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poetry
Humility

"Humility" - May 9

Today a woman decades older than me politely posed
"Can I ask you a question, dear?"
Of course I replied, anything you like
I don't know what it was I expected
 
Something about my inspiration, parentage or process
Perhaps? Instead like toads each word from lips
Well meaning no doubt crept out daggers 
Don't always announce themselves before they stab
 
"Why were there so few people in the room tonight
To hear you play? Don't you have friends and family 
You can at least ask to do you the favor to fill the room?
 
"It's just not a 'good look' so I'm curious why you
Think the audience was so thin." All the years of
Pounding this beloved but bittersweet pavement 
Never prepare me for the moment when on occasion
 
A near stranger asks the question my parents pose
All too often and I hear myself rambling anxiously
"Sundays are hard...a lot of folks said they might come
And just couldn't make it...New York is tough...
 
Maybe it was because it was so early...
I only booked it a few weeks ago..." and on and on
Until compassionately the subject shifts as another
Conversationalist cuts in while shattered questioning
 
Everything I attempt in the dark of my psyche to piece 
Together the truth behind the charade of why 
Why I bother to play anymore in my hometown 
When begging doesn't become me why I still crave
 
That platform to debut new declarations of love
And affection for people and places and things 
That may not love me back with equal enthusiasm
There are times when giving up seems insightful
 
And times when forging on seems downright 
Idiotic times when a mere inquiry becomes existential
Inelegance moments earlier you were a goddess
Or at least had purpose humility is a funny thing 
 
But it is never the same as suffering mercifully
It resets your compass unwittingly you reassess
What it is you feel you do best in my case my privilege is
I believe my best is yet to come so my answer in retrospect
 
Is "if I knew, you wouldn't need to ask. There'd be 
A sellout every time and all I'd concern myself with
20 some odd years after playing these same small 
Venues would be am I effectively harnessing my muse
 
"Instead I worry about every detail from who may not
Show to who may be there to whether my voice 
Is on point do I dare take that risk and try the new song
Will I break even or will eventually break me?"
 
Stronger than any question is the desire to share
Stronger than any question is the lure of possibility
Stronger than any self-doubt is resilience though some
May interpret all of this as stupidity or indulgence
 
I persist, gratefully