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by DS Maolalai
The world is full of shipping clerks
who have read
the Harvard Classics
- Charles Bukowski
When I walk to the bus stop in the morning
I pass two minor poets on my way.
One of them is sweeping the road. One
is walking to a job helping old ladies
and emptying bins at a train station. I guess both of them
see plenty of life. I get on my bus
and sit down in the empty swallow of early morning
accompanied by the dull pencil stare of a dirty shoed folk guitarist
and a painter who has left his wife at home
wiping the kitchen table clear of watercolour flecks.
On my lunchbreak I pay another writer for a sandwich and a beer.
This one had a poem in Granta once—it was in the same issue
as a recently discovered piece by Ray Carver.
He talks about it when he's drunk sometimes.
I drink the beer there and go to the park to eat the sandwich
and read a book I picked up second hand
at the weekend. The wind grabs at the pages and knocks them around.
Whenever I call
a large company it's a minor poet that answers the phone. One cleans it up
when I knock a coke over at the cinema. One sells wine from a little shop
on my corner.
I guess all of them see plenty of life. But I guess they
probably see more dirt.