I cried at a poetry reading tonight. I cried. At a poetry reading. It bears repeating because, seriously who actually cries at a poetry reading? I don’t even like poetry, really. It’s anarchy and chaos makes me nervous.
I don’t read poetry very often. I read it a lot in college when I used to pretend like I was a poet, because I thought being a writer meant being a poet. It took me 35 years to realize that I am not a poet and be okay with that. My friend Polly though, she’s a poet. She’s an amazing poet and on top of that she’s a charismatic and engaging reader.
Tonight Peabo and I journeyed to The Loft to catch Polly’s Mentor Series Reading. I have to say, I was a little nervous. Not because I didn’t have faith in Polly’s talent or ability. But more because she seemed so nervous and sent a few e-mails telling us attendees not to expect much. Plus, it doesn’t help that Polly totally reminds me of Sister #4 and when I’m around her my big sister instinct to protect comes out.
When we met up with Polly at The Loft she was vibrating. Seriously. It was jitters taken to a physical level. I felt sorry for her. The thought of reading my writing in front of a 100+ people makes me want to barf. I can’t imagine what was going through her head as the time when the thought would become reality drew ever nearer.
I have no idea why she was so nervous because she was the best reader there tonight. She got up there and rocked the mic. She charmed the whole fucking audience. She was funny and sincere. And, well, she made me cry.
Polly read a handful of poems. They were all great, especially the series about Barry White. Or no, I guess I really liked the ones with February as a character. Hell, I loved them all, but only one poem made me cry. It was a poem that she wrote for her girlfriend Amanda (she who really dug Then We Came to the End). I cannot remember the name of the poem, but it might be called Don’t Leave Me, or If You Leave Me, or Are You Kidding Me Jodi is Never Gonna Remember the Name of this Poem.
Now, a mere two hours later, I cannot even remember most of the lines of the poem. But I do remember the ending, because it’s the ending that punched me in the chest and brought the tears leaking out of my eyes. It was something like:
If you leave, I will walk through the rooms of my body and close all the doors
That’s not a direct quote, because sadly I don’t have a copy of the poem in front of me. And obviously as beautiful as that line is, it works even better in the context of the whole poem.
It was a surprising and beautiful moment. I can’t ever recall being so moved at a poetry reading that I actually shed tears. I’m glad it was Polly’s poem that sort of broke the dam.