Then there’s the time I went to Books and Books in Coral Gables
to see Howard Nemerov, and though I can’t remember anything
he read—either it wasn’t memorable, or my memory is on the loose in
someone else’s mind—I remember the wine & cheese afterward
upstairs where I expected Jacob Marley or Boris Karloff to emerge
from the bookshelves. Anyway, I walk up to Nemerov with a plastic
cup of wine and a paper plate of cheese chunks and tell him I loved his reading--
which was a lie—I said Mr. Nemerov—I thought the Mr. was
appropriate out of respect though I learned later from a friend that the old
coot had been grabbing the asses of half the women at the reading,
but it was Mr. Nemerov, and I told him I had a horrible job selling
messages-on-hold to telephone companies that sold telephone systems
and earned fifty-thousand dollars a year, which was pretty hot shit,
especially back then, especially for a guy like me, no college, no trade,
just a high school diploma, and I said Mr. Nemerov, should I quit my job
and concentrate on poetry? He leaned forward like a lumbering Dean
Martin with his bloodshot eyes and alcohol breath, and just looked at me
like I was a fucking idiot.
Lenny DellaRocca is founder and co-publisher of South Florida Poetry Journal - SoFloPoJo.
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