Bobby Eversmann (or “bb”) tells me that he spells it “pomes” in order to take the seriousness out of the activity. “The goal is to give into the fear [of writing] like giving into the fear of a haunted house.” As an occasional bookseller, Bobby spends his free time organizing a weekly event called “Late Night Pomes”, a kind of writing workshop over beers that ends with a three-act performance. Bobby arrives with a prompt, pens, and scraps of paper, and participants scribble out small works of poetry.
“Pomes is a little space imagined up in real time. It’s like a role-playing game but there’s no DM [Dungeon Master], there’s just a facilitator. It’s more like playing doctor? Maybe that’s not true. It’s collective-mind dreaming. No… it’s improvisational world-building. No…”
Talking with Bobby usually ends with surreal diversions like this, which is also the appeal of Late Night Pomes. The event brings poetry to life in a way that readings and open mics don’t. As opposed to sitting through a performance, the writers at Pomes are building something together.
“I hate open mics because they’re bad,” Bobby says. “There is so much waiting around. They are important, I guess. They are a live version of a literary journal. But everyone is passive while one is not passive. In Pomes everyone is a participant.”
At Pomes, everyone who attends writes a pome and performs it. The night follows a three-act structure, with small pomes for the first round, larger concepts for the second, and often some sort of collaborative element at the end. Bobby keeps the scraps of paper on which the pomes are written, which he keeps in boxes and tries to share online. It’s a tedious process and hard to keep track of all the content that is created, which is sometimes a good problem to have.
“What do I do with all these silly napkin pomes?” Bobby asks himself. In picking his brain, I find that Bobby is more interested in getting the writing community together than publishing their work. “I think it’s the way writing should work, at least social writing. It’s a we’re-all-in-it-together structure, like water aerobics.”
He pauses. “It fits into my vision of God, which is a series of millions of honeycomb-like pockets all lined up, each honey-hole is talking, telling you the truth, but then there are mean bees getting after you.”
I sense his mind wander into this thought, and my mind wanders with him. Even though I don’t completely understand where he is coming from all the time, I feel like Bobby is onto the same big ideas I’m chasing, and we are both ambling in the dark doing our best to find them.
You can find more information about Late Night Pomes at https://latenightpomes.wordpress.com/.