Publisher’s Blog

157 posts

Welcome to the new Publisher’s Blog

This here marks the point where the new Poet’s Haven Publisher’s Blog goes live.

I’ve spent some time over the past several months checking out various blog programs, intending to keep the blog hosted on  There are many great programs out there, but none that had all the features I wanted to have already built in.  While I certainly could work on a program and add everything, I decided that time is an issue (or the lack thereof) and it would be best to simply take the easy route.  So, the new blog is here on Google’s

I was selective in which old posts I imported here.  Many posts promoting shows or announcing a new podcast were left behind, along with all the posts (and all the newsletters from before the old blog was launched) talking about parts of the site that have been closed.  (How many posts would you want to read about the old chat room, which has been closed for several years?  lol)

So here we be.  This is where I’ll now be posting Poet’s Haven event promotion, podcast updates, and the occasional rant or bitching session.  Have fun!

More Updates…

For the first time in a VERY long time, the submission queue is all caught up.  Now it is time for me to get some work done on the site itself.

The review sections have been removed from the site.  These sections have never been terribly popular: Only two music review submissions have been received in the last six years. As part of the ongoing effort to streamline the site into something more akin to a literary journal, the movie, music, book, and game reviews have fallen outside the territory we want to cover.  If I want to throw an entertainment recommendation your way, don’t worry, I’ll do it right on the blog.

Speaking of: Everyone HAS to go see “The Lovely Bones” while it is still in theaters!!!  Why is “Avatar” collecting awards when this AMAZING piece of cinematic art is showing on a neighboring screen? I can count the films I’ve found truly moving on one hand, and “The Lovely Bones” has made that list.  (And since I know someone will ask, no, I have not read the book, though I may pick it up if I see it at Mac’s Backs or HPB.)

Okay, back on topic…

The next thing to go will be the message forums.  As soon as the blog has been moved, this will happen.  If you need to collect any work or drafts out of the “Work in Progress” forum, get it done ASAP.

I’ve been asked why the forums are being closed.  When the internet was a new thing for most people, having a community discussion on a poetry site worked.  However, as time has gone on, the community discussions have moved away from sites like this and taken up residence on sites like Facebook.  Again, efforts are being made to focus on the core of poetry, stories, and art that have made popular these past thirteen years, leaving the mass-media chit-chat and skewed polls to the social networking sites.

Work is underway on more podcasts.  Three new episodes were released earlier this month, and two more are nearing completion.  Unfortunately, due to time limitations, the podcast work had to take a temporary pause while I worked through the submission queue.  There’s one more big change on the way for the presentation of the podcasts, something that I think everyone will love to hear.    Keep listening.

Our live event schedule is right on track!  Saturday Night With The Poet’s Haven shows will now be held on the third Saturday of every month.

February 20th, we’ll be at Blue Arrow Records in Cleveland, with featured poets Azalea Tidwell and Miles Budimir and featured musician Blackwell!

March 20th, we’re at Angel Falls Coffee in Akron, with featured poet Laraine Seidl and a featured poetry/music set by T.M. Göttl and Zach!

April 17th’s show is in the works, and won’t be what was expected.   Then May 15th, we’re at Angel Falls with John Dorsey and Christina Brooks!

Also, be sure to check out the Canton First Friday Poetry Slam!  The first Friday of every month, a huge art festival fills downtown Canton, Ohio.  Come to the 2nd April Art Galerie (downstairs in the Kathleen Howland Theater) at 7:30 for the First Friday Poetry Slam.  The show starts with an open-mic to warm everyone up, then we have the competition.  First place takes home $50, second and third take home $30 and $20.

Okay, back to work I go…


Three new podcast episodes have finally gone online!  Changes are underway in the format and presentation of the episodes that will help me produce the episodes faster while giving them a bigger-budget sound.  You’ll hear some of the initial changes across these three episodes, with more changes in the weeks ahead.

Episode 27 features Jason Floyd Williams, Ramona Stone, Gina Tabasso, T.M. Göttl, and Timothy House!

