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Poetry Reading After-Action Report

There were about a dozen people at the poetry reading tonight. I'm pleased to report that my friend Liz was there. I was concerned about her when she didn't show up at last months poetry reading. It looked like she was wearing a wig, so I guess she has been going through chemo. Otherwise she looked as healthy as you could reasonably expect her to. I sat with her and her gentlemen companion, and as always they were pleasant company

I was late, and found out that Jonathan had written a haiku lamenting my absence. He called me up to the microphone to stand next to him while he read it. I was touched. Mostly amused, but it was still touching. Kind of. He talked about the people who died that month, and mentioned Mitch Miller. I had to slap my forehead, because I'd forgotten to write one about him.

I was the last reader. One of the readers before me was Scott Douglas, editor of Main Street Rag. He read a poem about motorcycles. I noticed Liz listening very intently to his last lines "Go while you still have a reason, Go while you still can." Obviously they were very meaningful to her. Of course we are all mortal, so they should be meaningful to everyone. Some of us are just more aware of our mortality than others.

By the time I got up to read, I had written a Mitch Miller haiku. That's the good news. The bad news is that I discovered too late that my Harvey Pekar poem was not a haiku. THe middle line had only six syllables. Here the are, rule violations and all:

Harvey Pekar

A mere mailroom clerk,
Your american splendor
Dazzled all of us

Tuli Kupferberg

I should put dirty
words in your haiku. I can't.
my apologies

George Steinbrenner

you had a good run
of firing people, but now
God has said "you're fired.

Patricia Neal

beautiful in youth
(Gary Cooper thought so), and
classy to the end

Mitch Miller

i sing your praises
I wish that a ball could bounce
on this haiku's words

Note the flaw in the Pekar haiku. I apologized for it as soon as I finished reading it and realized my mistake. I fixed it after the reading:

Harvey Pekar

A mere mailroom clerk,
You possessed a dazzling
American splendor


"Go while you still have a reason, Go while you still can."

Wise words indeed. I better start living up to them! There's still those stories I want to write and haven't. :D