Encore: Carl at Open Mic Night

This blog was published last september, 2012. It has been my most popular blog on my site to date, which is funny, because it's not a real blog at all, but a scene. Maybe because there's a naughty haiku in it. Enjoy.

Open Mic Night at the iHop on East Beltline

BUD: Well, okay. Welcome back to our 2nd Open Mic and All You Can Eat Waffle Night hosted by us, your iHop, and the Women’s Writing Group. Sorry about the abrupt end to the poetry reading last week, but things were getting hot. In the kitchen that is.  Before we start, just a reminder to keep it clean, folks. We’re a family establishment. And tip your servers!


Polite applause.

Connie takes over the mic. She’s in her late sixties and is wearing a long velvet dress, Renaissance Fair style. Her long, clearly hennaed hair falls down her back. She wears a crown of plastic flowers.


CONNIE: Welcome back everyone! Tonight we have an assortment of interesting people to read. I’m pleased to say my granddaughter Melody is going to read some of her poems.


MELODY: Fuck you, grandma!


CONNIE: (Pause.) My sweet  granddaughter is staying with me for a while while her mother finishes up her sent...her vacation...and Melody will read some of her work once she gets some food in her system and spikes her blood sugar a bit. Until then we have Carmen…


She looks at her sheet again.


CONNIE: Excuse me. We have Carl who wants to share something he’s written.


Connie exits the stage as CARL approaches. Carl is huge. He’s wearing big boots, big jeans, a t-shirt with wolves howling at the moon, and red suspenders. He has a big beard and a bald head. His voice is deep and sounds like he either drinks a lot of whiskey or swallowed a porcupine. Maybe both.


CARL: Hey. I’m Carl.




CARL: I’m a trucker. That big rig out there in the parking lot, she’s mine. And we’ve seen some long roads, let me tell you. I’ve been all over this country and, sheesh, I’ve seen things that should be in books or movies or something, but then maybe not because you’d want to poke your eyes out. Yeah. Anywho. I’ve seen the love days of the sixties, the sexual freedom of the seventies, and I was fiscally irresponsible in the eighties. I repented in the nineties. And now I’m nearing retirement, but I’ve still got a few thousand miles of hard road before me.

Life is hard on the road, and it gets mighty lonely. So some days after I’ve listened to some audiobooks where people get murdered and such, well, I turn off my iPod and I like to write poems. Mostly I write them in my head, because if I wrote them down in a book while I’m driving, I’d probably jackknife or something. Or run over things like squirrels. Deer. Moose. Hitchhikers. What have you. At any rate, I forgot most of my poems on account of all the uppers I take to stay awake. It can make you sorta hazy like, but this poem I’ve got for you is real special. It’s part of a series. It’ll make you think. It might even change your life. And I guess maybe I’ve said enough about it. Now I’ll read to you. This is my poem. It’s one of them haiku things. I call it “Springtime”.


Carl clears his throat.



Springtime. A Haiku.


You sit on my face.

I ponder hummingbird wings

And flutter my tongue.





Silence. Carl nods his head and then sits down.


Somebody coughs.

Mabel VanderSteen, in her wheelchair, claps.


WAITRESS: Anybody here order the Senior Sampler?


MABEL: I’d rather sample some of that.