Red candy butter in Macadamia swirl,
sold in the aisle between acts. I took
one; they were cheap. Not bad, but
gotta' like sweets. The flashlight guy
was watching me, so I waved him over.
'That's my sister,' I said, 'her name is
Clover.' Then I had to tell him I didn't
'take' that, she'd given to me and would
square up later. He agreed, but took it
as a grudge - 'I'm not your mat to master,'
I said. He talked right back, 'Neither am I
yours.' Wow, I thought, a really intelligent
usher. So, for the moment I was safe.
It little mattered, because the lights went
out again and the thing started playing
once more. Live stuff, up on stage - a
sort of musical number inside a dramatic
recital. I kind of liked it. I was entitled,
being a candy thief and all.
They'd asked me in to do a reading, in about
a half-hour, between acts or something,
while they changed the sets and the lighting.
'That's all good,' I replied, 'but you know I
can't read in the dark.' The booking guy
laughed, 'Of course, we don't expect you
to. It won't be your lights affected.' He
laughed again, so I said, 'Are you making
light of me?' He didn't quite get it.
Actually I like reading before - meaning
in front of, not 'before' as time - audiences
and such, filling up rooms with people. It
only takes a minute and I click right in,
having rapt people, wrapped around my
finger, listening to every word. It's a great
feeling. A regular public oracle, that's me.
You'd be surprised; I don't look like much
but there's a strange power to the voice and
the stuff reads really well. No, I'm not
bragging, though I daresay you've not heard
anything like it before - not that crap-rabble
beanpole ghetto-jump they call 'poetry' now.
The wailers and the angry race-screamers,
women or transvestites, or whatever that
stuff's called these days,
Then, on the other extreme, you've got
regular poetry types - the broken-hearts,
the sad and only, or the sad and the lonely;
the ones writing about sky and flowers
and the pale yellow moon. That's not me
either. I can hold the room to your attention
and make you wonder. I can split your hair
with an heirloom comb. I can make you hear
words you've never ever heard before.
A real assortment, if you ask me.