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Limited physical contact…

                1.
We don’t know where we are when
the taste, at last, of death is on our lips and tongue
Our good will and abstract empathies tell us nothing’s ever real
He loves intimately, passionately, without any stop but
in this boundless, burgeoning, heartless, insidious world,
naïve illusion is a luxury
                2.
Knotty abstractions numb his mind
He was taught “all that is, is right”
No pedestal’s broad enough to hold her
Now 56, the old seductive hustle’s
a really hard job for her and she hesitates...
She just can’t bring it off
                3.
His high-toned courtesies, his subtle diplomacies were
perfect models of political diplomatic correspondence
She’s an autumnal leaf – yellowish, dry, cracked
When people don’t do what she wants or expects she shuts them out but
given his peculiar talents and reclusive eccentricities
he really hasn’t done, for her, so badly
                4.
He doesn’t want to see you in that place with those people—
the small continuous, everyday insults eating at you
His grandma used to ask, “What makes you think that you, among all who live
in this stinking world, deserve to be happy?”
She acts like an angry, sullen, survivor but she wants you to know that all of her
violent acts were always provoked, justified, involuntary and, in any event, quite harmless
                5.
He didn’t see his fellow humans much in the balance of things
Sometimes even his friends and lovers were strangers
He shocked the parental parsonage— swore,
smoked his old stinking pipe everywhere, drank Cognac from a flask,
dismissed the locals as “clodhopping fools”
and loudly proclaimed his atheism
                6.
Here’s what’s said in a framed notice hanging on the prison wall:
“Limited physical contact such as
handshaking, embracing (hugs), and
kissing is permitted between an inmate and a visitor
within the bounds of good taste
at the beginning and the end of the visit”

 

-December 3, 2011-