the little girls

up in northern California
he stood in the pulpit
and had been reading for some time
he had been reading poems about
nature and the goodness
of man.

he knew that everything was all
right and you couldn’t blame him:
he was a professor and had never
been in jail or in a whorehouse
had never had a used car die
during a traffic jam;
3 drinks during the wildest
had never been rolled, flogged,
had never been bitten by a dog
he got nice letters from Gary
Snyder, and his face was
kindly, unmarked and
his wife had never betrayed him,
nor, had his luck.

he said, “I’m just going to read
3 more poems and then I’m going
to step down and let
Bukowski read.”

“oh no, William,” said all the
little girls in their pink and blue
and white and orange and lavender
dresses, “oh no, William,
read some more, read some

he read one more poems and then he said,
“this will be the last poem that
I will read.”

“oh no, William,” said all the little
girls in their red and green see-
through dresses, “oh no, William,” said
all the little girls in their tight blue
jeans with little sewn hearts on them,
“oh no, William,” said all the little girls
“read more poems, read more poems!”

but he was good to his word.
he got the poem out and he climbed down and
vanished. I got up to read
the little girls wiggled in
their seats and some of them hissed and
some of them made remarks to me
which I will use at some later date.

two or three weeks later
when I got a letter from William
saying that he did enjoy my reading.
a true gentleman. 
I was in bed in my underwear with a
3 day hangover.   I lost the envelope
but I took the letter and folded it
into a paper airplane such as
I had   learned to make in grammar
school.   it sailed about the room
before and in between an old Racing Form
and a pair of shit-stained shorts.

we have not corresponded since.