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Claudine Jones-Scene4 Magazine

Claudine Jones

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It's 5:25am. I think I can make it on that much sleep, but I'll have to take a nap this afternoon to compensate. That's ok; Jake will be here since he's got the day off from school & he'll spend his time watching Minecraft, drifting toward puberty. We'll feed him & see him off with kisses & hugs. He knows what to expect, doesn't care if we snooze in our room down the hallway, listening to the radio. His parents will say 'okay, bug, time to go; come on. Turn that off, we gotta go.'

I made the mistake of answering my cellphone last night after dinner downtown. We were out on the sidewalk taking a constitutional & wasting the extra half hour before a poetry reading around the corner. The ringtone is set to alert me if it's from my mother, so I really should answer in case it's an emergency, but it rarely is.

The woman on the other end is drifting toward death. I can hear it in her voice. I don't want you to be angry at me, but the thing you bought me, it doesn't work. It...what's know the...what's the word when it's not level...what's the word? You can come and we can look in the catalog & pick something else. I hope you're not angry with me. What's the word? When it stops? What's the word? O, brakes! That's it. It's...not level. I need...

Can't continue the conversation on a noisy busy street. I gotta go, ma. We'll make the walker work; whatever we have to do, we'll make it work. Don't worry, Sam will be there tomorrow, plus he'll take you to exchange that alarm clock. I know you don't like it, it doesn't work for you. I know, we'll get another one. I gotta go, ma. See you Tuesday.

The poets are late, but poetry readings always start late. Our friend is there & we can talk singing & acting & medical marijuana. Her companion seems like a nice fellow.  I've got my knitting, on double pointed needles, skinny & smooth. The poetry begins & it's so awful we pass notes back & forth: rather have a sharp stick in the eye. […..] The microphone cuts out & the next person with permission to read begins & decides to treat us, to expose us, to torture us, with an essay on a poem by Hopkins. She passes out copies of the poem. Since there is no microphone now I can only make out that apparently this was an exercise is memorization, to feel the words in one's mouth (?) so first she recites the poem from memory, but this doesn't quite work since it's been years since the original class. I'm thinking wtf & she continues um, uh & completes it eventually. But that's not all; then there's the...I don't know. Something about uvulas &fricatives. Can't hear, don't care, more notes passed. I think it's over now, but no, so uh, I, um, thank you for listening to that , so, I  was, uh going to read a couple-a poems, um. I pass a note to R. god help us.

Back on the sidewalk, we deconstruct the evening. I'm glad I went. I got to see K after a year's absence & we could talk shop, how we miss our dear teacher & how K wants to start a business working with speakers to prevent what just happened. Although in truth her old NY buddy, the featured person who finished the program, was quite accomplished & almost made it worth the pain. R didn't buy her book though & that's never a good sign. Strong openings, strong last lines. The middle sections flabby; needs an editor.  Clear voice.

We had a nice dinner; we're glad we went.

I hope I can sleep tonight.

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Actor/Singer/Dancer Claudine Jones has worked steadily in Bay Area joints for a number of decades.
She writes a monthly column and is
a Senior Writer for Scene4.
For more of her commentary and articles, check the Archives.

©2017 Claudine Jones
©2017 Publication Scene4 Magazine



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December 2017

Volume 18 Issue 7

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