I read his poems
Each one a few spare lines —
An image of an old woman or a honeysuckle vine or a bee or a dying man.
I shift in my chair, munch on salted nuts, heave a sigh.
You’re the great man,
Get to the point.
Tell a real story.
Say something.
I close the book and set it on the desk.
I rinse my drinking glass,
Shed my day clothes,
Brush my teeth,
Stand at the window looking out on a quiet street.
Somewhere across the city, a train whistle whines.
The book sits there on the desk.
Damn you.
I pick it up, take it to my bed,
Read it until sleep takes me away.

3 July 2016

 

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My brother, the writer Jeff Bredenberg, kindly gave me permission to publish these lines of verse disparaging the necktie:

Let’s Let Ties Die

By Jeff Bredenberg

I think that I shall never spy

A garment sillier than a tie.

A silky flag to catch the breeze,

A rag to snag my every sneeze,

A sickly cloth of polka dots: mustard drops

and ice cream blots.

And when my dangling finery

Gets tangled in machinery,

I’ll lose my breath for sake of dress

And meet my death by printing press!

If fashions fade the whole year through,

Why, oh why, can’t ties die, too?

*

— Jeff Bredenberg

This poem was originally written for the book “How to Cheat at Cleaning,” and It is dedicated to the memory of my father, Paul A. Bredenberg, who detested ties.)