the smallest of talk

give me nothing to rant about, he said, and
I am incomplete, a fat dog sleeping away   a
Sunday afternoon.

yes, I said, your invectives, your imagined
dissatisfactions, you need
them.

you see him over there?
that fat guy with the patch over his right
eye.

where? I asked.

over there, at that
table.

that guy?

yes, he studied under
Ezra.

studied under Ezra,
eh?

yes, damn Ezra, he
said.

damn Ezra, eh?
who
else.

Hamsun,   Knut, he
said.

do we always have to engage
in this literary chit
chat? I asked.

yes, he said, you know most
people only know two things
about Hamsun: he wrote Hunger
and was presumed to be a
Nazi collaborator.

oh why don’t you be quiet a
while? I asked.

you want to know what one of
the saddest things is?

tell me.

it’s when you drink up and write
up the night and find the
next day…

nothing.

well, maybe four very bad
poems.

nothing but a hangover

and the old fear of?…
he asked

so many writers dead
before their
deaths.

thank you, he said.

you’re
welcome,
I answered

as the fat guy with the
patch over his eye
got up from his table
and left the
room.