I was invited to an open mic night last weekend to read some poetry as part of an all day festival. I suppose I should have made more enquiries as to how many people were attending and how many had agreed to stand up and read poetry. It’s not that I’ve not done this sort of thing before, but it’s nice to know what sort of audience you are going to be faced with; and with that knowledge, select the type of poetry you are going to read.
As it turned out, I was one of only five who had signed up to read, and, having been introduced to the organiser and others taking part, it then left it far too late for me to back out. The event went well and I think the few poems I read were fairly well received. But in future I shall ensure I find out a little more about what is involved before I commit.
Anyhow, the first poem I chose was one I may have posted on this blog in the past, but which I have rewritten and expanded a little.
I’ve lived many years in this neighbourhood
and I wear it darkly, tightly
over my ears to quiet the arguments,
pulled low to keep me to myself.
I sleep in my neighbourhood for safety
behind four sealed walls of solitude,
a comfort from coldness.
My neighbourhood is a mix of fabrics:
real or imagined, most from overseas,
but all I can afford. Shrinking with time,
parched in wordless bigotry, this space
encloses me as a succubus would.
My will is worthless.
A terse postscript to unrequited ambition.
My neighbourhood has gathered grime
over time, and I fear the future.
Doors would open and close
with symmetrical insincerity,
offering glimpses of life’s GIFs.
A half century of ‘what ifs’ and ‘if only’:
mantra of all those lonely souls.
This neighbourhood now shows its age,
threadbare, see-through skin
and a thinly disguised idea
of what it once was or tried to be.
Change lifts print from the page,
where white space cannot restore
or replace the past.
© Wally Smith 2019