“I will take it,” the aging poet said to the ever more sparse crowd at the weekly open mic, “as a recognition is the growth in the quality of my writing that I continue being rejected but now by a much higher quality of literary journals.”
Then there are the days when I play the buffoon, the juggler whose balls come crashing to the floor bringing tears to the crowd of joy or sorrow, I cannot hope to tell, for this day I can only flail about, the circus clown, and you had best keep your distance lest I break you as well.
I have had two, although the first is long forgotten, so perhaps it no longer counts, it certainly didn’t to her, announcing its end like the conductor of a train running late on the mainline to sadness.
Perhaps I have not forgotten but all I see is myself standing alone, intoning words to which the crowd intently listens, much like the audience at a reading by a lesser known poet, feigned polite awareness.
I’ll just say I’ve had one for it is easier that way on all three parties.
They ebb and flow like tides down the half-empty street from venue to venue, many with that lost look of years in the desert, driven on by promised the land of honey notes, the mother’s milk of jazz. The event passes flap in the breeze created by their wake, some checking programs, their personal map to the festival. We stand on the corner watching humanity engage in the ritual we, after 14 years, have chosen now only to observe.
She said, “you so don’t fit in there, everyone’s going on eighty except those can only see it in their rear view mirrors.” “Perhaps,” he said, “but I’m fairly sure I’m on the very young side of things, and it’s nice being the kid in the crowd once again. And anyway, it’s a comforting thought that when the ambulance makes its daily appearance I’m the least likely to be in it.” “Unless,” she laughs, “the others Hear you saying things like that, crochet needles can be lethal you know.”