In the old New York, we said
“If life could write,
it would have written like us.”
You lost your arid God, His dragon tail
and gorgeous plumage whipping the sea swell
of your Promethean will and thunder
in your “all percussion” obit for the Quaker—
manner or matter your evolving question—
the boy-Keats muscled to the nearly German.
What then? The down look and the letting go,
whiskey glazed eye in false-gold afterglow,
the soft patter of friends no longer pattering,
crisscrossed conscience and coincidence,
the world’s crush
crumpling in a handkerchief—
as if the daze of old age were all day
in a deckchair’s decadent complicity
or child’s play.
I like the last poems best, their blurry wonder
the Boston Brahmin with the southern drawl,
vernacular still sparring for the jugular…
the convalescent back from rehab…
come home in a New York cab.