the poetry reading
at high noon at a small college near the beach sober the sweat running down my arms a spot of sweat on the table I flatten it with my finger blood money blood money my god they must think I love this like the others but it's for bread and beer and rent blood money I'm tense lousy feel bad poor people I'm failing I'm failing a woman gets up walks out slams the door a dirty poem somebody told me not to read dirty poems here it's too late. my eyes can't see some lines I read it out- desperate trembling lousy they can't hear my voice and I say, I quit, that's it, I'm finished. and later in my room there's scotch and beer: the blood of a coward. this then will be my destiny: scrabbling for pennies in tiny dark halls reading poems I have long since beome tired of. and I used to think that men who drove buses or cleaned out latrines or murdered men in alleys were fools.