Thursday, December 18, 2008

Old School

I recently discovered that two of my old high school pals, neither of whom I've seen in years, have both become poets: Oscar Martens and Keith Bridger. Must be something they put in the drinking water at Fort Richmond Collegiate in the 80s. We weren't drawn together by poetry back then: Oscar and I shared, I suppose, a general sense of being alienated grumblers, while Keith and I mostly bonded over binge drinking and ska. We also got involved with the same Icelandic girl and the same 1974 Fiat Spider convertible. Anyway, a little rooting around on the internet makes it clear that both Oscar and Keith are, in key respects, cooler than I am. While I (like just about every other versifier of my generation) became the poet-as-professor, these guys took alternate routes. Keith has become the poet-as-bohemian, making a living as a film and stage actor, a waiter, and a semi-successful competitive fencer (that's with swords, not fenceposts). Oscar's been the poet-as-adventurer, having lived in Kenya and New Zealand, and, to top it off, sailing a schooner through the Northwest Passage (the first time it's ever been done from west to east). He's also a badass martial arts guy who lives on a tugboat. You know: the full Hemingway. If you ever find yourself at a reading by either of these guys, shout "go Centurions!" and see what kind of reaction you get. And tell Keith I want my Sandinista! LP back.