Watching Gary Snyder Read at the Capitola Book Cafe

Sitting next to me is a short round man.

Gary reads; the man nods his head often, knowingly.

Smart and wise,I think, he seems informed,

catching nuances that I miss.


Gary reads a poem that ends

in dolphins,and another word that I miss.

The short round man

sighs, nods his head, and says, That tastes good!

I think now he is even wiser

or maybe crazy, I’m not sure.


As the poems go on, he nods

not too much; just enough.

Gary’s wise humor fills the room,

and does not seem lost on the man.


The reading ends; questions taken.

When someone asks, How do you know

when to end a poem?

Gary briefly ponders, then says it’s a

technical artist thing…Just as Beethoven knew

when to end his symphonies.


This is when

the man in the chair next to me

yells, Beethoven didn’t know!


Surely he is half-cocked, I now know.


What did the man hear, I wonder,

while listening to Gary read?



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