2 responses

  1. As usual, when I work on long poems, they tend to spawn one-sitter offshoots like this one tonight. Any impressions? Thanks

    Striper Tournament

    A friend is dying slowly
    And I’m wrung out
    For words; he from pain
    That never ends.
    My philosophy major isn’t cutting it:
    “Know this. We’re all next.
    Everything that ever lived or will live is around your bed tonight.”
    But no sooner than I hang up the phone
    I see I’m out of beer
    And the Pantry closes at midnight
    A twenty mile round trip in dark and rain
    (But—God!– that teen cashier never looked more cute!)
    Or sometimes I try the feeling tack
    “Believe me. We feel your pain,
    We really do.”
    But what a gross presumption
    On my part. And he knows it: “You could
    Never–imagine—this pain.”
    Back home, two beers for guilt,
    Two more for helplessness, I see
    Old times night-conquering the bay
    Eels on hooks, the stripers’ strike and peel,
    The deep we fought and won, netted
    And hoist in—until the words occur calmly
    And fulfilled: “Old friend, just another fishing trip.”
    He faintly smiles and gasps.


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