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Then my star

In the first act she’s shy, withdrawn, trapped
Then she grows deep in inner richness
She waits, she suffers, she waits for him and
while she waits she’s a mother and a woman
You can’t play that role when you’re a girl
Maybe you can sing it but you can’t really play it
You need some lively years,
some experience, some deepness

Then my star could rise and I was still in favor

I heard some 77-year old idiot
with regal white hair and not a brain in his head,
and a rifle in his hands, accidently shot and killed his
44-year old son while the two of them hunted geese
Yesterday, I thought I saw some younger
version of you contentedly amble along these
pristine park paths to watch the ducks—
just as you used to do

Then my star would rise and I was still in favor

Poor Karen—in law school the professor gives that old hypothetical
of a man who walks by a shallow pond where a hapless child
is drowning and, he can easily save him, but must he?
“No, no, no” Karen vehemently, almost violently, screams—
“We don’t know him, he can be so fucked in the head
that the child should jump from the pond and save him!!!”
Why so vehement, Karen?—I later learned of her psychic tortures
She was they said, what the doctors called then, “schizophrenic”

Then my star could rise and I was still in favor

When I paid for my parent’s new condo
I felt at once almost all the guilt
drain from my body
Because before you know it
they’ll be gone
In this dance I must lead and
I can’t let you in
if you won’t let me

Then my star would rise and I was still in favor

Leonard, old friend, remember when
we ran into each other at random, each
compelled to go out into the urban night?
It was real late with little traffic
The New York City streets were white
in an illumination of shadow and new snow
We greeted each other happily and trudged away—
with only our footprints behind us

Then my star could rise and I was still in favor

Sometimes they treat me like grandma
They come late and leave early
and all the time there
they can’t wait to go
Jeanne used to say
“I’ll keep my own counsel on that”
If you’ve ever been betrayed
you know why she said it

Then my star would rise and I was still in favor

When Russell was a boy
Sol and Charlotte came to visit
Sol brought Russell a big white toy airplane
that seriously delighted the boy
He was all smiles
Charlotte glanced seriously, lovingly, at Sol
as she said, “My Sol always knows
just what kids like”

Then my star could rise and I was still in favor

My folks never liked it when it was “nice” out
for us kids to stay inside
Mom was especially adamant
“Get out of here, go play” because she knew
there aren’t a limitless number of fine days
Even today if it’s “nice” out, although I’m 17
years older than she was when she died
I feel a twinge of guilt if I stay inside

Then my star would rise and I was still in favor

The great Roman sage, Seneca, said
“It’s the mind that makes us rich”
The artist, Lautrec, drew his subjects
in mid-act, as though they hadn’t posed for him
But the people he drew were often celebrities
who wanted and were used to being looked at
50 degrees and a perfect day for a walk
Don’t worry, Mom, I’m outside

Then my star could rise and I was still in favor

 

 

 

 

-December 6, 2014-