Poetry Reading This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   The tips of my ears are cold. I expect the tips of my mother's ears are cold too. We are walking down Newbury Street on the way to the car from the poetry reading (assigned by my English teacher) we had just attended. I count the building numbers, 270, 268, 266; the car is parked at number 90. My mother's boots make that "pock" sound that they always do on hard surfaces. 262, 260, I remember when we passed the same number earlier that eveningwhen I had imagined what a poetry reading would be like.

Until tonight, I thought of a poetry reading as it was portrayed on the Beatnik episode of "Happy Days," a cafe, dark and smoky, with a few customers, and a poet, a peculiar creature who could somehow speak impassionately about a faucet. There would be no food and everyone would be drinking something brown.

The reading I have just attended, however, was staged in a soft drink, Swiss chocolate and muffin bookstore. Only one person smoked, and there were so many people that we had to stand up. The poet was, of all things, an English teacher. She had long black hair and wore a green sweater. She seemed not dreamy and far removed, but a little nervous.

The poems were about her childhood in Atlantic City, N.J., and did not contain the words "cosmos" or "universe" or even "oneness." The closest they came to outright profundity was in saying that the tenements where she grew up, where poor people were meant to live, enjoyed the most beautiful, view in the city.

200, 198, 196; I breathe a whiff of diesel exhaust from a passing bus. Only two more blocks to the car, the car that will let my ears warm up and take me home, where eventually I will have to write about this evening. What question are we supposed to address? Probably listening to poetry versus reading it.

I liked hearing poetry read by the author better than reading it because I could hear the words at the volume, tone, and speed that the author meant. It is true that all the words are not laid out, but this was not a problem for me. It gave me an excuse not to do the dreary work of analysis that seldom yields anything better than the first impression. I think that words are meant to come one by one, and paint their picture gradually by associating and referring to each other. 112, 110, 108. n

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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