Beer is flowing, the front row is rating their favourite extreme sports, and the band is waiting to get on with their set.
I’m going to read them a poem.
Most of the time when I write, I’m not afraid of broken glass.
But there, in the back of my head, I make myself remember that feeling.
An audience has to be here, now, with me-
Or I am speaking and writing to myself.
When I write, I ask myself, always-
Can you hear me?
I look at those words and see if they carry.
If their voice amplifies enough to break through indifference and hostility.
I stand on that stage, use the voice that carries into the mic.
“Can you hear me in the peanut gallery?”
I stand on that stage, wait for an answer.
I shame even the big guy in the back into silence.
You’re going to be with me and I’m going to take you for a ride.