GilThis is the tenth part of my short story, The Poet. Please would you correct my mistakes.
I thanked them both profusely. My heart beat quickly. All my worries, depression, and sad memories suddenly started to fade, and instead, pleasant thoughts flooded my mind. I was going to die one day, but after my passing, my poems would continue to exist in people’s rooms, on their desks, bedside tables, in their bags and in their minds. They would read my verses and ask themselves what kind of man the author was, what his life looked like, what
waswere his dreams, fears and worries. And their minds would fill the gaps with their own thoughts and speculations, and, so, I would continue to live like a myth passed from one generation to another. I looked at the faces of my two hosts and their eyes gave me an assurance that they would help me and make my dream come true. I was glad that at least once in my life fate was kind towards me. I had met two wonderful human beings, who despite their high status, were people with compassion and understanding. The more time I had spent with them, the better opinion I had of the Prime Minister. He was not only a born leader and a great public speaker, but also genuinely cared about ordinary people and their problems. There was not a trace of arrogance in his voice, or overbearing. Without cameras around and the nosy journalists, he was like anyone else: talkative, amusing and charming. I had understood that what I saw on TV was not he, but his mask, he had to wear if he wanted to survive in athe cruel world of politics. It was acting of exceptional quality, which could not be learned - it was a rare gift bestowed to few.
I stayed with my hosts about two hours, and then we shook hands and hugged each other warmly before I walked out of the residence. Bess had been exceptionally kind to me and kissed me on my cheeks. “I know you’ll succeed. Remember that great poetry is born out of suffering,” she said and gave me a sympathetic look with her blue eyes.
They waved at me from the entrance as the driver and I left in the same black car which had taken me to the residence. We were alone and I sat beside him, enjoying reggae music and a smooth drive through the streets. As we were nearing our destination, the buildings became derelict and dilapidated. The fairy tale was nearing its end, but I was not in a bad mood. I felt that soon I was going to live another fairy tale, this time created by my poetry.
As soon as I entered my flat I started to gather my poems. They were scattered all over my home: in the kitchen drawer, on the table, under my bed, in the wardrobe, on the bookshelf, in the cupboard, and in the chest of drawers in the hall. I felt like a doting mother gathering and preparing her children for an important journey, which would change their future forever. At first, I wanted to make a selection and choose only the best ones, but after reading a few of them, I could not decide which to take and which to leave. I did not have the heart to give a precedence to one over the other. I had no right to bring hope to some and doom the others to languish in oblivion. In the end, I had decided that I would take them all and let other people decide what was worth publishing or not. I could not kill my own children with my own hands.
The next morning, Mr Katz rang at my door. When I opened the door and saw him, I thought he looked like a travelling salesmen, who now and then would ring at my door, offering me vacuum cleaners, microwave ovens, food mixers and similar home appliances. He was a man in his sixties, short and plump. He had a small moustache, which had the same brown colour as his hair. He was dressed in a long grey coat and a grey fedora hat. He bowed slightly and stretched out his hand, which I shook.
“Good morning, Mr Novak,” he said in the same pleasant voice I had heard when he called me previously to tell me that I had been invited for breakfast with the Prime Minister.
“The Prime Minister sends his greetings and hopes you’ve gathered your poems.”
“Thank you Mr Katz. Just a moment, please,” I said and went to the kitchen table and took a white shoebox with my poems. “They all originals. I don’t have any copies. I hope you’ll not lose them on the way.”
“Oh,” he said, “You don’t need to worry. I know how poets love their poems and how they’re precious to them. But rest assured they're in safe hands. After all, the Prime Minister’s residence is the most secure place in the country.”
I watched him from the window as he was crossing the street with the white shoebox under his arm and disappearing behind the building, and I felt a pang of sadness and excitement. I had just handed over the most precious thing I had ever had. I had cut off part of me, hoping it would spread the message about me to the world and tell people who I was and what I had gone through. I had wandered a long way in darkness and now was just a step from the bright sunrise. I would never again feel shame, never see myself as a parasite living off
theothers. I would show theothers the beauty of my soul, the power of my creativity and my perseverance. I visualised Bess reading my poems in bed in the evening, overcome with emotions, even crying. She read some verses for the Prime Minister, who could not remain unmoved and read a few poems for himself, which impressed him deeply. I visualised the Prime Minister taking with himsome of my poems with him and showing them forto his colleagues, politicians and diplomats, and telling them that, despite the current economic crises the spirit of the country was still high. “While in other countries people despair during the difficult times, in our country we discover talents and geniuses who are living proof of our greatness. I’m proud of being the leader of such a strong nation and such decent people,” he would tell them and beam with pride, and they would look at him with envy, asking themselves how a man living on welfare could have written such beautiful poetry.
I waited for about a month, hoping I was going to hear my telephone ringing and the pleasant voice of Mr Katz telling me that The Prime Minister had found a publisher who was infatuated with my poems and wanted to print them without delay, because the world must witness their originality, so seldom seen nowadays. I went to bed in the evening and woke up in the morning with the same thought. I wished to see a book of mine even if I would die the following day. Since I gave my poems to Mr Katz I had listened to the broadcasts about culture and literature almost regularly and every time I became angry. The poems I heard were neither better no worse than mine, and their authors showed no great originality, but still they had their names on their books, which opened many a door in society. Although they would never become billionaires, many of them had become well-respected members of the establishment. They were giving interviews in the media, making speeches at universities, travelling to conferences and festivals all over the world, and receiving grants and other financial support, which guaranteed them a comfortable living. And while they enjoyed their lives, at the same time, I was trudging from one shop to another buying minced meat and cheese after
atheir best-before-date had expired, and half-rotten fruit and vegetables, at drastically reduced prices. But I knew that I had what they would never have, even if they received all the riches of the world. My poetry was pure feelings, the beauty of the soul transformed into words. One day when they heard my verses, all these great authors would remain speechless. They own poetry would appear bland - empty words which do not touch anyone.
To be continued.
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