Episode 28 features the poetry of Parker Amsel and Lisa Vicious, with the music of AURAL Heather!

Episode 29 features Lisa Vicious, Ramona Stone, Jake from (Me) vs Them, Christopher Franke, Jen Pezzo, and Anne McMillen!

Download episodes directly at:

Or subscribe to the podcast through iTunes at:

The Saturday Night With The Poet’s Haven open-mic series will be happening on the third Saturday of every month through 2010.  Odd-numbered months (January, March, etc.), we will be at Angel Falls in Akron, Ohio.  Even-numbered months (February, April, etc.), we will be at various venues across Cleveland.

January 16th, we will be featuring poets Michelle Sinsky and February Luv at Angel Falls!

February 20th, we will feature poets Azalea Tidwell and Miles Budimir with hip-hop artist Blackwell at Blue Arrow Records in Cleveland!

Please note:  I will be closing the forums on this site in the not-too-distant future.  I will be moving this blog to a traditional blogging program (complete with RSS feeds, etc.).  Anyone who has work posted in the “work in progress” forum that you do not have saved elsewhere, you should get it copied to your own system ASAP.  Or, y’know, finish it and submit it to the poetry gallery.  (AHEM… Riske…)

Poet’s Haven Event News

This Saturday, The Poet’s Haven will be at Angel Falls in Akron, Ohio with featured poets Gina Tabasso and Terry Provost!  This ALL-AGES/UNMODERATED show starts at 7:00 PM (sign-up for the open-mic at 6:30).

December 12, The Poet’s Haven will be at Phoenix Coffee on West 9th Street in Cleveland, Ohio with featured poets Wendy Shaffer and Eric Alleman!  This show is ALL-AGES/UNMODERATED and starts at 7:00 PM (sign-up for the open-mic at 6:30).

2010, The Poet’s Haven will have a show on the third Saturday each month.

“Odd” months (January, March, May, etc.), we will be at Angel Falls in Akron, Ohio.  One of the features for January 16th will be Canton area poet February Luv!

“Even” months (February, April, etc.), the show will move around to different Cleveland area venues.

All the dates have been listed on the open-mic event schedule, so start marking your calendars!

Plans for the new Poet’s Haven Digest magazine and e-book series have been put on hold.  Issue one was nearly complete (we just needed cover art), but ultimately the decision was reached to put off relaunching the second publication due to time restraints.  (Between the site, the open-mic events, and the podcast, I simply don’t have time to take on another schedule-sensitive project.)  The Poet’s Haven has another e-book and print publication project in the planning stages, but I’m not prepared to publicly announce details yet.  (Ask me in person and you might get an earful, though.  lol)  Poems that were being held for use in the magazine have now been published on

Speaking of the website, over 100 new pages of poetry and stories have been added to the galleries!  Every time I think I’m almost caught up, the submissions start rolling in!  😀

YES or NO quiz thing…

Yes or No

1. You can only answer YES or NO

2. You are NOT ALLOWED to explain ANYTHING unless someone messages or comments you and asks. And believe me, the temptation to explain some of these will be overwhelming…nothing is exactly as it seems.

3. It is harder than it looks. But no explanations !!! You will want to…But don’t!!!

Copy and paste this into your notes, delete my answers, type in your answers, and tag as many of your friends as you’d like to.


