Joe Reynolds, Walking to the Pool with Vodka and Richard Yates

A poem by Charles Farmer

You got the book I sent you!
I hope Yates is worth the walk from your apartment to the pool.

He is a good read, maybe an important read,
especially for a young man with your hairline and heart.

He saved me nine years ago when I vacationed with my wife and her family.
Her dad was angry, tossing bottles against a hotel window.
I walked to a beach and read Yates,
about his mom dying from too much of it all but still chiseling at ice.

My ex-wife, the L-shaped hotels, our stupid legacy as a couple–the stuff of Yates and ruined hotel windows.

Young people make stupid promises.

We don’t have to chisel so much ice.


A Capricorn since 1978, Charles Farmer has been bar-sitting and reading, underling the best lines and paragraphs since he was legal. Elizabeth Montgomery died before he could make a move. So he writes.