SRO, actually, they’re sitting in the aisles. good acoustics,
nice room, stadium seating, nice kids, some on laptops or
cell phones. some are tired, some squint hard into a distance
behind me. they come out of fast food days, in aspect lightly fried.
i’m getting the same fee bukowski got 40 years ago, i think.
he stood at a podium on the stairs in a 1970s building no longer extant,
at csula. we sat or stood below, looking up as he chugalugged beers,
went through poems. 40 years later, the fee schedule seems stuck.
the students paying attention fix on a point somewhere behind me.
i chugalug nothing, speaking sometimes to my dad’s ghost.
it’s the same ghost as when he was alive. while i read poems to the kids
and try to get them to laugh at selected intervals, i describe for the ghost
the route here to a new campus on the hills northeast of san diego,
tract houses, malls and freeways through corona, pomona, chino and
temecula, mcmansions arrayed across ridges overlooking these vistas.