December 19, 2001 ~ Poetry Reading
I've spoken in public. I've danced, I've sung, and I've given speeches before an audience. But I've never read my own fiction or poetry in public.
Tonight, as a final exam of sorts (more of a final requirement, really) my poetry Professor held an advertised poetry reading at the cafe, and asked all of us students in the class to read one or two of our poems in front of an audience.
As much as I post entry after entry of my ramblings on my life in this journal, I'm actually pretty sensitive about putting my creative writing out for public consumption. I'm not quite weathered in that realm just yet, so tonight was a pretty big step for me. I'm kind of embarrassed to admit my hesitance, being such a "seasoned writer" and all.
It's one thing to have several dozen pairs of eyes focused on you while you speak. It's quite another thing to have several dozen pairs of eyes focused on you while you read the product of your creativity.
But when I had said my last word, and the applause came, I was glad that I had read, and I was glad that the eyes were there.
The poem that I read tonight:
"What bugs me about the city,"
said the driver as he leaned on his horn,
"is the sounds."
I raised my eyebrows in the rearview mirror.
"No, no, not the sounds you can hear."
He beeped his horn twice.
the street vendor's yells,
the trolley bell,
the clack of high heels,
those you expect."
He waved at the newspaper vendor
who waved back.
"What bothers me,
is somewhere else, anywhere else,
away from the city,
you can hear someone breathe,
but here ya can't."
He rolled his eyes at the woman
darting in front of the cab
with her dog.
"When I'm standing on a street corner
ignoring the constant city noise
looking up at a scraper,
70 floors stacked on one city block,
I imagine one person
on the top floor
And that's not so bad.
Except that I can't hear it."
His green eyes caught mine
in the rearview mirror.
We slid to a stop at the light.
"But then I realize
there may be 200 people
on each of those 70 floors.
That's 14,000 people.
What if they all sighed at once?
The sound of 14,000 sighs
would be deafening,
but I wouldn't hear it over the traffic.
That's what's disturbing."