I’m thrilled to be returning to Page Meets Stage to read opposite my old friend and mentor, Billy Collins. Billy and I were the very first pairing of the series back in 2005! This time we will meet on the stage of The Sheen Center in New York City. I intend to read the following poem perhaps third or fourth. Needless to say, it is based on Billy’s poem “Introduction to Poetry.”
INTRODUCTION TO POETRY BY BILLY COLLINS
I ask him to read me the poem,
but he folds it into an origami swan
and lets it fall from his hands
like it was going to fly away.
I ask him to read me another.
Please? But this one he crumples
into a ball and presses to my ear
like a sea shell, tells me to listen.
I just wanted to hear a goddamn poem,
but all Billy Collins wants to do is dance
to the music on the radio while three mice
somehow brew us a pot of strong Irish tea.
So I tie Billy Collins to a chair with rope
and start to beat him with the phone book.
I hoped it wouldn’t come to this, but frankly
he’s had this coming for a long time.