portion of the artwork for Marcia LeBeau's poem

The Inadequacy of Poetry Readings
Marcia LeBeau

We whisper in rows and wish someone would rise
to the mic. Words wait on standby to be called. They tap
their feet and make the audience fidget. Luckily, a strong
poet is first in the queue. He humbly reads anotherís poem,
then his own. Those of us who’ve forgotten the dishes
in the sink lean forward.

The next poet wins us over, her thoughts give off the scent
of a motherís perfume in the delivery room. Why doesn’t
the fragrance pump through the air ducts
like the fake-bread-smell at Subway? Why do we just idly clap
for number three, who lifts us out of our daydreams and blows
his gray matter down the aisle. We are riveted, but he’s oblivious.
He gingerly picks up pieces of his head. He deserves the pyrotechnics
of American Idol. The bass beat of the Stones!

Poets, you are reciting the lyrics of the best song never written,
the rhythm is your heart and the silence is your pulse
and the ahhhhhh after the last line is the “We love you, Bruce!”
screeched from the nosebleed seats of Madison Square Garden.

Yet, we sit in rows, crossed legged, on folding chairs. Where are our
lighters bobbing overhead? Where is the guy with the Technicolor
Dreamcoat to lead us from this bookstore basement into the night air?
Someone needs to be covered in mud, smeared with something, face
painted. Someone needs to get naked. A battle cry has been sounded,
now the cannons must roar! Come on, you’ve just told us you
are in love with dirt eaters, got molested in the dark, made the first
written observation of a boy selling pretzels in Istanbul. At the very least,
these words warrant a road trip to Vegas to be inked
into someone’s DNA for future generations to trace
with their toddler fingers saying, “Whatís that, Daddy?”

But what do we do? We get up and walk to the back to drink
cheap white wine from plastic cups, munch pre-cut cheese
on stale Triscuits and then walk out into the night in search
of our car that might not have enough gas to get home.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 47 | Spring 2016