In yesterday’s mail, there was a check for eighty dollars — payment for several poems I submitted to a magazine over three years ago, and which will finally see print in the coming weeks. Eighty dollars can seem like a lot or a little, depending on how you look at it. The poems are short, so it’s a lot. They are the product of years of suffering and observation, so it’s a little. They were easy to write, so it’s a lot. Eighty dollars will buy less than two tanks of gas, so it’s a little. I didn’t write them for the money in the first place, so it’s a lot. I could use ten or a hundred times the amount, so it’s a little. Had the check been for 800 or 8,000 dollars, I would not have thought the payment excessive. But I would have known it was a mistake. Still, I might have deposited the check, just for the fun of it and to see what happened. Would I have spent the money before the check had time to clear or bounce? Hmm. I wonder.

*   *   *

I’m still adding to my collection of used books. The other day, I bought a nice selection of poems by Robert Burns that was published in 1926 and reprinted in 1937. A helpful glossary of terms is included. The book was once part of a local high school library — the library card is still in the pocket on the inside back cover. I even wrote a poem about it, as part of the book I’m working on now, Songs and Letters.

On the same trip, I found a hardbound copy of Thomas Wolfe’s The Web and the Rock, a 700-page mountain of words I look forward to reading. If it’s half as good as his first novel, Look Homeward, Angel, it will still be better than most books.

I also found a paperback edition of eleven of Luigi Pirandello’s short stories. I read the first one already, a piece called “Little Hut — A Sicilian Sketch.”

And of course there is a pile of others — The Oresteia by Aeschylus, Long Day’s Journey into Night by Eugene O’Neill, and Dry Guillotine by René Belbenoit are a few of the most recent. I also need to get back to Lord Byron’s Don Juan, which is a riot. Suffice it to say, I have stacks of reading material. Maybe one of these days I’ll be imprisoned for something and I can catch up on my reading — an odd thought, but no more unreasonable, really, than several others I’ve had today.

Also by William Michaelian

Winter Poems

ISBN: 978-0-9796599-0-4
52 pages. Paper.
Another Song I Know
ISBN: 978-0-9796599-1-1
80 pages. Paper.
Cosmopsis Books
San Francisco

Signed copies available

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