Bill Pruitt’s Third Birthday gift: “What You Know If You Read Talker”

Bill Pruitt’s Third Birthday gift: “What You Know If You Read Talker”

birthday croppedFor three years now in late September, magazine contributor, local poet and story teller Bill Pruitt has kindly offered a poetic birthday gift for our anniversary.  Thanks again, Bill!


Bill Pruitt

What You Know If You Read Talker


If you read Talker, you know Talker has been in the Zen Garden

and has leaned against the rock— and you know what that means.

Next thing to enlightenment, am I right? Not saying formal

Dharma transmission or anything, but Dude gets around.

Talker’s been to Magnolia’s where Obama had a grilled cheese

and tomato soup, not on the same day, but he can tell you

where he sat, he talked to the people who talked

to the man, the owner named that lunch The Obama

she told him there were even some folk who suggested

our current President should get equal time. have a lunch

named after him. (Although Garbage Plate

is taken, there are people who say he will get time)

Talker has these history mavens like Payne,

who can discuss with great sagacity

if watching NFL is beyond a moral person’s capacity

and he has his doubts, though he loves the game

(his cachet even greater being a fan and not a hater)


George and Mendon Payne

and Nighan, who can take a certain well-known party of Four—

Abe, Mary, Major Henry Rathbone, fiancee Sara Harris

who were sitting together at the Ford Theater

when Wilkes walked in and delivered his Doom of Triple Death


(directly and indirectly causing the deaths of Lincoln, himself

and Sara Harris eighteen years later, when she died from

a gunshot from her husband driven crazy from that day

Wilkes stabbed him in the arm as he tried to stop him,

the failure of which caused him social opprobrium

and resulting descent into paranoia)— still with me?—


Michael J. Nighan

Nighan pinpoints these same two couples

on a train headed to D.C. for inauguration,

passing through Albany where Wilkes was staying

at the Stanwyx, who could have looked up

from his whiskey to see the train go by

while drunkenly slamming Emancipation


But that’s nothing — Talker himself was there when

the Millerites went up Cobbs Hill in 1844, to await

the End of the World, wearing white and having

given away their stuff and, and he was there when they

came back down, so bummed they called it

the Great Disappointment, Talker made it to the Current Era

where Dean Tucker ghost-busted him, and I’m happy to say
Talker is back with us,


Dean Tucker ghost-busting David Kramer [Photo: A Millerite] From In search of Talker on Cobb’s Hill for “The Day of Wrath”

photographing himself with every celebrity he can find,

even snapping Rick of Rick’s Recycled Books selling hots

at Cobbs Hill baseball games, somehow catching him

when he’s not in his store leading you to the copy

of Tristram Shandy you asked for at the bottom of a pile

of paperbacks stacked on the floor, and Talker was there

buying a dog from Rick instead of a book, happy anniversary, Talker!


Happy 2nd Birthday Talker and “Talker Birthday Jeremiad” from Bill Pruitt

Happy First Birthday! Distinguished poet Bill Pruitt offers “Ode to the Talker”

About The Author

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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