A SUMMONS TO MEMPHIS: The muse is in residence and I have written about five new poems in the last two weeks. Strangely, these poems are all centered around several eventful road trips to Memphis in the summer of 1999. I was in love with a guy there and BFF Tina was in a relationship on its last leg, so the trips were fraught with drama, bizarre occurrences and a few really frightening moments. And while it seems silly now, there was a portent about that hot summer, when the world was on edge about the new millennium and I was about to turn 30.
At the last Poetry at Portfolio Center, Theresa Davis said something about going on a road trip that reminded me of Tina, her ex and me on the road to Memphis. We were all drinking Mad Dog 20/20 (white trash to the ninth power!) and I do believe we might have been rolling on ecstasy as we crossed the border from Alabama into Mississippi. Tina's ex took off her shirt and rubbed her tits against the window because she liked the sensation. I'm sure many of the passing truckers didn't mind either.
I never wrote about that summer, because I didn't write a single poem from 1999 to 2001. I channeled some of the events into my novel, Conquering Venus, even making the main character a native of Memphis. There are a few cryptic journal entries about those trips that have helped trigger some memories, too. Sifting through the debris of 1999 and filling in the blanks of my personal history has been an interesting exercise. I do remember making a vow that 1999 would be my last year of making stupid mistakes and partying to excess before I turned 30. I wanted to make a clean break from my 20s, which, for the most part, had been my "lost years."
So, back to Memphis...