Bizarre Weekend Report
This has been a very odd weekend, mainly because of the drama at my apartment building on Saturday night.
On Saturday afternoon I went to hear Khadijah Queen read from her just released collection, Conduit, at Wordsmiths Books in Decatur. Chris Abani selected the book for his Black Goat series with Akashic Books. Khadijah really is amazing and I was so glad to hear her read from this collection. She's moving to Florida in August, so we will miss her work and spirit in the Atlanta poetry community. While I was at Wordsmiths, I also picked up David Sedaris' latest, When You Are Engulfed in Flames. After the reading, I had to take my jalopy for its annual emissions test. The afternoon set me back nearly $100.
After a quick, cheap dinner with BFF Mal, I came home to watch Doctor Who (total geekgasm, as you've probably noticed from previous posts) and then started reading Sedaris. Around 8 p.m., I heard men yelling and screaming in the parking garage. By the time I got some jeans and shoes on, the guys were on my floor, running down the hallway pounding on doors. I thought there was a fire or some kind of home invasion going on. We've had two break-ins in the last month, so I was on edge. I snatched open my door (no peephole for me...I was ready to jump right into the danger) and saw these two shirtless guys running down the hall carrying everyone's doormats, including mine. I went back inside, grabbed my cell phone and called 911.
While I was on the phone with the operator, I spotted the guys on the lower level and screamed at them to bring the fucking mats back and stop terrorizing the building. They circled back and came up the stairs to confront me. They were both in their 20s, spoke broken English and were obviously very drunk. I really didn't think about it until afterwards, but I got right up in their faces using every expletive I could muster and must have looked like a total maniac because they kinda ducked around me and ran. At some point during my tirade, I asked if they lived on the property and one of them said "We own this place." I was so up in his face by then, I'm surprised he didn't deck me. I could hear the 911 operator yelling, "Sir, sir, what's happening..." from my cell phone. That 911 tape is probably comedy gold.
The police didn't show up for an hour, and the building security guy wasn't supposed to come on until 10 p.m. About 30 minutes after my confrontation, these guys and several more were out in the swimming pool, screaming, yelling, singing. I called 911 again and they told me a car was coming, but they had other priority calls. When the cop finally arrived, the guys had disappeared from the pool area, and the officer was clearly uninterested in the situation. I think he was on the property 15 minutes tops. When the building security showed up, he came to my door and while we were standing there talking, we heard more yelling and screaming. We went to the window of my apartment and could see these guys hanging off a balcony in the courtyard. A few minutes later, the guy who lives in the apartment (the loons running around were obviously his drunken guests) was on the balcony frantically waving his arms and telling them to be quiet and then they all went inside and shut the door. The security guy came back later and said they were all very drunk and out of control, but with 16 noise complaints and the police showing up, it would probably mean eviction. Good. We searched for the doormats, but couldn't find them. The property manager called me this morning and said the guy was out of there and they would make him pay for all the missing doormats. Never a dull moment.
On Sunday, I went to an Atlanta Queer Literary Festival planning meeting. We're about ready to announce performers and venues. It's an exciting line up of events and there are some very well-known names who have agreed to come and read, give workshops, etc. We are also looking for donations and sponsors for the festival. Visit the website to find out more. After that, I went and met Kodac Harrison and Mary Alice Cantrell for dinner at Brick Store Pub in Decatur and to get the first look at the Java Monkey Speaks Anthology. A gorgeous book. I think the cover is my favorite. Then we went over to Java Monkey Coffee House for the release party and reading. A really amazing evening and we sold a ton of books. You'll be able to buy the anthology later this week online from Poetry Atlanta Press and it will also be at some local bookstores, too. More on this soon.
Karen G. read Shannon Leigh's poem from the anthology and announced that a website has been set up -- www.getwellshannon.com -- for everyone to keep track of her recovery, leave well-wishes and make a donation to help with the thousands of dollars in medical bills. As of last night, Shannon was still in a coma after her diving accident last weekend. Check out the website and consider making a donation.