A talent quest in a town of 1200 people
more than a thousand potential candidates
small enough for several hours awfulness
big enough for a nugget of gold.
If the purpose was to entertain
the winner did
an obese man who wobble croaked Bob Dylan imitations
so side splittingly awful, the crowd screamed for more.
Other contestants could feel aggrieved
attentive hair, obedient make up, perfect costumes
lines compliant to rehearsal’s insistence
lose to unselfconscious buffoonery.
The runners up especially
a real time couple with a sweet duet of love
a boy meets girl song
one of so many origin is not pondered.
He tall and dark, she petite and olive
an image from television advertisement land.
Truth would admit their costume and theme garishly amateur
but slick choreography – almost professional
opening with her coy
shifting to both contemplative
the roulette pauses
then pays out love’s breath clutched bid.
The crowd are enchanted and dopamine released – the winners surely
until the very last act
the nasal grated imitator
complete with cat screech harmonica.
Laughter surrenders to shower singing cringe.
Later that week I visit a friend we talk trivia
people and events and the talent quest
should know better corny confesses sympathy for second place.
A cigarette is ground into an ashtray – darkness.
my friend has secret life as a volunteer counsellor
anger displaces confidentiality.
Did I notice the woman from the love song always wore makeup?
men don’t – women ascribe vanity – it was to hide the bruises.