It pleases me that the poetry reading is in a library. I imagine a small audience and when I walk into the room on time to find only fellow poet Nabila and her family, the emptiness lends an air of confidence to the soul. It hovers, expands. 30 minutes later the same soul has shrunk at the sight of the growing audience. The event begins and Anjum introduces Nabila. Beside me sit Kervin Charles and Tachia Newall, both experienced poets. I watch her as she stands up, smiles, reads. I hear nothing of the poetry I normally enjoy. I spend the time looking at the high windows and the crowded door, the windows, the door. The audience claps. Nabila sits down. Anjum stands up. The audience turns its collective head and looks at me like an expectant piranha.
The children in the room mean that I cut out or self-edit the swear words in my main poem but all in all the 6 or so minutes of it go pretty well. Anjum sits before me, feeding my confidence, as do Kervin and Tachia. My stutter does not to make an appearance so I donâ€™t make a fool of myself. All in all, I leave the event thinking that I could do this again, and again.
Dike Omeje once said to me of the stage when I told him that I would never perform that it was one of those things you did the once and either hated it so much that you never wanted to do it again or you enjoyed it so much that you couldnâ€™t wait till you did it again. We were in Segunâ€™s car, driving to Liverpool where he left everyone in awe with his â€˜Tiredâ€™.
So, the verdict: I will perform again, despite the stutter and despite the fact that inspiration only visits sporadically. As I ponder my decision a few weeks later, my phone rings. Segun: Exodus Event at Urbis at the end of August. Pete said you might be interested?