Anyway, the monthly open mic is for poets and writers. Sometimes there's only a handful of readers and we're done by 8.30. Other times, like last week, it's more.
Last week, first-timer Scarlet read a piece, too fast but passionately, about a stoner guardian angel.
I read an excerpt from "Hard to Believe," getting enthusiastic applause when I mentioned the story would be published in March.
My buddy read a few poems, also about to be published, one so hilariously disgusting that one of the readers/Go players called, "Ewwww," grinning widely as he catcalled.
The barista/singer read from her phone, a piece inspired by The Thomas Crown Affair.
Koon Woon sat in a corner quietly until just before the featured poet. Then he stood up and shared two poems with great depth and beauty. "He won the American Book Award," someone said, and I understood why.
At the end of the night, Noel Franklin, the featured poet, performed, and her poems seemed like more than words, they seemed like her, wrought from pain and experience and love of art. Afterwards, she gave me one of her books. I said goodbye to my buddy and his new friend, a quietly fierce East Coast transplant, and caught a bus home.
Picture is from a very cold day-hike at Carkeek.