where the writers are
The Reading

A few weeks ago, I went to a local library to give back some books. The librarian registered them in the computer, almost mechanically, and then took a second look.

 

            – You read poetry!?

            – Yes, I do – I replied, afraid that she might send me to a lab somewhere.

            – Pardon my surprise, but only a few of our readers appreciate poetry – she smiled and handed me a brochure - Did you know there’s a poetry reading in our auditorium in ten minutes?

            She didn’t have to convince me. I went to a coffee shop, ate a chicken patty, drank a coffee and ten minutes later I was at the auditorium. There were a few people in the audience and a man on the stage tanked our presence and started complaining about today publishers who, according to him, were the wall between his poems and the world and spent their lives fighting new poets and stopping their success.

            The audience applauded the speech, the man read some poems of his own and I started to empathize a lot with the publishers who refused his manuscripts. Then he asked if anyone in the audience wanted to read some poems. Nobody replied. He insisted. An early twenties girl got up and went to the stage, with more papers in her hand than a social security employee. I was worried about the number of poems she was going to read, but then I realized she only needed that much paper, because each verse had about fifty exclamation points.

            She read her poems and I must confess that I learned a lot. For instance, I learned that a sunset is beautiful and orgasmic. How about a sky full of stars and no clouds, do you know how that is? It’s lovely and orgasmic. How about a garden full of red roses? It’s amazing, outstanding, sublime and orgasmic.

            The audience applauded, specially two old ladies who seemed amazed with how easy is finding orgasmic things. “Anyone else wants to read a few poems?” Of course not! Nobody could compete with that girl’s verses. “We still have time”, insisted the man. I was about to suggest there was a good poetry section in the library, but the girl said she had a few more poems in her bag and could read them.

            “Oh no, the same stuff again”, I thought. But she surprised me. The adjective “orgasmic” was in every poem, but there was a variation in the number of “as”. Some things were “orgasmic”, others were “orgaaaaaaaaaaaaasmic” and others were “orgaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaasmiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiic” (yes, there was also a variation of “is”). Sometimes the poems were so good that the number of repeated vowels matched the number of exclamation points.

            Half hour later, the librarian came in and said it was time to go. The girl said she had a few more poems, but the woman insisted that they had to close the library. Once again, she didn’t have to convince me. I was the first to leave the room and I still wonder why I waited that long. Maybe I was too shy to leave. Of course that, before I go out, the librarian told me there would be those kinds of readings every week. I smiled and promised to check my schedule. Then, I caught the bus, went to a bookstore and bought enough poetry books to read during the next five years.