An old street poet

As poet Jean Vengua noted in her blog: I liked the rejection slip I received from ZYZZYVA years ago. It was so civil, so hopeful for future correspondence, that I couldn’t feel terribly rejected. There was hope, the note seemed to say; this rejection was probably a mistake; please try again!

I never did submit another poem to the magazine; but one day, I was in a small art gallery on the 3rd floor of some building in San Francisco, and listened in on a conversation between an unseen man and the gallery proprietor, discussing prints that might be used in ZYZZYVA. The temporary wall I was standing behind allowed me to see only the lower half of the khaki slacks and running shoes worn by the guy I realized was Howard Junker. I imagined him as being in his mid-30s. He sounded young. I didn’t walk around the wall to peer at him, feeling that would be rude.

Now, finally seeing a photo of him in this article, I realize he was older than that. I also learn that he’s a blogger, and that he walks around on the streets of San Francisco, giving impromptu readings of his book.


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