in Poems

My Night At The Café Ruined

2/25/03

Oh this poem is shit!
I might as well
Be writing an essay
Like I told the cops
When they ask me
“Are you with THOSE poets?”
Hey, Peter denied being with Jesus
Three times
Before the cock crowed!
But they ain’t no Jesus!
Just poets whining
About poetry being censored,
Being thrown out of the café
Because they wouldn’t follow
THE HOUSE RULES
To promise the poetry
Would not offend anybody,
To give a warning
Of possibilities of offense
So that earplugs
Could be inserted!
Now I agreed
That THE RULES
Are Fascist.
I told the cultural gatekeepers
My opinion!
I tried to be
THE VOICE OF REASON,
Tried to mediate.
I AM A NICE GUY,
After all.
But the immature poets
(obviously age ain’t a sign
Of maturity!)
Started reading poetry
Right here in the café…
After their permit had been
REVOKED!
EMBARASSING!
I mean I was embarrassed!
I started chatting loudly
To drown out
The forbidden words,
To not be connected
To the untouchables
Actually yelling about
CENSORSHIP AND FREEDOM!
Thank god
The powers turned up
The musak!
But the savages just screamed
POETRY!
That’s when I started
Writing my poem…
After all
I AM A POET!
But my focus
Has been shaken by poets
Being dragged,
Very roughly,
Across the floor,
Right in front of my table,
And being booted outside!
It’s a wonder I can
Write at all!
They have put
armed police protection
Around the café
As I write this.
That’s better…
But still the sounds
Of struggle outside
Invade the café
Just like the sweet smoke
Gets into my house
From the soap factory
Next door…
Some fools say it is a death camp!
Fools! No one would put a death camp
In OUR neighborhood!
OH, CHRIST!
The loonies are actually
Reading poetry
Outside
In the bitter cold,
Right outside the big window
Right next to my table.
They are making eyes at me,
Trying to make me feel guilty
For being a poet
Sitting warm inside,
Sipping coffee,
Writing poetry
When poetry is
Locked out!
Well, it won’t work!
I just moved to another table,
My back towards them.
Don’t they realize
The real censors are rightwingers,
Lady Bush, Helms, brown shirts
With their blacklists?
We nice reasonable people
Ain’t censors!
We are artists and poets,
After all!
We are family,
After all!
We ain’t the enemy,
After all!
And we will make you
Look like feeble-minded whiners
If you dare come after one of us,
THE REASONABLE PEOPLE!

Damn, they are still out there!
I can’t leave,
Going through raw poetry
Between home and me!
I’M TRAPPED
Listening to Phil Ochs
Singing on the jukebox
A SMALL CIRCLE OF FRIENDS.


Deborah Crooks reads “My Night At The Café Ruined” on Frank Moore’s Shaman’s Den, June 19, 2011.

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