Artwork © Eric N. Peterson


Do I Have Time to Read One More?

NO! Mastodons still roamed the Earth when tonight’s poetry reading began but you wouldn’t know that, would you? You arrived ten minutes ago and cut in front of the fifteen readers who are still waiting. Two passed into menopause and one developed an enlarged prostate during the feature. You told the MC you had to run off to your daughter’s wedding which will happen next to your grandfather’s simultaneous funeral across from the baseball field hosting your son’s little league playoff. If you’re in such a rush, how did you find the time to read us seven poems, your head down staring at your papers so you didn’t see the next reader on the open mic die from old age. Honestly it feels more like you read seventeen due to your long-winded introductions. Much as it matters to you, the audience doesn’t care about how the rhubarb marmalade you spread on your gluten-free toast inspired your poem. Each member has shown you more patience than that of the love child who would have resulted if Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Mother Teresa had a three-way. For God’s sake, have some consideration! Some of us would like to visit our grandchildren before they become parents, walk among the pines before the sun swells to a ball of radioactive flame that engulfs the Earth.


Jon Wesick is a regional editor of the San Diego Poetry Annual. He’s published hundreds of poems and stories in journals such as the Atlanta Review, Berkeley Fiction Review, New Verse News, Paterson Literary Review, Pearl, Pirene’s Fountain, Slipstream, Space and Time, and Tales of the Talisman. The editors of Knot Magazine nominated his stories “The Visitor” and “A Story for the Rest of Us” for Pushcart Prizes. His poem “Meditation Instruction” won the Editor’s Choice Award in the 2016 Spirit First Contest. Another poem “Bread and Circuses” won second place in the 2007 African American Writers and Artists Contest. “Richard Feynman’s Commute” shared third place in the 2017 Rhysling Award’s short poem category. Jon is the author of the poetry collections Words of Power, Dances of Freedom and A Foreigner Wherever I Go as well as several novels and short story collections. His most recent novel is The Prague Deception.

Eric N. Peterson is from Atlanta, Ga. He’s been drawing cartoons all his life. He leans towards the absurd, imaginative, and the surreal, as that’s where all the flavor is.