What are the chances,
Billy? - Your name
and mine in the same
front page article of
The Democrat & Chronicle –
Mine - for hanging out
at the Jazz Festival;
Yours - for being the
renowned poet whose
book I brought along.
A D&C reporter, usually
a food writer, singled me
out from the throngs arriving
at the Rochester International
Jazz Festival, to ask, of all things,
what I was carrying in my tote bag.
Auspiciously, I pulled out your book,
Billy Collins, The Trouble With Poetry:
And Other Poems, to her delight, as well
as mine. I had been ransacking my
brain, for a time, unsure where I’d
left you– wasn’t my name there
inside the cover? My acupunc-
turists’ other clients must be
thrilled to have your poems,
instead of used magazines,
to read, while waiting to be
needled, I thought. Or did I
leave you at Muddy Waters
Coffee? Those lucky stiffs.
Eyeing my decorative tote,
the food reporter probed –
“What else did you bring?”
She was probably hoping for
avocado sushi, paired with lime-
drenched mango slices or kiwi.
I removed some Kleenex, which,
I wish I had said was for moments
when the music would move me to
tears. Then I pulled out an Acme pen,
a Moleskin journal, a copy of Email
to Cleveland, a pair of Lauren sun-
glasses, a blue hooded rain jacket.
The one item I did not reveal,
and I will share this with you,
Billy, was a fine glass of wine,
concealed in a green tea bottle.
Have you noticed how similar
in color, Australian Chardonnay
can be to Arizona Green Tea?
Here’s to you, Billy Collins,
for sharing the front page –
with me. Here’s to you,
and to Jazz, and to tea.