Chris Buckley,
After Winning The Guggenheim
—poetry by Brandon Williams

Chris Buckley, 
After Winning The Guggenheim

I think he keeps it in the back
of his trouser pockets, ready
to pull it out and dust it in front
of anyone who might not have heard
the news. But in class, we spend
ten minutes talking about cake,
“Cake,” he says, “you know, cake,
as in let them eat it.” With that year
of freedom in his back pocket,
he’s in a good mood, but he approaches
our poems with tenacity, as if
he’s trying to fit a year’s worth
of instruction into this final three-hour
class. But he can’t stop smiling.
“Ellipsis? What’s an ellipsis? That’s
Mr. Ellipsis to you,” he says,
and that’s the way the whole day goes.
I almost expect him to disappear
behind a curtain with a puff of smoke,
to sprinkle us with bills
for all the lines he’s given us. Instead,
he shakes our hands, claps our backs,
and walks off campus to a year
without having to circle poems
and ask, “Where’s the turn?”

Brandon Williams is a graduate of the University of California, Riverside. He has been published in journals such as Words-Myth, ken*again, and Scawy Monstur, and his work is forthcoming in Circumlocution Lit. He writes a lot. Sometimes he reads. When he does, it's usually the greats, which is probably why he so often looks confused. He is a strict believer in down-home country music and is probably a strict constitutionalist.