The Book With The Yellow Cover

The Book With The Yellow Cover

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2,738 words (≈ 11 minutes)

Note: reformatted with table of contents



This book is modeled on a book of Chinese and Japanese poems that I gave to a friend on the west coast. It was a very small book with a yellow cover, stapled together. No adornments. Just the poems, alive after hundreds of years. J.M.W.

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wetterau (7 books)
Mon, 17 May 2010 22:33:21 +0200

Thank you, Hadrien. I'll try to improve it. Which format did you read? John

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 15:17:32 +0200

Badly formatted overall: I recommend a section for each poem. That would create a useful TOC and avoid silly pagebreaks.

Book Details  

Language: English

Written in: 2010

Published: 2010-03-07

Word count: 2,738 words (≈ 11 minutes)

License: Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives (cc by-nc-nd)

Tags: , , , , ,


I was born in Greenwich Village, New York City, but raised, mostly, by my grandparents in Woodstock, a small town in the Catskill mountains. Midway through sophomore year at Hamilton College, an inner voice said, “Get out!” It seemed crazy, but I knew it was the right thing to do. A fraternity brother told me I'd have no trouble finding work on the shrimp boats in Key West.

A friend and I hitchhiked south. Near the New Jersey line we got a ride with another young guy, Pete. "Where you headed?"


"Me, too," he said. He told us that he'd gotten up before dawn in a small Vermont town, thrown some clothes and a baseball glove in the trunk, left a note on his girlfriend's porch, and taken off. We rocked on down the coast, listening to Brenda Lee, getting warmer each day.
I left my friends near Miami and went on to Key West. When I got there, I walked to the harbor and asked for a job on the first boat I found that had anyone on board. The captain said, “Shrimp season’s over, kid.”

I think he felt sorry for me. He pointed to a rusty shrimper across the water. “He might take you.” I picked up my bag and ran around to the other jetty, arriving just as the boat began to pull away. A man on deck was doing something with a cable. He wore a sweatshirt and had a two-day growth.

“I’m looking for work,” I shouted over the engine. 

“You a winch man?”

The winch occupied a large part of the deck, a complicated assembly of giant gears and levers. The strip of water below my feet widened. It was jump or forget it. I had a vision of winching the boat upside down in the Gulf. I shook my head and walked to the Southern Cross Hotel, a wooden building with white peeling paint and a sign declaring, The Southernmost Hotel in the United States.

I wrote it down in a notebook and have been writing ever since. Along the way I served in the Air Force, earned a degree in computer science from the University of Hawaii, married twice, and raised children. The adventures, the loves and betrayals, the teachers, the lessons---they are in my stories and poems, where, like all writers, I have tried to make of my deeper bio something worthwhile.

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