William Taylor Jr.

The People in the Books I’m Reading

I’m at the computer with my wine
and there’s a man outside my building calling
the name of someone he’ll never see again
as the drunk poets send me messages 
telling me how they’re sad
about their latest poems not getting 
enough likes and shares
and how they’re sad about their unrecognized genius 
and their unreviewed books
one tells me of an old lover’s suicide
as she spills wine across faded letters
another hasn’t slept for days, says she’s enslaved 
by the phases of the moon
Eddy’s muse has skipped town and Jenny’s scared 
about 30 days in rehab
Anna’s stopped drinking and found god
she tells me this time for good
Frank’s checking himself into the psych ward
and they took his dog away
Angry Face is mad because I haven’t 
read his manuscript
and the people in the books I’m reading 
are all setting things on fire and committing suicide
it’s a bad night all around and I can’t 
do much for any of it. I’m sad, too
I have my own dead lovers and unreviewed books 
and now they’re putting the guy outside
into the back of a car as I gaze into
the flashing lights and pour another wine
and when I sit down to answer one of the sad messages
I tell my poet friend not to worry too much
they’ll cancel us all eventually.

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