Last time Poets & Writers went live at Deja Brew
I streamed it from my computer at home
Now I’m in the center of the purple klieg lights
A few white papers heavy in my hand
That Jamaica You Crazy might just stop my heart
In front of all the people in this coffee shop
Waiting to hear my first amplified words.
I’ll tell you where I got the courage.
Last Saturday I was at the Rising Writers Workshop
In Old Town Manassas
And two young women
from Woodbridge Senior High School challenged me.
They said “Don’t ever be afraid to stand up
And say what you want to say. Be raw. Be fearless.
Like Nikki Giovanni. Like Andrea Gibson.”
Easy to be out there when you’re 17. I’ll be 60 next month.
The middle years have pinched me into a corner
Until the waiter doesn’t even see my hand any more.
So I leaned into the mic and offered up my poems
Fresh as wheat bread turned out of the loaf pans
Thump them. Butter the crust.
Savor them for breakfast when you wake this morning
And remember Deja Brew.
April 4, 2014