If my name falls up from the hat, I may get to share in Ocean Beach tonight, not two hundred yards from the Pacific. Miles, the emcee, encourages applause and I’ll hear some when walking up to the riser and the standing open mic.
“Thanks Template,” I always say, and something like, “Hey”, to people at the small tables and sitting on couches, people out the front door around the two picnic tables, not much interested in me or my words. To the baristas, one of whom regularly wears the coolest high-topped sneakers. If my name falls up from the hat tonight, after I’ve said my “Thanks” and “Hey”, I’ll note that I have one poem and “one other thing.” The poem, only a week old, is “who’s racing?”. The “other thing”, also a newborn, falls somewhere between real short story and language hallucination. It’s titled, “a kidnapping, a heartbreak, a burrito.” Musical accompaniment provided by The Talking Heads and Bowie.
People don’t boo at the Template coffee shop open mic. That would be bad form. Not with kitties and cats baring themselves in public, for free. If my name does fall up from the hat, and I’m up there and have read these two pieces, I expect there will be a bit of polite applause. Of course – and you know I’m going to say this – it’s not about the applause. Nor the whimsy of being picked or not picked. Eighth in line, or 19th. It’s more, like, can stories and songs take us someplace else for a while? And where is that?
Maybe most important is that I remember to bring my glasses.