Categories
blog poem/poetry touring/travel writing

Bound for the Pacific Northwest

I have a great story for you. I am making my way up the west coast for some shows and for a Mega McGee Family reunion. I’ll be performing in Redding, California, Portland/Eugene, Oregon, and Vancouver, B.C. If you know folks in those wondrous places, please let them know I am coming.

After my shows, I will head toward Seattle to meet up with the McGee side of the family. My grandfather is ill, so my father is flying in from Germany as well as my brother Jamie and his wife and kids here in the Bay. My father hasn’t seen his dad since 1988, nor has he seen Jamie since 1990. My uncles, aunts and cousins are all coming together and my grandma will be there. My dad hasn’t been in the same room as both of his parents since the 1970s. It’ll be the first time I’ve been in the same room as my father and brother since 1989, and the first time ever that the three of us will be in the same room with my grandpa. And it turns out we’ll all be together on Father’s Day. That detail was unplanned… I am so excited and I don’t know what more to say about it…

Sun, 6/9 | Redding, CA | An Evening with Mike McGee https://www.facebook.com/events/2265234810402142/

Mon, 6/10 | Portland, OR, with Brian Stephen Ellis and Anis Mojgani | https://www.facebook.com/events/874991716186976/

Tue, 6/11 | Eugene, OR, with Roxy Allen, Devin Devine, Julia Allegretto Gaskill | https://www.facebook.com/events/634235453760883/

Wed, 6/12 | Bellingham, WA | Just hanging out.

Fri/Sat June 14/15 | Vancouver, BC, with Jamie DeWolf & Co. for the final Game of Thrones Live: Fire & Ice, Ice Baby | https://www.facebook.com/events/337064426892306/

Categories
blog images touring/travel

IMAGE | Tim “Toaster” Henderson, Minneapolis, MN

9:11pm. November 24, 2015. Minneapolis, MN.

Tim Toaster Henderson (@toastersmodernlife) performs perfectly balanced poetry set at SlamMN. Toaster is one of those performers who seems to effortlessly take the stage for a warm city, braving the cold. His words were clearly infused with the feeling of the day and all that came with marching to city hall. Tired, but woke. #poetsinbw #blacklivesmatter (at Kieran’s Irish Pub)

Categories
blog images memoir touring/travel

IMAGE | Late Night Convo, Manchester, NH, 2015

Late night conversation is one of my favorite elements of life. It also makes touring feel less chaotic. I live for it. Being invited to talk to an audience, then to crash at someone’s house is a real honor. Then to experience their life in their space on top of that is extraordinary. E. came home from work exhausted, ready for bed, but not until we had a good chat. I had to take this while E. was talking because it captured so much of how I would describe being a welcome guest in someone’s home. Plus, Emily and E.T. are good conversationalists. (at Manchester, New Hampshire)

Categories
blog thoughts touring/travel

Thoughtsgiving

I recently spent a day at the Jewish Museum in Berlin. It was unforgettable, horrific, and ultimately life-affirming. There were thousands of displays of personal effects—pocket watches, paintings, brushes, knives—items that survived the Holocaust and their owners. A placard told a brief story of the people who owned these items. Every single placard gave a date or estimate of when the person was murdered. I was initially surprised by the frequent use of the word “murdered.” It kept coming up. It seemed like it was on every display. More and more. Then it was the only word. I wondered why they couldn’t just say that they “died.” Just then the purpose of that word finally filled my obtuse, fat, stubborn, American brain: they didn’t just die. The point was that they were most certainly murdered. I was taken aback by the notion that at 38-years-old I am still very stupid. I knew I was dumb, but wow am I also a stupid.

I’ve come to the realization that I want “give thanks” this year, but I want to state that I knowingly reap the rewards of murder, slavery and of the nation-building over the nations my ancestors destroyed. We mourn the dead, but never all of the dead. We still root for greedy skeletons. My team—The Visitors—still ignore the mass graves of the Home Team. I am the result of sad, unearned victory. I have some pretty awful ancestors and some rotten, way-too-recent relatives I wish I could shake from my tree. But they’re there, in my face, and I want to learn from their lives, their crimes and their mistakes. I feel fully obligated to correct their silence.

Thanksgiving should be a day of remembrance AND dialogue, along with our appreciation of who we have surrounding us every day. Many Canadian friends of mine offer a version of this during their Thanksgiving in October. If we can raise a spoonful of mashed potatoes to the too-much-shit we own, can’t we own up to our past in a way that somehow heals? Can we not also raise our thoughts to the millions of families who were forcibly removed from their lands so we could over-eat, over-buy and over-forget? Couldn’t this help us stop doing these excessive things?

We shouldn’t forget the millions of people and lives that were stolen and murdered to acquire this country. Their bodies could overflow arenas and stadiums. They could dam our rivers. We may not have been the actual murderers, but we are killing their memory and spirit if we don’t CONSIDER AND DISCUSS them today, and by not doing so we are potentially sowing the seeds of repetition. I am grateful for the right to express myself, my anger and my sadness for these things and those people. I see the paradox.

What would make me most grateful is if everyone who thinks pilgrims or Columbus were adventurous heroes would read the better accounts of history. It’s time to get repulsed and mortified. It’s time for less fiction, more honesty, and way less turkey. It’s time to craft new, peace-based, inclusive traditions. It’s okay to say that the past mostly sucked for a lot of people and that we don’t want to suck in the future.

Why is this dinner only once a year when there is so much work to be done? My concept of Thanksgiving is a group effort pot-luck EVERY MONTH. I often call them Kitchen Sessions. Bring your best dish. Same day each month. My house. Your house. White House. Bring a hungry friend and a good story. Discussions about the past and the future are mandatory. And so is lots of dip. Who’s with me? I am very serious.

As Jake (Andy Samberg) says on the hilarious show Brooklyn 99, “the pilgrims were murderers and turkeys taste like napkins.” But enchiladas, lasagna and phở are wonderful.

I am so sorry for many of the methods that were used to get us here, but I am also very grateful that you are alive at the same time I am. I see the paradox and I hope to discuss it over dinner sometime. Truly.

Love,
McGee

Categories
images poem/poetry touring/travel

Badges?

Aw yiss! #dresden #germany #artist #poetryslam #ohetryslam

Categories
blog memoir thoughts touring/travel

Leaving the Pacific Rainwest For Sun José, Droughtifornia

I am packing up all of my things here in Bellingham, Washington. I have a number of friends coming through the next few days for coffee and chat. In the past I’ve given away nearly everything I own in order to move lightly and lithely. This time I have boxes for everything. I’m bringing back the few things I’ve held onto over the last ten years. I have healed a lot, but I didn’t realize that’s what I was doing here. The bandage thought it was scarf.

I am moving into a house with an old friend in my old neighborhood—downtown San José, 95112. It’s where I lived when I couldn’t win a poetry slam to save my life. My old mercado where I’d go for instant coffee, nopales, fresh made corn chips and salsa, along with the best deli downtown, imho. I am coming home to uncle, to work, to live, to write, and to fall in love with Silicon Valley all over again. I will be a block away from my favorite taqueria and in the middle of my family and culture.

I’m about to geek it up in nerdville.

Categories
blog memoir poem/poetry thoughts touring/travel writing

For Jack McCarthy

Jack is on stage now. Sitting and pacing himself. So wise and vivacious. He is loved so thoroughly, here in this room. Everyone here will confirm this. Everyone who sent in something to be read here tonight has made an impact; thank you from the Seattle/Boston scenes. Thank you from my heart. Thank you from a man who just wants to be a poet and a writer.

Thank you, Jack.

I love you.