Kissed any one of your Facebook friends?— yes
Been arrested?— yes
Kissed someone you didn’t like?— no
Slept in until 5 PM?— yes
Fallen asleep at work/school? — yes
Held a snake? — yes
Ran a red light? — Yes
Been suspended from school?— yes
Experienced love at first sight? — no
Totaled your car in an accident? —yes
Been fired from a job? — yes
Fired somebody?— yes
Sang karaoke? — yes
Pointed a gun at someone? — yes
Done something you told yourself you wouldn’t? — yes
Laughed until something you were drinking came out your nose? — no
Caught a snowflake on your tongue? — yes
Kissed in the rain? — yes
Had a close brush with death (your own)? — yes
Seen someone die?— yes
Played spin-the-bottle? — yes
Sang in the shower? — yes
Smoked a cigar? — no
Sat on a rooftop? — yes
Taken pictures of yourself naked?— no
Smuggled something into another country? — no
Been pushed into a pool with all your clothes? — yes
Broken a bone?— no
Skipped school? — yes
Eaten a bug? — yes
Sleepwalked? — yes
Walked a moonlit beach? — no
Ridden a motorcycle? — yes
Dumped someone? — no
Forgotten your anniversary? — no
Lied to avoid a ticket? — yes
Flown in a helicopter? — no
Shaved your head? — no
Played a prank on someone? — yes
Hit a home run? — no
Felt like killing someone? — yes
Cross-dressed? — yes
Been falling-down drunk? — yes
Made your girlfriend/boyfriend cry? — yes
Eaten snake? — no
Marched/Protested? —yes
Had Mexican jumping beans for pets?— no
Puked on amusement ride? — no
Seriously & intentionally boycotted something? — yes
Been in a band? — yes
Knitted? — yes
Shot a gun? — yes
Skinny-dipped? — no
Caused someone to need stitches? — no
Eaten a whole habenero pepper? — no
Ridden a surfboard? — no
Drank straight from a liquor bottle? — yes
Had surgery?— yes
Streaked?— no
Taken by ambulance to hospital? — no
Passed out when not drinking? — yes
Peed on a bush? — no
Donated Blood?— no
Grabbed electric fence?— yes
Eaten alligator meat?— no
Eaten cheesecake? — yes
Eaten kids’ Halloween candy? — yes
Killed an animal when not hunting? — yes
Peed your pants in public? — no
Snuck into a movie without paying?— no
Written graffiti?— yes
Think about the future? — yes
Think about the past?— yes
Been in handcuffs? — yes
Believe in love? — yes
Sleep on a certain side of the bed? — no

Poet’s Haven Schedule Updates
This is the Poet’s Haven show planning spreadsheet.

Some items to note:  I have removed the October date from the schedule.  My sister’s wedding is that month, and I do not want to be worried about getting out to promote a show when I need to be at family gatherings.  Starting in November, Angel Falls in Akron will be our “home” location.  We’ll be doing the show there every “odd” month.  “Even” months, the show will still travel around the Cleveland / North-East Ohio area.

The next show is September 19th at Blue Arrow Records in Cleveland.  Our features will be poet/author Anne McMillen and singer/songwriter Meganne Stepka!  This show starts at 7:00 PM!  Let me repeat that…  This show starts at 7:00 PM!  We have to start on time here, the record store closes at 10:00.  Spread the word!  The open-mic will be open to both spoken-word and musical performances!

Then, after the aforementioned break in October, November 14th we will be at Angel Falls in Akron for a show featuring poets Gina Tabasso and Terry Provost!  This show will also start at 7:00 PM.

Both of these shows are ALL-AGES/UNMODERATED.  That means you can bring the kids, but they might hear some R-rated words.  Parental advisory.

Podcasts:  I am working on them.  What’s going to happen is, it’ll take me a while to get the audio from several shows processed, then several episodes will all go up quick.  I’ve prepped the audio recorded at both March and April’s shows, and am now working on the audio from May’s show.  Once I’m through May, I should be able to get several episodes finished.

Stay tuned, there’s more to come, and I hope to see many of you on the 19th!


Survey Thing: "My Life According to Jim Steinman"

Pick a band or musician and answer the questions using only song titles by that artist.

Pick your Artist:
Jim Steinman

Are you a male or female:
Lost Boys and Golden Girls

Describe yourself:
All Revved Up With No Place To Go

How do you feel?
I’ve Been Dreaming Up a Storm Lately

Describe where you currently live:
Back Into Hell

If you could go anywhere, where would you go?:
Nowhere Fast

Your favorite form of transportation:
Peel Out

Your best friend[s] is[are]:
More Than You Deserve

You and your best friends are:
Rebel Without a Clue

What’s the weather like?:
The Storm

Favorite time of day:
Faster Than the Speed of Night

If your life was a TV show, what would it be called?:
Dance in My Pants

What is life to you:
Love, Death, and an American Guitar

Your current relationship:
Stark Raving Love

Your fear:
Left in the Dark (Again)

