From the feeling and emotion brought out in the second poem slash song of the night, there were hints that this was based on a personal experience of poet Jonathan Vaile, a Del Ray resident that was a main catalyst of the Jazz Poetry night at the Caboose Caf.
The lyrics mention a drizzly Sunday drive home from Dewey Beach, with a woman he called B.
The fog is thick tonight, Vaile read, referring to the fog of intentions from their liaison that weekend. I want her so badly to explain what she means, he read. Cryptic to say the least.
Vailes reading was one of many expressions that was the heart of the musical poetic fest by a troupe of poets, musicians, students and artists, gathering at the Caboose.
It was a mixture of jazz and poetry, with deep meanings and sexual innuendos that seemed like they were on the fast track for insiders only. The hope was, that the songs and poems would gain momentum from the audience, and successfully self combust sometime early in the evening. We are still trying to establish ourselves a little bit, Vaile said.
Vaile is an English teacher at St. Auselms Abby School in northeast D.C. He originally formed the group of poets with Cliff Bernier and Shep Williams at the Iota in Arlington over two years ago. They moved on to the Bistro Europa in Old Town, and have now found a home the Caboose Caf in Del Ray. Its hipper than most poetry readings, he said, shunning the roses are red, violets are blue poetry genre.
Two of his students from St. Auselms, Gabriel Fyk and Brendan Durkin, showed up with guitars and accompanied the band on a number of songs. With Durkin and Fyk on the guitars, Williams on the keyboard, and Rocky Jones on the bongo like drums, the performance had beatnik written all over it. Jones second poem, Good Morning, How Did You Sleep, was an off the wall jab at small talk.
Even Vaile was apprehensive when he took the microphone again. I have no clue how to follow that, he said.
Sitting in on a poetry musical gig with the teacher was a pretty cool experience to have, added Durkin, a resident of Mt. Pleasant in DC. Perry Epes, chairman of the English Department at Episcopal, showed up to support Vaile. He read at a Episcopal a couple of times, Epes said.
Throughout the show, a few people joined in but they were friends, not just passersby with an inkling for performing. Cliff Bernier got up with his harmonica, for a performance called Pats Harmonica, that spanned the globe. The sun burning through the thick morning mist, he read. His second number, Bird Cry, was accompanied by piano and background vocals.
One woman, who went by Aretha hammered out Aretha Franklins Chain of Fools, and the night started feeling more like a concert, until Alexandria poet Miles David Moore recited his poem Chain Letter, poking at the internet. One audience member got up for a song, with a chorus Baby Im an Anarchist, and got a few yells and woops from the free-thinking audience.
With the seats all taken in the caf, and all the faces looking in the window, it was clear the Del Ray artsy atmosphere embraced an event like this. Wed like to add to that atmosphere, Vaile said. Caf owner Rhoda Worku was open to the possibility of this poetry jazz night becoming a regularly scheduled event, though no solid date has been set for the next show.