January 10, 2012

Provincetown, MA. August, 1989

When I signed up for a second summer poetry class in Provincetown, I did so through my friend Kathe’s organization, Thalassa Writing Workshops. I had taken one with Mark Doty the previous year and loved the exercises, the communal meals (cooked by Sharon, Kathe’s girlfriend at the time and a featured player in several John Waters’ films), the musical evenings as Sharon sang to Neal Sugarman’s sax, bunking in the farmhouse next to the dunetop barn where classes were held. This time around, the workshop was helmed by another poet I admired. And during the week, we’d bonded nicely both in class and in shared off-hours conversations each night about personal issues we were both struggling with. So as the week ended, and we were saying goodbye, I asked, “Can we be friends?” He paused in thought for a brief moment, looked at me directly and said, “No.” I started laughing. He didn’t.