Tuesday, April 11, 2017


After Midnight Melancholia XII
I lose books in bars.
I leave them like tips,
butterflied by an empty
pint and a bundle of bills.
If a stranger picks it up,
begins to read where I left off,
does that make us brothers?
Do we complete
one another’s thoughts?
I never exactly remember
where or when a story ends.
It’s a big empty,
an open mouth
like the Outback,
or the American West in movies,
or when you realize that even stars age.
Besides, you can’t count
on the weight of last lines.
I mean, when was the last time
you ever marveled a frame.
Things disappear,
or rather move toward their end,
or rather toward disorder,
but any Buddhist or physicist can  tell you that.
It’s all there, spinning another turn.
I’ve lost my driver’s license,
my credit cards,
and every morning my keys.
Once, I lost the heel of my boot.
I teetered to the right all the way home,
and fell into a bush a block
before I reached my door.
I didn’t notice until the next day.
Holding the flat sole in my hand,
I turned it around and around
unable to understand.
I thought the world had just gone crooked.
I’ve been losing a long time,
all the time,
every time,
moment to moment,
flaking off like old skin,
tossed like pennies to the street.
I’ve lost my train of thought,
my Saint Christopher,
my last dime,
my wonder,
my word my wonder,
my will to speak
and a thousand thousand lonely
socks to the void of various dryers,
but apparently so has everyone else.
I’m not sure when I lost my self,
maybe puberty,
or my first job,
or the last round,
maybe at the freshness of first breath,
but either way the bastard’s still humming
with the moths around the bulb.
Sometimes the things I’ve lost come back.
The other night I ordered a shot
and the bartender said,
“I got your Bolaño,”
smiling another dollar into her tip.
I was whiskey enough to give her two,
every inch of her fingers
at the edge of every bill.
She left under the arm
of a guy with both his heels.
Who can blame her?
It’s an easier walk home.
I stayed around drinking,
losing quarters to the jukebox
and hours to the day.
I often lose my way,
find myself in unfamiliar neighborhoods,
knocking at strangers’ doors,
hoping someone will answer
and say, “Come inside.
We’ve been waiting.
We’ve been gathering
all the things that you’ve lost.”
--Larry Duncan
*poem originally appeared in Dance Macabre 106*

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