What is the best advice you have to give?
Safe Sex

Thought for the Day:
It’s All Coming Back To Me Now

How I would like to die:
Tanz der Vampire

My soul’s present condition:
Pray Lewd

My motto:
A Wasted Youth Is Better By Far Than a Wise and Productive Old Age

Submission Backlog, New Work On Site…

I’m still trying to get caught up with the submission backlog.  Many new poetry pages have been added to the site tonight, with many more to come.  There are also several short stories awaiting review.

Work has begun on the all new Poet’s Haven Digest magazine!  Six issues are being planned, with the first coming very soon.  COVER ART is needed for the magazine!  The covers will be full-color!

I’m also working on more podcasts.  Episode 25 will be finished soon, featuring Jeff Kosiba.

Server Glitch, Other Issues, Other News

Apologies to anyone who had trouble accessing,, or any of the other sites I host last night.  There was a glitch on the server that caused errors whenever a PHP script tried to run.  (Almost everything here runs through PHP.)  The glitch was fixed late Friday night / early Saturday morning, and everything is now back to normal.  Nothing was lost during this time, the pages were simply unable to load.

Saturday Night With The Poet’s Haven episode 23 should have been released by now.  Here’s what’s going on there.  After a stressful day last Sunday, I woke up Monday morning to discover that I’d bitten down on my tongue in my sleep again.  While it wasn’t as bad as when this happened in February, I am once again having trouble speaking clearly.  Episodes 23 and 24 will be released soon, but will feature a guest emcee.  As for how to stop this from happening again, once my tongue is healed, I’m going to get to the dentist and see about getting some kind of mouth guard to wear at night.  I know this has to be stress related, but I don’t foresee any reduction in my stress level anytime soon.  I do know that I cannot allow this to happen again.  I heal slow as is, and I need to be able to speak and perform at shows.  Especially this month’s show. 😉

June 20th’s Saturday Night With The Poet’s Haven event is coming together quite nicely.  While the show I had originally been planning did not work out (that would be the above mentioned stress from last Sunday), I have changed the direction of the show a bit, targeting a different section of the NE Ohio poetry scene.  As much as I often lament how many small factions make up the poetry scene around here, all of these groups share respect for the others.  Most of the poets I’ve come to know belong to at least two of these groups.  One advantage a show like The Poet’s Haven has amid all this is that if a “competing event” is announced, we can simply target a different audience than the other show.  We still want to draw as many poets and performers as possible, but we don’t have to be in direct competition with another poetry event.  In the end, this motivates me to put together some very unique shows rather than following the trends and featuring the same poets as everyone else.  The shows are better for it.

I don’t want to say too much, but I’m planning something for this show that you have to be there for.  Something that will NOT be used in the podcast.  Something involving me on the microphone.  This is your chance to see me embarrass myself in front of an audience.  It will NOT be repeated.  And, yes, I will be hitting the big three-zero right before this show.

Medicine Through the Ages…

I just stole this off someone’s MySpace page. (I’m sure he stole it from somewhere else on the web, too.)

2000 BC, Here eat this root.
1000 AD, That root is for a heathen, here say this prayer.
1850 AD, That prayer is superstition, here drink this potion.
1940 AD, That potion is snake oil, here swallow this pill.
1985 AD, That pill is ineffective, here take this antibiotic
2000 AD, That antibiotic is artificial, here eat this root.

Site Issues

Okay, after three days of chaos and confusion, the issues that have plagued the site since Thursday are now resolved.  I have reactivated the forum and turned poetry, story, art, and essay submissions back on.

I have decided to do something different with the book, music, movie, and game review sections, and have kept them closed to submissions until I complete the changes there.

I apologize for any inconvenience readers and writers may have experienced these past few days.

Thank you.


