There's always the spectre of Llantarnam : the audience consisting of organiser plus spouse and one little old lady come for the 'pottery'.
But this time out, I'm full of optimism. The evening at Narberth is part of a series of 'Poetry & Music' ones throughout Wales. After a long, lazy train journey - the most glorious part as the track wends round the estuary from Gowerton past Llanelli and then Ferryside to Carmarthen - on a day of September sun, I was even more in the rhythm.
Doors opened 7.30 pm and by eight the Llantarnam factor was setting in. The two other poets Richard Douglas Pennant and Richard Marggraf Turley ( I'll have to adopt 'Geraint') looked equally despondent. The jazz group warmed up, oblivious it seemed. Till, amazingly, as the lights dimmed and the superb Frank Harrison Trio began their first set of improvised mood-changes and subtle exchanges between piano, bass and drums, the place had filled up.
The lighting was tricky, but I only stumbled once and thoroughly enjoyed the evening as did fellow poets and the band. I think the audience had a good time as well. I managed not to fist the mike off the stage as I had done at the Merthyr Punkfest ( angry and frustrated at the way the Red Poets had been messed about)........especially as there were no mikes.
Afterwards, pianist Harrison joked that if you multiply a jazz audiece and a poetry audience that would be the sum of '0 x 0'. More importantly, with the musicians we talked about the great similarity between us : poets beginning with a blank page and not really knowing where it will lead and jazz pieces original every time, so much so that Harrison didn't even know which number he was going to play as he began.
All of which has no relevance to my following and most recent poem , inspired by the LibDems declaration of 'savage cuts'. It's more a manifesto than poem and probably an example of 'pissin' on a desert cactus' to quote the neglected songwriter Rod Tolchock. However, sometimes when a man's gotta piss, a man's gotta..................
THE 43 LETTER WORD
Ladies and gentlemen -
nay, comrades and friends!
Welcome to the inauguration
of the Not-Like-The-Rest Party.
Lend me your ears -
no, I won't slice them off!
Our cuts will be vicious,
they will be machete-wielding.
Our cuts will be all-encompassing -
we will cauterize to maximize.
We will begin by cutting the Monarchy
and its hangers-on........saving billions.
We'll follow by withdrawing troops from Afghanistan,
Germany, Falklands,N.Ireland and Brecon.
We will declare peace with a vengeance
We will stop paying the pointless Lords,
close down all tax havens.
We will not pay a single pfennig
to banks who hold us to ransom.
Trident will be sunk without trace
saving billions....I've done my figures.
Then we'll abolish Westminster
and have parliaments from villages to nations.
So that, once and for all,
the Britain of war and empire can be buried.
So vote for us, I'm not afraid
to use the 43 letter word...........
Anarcho-syndicalist Welsh Socialist Republicanism.