Survivor Guilt, by Ron Padgett

It’s very easy to get.
Just keep living and you’ll find yourself
getting more and more of it.
You can keep it or pass it on,
but it’s a good idea to keep a small portion
for those nights when you’re feeling so good
you forget you’re human. Then drudge it up
and float down from the ceiling
that is covered with stars that glow in the dark
for the sole purpose of being beautiful for you,
and as you sink their beauty dims and goes out—
I mean it flies out the nearest door or window,
its whoosh raising the hair on your forearms.
If only your arms were green, you could have two small lawns!
But your arms are just there and you are kaput.
It’s all your fault, anyway, and it always has been—
the kind word you thought of saying but didn’t,
the appalling decline of human decency, global warming,
thermonuclear nightmares, your own small cowardice,
your stupid idea that you would live forever—
all tua culpa. John Phillip Sousa
invented the sousaphone, which is also your fault.
Its notes resound like monstrous ricochets.

But when you wake up your body
seems to fit fairly well, like a tailored suit,
and you don’t look too bad in the mirror.
Hi there, feller! Old feller, young feller, who cares?
Whoever it was who felt guilty last night,
to hell with him. That was then.


 

You might also like:
On the Disadvantages of Central Heating, by Amy Clampitt — cold nights on the farm, a sock-shod stove-warmed flatiron slid under the covers, mornings a damascene- sealed bizarrerie of fernwork decades ago now waking in northwest London, tea brought up steaming, a Peak Frean biscuit alongside to be nibbled as blue gas leaps up singing decades ago now damp sheets in Dorset, fog-hung habitat of […]
Forever War, by Nate Pritts — In studying the anomaly it was determined that holiday decorations look sad out of season, that there’s no excuse for the mistakes of my people. Red paper hearts on the front door into April, a cauldron that doubles as a planter in summer. Always the starscape to help keep me honest, to remind me that […]
Of the Surface of Things, by Wallace Stevens — I In my room, the world is beyond my understanding; But when I walk I see that it consists of three or four hills and a cloud. II From my balcony, I survey the yellow air, Reading where I have written, “The spring is like a belle undressing.” III The gold tree is blue, The […]
Poem for Japan, by Matthew Zapruder — all day staying inside listening to a podcast discuss how particles over the Pacific might drift I knew thinking whenever cloud scares me I am not alone my umbrella slept in the closet I placed a few nouns in beautiful cages then let them out touched with my mind the lucky cat asleep in the […]

 

Advertisements