Raymond who ? she said .
Raymond Carver , I replied , the American
short story writer and poet .
Never heard of him , she said
and being a year eight standard I was inclined
to believe her .
And yet it was startling how Carveresque
her writing was .
Phrases like “ I will never know where — what
shall I call him — this man has gone “
spring particularly to mind .
And I thought of the nine year old boy who wrote
like the Dickens in Pickwick Papers , for instance ;
another who wrote florid full-on verse
like Chris Marlowe
and the highly strung girl who came for one term
and wrote like Emily Bronte
though none had ever read these writers
and the year nine autiste who at times
wrote like them all .
Sylvia who ?
the manic depressive from the back
of the class called
black hair slashed across her face
as I read the opening lines of her poem
to her father
fuelled with fury and neo-Nazi imagery .
Never mind , I said
as I wondered whether the ghosts
of dead writers
had come to inhabit the young
and whether over the next few years
I’d meet an embryonic
or antipodean Dostoevsky .
Collect their juvenilia .
One day I’ll make a killing
*pic courtesy of pinterest