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?