Akoot Famous Writers

Reading Biographies

Perhaps Frost was poking his secretary,
The apple core of his good-living chewed
To the bitter seed. Perhaps he buttoned up,
Disgusted with the dead lizard cupped in his palm.
And his woman? She was as large as Gilbraltar,
A chunk of cheese in each armpit.
She took a deep breath
And wiggled the goose of her tasty fanny
Into the kitchen. There, she poured pancakes
Onto a skillet as old as this country,
And Frost, a pioneer for all writers,
Picked up his beaver-thrashed pencil and proclaimed,
O Sweet Youth, etc.

                            I don't know how to read
Biographies, the dead words of dead writers
Etched on my eyes, then gone. I read them,
And drive my car recklessly through leaves,
The cushion for my own eventual death.
Sure, I reflect, like a chip of mirror,
And then I forget them, these subjects,
These writers with lungs and straight-A penmanship.
They're of no use. I'm not saved
By the repetitions of jealousy and all-day drinking.
Wind frisked the trees, hair fell like wheat,
And the liver, saddlebag of disease,
Bulged with inoperable knots.

I touch my own hip, then hobble home
Where a pumpkin glows in a window.
Birds shrug into their coats of dirt.
Crickets stop the violin action of their thighs.
A fire is built, and I'm lit in the living room.
I'm a democrat, I slur to the couch,
And add, Venus is a star and fly trap.
Thank God, I've learned nothing.

Written by Gary Soto


Gary Soto Poets Page