Vertigo Xavier
publisher, The Poet’s Haven

podcast updates…

I’ll be working on some new podcast episodes very soon.  My mouth injury is mostly healed, and should be fully healed by Monday or Tuesday.  I’ll probably release a “double feature” or two, two episodes back to back, to get caught up.  The next episode will conclude Dianne Borsenik’s feature reading from December 6th at the Phoenix, then we will begin hearing readings from January’s Angel Falls show and last weekend’s Phoenix Coffee show.

WE NEED MUSIC!  I’ll come right out and say it.  The big delay in getting new podcast episodes out the past two months has been that the music submissions stopped coming in.  Spread the word!  This podcast has over 700 subscribers, and that number goes up with each new episode.  This podcast’s audience is varied and diverse.  Your music won’t be heard by just one type of music fan.  If you’re interested in getting you or your band’s music featured in upcoming episodes, send me an e-mail!

Don’t forget our next gig, March 21 at Insights Coffee & More in Brunswick featuring poetry by Jason Floyd Williams and music by Ramona Stone!  This will be an ALL-AGES/MODERATED show, meaning language must be kept PG-13 but you can bring your kids / sibs / evil minions / etc.  Remember, The Poet’s Haven is open to writers of ALL ages (though any writer under 13 years of age will require a parent or guardian’s signature on the podcast recording release form).

Another Smashing Success!!!

Tonight’s Saturday Night With The Poet’s Haven event was another smashing success!

I am considering starting future shows an hour earlier, at 7 PM instead of 8 PM, to give us more time for poetry.  Any feedback?

Again, THANK YOU to tonight’s featured poets, Jeff Kosiba and Carmen Tracey!  THANK YOU to Neal, Mark, Josh, and Rich from Dear Holden for playing a great set.  These guys came all the way up from Dover/New Philly!  THANK YOU to new voices (at least at a Poet’s Haven show) Marlana-Patrice, Robert O’Lexa, Michele McBride, Jeremy R. Himmelright, Suzanne Savickas, and Peter Hessman (who runs an open-mic at Arabica in Canton on the first Tuesday of every month)!  THANK YOU to returning poets Jen Pezzo, ‘Bert Paliwoda, Dianne Borsenik, and Christopher Franke!  THANK YOU to the many faces I recognized in the crowd who did not read tonight, including Wendy Schaffer, Steve Goldberg, Rob Rosin, and Jacob and Carla (who run the open-mic and Slam at April 2nd Gallery in Canton on the first Friday every month).  THANK YOU to the Phoenix for hosting us.  And THANK YOU to Joe Sabatino (whom will be my brother-in-law come October) for filling in on MC duties.

Our next show will be an ALL-AGES/MODERATED event at Insights Coffee & More in Brunswick, Ohio on March 21st featuring singer/songwriter Ramona Stone and poet Jason Floyd Williams!  Don’t miss it!


Vertigo Xavier
publisher, The Poet’s Haven


I’ve got a million things going on lately.

I’m checking out poems in the submission queue whenever I have a few moments.  No promises as to when the queue will be cleared, but I’m picking them off one at a time.

New CD:  You can’t get this on Amazon (yet, I hope).  The Dreaming, featuring Christopher Hall from Stabbing Westward, have been selling a special disc at shows, and are now selling it on their MySpace page.  It contains some “b-sides,” covers, and remixes.  Last year’s “Etched in Blood” doesn’t go more than week without finding itself back in my CD player, and I’m delighted to have this “pre-op” disc to mix into my playlist.  It includes a cover of The Cure’s “Lets Go to Bed” that simply must be heard.  It also has their version of “Send Me an Angel,” which if you bought “Etched in Blood” off of Amazon MP3 or iTunes, you might’ve missed.  (It was a hidden track on the CD.)

PODCASTS:  We have enough poetry for the next five episodes, but we need music for those episodes!  If you’re interested in getting a song or two featured in upcoming episodes, please send me a message.


See the flier for March’s show below!

April 25 at Visible Voice Books in Cleveland will feature poet Lisa Vicious from Detroit!!!
May 23 at Phoenix Coffee in South Euclid will feature C. Allen Rearick!!!

