Two launches. At the first, you count a dozen –
The editor, the author and their wives,
One or the other’s sister, aunt or cousin,
The publisher who, stock in box, arrives
Late, gasps a broken-winded invitation
To drink some vino, grab a cheesy bite.
The author stands; you tense with trepidation,
Then, Christ, you almost shout: this guy can write!
The other’s overrun by breathy misses
In Isadora Duncan scarves and beads,
Embracing, till the air is wet with kisses,
Doubles of Wilde or Waugh. Their idol reads.
You brave each hour-long minute till he’s swamped,
Then crawl away with ego cruelly tromped.