At Moe’s

I was reading at Moe’s on Telegraph,
legendary Berkeley bookstore praised
by The San Francisco Chronicle:
“India has the Taj Mahal, Berkeley has Moe’s Books.”
There was a Beyonce concert in San Francisco
that night, so the crowd was thin but rabid
with book buying, and the magical Joyce Jenkins
of Poetry Flash beamed her spirit light everywhere.
Richard Silberg said,
I saw your fire rise up when you read. It was
large and beautiful
Wow. Thanks, I said, and thought of
the cool history of the place, founded by
anarchist Moe Moskowitz, home to People’s Park
and the Free Speech Movement,
happy to read my dirty poems there.
I thought of my “real” name
with the initials P.S.:
not a post script,
but more a year in the asylum,
a handoff—
the body’s cave, the more
that’s coming.





Jan Beatty sixth book, The Body Wars, will be published in 2020 by the University of Pittsburgh Press. She is the winner of the Red Hen Nonfiction Award for her memoir, American Bastard, forthcoming in 2021. Her last book, Jackknife: New and Selected Poems, won the 2018 Paterson Prize. For many years, Beatty worked as a waitress, an abortion counselor, and in maximum security prisons. She directs creative writing at Carlow University where she runs the Madwomen in the Attic writing workshops and is Distinguished Writer in Residence of the MFA program.