X Minus X

By Kenneth Fearing 1902–1961 Kenneth Fearing
Even when your friend, the radio, is still; even when her dream, the magazine, is finished; even when his life, the ticker, is silent; even when their destiny, the boulevard, is bare;
And after that paradise, the dance-hall, is closed; after that theater, the clinic, is dark,

Still there will be your desire, and hers, and his hopes and theirs,
Your laughter, their laughter,
Your curse and his curse, her reward and their reward, their dismay and his dismay and her dismay and yours—

Even when your enemy, the collector, is dead; even when your counsellor, the salesman, is sleeping; even when your sweetheart, the movie queen, has spoken; even when your friend, the magnate, is gone.

Kenneth Fearing, "X Minus X" from Collected Poems of Kenneth Fearing. Published by Random House, 1940. Reprinted by the permission of Russell & Volkening, Inc., as agents for the author. Copyright © 1994 by Jubal Fearing and Phoebe Fearing.

Source: Collected Poems of Kenneth Fearing (Random House Inc., )

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Poet Kenneth Fearing 1902–1961

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Subjects Living, Time & Brevity, Relationships, Love, Social Commentaries, Popular Culture, Desire, Heartache & Loss

Biography

Kenneth Fearing, a well-known proletarian poet of the 1930s, a pulp-magazine writer with several pseudonyms, and a Chicago and New York publicity and editorial writer, turned to writing “psycho-thrillers” in the 1940s and 1950s. His fourth novel The Big Clock (1946) achieved much popularity and was released as a film by Paramount in 1947. Although some scholars now consider Fearing’s main contribution to be in the genre of . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Time & Brevity, Relationships, Love, Social Commentaries, Popular Culture, Desire, Heartache & Loss

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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