Paul M. Strohm
Published on: 3/28/2015
Not Friendless at the End
I don't want to be a man without friends
either kill me now or promise me
that someone will be there at the end
someone to look into my eyes
another human being who knows my life
who can tell me everything was so
that remembers my children's names
I can't believe all will pass away
memories of a person in this lovely world
the things I have done and said
all the intimacies of a man and a woman
quiet knowledge wrapped in love
with tiny creatures crawling in the mud
this conscious beautiful living body
now buried so deep beneath the touching
sensing the subtle movement stopped
no longer responding to fingers of light
drowning in the depths of the dark
I don't want to be friendless at the end.
Somebody Should Have Warned Me!
Somebody should have warned me!
"Danger, Will Robinson, danger."
A quick sharp elbow in the ribs-
If only someone would have said,
"There are suicidal poets and non-suicidal poets."
As though you could take your pick.
I choose to be a non-suicidal poet,
working in The Village in NYC,
with only the best jazz musicians as friends.
Oh yes, don't give Ginsberg my telephone number.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts
a poet has a one in three chance of offing myself,
prior to publication of the 2nd volume of poems.
"Danger, Will Robinson, danger."
Of course I knew Hart Crane had abandoned ship,
jumping headlong into the wake of death.
I read his The Bridge, thinking I know why.
And we all understood Sylvia Plath's predicament, i.e.,
Ted Hughes disclaiming and constantly underfoot.
John Berryman wrote his own poetic suicide note,
entitled it The Dream Songs, running for a bridge.
Randall Jarrell panned some of Berryman's poems,
then this multiple eclectic was hit hard by a car.
Was it a suicide or unlucky accident of language?
Most identified suicidal-poets had too little sex,
too many thoughts rhyming not rhyming,
strange imaginative expressions overly wrought.
My first taught poet Poe swallowed his death in cups,
he didn't seem to understand other people,
didn't talk much, so self assured of his own fragility.
Someone recommended Anne Sexton to me for spite,
she hoarded her own I identity, accosted winos
by throwing her pelvis at God. She thought herself
a winner of the world. Not satisfied with her first attempt,
she made good by inhaling the exhaust in her garage.
But I understand hurt, obsessive pain, absence of prozac.
However, I still don't get Paul Celan and Primo Levi.
Had they run out of ideas, felt enough was enough,
their imaginations run riots in their heads? Just stopped living!
Someone should be warning me now, I'm poeming.
Published on: 3/7/2015
Alice Fulton Always Makes Me Feel Bad
I am listening to this reading by the poet Alice Fulton
and in doing so I learnt a lot about me.
I am not a very sensitive person.
There's nothing deep inside me trying
to get out, stay hidden or explain itself.
I suppose all I think about is me
and the sounds I make, excuse me please.
I am devoid of animal rights thoughts
or dirty planet fears.
I am pretty much a guy
with a nice exterior who talks a lot.
I can't imagine anyone without a happiness
other than on the surface.
I live on the surface of my life
like any other parasitic creature.
I am glad I listened to Alice Fulton
read her poems but I think I am the guy
sitting there in the room completely
enamored by his own sweat.