A year ago yesterday, I was doing the feature performance at the original Uptown Poetry Slam at Chicago’s legendary Green Mill Cocktail Lounge. I was up there at the microphone saying poems at the Mill to a packed house. There was no way that night wasn’t gonna be awesome.
In the audience that evening was a person named Claus. He didn’t know much about poetry slams, he didn’t come for me. He was at the show with an acquaintance of mine. His friends told me later they elbowed each other during my performance because when they looked over at Claus, they could see “he was clearly smitten.” What can I say? He had been smit.
I got offstage and made the rounds (and had a round) and soaked in the pure magic and vitality of that place on a Sunday night; at some point I spotted my friends and sat down in their booth. They introduced me to this tall, German person, a visiting scholar, here to be paid to think about philosophy and write a new book.
“You’re a philosopher,” said Claus. “Your poems. This is philosophy.”
What can I say? I was smit.
That summer, we took a roadtrip west. I took a break from PaperGirl for the first time in ages in order to focus on that experience in a macro way, i.e., rather than wash clothes in a river and write about it that evening, maybe just wash clothes in the river and see how that feels.
In fifteen days, Claus goes back to Germany. His time as a visiting scholar is over. I don’t know what’s going to happen, how it will feel, what we’ll do. I hate Skype. I detest long-distance relationships. I have a talent for winding up in them and it is a damnable curse. All I can say is that tonight I sleep in Beaver Dam alone and the quiet is curious. It’s big. But it’s calm, too.