So, there I was, having glugged the best part of a bottle of shiraz and now enjoying a second pint of cider, toying with the remnants of a good steak. (The potato rosti had too much thyme in it, and the weirdly modern take on Brussel sprouts was laced with too much chilli – yeah, I know, right? – but the steak was very passable.)
Anyhow, I suddenly felt the need to write overwhelm me. I have blogged about this before: when it happens, it is simply a compulsion that cannot be ignored.
I don’t know if it was the creative environment of being at an open mic, the stimulation of having other artistes around, or simply one too many ciders. But before you know it, I was tapping away on the absurdly small keyboard of my iPhone, running the results past my fellow diners, then showing the hostess for the night, and before you know it, lo and behold, she was laughing and I was on the stage.
Anyway, here’s the result, video-ed on my dear wife’s phone, but the sound quality isn’t great, so I provide a transcript below as well. I actually think it’s not a half bad poem, although it’s only short. Sometimes, the best thing a writer can do is simply capture a moment, so it then lives for other people.
“Liam, I apologise for gate crashing your party tonight … but sometimes every writer in the room knows, that when you have to write something, you just have to write it … so this came out about half an hour ago, so I thought, well, “Bugger it”, I shall just ask Phoebe if she’ll like me to read it. And she was kind enough to say “Yes!”
I will come back and read some other poetry another time.
Shit! Thank you! I haven’t done anything yet! Apart from look embarrassed. Er … this is a poem called “Snapshot”.”
SNAPSHOT (Open Mic, Melbourne, 4th June 2012)
The girl with the nervous eyes
applauds wildly as he works the frets.
He has announced before the coupling “This is hard.”
She knows what he means.
She glances at his girlfriend
here on a working holiday
from the land of the rising blues.
She prays she doesn’t notice
her sudden blouse-lifting intake of breath,
the shy embarrassment.
She’s cute, too, the girlfriend.
patiently working the Nikon.
How confusing life can be.
And in the wings,
another little angel waits –
hugging her guitar like a life buoy,
hugging it like a friend in a cold world.
That’s what the world needs,
On a wet Monday night.
More hugs: even if they are made of plywood.
Even the hugs of strangers.