I don’t know if the guy sitting next to me
heard me try to apologize for accidentally
moving his car magazines and taking his spot

obnoxious hrrr of the espresso machine
I had to talk over one at the books a million reading
with Dennis who showed up drunk
right in front of my grandparents
Hershey zinging sunlight
and a couple of sold books in the parking lot
coulda sold more in the store maybe,
but that’s back before I got published and had an ISBN
and they wouldn’t allow outside sales in their store
“Sell them in the parking lot
you worm of the literary alley of poetry nothing.”
self publishing days of balls and burn yearn

I really should ask the manager if I could do a reading or signing here
but I can’t right now
I’m hidden in these words
plus the girl in front of me’s ponytail is too college cool ouch
and the other lady’s expensive scarf is tied too tight upright uptight that poets livin wrong
and the barnes and noble employees are art indie cool and might dumb me
into myself if I walk up there like my droopy pair of jeans
that keep falling down
uhhh my book isn’t on your shelves but its on your website uhhh so can I do an event here
“No you’re not even at least wearing a Nirvana shirt.”

my legs keep lifting up
in paralyzed numb tension
‘this is the hang out with Gregg barnes and noble 8:19 on a Tuesday night ease
buying the new R.E. M. in years ago gone
not one to do a reading in

I put a Mitch Albom book in front of me
like my attention span is still at novel proportions
but I’m lasting perfectly through haiku
and short stories tinkering out at page 2
I can’t sit through watching a TV show with my wife
and until I can I’m not scheduling a reading
if I can’t watch a show I’m not going to be one
(fidget slam down couch get out!!!)

I dunno set me up in the back as a book signing by some guy
I don’t have any Author copies to sell right now so here take a card to throw out
and a set list would go through my mind
like not even being able to find an author in the ks
too many poems
too many dreams I can’t climb the ladder
maybe I should just read from my latest book
still I’d rather sit here and write
overrun anxious
intellectual jeff caps looking at me
and the Asian kids by some of the only outlets
hogging them all the time
to plug in their devices

here’s my reading
“Attention please
Barnes and Noble weekend shoppers some guy’s too
scared to come up from his notebook to say anything but what you’re reading here

here’s my encore set list—

*will they give me a free bottle of springwater
*if they do will the he’s our showman pressure make me vomit the water
*the coffee cake crumbs on the table are grossing me out
* I can’t take the inquisitive coffee looks
* I need a cigarette
*I used to be able to buy a cookie without thinking about it with Gregg
but don’t buy one of my books out of pithy just so I can get one
*is anybody gonna buy one of the books in this store or just sit there and read them

hardcovers author images saying
keep at it Dan and you’ll be like us
I can’t right now Mitch Albom I’m too screwed
why can’t I ever find the tiny hidden poetry section
the poetry section is always on some odd angle
but that’s ok because so am I

VIAvia Open Arts Forum
Image Credit:Leonardo Baldissara

Daniel J. Flore III’s poems have appeared in many publications.  His fifth poetry book, WRITTEN IN THE DUST ON THE CEILING FAN, can be found here.