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I hope its not over, and good-bye October 6, 2009

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, NOLA, poem, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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Everette Maddox: He was a mess, by everyone’s assessment including his own and so reads his memorial, a plaque in the patio of the Maple Street Bar where he hosted the long running poetry reading series he founded. He is a bit of an obsession here on Toulouse Street, where we frequently take him down from the shelf and longingly look at that copy of The Everette Maddox Songbook on Amazon for only $215.

Now the University of New Orleans Press is releasing I hope its not over, and good-by Selected Poems of Everette Maddox with a kick off party at the continuing poetry venue, 3 p.m. this Sunday at the Maple Leaf Bar in New Orleans.

Even if you don’t read poetry (and you’re probably not that sort, given that your here and the amount of other people’s work I post up here when I’m tongue-tied or bored), I can highly recommend this site unseen because Maddox’s work is, among other things, highly accessible. In his own poem “GIFT” he describes his writing as “whimsical little gifts” and I can’t think of a better description. It is by turns wry and dark and I think you will come away from reading it thinking as I do: damn, this is someone I wish I’d had a chance to have a drink and a long talk with.

Editor Ralph Adamo promises his selection from Maddox’s four books provides a “novel organization [which] also suggests new and surprising readings for those who know the work, or thought they did.” Now there’s an irresistible teaser, at least for the likes of me and maybe you, too since you’re here.

I never met the man. I was too busying trying to help my first wife drink herself to death at Betz Brown’s Abbey on Decatur Street when Maddox was at the top of his form and the bottom of his run to the end of the row of bottles the gods had allotted him. Maddox was something I discovered looking for every last word I could find to read on the subject of New Orleans to escape the bright lights, big city madness of Fargo, N.D. and I’ve been reading and rereading him every since.

In honor of the occasion of this book launch (that’s 3 p.m. Sunday at the Maple Leaf) here’s a poem that’s been rejected by some of the best regional journals in the south. If I get drunk enough mid-afternoon and there’s open mike, I might attempt to read it there but don’t count on it. I still don’t like the way the lines are laid out, and I’ve just cut out a middle section. If I can ever get the lines breaks just right, I’ll have to have another run at the reviews.

Blinded by Sunrise

For Everette Maddox

So listen,
it’s not like we ever met
or anything, but
I think we’ve both been
blinded by sunrise
refracted in a bar glass.

It’s like this:
I’ve had just enough
of a taste of your words
that I’m haunted
like a man in love
who’s suddenly not sure where
his next drink’s coming from,
except–it’s not from her.
She’s up and left.

You being dead and all
I’m sorry to bother but
if you scare up a copy
of the Songbook in
some discount street-side box
I might happen to pass by,
I promise I’ll have them
bury me with a bottle so
I can repay the favor.

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Comments»

1. Adrastos - October 6, 2009

I met Everette and it’s one of the reasons I’m not a fan. I don’t feel like disparaging the dead: suffice it to say that I found him most unpleasant but he was very far gone by that point.

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2. Notes from a Dancing Bear « Odd Bits of Life in New Orleans - October 19, 2009

[…] Maple Leaf’s microphone was two weeks ago at the book launch for the UNO Press selected works I Hope Its Not Over, And Goodbye. Reading his revered words to the audience was an exhilarating experience, and got me hooked on the […]

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