The first Dubit Family Poetry Bee (pictured above) was amongst the as-yet best nights of my life: After a few fabulous days spent in my sun-spangled Upper West Side treehouse of an apartment and seeing the city through these happy but tired eyes, where and how might Scott, Pat, Hannah, Rachel and Zack most like to enjoy their “last supper?”
With a stay-at-home Chinese-and-Chocolates Poetry Bee, of course! And so, while winter winds blew and sleet slashed the front-facing windows, they wrote their hearts, minds and hopes out in an array of colors, on a variety of surfaces; and I did what I do first, best and most — purchased PoetryBee-related domain names and shot footage and photos of family writing, speaking, singing and dancing their words and works.
Poetry Camp for Rachel followed that Summer. At the time, I was managing the career of Irish author John O’Donohue, who would call in each morning from Conemarra to coach “the poetess Rachel” as he called her.
Edible Poetry, Found Poetry, Green Light Poetry and more were born that Summer. Inspired by food and wine deliveries to the igloo I’d decamped to the February before, Rachel had the brilliance and temerity to have carry-out brought to us just inside assorted Gates of Central Park — Boys’, Girls’, Scholar’s, Farmers’, Hunters’, Pioneers’, Engineers’, Artists’, Artisans’, Merchants’, Miners’, Mariners’, Warriors’, Strangers’, others….
The names of Full Moons — Beaver, Buck, Blue, Corn, Flower, Frost, Hoar, Hunters’, Pink, Shad, Snow, Strawberry, Wolf — were poetry. The naming of New Moons was poetry. Notes written on watermelons, honeydew, apples and oranges, cookies and cakes, rice paper, handmade paper, hands, forearms, foreheads were poetry. Vanishing Poetry — written in sand and mud, with sticks and fingers, made by wind and rain, by insect wings and critter paws — could nonetheless be recorded by senses and live on in memories, poems, songs, photos, videos. Poetry atop existing games — Mother May I, Red Light / Green Light, Mad Libs — and poetry as invented games and dances were de rigeur.
And then, as William Butler Yeats so famously foretold in The Second Coming — written between the aftermath of World War I and the unfurling of World War II: “The falcon cannot hear the falconer; things fall apart; the centre cannot hold….”
Wendy’s myasthenia gravis took so many turns for the worse that her UnderCovers agent, UnderWoman, had to take over narration. John died suddenly – at the peak of his career and happiness. Much was written. The writing stopped.
Wendy and UnderWoman’s myasthenia took new turns for the life-threatening. There were no “white light” moments but several “come-to-science” studies. There were years when they only got out of bed by falling.
After their so-called, vastly overrated but thankfully brief death, Wendy and UnderWoman were moved from their city perch in Manhattan to their home state of Maryland.
Walking along what was then the longest uninterrupted strip mall in the world, amidst traffic second only to L.A., they developed “dystopic dysfunctional dysorder” — the only disease that only they had. They lived in well-heeeled suburbs from which they posed constant flight risks. The circus failed to hire them. NYPD was not yet ready to receive their gifts. The U.S. Army offered to recruit them as civilian scouts but was taking their sweet time…
Happily, ALL OF THIS has since changed. WE helped CHANGE THIS!
As Ghandi…or somebody…or many bodies…say: BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT THE WORLD TO SEE.
But it’s this hard-core Burton Boards credo that says it best:
“We get up early and go to sleep late….We dream it, we make it, we break it, we fix it. We create. We destroy. We progress.”
And likewise, here, now we: UNPAVE IT, RESHAPE IT, CELEBRATE IT!
And so, 2016 finds Wendy, Vergant, UnderWoman and Entourage taking part in the movement to tear down Rockville Pike malls and walls and bring bits of paradise back to what were once above-ground parking lots. We’re building livable, workable, walkable, lovable, edible, incredible neighborhoods that we are PROUD and HAPPY to CALL HOME.
And guess what? The MOMENT we called our community “HOME,” we realized — straight out of Oz — that we’ve BEEN HOME all along. We’ve NEVER LEFT HOME. We are continuously COMING HOME. And we’re OVERJOYED that, in the words of Eliot’s Little Gidding: “…The end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”
Folks, we are FINALLY unpacking our bags AT HOME!
To CELEBRATE and INAUGURATE the first-ever home-turf Poetry Bee, we invite you to join us on Tuesday, July 19, from 6:30 – 8:30 pm in the back yard of Helen’s on the Pike — 11120 Rockville Pike and just one door north of Hank Dietle’s Tavern.
Come with kids, family, friends, books, pencils, pens, open minds and hearty appetites.
Whether you care to share all or part of poems and songs by you and others; take a stab at pieces of verse that fall from Poetry Piñatas; sit back and sip specialty cocktails like First Fig, The Waste Land, The Second Coming and Poe Boys; and / or savor such Helen Wasserman signature dishes as lobster dumplings and sirloin sliders…next week’s Poetry Bee is the place to BEE!
If you can’t join us on Tues., not to fear: Vergant’s newest venture — Like the Pike — will be hosting other seriously fun events at Helen’s and all up and down Rockville Pike in the weeks, months, seasons and years to come.
FYI: Helen’s is smack dab in the center of the Pike District – just north of Strathmore and Georgetown Prep, and equidistant between the Grosvenor-Strathmore and White Flint stations on Metro’s Red Line.
Please note: Except in prose, pets are not allowed at the July 19 Poetry Bee. Poetry Bee is sponsored by Vergant, Inc. — brand building and business development for companies and causes. Eats and drinks are Dutch Treat.
Warmly and looking forward,