My Weekend With Agnes
Friend and fellow poet Agnes Meadows jetted in from London on Saturday to feature at Java Monkey Speaks and to sleep on my couch for a couple of nights en route to a series of gigs in Texas, including the Austin International Poetry Festival. I met Agnes at AIPF in 2004 and we became fast friends and featured together there in 2005. She was also gracious enough to feature me last year at her Angel Poetry Reading in London. Agnes is brassy, sassy, opinionated and hilarious. It was a pleasure to have her as a house guest, but the weekend wasn't without some stress.
Agnes flew in from Gatwick to the Atlanta airport, arriving around 5 p.m. on Saturday. Getting through customs and security at the airport here is hell. You have to get off the plane, stand in line at customs to get your passport stamped, pick up your bags, go through another full security check, recheck your bag, take the train to the main terminal and pick up your bags yet again. It's post-911 paranoia to the nth degree. This is why I always travel with just carry on luggage. Anyway, I was waiting in the arrival hall for more than an hour and no sign of Agnes. She finally came up the escalator and said Delta had lost her bag, which contained all of her clothes, most of her books, etc. We went to the baggage claim office and the guy behind the counter said it appeared her bag never left Gatwick, but they would try to get it on another flight and deliver it to my apartment the next day.
We went to dinner at Manuel's Tavern (brunswick stew...yum) and then made a run to Target so Agnes could buy knickers and toiletries. We came back and talked late, and crossed our fingers that the bag would show up. On Sunday morning about 10 a.m., Delta called and said the bag was in Atlanta and they were delivering it. Three hours later, no bag. We called up and they said there was a delivery window of 12 HOURS! That's longer than waiting for Comcast to show up to tell you nothing's really wrong with your cable except for their incompetence. After a few strong words, they managed to get the driver on the phone an he got the bag here about 2 p.m. We dashed over for brunch at Radial Cafe (pancakes...yummy), I took Agnes on a brief driving tour of Atlanta (MLK Center, Downtown, where Margaret Mitchell wrote Gone With the Wind) and then we went over to Decatur.
Karen Head and Kodac Harrison met us at the Brickstore Pub for drinks and we had a delightful conversation about all things poetry. There was a good crowd at Java Monkey, but it ran a bit longer than usual because some poets during the open mic were self-indulgent and read their longest poem and then left before Agnes went on. Luckily, there was still a good-sized audience and Agnes did not disappoint. From "fluffy" to her political poems about working in Gaza and her support of independent Palestinian state, it was a great feature set.
Once we got home, we recorded part of an interview that will hopefully be part of my resurrected Business of Words podcast. Sadly, we had some technical glitches and the USB mic was not working with my MacBook. I'll salvage what I can from the interview and we'll do the rest by phone later this month. That will give me time to improve my digital editing skills and figure out what's up with the mic.
Agnes left for Austin this morning. Happy trail, petal, and see you again soon. It was a pleasure having you at Chez Collin and hearing you again. And if you want to hear more of Agnes, visit her MySpace page. Definitely worth a listen.