an old fan

he used to write me from jail
and I’d write him back.   he said that of all the writers he
had written only Saroyan and I had written him back.   he
purchased my books   and passed my newspaper columns around.
that jail like anyplace else was full of writers and critics
and like the rest of them some of them hated me.   Harry the
Moose defended me.   he told them that even though I couldn’t
write a decent sentence I had done some time.

Harry came to see me when he got out, he came with another
x-con who had gotten out a bit earlier.   I was then living
at my girlfriend’s place and they stood in front of the fire-
place looking at my girlfriend and running their zippers up
and down.   I had never asked what they had gone in for but
that gave me the idea.   they didn’t stay long, they had their
old ladies with them and their old ladies wanted to see
Disneyland.   they had jobs as carpenters and made more in 3
days than I made in a month. we shook hands and said goodbye.

I got a letter last week.   Harry the Moose was back in. he
said it was a parole violation.   I believed him.   when I was
in a con told me:   “nobody’s guilty in here.”

Harry wants to know where he can get my latest book.   he’s
typing 12 hours a day in that cell.   that’s one thing about
lock-up:   you don’t get many interruptions.   I suppose
Saroyan will answer him again and I will too.   I’d rather
have readers and friends in there than in Paris or heaven,
now what in the hell did I do with his letter?