C.K. Williams Reads at Laurel Theatre
He reads to us in a found space,
a converted church with stained glass windows
and worn wooden molding still intact;
long-lined pews since replaced with folding chairs;
a balcony balances a small stage with a lectern
and a table that reads "In Remembrance of Me."
He rests his books on the lectern,
grips the chipped edge and begins to speak
of a life beyond the white walls, and the card tables
spread with cheese and fruit, cheap wine and coffee;
he reads from a landscape dotted with winter and whores,
with mirrors, gas stations, and drunk vets in wheelchairs.
He moves his foot in time to poetry,
pressing the rhythm of measured living
against the dark seamed floorboards of the stage;
pounding out iambic emotions with each fall of his shoe;
his eyes glide across the rows of upturned faces and
he throws his voice like a net into the corners of the room.
He closes his books, finished for now,
leaving the stage to take up residence
in a corner by the card tables and white wine;
I walk by him into the chill of an October night
taking the steps to the street where cars pass, radios blare,
and poetry runs like dark water through the gutters.