There’s always a lesson to be learned,


whether in a hotel bar


or over tea in a teahouse,


no matter which way it goes,


for you or against,


what you want to hear or what you don’t.

Seeing Roland Kirk, for example,


with two then three saxophones


in his mouth at once


and a kazoo, no less,


hanging from his neck at the ready.

Even in my youth I saw


this not as a lesson in keeping busy


with one thing or another,


but as a joyous impossible lesson


in how to do it all at once,

pleasing and displeasing yourself


with harmony here and discord there.


But what else did I know


as the waitress lit the candle


on my round table in the dark?


What did I know about anything?