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Marvel

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I did not call to the Holy Spirit or whistle My lordy, lordy,
Nor hum one scintilla of shame. What hid in the grass
Was neither skiver nor savior, neither cheater nor ace.
Besides, the doves peering over the gutters have all gone awry.
If I’m only a man, born far from a boomer’s shack—
Hoarding sawbucks, cherry-picking the hicks like prey,
And the wusses, and the Horacian declaimers, and the lucky
Grubbers who master heartache and lurk like crooks
Among the rich and the rebadged—then I’m a rival devil,
Carrying my brag like a brakeman. And the one certainty,
That life is to be lost—and no matter the opinion, someone’s
Always a fool—has me rubbed inside like a lonely breed
With the swill edgy and chic and rough. Who asks:
Who needs a cotton-eyed hymn to say what the old shanty   
By the track has meant to the human story? Or:
Whats Heaven for? The reach and grasp, the pecked-at days,
The horsey blues that lilac after hours,
The rocks I’ve carried in my coat pocket—
None of it has me shuddering on my knees.
Nevertheless, I marvel at the pigs and the ducks, at dogs and kings,
And revive this peck of flame, this tongue of lack, too easily.

Source: Poetry (July/August 2008)

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This poem originally appeared in the July/August 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

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Marvel

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