I don’t sit here willingly.
They are making me do this.
The ones who came first,
to make readings like these
in the careers of ones like me.
They sentenced me to sit here
on this steel chair, folded out
like a wooden plank.
I didn’t pick out this clown suit,
either. They did. The others;
The ones who came first, who made
sports jackets with jeans, cliché.
Look dignified. Smile. Read a poem.
Cough. Look up.
Grin like a goat and tug on your beard
like it’s an instrument of prayer.
That’s the way they did it.
But not me. Not yet.
I am here, reading poetry, waiting
for one of you to put down a dollar
and take aim, at my expense.
But I suppose
this audience has enough sense
than to waste their effort
Sometimes, just sitting here proves
to be enough.