The way I remember it

which could

of course

be wrong

is that he was telling us about his friend

Lew “Sausalito Trash Prayer & The Basic Con” Welch

who walked off the planet and into the woods and…


And I interrupted.

Didn’t mean to.

Hadn’t learned yet

that things you say under your breath

can sorta be heard in a classroom,

things like “That’s how I feel when the poems won’t come.”


“What?” he said.

“Nothing,” I said.

“No, really,” he said, “that’s why we’re here.”

“Ok. Do you ever have days when the poems won’t come?”

“Sure I do. Days. Weeks. Even months sometimes.”

“And whattaya do when that happens?”

“Those,” he said, “those are the days when I try to learn how to live.”


It’s dark now,

nigh onto midnight,

and this is one of those days

when I wish I had learned how to listen.