A Conversation with Ezra Pound

I had noticed that the Ezra Pound, dead all these years, started frequenting the coffee shop. I ate there four or five times every week to place myself in the environment I thought I needed to be a good writer. I had a routine. I tried to write as much as possible. I didn’t fancy myself a real poet. I was just a lucky beneficiary. Somehow, every now and then I’d type a line or phrase that kept me believing. Pound ruined the routine. I was distracted, and needed to approach him.

This was no radiant, eccentric, questionably insane Ezra Pound. This was white hair, leather skin, white beard, uninterested in life Ezra Pound. I continued anyway.

“Hi” was all I could start with. He looked up, surprised to be noticed.

“Hello” and his head dropped down again, back to the paper.

“I-I’m a poet.” My face heated up.

“So was the lady who gave me this coffee. She’s good at her job.”

I interrupted again, “I guess I should say that I have poems.” I grinned.

“Well, well. Do you now? Why don’t I take a look at one then?” He put his paper down. He must have meant it.

I thrust a handful of papers at him and stood back, my hands in my pockets. I hate watching people read something I’ve written.


“Now wait just a minute, boy. I’m reading.”

“No I just mean, why don’t I leave these with you? I’m in here almost every morning. If you want to read them, take a look and if you want to talk I’ll be here again.” I headed for the door before he could hand anything back.

I didn’t see him for almost two months. Of course I went to the shop the next morning, early as ever, with the pep of the first day of school. The pep waned after a week but this was my routine, this was my place. I didn’t have a choice.

I knew it was him as soon as the door opened, but he looked different. He was somehow young again. His hair was black and mangled. He had a black mustache, and stubble on his chin. He was frantic.

“You have to make it new!” He said from the doorway, holding my papers up in the air. Could anyone else see this man? He made his way over, waving the papers like a failed exam.

“Make it new?”

“You’re not giving me anything here. I’ve seen all this before.” He began looking around.

“I give myself, what’s in front of me. Aren’t I new?” I looked around too.

“Your lines lack focus. Your subjects are worn. And I don’t know what you’re talking about otherwise. It can be fixed though, you can be fixed. Just clean them up.”

“And how do I do that?”

“Well no one told me what to write. You are a poet, correct?”

“I thought so,” I said.

“Then just cross the bridge. Take the next step, and really create something. What’s really in front of you?”

“Nothing new. Every day feels the same. I can’t tell what to pay attention to. I usually just talk about the weather.”

“Life can still be new, right? Some things haven’t been seen yet.”

“But what is new? What makes new?”

“When you see what everyone else has seen, and you behave differently.”

– Los Angeles, CA


Taken in Los Angeles, CA