A couple sat on a bus station bench. There
was a rail thin woman – about 35,
probably, but maybe younger – and a man
who looked 38, but may have been older.
They were arguing about what toppings go
well on a pizza. “Sausage,” said she. “Oh Christ,”
he replied. “You would say that, wouldn’t you?” The
woman put her hands up, palms out, and went…
“What? It goes with everything.” The man scoffed.
“No it doesn’t,” he told her. “Would it go with
a vegetarian? Of course not. Would it
go with a Taco Pizza? I don’t think so.”
The woman giggled. “No,” she said. “But beef would.”
The man closed his eyes and exhaled. “I hate you,”
he muttered. She giggled again and I glanced
over, a sour look on my face. They were
annoying me. I was sitting there with my
belt wrapped around my head trying to relax
until the next bus arrived and here they were
thinking they were talking in some kind of code
only they understood. “Your lady’s a tramp,”
I whispered, reaching into my bag to see
what my pal Ezra Pound had to say about
the situation. I glanced over at them
and said, “Tell you what … I’m about to scare you
two.” I randomly flipped open my copy
of Pound’s Personae and read from page one-oh
nine. “First up: IN THE STATION OF THE METRO.”
The apparition of these faces in the crowd.
Petals on a wet, black bough.
They gasped as a bus pulled into the station.
“Well … that’s a bit odd, isn’t it?” I asked them.
Both nodded, slowly. Neither said a word. I
grinned and read them the second poem: “ALBA.”
As cool as the pale wet leaves
of the lily-of-the-valley
She lay beside me in the dawn.
The set of folks on the bench shared a look that
said something in the poem affected them.
I just nodded and glanced further down the page.
“Is your name Holly?” I asked the woman. She
turned pale as a ghost and asked me, “How did you…?”
I pointed at the next poem and bid her
to read aloud. She took the book with trembling
hands and cleared her throat. “Ahem … HEATHER,” she said.
The black panther treads at my side,
and above my fingers
there float the petal-like flames.
The milk-white girls
unbend from the holly-trees…
“Holy hell! That’s…” She closed the book and mumbled,
“Insanity. How’d you do that? Tell me. How?”
I shrugged, put the book back in bag, looked at
the guy and told him, “Good luck with this gal, pal.”