The Apprentices

he used to sit in his bedroom slippers
and a silken robe
his jaws hanging
massive pouches under his eyes.
they kept coming to see him
bringing wine and pills and
conversation.
the old and the young came to
see him.

he had been very good
in the 30’s and the 40’s
and maybe in the
50’s.
for some reason
in the 70’s he settled on
(and in)
New York
City.

it was rather like coming to see God
when you came to see
him.
and his conversation was good
especially after the wine and
the pills.
he had a style and a grace, was
hardly
addled.
he smoked too much and the cigarettes
made him sicker than
anything.   he used to spit in the paper
bag near his
feet.
he had many visitors and held his
drink well.

at the end of an evening he would select one
young admirer to stay.
then he   would
suck him off.

and he’s gone now.
they never developer into a writer
like he.   of course,
there’s still time.