The Poetry Reading

Three hours into a heated discussion
on how entropy is unavoidable
in most applications of modern philosophy

having drunk down to the bitter dregs
black coffee laced with chicory seed
and double shots of expired yesterday creamer

hand calloused from holding cheap pens
like vise-grips on a burred bolt

watching the casual observers roll in about seven
as they try to avoid walking by the corner table
where the ashtrays boil over, still burning

then the loud click of the amplifier
as the mic, ungrounded, fails then passes
its tentative check – the gathered throng murmurs
as the cash register punctuates like a meditation bell
and the same old welcome, call to order is issued

there is so much bad poetry in the world
like scenes from terrible highway accidents
so many seem to want to share it
and they do
punctuated by short glimpses of beauty
a whirl of words, from wanderlust to whimsy
then for a brief span of moments
there at the mic, barely looking at the freshly inked
page, it comes out brash and loud and wild
like a panther from behind the brush
it catches you by the throat and pulls
your strength and suddenly the caffeine is not
enough, then too much, shaking with it
hanging on to the mic stand for dear life
knees weakening as your mouth dries
like too much cocaine and that metal taste
of seizure
and then you write another one.

14 AUG 2003

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