to that guy who sneezed 3 times during Charles Mansfield’s open mic set

Dear fellow
allergy sufferer, or
perhaps just rapidly
sickening sir,
your triple sneeze bonanza
has now been emblazoned
into my memory for all time,
because I recorded that song.

it was a new one by Chuck –
the one I wanted him to call “Liberating,
But” but he insisted on titling “New Joy”
when he released the studio version
a few weeks or months later –
so now in my mind every time
I hear it, I will pause for the sneezes,
curse you, anonymous man, and want
to angrily say, “Bless you!” in a passive
aggressive tone.

but then again, I’ve been known
to rudely shush my best friends
when they start talking to me
when I’m recording. on the one hand,
the audio is already marred, so
why not just let them talk,
and on the other, I’m starting to think
I must come off as a total dick. on
yet a third hand, they don’t know
how these things stick around
to haunt me. I will be hearing
myself shushing them
for the next 2 weeks, at least,
thanks to my “new additions”
iPod playlist.

which is worth more, in the long run,
the experience of the moment,
the documentary evidence of the moment,
or my relationships? when you
put it that way, there’s no contest.
I should either stop taping, or stop
having friends.

Open Mic Life II

I didn’t want to go
to the mic tonight. I felt
hopeless, unloved
and unlovable, alienated
and alone. but I made myself go out
anyway. at first I tried to avoid
interactions but people kept
talking to me and eventually
I got so caught up
in the exchange of dialogue,
feelings, and energies
with everyone that I almost forgot
to despair quite
as much and I ‘fessed up
to being sad
and why and I got some
good advice. some of my friends
commiserated and told how
they too had been having a rough
time lately, and I felt bad for them
and a little bit comforted
myself. another friend told me I
was being ridiculous and he
laughed at my melodramatic self and I laughed
at my overly emo self and things weren’t
so bleak. they were there
for me and I was there
for them and it almost felt
like I wasn’t dead
yet.

and even though I was
late as usual and
walked in when
they were calling the names
and I got #41, a bunch
of people left and so
I still got 7 minutes
and the host said they had
been missing me
and were glad
I was back, and even though
I got cut off and
fucked up on my
second song
because I was nervous,
I was so, so glad I came out
to the mic tonight.

Open Mic Life

hey, it’s totally fine and cool, whatever
that you left before
the bitter end. and
I don’t blame you
in the slightest for wanting to
avoid the awkwardness
that lay before you
had you stayed. I was not
looking forward
to night’s end either, and I think
we both know why. our friend Bobby
is awfully persistent.

I do have three regrets. only
two of which
are relevant:

I’m sorry that I was outside, around
the corner, deep in
conversation with my girl friend,
when you made your
goodbye and getaway.

but
I’m even sorrier
that I was late and so I missed
your set. how’d it go? tell me
everything.

and finally,
I was wondering…
did you happen
to catch mine?