Thursday, June 15, 2006

refuse

IN PRAISE OF THE DEFECTIVE

When the best of it is prized from the dung

of the Sumatran common palm civet,

sweetened like a cherry in the gut

of this little island cat, I feel better

about not drinking coffee, sipping instead sweet

tea crude as a hammer. I feel

better that I never read much

Tolstoy, stopped at the bulwark of so much

French. I should begin

a second life. I should not dream

of my macrobiotic afterlife

in which I am what I do not eat

and the animals I loved enough

to eat grass, to pretend one thing was another,

purr and sing and chirp

sweet hosannas outside my bedroom window

where sometimes we made

love but never continuances

of our selves which we’d name

Hank or Emily while saving up for Harvard.

I feel better that none of me

works well at all,

that for twenty years the fog

has never lifted

from the landscape I mean to cease defiling

someday. Thank you

cards I should have mailed

and gifts given

and favors repaid with crippling interest

I grow to love

the way I once loved

shame. What will I do with my days

now that my nights

are sublimely alone

and how will I make use of this wound

I carried like a map

so that I would never, never

lose you?

7 comments:

Shamrock said...

Ahhhhh. There goes my breath again. Thank you.

Paul said...

Thank you.

Montgomery Maxton said...

Wow. I like when I stumble across a poet who's work makes me read it over. Like circa 1986 hitting rewind right after the song on the cassette has ended; you can't get back to the beginning fast enough. Thank God CD's and MP3 were born.

Keep it up, Paul.

Paul said...

1986 all the way, man. I'm there with you in 1986, Montgomery Maxton.

And thanks for reading.

Jackal said...

Strong ending to this piece.

Nick said...

I wrote a piece called "Ode to the Kopi Luwak" as a lark once. Nevermind... I like the way you work the "civet cat" trope into the poem. Thanks for posting this.

Paul said...

Thanks.