Poetry reading nightmare

I awoke just as I stood at the microphone.
It’s been a while since I had a nightmare about poetry, and that one happened in real life.
This one started in a crowded bar with a decrepit host who made a pass and, rebuked, disappeared, along with most of the audience.
Suddenly, my name was called, and I wasn’t ready. “I’ll be right there!” I’d just grab my glasses and poetry book from my purse.
But I wasn’t. One by one, I pulled out items, enough to make an impromptu object poem. Everything but what I needed.

In my purse:
A couple of T-shirts, a French phrase book,
a pile of textbooks, a wallet,
Rilke’s Book of Hours, and a brown binder
full of Barbie clothes arranged in outfits
inside clear sleeves, put in years ago
by my daughter, now 23, sitting
with a foamy coffee, waiting.

Other people moved up to the microphone, reading their poems in an inaudible monotone. One sang or chanted something high-pitched and whiny. At last, I found my anthology and glasses and went to the front.
“Sit down here at the mike,” a man said.
“I’m not used to reading poetry sitting down.” I took a deep breath and looked into the darkness.

Have you had a poetry reading nightmare in dreams or real life? Comment below.


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