I ALWAYS IMAGINED IT WOULD BE LIKE THIS:
At the late night esoteric art bar our discreet arrival
is elephantine in contrast to the worshipful silence of
the audience, listening intently, heads down, faces behind
fingers, not able to sip beer or blink lest even a molecule
of the sanctified air be disturbed. Eye’s nail us as we
snake between the seated feet, holding in our stomaches &
breathes, the room crackling with disdain at our late arrival.
Behind a lap top & mic a man squirms in silence, straining
muscles in muted anguish, his inaudible words obscured
by the sound of his hands cupping air.
To his side an older man, microphone, papers spread
on a lectern, similarly opens his mouth as if to speak
then, considering, closes & retreats, hands dance delicately
around him, describing ti-chi arcs.
This goes on for 5, 10, 15 minutes. No one sighs, or breathes
or laughs. A woman in the from row snaps, moves like she’s human,
lifts a bottle to her lips & sips, pulls out pen & paper & begins
writing a steady, methodical, list, of, words.
The lap-top mute, squeals, screeches, breathes heavy in panic,
arms flailing, chest rising & falling in panic, sputtering clipped
phonemes, before returning to his silent screaming. His companion
responds with a poetry reading, biographical extracts about
self knowledge & discovery, bathing late nights in effluent pools
on the outskirts of San Francisco.
An hour, the performance concludes when both artists relax,
‘And now this is ME’, the audience bursts into rapturous applause,
masking our swift weave to corner seats where we conceal ourselves
for the second half.