an afternoon in mid-February 1974

they think I’m up here drunk on
beer
          PELIKAN
          tinta
          china
          17 Negro
a paper container in front of me
says
as the paperboys begin to grow beards   and
look like the bad
poets
          Martin Van Buren was the 8th. president
of the U.S. from 1837 to 1841,
then I spill coffee on the
dictionary

                    the phone rings
                    all these women want to talk to me
                    they can’t forget me–
                    am I that good?

the lady downstairs borrows a vacuum cleaner
from the manager and crackles her thanks
her thanks come upward to me here
and also mingle with two pigeons and their
feathers as they sit on the roof in the
wind. vacuum is spelled very strangely,
I think, and I watch the 2 pigeons   on the roof,
they sit motionless in the wind, just a few small
rising and falling

                    the phone rings again
                    “I have just about gotten over it,
                    I have just about gotten over
                    you.”
                    “thank Christ,” I say and
                    hang up.

it is 2 p.m. in the afternoon
I have finished my coffee and   had a smoke
and now the coffee water is boiling
again, there is an original painting of
Eric Heckel’s THE SLEEPING WOMAN
on my north wall
and there is neither joy nor sorrow here now
just all the paperboys in Los Angeles
trying to grow beards
and the sound of the vacuum cleaner.