John Patrick Robbins

Hell Is Writing

I sat there bored and hung-over.

I sat there and I had no fucking clue why.

The little coffee shop was filled with other poets or in all truth yuppies that called themselves writers.

Social assholes whom thought reading their work aloud made it good.

It was terrible enough sober, but add a gut ravaged by a night of heavy drinking and it was dam near torture.

I was there due to a friend’s request.

I seldom read for people,

My work was either love or hate with the reader but usually I didn’t have to experience this first hand.

I herd some people whispering behind me.

“Hey who’s that guy?”

“He new or something?”

“That’s the guy I told you about he never comes to these things.”

“Got a few things published here and there total asshole from what I’ve herd.”

“How’s his writing?”

“Oh I never read him, he’s too much into drinking and antics like I said he’s a real asshole.”

I herd the woman repeat this to the guy beside her.
It was funny how my reputation as a prick seemed to follow me everywhere.

Some woman with a nose ring and flat ass took the stage if you could even call it that.

“I’m going to read you a haiku.”

I threw up in my mouth held it in.

My stomach was really kicking my ass today.

I got up walked outside I never wasted my time with crap.

I wasn’t saying the woman was a bad writer I just hated neat nice shit.

I loved the flawed things in life.

I sat outside lit a cigarette sat down on a bench watched the cars pass.

It was far more original than the stuffy room filled with judgmental moody bastards all needing their egos stroked.

“Jack is everything okay?”

Sheryl was looking down at me her face shown the concern she new I was about two steps from the nearest bar.

And already over the coffee shop shark tank.

“Yeah feeling like shit is all, Had to get some air sweetheart.”

“I was scared you were going to leave before you read for us.”

“I know how uncomfortable it is for you at these things.”

“Yeah, not my scene.”

“So why did you come to begin with?”

“You asked me to.”

“Yes but you really don’t seem very interested in the other poets.”

“Cause I’m not.”

“Why some are very promising?”

“They’re shit and their work has no life.”

“It’s just the same boring fucking thing over and over.”

“And what makes you so much better?”

“Cause I don’t care what they think, and my work is many things it’s but never boring.”

“Even when it’s shit least it can only be mine.”

Cheryl laughed.

“You’re such a prick! I think that’s what draws me to you.”

“Yeah, I can be a charming bastard on occasion. Wanna ditch this party, go have some drinks?”

“I can’t, I’m hosting, and you still haven’t read yet.”

“Yeah, I don’t think they will mind.”

“Come on and cut the crap, Jack. Just go in there and be you, relax. Besides, we can go have a drink afterwards.”

Against my better judgment, I went back in.
It was time to face the hangman so to speak.

They called my name and suddenly I was facing the crowd.

“Look, before I start, I want to say hello to a certain someone in the back. I’ve heard I’m an asshole, thank you for such kind words.”

I read my poems and some were pretty damn good, but I never let them see me.

The page does my speaking for me.

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