Cupid lives in words

What would Valentine’s Day be without poetry, right?

Yes, anyone can “go out” and celebrate his or her tumescent cupidity via loud music, good food and a never-ending spring of libations. But words are where love, or the absence thereof, springs to life—and there are a couple of readings of note going on this weekend on the Midtown grid.

Chi Cheng is a man known mostly as bassist for the internationally recognized local group Deftones. But Cheng is also a poet, and he channeled some of his revelations onto an independently released spoken-word album, Bamboo Parachutes, in 2002. Cheng has written a lot of new stuff since then, and he will be reading some of those new works this Saturday, February 14, at Capitol Garage, at 1427 L Street, a venue not particularly known for hosting poets. The gig starts at 7 p.m., and admission is $7, with all proceeds going to a good cause, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). Other musicians and poets will be joining Cheng.

(And if you miss it and wish you hadn’t, and you don’t mind driving to Cheng’s hometown, Stockton, he will be repeating his performance at 7 p.m. on Sunday, February 22, at the Caffeine Den, located at 1720 Pacific Avenue. That show’s also $7, with proceeds going to the SPCA.)

Cheng acknowledged that there are a number of people who aren’t in relationships, who might be put off by all the romantic hoopla surrounding Valentine’s Day. “If they want to hear some depressing shit,” he said, “they can come watch it and get drunk.”

Another poetic destination for Valentine’s Day is The Book Collector, at 1008 24th Street, where former SN&R investigative journalist and news editor Michael Pulley will be reading, starting at 8 p.m., with no cover charge. Pulley’s writing is intense and florid, evoking his native South, but what really makes it come alive is when you can watch him read it; he can be one hell of a performer.

Originally, Pulley was scheduled to read along with local writer Doug Rice, but Rice backed out, leaving Pulley to carry the torch alone. Having observed Pulley get inside his words before, I have no doubt he can carry the show.