HORACE IV. i
It’s over, love. Look at me pushing fifty now,
Hair like grave-grass growing in both ears,
The piles and boggy prostate, the crooked penis,
The sour taste of each day’s first lie,
And that recurrent dream of years ago pulling
A swaying bead-chain of moonlight,
Of slipping between the cool sheets of dark
Along a body like my own, but blameless.
What good’s my cut-glass conversation now,
Now I’m so effortlessly vulgar and sad?
You get from life what you can shake from it?
For me, it’s g and t’s all day and CNN.
Try the blond boychick lawyer, entry level
At eighty grand, who pouts about overtime,
Keeps Evian and a beeper in his locker at the gym,
And hash in tinfoil under the office fern.
There’s your hound from heaven, with buccaneer
Curls and perfumed war-paint on his nipples.
His answering machine always has room for one more
Slurred, embarrassed call from you-know-who.
Some nights I’ve laughed so hard the tears
Won’t stop. Look at me now. Why now?
I long ago gave up pretending to believe
Anyone’s memory will give as good as it gets.
So why these stubborn tears? And why do I dream
Almost every night of holding you again,
Or at least of diving after you, my long-gone,
Through the bruised unbalanced waves?
Source: McClatchy, JD, 1998, ‘Late Night Ode’ from Ten Commandments, Alfred A. Knopf. Retrieved 18 August 2015, www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/236602