How many guys are sitting at their kitchen tables right now, one-thirty in the morning, this same time, eating a piece of pie? - that's what I wondered. A big piece of pie, because I'd just finished reading Ray's last book. Not good pie, not like my mother or my wife could've made, but an ordinary pie I'd just bought, being alone, at the Tops Market two hours ago. And how many had water in their eyes? Because of Ray's book and especially those last poems written after he knew: the one about the doctor telling him, the one where he and Tess go down to Reno to get married before it happens and shoot some craps on the dark baize tables, the one called "After-Glow" about the little light in the sky after the sun sets. I can just hear him, if he were still here and this were somebody else's book, saying, "Jesus," saying, "This is the saddest son of a bitch of a book I've read in a long time," saying, "A real long time." And the thing is, he knew we'd be saying this about his book, he could just hear us saying it, and in some part of him he was glad! He really was. What crazies we writers are our heads full of language like buckets of minnows standing in the moonlight on a dock. Ray was a good writer, a wonderful writer, and his poems are good, most of them and they made me cry, there at my kitchen table with my head down, me, a sixty-seven-year-old galoot, an old fool because all old men are fools, they have to be, shoveling big jagged chunks of that ordinary pie into my mouth, and the water falling from my eyes onto the pie, the plate, my hand, little speckles shining in the light, brightening the colors, and I ate that goddamn pie, and it tasted good to me.
Added: 1 Sep 2001 | Last Read: 24 Apr 2017 8:56 PM | Viewed: 8471 times
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