Last week, going by the recommendation of a friend, we ventured into a local ultra-lounge to try their signature hamburger, a beverage, and a little quiet time together to bond and chat uninterrupted.
We were escorted to a table not far from the stage. "Uh oh," I said. "I wonder if there's going to be a live concert here tonight." About ten minutes later, small groups of people began to take seats at tables all around us, and we considered gulping down our drinks and leaving.
Little did I know that it was open mike that night! The emcee introduced himself to the two of us before the event started, and invited us to sing, read poetry, or whatever we fancied. Hmm...
Most of the poets I have heard write in prose, so I thought it best that I show him a copy of Echoes, which I carry with me. I figured that he should know the sort of poet he was dealing with ... one who rhymes.
He read through a few pages of Echoes, in between greeting his guests as they arrived, and then he gregariously invited me read at the mike. If so, I was to follow his own reading.
He opened the event, read a work in prose, and then it was my turn. Unprepared, but unabashed, I approached the stage when he announced me, and read Shanty Town into the troublesome mike.
They all sweetly applauded what I thought was a rather poor reading as I made to leave. To my surprise, they asked for another poem. So I opened Echoes again, turned to Emery, and read aloud.
My daughter, seated at our table, watched me through the lens of my Smartphone camera while she recorded that second reading. Again they applauded, as I left the stage. What's more, I was invited to return the following Tuesday for the next open mike night.
I am both grateful and very surprised by the reception I received from that room full of amiable prose poets. Who knows, I might just press my luck and try it again. In any event, that's what happened when this poet walked into a bar.
If you wish to, you can view my first-ever, filmed public reading by clicking here.
P.S. I'll be writing a followup post on the recent Author Fair and, perhaps, have a little announcement to make.