Sunday, September 18, 2011

Rev Bill, from Worchester way shares poems

Last week "Rev." Bill MacMillan, a national slammer, poet and most especially a human being interested in what happens to fellow humans - featured at the Wednesday Night Poetry Series in Newtown, CT.

Until recently he was slammaster of the Worchester Poetry Slam.  Among the many wonderful poems he presented in Newtown were two items I found particularly interesting for my own hair-brained reasons. The first was a poem called "Reentry (for Larry Walters)" which is about a guy dubbed Lawn Chair Larry, who apparently many years ago, launched himself to 16,000 feet while sitting in a lawn chair dangling from some hot air balloons.  I'd never heard this true tale before. It really is an amazing story of human endeavor and eccentricity!

Besides Larry himself, lawn chairs are peculiar items, colorful and odd. When I lived in North Conway, I believe there was a summer parade featuring a precision marching troupe which slung aluminum lawn chairs around in maneuvers the way Marines might sling their weapons. Another point for lawn chairs. Amazing. I also have a poem titled "I Sing the Lawn Chair Electric" (see the poems page for a video of that one), though riding one airborne was certainly not what I had in mind when I wrote it....

The other item that knocked my socks off was a "last will" poem called "A Humble Request"  MacMillan said he handed it to his attorney and said "Make it so...."  It bans services and memorials in favor of a bon voyage party, requests the singing of the Monte Python song "Always Look on The Brighter Side," and the distribution of his ashes to everyone in tiny vials with a long list of interesting places they might be scattered. All excellent notions and quite similar to a half written will I have on hand. He carries it a bit farther though than I did and I really like where it ended up with a final request on how we should "be yourselves, be the people I knew and loved," and to move on and live on with joy.

Both poems can be found in his chapbook Searching for DB Cooper, which has many other gems. Check out his facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rev-Bill-MacMillan/169733419736107