Proof Negative

I’ve got a show on Friday
where I’ll read stupid words
like these
into a microphone
for the people
who are dumb enough to come
but you won’t be there
because almost no one
is ever dumb enough to go
even though they say
“Good job!” after they see me
read words into microphones
and say
“I really liked the third one!”
when they might not even have been in the room
when I was reading.

They don’t come to the shows
which hurts a little
for each one that isn’t there
so even though
there are always some bodies around
and they always act enthusiastic enough,
the absence of the rest of the world
is proof negative
of the quality of my work.

If people wanted to hear my dumb voice
speak lame sentences
then they’d be there
and they’re not.
They won’t be.
They don’t come
but I perform anyway
because that’s what An Artist does
despite the regular pain
of your regular absence
every time.

Anyway
the show’s on Friday
at the usual place
and I’d really like you to be there
when I say some of those dumb words
but I doubt I’ll see you
this time
or the next.

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