There’s something uniquely odd about reading your creative work directly from the page to a gathered audience. You’re sharing something you’ve probably written in solitude, in silence; it may even be intensely personal, particularly in the case of poetry. Like something out of a diary. And now you’re purging it out into public, possibly for the first time, and it feels akin to standing there suddenly naked, revealing parts of yourself previously deemed private. For this poem, I used a different metaphor. Maybe it was indigestion.

The Reading
a poem by Jason Bovberg

the echo of his belch
resembles ocean surf
cascading through a cavern

the poet at the microphone
staggers startled mortified
hand over mouth

his pages flutter
and fall to the floor
like dying seagulls

a snicker from his audience
once reverently quiet
once awed

the poet gulps down
bitter bile sluicing up his gullet
like saltwater through a narrow channel

‘beefy bilious bubbles’ he concludes
a very different poem from memory
as accompaniment to his gastronomic distress

but his voice is a weak whisper
beneath tumultuous audience chortles
and knee slaps and foot stomps

after his dinner launches from him
like the spray of a great wave crashing against rock
and laughter turns to screams

the poet only bends|
chunky-mouthed and dazed
to collect his purgings from the floor