There is an open-mic poetry reading held weekly at Claire de Lune, a coffee house with lots of poofy chairs and nice atmosphere. One Tuesday night in August, I got up on stage and read a few poems. For no particular reason, I have reproduced them here.
He carried an ax and he wanted me. We had it from a reliable source that he had spent time in jail for murder.
My eleventh-grade teacher had a student once who was an axe murderer.
Such a cute dog in the doorway. It walks back and forth like something is wrong with its foot. So sad.
The red-headed child stood in the driveway with a hatchet, calling the cat.
Sometimes I think I have nothing interesting in my life to write about, and then there are moments like these.
Who do you know in San Quentin? The blondish brother of the red-headed child sent me letters from juvie hall, the county jail, and San Quentin. He always wrote to ask why I never replied, and I never replied. His younger brother attacked us with a folding table, while the baby threw apples. We fled by car, and I think of them now and again.
The nice dog seems all right after all. He starts to come inside, but then goes back out and waits.
I was in the loop, then, when my life was filled with scary people. Homeless people. Junkies. Marines. The guy without a nose. I wonder what happened to them? What have they done since the band broke up? The loop is somewhere else, now, and I'm here in this well-lit place with a dog waiting patiently in the doorway.
the plunger pot is perfect
heat cool tepid water
from the tap steep
for three minutes and serve
Tonight I will read bad poetry In the friendly venue Next to a pleasant coffee house. I will say a few things About a woman who is alone like I am, Who finds the rain sublime, But who unlike me lives inside my head. She gets more rain inside my head Than I get in San Diego. Incessant rain was a cold drum beat. One drop. Another. One. Another. She looked up and watched as the grey s k y t w i s t e d behind the cascade of rain drops. They were a Busby Berkeley chorus line swimming in that dull expanse. The beat quickened, she felt something stir inside her. One- two- three. One-two-three the clouds danced. A flash of lightning cut her shadow into the wall, and she was transfixed. A breath passed, and she jumped as the thunder r u m b l e d in. One. Two. One. Two. One-two. The beat renewed: the rain the iambic lyric of her heart. When the concert ended, the silent moon beamed its recessional, and the air was still. She went home wondering if she would ever hear music (so beautiful) again.
All three poems are ©2000 by P.D. Magnus. 'Eavesdropping' began as a transcript of a conversation between Cristyn and Jen at Twiggs, another area coffee house. 'French Press' is a found poem cribbed from a pamphlet there.