Subtext is Context: The Art of Biting the Tongue

I haven’t been able to shake an encounter I had during my reading at Debra Wuliger’s “Coffee Talk Series” opening. I saw a local publisher who made two comments that would have ordinarily sent me into fire-breathing orbit. First, he looked at me and said that my blouse looked like a mutual friend’s covers. I didn’t know what to make of that, and just dismissed it. I thought maybe he was reaching for a connection in an awkward moment. His significant other was quite icy when she saw me. The controversy over the North Carolina Poet Laureate scandal has left some people believing they need to be on a “side” of the argument. Again, I dismissed the fact that she didn’t speak to me and hugged the poet standing right beside me instead.

Getting back to the local publisher, I have been a little distant with him because he published a poem in his most recent anthology, and I still do not have a contributor copy of the book. He said that he mailed it to me twice, and I still didn’t get it. Then I was supposed to meet him, but forgot our appointment because I was out with my in-laws. When I asked if he could just leave the book for me at a local book store, I got no response from him. Unreal. You have my work, and you decide not to care if I have a copy of the publication??? I decided that even though he had asked me to let him publish the poem, I didn’t care if I had a copy of that book in hand or not. Less mental clutter, when I think of all that is attached to it, and more creativity!

Girl on Fire

So when he did his second bizarre trick of the night, I had to make a mental note that he was showing me who he is. He asked me, “Where are you based now?” I almost got ugly and let a lot slip out of my mouth that he has no idea I know. But it was Deborah Wuliger’s opening, and I had to be a lady. I took a breath and pretended this question was one that the Universe used his mouth to ask me. It was a moment I began to realize I was in so many different places with poetry and art than other artists I know. That kept the fire inme instead of letting it fly out of my mouth.

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