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The insolence

The insolence of beauty
that surge of delight—
her violence in memory
and dreams

I turn to the wall and see
the first streaks of morning light
in my bedroom, how the tones
of the light slowly intensify

Old, fat. diabetic and injured—
Babe, what’s with you, can’t
you do better than that? Still,
she clings to me, trusts me, and stays

When he lived in 1905, in France,
Proust saw the same sun I see
and wrote about how it may
change altogether in memory

Yes, I see that same sun today
We persevere, we fight through the
tough times, like a half-formed person
who can’t comprehend the fully formed

Like a child who doesn’t see the man
there’s something I’m not getting here—
Like the florid, supercilious, fluidity of
our most ignoble politicians as they lead

us through the fake enthusiasms
of their shallow political rallies
with an abundance of hate
that leaves its takers in want,

and a cleverness that
makes them unkind
Is that all there is—
this intense, feral stupidity?

I’m not like my old man
The perfect student,
he always got As—I was good
but I didn’t

Mom was a dancer but no pro
She said the professionals never mock one
another when they fall—“When you fall,
you’ve got to pick yourself up and dance”

Dad wrote until he decided
he’d nothing special to say
Perhaps he’d have changed his mind
about that, had he lived past 40

He told his boys, before he died, to be kind
but he wasn’t kind to his son Howard
And he never explained why
it’s so hard for us to be kind

 

 

 

-July 30, 2016-