The crisis seems to be passing. But I know that it will only be for a short while before the maw of despair opens its black mouth to stare me down again. And I shall face it again and come through it again. This vicious cycle for me will never end.
On another note last Friday night at an open mike poetry reading I got the courage to stand up and read my poetry and prose for the first time in public. There were maybe 12 people in all in the dark, upstairs room of Helios. I was received with applause and praise even though my voice trembled, my heart beat furiously, and all I could do was stare at the page in front of me instead of at the audience. But I also felt elated. That night I felt like a true writer for the first time. I know I have been one my entire life, since I first learned to spell my name and read a sentence, but something about bringing what's deep inside of me out into the open felt really good. And terrifying. Because there's always this little voice that tells me I'm no good, all I write is shite, and that secretly people are laughing at me. Sometimes the only thing that will shut that voice up is writing more sentences on top of sentences that say "Fuck you! I am good, in fact real good, and there is nothing you can say that will keep me from writing. You'll have to pry the pen and paper out of my cold, stiff fingers before I give it up. And since I don't plan on giving up ever then I guess it will be a hot night in hell before my fingers ever get cold." That and alcohol works pretty well too.
Before the other people arrived at the poetry reading I was actually sitting at the bar downstairs at Helios drinking a whiskey and coke, tying a cherry stem into a knot with my tongue and teeth, and writing a poem. Here it is:
Flowers on a street corner
In a small patch of earth
Surrounded by concrete
And the blur of cars rushing past
Only there to amuse the vanity of
The wealthy owners of that corner
They still grow, bloom, smell sweet
Attracting the bees and the hot breeze
On this day they were noticed
By her as she walked along the sidewalk
She stopped, she looked, she smiled
She closed her eyes and breathed in
That fragrance so sweet
She tried to guess the thoughts
Of the blazing yellow flower
Whose image now seared her memory
Whose language now echoed in her thoughts
Connecting a color
To a phrase
To a man
To he who said
Blazing yellow was his color
In my notebook the essence of the poem is exactly the same. But when I just wrote it here it changed and formed into what you've just read. There is another part to it. I see it now. It will have to be written at its own time later.
After the poetry reading my friends and I went to a place that I have been going to for over a decade. That particular bar deserves its own page but I will have to find the right moment to divulge its secrets later. Suffice to say that every person I have ever taken there had never been there before. Each person leaves with his or her own impressions. My friend M said that if a guy ever took her there on a first date she would be pissed off and wondering what he wanted from her. Her date J, I could tell, will be coming back there some day with a date who is more willing. And I smile my work to see. How I influence those around me.
But something even more interesting happened. Before my friends got there they popped into a palm reader's house on a whim and forked over $10 a piece to have their fortunes told. I laughed at them over my Stoli screwdriver and told them I could have read their palms for free. J stuck out his hand and said go ahead. I took his hand in mine and peered at the lines there. Almost every person on earth has the same basic lines. I looked at them for a few moments before I told him what he had just paid $10 to hear. So who is more credible? Me for not charging him or the palm reader for being a professional reader? It's tricky isn't it? M wanted her hand read too. Which I did but I hesitated. Friends are harder somtimes to read for because there are certain things you know about them and the rest is easy to guess. I happened to guess right. It wasn't their lines I was reading. It was them. This is hard to explain. I just know things sometimes. It comes through like small voices talking to me. Or waves that break over me in subtle ways. Sometimes it's actual mental pictures that I see. I don't go around talking about this, though. Voices and pictures in the mind sounds crazy.
It was an interesting night.