Monday, November 12, 2012

The Critic

by G.K. Williams
In the Boston Public Library on Boylston Street, where all the
        bums come in stinking from the cold,
there was one who had a battered loose-leaf book he used to
        scribble in for hours on end.
He wrote with no apparent hesitation, quickly, and with
        concentration; his inspiration was inspiring:
you had to look again to realize that he was writing over words that
        were already there –
blocks of cursive etched into the softened paper, interspersed with
        poems in print he'd pasted in.
I hated to think of the volumes he'd violated to construct his opus,
        but I liked him anyway,
especially the way he'd often reach the end, close his work with
        weary satisfaction, then open again
and start again: page one, chapter one, his blood-rimmed eyes as
        rapt as David's doing psalms.
Reprinted from Good Poems, American Places
edited by Garrison Keillor, Penguin Books, 2011.

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