Poem: "Who Wants To Know The Answer?"

Who Wants To Know The Answer?

I’m reading John Berger on Magritte.
On the radio, a young man has a question
about his Toyota Corolla Hatchback.

You’re from Eugene? the auto expert asks.
Eugene, Oregon.

There’s a liquid leaking from his dashboard.
Is it greasy? the auto expert asks.
Yes, it’s greasy.

A phone shrills in the studio.
Why isn’t anyone
attending to it?

That’s a problem, the auto expert says, when you’re out on a date.

Yeah, it’s a real problem. It was leaking
all over the floor, all over my good shoes.
I tried soaking it up with newspapers,
but it was hopeless, it was leaking so much.

The phone shrills and shrills.

Oh, it’s not in the studio
but nagging behind me, in the kitchen
of the house where I’m staying,
a wallphone hooked up above the microwave.

Should I answer it? It’s not for me.
It’s an unexpected call.
Nobody’s home.
Would John Berger answer it?

The phone shrills on.
Finally, the auto expert, for he is the expert,
picks it up
and asks in a voice falsely gruff,
hello, who is this?


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