“The hat was curvy in the middle
and straight at the edges
and exactly not like a jacket”,
and I thought how creative,
also thinking that that was
the hightlight of his book
The Hottest State.
It was an easy read over mocha latte,
biscotti untouched for at least an hour
while I poured over the novel as if it were,
in fact, novel. Not that I prize myself a critic
of anything other than my own fancies,
it’s just that I was not moved by the sad,
silly goings on of a young male obsessed
with being in love with his obsession.
Blah, blah, blah, they’ve all done it better:
Poe, Shakespeare, Plath. What a group
of pained lovers they were!, but at least
they captured the torture of obsessive love
without hiding behind pop culture to do it.
But then, who am I? The arrogant reader!
So laudable as to buy a book, but the only
shelves I occupy are in the dusty recesses
of my mind.
Leaving the oh-so-necessary Starbucks
with a new steamy cup o’ joe, walking needlessly
in the wrong direction to the subway, Ethan’s
first novel – in hardback – tucked under my arm,
I begin to fantasize what it must be like to sit
quietly at home, awaiting my first check
from a publishing house, and realizing that
at that very moment strangers might be pouring
over my pages, coffee in hand. A stranger bumped
into me, brusquely passing by in his hurry to There,
but he paused long enough to tip his hat
in a quick apology, and I noticed that Ethan
was right: it was curvy in the middle
and straight at the edges and exactly
not like a jacket at all.