I wrote this in 1992. (It was originally entitled "The Reader.") Maybe should have posted it instead of the "Thud" post. The spirit of the staircase is apparently alive and well. :-)
Open Mic Night
He stands upon the podium and struggles to make contact.
From deep within his soul he takes
His one true self
His heart of hearts
Lays it bare
And tries to squeeze it through the microphone
Out the PA speakers
To the audience beyond
Reaching for his joy through theirs
That joy -- remembered, or imagined --
Of making contact
Of sowing the seeds of his soul.
But oh! It's a tough crowd tonight
And the silence is harder than stones