The Famous Poet’s Society, Part 8 of 8

An Excerpt from Nothing Happened and Then It Did

By Jake Silverstein on 4.26.10

Now, the conclusion of the serialized excerpt from Jake Silverstein’s Nothing Happened and Then It Did, in stores now. [Need to catch up? Read Part 1 | Read Part 2 | Read Part 3 | Read Part 4 | Read Part 5 | Read Part 6 | Read Part 7]

My plane did not leave until the following morning. I spent Tuesday night in the casino. The Nugget is not actually as big as I’d thought at first—a trick of mirrors—and most of my time was passed at the Aquarium Bar. The musical entertainment came in the form of a well-oiled duo known as Bobby and Ricky, whose engagement was listed as “indefinite.” Bobby was a sax player with a genial smile; Ricky, a guitarist in a leisure suit with curly gray hair. When I arrived Bobby was tying up the last few bars of “Secret Agent Man.” When the song was through he grabbed the microphone and shouted, “Have some more tequila!” pronouncing the last word with a lascivious sneer. The mostly geriatric crowd responded with a lusty yell. I noticed a table of famous poets, all wearing their medallions and drinking heavily. Bobby and Ricky started into “Unchained Melody.” Dancers crowded the floor. An elderly couple stood in the center, barely swaying, locked in an embrace. A man wearing a cowboy hat and a shirt patterned with the American flag asked one of the poets to dance. I knew her. She had bent my ear the night before, telling me all about her unhappy marriage that fell apart a few years back and the poetry that had helped her through it. Her first poem had come to her on her birthday at the exact hour of her birth. Smiling, she gazed up at the cowboy and laid her hand on his outstretched forearm. Some of us began to sing along with Bobby. The din of the slots died away. Out of the fake thatched roof descended Apollo, god of song. The waitress stood and watched, her tray full of tequila shots, limes, salt. The muse of the lyre visited Ricky, and he strummed a lovely chord. Time and loss for us seemed distant, made-up things. At the center of the world were Bobby’s lips, singing the immortal verses, and in these verses our hearts were gladdened. This was poetry.

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And that’s it folks, the conclusion of Chapter 3 from Jake Silverstein’s Nothing Happened and Then It Did. Thanks for reading! The book is available wherever books are sold. Here’s what a few critics have to say about it:

Tom Bissell for The New Republic
Carolyn Kellogg for The Los Angeles Times
Kimberely Jones for The Austin Chronicle

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topics: The Famous Poet's Society

1 Comment

Jessie Carty said on 4.27.10 at 2:48pm:

Hoping very soon to start reading the whole book smile I have it!