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Monday 7 November 2011

The Poetry Reading

The oven was hung with icicles,
the toaster was singing a song,
while a plant and a pie were playing I-Spy.
The kitchen was totally mad.

Such was the vision of one young man,
a runner-up in the 5-8 category.

Not a verse from his poem,
just four odd lines pulled at random
from "Kitchen" - a totally hilarious offering.

He sits to thunderous applause.
Thoroughly well deserved.

Follow that!
My turn to read.

I down the rest of the Chablis.
(The rest of my glass, that is),
pick up the type-script,
grab the right elbow which is off doing a jig.

Everyone thinks it's nerves, of course.
Which it isn't.
It's a tremor I have.
Alright then. It's a tremor exaggerated by nerves!

I read three lines (and a bit).
A door bags open.
The Old Woman of the Sea enters.
Shuffles to the rear.

The papers in my hand flap like flags in a high wind.
Why am I even reading this?
I know the damn thing, word perfect.
Am I afraid my mind will go blank?
That must be it.
But why so many nerves?
I'm well used to speaking in public.
Too much Chablis?

I can't see the damn lines to read them, anyway.
I bet they can't even hear me at the back...
not above the flapping of these papers.
I chuck the script.

All the entries are on display around the room.
I read them earlier.
Didn't do a lot to boost my confidence,
seeing what I'm up against.

Do professional poets
have to earn their living this way?

There's always someone
worse off than yourself!

Somehow I croak my way to the end.
Reach for another glass of Chablis.


Isabel Doyle said...

love the 'Kitchen' lines - whatever you do, don't try beta-blockers for the nerves - they are poison to the Muse

best wishes Isabel x

Cait O'Connor said...

Lovely post.
Rescue Remedy is good for nerves,

Mary said...

I enjoyed this, would like to have been there! You set the scene clearly. I think seeing "the old woman of the sea" arrive while one was reading would set me back a bit as well! (Makes me want to go to a poetry reading again! Always interesting characters, such as those in your poem.)

Lolamouse said...

I've never been to a poetry reading. After reading your poem, I'm not sure I'd ever want to present at one! I know I'd never want to follow a cute kid! This was great fun to read!

Brian Miller said...

ha. been there and nice capture...you know no matter how many times i read or perform there are always butterflies...if there are not then i am way too over confident...

izzy said...

This is Great! -And I am usually FAR to serious-thanks.

Margaret said...

I find reading one's own poetry is very unnerving and leaves me very vulnerable. But so does showing my art work (drawings, paintings) to someone... I like how you end it.. "reach for another glass of Chablis". ha.

sunny said...

excellent poetry Mr Dave,really like it.

Hannah Stephenson said...

I love how this is a poem about a poetry reading...narrating your own narration.

The more you do, the easier it gets....right? :) I'm sure you were great.

It always helps for me to imagine that the people in the audience are just extensions of our reader that we usually write to....

Other Mary said...

*Clapping madly as you take your seat* Encore! and...I sympathize with your and your nerves!
Also, wanted to thank you for your comment on my last poem, you were spot on with the mention of the word 'wasted.'

Other Mary said...

Oh, and maybe you would tell me what chucking stones is about? If it's more of your poetry I would like to follow, but if it's some special group thing I don't want to intrude.

ArtistUnplugged said...

Love this one, kitchen madness, nerves of a poet...awesome read, so real.

Rose Marie Raccioppi said...

Ah, Yes the poet knows his heart is to be heard... and so flows his intended word... a bit of nerves to set the tone... to share the words you have come to own...

Poetry performance always starts from behind 'the curtains.'

Much love,
Rose Marie

Windsmoke. said...

The first stanza done for me especially the first line "The oven was hung with icicles". I reckon the rest sounds a bit like a case of stage fright :-).

Eileen T O'Neill ..... said...


A rather nerve wrecking experience it would seem. I would be inclined to have the chablis before leaving home and an extra bottle in my pocket, just for good measure!!!
At least in that way, the whole experience will be enjoyable, if only for the bouquet of the bottle!


haricot said...

I remembered an exhibition of Art's by Jean Cocteau, full of signitures beside his poems, "opium" "opium"...
Besides your touch of poem is humorous and of humanism.

Victoria said...

Fun, fun, fun, David.

Dave King said...

Yup, have been on Beta blockers - for something else. A rather dry period. It really is a tremor, though, not nerves (98%/2%!). Honest! Thanks for the tip, though.

Thanks, but I am on a prescription drug - for the tremor. And thanks for the comment.

Alas, the bookshop chain which ran these competitions/readings has changed hands. They do not happen any more.

That was just one. They weren't all so traumatic!

Yes, there is always that basic anxiety, I agree. And I wouldn't be without it. True enough.

You couldn't be too serious after the childrens' efforts.

Thank Heaven for Chablis! And thanks for your comment.

Cheers, sunny. Much obliged.

That be darn good advice. Thanks very much for it - and yes, it does get easier.

Other Mary
Many thanks for another much valued comment. Glad mine helped.

I just hope the madness didn't spill over too noticeably into the reading! Thanks.

Rose Marie
Like that. Thank you very much for it.

Yup, went down a bomb, did that.

Sound advice. I shall follow it if ever the opportunity arises. Thanks.

Great comment. Thanks.

Looking back on it, yes!

Jenny Woolf said...

Oh, don't be worried next time, your stuff is sure to be better than most of theirs. I think professional writers have a very hard time so be glad you don't have to earn a living at it. The young man will go far. :)

Dave King said...

Other Mary
Chucking Stones is only an experimental blog on which I try out things I'm not sure about.

Thanks for this encouragement.