The two recent poems I wrote about my mother, "To Whom It May Concern—Written on the Back of a Denny’s Place Mat, April 15, 2009" and "Five Days after I Write about My Mother’s Funeral, She Suffers a Massive Stroke and Dies" made their public debut on September 17 at the Peoria Contemporary Arts Center Open Mic night. They were received with sadness and joy which touched my heart immensely.
I attended the open mic night at the urging of two of my graduate students, Rachael (center) and Ready Rae (right). Rachael's poems shocked the audience out of their stereotypes about her based on her appearance. Whereas, Ready Rae's poetic images took them to intimate places.
A funny aside: I was compelled to read barefooted! A first for me. For some reason, I knew I would be able to read the poems with crying if I could feel the stage without with my sandals. It worked. I didn't cry, but instead, felt great peace before, during, and after the reading.