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(04/23/52 - xxxx / Spartanburg, South Carolina, USA)

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Here's Breath For You - Upon Purchase & Buyer's Remorse - A Letter Poem To A Literature Professor

Dear Low,

Not to worry.

I am the man most pursued in last night's dream.
That emaciated thing at my back keeps tracking me.
I remain just out of reach. Classic. Even there,
as here, I am escaping something, a life time of
practice in this 'Kingdom of the Canker'.

It was no banker who followed me last night
but a starved lacklove rejected by 'Canker' and, well,
by me. Who'd want that part, all start and no finish?
Replenishment has often enough meant hiding out
and a demand that it keep at least 5 arm lengths away.

I will try, I tell it, to look at it but I find its presence
most disturbing, its handful of leaves continually
proffered leaves me in a quandary. What do they
mean, this offering, though my father was a lumberjack?
Perhaps this is a track of sorts to follow for an end
to the mystery. I am stumped.

Again, not to worry.

After a life time (now almost 60 years) of identity crises,
which is a low grade fever in the personality, such is poetry.
I am very weary of it as I now move into yet another identity,
OLD MAN. And who gives a damn in that new
'Kingdom of the Cracked & Crank'? Invisibility awaits, or worse,
pee pants.

Do I become that thing which follows me in my sleep,
leprously white, pale wanderer of the empty pockets,
eyes dark and full of something deeply known?
I am not yet ready to know such things though the
dream indicates that I am for it is very near.

How can I expect the culture to pretend to be interested,
it having pushed the thing even farther away than I ever
could? And since this has turned too goddamned
confessional I do confess that I am beginning to lose
heart for it, all this pushing, this running away, which is
perhaps good news to the very few who know me truly.

Rather,

I sit on the cultural dunce stool in my corner of the room
reading, reading, tracing, tracing the chase of 'logos'
through time. No rhyme or reason can I make with my
earnest forefinger. Still malingering shadows of what is
in those dark eyes just over there dim my creased page.
I pull at curtains to close out tighter whatever daylight those
eyes may bring to my knowing.

I am such a monk.
I live hard unto myself.

I daily sacrifice goats upon an alabaster altar
to the blood thirsty bastard both within me and
who dwells just outside my door.

Grace, yet, daily unfolds, usually in the coffee cup, first sip,
and morning prayer without too much buyer's remorse which,
I am convinced, is what that first squall of the just born infant
is about...'So much for corporeality...desiring only the womb.
I could not read the fine print of the contract writ small in
capillaries, that upon me there will be a vice, a clutch of
alien air, a fall into too much light and clouds of Mercurochrome.
I regret me I regret me I regret me...'

One adjusts. Continually. The persona is adaptation
appearing to be solid but sleep reveals the neutrality
of the animal. Dreams tell us otherwise when we remember
them as it takes an ego to witness, to remember.
They reveal that we are caught up into something
so much greater than flush and stir. It's a wonder we make
do as much as we do and still call ourselves by name,
our family a species of animal, 'homo sapiens'.

I regret self pity. I'd reject it if I could
but it adheres, last resort of old coots born
honestly into it no matter the copious Mercurochrome baths,
the smelling salts obviating the needed nipple.

What is all this singing bathed in tears born of tremendous desire
and fear? Whose arms would hold fast and safe, embracement
against the brace of all us we fallen stars who do burn out brightly
or, more like me, privately in quarters counting days as if each is
the last until that dread thing finally comes in, after a life time of
daily threats and close escapes, with hopeful relief? Hopefully
there will be no buyer's remorse for purchase of Death.

''Here, '' I'll try to say 'ponst that day',
(one must become Shakespearean in such company,
last payment on the installment plan) ,

''Here's breath for you. I tried to use it well.''

Today the Market reports a run on Mercurochrome.
Birth goes on. I am for rebirth, a dirth of days
makes me suddenly Hindu, foregoing gurus and
bindu point. I've made my own here.

Selah.

Still, methinks I'll have your ear for a little while longer,
a handful of leaves only for my thanks, one foot well
into 'Cracked and Crank', the drunk tank a memory
worn out. Doubt is my companion.

Love, too. No remorse there.
Buys me time, aftershave and
loads of underwear for the trickles ahead.
Thank the gods for all that.

Oh. And one last good cigar.


W.

Submitted: Sunday, March 27, 2011
Edited: Thursday, October 31, 2013


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