A performance poem, written for my students and their poetry cafe

by Mr. Sheehy

Ridiculous . . .

That’s what you’re thinking, is it not?

That I would stand here and read a poem

into a mic

that’s not plugged in

But I must counter you,

Rebut your closed-mind

Closed because you are looking with the eyes in front of your head

Not the eyes inside,

Your poetry eyes

Which are the only eyes you need

At a poetry reading.

This mic IS plugged in, I remind you.

Plugged in clearly and obviously to the past.

Look at it! Follow its line . . .

It leads across America, to a little town called Henniker,

and a 19th Century, 2 story New England house.

At that end you can see my father.

Sitting in an old rolling chair made of heavy metal, with a red vinyl cover,

He’s tucked into the corner by a homemade desk,

Surrounded by radios and wires,

His untucked, unbuttoned shirt hanging down,

Pointing to his ancient slippers held together by duct-tape (never take off the tape once you put it on!).

His bald head shines in the dull light, a light to compliment his red Irish beard . . .

There, to his right, stands a silver mic on a silver stand.

The predecessor to the one before you today.

The one I spoke into

And my brother spoke into

Though no one heard us

But us.

And that was not ridiculous –

It was practice.

Now can you see?

With your other set of eyes?

This mic is plugged in

And what you speak into it reverberates with the fullness

of poetry.