November 15th. Pouring rain in Seattle. So soon after the Election Shock.
There was a Spec Fic reading at the Vermilion Bar in Seattle. I attended, mainly for a chance to meet some of the writers I knew, and see them in action.
I went up to get a hot drink and a snack. They had no coffee, only tea. While I waited at the bar, a man next to me asked me if I was a writer. His name, he said, was Don, and he didn’t give a surname. I asked him the same thing, and he said something about having a bookshop. Then he asked me to give him three words, and he’d write me a poem. Without thinking too much about it, I gave him Balloon, Phoenix, and Rocket. My food arrived, I excused myself, and took it back to the table with my writer friends.
A little later, he brought me the poem. The reading had started, and so I just glanced at it and thanked him. Later, I read it, and it seemed an extended metaphor for the political dream that became a nightmare.
The balloon drifted away
From the child
like a dream
Up and away
Perhaps a phoenix sometime
but maybe not
I worship the ground
She walked on
and pull up the blanket under my chin.
“Do you like it at all?” he asked.
Yes. I did. I do. I pulled up the blanket under my chin. What else was there to do at 3 a.m. when it had all gone wrong?
I still don’t know, as I look at the handwritten poem on a scrap of paper, whether that was what he meant. But that’s what it meant to me.
— x —