Monday, April 11, 2016

April 11, 2016

Waking with a sense of–except for this eternal cough, which has turned into a voice like a stump grinder–physical equilibrium. The drive to Cary was an ordeal of drowsiness. Not one second was free of the fight to stay awake. Finally had to pull over at a rest stop and sleep briefly, violently, the dreams red as blood, but enough to satisfy my brain for a while. The venue in Cary was an old hotel that had been adapted into a community center, this time set up to honor the Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet, and therefore rife with friendly Turkish-Americans. I was early (despite the nap) and wandered into the little downtown and plopped myself on a bench in the cool sunlight to study my lines. Pretty town. Me in the center of it, cramming down Shakespeare. Wandered over to a streetfair where I bought cookies and a rock painted over with an old image of a cheetah, from a woman who wanted to take a picture of me for her Facebook page. Nine of us read (some recorded) and I sat there rather grimly trying to figure out the principle of selection. We seemed to have nothing to do with one another, and I was the only one who had assumed the honorees (Hikmet and Rumi) required poems with a Levantine flavor. Humiliating question-and-answer afterward. The festivities were to run into the evening, but I had a four hour drive, so I left after the reading, fighting off sleep, then, the whole way home. Flirted with a guy at the Iron Skillet, he a slender redneck with adventure in his eyes and the smell of a day’s sweat. So, it is the dark of Monday morning and I have my check and my three minutes of singular glory.

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