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Ray Analysis

Author: poem of Hayden Carruth Type: poem Views: 9

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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.


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