December 15, 2004

Tonight I'm swimming to my favorite island

Three Poems:

At the Lion's Head
-- David Markson

Vodka-weary
I scowl at the bar
And confront a midnight revelation:
In ten years
I have contributed thirty thousand, cash,
To the fiscal well-being
Of this saloon.

If I still wake, mornings, to
Reality,
Is there a refund?

The Order of the Day
-- Billy Collins

A morning after a week of rain
and the sun shot down through the branches
and into the tall, bare windows.

The brindled cat rolled over on his back,
and I could hear you in the kitchen
grinding coffee beans into a powder.

Everything seemed especially vivid
because I knew we were all going to die,
first the cat, then you, then me,

then somewhat later the liquefied sun
was the order I was envisioning.
But then again, you never really know.

The cat had a fiercely healthy look,
his coat so bristling and electric
I wondered what you had been feeding him

and what you had been feeding me
as I turned a corner
and beheld you out on the sunny deck now

running in place—
knees lifted high, skin
glistening, and that toothy, immortal smile.

Night Thought
-- Bill Knott

Compared to one's normal clothes, pajamas
are just as caricature as the dreams
they bare: farce-skins, facades, unserious
soft versions of the mode diem, they seem
to have come from a posthumousness;
floppy statues of ourselves, slack seams
of death. Their form mimics the decay
that will fit us so comfortably someday.

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