I studied with Billy Collins July 2013 in the Southampton Writers Conference on Long Island. I live with my husband, three children and two orange cats in Buffalo, NY where I teach creative writing and composition at Erie Community College. When I'm not running, I'm writing. My two chapbooks include My Daughter Wears Her Evil Eye to School (The Writer's Den, 2015) and Chamber Music (Finishing Line Press, 2013).
Eating Lunch with Billy Collins
He joins us after workshop,
glides through the buffet line
followed by half the class.
He lifts the lettuce with tongs,
scoops cherry tomatoes, takes
a salmon cake like the rest of us.
We find seats under the white tent,
and a little ant marches across the table.
It doesn’t care he’s Billy Collins.
We discuss a team with a maniac
as a mascot, a strait-jacketed man, its logo.
I focus on the grape tomato in my salad.
I can’t decide whether eating it whole
would squirt the juice in his direction,
or if slicing it in half would do the same.
A redhead asks if he’s recognized a lot.
Not much, he says. Except when
I’m reading a newspaper at the airport,
and someone asks if I’m Billy Collins.
I’ll reply, “I am now.”
I leave my tomato on the Styrofoam plate.
Baking a Sonnet
sonnenizio on a line by Billy Collins
All we need is fourteen lines, well, thirteen now,
and a muse, which I suppose for now, you’ll do.
We must know who the “you” is --
even if, well, I would never unmask you.
Just once I wish you’d say, I get these lines,
instead of shaking your head thirteen times.
True, the rest must be measured carefully now,
to woo all the readers with the right blend
of tender need and la dolce vita.
At least fourteen beats of affection
with a tangy turn or twist is essential
for the cake to rise, so you quiver all over.
But all you ever wanted was your favorite dessert;
I wrote these frosty lines instead, I must assert.
©2016 Lisa Wiley