PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Dinner with Rosa Gwendolyn

Last night at the wedding reception, I made a blunder. A Gaffe. A Hilarity of Grand proportions, one I will live with FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE, according to my husband. Because that is the only thing that is fair, given that I jump on anyone else's goof, funny, error and make it into a taffy pull of humor.

First off, two guys we didn't know sat at our table. As easy as it is for me to glibly talk with strangers, sometimes it just requires good old fashioned work. So I'm running through all the blind date questions I can barely remember. "Where did you go to school?" "Where are you from?" "What is your deepest darkest fear and how can I exploit it to my advantage?" (Wait, that's one I save.) And so I was talking about going to Grinnell, and the one guy's from Iowa, and he knew of Grinnell & its reputation, and that it is the least-Iowan kind of school, despite being smack in the middle of the cornfields.

Always eager to trumpet my alma mater, I lean forward and say, "Yes! It is! They bring in all sorts of people, I once had dinner with Rosa Parks!"

And I can tell from everyone's IMMEDIATE reaction that I have fucked it up. Because I usually have to explain who NOT ROSA PARKS, BUT GWENDOLYN BROOKS is when I say I had dinner with her when I was a junior in college. Keep in mind, I've only had two beers & a plate of food, this isn't a gin-induced transgression. My mind is now flying as fast as a child's flipbook cartoon. Rosa. Rosa. Sammy Sosa. Rosa Parks. Oh Shit. Bus. Seat. Rosa Parks. Who did I really have dinner with. Not Rosa. No Bus Seat. HELL.

So then I had to come clean, and of course, Gwendolyn Brooks, despite being a Pulitzer-prize winning POET, born in Kansas and from Chicago, a poet I believed everyone had read in 10th grade English, her most famous one, "We Real Cool", but not quite as cool as keepin' your seat on the bus during the civil rights movement, because that is ROSA PARKS Jennifer, and may you never, ever forget it again.

To honor Ms. Brooks, I give you her poem. Written in the 1950's - the words are still profound. It was an honor to meet her.

We Real Cool


We real cool. We
Left school. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We
Die soon.
posted by PlazaJen, 7:57 AM