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Sample Poems: "How I Joined Humanity at Last" and "Consider the Men"

How I Joined Humanity at Last
When love
in the heart speaking to me
dies out, I walk
the street to be near
men and women who might recognize
the death in me.

Instead I see the death in them:
in that man's eyes a wound
glows through; this woman
loved a man
whose body turned away.
They could make no deal
to sidestep pain for the sake of
a good night's sleep, for
comfort and companionship
so regret
will not cut so deeply in years ahead
that it might kill.

I look for signs: a scrap of paper
on the street, the word
that will start me off again.
Instead I see
those I did not see before
who want from me
what none of us can give.
We turn away, and later
can only bear a very little violence
on TV, and later still,
awakened in our beds
with nothing but the clock to say
time has not yet passed,
our hearts turn
terrorist, aflame
in the two a.m. nightmare
with its need for vengeance
--and its sword of dismay.


Consider the Men
We lock ourselves into days
when nothing gets done but sweat
and not the good kind; but then
how extravagantly we dream, toss all
our saved holiday lives into the car
and roll away, our cigarette smoke
sailing out the window one last time.
Now we're going pure
for two weeks, find ourselves suddenly
up against the kids who seem
only to be talking to their mother
-and I'll admit I'm half
on the tasks left behind,
counting phone booths along the way.

And then returning to the office:
that's the glory-be, to have gone
and felt the summer unravel
out of my feet, to nap while the green
grows up through my chair, sip
the drinks that appear
near my still-white hand
the same one that grips again
my friend the desk, its broad fake top
waiting for arrangement, the in, the out,
the top drawer where the clips
are kept, the pens, the pills,
the comfort of the lists.