The Ballad of RASP

By Allison Ohlinger

There once was a nice little venue.
Not trendy, no high concept menu.
Just a nice little spot
Where the coffee was hot
And the pastries would not overspend you.

Some writers in search of a home,
A café Parnasse of their owm,
Birthed a sweet open mic there—
"Give your bootstraps a hike, Br'er!
Stand up and read others your pome!"

There they dwelt for right close to nine years,
Spinning stanzas and tales for all ears,
A community formed
That was friendly and warm,
Where each writer could read without fears.

But the café was purchased from Victor,
By a troll exponentially stricter.
Writers' work was too sexy,
He said, "Hey! That lexi-
Con needs an advisory sticker!"

He asserted their Readings had dented
His business, as when they prevented
New patrons from walking
In front of those talking,
Or complained of noise which he resented.

Then, Oh Bugger! Their readings he banned!
They were banished, erased, they were canned.
To the great open mic
He said, "Leave! Take a hike!"
They were shocked: this was all so unplanned.

They feared that without their old home,
Dear RASP's epitaph was "Shalom"
The group's life would dissist,
It would cease to exhist,
And they'd nevermore hear any poems.

But the poets and writers held fast,
They'd not let their clan breathe its last.
They sough out a new venue,
Where ART's on the menu,
And quiet's a thing of the past.

So here, at this place, on this night,
We've come back to stand up and recite,
The same warm, friendly group,
We're united by soup,
We have plenty of "Gemutlik - ite".

And the subtext the writers could share,
With those saying, "NO Victor's? Despair!"
It isn't the space
That makes someplace your place.
But the people you love when you're there.