The Reading: A Nightmare
Noon: A letter arrives stating (but, please,
no promises) I may be called on to read
my work, then a putative date and place.
3pm siesta: Courtesy of Dream Air International
all at once Im there and ahead of schedule
Meaning, to be specific, at the bar nextdoor.
Already wine flows freely. Still unsure
when or whether my turn will come, I swill
the stuff in obfuscating draughts
whichd give even a Dylan Thomas pause...
As soon as my speech begins to slur
and it gets tricky keeping vertical
Im beckoned, noons possibility made firm:
The audience have been waiting some time.
They sit sober as judges; in their midst
the smooth white hair of a major minor poet
and editor whos been rejecting my verse,
off and on, for fifteen years or more.
The scene shifting to dire slow motion:
Stranded anywhere between um and er,
I realise that, save some unfinished scraps,
Ive left all my manuscripts back home...
Would people mind waiting till my partner
a plane-fare or so away fetches them?
The request ends up a last-ditch splutter.
Meanwhile, in the mail, another letter:
Same editor claiming my last submission
is plagiarised from something of his own
which, naturally, I have never read...
At this point I wake up, stage turns bed;
just in case dreams or nightmares come true,
I switch on the light, fumble for a biro,
start, between silences, to set this down...
Martin Bennett | Mudlark No. 12
Contents | Song of the Flags