A couple months have passed since the Former Members reading. So, we’ve had some time to reflect and put together an official archive—
The night before the reading was a banger, we had Marc, Quincy, Hannah and our boy Red over to our place in the hood. No one slept, really, except Han. We all had to be up early to cover the VHS party under the overpass on the eastside, trap and electro first thing is how we do. HH snapped a few flicks as we made our way through the goldenrod along the tracks.
After taking our obligatory photos from backstage and saying what’s up to OMEN, we dipped toward Cabot square, outside the Atwater Library, for a little park drinking. Classic MTL style. We ran into an old friend, Allen, don’t ask— what a gutter jewel. He took a real shine to HH, had to threaten him off the girl with my cast aluminium tripod. Glory.
Around now is when the library should have been open as the first few people began to gather around the front doors. You all know what happened, and we’re not going to defame the Atwater Library crew or whatever. The security guard who mixed up his dates left a message the next day that was so sweetly pathetic that we instantly felt forgiveness in our wizened little hearts. The doors remained locked.
It eventually became apparent that we’d have to run this thing elsewhere. HH had done some recon finding a small, quiet park around back of the library. It seemed perfectly suited for our purposes. We exodused languorously to the second site.
We made six picnic tables into a v shape, set out the books, and let Jesse Chase get to the introductions. This is when the history begins, my friends. The reading started off with HH and I each doing a set. Then our boy Quincy Lehr took the grassy knoll and dropped gems on us as the sun set over the cityscape. The texture of the moment was expressed by this line from Q’s set:
“Yet, here tonight/ it’s slightly more abstract than black and white.”
John Wall Barger came through and hit us with a excerpt from his Book of Festus, and as he read Marc Di Saverio came and shared a cigarette behind the crowd. I remember him remarking that the reading had become something entirely different. How many of you ever leave a reading thinking about how resistance is essential to life? The arch stands by its tendency to fall.
At some point the authorities caught wind of our movements and told us we’d have to vacate as the grounds were considered private property. Dude, we’re DYAD. We can’t trespass, the city’s ours, na’mean. The fuck outta here with that shit! Anyways, I talked them into taking a “walk around the block” and we proceeded to hold court as the streetlights hummed on.
Things were really getting wound up now, here’s Ernest Hilbert’s account and reading:
“In the whirling dusk of the historic and truly mad reading outside of the Atwater Library in Montreal, as the police arrived in force to remove us just as I finished reading “The Gelding” to the gathered and growing crowd, I began frantically handing out copies of my book to people in the dark, since there’s no way a sale was going down in that situation and I was struck with a great streak of generosity and sense of freedom. Some insisted on paying me. One had no money on his person but pressed his card on me, introduced himself as a photographer, and told me he’d be happy to do my portrait before I left the city.”
That photog is Richard Malouf, his work speaks for itself— this flick of Ernie, though…
At the end of the Hilbert set we got evicted. We had to post up live in the street for Marc’s closing set. Who can go after him anyways? At this point your boy was lit up like Christ’s nimbus— my apologies for the shaky video. Marc blazed his set hard, incanting in the dark street, raving to a slipshod crescent of bodies. This climax was epic as fuck.
This reading changed a lot of things for us and despite the obstacles, and more truly, because of them, it has become one of the dopest literary events MTL has ever witnessed. Who’s heard of a reading getting shut down by cops? That’s some mythic type shit right there, homies. DYAD wants to thank every single person who took part in this rite: poets, journalists, photographers, critics, the security guard who shit the bed on us, the cops that took a walk, the city itself. I left that reading going, “What the fuck was that!?”, and that is something very hard to do. We’ll close with a flick that Q Lehr captured on his phone. It expresses it all, peep game—