Calhoun Redux - Poem by Brian Purdy
Calhoun, you died, some days ago
Your cousin dropped by and told me so –
But in last night’s dream you died again
Differently named, on a different day.
An old man led me to a smoky room
Where I talked by phone with a cop named Boon.
‘Your buddy just died on Mornington Lane.
We checked his apartment, found your name.
And a woman's picture in a tinsel frame.
His veins were blown and he’d pickled his brain. 10
Ball-pen writing all over the body
Pointed the finger at a frail named Jody.
'Jody – total’ - that’s what he wrote.
Then hit the street, no hat, no coat.
Dead in a gutter with his eyes tight-closed.
Might of been drugs – or else he froze.’
I cradled the phone, told the old man thanks,
Went back to my office and the ashtray stank,
So, I emptied it into the basket there
And tried to imagine what sort of despair 20
Shanghaied your spirit and froze your tears.
After a while, the picture came clear;
I figured that Jody took off with the drugs.
I could see her grin as she said with a shrug:
‘He should have known how the cake gets carved
So, he only got just what he deserved.
Goodbye, Calhoun, you were never my pash.
You were there for the fun, I was there for the stash.
Call me cruel? Well, that’s faint praise.
Goodbye, Calhoun, ’ I heard her say. 30
When I woke from the dream I was already late.
Got dressed in a hurry, left in a daze.
Now the whole day through's been riddled with you
But, Calhoun, you’re dead, and it just won’t do.
Whatever might have happened while I lay in bed
You never came back, now get out of my head.
You died like a fool, some days ago.
Your cousin dropped by, that’s how I know.
If the tear in my eye won’t seem to go,
Still, Judy was right, you ought to have known. 40
You lost in your life, went down in my dream.
Goodbye, Calhoun, from Judy – from me.
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