4 Christs

and when I went up to Santa Cruz to read
they had the four of us
at an elevated table
with placards:
Ginsing, Beerlinghetti, Rokoski, Cynder.
it wasn’t even the reading.
it was a dinner.
looked like the last supper.
I arrived late
sat down.
this man got up
with a scarf around his throat
stood behind me:
“guess you can’t guess who I am?”
I looked.
“I’m Cynder.”
“ah, hello, Harry, I’m Rokoski.”
he went back and sat

Ginsing and Beerlinghetti looked like they
were used to adulation:
they sat

Jack Bichelene hollered from the scumbag
crowd of minor poets allowed to sit closer
to the major poets than the groupies:
“hey, Rokoski!   start some shit!
“you are shit, Jack!” I hollered back,
eat yourself and die!”
Jack loved it.    he opened his dirty Brooklyn
mouth and laughed all over Santa
his dirty grey uncombed crewcut
“look,” I asked Beerlinghetti, “don’t they
serve drinks up here
in the stratosphere?”
“we’re waiting for dinner,” he informed
I got off from the table and went
down to the bar.
“give me a Vodka 7 double,” I told the
I got it down fast and ordered
a beer
and got on back toward the last
on the way a guy grabbed my arm:
“Ginsing says he doesn’t know how to act
around you…”
I got on back up there.
dinner came.
we ate it.
then before transport to the reading
we were given orders:
each was to read
15 minutes.

I read 14 minutes.
Beerlinghetti read 18 minutes.
Ginsing read 29 minutes.
Cynder read one hour and
12 minutes.

then it was

and now I am