In the least expected moment,
On the second bottom-most rack of a random shelf,
I pull out your book — translation: comedy, play —
And I see that this is something that I do not have,
For I’ve never read you since your Hemingway.
For a moment, I hold it, as a shivering sense
Overcomes me — a feeling that would not be known
To a Facebook commuter, tagged to my note —
And I hold it, flipping pages for details:
Far away, I have visuals, all too
Ready to instruct my need to visualize —
Far away, I see you in an enclosed room,
Writing away, crossing out, correcting: and a lifetime
So removed, so far away from me
In familiar sepia, you cut from scene to scene,
Where you balance your hen-pecked life
With a miserable woman grown too miserable to put you by;
Of you searching your palate with the tip of your tongue
For a distinct taste of a liquor now sucked in dry.
In a room, separated, unknown to this age,
Dissolved in the mainstream of a time bygone,
Touching on 75, with a state-given epithet to boot:
Perhaps, a yard too better than what as fate would be my own.
I have never known you, I am in no need to know you better.
But, then, this tremor — this warm sensation,
Is it the ardour in the gravitation of kindred blood?
Nothing more than what at the chance encounter
Of a fellow kinsman’s work one’s expected to feel?
It is a note of pathos — a sense of profound isolation —
That I feel, that no poem or word can reveal.
Your book, my kindred, is priced at
3/4 the price of a Coke Jumbo thing.
(In the bookseller’s lingo) I put you in my cart,
And together with your voice tonight I will sing.