The Great Writer

Is offering
free readings
in Central Park
like the free Shakespeare
offered
at the Delacorte Theater
except
so far
nobody's listening.

The Great Writer
reads some of his latest poems
in the maze
of The Rambles
ignored
by visitors
seeking
other pleasures.

In winter
he reads
at Wolman Rink
pirouetting
on the ice.
skaters circle dreamily
deaf
to his meters.

The Great Writer
sleeps on benches
at night
convinced
the park
is safe.
He awakes
to find himself
wallet-less,
shoe-less,
pants-less.

On the hottest
day of the year
The Great Writer
reads a rhyming epic
at the Lasker Pool
and is
mugged
in the locker room.

He staggers,
bleeding and sweating,
to the Reservoir.
His words
flutter raggedly
over its wind torn surface
like
wounded swallows.

Finally
he recites
honeyed syllables
in the Monkey House.
They shriek, hurl feces,
then take him in
as one of their own.

by Doug Lane

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