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It’s not

When the team was losing we’d go
to the stadium looking for a fight—
Blind drunk passion, stupid and violent,
relentless, desperate, and lost
There’s no private heaven—
Bribes, sloth, greed, our
hidden corrupt fiend is

what failure tastes like
Dad loved plants, even the weeds,
flowers, birds and butterflies
He collected stamps and butterflies
and was a talented amateur photographer
He loved the opera and with his brother
ably deflected his father’s anger

We live in a country founded by
aristocrats, and as John Randolph
admitted and bragged as he railed
against the mob “I’m an aristocrat
I love freedom and hate equality”
A slave is, said our founders,
three-fifths of a human being

If you’re clever you know
love’s protection lasts,
even or especially, in memory
It’s the days of the plague
and I’m insecure
Successful people will
sometimes use small things

to remind them of their humble starts,
like a small piece of pizza with
a little cheese eaten before the start
of an elaborate and expensive Italian
meal served at the now defunct Teddy’s
restaurant in lower Manhattan—“This
was my start, now look at me”

I didn’t think we’d end up
here—in a shoddy, sloppy old courtroom
with high ceilings and indiscreet
bureaucrats, who witness as we
trample on an inner piece of ourselves
Invasive fantasies, strident dreams,
our ancestor’s beast with seven heads

and ten horns whose venom is now
Dad could be intimidating and I was
often afraid to approach him
I’d wait and keep my distance until
I thought it was safe—I didn’t think I was
like him but at work sometimes a colleague
would knock and hesitate to enter my  

office and talk to me, at first,
from just outside my office door
We primitives don’t perform
our rituals based on opinions
Said Feynman “Nature has
a great simplicity and is beautiful
Mathematics describes nature

because nature is mathematical”
Approximations, simplifications, speculations,
we’re the virus people—If I could have
become a fine violinist would I still stress
over words? Maybe—I’ve studied, and
studied and studied and I now know
it’s not where I’ll go, it’s how I’ll get there

-May 2, 2020-