The tables were set-up like a panel discussion and the stage lighting gave the feel of a police line-up. On the other hand, it was a pleasure not to hear coffee being ground for lattes and to not be distracted by a band playing nearby.
So there I was in the hot seat after not doing a poetry reading in more than a year. I realized how pleasant it was to have forgotten the feeling of being nervous before going on stage. Now it was back in my body. But I didn’t mind because I have thankfully learned over the years to ignore it (and take rescue remedy). “Just Read,” I said to myself to the tune of Faith Hill’s “Just Breathe.”
I hadn’t expected the poem I read about my first mother-in-law’s passing to still be so raw. I don’t remember ever choking up like that on stage, but I think it was a good sign, one about being in the moment and being real. I also read a poem called The Suitcase, about packing for that final trip when we leave this earth. Before reading it, I told the story of how I posted it on Facebook and an old friend thought I was going on cruise.
There were tankas and nursery rhymes, poems about trees and one about a place in hell for those who don’t put a new roll of toilet paper back on the holder when it’s empty. My poems weren’t the only ones about death and grief. Sadly, we’ve lost several members of our community within a couple of month’s time. My friend Mara talked about that before reading some poems about grief. The atmosphere was more like a workshop or therapy group that lent itself to an easy more intimate exchange.
I was happy to hear Chelsea Adams read some poems from her new book At Last Light and see that there were a couple of new readers, adding to the variety and quality of the whole. I was impressed with the work that was read, so much so that the lack of a non-photogenic venue (an all black box theater) started to grow on me.
Post Notes: The next third Saturday Spoken Word Open Mic at the June Bug Center will be April 20th. Chelsea and Bill Adams will be presenting a jazz and poetry reading at the Floyd library Thursday April 18 at 7:00. See you there.