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We perceived

We perceived, we heard in the news—
a stridency that became everyday
smaller, nastier, meaner, and so dangerous
“You’re married so, ha ha,
you know how it is”
Some walk in the crosswalks while others
go diagonally across

“There I was cut off from the cosmopolitans
who couldn’t confuse or torment me so
I was forced to become original”
Those are some of the crumbs he left behind
Now when I walk on uneven ground
my foot sometime scrapes the road—
Jeez, pick up your feet old man

Life can thrive with little oxygen,
without light, in the blare of extreme light,
in the brutality of caves and
in an airy buoyant chemical cloud,
in the frozen pressure of the sea,
or in some airless high space at 400 degrees
Fahrenheit above or below freezing

Lady, I had a boxer dog just like yours as a kid
but unlike you my parents stupidly
trimmed her ears and cut her tail
which made her vicious
Howard held strong convictions and because
our backgrounds were similar
our disagreements were strong

So he dully went here and he dully went
there and he dully wrote something bland
about it which his dutiful biographer
scrupulously records
And that’s what we know about it
and him other than his work which, really,
is the only reason to remotely care

I no longer meet Michael and see him
drink his wine with such deep enjoyment
Real happiness may occur, I know,
when I’m alone
“Wine” he said, “is such a civilized drink”
His voice and others past can clarify
when I’m alone

And I no longer get to resolve
some quandary by arguing with Howard
except in the recesses of my mind
where people we knew in this life
become just what they symbolize
This is how I got here and this
is who I am

 

 

 

 

-November 29, 2015-