Monday, October 20, 2008

GHETTO PLAINSMAN book party @ Spiral Diner on Monday, October 20th in FW

There had been at least two previous opportunities to hear local activist/writer Jarid Manos read from his first full-length publication, a memoir titled GHETTO PLAINSMAN (Temba House Press, 2007). (By the way, Jarid wants us all to be aware that he is not FROM the ghetto, but, rather, fell deeply into the ghetto as part of his path to adulthood and wholeness.) The first reading was at the Arlington coffee spot MochaLux, on a Saturday night. Needless to say, it was not the perfect venue and time for the launch of a quietly-probing revelatory work, read--as Jarid speaks--softly, hastily. I couldn't hear a word from where I sat, and decided to leave it at that.

The next time he gave a public reading from GHETTO PLAINSMAN, it was as the featured writer for the "Open Mic, Open Minds" series at 1919 Hemphill in February. I had to work that night, so I missed the reading, but heard it went well.

So--when I learned that Jarid was slated for a reading at the FWCAC (Fort Worth Community Arts Center) on Tuesday, March 11th, I knew not to miss this one. The FWCAC is a gallery space--a quiet non-smoking venue--so I hoped this environment would be a suitable backdrop for Jarid's unplugged presentation.

I arrived a bit late, as transportation was a bit challenging to secure, but Jarid happened to be taking a small break just after having started his reading. He stepped over to welcome me, as I rolled my wheelchair into place next to Gabriela and Tabalo, noticing that there were alot of familiar faces in the small audience of about 15 folks.

Temba House publisher Greg Johnson sat near the front, and kept offering suggestions for specific passages to read. Jarid paused thoughtfully between these passage readings to elaborate on certain points and to respond to any questions or comments.

As Jarid read aloud from his book, I felt as if a huge blanketing map of buffalo grass was unrolled over us, drawing us into a great plains ambience. The excerpts vividly described moments of Jarid standing--always alone, always questioning himself and the condition of his surroundings--amidst expanses of acreage pocketed with prairie dog holes, or on asphalt lots, sparkling with broken glass and seedy but amiable urban survivalists. I could feel myself there, standing in his jeans, in his wind-flapped flannel shirt with a broken arm in an itchy cast. I could feel myself there, commiserating with the earth, feeling depletion beneath my feet.

GHETTO PLAINSMAN reads as the soliloquy of a loner who, after descending into the deepest of hells, comes to relinquish his anguish in order to make pact with the land and its inhabitants--whether buffalo or bird, homeless derelict or drug-dazed passerby. This deal is a promise to self as well as to them. A promise to strive towards wholeness, recovery, reclamation, and a resurrection of sorts.


Booksigning party with Jarid Manos

MONDAY, October 20th

Spiral Diner - 1314 W. Magnolia Ave.


Free and open to you and me and everyone else.

See you there.

Bring your copy of GHETTO PLAINSMAN for Jarid to sign, or buy one there at the Spiral Diner.

Sponsored by FW Weekly.



Jarid is a respected ally and comrade here in the 817, and as writer, I have to say that he has penned a wonderfully compelling memoir.

I got a migraine headache sitting up reading the proof copy of this book early last year--it was that good....i just couldn't
put it down...!

Poem #140 of 365

Jarid, I blame you for the headache,
if someone must be at fault,
for I sat and lay in bed reading
your manuscript at 5am today.

I got it from Greg yesterday
and didn't think I'd take the time
to get my eyes up in the book
because I've been so tired lately.

Yet, I woke up so early feeling good,
but didn't want to get dressed, so I
reached for GP and devoured it for
two hours straight.

I recall the various positions in bed. I shifted
with the book in hand to stay comfortable,
on my belly, on my back, sitting up,
but something locked in my neck.

And yet, I couldn't pull away, your story
answered questions and brought others,
so I flipped and turned here and there
to learn about you more.

And, too late, the pain started rising,
in my shoulders and my neck, so tight
and stiffened with contortions
was my body in reading repose.

When the headache came full force,
I cussed my curiosity and my
lascivious reading tenacity and
pressed my temples and walked
the floors, trying to come back
to my senses, get away from the pain.

I never recovered that day or night, though
I had brief spells of rest and latent ache. And
now I fear to resume the read, and Greg
thinks me superstitious, although I beg
to differ.

Lastly, I want to offer a back cover blurb:
"Reading this book gave me the worst
headache of this century, and it was
worth the pain."

Someone, though, please tell me how
it ends.

copyright 2007 tammy melody gomez


Fannie said...

I just lucked up on this site,searching for some Hispanic poetry for my kids to read. I met Jarid once.
If only had I begun my search earlier maybe I would have made it to Spirals tonight.

Tammy Gomez said...

fannie: check out the free public performance of music & poetry at the Fort Worth Public Library (downtown) this coming friday, October 24th, 5-7pm.

i'll be doing a set with my friend and guitarist Ramsey Sprague.

introduce yourself, if you go. would love to meet you (and your kids).