Setlist

I had the pleasure of hearing Marge Piercy read at University of Tennessee last night, and wrote town the titles in my pocket notebook as she read them, though my pen was having issues and much of my handwriting is illegible. I've deciphered my ink scrawls as best I can, and here's a rough setlist:
  • "To be of use"
  • "What are big girls made of?"
  • "Putting the good things away"
  • "Eat fruit"
  • "Woman in a shoe"
  • "Your father's fourth heart attack"
  • "Good old days at home sweet home"
  • "On Shabbat she danced in the candle flames"
  • "The fundamental truth"
  • "Gifts that keep on giving"
  • "Love's clay"
  • "Deadlocked wedlock"
  • "Tracks"
  • "Swear it"
  • "Tao of touch"
  • "Football for Dummies"
  • "Colors passing through us"
  • "My mother gives me her recipe"
  • "The yellow light"
  • "Art of blessing the day"

Thinking I'd post some video of her reading to give you a feel of the event, I did a search on YouTube and found there's not a whole helluva lot out there. Lots of homemade videos of people reading her poem "Barbie doll," but only a couple of her.

I did, however, to my great surprise, find a video of Piercy reading "Eat fruit," and it is actually from last night. I'm sure it is from last night because I recognize those people caught in the shot.

Here's the video clip, and then another favorite poem from last night.



The yellow light

When I see—obsolete, forgotten—
a yellow porchlight, I am transported
to muggy Michigan evenings.
My breath is thick with July.

We are playing pinochle.
Every face card is a relative.
Now we are playing Hearts
but I am the Queen of Spades.

Mosquitoes hum over the weedy
lake. An owl groans in the pines.
Moths hurl themselves against
the screens, a dry brown rain.

Yellow makes every card black.
The eyes of my uncles are avid.
They are playing for pennies
and blood. One shows off

a new Buick, one a new wife.
The women are whispering
about bellies and beds.
It always smells like fried perch.

I am afraid I will never grow up.
I think the owl is calling me
over the black water to hide
in the pines and turn, turn

into something strange and dark
with wings and talons and words
of a more powerful language
than uncles and aunts know,
than uncles and aunts understand.


Marge Piercy
from Colors Passing Through Us