The calendar announced a poetry reading at 8. I arrived early for a seat and found a poster announcing a reader at 9:30.

It is now five to ten and four of us sit in a tiny room of a dark cafe, on our phones, waiting for something to happen. There’s no sign of a reader.

It’s ten. A man sits at a table, fiddling with the mic. A strand of “Si’s and Bueno’s” and numbers fill the air. Three more people, all with cigarettes, deposit themselves into the smoky space.

The man on the stage unpeels a guitar and positions some tattered notebooks at the corner of the table.

He’s still testing for sound at 10:15.

I take note of the message on the curtain behind the stage:
El vacio total de la ausencia
de la nada





People start asking if Oscar (Tanat), the feature, is present as the host, Juan Gonzalez, plays a song. “Mis besos son mis dolores,” he sings omething about a garganta, something about a mano con flores. (My kisses are my pains. Garganta=throat. Mano con flores=hand with flowers).

I am now in the room with four smoking men and a presenter who reminds me of Kermit with glasses. A waiter comes in and out to deliver us things, but no poetry. He even delivers a glass of beer for himself which he periodically sneaks in to sip.

As Juan continues to sing, my roommates continue their conversations, shouting over the song that contains the unfortunate lyrics, “No puedo cantar” (I cannot sing). Then he finishes, telling us how profound the song is while we clap out of courtesy.

The lecture about songs that are poems continues. Violeta, a Chilena, and Joan Baez are part of our lesson for the night. One more song until Oscar. It has a long prologue. It has a chorus that goes: “Toda cambia” (everything changes).

The waiter toasts the table where he keeps his beer, even dares to sit for a minute.

10:40 and Oscar arrives to start with some pornographic poems that also have drawings to accompany them.

A man with no hands sits at my table, a cigarette between his nubs where elbows might be.

Oscar says “Postcorrentista” too many times. Then, he reads a poem that is a conversation on Facebook. It has a lot of creos (I believe) and hahahahahas. I understand immediately that he is too chido (cool) for the rest of us as he finishes the first set reciting a poem in an unreal language based on Spanish.

It is 11 now, and I head into the dark streets to be greeted by 100 “Hola, gueras.”





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