Open Mic Night

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Gazing into an empty laundromat
the machines old and decrepit
my hands shaking
my third cigarette
my two poems stuffed into my right pocket.

I wasn’t going to go
but Leonard Cohen died that day
and a friend of mine said something
about how I should read in honour
because Leonard would have wanted
the words to go on
the writing to go on
the music to go on.

I did feel more poetic
in the the aftermath of a poet’s death
as if the air was charged
with all the words
that the deceased left behind.

So I smoked my third cigarette
watched the cafe fill with young people
drinking coffee
tea
and beer
while I fiddle with my two poems
and think of Leonard
and think of old poets
and wondered to myself if I would ever be
lucky enough on the day that I died
to warrant the thoughts of a nervous wreck
with two poems in his pocket
standing outside a cafe
on open mic night.

I go inside
order a coffee for the nerves
and sit down to drink it
on a bench full of poets
with shaking hands and crumpled pages.

You’re lucky I liked you
Leonard
I wouldn’t do this for just
anyone.

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