RAY CARVER - All of us, The Collected Poems

For Semra, with Martial Vigor

How much do writers make? she said
first off
she’d never met a writer
Not much I said
they have to do other things as well
Like what? she said
Like working in mills I said
sweeping floors teaching school
picking fruit
all kinds I said
In my country she said
someone who has been to college
would never sweep floors
Well that’s just when they’re starting out I said
all writers make lots of money
Write me a poem she said
a love poem
All poems are love poems I said
I don’t understand she said
It’s hard to explain I said
Write it for me now she said
All right I said
a napkin/a pencil
for Semra I wrote
Not now silly she said
nibbling my shoulder
I just wanted to see
Later ? I said
putting my hand on her thigh
Later she said

O Semra Semra
Next to Paris she said
Istanbul is the loveliest city
Have you read Omar Khayyam? she said
Yes yes I said
a loaf of bread a flask of wine
I know Omar backwards
& forwards
Kahlil Gibran? she said
Who? I said
Gibran she said
Not exactly I said
What do you think of the military? she said
have you been in the military?
No I said
I don’t think much of the military
Why not? she said
goddamn don’t you think men
should go in the military
Well of course I said
they should
I lived with a man once she said
a real man a captain
in the army
but he was killed
Well hell I said
looking around for a saber
drunk as a post
damn their eyes retreat hell
I just got here
the teapot flying across the table
I’m sorry I said
to the teapot
Semra I mean
Hell she said
I don’t know why the hell
I let you pick me up


  1. Julia Si said...
    Raymond Carver is fantastic. Thank you.
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