Poem: “Fog. No Amphetamine. No Pearls”

(after Frank O’Hara)

It is 8:00 AM on a Saturday morning in my shore town and
I am drinking coffee in the kitchen against the morning chill,
for I have just come back from my own movieless version
of Footsteps in the Fog, trying to run again
after a long, far too long, layoff because Poor Baby
was just Oh So Depressed that he could not get up.
I do not know even now if I can get up three mornings a week
at 4 AM to do this insane thing merely because
it makes me feel better.  Who is entitled to feel better?
I have a friend of sorts who had a friend of sorts
who said that man was put on this earth
to suffer misery and be vouchsafed a glimpse of joy
as a tease as though life were a burlesque show
and the glimpses were like pasties and a g-string.
So this I gather is a definition of Faith,
that on Monday morning I will begin my day
with stretches and even a short run, at my age
a compound and arrogant absurdity, before I leave for
New York to have my soul abused even worse
than I have abused my legs and lungs, and
to think as I thought two years ago that it would be
better to die on my feet crossing the bar of Sandy Hook
than to live behind a desk on my ass.  I would rather
meet that shape as I shall, like Cyrano, on my feet,
swinging wild, feeling my feet connect hard to concrete,
sniffing the smell of earth I refuse to let to swallow me yet.

4-12-08

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