Somewhere in there was a lecture on personal hygiene by the head Englishman, and then a free election. At least half the Americans went on snoozing through it all. The Englishman got up on the stage, and he rapped on the arm of a throne with a swagger stick, called, "Lads, lads, lads--can I have your attention, please?" And so on.
That is one of my greatest fears--getting up to speak in front of a crowd of people, and nobody giving a damn what I say. I've been teaching at the university for over 20 years, and, every time I walk into a classroom, I'm gripped by that anxiety. I feel it when I go to work. When I go to church. When I lead poetry workshops. When I give poetry readings.
Tonight, I am doing a poetry reading with a musician friend. I'm not sure how many people are going to show up. I'm not sure IF people are going to show up. I have poems picked out. My friend has songs picked out. Other than that, I'm not sure what shape the evening is going to take. Maybe there will be questions after the reading. Maybe I will be so inspiring that everyone will want to buy a book from me. Or maybe I'll be so bad that people will start sneaking out the door ten minutes into the reading. And so on.
In a few minutes, I'm going to get changed into my poet outfit for the night. Jeans and a dress shirt. I'll pack up my poems and books and broadsides, and I will drive to my friend's house to pick up her and her guitar. Then I will drive to the library where the reading is scheduled. Those are all certainties. Beyond that, it's all chance.
Saint Marty is thankful tonight for the company of his friend and her music.