December Alchemy

Just got back from the December Alchemy poetry reading at the Napa Bar, which I am kind of fed up with. The Napa Bar, that is. Not the poetry reading.
In years gone by we used to have the readings in the basement, or sometimes in the garden area in the summer, and both of those were really nice, because it was just the poetry reading, and you could hear every word distinctly, for better or worse. Of course, some of the poetry is going to be bad poetry, that is inevitable, and your mind is going to wander after a few sentences until it’s just a burble of words and an occasional ripple of nervous laughter from the audience, but at least you could hear it.
Then they moved us upstairs, and it’s generally not too bad, but tonight it actually felt like enemy territory. There were some people in the back room talking loudly, which is not too surprising, it is a pub, after all, and one guy playing guitar and singing which kind of pissed me off because he could have come out and joined us and taken a turn, but he apparently had no interest in that. Then, there was the guy from the bar who was crossing through the front room, out the door (which leads to a hallway which is actually just a passage from the street to the inner courtyard, there’s no front door there, which means it’s sheltered from rain but other than that, it’s outdoors)and to the supply closet across the hall to bring back three little cartons of tomato juice or whatever, and the room turned to freezing every time he did it, and he did it often enough it seemed on purpose, and then somehow, I don’t know how they timed this, but somebody apparently always ordered a cappuccino right in the middle of somebody’s performance.
The reading itself went pretty well despite all that. Some funny songs, some clever 10 word stories (i.e. “Bugger off,” said Rapunzel, “I’ve just had my hair done.”)
a couple of new people, one from Alaska, a young guy from England who read a poem about sleeping by a canal with a bunch of homeless people, and a girl named Dakota who was, unfortunately, the sole female poet of the evening.
That’s a problem. I don’t know how we can rectify that.
Anyway, by the time it finally got around to me (we had over ten readers, and there weren’t many more than 15 people in the room at any point) I was feeling kind of like I was going to bomb, so much had gone before, but I was all right.
On to the next.


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