Kerouac poses—some wine-beat-moment

of poetic genius—his postcard

portrayal of a plaid-shirt-Jesus tacked up

beside Bukowski hugging a whore.

On my desk is the emptied half-pint of Paddy,

Jimbo’s “Irish Rebel Jar of the Cosmic Eternity,”

stuffed with dirt, peat, twigs, grass, Yeats,

sand, & whiskey—life blood of the old

sod—cozied up to anAtlanticcoast clam shell—

mementos all from vagabond friends

like the photo of the swan beating his wings

standing on the Duck Farm pond.


This day, too, is a gift: two inches of fresh

snow silencing our post-Easter spring.

A white tail doe nibbles pussy willows in the yard.

I shrug soreness from my shoulders, note

wrinkles in the mirror, gray hair

in my beard. Isn’t it weird to be here

(the longer you’re here) & aware

you won’t be here much longer?


I found the rock sitting on my windowsill

thirty years ago up Pebble Creek,

kept it because it looked like a brain (actually half—

one hemisphere): porous, lobed

& pitted. I notice a piece of quartz embedded

in the cortex—reminding me

of Tony’s tumor. Rumor has it

Death is lurking for this sweet-hearted

lad who is a kid & a man & a husband &

a dad . . . goddamn-it-all-to-Hell anyway.

I scan the rock, turn it slowly

in my hands. All I see is stone:

hard, rough, mysterious—like cancer.


Life is a distraction on death row.

Am I missing something . . . besides faith?

Is there a lesson, some healing secret

or Grail buried deep underground? Don’t ask me.

Christ promises all will be revealed,

so we’ll see . . . with the sleeper’s closed eyes . . .

if we’re more than forgotten dreams.

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