Sunday, January 24, 2010

I arrived at the stadium with my cherished copy of Finnegans Wake. I was joined by several others in a grassy area, a kind of walkway high upon its rim. We were to give a performance of some kind. As the stadium filled with people, I put my book on a long narrow table, then fell into conversation with a grown friend from grade school. She seemed to be in charge. She asked if I would be singing. I told her I hadn’t planned to, but could if she wanted. The stadium grew louder and louder. I went back and looked out over the rim — there was now a sea of people. Everyone was dressed in white and holding a little round light, a kind of third red eye glowing against their chests. Afraid I might fall in, I stepped away from the edge and stood by some foliage. I was on a narrow graveled road. From there, I could see that my book was missing. The sun had set. The performance began. I couldn’t see him, but I immediately recognized the voice of James Joyce. He was reading a passage from his book. It was then that I realized I had completely forgotten what I was supposed to do. In my foolish confidence, I had felt so prepared that I hadn’t brought any notes. The reading ended. Joyce was followed by someone playing an electric guitar. The musician was facing the audience, but standing in a shell where he couldn’t be seen. My stomach was in an uproar. I knew I was next. But I couldn’t go on. At the last moment, I asked someone if he knew who had stolen my copy of Finnegans Wake. He smiled and shrugged. As the music ended, I set off down the road, embarrassed, disappointed, ashamed.

1 comment:

David Grove said...

This is accurate-seeming, powerful, and very like some of my dreams. I enjoyed it.