“You okay?”
Wind knocked out of me
Flat on my back
In the orchestra pit seeing
Richard Brautigan’s concerned
Face looming over me


Seconds before I was
Jockeying around the podium
For a handshake or an autograph
When my boot heels slipped
Into the footlights
And I went over


What could I do but deny
Any injury, pick myself up
And scuttle off sideways
Having thoroughly humiliated
Myself before the idol I had
Somehow hoped to impress


My hopes of sharing the bottle
Of cheap port I had brought him
Dashed—luckily I’d taken it
Up to the podium earlier
Before the reading began


I never wore those boots again
And from then on made a point of keeping
To myself in the audience until
The day I read his body had left
A lasting impression on the floor

© 2014 Jim Ramsay, all rights reserved.