As soon as the second features for these shows are confirmed, I’ll have fliers ready.

March 21 at Insights Coffee & More in Brunswick, OH features singer/songwriter Ramona Stone and poet Jason Floyd Williams!!!

Don’t forget, this Saturday, Valentine’s Day, we are at the Phoenix in South Euclid, featuring Jeff Kosiba and Carmen Tracey!

Angel Falls show a HUGE success!!!

I’m still riding high from last night’s standing-room-only Saturday Night With The Poet’s Haven event!  We had a total of sixteen people read at the mic, and a coffee house FULL of people there to enjoy poetry.  I’ll begin putting together some podcasts ASAP.  The next two episodes will contain material from the last two shows of 2008 as well as some material from last night.  (Episode 18 has been ALMOST ready for a couple weeks now, it just needed one more poem to fill the runtime.  I’ll probably use Christopher Franke’s poem from last night, as the episode includes his feature read at Cool Beans.  19 will feature the second half of Dianne Borsenik’s feature at the Phoenix in South Euclid.)

That said, I will be needing music for the next few episodes.  If anyone is interested in having a song or two included in upcoming episodes, contact me.

Don’t miss next month’s Saturday Night With The Poet’s Haven event.  February 14th, we will be at Phoenix Coffee in South Euclid, OH.  Our featured poets will be Carmen Tracey and Jeff Kosiba.  Jeff and Carmen featuring on Valentine’s Day!  This will be fun!  😀

March 21st at Insights Coffee & More in Brunswick will feature singer/songwriter Ramona Stone!  The featured poets for that event and for April and May’s shows will be announced soon.


16 Things (okay, get off my case, everyone…)

1. I have not written a poem in ten years. Most of the poems I wrote ended up getting burned. On purpose.

2. Tobacco smoke disgusts me. I don’t have as much of a problem with marijuana smoke.

3. The first concert I attended was Hank Williams Jr. I was 8 at the time. All I remember is the horrible job the sound crew did. When I was 9 or 10, we went to see the New Kids on the Block in concert at the outdoor Blossom Music Center. All I remember is the chick who passed out before the show started and eating Mr. Hero sandwiches out of a cooler. The first concert I bought tickets to was Def Lepard when I was 16. I broke up with my girlfriend two weeks before the concert and ended up going to it with my mom.

4. I have dated three girls named Angie. I regret dating all three of them. One of them, I regret more than all others, because I lost one of my best friends as a result.

5. I don’t drink as much or as often as one would think I do based on my humor and and Facebook posts. I can count the number of times I’ve been drunk on one hand. That said, it does take very large quantities of alcohol to get me drunk.

6. I spend more time shopping for video games than I do playing them. Yet I continue to buy them.

7. I refer to the owner of the comic book store I shop at as my drug dealer. Hey, $50 a week in comics is still cheaper than heroin, right?

8. In college, I wrote a critical essay about a comic book to antagonize an English professor who made a joke about “juvenile habits” after seeing a copy of David Mack’s “Kabuki” on my desk. (Google it if you are not familiar. Definitely NOT a book aimed at kids.) That professor ended up wanting to read the book I wrote the essay on. Mission accomplished.

9. In 2000, I voted for George W. Bush. (Sorry, I could not vote for any ticket with Joseph Lieberman on it, let alone a Gore/Lieberman ticket.)

10. I attribute my surviving high-school to a well-worn cassette of The Cure’s “Wish” album.

11. I attribute several of my high-school classmates surviving to the fact that I did not have access to guns as a youth.

12. I currently own six record players and one 8-track player. I have, since the new year, purchased eight new vinyl records, including new releases from The Offspring and Panic at the Disco.

13. I root for the bad guys.

14. I know how to bake and cook. I’m just too impatient to do all the work when I know I can just buy it in the freezer section ready to nuke.

15. It is really challenging to come up with one sex-related item to put on this list when I use Facebook for professional purposes…

16. I once spent four days working as a second-shift telemarketer. I quit when I realized that the call that woke me and had me screaming about how we were on the do-not-call list at 9:30 AM was from someone on the other shift.

