It’s nearly the end of this windy Monday. I am listening to the wind pitch the camellia and rhododendron trees out front into the leaded glass window. This is not a trivial storm, the rain and eddies of wind are definitely mixing it up out there, like we are the bowl of eggs, waiting to be stirred, to be beat. Every now and then, too, the obligatory window-rattling sounds.
I am listening to “Poker Face” first sung by Cartman of South Park and now, the original by Lady GaGa, a little techno disco—whatever the hell this music is—never hurt anyone. It has been more than a day. An episode of Mad Men that surprises with a run amok John Deere mower in the agency office resulting in a cut-off foot presaged my literary debut at the Hawthorne Powell’s where I read a short story about my own cut-off fingers.
Supposedly it was something not nothing this reading of my story/memoir/story published, along with one of my poems, in the VoiceCatcher 4 anthology. Up there behind the podium in my mega-dollar electric blue and embroidered Johnny Was shirt, the brown deerskin cowboy boots G. bought me way back in 1991? 1992? but yes, they are still hot and thus confidence-building. And even though I’ve done this plenty before, now, somehow, in this middle-aged era of my life it’s scarier, more a risk, and I turn dry-mouthed, desperately needing water but none was available at this venue yet somehow I got through it. I read about events from my life from way back when, 1976 the year of the Bicentennial through fall of 1977 when Elvis was indeed already dead. According to a few listeners, I sounded better than OK. Whew, relieved. Encouraged. They even clapped. Now, as ever, onward and soon sleep. But first a little trashy music never hurt anyone…maybe it even keeps the blood, like this wind, pumping.
The public domain lithograph above by Charles Henry Alston is entitled “Stud Poker.” It was published by the Works Project Administration in 1938.