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Dinner Party This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

     at an ideal dinner party
(of literary proportions)
e. e. cummings would
sit across from me,
leaning back in his chair,
ankles crossed
(a brooding poet in a cotton shirt).
whitman would rest his
elbows on the table,
pale eyes sparkling,
droll mouth smiling,
eager to chat.

the smoke from
cummings’ cigarette
and whitman’s old pipe
would swirl
above our heads,
intertwining and
combining, veiling
the light overhead.

and after the niceties:
“hello, mr. cummings”
“hi, mr. whitman”
“call me walt, dear,
everyone does.”

we’d dive into conversation.
mr. cummings would
secretly reveal the beach
where maggie and milly and
molly and may
played, and say
he wished that Olaf (glad and big)
had a louder voice
and that he still believes
true wars are never won.

and mr. whitman - walt -
would be flattered that
i was near tears when i
read that passage from
“song of myself,”
and scratch his
snowy beard thoughtfully
before he answers that
“to you” was to everyone,
and joke that although
he’s more than old,
he’s still not at all tame.

by midnight, though,
walt would become tired and
mr. cummings would be ready
to head back home
(and write some more).

they would stand up from the table,
utter happy sighs in unison,
hold out their hands,
and shake sincerely, as two
men who admired each other.

then walt would turn to me,
and say good-bye with
a fatherly kiss on the cheek,
and mr. cummings would
give a shy smile of thanks.

they would walk out the door,
hands in their pockets,
unspeaking and thoughtful,
and then they’d turn,
as a rush of night air
whisked into the restaurant,
and call back,
“keep writing, kid,
keep writing.”

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Iamad said...
Jan. 3, 2010 at 9:34 pm
Interesting how you brought Whitman and Cummings together. The imitation of Cumming's style--the commas, the spacing--was a little weak though, if that was your intention.
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