When Becca Gorley is 25

One late April evening Melissa Banerjee and I met at Kayak’s coffee shop to do some writing practices. For our first go round, I suggested the topic, “When Becca Gorley is 25.” This is what I wrote.


When Becca Gorley is 25, she will be the most famous poet in America, after the show on Oprah when she reads to enthralled audiences, the jaws drop, the eyes beam, Becca’s light—it just shoots off of her—goes straight to the people assembled in the Chicago studio: poems about Iraqis, poems about Forest Park, poems of tears, poems of unlimited alliteration. Becca Gorley will have 15 or more minutes of fame, and see it for the impermanent dream that it is – Tibetan Buddhist sages say, “Regard all dharmas as dreams,” and being on Oprah is a dream, it’s there then gone, though weeks, months later Becca may still get 20 emails a week (or Facebook messages), communiqués that begin, “I saw you on Oprah, you remind me of my daughter Hannah, I hadn’t spoken to her in four years, but seeing you—you two look so much alike—I had to turn off the TV and call her, and we both cried and I begged her to forgive me…” and similar emails of such a candid nature because Becca Gorley is one candid, tell-you-everything-poet, and she’ll write a poem back to Hannah’s mother and sign off, “Namaste, Zanmni Mother, Namaste and Smiles.”

And after her fame, she’ll retreat to New Mexico, cut off all her hair, get a job washing dishes, listen happily to old Mexican grandfathers, and write a thousand new poems.

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