Lessons in Public Speaking

by Jessica Lohafer

Hello from the wilderness!

I know, I know, if “I have access to internet” than apparently “I don’t want it!” Such impassioned terms! So many promises! Well, I have been writing like crazy, and I couldn’t keep it in anymore. Also, if I make the promise, I can change the promise. So here we are. In the wilderness! And connected to the internet.

Holden Village is exactly as fantastic as I had hoped it would be. It’s also very different then I had expected. I’m writing some weird material….and it makes me a little nervous. But I press on, and hope for the best. I have many stories for you, but those aren’t for right now. The internet that I do have, I only have a short amount of time. Time is of the essence!

The poem I have today isn’t about this place, exactly. But its subject matter has been on my mind and I had to write about it. That’s all. I come home in about two and a half weeks, and I couldn’t be more excited. If you’re in Bellingham, you can come see me June 7th (TONIGHT!). I will hosting the inaugural Grown Ass Poets’ Society show (special thanks to Robert Lashley for coming up with the name). It is going to be at the Green Frog and it will be featuring…..drum roll……Buddy Wakefield! And Jack McCarthy! This is going to be a show to end all shows, you don’t want to miss it. So, to review:

Grown Ass Poets’ Society!
Featuring Buddy Wakefield and Jack McCarthy
June 7th, at 7 pm at the Green Frog on State Street

I will be hosting! Get there! I will hold you, and tell you about my adventures. Hell, I might even buy you a drink.
Home can’t come soon enough. Now, to lead us into the poem, here’s one of my new favorite quotes.

“God instructs the heart, not by ideas but by pains and contradictions.”
-De Caussade

When you Decide to tell your Church Group about Domestic Violence

you’ll stumble, at best
at worst, you’ll cry
Not in the classy way –
how they show it in movies –
A stern professor approaches the microphone
delivers an impassioned plea for justice,
a message that demands the best of his colleagues
He’s almost made it through the entire thing
when suddenly the music swells
and he’s caught,
our stone man now transparent
One tear running from retina to jaw line
a more honest hero than we’ve ever known.

when you do it,
you won’t make it through the first stanza.
The poem you picked
because of its subtleties,
turns out to reveal your weakness
more quickly than a politician’s intern
You are crying in earnest now
soggy and pathetic
Your voice, a pitiful sliver of what it once was
Worse yet, they’ll listen to you
Cock their heads to the side
and start nodding
bring you tissues
and say,
keep going.

Once, in this very sanctuary,
you watched a man
trying to light the candles for the service
The altar was a dreadful thing,
too small for his thick frame to maneuver around
He lumbered back and forth,
the flames paper thin
his body, his weight,
so earnest to do the Lord’s work

You felt embarrassed for him
Couldn’t believe he would
put himself on display like that
And look at where you are today,
wailing, publicly,
with no dramatic music
to soften the blow

Best to go as quickly as you can
No use pretending
to gather yourself
Sob through the whole
goddamn thing –
you have to get
the candles lit,