|photo by Joe Pan|
I get the baby to sleep and rush to the reading. At first I get into a car I think is the car I called, and the man asks me if my name is Mia and then says he won't take me there because my name is not Mia. Then I get into a car that will take me there. It still isn't the car I'd called. That car has NOT arrived to pick me up within seven minutes. It has been much longer than seven minutes. When I get out of the car I did not call, the man says, "Merci beaucoup," and I look at him for a second and he looks at me for a second. Then I say thank you and get out of the car. I read in the back courtyard of the bookstore, half standing on a wooden plank on some gravel. I am lit up, but the audience is not, so I cannot see who I am reading to. I hear chuckling about half the time I think I'll hear chuckling. I realize I expect chuckling. Above my head is a string or two of lights in that funny plastic casing, half of it one color and half another color. Weeds press in around us. Or just stand there. The weeds stand there, threatening to press in. Capable of doing so over time. The last poem I read isn't the one I mean to end on, but I end on it anyway. I listen to the singer-songwriter after that. He has a good sense of song structure and also a sense that something bad is about to happen, at least according to one of his songs. Something really bad. Before I leave, I talk to a man I talked to at a party the first year I lived in New York. After that, I didn't talk to him for a while, and then, a few years later, he edited my book. He seems cheerful and friendly as I talk to him this time, as he did the first time I talked to him. I'm not sure what I seem. I may seem so woozy-tired as to appear mildly drunk. Then I leave for the subway. On the way there, I try and fail to take a good picture of a creepy animal figurine menagerie in front of someone's brownstone. Anyway, it was a fun reading.