[Revised copy was posted on March 29, 2011. This poem was accepted, and I was invited to participate in a writer's workshop by writer in residence, Nancy Rawles, in late April.]
Fish and Open Mic Night
It's fish and open mic at Der Schnitzel.
Poached, steamed, broiled, boiled,
dried, fried, in soups and sauces,
piled high, eyes still bright
silver bodies shimmering
in the harsh lights of the hall.
Tonight, ten fish dishes - ten acts.
Comics, poets, a demure cello player,
a dwarf on A# harmonica,
and a shy, teen,
singing a familiar “Oh, Baby...Oh, Baby” tune,
a Capella, memorized note by note, listening to a CD.
Blazing, stilted taste and organized fun,
glorious in attempt to dazzle and entertain,
certain the crowd was buzzed and fuzzy on the beer
and polite, white wine.
Glorious - in the way we squirmed and fidgeted,
embarrassed for the people on stage –
a few feet above our heads
and too close to our small table.
We see the holes in the older woman's hose
when she sits on the stool to read her poem.
We feel sad for her -
uneasy when she looses her place.
Her poem is about lost loves.
When she finishes, she puts her head down and sobs a bit.
The stagehand moves to her quickly,
touches her shoulder
and says something in her ear.