Speaking Engagement: A Poem

I was invited once again to Ryan McKinley’s “Ricochet” event, a speaking engagement where he invites speakers of various backgrounds to tell true stories about themselves for a welcome audience.  The show was broadcast live on Facebook and is on his podcast or will be soon.

The premise is that the speakers have to tell a story according to a theme (in this case “So you think you’re so smart?”).  The story has to be true and it can be funny or serious.  I chose to tell my embarrassing story via the mode of a poem.  What follows is that poem:

Wrong Mail Box

Fiancées wedding shower.
I am the solitary man at this gathering,
Unaware that men are not
Invited to these things,
But anticipating
The outing I have devised for later
For my future bride:
Italian Bistro and “Will Rogers Follies”

For now I wander the dimly lit cavernous halls of the church,
For it is Saturday, and we are saving power, says the diminutive pastor.
I ponder the life I am about to begin
With my true love
My soul mate
Two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl
Becoming one found soul

As I repose upon a soft couch in the foyer
The sonic double cheeseburger I consumed earlier
Like concrete congealing in the rain
So I hasten to the nearest lavatory.
Discovering it empty,
I enter the nearest stall
To begin the inevitable

With smart phones a distant future
I sit in silence
And then I ascertain voices

Distinct female voices

Before long
Someone enters the stall to my left
And my eyes track down
To the underside of the faintly rusted partition
And I spy a nylon clad foot nestled in a somewhat scuffed gray pump

I start, my business concluded, and begin to survey my mistake

The chatty voices continue:
“And did you see that blender? Who gives a blender?”
“And my goodness he is…what does he do again?”
“He’s so handsome. At least more handsome than the other ones.”
“Did he say something about being a writer?”
“Hope that pays the bills.”
“I wonder when they’ll have some little ones running around?”

Precipitately I am beset with fear,
The trap I have arranged for myself springing shut.
How to escape?
The woman next to me finishes with a clamber
And I hear the softest sound of elegant flatulence
A flush
And the voices continue, but they are thankfully, mercifully quieting, moving away.

So I decide to escape.

I ready myself,
Fastening things together.
Tucking in shirt tail
Taking in a deep breath and holding it
Holding it
Holding it

My hand, quivering, reaches for the latch.
I slide it aside
Grip it until the metal creaks
Open quickly
The motion wafting a humid breeze

And two minuscule girls stand before me in their Sunday best,
Between the stall and the sink
Staring wide eyed
Mouths open in horror

And I dash out the door.

Published by Roger Colby, Novelist, Editor

Roger Colby is a novelist and teacher who has taught English for nearly two decades. He is also an avid reader of science fiction who feels, like many other sci-fi readers, that he has read everything. He writes science fiction for the reader who is looking for the next best thing, something to excite them into reading again. This blog is his journey as a writer and his musings about writing. He also edits manuscripts for a fee and is an expert at helping you reach your full potential as a writer.

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