Still on my open-mic high

by Elouise

Sunday evening I bravely showed up at our church with D and three poems. Our church’s first-ever open-mic night. The gym was set up with gracious laid-back elegance, and several tables were spread with café-quality cookies and other sweet finger foods. Plus non-alcoholic drinks and a basket for donations to the Deacon’s Fund.

To my surprise, I was up first. Good! It meant I fully enjoyed the rest of the show. Performers included children, young people, middle-age people, and a good number of us gray-hairs. About twelve ‘acts’ in all, ranging from poetry and a book excerpt reading to riddles, funny jokes, professional and amateur musical renditions, and a crazy-funny skit at the end.

It felt good to be behind a microphone again. I’m not a born performer. I do, though, love the way words work, especially when delivered as performance art, with an opportunity to say a bit about what I’ve written.

I chose personal poems, accessible to all ages. Below are links to my three poems, plus the third poem in its entirety. Reading it out loud was even better than writing it!

This was my first open-mic event ever. So now I’m wondering about venues where I might read and talk about more of my poems, now more than 390. But that’s for another day.

music to my ears
Her bespoke face
Homecoming on the Grounds….

Homecoming on the Grounds….

Homecoming this Sunday on the grounds
of the Montgomery Presbyterian Church
Come One, Come All!
Sunday, 12:30 to 5:00 pm
All Ages Welcome!

Beneath aging water oaks
Long wooden tables covered with oilcloth
and butcher paper groan with food
Children race shrieking with joy

Ladies arrange and surreptitiously rearrange
table settings to favor their own delicacies
properly positioned for easy access
and maximum compliments

Piles of coated, crispy southern fried chicken
Bowls of homegrown boiled corn on the cob cut in 2-inch portions
Mounds of southern white potato salad swimming
in mayo, relish, cut-up hard-boiled eggs, salt and pepper

Molded bright green and orange jello ‘salads’
defy description
laced with canned mixed fruit, grated carrots and raisins,
small-curd cottage cheese and pineapple bits or
My Mom’s strawberry jello salad
with real strawberries and rhubarb!

Platters of thick-sliced juicy homegrown tomatoes
Hunks of sugary-sweet southern-style cornbread
Pots of honey-bee honey and real butter

Obligatory cut green beans drowning
in canned cream-of-something soup topped
with crispy brown onion fries
Boiled collards and turnip greens swimming
in chunks of fatty ham and Tobasco-laced broth

Plates of beguiling deviled eggs dusted with red paprika
Baskets of buttery white rolls and salty potato chips
Nary a boiled carrot to be seen

Lemon chiffon pie, sweet potato pie
and banana pudding with soggy vanilla wafer edges
Cheesecake in graham-cracker crusts
topped with canned cherries
smothered in red glop

Pecan pies and German chocolate cakes
Chocolate chip cookies, decorated sugar cookies, peanut butter cookies
Moon Pies and Tootsie Rolls

Hot coffee with caffeine and real cream
Sweetened iced tea with lemon slices
Water and funeral home fans for the faint of heart

Yet more glorious still—
Pit-cooked, falling-apart whole barbecued pork
prepared and reverently tended overnight by real men
on the grounds of hog heaven

This is a favorite childhood memory from life in the South. I was 8 years old when we moved to the Deep South. These annual October potluck dinners were even better than Christmas!


© Elouise Renich Fraser, 18 October 2017
Image found at

Daily Prompt: Brave