Speaking Engagement: A Poem
I was invited once again to Ryan McKinley’s “Ricochet” event, a speaking engagement where he invites speakers of various backgrounds to tell true stories about themselves for a welcome audience. The show was broadcast live on Facebook and is on his podcast or will be soon.
The premise is that the speakers have to tell a story according to a theme (in this case “So you think you’re so smart?”). The story has to be true and it can be funny or serious. I chose to tell my embarrassing story via the mode of a poem. What follows is that poem:
Wrong Mail Box
Fiancées wedding shower. I am the solitary man at this gathering, Unaware that men are not Invited to these things, But anticipating The outing I have devised for later For my future bride: Italian Bistro and “Will Rogers Follies”
For now I wander the dimly lit cavernous halls of the church, For it is Saturday, and we are saving power, says the diminutive pastor. I ponder the life I am about to begin With my true love My soul mate Two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl Becoming one found soul
As I repose upon a soft couch in the foyer The sonic double cheeseburger I consumed earlier Like concrete congealing in the rain So I hasten to the nearest lavatory. Discovering it empty, I enter the nearest stall To begin the inevitable
With smart phones a distant future I sit in silence And then I ascertain voices
Distinct female voices
Before long Someone enters the stall to my left And my eyes track down To the underside of the faintly rusted partition And I spy a nylon clad foot nestled in a somewhat scuffed gray pump
I start, my business concluded, and begin to survey my mistake
The chatty voices continue: “And did you see that blender? Who gives a blender?” “And my goodness he is…what does he do again?” “He’s so handsome. At least more handsome than the other ones.” “Did he say something about being a writer?” “Hope that pays the bills.” “I wonder when they’ll have some little ones running around?”
Precipitately I am beset with fear, The trap I have arranged for myself springing shut. How to escape? The woman next to me finishes with a clamber And I hear the softest sound of elegant flatulence A flush And the voices continue, but they are thankfully, mercifully quieting, moving away.
So I decide to escape.
I ready myself, Fastening things together. Tucking in shirt tail Taking in a deep breath and holding it Holding it Holding it
My hand, quivering, reaches for the latch. I slide it aside Grip it until the metal creaks Open quickly The motion wafting a humid breeze
And two minuscule girls stand before me in their Sunday best, Between the stall and the sink Staring wide eyed Mouths open in horror
And I dash out the door.