I have had two, although the first is long forgotten, so perhaps it no longer counts, it certainly didn’t to her, announcing its end like the conductor of a train running late on the mainline to sadness.
Perhaps I have not forgotten but all I see is myself standing alone, intoning words to which the crowd intently listens, much like the audience at a reading by a lesser known poet, feigned polite awareness.
I’ll just say I’ve had one for it is easier that way on all three parties.
This is what I would tell my sons: “You came from an ancient people, a heritage of poets and tailors, or thieves and blasphemers, of callous men and slaughtered children. I would give you these books, written by God, some have said, although I am doubtful but driven by Erato, without doubt.”
This is what I would tell my sons: “I didn’t go to war — there were so many options and I chose one where my feet would touch only Texas mud, where the only bullets were quickly fired on the rifle range. I wasn’t one of the 56,000. I didn’t come home in a body bag. But I do stop at the Wall each time I visit D.C. and say farewell to those who did.”
This is what I would tell my sons: “You have never known the hunger for a scrap of bread pulled from a dumpster, you have never spent a night on a steam grate hiding under yesterday’s newspapers from the rapidly falling snow. You never stood nervously at the waiting room of a dingy clinic waiting for a young, uncaring doctor to announce that antibiotics would likely clear up the infection but you should avoid any form of sex for a couple of weeks.”
This is what I would tell my sons: “You come from a heritage of poets.”
First published in The Right to Depart, Plain View Press 2008
(for Allen Ginsburg) You died quietly in your bed friends gathered around the cars and buses of the city clattering out a Kaddish to a God you had long ago dismissed as irrelevant. We would have expected your to howl, to decry the unfairness of it all, but you merely said it is time, and slipped away. Who gave you the right to depart without leaving us one last remonstration against the insanity that surrounds us, one last censure of the fools who we have so blindly chosen to lead a generation into a hell of our creation. You had your peace but what of us left behind, what can we look forward to in your absence save the words we know so well, can recite by heart that no longer beats in your breast.
First appeared in Living Poets Vol. 2, No. 1, (U.K) 2001 and reprinted in Legal Studies Forum vol .30, Nos 1-2, 2006
He says, “I write songs without music, my head Is a libretto warehouse.” She says, “You string words like random beads, no two strands the same.” He says, “Symmetry is for those with linear minds who can’t see out of the tunnel.” She says, “Dysentery, verbal, is a disease to be avoided particularly by poets.” He says, “I’ll sing a song for you if I can only find the right notes.” She says, “Fine, but know it is the silent space between the notes were the music truly lives.”