reading august kleinzahler poems
on the train ride home from work
i almost miss the puerto rican girl sitting by herself
with streaks of red dyed into
her long, waxy black hair
the yellow halter top she is wearing
that is lacing around the circle neck.
oh, how it just shows the top of her caramel breasts!
i almost miss the pack of hasidics arguing
and the old woman who has her dog shoved into a duffle bag.
and what am i doing reading this kleinzahler anyway?
i’ve been struggling with this book for over a month
and just don’t get him.
i keep going back to that picture of august in the back
holding a dozen flowers and a glass of bourbon in his hands
instead of reading his poems anyway,
wishing he was like the man in the photo and not so precise.
but isn’t that the way it always is?
imagine all of the people that i have let down
looking or acting a certain way.
but i keep missing things because of this book
like people crying or laughing
or stuff my wife asks me to do
like my own poem ideas
like the way the puerto rican girl
kicks her legs as she reads, laughing quietly
at something on the page.
her own private literary joke.
she’s not reading kleinzahler
but something else, something easy on the mind
the cover of which i cannot make out, though i try.
and there i am looking at a book in some girl’s lap
missing things, how funny,
when the train doors open
and i almost miss the man wearing a trench coat in summer heat
the crackhead staggering in the doors
leering when his eyes aren’t rolling into the back of his head
the blonde who walks in wearing a tight black dress
and a thin white blouse that shows the red bra
she unfortunately chose to put on this morning
probably in a fit, in a rush
definitely not chosen after reading poems
written by august kleinzahler
in some kind of word vomiting daze.