A lot of my college Friday nights were spent with Hal Sirowitz, except he didn’t know it. I went to the lower east side to watch him slam at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. Bob Holman was the master of ceremonies, and as such surveyed the audience for would-be judges. He always picked me; I think because I was a white girl. I never had the guts to perform there, and I still don’t. I’m not really a poet, and a lot of what goes on there isn’t really poetry; it’s comedy. Which brings me back to Hal Sirowitz’s series (and book) Mother Said… with a collection of poems about things his mother said.
Tonight, as I was getting ready for the Costume Institute’s Benefit at the MET, I swallowed, but did not taste sushi, as I wrote this, in tribute to Mr. Hal Sirowitz:
Never go to a party hungry, Mother said,
because you’ll eat too much greasy food once you arrive.
And then you’ll be too tired to dance,
and your lips will look too shiny,
like you spent too much time applying Mac products.
Then he’ll be afraid you’re not a natural beauty,
so he won’t ask you to dance.
Then you, with your distended stomach,
will cry and ruin your mascara,
which will drip and damage your dress.
Then I’ll have to pick it up from the cleaners.