Catalyzed: First Assignment, Friday Afternoon Live (1990)

I was fine until Kurt came in
and told me not to worry –
over and over again –
until I was scared to death.

I stood in silent amazement, invisible
Staring at the crowds wandering about.
They looked just like me, happy
I looked down at my little orange patch
“PRESS” it said.  I can’t get involved,
but only observe, unbiased, apart.

Cars in the parking lot of Assembly Hall
License plates from Vermont and Oregon
“Champaign or Bust!” one van cried.
“Earth First!” shouted another in bold blue.
Barefoot reporters from the Associated Press
Made me feel ridiculously overdressed.

I watched some guys playing a mandolin,
a guitar and something like a fish with strings.
Despite the distance between us,
I couldn’t help but tap my foot and ask
“Do you mind if I tape you guys for radio?”
A smile, a shrug, “Go ahead.  We’re not famous!”
A laugh.
Now you are.


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