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Dangerous Compassions

poetry reading

Last night we went to a poetry reading at Luna’s. The room was full of energy and life. The three featured readers were real performers and seemed so comfortable with the crowd. One was my friend R and the other two were from San Francisco. The place was packed, and Erik and I stood the whole time (there were no available tables). I got an orange juice, and he got a mint iced tea. The poetry was loud. The reading started at 8 and we were a bit late. We left at 9:30, when it was time for open mike. We had to come home so Erik could go to bed for work this morning. It’s also good for my health when I keep my sleep schedule. I got to meet my friend R for the first time. I’ve been sending him my zines in the mail for years now. He hugged us, and it was very nice, but I was anxious, and I fled. I have a habit of doing that when I first meet people (fleeing) and I’m afraid it makes a bad first impression.

I remember when I was a teenager and went to poetry readings all the time in San Luis Obispo. I was accepted by the adults I read with, and they valued me. It was a very supportive atmosphere. I was so lucky to find it. The scene here in Sacramento seems much larger and more overwhelming. I’m afraid my poems are very tame compared to what the men were reading last night. I’m afraid mine wouldn’t fit in.

Months ago Erik and I tried going to a poetry workshop held at a community center downtown and didn’t have a good experience with it. The comments I received about my work didn’t help me improve the poem. They just left me feeling traumatized, which must have been partly my fault. Erik didn’t bring a poem but got into some kind of battle with some other men there about theory, I guess, a very subtle battle. Big egos in the room. Maybe it was just a freak occurrence and wouldn’t happen again if we went back. But I’ve been too scared to go back. I think Erik should return without me, bring some haiku and see what they have to say about it.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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