Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sickness and Health


New stirrings lie ahead
For the last great apostle of rugged individualism.
Sixty-five years in captivity
Slide by, having engaged themselves in writing
Poems about the imprisoned seagull, the clockwork
Sea. The grim stamp of validation rises
Like a daisy-colored moon
Over the lackluster heath, over
The mechanical pond where plastic ducks fulgurate,
Quack and flutter, brushing
The surrounding air
With minimal, bombastic strokes.
Validation, revenge, clear-eyed
Retribution: these are the simple things
Which clutter our dreams.


What do you hear, what do you say?
I think I shall do nothing
For the rest of my life but listen
To your breath
And breathe your airs and glances, your
Subtle magic, your style. Suppose I asked you
To have a heart, would you
Think it a rude request?


No one speaks. The river
Continues to sleep. The ocean sleeps.
The poet puts down his pen
After sixty-five years of dismally
Blissful captivity
And coughs like mad, and coughs like nobody's business.


1990