On Distinction

By A. F. Moritz b. 1947
We won’t pretend we’re not hungry for distinction
but what can ever distinguish us enough?
This country, this language won’t last long, the race
will die, later the cockroach, earth itself,

and last this beer bottle: silicon fused by man,
almost indestructible, like a soul:
it will go spinning ever farther from the nearest thing
until space, continually deepening, drowns in itself.

Yet we keep a hungry eye on old schoolmates
and everyone born in the year of our own birth,
and spend the nights in ranting over them,
their money, fashionable companions, pliant critics.

To live just a little longer than they do:
that would be triumph. Hence exercise and diets,
and the squabble over who will write the history
of this paradise of demons casting each other out.

Albert Frank Moritz, “On Distinction” from Rest on the Flight into Egypt. Copyright © 1999 by Albert Frank Moritz. Reprinted with the permission of Brick Books.

Source: Rest on the Flight into Egypt (Brick Books, 1999)

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Poet A. F. Moritz b. 1947

POET’S REGION Canada

Subjects Death, Philosophy, Living, Arts & Sciences, Time & Brevity

Occasions Graduation, Gratitude & Apologies

 A. F. Moritz

Biography

A.F. Moritz (Albert F. Moritz) is the author of more than 15 books of poetry; he has received the Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, the Relit Award (for Night Street Repairs, named the best book of poetry published in Canada in 2005), an Ingram Merrill Fellowship, and a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation. A Canadian citizen, Moritz was born in Ohio and moved to Canada in . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Death, Philosophy, Living, Arts & Sciences, Time & Brevity

POET’S REGION Canada

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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