Charles Simic Reads A Selection of Poems


You murmur your poems
in a hall of doors and mirrors and
I strain to hear.
Your voice barely carries
through the staid air
so I make eyes with the reflection of a bodacious blonde,
herself half awake.
These mirrors broadcast more effectively
than the second generation speakers erected by grad students.
You command this room, its stifled yawns and watering eyes,
but poetry is a dead art,
you quip,
selling twelve more collections
of your critically-beloved, publicly-ignored
jumble of words.
Well, I fail to make an impression on her,
the red-lipped heiress who exits
before the free pinot gris evaporates.
There are others:
a brunette in a knit cap,
two French girls discussing a boy,
professors of literature.
For an hour, we are your audience,
but afterwards, like ex-lovers,
we are too ashamed to make eye contact.

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