by David Meltzer

At the first of the month I went to the Rental Agency.

--Listen, I told her, -- I can't pay this month's rent because I quit my job because I have a great work that I am working on that demands a great deal of all my time. My job was a rock in my heart, a black cloud in my head, & I am a poet who needs time to be alone, to wander, study, loaf & drink, think, read, love my wife, learn about my children, & work every day & every night on my great work. I gave this month's rent to my wife for food, diapers & wine. Won't you just forget about the rent until my great work is done?

--Sure, she said, writing out a check for $229 (the exact amount to tide us thru a month) -- & come back at the first of the month for your next check, she said & turned back to her ledger.


Copyright © 1973 and 1994 by David Meltzer

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