Literary Yard

Search for meaning

‘Apology to the Author of the Book I did not Read’ and other poems

By: J.R. Solonche


I am sorry, Peter Martin.
I am sorry that I did not read The Dictionary Wars.
I read the review in the New York Times Book Review.
Or was it in The New York Review of Books?
It was a good review.
It was long, but I read it all.
The review made me want to read the book.
So I went to the library.
They didn’t have it, so they got it for me from another library.
I got it in a few days.
I looked forward to reading it right away.
I read the back cover right away.
I read the jacket flaps right away.
I put it on the night table.
I almost read the introduction, but I was tired.
It was late, and I was tired.
I was tired, and my eyes were closing, so I turned out the light.
I went to sleep right away.
Two weeks went by right away.
I forgot your book, Peter Martin.
Then I remembered it.
I brought it back to the library right away.
It was a good review.


The tracks are easy to keep track of.
The tracks are not going anywhere.
The tracks head out of the woods from the north.
The tracks head into the woods to the south.
The tracks are in the clear at the crossing where they are double-crossed.
The tracks are parallel lines that never meet.
The tracks are Euclid’s children.
The tracks make for fellow Euclideans.
The tracks have at least two followers who are poets.
The tracks are the tracks of the train.
The tracks of an animal tell where it has been.
The tracks of a train tell where it will be.
The train does not need to train the tracks.
The train simply trains the tracks.
The train can switch its tracks with the motion of a hand.
The train wears a star on its face.
The star twinkles in the daylight and in the dark of night.
The train hauls the moon behind it.
The train comes and becomes the tracks.
Then the tracks become the train.
When the train comes, the sound of sex is in the air.
The train comes in the middle of the night bound south.
It awakens me with its loud boundless sound of sex from its mouth.


He was on the roof.
He said his cell phone is old.
He said it does not take good pictures.
He said he has four daughters.
He said they all have new cell phones.
I said I have one daughter.
I said she also has a new cell phone.
I said here’s my old flip-phone.
I said it doesn’t take good pictures either.
He said I don’t need a roof.
He said my roof is fine.
I said I don’t need a cell phone.
I said my old phone is fine.
He said he drinks vodka.
I said I drink bourbon.
He said he doesn’t like bourbon.
I said I don’t like vodka.
He said the roof is fine.
He asked when it got done.
I said I thought it had never been done.
I said I thought it was thirty years old.
He said he drank vodka.
I said I don’t drink vodka.
He said he has four daughters.
I said that’s one more than Lear.
He said he didn’t hear me.
I said I didn’t say anything.
He said his phone bill is astronomical.
I said I’m happy to hear I don’t need a new roof.
I said he could have said I need a new roof.
I said I wouldn’t know any better.
He said he doesn’t do shit like that.
I said you have four daughters.
I said you have an astronomical phone bill.
I said that means putting four daughters through college.
He said I’m a reputable roofer.
I said thank you.
He said I have four daughters.
I said I have one daughter.
He said to have a great weekend.
I said that he should too.
I said good luck with your daughters.
He said you too.


Professor Emeritus of English at SUNY Orange, J.R. Solonche has published poetry in more than 500 magazines, journals, and anthologies since the early 70s, including The New Criterion, The New York Times, The Threepenny Review, The American Scholar, The Progressive, Poetry Northwest, Salmagundi, Rattle, Barrow Street, The Literary Review, The Sun, The American Journal of Poetry, Poet Lore, Poetry East, and others.

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