A Web Del Sol Chapbook Selection
William Slaughter


The One Luxury


Without ceremony
at half-past three,
the poet

takes his tea.
A small inheritance
from a great uncle

who never wrote
or read a line,

affords him
the one luxury
he indulges himself
in. Poetry.


He has slept
later and better
than usual,

this particular
day. Wednesday.

(Without Freud,
Chagall would say.)

And has awakened
innocently, without
an idea in his head.
Which explains

his curious
detachment, the odd
angle he looks at

the world from.


At the same time
(half-past three)
the poet’s other hand
—the right one,

the one
not drinking tea—
writes a poem

in his note-book.
It goes like this.

My heart
chokes on words.
My mouth chokes
on my heart.

Life is awkward,
a stammering.
I much prefer
silence to speech.


But even as the poet
writes, his lines
begin to fade...

They are tentative,

They end.

Color only,
pure and simple,

A nameless,
faceless green.
As the poet’s cat
is my witness,

his friend,
licking his elbow.
Who deserves him,

who would never


I don’t know
what to make of:

the bottle
of wine, aimed
at the poet’s head.

—He’s had his
fill of tea?—

Knife and fork
and missing spoon,
pieces of fruit.

The poet’s ring,
the mysterious letter
on his cuff.
His ambiguous
index finger.

His reputation,
his career.

Older Men | Selections