,” the ‘Bride’ of PEI, and the genius of “Beethoven”.
The traffic is in my ears, followed closely by a protesting band of siblings with matching tops. Mayfair holds her gripe for the duration. I scramble to locate my intent to find my way again.
Above my head is a highway of chill, luckily I brought a sweater. In vain I quench my thirst with ‘Tim’s’, whilst wishing for a cup of warm Pekoe. I am amazed I can laugh so genuinely.
A barn owl hugs a book in pink surroundings; in turn, he gently pats the mouse’s head. He’s undaunted by exterior trials: steady, strong and dedicated. 13 years, in sickness and in health.
The evening is in Sequence. A sequential flow of spoken music filled with Teachings in imagery and sound formed to my concentrations and journeying as a ritual to my Ode.
Ojibwe: M’kădě-Jĭdmoonh – Black Squirrel, Ōdě – Heart (oo = long o sound, nh = nasal sound)