FLASHBACK: April 2000 – Issue Zero Debut in Pittsburgh

It’s FLASHBACK time!  A photo on the MySpace page of an upcoming Saturday Night With The Poet’s Haven featured poet made me think of one of these pictures, so I decided to repost them.  (I’ll be announcing the featured poets soon.)

The time: April 28, 29, and 30, 2000.  The Poet’s Haven Digest Issue Zero made its debut at the Pittsburgh Comicon and small press expo.  I was excited upon arriving there, as my table was only 30 feet away from fantasy artists Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell!  Unfortunately, their line turned the wrong direction and did not pass my table.  My table was across from the Hooters Girls (there is a Hooters restaurant just down the road from the Monroeville Expomart convention center), which did not draw the people whose attention I was trying to grab.  LOL

Ryo-Oh-Ki helped hand out Poet’s Haven business cards.

Stormtrooper TK725 perused Issue Zero to make sure none of the content would offend the Emperor.

Hmmm…  Is the approval of a HellSpawn a good thing?

Mercenary Wade Wilson, aka Deadpool

Avenger Hawkeye, now deceased, errr, resurrected as Ronin… Oye, comics…

Sailor Jupiter and Sailor Mercury

Tuxedo Mask

Tomb Raider Laura Croft

Bad weather, but still a great show!

Tonight, I find myself wishing I’d used the “idiots who don’t know how to drive” intro to the new podcast.  It would’ve been appropriate.  But despite icy roads, we still had an excellent Saturday Night With The Poet’s Haven event at the Phoenix in South Euclid!

I had a rough start to the night.  Dominica Sanchez had to cancel her appearance due to the flu.  A number of things had me leaving the house two hours later than I’d wanted to.  The weather wasn’t very helpful, either.  I arrived at the café a little bit after 7:00 and went to work setting up. The good news is, the more shows I’ve done, the faster I’ve gotten at setting up and tearing down. LOL. While a number of people that we’d hoped would be there were not able to make it, we did have a decent turn-out, including one poet from Michigan, three poets who had not yet read for the podcast, and three more friends and dare I say “regular contributors.”  I also threw in my short comedy routine (though I haven’t decided whether or not to include it in a podcast).  We’ll be back at the Phoenix on Valentine’s Day.  For now I get a few weeks to catch up on my rest, maybe get some more T-shirts screen printed, and get down to business scheduling shows and featured poets for 2009. 😀

Best day I ever had in retail…

Best day I ever had in all the years I worked retail.  It was mid-December of the year I worked at Wal-Mart.  This lady was pacing around the toy department, looking distraught.  I realized the other person working the department that day was avoiding her, so I went up and asked if I could help her.  “I don’t know…  I don’t know what to get for my daughter.  She’s in first grade.  She wrote Santa asking for a ‘for real friend.’  I don’t know what to do…”

“Umm…  She wants a toy cat.”


“Its called a ‘FUR-Real Friend.’  It’s a robot cat.  They’re this year’s ‘Tickle-Me-Elmo,’ the hot item.”

The look on this lady’s face went from distress to pure joy and relief.  She seriously thought her daughter was having social problems at school based on her Santa letter, and was elated to learn that all her daughter was asking for was a toy.

While we didn’t have any of the cats in stock, some of us in the department had been sharing info with friends at other stores about when we got the hot items in.  I knew Toys-R-Us had gotten a shipment in and would put them out that night, so I quietly relayed this to the customer.  (My co-worker’s friend at T-R-U would do the same when we got our shipments in.)  I don’t know if she managed to get one before the holiday, I hope she did.

I do know I will never forget the way she lit up.  Two minutes of my time focusing on customer service changed her whole day for the better.  That I will never forget.

Remember, as you hit the “Black Friday” sales today and do any of your offline holiday shopping this year, if you encounter a sales person who helps you, even in a little way, to thank them.  Retail sales are hell this time of year, especially with the economy like it is and bosses breathing down employees’ necks.  Sometimes, a simple “thank you” is all it takes to brighten that sales-floor worker’s day.