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Friday, July 24, 2009

NOW VOYAGER, A Poem in Four Parts, Part I

A Poem in Four Parts,
Part I

Were I a gentleman true, gallant,

The kind if chap with plumage in his hat,
Whose cape readies for damsel's distress,
I would say let's end it now; you're
Too young or, even better put,

I'm too old for love with a beauty your age.

But let’s face it!
No two-bit convention possesses me.

Long ago,
It was in the woods of Western Massachusetts,
I saw time tunnel down the trail before me.
I saw the nature of things,
The whirl into which all we know disappears.

And tonight faces of the dead startle me awake.
Family and friends float before me.

Oh the calamity!
Death holds both young and old alike!

Darling, the air in my bedroom
It drops to the temperature of ice.

I envision my aunt, Helene, and see her
When she says to the child, who is me,
'Stanley! Go ahead! Touch her!'
My cousin, Barbara, lies in her coffin
Before the age of six, she was a year older than I.

My buddy, Burton, cut down well before prime;
Thought of him occupies my every day.

Revelry brings me to Joey who cried
'Whitney's dead!' And right there
On Fifth Avenue, opposite the Public Library,
He placed his gun on the glass of the showcase
Counter top. I was in the jewelry shop.
I dream a slip back to former ways, the drinking life;
I could taste the whiskey shots, the beverage
Dispensed that afternoon, it was Johnnie Walker Black.

The haunting goes on;
More of the dead, they parade before me.

Omar, tall, dark, forgive me here for I know
No better than the honest truth, handsome,
The child, Spencer, my son's best friend,
My high-school sweethearts, Arlene and Lynn,
All taken, all unwitting emblems, as if to prove,
Life bears no promise of continuance.

Nightmare arms with disembodied hands,
Wag imaginary fingers
As if to demand I pick up pen and write.

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