There at his desk
sits the great and wonderful,
Antanas Frederich. The poet
like that poor soul in Victor Hugo’s classic,
over an ancient typewriter,
a vintage 1905 Hammond No. 12.
He bought the damn thing
for a lot less than it’s worth
a few weeks past from some old shmuck
He sits pounding out his latest masterpiece,
“this one is for the ages,” he exclaims
to no one in particular.
The room falls silent yet his words
continue echoing through the high-ceilinged halls,
long since abandoned by children now grown
and living across the country,
from where they no longer journey home
to see this great poet,
who was not exactly a failed father, but
nor was he ever a finalist for world’s greatest.
When the echoes cease
and silence again haunts the forsaken corridors
he dwells upon the lose of his wife,
his lady, his babies’ mamma, his one true love.
But she died 20 years ago,
succumbing, after a 15 year battle,
to the cancer riddling her body;
the chemo never succeeding in killing it all.
So he goes on, pounding away
on the No. 12.
Page, after page, after page
he writes. Breaking now and again
to pick up his worn copy of Kerouac’s
On the Road and skim the pages
of Jack’s own masterpiece, fighting
for inspiration, for insight, for freedom
to write exactly what he wants
to write, not what THEY want him
The THEY, those guys, the ones who
make all the rules,
make anyone famous, and
make all the money before doling out the writer’s share.
On he writes,
poem after prose after story after essay.
On life, on love, on peace, on war.
And when he gets hungry
he heads to the kitchen,
which is only one room over,
but the echoes of his footsteps
up and down the hallway haunt
the old house, like the ghosts of his past
finally catching up to this old man
on the eve of the completion of his final work.
From the fridge he grabs a plate
of Tofu left over from last night’s dinner
and he shakes his head at thought of an old farm boy
eating organic vegetables and soy and tofu.
But when his wife was sick,
the Docs said no more indulging in
a lifelong diet of steroid laden
beef and pork.
So he went vegan cause that was all she cooked
and when she died
he kept at it in her memory.
So with his plate in one hand,
he slowly touches the picture of her
hanging in the hallway,
next to the pics of all the kids and grandkids,
and he turns back to his desk to write some more.
“Only 2 more pages to go,” he whispers
not wanting to disturb the ghosts
of the old house.
And on the 1905 Hammond No. 12,
he once again pounds away,
letters forming words forming sentences forming poems.
The poet extraordinaire,
sits at his desk, his greatest work