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Retired USN 31Jan1985; Resident of Naval Home Gulfport 2002-2005.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Observing A Poetry Reading Group

Sitting at the high table facing the window
marveling at the watercolored orchids
on the door you're not supposed to use (but everyone does)
Listening to the coffee grinder as it chews up the beans
for consumption in a brew--mine is currently pumpkin spice--
Realizing no one has picked up the spoon I had earlier dropped
on the floor
Great stuff, I think, as the poets are grouping
very small, tight, not recognizing me; it was then I
realized that the bored group was not really
celebrating their surrounds, but reading mechanically from
classic and hardly original or contemporary musings until a
small girl, maybe ten or eleven, spoke about wondering if
anyone heard her, which was an indictment of the group--they
didn't even realize what her poem was all about!

I keep wondering at the colors on the door and if
it is the only fresh thing here besides the wonderful
tasting aromatic brew and the echoes of the
little girl's words.

I sat in about a month ago and just one person
seemed to want to allow me to speak; but I read
one of my poems, The Wild Hatch, and then the
epitaph for a sailor lost at sea.

I felt then as he must have. lost.

They can only hear their words as echoes
in the emptiness of their verse,
They're like penguins in the winter, huddling,
with their backs to life--and that sustains
their existence. I wonder how happy they are,
and if they have a life, and if it's worse. I
doubt it. Only the little girl has that, and
she is under a heavy wing.

The group seems so far distant although they're
a few feet away
I may as well leave,
There'll be no poetry for me to recite today.

I'm leaving. I can't talk to the colors on the door.
nor to the brilliant little girl in this paranoid society.