Monday, June 17, 2013

My Life in Letters by August Kleinzahler

There you are,
looking like the Khan’s most favored concubine,
but in a London doorway,
cigarette and beige Aquascutum, smiling,
at me, it would seem,
all ardor, woundedness and hope.
How would I not have adored you?
And you . .  and you . . .
“Dear August .  .  .” Oh, no I can’t, please .  .  .
The carnage .  .  . 

Drifts of blue aerogrammes:
I tried phoning last night .   .  .

If I could somehow make a single balloon payment
to rid myself of all this,
or with a click, like Adobe Reader download;
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Worse still the weight of kindness –
tumuli, drumlins, lava heaps of kindness,
everywhere, choking the landscape .  .  .

Must I just now be reminded
how much, how often, how many, and unprompted?

Dare I pretend to be worthy?
I would be a monster.
Monster? you say.
Please, I am too inconsequential .  .  .

I’m sorry, I’m sorry .  .  .

No, no, I have disappointed everyone.
Even those of you who might have believed otherwise,
trust me, you were mistaken.
40 years, 20 marbled letter files of proof:
I stand here before you, the accused.


  1. Even the crickets are unnerving me tonight
    and the smell of camphor in the warm room
    worse still; my woolens will outlast me.
    Home again, from point north, west,
    a suitcase full of useless books and no prospects.
    There’s a folk song that goes like that:
    insipid – pathetic, really –without the music.
    This appears to be a condition I shall not escape,
    a gravitational field to be suffered through all my days,
    like some wayward, doomed alien.
    At least the folks are asleep. Getting along in years,
    they shrug. A shrug means peace.
    The stomach knows, when the clams are bad, or worse.
    Perhaps that is truly the site of love,
    or where love takes root, finally, and sets up shop.
    I had imagined something much less uncomfortable.

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