I went over the other day
to pick up my daughter.
her mother came out with workman’s
I gave her the child support money
and she laid a sheaf of poems on me by one
I read them.
he’s great, she said.
does he send this shit out? I asked.
oh no, she said, Manfred wouldn’t do that.
well, I don’t know exactly.
listen, I said, you know all the poets who
don’t send their shit out.
the magazines aren’t ready for them, she said,
they’re too far advanced for publication.
oh for christ’s sake, I said, do you really
yes, yes, I really believe that, she
look, I said, you don’t even have the kid ready
yet. she doesn’t have her shoes on. can’t you
put her shoes on?
your daughter is 8 years old, she said,
she can put her own shoes on.
listen, I said to my daughter, for christ’s sake
will you put your shoes on?
Manfred never screams, said her mother.
OH HOLY JESUS CHRIST! I yelled
you see, you see? she said, you haven’t changed.
what time is it? I asked.
4:30. Manfred did submit some poems once, she said,
but they sent them back and he was terribly
you’ve got your shoes on, I said to my daughter,
her mother walked to the door with us.
have a nice day, she said.
fuck off, I said.
when she closed the door there was a sign pasted to
the outside. it said:
we drove down Pico on the way in.
I stopped outside the Red Ox.
I’ll be right back, I told my daughter.
I walked in, sat down, and ordered a scotch and
water. over the bar there was a little guy popping in and
out of a door holding a very red, curved penis
in his hand.
can’t you make him stop? I asked the barkeep.
can’t you shut that thing off?
what’s the matter with you, buddy? he asked.
I submit my poems to the magazines, I said.
you submit your poems to the magazines? he asked.
you are god damned right I do, I said.
I finished my drink and got back to the car.
I drove down Pico Boulevard.
the remainder of the day was bound to be better.