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The Beat Poets
Come to the Nifty Theater

I    roll on        to the  stage.  Here I  am.
I    strive for my     place   .Seek           out
the   podium.  Here I    am.  I roll  on
to the     stage.    I am    in veterate. I am
good.      I am     great.   I roll out  to the
audience.     I stuff     khaki    T-  shirt
in    to my   pants.  I hold   on   to my
mystic prayer      beads.     I am    here.  To
read.     To im      press.    Sing.     They will
know     joy.    Be     at i     tude.    They
will   explode   with it.     Burst     with it.
I     hold a manuscript       in my      right
hand.    I have poems    by the dozen.    I will
do the     trick.    Set them    on fire.  My
arm     pits    are wet.     I glisten     with
nerve.  I    seek out   the podium.     I am
going     to read.    I am    going to     explode
with    wrath.    I am     going to      spill
over    with     truth.    I roll on      to
the stage.    The  house  lights  dim.    Go
down.     Go    out.    I am coming on    stage.
I  walk heavy.    And   slow.    I have   worry
beads   by the   dozen.      And  my poems.
All I      have   to give  are my    poems.
And    a brown   cap  stuck    on  top of my
head.    I    roll  on     to the  stage.
Move   up to the  podium.    Place  my poems
down  .  Shuffle them   about.     Flatten them.
I  twirl my    worry beads. My  sweat glistens.
I   straighten     my poems.    I am     going
to read.    I    am going to lay open   my    soul.
I am    going    to lay open    their  hypocrisy.
I am    going to     let them in  on a secret.
I am    in hiking    boots.    I am   going to
walk    all over them.    I come    clomping
to the    podium.   I take a     firm   hold
on my        worry    beads.       They are going
to   listen.    The house     lights     go
down.      Are dimmed.     I am    in the
center      now.    The     spot      finds me.
I  shuffle    through     my   poems. Flatten
them.    Tuck       my T-shirt     inside
my pants.    Straighten     my cap.
I pat    my poems.    Make a joke of     beer.
I am          ready to    begin.  Here I     go.I
will have    them    eating out    of
my worry    beads.    The     lights are off.
They   pat  my      stomach.        They   laugh
at beer.      I      doff  my cap.     I
blush.I bow.I            stamm     er   .
I     be     -gin          .

From PEOMS by relee
1974 Richard E. Lee
[This book was presented to me on March 22, 1979.]