The Audience

The AudienceThe audience appeared waving umbrellas from drinking happy hour beer, or hurrying from work or dropping off the kid, driving in from the aloof burb or sliding down from the hep pad on the hill, making a splash, alighting from cab or bus amid the rush. Coming from everywhere, the audience began to cohere.

The audience entered the hall dressed to its drollest: dressed in red down gown, hair whiffed and coifed like a pastry croissant, smelling of perfumes; dressed in jet-black tuxedo, in tight shoes and diminished socks, with small bottle of whiskey packed discreetly in coat pocket, hair polished with floor wax; dressed in polka dot shift over silver flats; dressed in loose corduroy and plaid flannel; dressed in pressed denim pants over soft loafers or heavy boots. In any case, dressed: dressed to the nines, dressed to the gills, dressed to kill or to be killed, dressed like a cat or a pig, dressed and de-dressed and redressed, but not to digress.

The audience performed a wave. The swell rose from the back rows and swept forward down the aisles, rising and falling until it broke upon the stage. The audience pulled at its hair, feet patting the flowered floor. The audience was absorbed in felt. The audience was loosely packed, like popcorn, knee-to-knee, and bounced up and down in its box.

The audience yawned. The audience fidgeted. The audience teared. The audience popped bonbons and sucked jujubes. The audience cheered. The audience hissed. The audience levitated. The audience milled. The audience was blindfolded and applauded by the players. The audience walked out. The audience considered what fun to yearn through the years the discerning one.

The audience abandoned its mess. The audience crawled beneath seats, searching for lost touches. The audience stuck wet purple platitudes under seats. The audience retreated patiently without panic up the slow aisles. The audience left behind a coin purse of cough drops, a pair of plastic reading glasses, an empty bottle of whiskey, a set of earphones, a Moleskine pocket notebook full of lists, a psychedelic scarf, a citizenship test study guide, and a paisley golf umbrella.

The audience walked out into a breezy evening on the neon avenue, and a few unpopped kernels fell from wrinkled lapels. The audience went this way and that, for cigarettes or toilets, for coffee or cocktails, whistled for a taxi or waited for a bus, climbed into a cold bed or gave the babysitter a ride home.

The audience disagreed with the critic’s review in the morning blog. The audience told the coworker all about what was worn the night before. The audience the following weekend was unable to remember. The audience slept through the off-season, dreaming of animated spring costumes, of walking through the park, watching for peacocks, down to the theatre, the marquee illuminating the wet pavement, the hot buttery popcorn freshly popped. The audience awoke and wanted more.


    1. Joe Linker says:

      Coho! Silvers. Local rivers and streams. To cohere is to hang tight.
      Let’s hear it for coherent poetry!
      [Applause sign lights up, and the audience applauds.]

  1. Cohere – into the chameleon like main character of the performance.

    Delightful characterisation :)

    1. Joe Linker says:

      This was a fun piece to work on. Not sure this to purpose, but anyway, we sometimes find ourselves the subject of an audience: birds watching us, crows, in particular, for example, or cats, but we have to attune, tune in, or we miss our own performance, or arrive late to our own show. What’s the attraction, question we hear. We hear sounds off, question what we hear. Dear Hear: Audire! What attire to hear audieu? Raiment! The audience is on the ground, wants mor. Was looking for some humus, something humorous, and yes, it’s the changing. Anyway, the audience creates the performance. Was at library yesterday with 2 year old who was pretending to read, jabberwocking aloud, mixing up sounds with parts of words, turning pages, an unintentional performance, and the audience overheard! This was a fun post to work on.

      1. That 2 year old, jabberwocking, your grandchild? is lucky to have such an appreciative audience :)

        1. Joe Linker says:

          Yes, and she’s great. Yet another story: for Christmas got her a book that has a puppet worm growing through its center. You put your finger in the worm and wiggle it around as you read the book – that’s the idea, the worm talking. The idea is when you turn the pages the worm is always part of the page and the story. But the worm scared her! So we’ve had to put that book away for now. Reading is real!

          1. Another time will be right. I think I know the book.

            1. Maybe, the book I’m thinking of is, I think, called ‘The Hungry Caterpillar.’

              1. Joe Linker says:

                You might be thinking of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” by Eric Carle. There might be more than one edition of it, and one where the caterpillar is somehow interactive. We have a miniaturized copy (Philomel Books, 1969, 1987) of the original, which I guess must have been quite large. And the Carle book is very cool. But the book I mentioned is called “The Little Ladybug.” It’s a “Finger Puppet Book.” It’s part of a series: bee, butterfly, etc. Well, it’s been a couple of months since I last looked at it, and it’s not a worm after all, but a ladybug. Maybe that’s why it scared the little one, a ladybug with the head of a worm? Sorry for confusion!

  2. bristlehound says:

    This living organism be an Audience. Devouring whatever comes before it and regurgitating the spoils into a lemming powered commune. All the while creating a chasm of opportunity for the lone wolf. B

    1. Joe Linker says:

      Yes, the audience is an organization. Maybe the lone wolf is a heckler?

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