Chance meeting, Mr. Zhang

Today I met Mr. Zhang at the park. He passed us once then returned a second time and pulled up a seat. He was a non-person to me before he stopped, we got to know each other through words. I told him I’m a writer, a poet, he’d believe anything it seemed. And he said the writers, the poets, the arts are dying back now, we are all in a hurry — and I smiled to myself, it’s alright, there will always be poets. They get to the essence he said, I think you must be a great thinker to be a poet (he said it better).

I wrote down IAMBIC PENTAMETER and the word REITERATE, important words. I wrote my name in capitals, my cell phone number. He said guess my age and I undershot it. He called me on my cell phone sitting right next to him, to test the SIM card from China, his flip-phone — it goes all the way to China and comes back, and we keep the tape rolling, a fragment of me and Mr. Zhang on voicemail I’ll keep. We wave twice and say goodbye and he says I think maybe I will come to your home next, and nods.

Categories: writing

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13 replies

  1. I imagine Mr. Z to be just a tad transparent. Like you could just make out the park bench behind him.


  2. Sounds like the start of a comedy. Or horror movie.


  3. Looks like Mr. Zhang is a metaphor of some kind — the personification of your inner desire to have a flip-phone again?


    • That’s funny Kevin — yes, perhaps like in dreams, everyone we see is some angle of ourselves. I would like Mr. Zhang’s wisdom, and to download his 5,000 years of Chinese history and culture. Here’s to you sir, and best wishes for your book promotion tomorrow. Please include a URL or link here if you would like. Cheers, – Bill


  4. I love the idea/image of you sitting next to someone as their voice travels around the world and back again.


  5. I have had iambic pentameter explained to me a dozen times over the years and I STILL don’t get it. Same goes for scoring in tennis. What’s love?


    • It’s funny you say that Mark because I realized I was showing off with this Chinese guy, because he was talking about Shakespeare’s poetry, which I couldn’t really remember from college, so instead I dropped the iambs and the Petrarch, to like make conversation with him and show maybe I knew what I was talking about (credible), but of course when he asked for the meaning I went quiet. I feel like I led him astray, to go look up IAMBIC PENTAMETER in his dictionary, because he doesn’t use the internet. Good luck with that.


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