Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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SHJ Issue 14
Spring 2016

Kowit Humor

by Clifton King

I’m reading a poem in that little
chapel next to Open Door Books.
That stained glass window
depicting Jesus among his disciples
glows with afternoon light. The room
is filled with Second Sunday regulars.
Seated near the back is Steve Kowit.
I know it’s him, I’d know
that runaway hair anywhere.
I finish my poem and Steve claps
loud and long, but then he does
that for everyone.
The next day, an email from Steve:
Liked your poem, can I get a copy.
So I send one off and jokingly
remind him of the copyright laws.
Later, another email from Steve:
After adding my name to it,
I sold your poem to the New Yorker
for four-hundred dollars. Your
ten percent, minus fees and taxes,
will be in the mail soon. Hugs Steve.


—From “Steve Kowit Tribute” in Blue Vortex Publishing (7 September 2015); appears here with author’s permission

SHJ Issue 14
Spring 2016

Clifton King

is an award-winning poet whose most recent books include Beachcombing, Poetry Organic, and Stolen Afternoons (Royale Road Publishing; 2016, 2015, and 2006). He was born in Southern California where he has lived most of his life, with the exception of a sojourn in Oregon to raise a family and fish for steelhead. A self-proclaimed beach bum, he now resides in a beach community north of San Diego and is retired from the inconvenience of working for a living.

King’s poems have been published widely, including online and in literary journals and anthologies such as Poetalk, Tidepools, Magee Park Poets Anthology, and the San Diego Poetry Annual, among others.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury